"Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment by the United States Authorities" … BEFORE the Bybee Memo

As Bill Egnor has reported (and Jim White mentioned here) a court in the UK has forced the government to release a passage of an earlier court ruling that it had fought to suppress. Assuming the passage has been released in complete form, the key passage concludes that the sleep deprivation that Americans subjected Binyam Mohamed to while held incommunicado in Pakistan was “at the very least cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment by the United States authorities.”

Now, this revelation is critical not just because it shows British Courts concluding that, at the very least, the United States violated the Convention Against Torture. As Jim White notes in his diary on this, the US is now obligated by the Convention Against Torture to investigate this act.

But note two details of the passage.

It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer. [my emphasis]

Mohamed was subjected to sleep deprivation, the British Government tells us, more than 75 days before the Bybee Two memo authorized such treatment.

And that abuse was inflicted by “an expert interviewer” implementing “a new strategy.”

That “expert interviewer” and that “new strategy” almost certainly were associated with Mitchell and Jessen, who were at that moment pitching using their “new strategy” with Abu Zubaydah.

So this is not just proof that the US was engaging in torture before they got their CYA memo authorizing such torture. But it was proof that they were using Mohamed, in addition to Abu Zubaydah, as guinea pigs to test out that torture.

This proves the entire myth told to explain the torture memos (and Abu Zubaydah’s treatment) to be a lie.

Updated with link to Jim White’s diary.

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February 2010
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