Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Newsweek Interview with Ali Soufan: CIA Interrogator Identified by Name/SNY/UCBH

Newsweek interviewed Ali Soufan, the FBI agent who got Abu Zubaydah to talk without using torture, and it is worth a read. The most important new piece of information is that Newsweek identifies the name of the CIA contractor who took over after the FBI was pulled out by their Director over concerns about the use of "enhanced" interrogation techniques.  He is identified by Newsweek as James Mitchell, a former Air Force psychologist who had worked in the U.S. military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training for special forces, which was designed to teach those soldiers how to cope with torture techniques used by the Chinese Communists during the Korean War.   Soufan said the CIA contractor admitted to him that he had never actually interrogated anybody.   Ultimately, Cheney is relying on the credibility of Mr. Mitchell for his assertions justifying the use of torture.  For me, judging credibility is primarily an exercise that I would attempt to accomplish face to face, with the probing nature of cross examination, assessing demeanor and body language, and comparing prior inconsistent statements.  My favorite interrogation technique was to put on my happy face, make the witness comfortable and talkative, like sitting around the kitchen table shooting the bull after a good dinner.  Just let them talk their way into inconsistencies with a nudge here and there.  Soufan appears to me to be the real deal for an interrogator of Al Queda prisoners. 

At first glance, based just on what I read about Mitchell so far, I am not inclined to put as much faith in his reliability as Dick Cheney.  But Cheney reaches his judgment using a different process than me, more like forming an opinion first and then accepting as true whatever information conforms to the opinion or pre-existing worldview.  Thus, he would keep repeating an assertion about some matter that allegedly justified the Iraq invasion even after it has been proven to be untrue.  More articles about Mitchell are linked below:

The total value in ING preferred positions is not material for me.  I have used the discussion of INZ primarily as an illustration of trading techniques and the amount of information needed to make intelligent decisions about this type of security.  I do not think that I have discussed at all the transactions involving IND which would be just duplicative of the points made in connection with INZ.  At the present, I am content just to hold what I own. 

 Sanofi-Aventis (SNY), a recently added position, released a good earnings report this morning. Yahoo! Finance  Earnings were up 9.8% on a constant currency basis and 16.8% on a reported basis.  This is a French drug company.  BOUGHT SNY/ SOLD 1/2 JZV: Risk Management/CEO Compensation/ING Finalizes Deal With Dutch Government/American General Finance/   It is interesting to me at least that two of the three drug companies that I own now are foreign, Novartis and Sanofi

This is hardly worth a note but I will mention it anyway.  I am going to wait and read the UCBH earnings call transcript before deciding to add another 50 even though the amount of money is irrelevant.  This is more of an indication on how LB treats money decisions, as distinguished from any meaning being attached to a $60 investment.   Some of the lottery ticket purchases have worked out extremely well, such as GRTPRF and CBG so far, and the UCBH lottery ticket of 50 shares is a tad under water.  Lottery ticket means something equivalent to buying a powerball lottery ticket except the purchase is a stock certificate. 

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