Trying for a Torture Development Timeline -- and a new July, 2002 torture memo

Discussion in 'Politics' started by D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. D_Ireonsyd_Colonrinse

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    I'm working off of 6 or 7 different articles here and trying to pull everything together. If I flub up some facts, I'm sorry, I'm trying my best to get it all straight. Feel free to add - or let me know if I got anything wrong.

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    We were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

    "Operation Enduring Freedom", the name we chose to call the military action and our response to the 9/11 attacks, the war in Afghanistan, was launched October 7, 2001, not quite 4 weeks later.


    Our invasion of Iraq began on March, 20, 2003.

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    A whole succession of secret torture memos (some declassified, some leaked) from 2002 have been popping lately like microwave popcorn.

    We've learned that the brutal treatment of prisoners by the military at

    1. Guantanamo Bay

    2. Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, and

    3. Afghanistan

    was systematic, part of an orchestrated philosophy, one group's unified vision. The torture at Abu Ghraib was not the result of "a few bad apples", as Paul Wolfowitz, a major architect of the Iraq war, told us, but was, in fact, linked to torture happening simultaneously at Guantanamo Bay and secret Afghanistan military prisons, and a direct result of the CIA's early use of "harsh interrogation tactics", according to a Senate report.

    The 232-page Senate Armed Services Committee report - based on more than 70 interviews and 200,000 pages of classified and unclassified documents - was released on Tuesday, April 21, not quite a week after Obama released the August 2002 memo, written by Bush Justice Department lawyers, that sought to justify "enhanced interrogation techniques."

    With the release of the senate report, Senator Carl Levin said: "In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan to low-ranking soldiers."


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    Now, reported yesterday by the Associated Press, a new memo has surfaced from July, 2002 which is being called "crucial".

    In a July, 2002 meeting with George Tenet, Condoleeza Rice, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Stephen Hadley, John Billinger and others, waterboarding and other "harsh methods" were being discussed. The senate report shows that "harsh questioning methods" actually got under way in Guantanamo and elsewhere in early spring of 2002, so by July, the Bush administration was obviously seeking legal justification. At this July, 2002 meeting, an intelligence official, who also spoke with anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the CIA had insisted on having the program legally reviewed to be sure it comported both with U.S. law and policy.

    Following the Tuesday senate report release, came the release of documents that revealed Condoleeza Rice's July 2002 authorization to the CIA to use waterboarding against terror suspect Zubayda (although these " harsh techniques" had already, in fact, been underway for a few months). Formal legal approval for Zubayda's waterboarding (and 10 other "harsh interrogation techniques") came a few days later in the Aug. 1, 2002 Justice Department memo.

    Days later, the waterboarding of Abu Zubayda began. He would undergo the technique, now deemed torture by Attorney General Eric Holder, 83 times that month. Former intelligence officials have recently contended that Abu Zubayda provided little useful information about Al-Qaeda's plans.

    One of the authors of the August, 2002 Justice Department memo, the memo which sought to find a legal justification for the torture already underway, is Jay Bybee. Jay Bybee, in this memo. defined torture as "activity producing pain equivalent to the pain experienced during death and organ failure". The Bush administration decided that their torture techniques did not meet this newly concocted legal definition, so their torture techniques were not torture.

    Soon after he authored the "definition of torture" memo authorizing the enhanced interrogation techniques, George W. Bush nominated Bybee as a judge to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (which is almost the highest court in the land - right below the U.S. Supreme Court) where he began service in 2003 and remains today.

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    In the July, 2002 memo, reported by the Associated Press:

    *** Training officials told Pentagon lawyers that harsh physical techniques could backfire by making prisoners more resistant. They also said that if the use of harsh physical methods on prisoners were discovered, the public and political backlash would be "intolerable".


    They also warned that harsh techniques cast into doubt the reliability of the information gleaned during the interrogation:
    "A subject in extreme pain may provide an answer, any answer or many answers in order to get the pain to stop," the training officials said in their memo. ***

    In this new July, 2002 memo, the military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques warned the Bush administration and the Pentagon's chief lawyer that the application of extreme duress, described as "torture", could produce "unreliable information."

    The document also said: "The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel."

    The document offers the clearest evidence that has come to light so far that technical advisers on the "harsh interrogation methods" voiced early concerns about the effectiveness of applying severe physical or psychological pressure to detainess. The document was included among July 2002 memos that described severe techniques used against Americans in past conflicts and the psychological effects of such treatment. The Joint Personel Recovery Agency ran the military program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE), which trains pilots and others to resist hostile questioning.

    Many "cautionary memos", detailing the ineffectiveness of "confessions" obtained under torture, were simply ignored by the Bush administration. Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said he thinks the memos were deliberately ignored and perhaps suppressed. "It's part of a pattern of squelching dissent. They didn't want to hear the downside."


    The conclusion of this July, 2002 document said, "the application of extreme physical and/or psychological duress (torture) has some serious operational deficits, most notably the potential to result in unreliable information." The word "extreme" is underlined.
     
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