Working Thread: DOJ IG Report on Torture
William Ockham and masaccio have been making very interesting comments about the DOJ IG report on torture for the last several days, and I decided it was high time to put up a working thread on the report.
To kick us off, let me point to a long masaccio comment in which he explores the apparent plan–subsequently scotched–to transfer al-Qahtani out of Gitmo so he could be tortured more aggressively.
WilliamOckham asked on an earlier thread about the redactions in the chapter on Al-Qahtani. I have been looking at that chapter, and I am pretty sure the missing word is transfer or transport. Most of the deletions to that point in the report relate to one of three things: detention locations other than Iraq, Bagram, and GTMO; techniques of interrogation used on specific people; and agencies, probably including the CIA and perhaps its personnel and divisions.
When we get to Chapter 5 on Al-Qahtani, we see the redaction in question. Apparently the point of interviewing him was to see what he could tell people about the 9/11 attacks, since he was believed to be the twentieth hijacker. In line with the other redactions, we see CIA, or some other three letter word redacted, and more redactions of techniques and people. We get a real hint about the word transfer or transport from footnote 71, which specifically states that there was a proposal to move Al-Qahtani to Jordan or Egypt to allow them to use other techniques. This appears in the text at least once, at page 88. The use of SERE techniques is raised, and footnote 62 says that these include dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation, nudity and waterboarding. There are several other mentions of the use of waterboarding.
There are several references to the intention of the military to very aggressive techniques, using words like relentless, and sustained attack (p. 90). Then there is this:
According to the FBI, [its agents] had concerns not only about the proposed techniques, but also about the “glee” with which the would-be participants discussed their respective roles in carrying out these techniques and the “utter lack of sophistication” and “circus-like atmosphere” within this interrogation strategy session.
This lead me to speculate that the key to the redaction is that the transfer in question is not the transfer to Jordan or Egypt, but to an American black site where US personnel or contractors would torture him. Since waterboarding is mentioned, and other techniques are deleted, I think there is a chance the redacted techniques may be even more medieval.
There are two other interesting things. First, the whole discussion is in the context of deciding whether the FBI or the DoD would head up the interrogation. The FBI took the position that its techniques were best if they were given plenty of time for them to work, while DoD should take the lead if there was an immediate need for military intelligence. Once Al-Qahtani was captured, it seems obvious that FBI should take the lead, since their techniques had proven successful and accurate, given time. But the military just steamrolled them.
The second thing is the porous memory of Alice Fisher, who “did not recall” much of anything. Other people told the OIG they talked to her, and she just doesn’t remember the substance of those discussions. There is a nice example on page 98.
One thing I’d add to support masaccio’s argument that the treatment in question went beyond water-boarding is that they always refer to the treatment that Abu Zubaydah underwent–not the one that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed did (not to mention al-Nashiri). That suggests the possibility that there’s something Abu Zubaydah underwent that the other two confirmed detainees who were water-boarded did not undergo.
Update: per masaccio’s suggestion, let’s cite page numbers according to the page number in the PDF reader rather than the actual page number. This will make it easier to find each other’s references. So, for example, instead of referring to the page numbered as 18, refer to 61/438.
I’m interested in the discussion of the MOUs on page 18-19. First, the 1984 MOU that gives DOD the jurisdiction over investigating events on its facilities is probably the excuse for FBI not investigating torture by DOD–and, just as importantly, contractors.
Also, in 2003 the FBI and CIA signed an MOU requiring that FBI protect info gleaned from interrogations. Why 2003, rather than 2002, when FBI and CIA were interrogating Abu Zubaydah in one of the most secret black sites? I think it might be because news of the FBI’s opposition to torture of Abu Z got leaked. Also note that the MOU demands that FBI not talk about the MOU–suggesting several extra layers of paranoia about the MOU. And if the MOU itself is so secret, then how did it get into the IG report?
I don’t know if you’re going to get this or not; there appears to be an error with FDL or EW.FDL right now.
Want to confirm if by pgs 18-19 you mean those numbered as such, or if you mean the 18th page of the document from the cover on.
EW, I suggest that we cite the OIG by the number of the page in the reader. Page 18 becomes page 61/438 in the reader.
Numbered as such.
The phrasing in the MOU is that it relates to “sensitive CIA debriefing sites.” This supports my view that the FBI was working at black sites. It is also a surprise, given how squeamish the FBI is about dealing with the hyper-aggressive interrogation tactics of the CIA and its contractors.
A few details surrounding the FBI organization I find interesting.
58/631 says the GTMO task force (late MLDU):
74/438 contradicts that slightly, explaining that Mueller reorganized in early 2002, not long after the first detainees arrived in January 2002:
There are a couple of issues I’ve got here. First, I don’t believe Mueller went to Gitmo, realized there was going to be a big FBI involvement, and then it took 12 months to organize the unit. So I think the first reference to MLDU is deceptive and probably refers to the time when the name was changed. I highlighted the typo where someone changed has been to were. I wonder if the original had more accurate timing?
And then compare the two descriptions. The first says Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Gitmo. The second says Gitmo first.
I wonder whether the obfuscation suggests the FBI was involved somewhere before it should have been–perhaps in Iraq well before the war began?
Oh, also note the fn in the midst of this discussion saying there was a failure to get any useable intelligence. Which may be why Mueller reorganized?
Methinks that phrase is likely in almost every one of the files on tortured subjects unless intentionally omitted or later excised out. I hazard a further guess that most all usable intelligence they got from subjects that were tortured was a result of standard methods and not the torture. But hey, what do I know, they are the smartest guys on the planet…
I read your comment about the latest CREW and NS Archive filings in the earlier post.
While the sentiment was appreciated, no apologies were necessary my friend!
I check the CREW and NS Archive sites daily and neither of them evidently considered their latest filings newsworthy.
The only reason I found the filings was that I did a Google News search on “facciola” and found the link to a current InternetNews.com article.
Tiger Teams–which lasted until fall 2002, were largely led by FBI. But CIA didn’t participate bc they didn’t like the way the detainees were assigned to teams, and there were “detainees of interest to the CIA that were off limits to the Tiger Teams.”
So who wasn’t FBI getting to talk to?
This may be a stupid question, but this has bothered me when I’ve seen the reference in the past, and it’s popped up again.
There’s a reference to “Fear Up (Harsh)” — does this suggest there’s a “Fear Up (Not Harsh)” or a “Fear Up (Harsher)” or simply a “Fear Up”? Does (Harsh) identify that with which the FBI had a problem?
I wish I could check the document for the citation, but my copy of Adobe Reader is flaking out and not allowing searches. [sigh]
Per this link, here’s where the definitions of these terms are located:
And you can read the entirety of the Army Manual 34/52 here.
If you’re talking about the OIG report, it’s not your copy of Adobe Reader. The document is apparently just a set of images. It isn’t searchable.
83/438 DOD, too, made FBI sign non-disclosure forms about techniques used.
86/438 One of the two other Iraq prisons–the name of which is redacted–is obviously a high value site, which includes “Iraqi political leaders” and IIS members. FBI agents weren’t allowed to come and go freely–there were escorted around.
Do we know where Saddam was held? Presumably the FBI would want to interview some of Iraq’s top leaders.
Also, in the early period, there was an interrogation location at the Baghdad airport. I’m not sure if that’s one of these two redacted names.
Though the DOJ OIG Report has the other Iraq sites redacted, they are listed in the “Taguba Report” On Treatment Of Abu Ghraib Prisoners In Iraq.
Mad Dog, you mentioned that the Iraq black sites are in the Taguba report. I found this, is it what you were talking about?:
Yes, as well as this:
And here’s your answer:
Thanks–and that looks like the one where they took the alleged WMD masterminds (some of whom disappeared for good).
Late to the party, but Saddam was held at Camp Cropper. I know of at least 2 Americans that were held there and were subject to “harsh interrogation”.
Two American contractors that worked for a Kuwaiti company,last names Vance and Ertel, witnessed illegal arms sales. They sent evidence back to an FBI agent in Chicago because they did not think they could trust anyone in Iraq. They believe the FBI agent ratted them out. They were questioned by their bosses and became very nervous and went to the American Embassy. After a couple hours at the embassy they were forcibly taken from there by military MP’s to Camp Cropper. One of them was held for about a month, the other for I believe 87 days. They were interrogated and accused of committing the crimes that they had themselves reported. They have a lawsuit pending. The one who was held for 87 days reported being subjected to loud music, sleep deprivation, etc. He was eventually released with no explanation.
OIG p. 82 (125/438)
First clear violation of CAT suggested for al-Qahtani documented on 30 Sept. 2002 by FBI. “Foy” emails his superiors and mentions that the military plans “an indefinite period of 20 hour interviews” for al-Qahtani.
[According to Phillipe Sands, Gonzales, Addington, Rizzo, et.al. visited GITMO on 25 Sept 2002]
94/438 suggests that the FBI was workign with foreign govts (otherwise why include this discussion?).
I’m out and can’t check myself (not to mention I am mostly a digital retard) but try opening the pdf of the thing, hit “print”, and if your resultant pop up print info box is like mine, there will be a “pdf” button in the lower left corner. If you hit that, one of the options it will then give is “save as pdf” and do so in a new file. My thought is maybe the newly created pdf file will be appropriately workable with the Leopard/Safari/Preview functions like Apple told me about. Or maybe not, but that is the closest to a bright thought I got.
I hadn’t realized that the Detainee treatment act of 2005 prohibited cruel and inhuman treatment of anyone in US custody.
I find that interesting bc I think one of the reasons Zubaydah’s tapes were destroyed was because of the leaks regarding the CIA IG report–reported in detail on November 8, 2005. Which says Congress addressed that. Except, of course, for the signing statement.
12/2/2002, Rummy approves the use of falsified documents and reports in interrogation.
One wonders whether, given this approval, the following:
(a) whether the approval was “retroactive”, i.e., to ratify prior use of falsified documents after-the-fact;
(b) whether this approval, or the use of falsified documents generally, relates in any way to the interrogation of Jose Padilla;
(c) whether any of the agents involved in these Gitmo interrogations had any involvement with the investigation of the Atlanta Olympic Park backpack bombing of 1996.
I suggest that this angle be kept in mind: one will recall that a prime piece of “evidence” in the recent criminal trial of Jose Padilla was a supposed AQ recruitment form with his name, etc. and, most importantly, fingerprints on it. This document, suspicious from the first, had been supposedly found in some AQ cache of documents in Afghanistan and been just the one needle-in-a-haystack that popped to the surface.
One also recalls that the FBI investigators of the Olympic Park wanted Richard Jewell to “help” them by “making a tape” of the warning telephone call, reciting a script which just happened to match the text of the telephone call. Doubtless, given the way the AJC and other media outlets worked to convict Jewell before the fact, and his treatment at the hands of the FBI, they learned to gin their “evidence” more effectively, and more untraceably, for the next time.
One also is compelled to wonder whether, given the involvement of military-types in counter-terra activities surrounding the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (if memory serves, military types have been involved in such security since at least the 1984 LA games), whether they learned from working alongside and seeing their FBI colleagues’ failures to frame Jewell in 1996, to do a better job this time.
I’m going to bring forward several of my comments on the OIG report here. I know several other regulars have put up comments on earlier threads, and I hope they will do the same with the ones they think are worth saving. I’m also going to try to correct typos and clean them up a bit….
1. From the OIG Report. 110/438 In discussing the case of Abu Zubaydah, the report says that the initial interrogation was conducted by two FBI agents (Thomas and Gibson are the pseudonyms) who were familiar with al-Qaeda, the investigation of Abu Zubaydah, and who spoke Arabic. The investigation was begun by the FBI guys, who were making progress. It was taken over by the CIA, who did a bunch of redacted stuff. This is the part Thomas called “borderline torture.” There is a bunch of redacted stuff around that. When the FBI guys complained to the CIA people, the CIA people said they had a DOJ opinion saying the techniques were OK. None of this is given dates, but it looks like maybe April to June, 2002.
The agents reported the steps taken to their boss. He took the concerns to DOJ officials, including Chertoff, Fisher, and possibly David Kelley. This apparently took place in late July or August 2002. The first Yoo torture memo is dated August 1, 2002. This demonstrates that at least the written opinion was issued long after the torture. Or, there is another memo we don’t have.
2. From the OIG report, page 128/438. Major General Dunlavey at GTMO wanted approval from SOUTHCOM of interrogation techniques not in the army field manual. One is “use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation”. (This material is quoted from the Church Report.)
The report goes on to say:
Footnote 58, attached to this material says that some of the techniques were approved by Rumsfield on December 2, 2002.
3. From the OIG report, a general comment. It is clear that all of the DoJ people have a bad case of CRS disease. Alice Fisher, David Nahmias, Michael Chertoff, Larry Thompson, Ashcroft, “do not recall” hearing about any of the specific interrogation techniques. Instead they use the euphemism: the ineffective DoD interrogation techniques. This is from p. 113:
This in confirmed on p 171/438. Although there were two main concerns of agents, efficacy and legality, as the concerns moved up at the FBI and the DOJ, “the focus shifted almost exclusively to the question of whether the OD techniques were effective…”
The speudonyms may give a clue about which unit they came from. Thmoas Gobson is the name of the actor in the TV show about FBI profilers. The profiler unit was giving training classes in how to do these interrogations. It makes sense that this unit would have early hands on invovlement.
From Page 135:
I suggest that the [redacted] word above is “Rendition”. The further pages tend to lend credence to my guess.
Such as from Page 136:
And from Page 138:
The word is almost certainly “Transfer”. It fits perfectly and makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why they redacted it.
If you want to try it yourself, fire up MS Word, set the font to Bookman Old Style, 12 pt Bold. If you set the margins appropriately, you can get a visually perfect match by putting Transfer in the redaction.
Yeah, “Transfer” fits better than “Rendition”, but the result is the same. *g*
In any event, both our guesses are confirmed on Page 141 – Footnote 71:
Actually, the military plan is very different from the proposed plan under discussion at the DOJ.
And reconfirmed again on Page 143:
One of the things that came to me last night was this:
1. The presumption that the “transferring” or “renditioning” of Al-Qahtani to “Jordan, Egypt or another third country to obtain the requisite information” was not the first initial instance of this “transfer/rendition idea”. Those FBI, DOJ, DOD and CIA folks who were suggesting this plan had been involved or had been privy to this type of “solution” before.
2. As the Brett Memorandum states (Page 149), “the technique of sending a detainee to “Jordan or Egypt or another third country to allow those countries to employ interrogation techniques that will enable them to obtain the requisite information” was a “per se” violation of the Torture Statute if done with the intent that the third country would use techniques that violate the Torture Statute. Brett’s memorandum stated that even “discussing any plan which includes this category could be seen as a conspiracy to violate [the Torture Statute].”
3. Since we can’t “search” the DOJ OIG Report, and I don’t have the time right now to scour it for the cite, but I believe it states that decisions regarding not only “what” interrogation techniques were to be used on any high value detainee, but also “whether” to “transfer/rendition” said detainee were made at the NSC’s Principal’s Committee level.
4. The membership of the NSC is:
Conclusion: Given the legal accuracy of Brett’s Memorandum in # 2 above, as well as the accuracy of my other numbered points, one could not come to any other conclusion but that there is a prima facie case that each member of the NSC is guilty of both the conspiracy to commit, and the commission of violations of the Torture Statute and therefore, War Crimes.
And yes Mary, how could our Congressional leadership pretend not to know these very same conclusions?
And since my time is running out (meeting after meeting scheduled this afternoon), my last point/question for our Legal Eagles: Did the “get out of jail” retroactive pardon provisions in the DTA/MCA provide the immunity from US prosecution for these folks? I’m guessing that it could not provide international immunity, but how about in US Courts?
IANAL but I would hope that the Canadian Supreme Court ruling on Friday irt Khadr might have some overlap here as to the “get out of jail” card concern…
I realized the DOJ IG report addresses different concerns but some of the Canadian Supreme Court ruling does seem to address the legal system that detanees have been exposed to as unlawful and in violation of US and international law.
I read the Canadian Supreme Court’s opinion, available at this link, and note that it turned on two main points. Remember, this was Khadr trying to get documents/information from the Canadian government, which could help/hurt his defense in the kangaroo courts of Gitmo. The Canadian government had gotten documents/information when Canadian agents (of one flavor or another) had either been to Gitmo to question him (and then passed the information to the US) or had facilitated US interrogations and then shared in the fruits.
These two points were:
First, that the detention and interrogation regime in the 2002-2003 time frame (which were the interrogations for which Khadr was seeking information) was unlawful, per the US precedents in Rasul and Hamdi.
Second, that Canadian precedents indicated that even when Canadian agents went abroad to do investigations, the Canadian equivalent to the Bill of Rights still obtained.
This was then informed by other Canadian precedent, which had established the Canadian equivalent of Brady v. Maryland. Brady requires the government to turn over exculpatory information to criminal defendants; the Canadian precedent seems broader than the US’, though to what extent I do not know.
All this then led to the conclusion that the Canadian government was obligated to turn over to Khadr all the information it had generated – but not what it had received from the US. It is, in most respects, a straightforward opinion on the scope of discovery due a criminal defendant.
I’m synopsizing an opinion from a foreign (to me) legal system – go read the opinion for yourself to get a better handle on it.
I do not think the Khadr decision last Friday has much – if anything – to do with the validity or efficacy of a Yoo-written get out of jail free memo, in a foreign court or elsewhere.
I’m a Canadian but NAL, and I agree with you that the judgement leaves us with a number of hurdles still to jump (and I’m not sure how much time). After my initial euphoria on Friday (which Petrocelli and I were sharing somewhere back there), I learned, as you note, that the court was not requiring our government to turn over the copies of U.S. documents they have that U.S. agencies have apparently “lost,” one of which we know is important, but partly because news of it has been published, first in the NYT, I believe.
And then your second, which is also my second:
(That would be the Charter.) I can’t judge how close that part of the judgement comes to a warning about faith in “get out of jail free” cards, but I should think that CSIS and other agents who participated in interrogations at GTMO in a context of violation of international law might well be asking themselves the same kinds of questions that FBI and other American agents have been asking themselves for some time.
And as a disheartening PS:
scribe I agree with your points and I had also read the CSC opinion. My point was simply that I hoped with a foreign court pointing out that our treatment of detainees violates our own laws perhaps the import of this ruling could carry a sphere of influence on our own DOJ and beyond… Not that the actual opinion relates specifically.
I agree. Those questions become more acute when one realizes that the CSC did cooperate with international courts in exchange of information and interpretation of law regarding child soldiers, torture and detainee rights. Agents should not have faith that they are protected by a GOOJF card.
Philippe Sands quotes Jane Harmon as saying she didn’t expect it to be “pretty”.
She needs primarying.
Actually, no, “transfer” suggests movement of a detainee from Point A to Point B, but no change in custody; a transferee is someone already in U.S. custody at Point A.
“Rendition”, however, suggests someone who may be moved from A to B, but with the U.S. entity possibly acting as “the taxi driver”, with another foreign entity possibly involved. It’s a much more fuzzy term than transfer — and it could explain why the word was redacted.
Yoo was working on this point in his writings, as the Convention Against Torture prohibited movement of detainees for the purpose of torture; Stephen Grey referred to this as “Convention Lite”, wherein a defense would be used claiming that the U.S.’ implementation of Article 3 had no extraterritorial affect (except in the case of extradition)”. [See ‘Ghost Plane’, page 220.]
Are they claiming with Abu Zubaydah a different defense than other detainees hinging on this issue? was torture conducted in a black site with unofficial custody versus an official site like Gitmo with official custody?
Condi Rice (among others) has used the word ‘transfers’ to refer to renditions. I’m not sure if there is some weird international law distinction at play here.
One way to try to get a handle on why they might have redacted the word is to try to imagine which agency had it redacted and what the motive would have been.
We’d need to look at the context and timing of Condi’s use of the word “transfer(s)”, and keep in mind that she was DoS (distinguished here as the diplomatic function of the administration). The DoD and CIA both may have had a vested interest in avoiding the word “transfer” depending on the timing and on which entity was the custodian or “taxi driver”; DoS didn’t have custody, so wouldn’t necessarily be as concerned with the fine tuning.
There very much was an international and U.S. legal issue here, again pointing to the ratified Convention Against Torture (CAT), as you can see from CAT Article 3:
Grey points out in ‘Ghost Plane’ that two of the the main drafters of the CAT clarified later in 1998 that
[italics per Grey]
Congress ratified the CAT in 1994, and in 1998 passed a law stating it was not the policy of the US to send anyone to face torture, “regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States.”
So there’s this finely tuned dance involving strategically sprinkled pixie dust and gross misinterpretation of Yoo, designed to parse whether persons were rendered to other countries or not for the express purpose of torture, versus transferred to some other point in a continuing chain of U.S. custody — and of course, as our fearless leader has said, we don’t torture, therefore we couldn’t possibly be violation the CAT if a transfer.
But either DoD or CIA played it safe when auditing the DOJ-OIG document by removing the possibility that we did transfer someone to torture within our control.
From Page 149:
Yup. Brett’s memo in November 2002, then Rummy’s permission slip December 2, 2002.
You can transfer a prisoner out of US custody and into the cusotdy of some other country. That person is then no longer a US prisoner.
But “redition” is the verb form for this act. You would say that you “rendered” the detainee, not that you “renditioned” him.
175/438 The OSC (On Scene Commander) told FBI Deputy Assistant Director Bald about Abu Ghraib on January 24, 2004. He was concerned that the disclosure of the mistreatment of detainees would interfere with his ability to do his job. He met with two Assistant U.S. Attorneys, and told them that FBI would not investigate the alleged abuse, which would be outside their mission, and that they would let the Army CID handle it.
This accords with the 1995 MOU. 61/438
Interesting timing. Here’s how that works in the general torture timeline:
I actually think Thomas is Dan Coleman, given the context. I said something else elswhere. I was confused.
184/438 FBI General Counsel Valerie Caproni was asked to draft guidance for FBI agents for cases where they observed treatment of detainees which seemed wrongful. Agents were concerned because they might get dragged into criminal cases if the treatment was found to be excessive. Caproni couldn’t figure out how to give them advice, saying that she could not list every interrogation technique or scenario, so the FBI had to rely on the judgment of agents.
Caprioni has a rep around here for being adverse to taking responsibility for anything. She knew that if she drafted meaningful guidance procedures, the WH would get amd at her(killing her caeer in the near future), and if she drafted a Yoo memo, she would kill her caeer inthe far future.
So, she passed thebuck to the agents hanging them out to fend for themselves.
LHP,I thought that might be the case. I saw it as a form of “legal timidity”, as AG Mukasey calls it.
184/438 FBI agents raised the issue of interrogations where the military (or someone) uses rough stuff, and then the FBI comes in with its rapport building techniques. It looks like a Mutt and Jeff routine, and the agents were concerned that they would be deemed to be participating in illegal interrogations. They were looking for advice as to how long they had to wait for the illegal stuff to wear off. There doesn’t seem to be any answer here either, maybe a “totality of the circumstances test”, and, of course, there is the proble of whether the agent knew what was illegal for a specific agency.
Sure makes FBI redo of the investigations for use in these show trials look unlikely.
187/438. How long between the time when the detainee is subjected to “severe physical conditions” and the time when the FBI can interview them? The “cooling-off period” is 12 hours, according to the FBI Office of General Counsel.
187/438 Footnote 107 appends to the material I quoted @124. It says that there should be a formal Memorandum of Understanding for that facility, and that the non-disclosure memo EW has pointed out should be re-examined.
You know, the implicit critique DOJ is making is that CIA chose to forgo the accumulated FBI expertise on al Qaeda in order to torture. There are a few indications they tried to draw on FBI’s expertise anyway, but they would only use it in context of torture.
The criticism is much more explicit with regard to DOD. The FBI and the DOJ was openly contemptous of the DOD’s GITMO interrogations.
One of the things that is not obvious from this report (out of scope) is how the DOD assiduously avoided using their own experts in interrogation to develop their plan and insteaded let unqualified and malleable folks at GITMO run the show.
@ 36 I wondered about Binalshibh, but note on page 138/438 , in the first full paragraph, “the contemporaneous documents provided to the OIG do not make reference to ___________ or to Zubaydah. Maybe Binalshibh is in the first line and someone else at the end of the redaction?
165/438: “One of the FBI’s OSCs at GTMO told us that a military contract interrogator was extremely critical of the friendly tenor of the FBI’s interview strategy”.
I think that first redaction concerns either the black site transfer or specific techniques.
So we have a military contractor who is critical of the FBI’s interrogation methods. No info on whether that ‘contractor’ is American, naturalized citizen, Ugandan, Chinese, Columbian…?
It’s incredible to look again at EW’s timeline here @25, and note that uniformed US military officers (!) were asking Cambone, among others, for info about what was happening at Abu Gharib. Cambone, Rumsfeld’s right-hand man for intel, was in a newly created position set up as part of the parallel government run out of Cheney’s office.
An EW link from the BAE thread to a March 2007 New Yorker article The Redirection, by Sy Hersh, is even spookier after reading this thread. In that article, Hersh pointed out that one of the ‘lessons’ the neocons took from Iran-Contra was to ‘keep the uniformed military [out of the loop].” In other words, whatever montrous entity has morphed and overtaken the US government — and the BAE post gives some blurry outlines of what it looks like — the comments on this thread provide ample evidence of just how successful the neocons were in applying their ‘lessons learned’ from Iran-Contra.
Reading this thread, it sure looks like Cheney, Bush, and the neocons (i.e., a bizarre mix of Middle East players + conservative American ideologues)
– didn’t trust the uniformed military, who had to query Cambone about what in hell was going on,
– fundamentally subverted the ‘CIA’; how much of the CIA has been outsourced and privatized…? Syriana, indeed…
– didn’t trust ‘our friends’ (who might indict them for war crimes),
– they sure as hell ran it out of Cheney’s office.
Which begs the question: what happens when nation states no longer control military force? Does the highest bidder control violence? Or does the most intensely ideological?
Congress will not be relevant again until they take a few tips from the FBI and haul in criminals for testimony under oath, and then start legal proceedings. They still control the military (theoretically) but they clearly don’t control the private contractors or the money-laundered black ops.
Unless I’ve missed something, this is the first speculation I’ve seen about a possible link between the BAE bribery scandal and the Cheney/neocon Iraq movement.
Bandar does seem to be at the center of everything.
One of the questions I have is – what the hell do the Saudis actually do with the weapons they buy? The sure didn’t seem ready to actually use them when Saddam threatened them in 1990. Is this a military hardware aquisitions program, or a bribe the US/Brit military industrial complex program?
Second question: we know that Bandar did “accidentally” fund two of the 9/11 hijackers. We know that the Saudis were treated with kid gloves by the 9/11 Commission, and that the section of the report on Saudi involvement remains secret. Obviously, we know that most of the hijackers were Saudi.
If Bandar was/is in league with a larger consortium of players including Cheney and E. Abrams – people who beleived themselves to have been stymied in the Iran Contra affair, and who were prepared to play ruthless hardball – is it crazy to imagine that the 9/11 attacks itself may have been coordinated by Bandar’s lackies, a kind of “false flag” attack that could (and did) catapult Cheney to power, and clear the way for war in Iraq?
Remember Richard Clarke’s account of Cheney on 9/12/08 demanding that Clarke find a way to tie 9/11 to Iraq.
Also, such a “conspiracy theory” explains one of the more puzzling aspects of the whole sorry charade: why a politician as talented and intelligent as Tony Blair hitched his fortunes to W.’s adventure.
Is this crazy?
Third question: Why is the BAE coming out now? Who is behind the BAE prosecutions? Who in the US government has the fortitude to actualy go after Bandar?
Phase II of the Senate Select Committee has still not been completed. Just when we will witness these intelligence cherry pickers asses hauled in for their crimes?
these points as well as those of [email protected] are central to the whole argument of 911 and need to be pursued relentlessly!!!
HELP! EW and everybody @fdl
Please breath deeply. Then do a yoga pose
I certainly had no intention whatsoever of inserting ‘conspiracy theories’ into EWs thread, particularly where such excellent work is being done.
‘Conspiracy theories’ explain too much, too neatly; the world seldom actually functions in tidy, neat ways. Nevertheless, it’s been clear since the outing of Valerie Plame that there must be a rogue operation operating from behind the scenes. And it seems to be tangled in with larger issues of globalization in an era of growing resource scarcity, weak international institutions, and the ease of money laundering to finance black ops.
There sure appears to be some entity subverting both the FBI and the military, and it has used DoD, DoJ, and ‘private contractors’ to achieve its goals. But how did it get the reins of DoD and DoJ? (Presumably, Sy Hersh’s article exlpains the institutional takeover; the financing must have come via devices like BAE kickbacks and offshore accounts.)
On some levels, this seems to be a huge clusterfuck of humans trying to manage more complexity, more ambiguous information, and more confusion than humans are realistically able to master in a short amount of time. On other levels, it’s an institutional problem, that stems from ideology — as when a young, arrogant ideologue like John Woo is handed more power than he can handle.
But the CIA is the biggest puzzle for me.
It’s clearly morphed – from Iran Contra – into something that via privatization and globalization looks like a thousand well-financed Blackwater operations – albeit with better manners, and possibly a familiarity with two star restaurants.
But violence is a form of power that tends to beget itself.
Violence has traditionally been controlled by the state, in police, FBI, and military.
But something has sought to take control of that power, without revealing its true purposes, its nature, or its objectives.
What does it say that Congress sat by and watched that happen?!
Meanwhile, I recommend a little deep breathing and some yoga poses.
For myself, I fervently hope there are enough ‘good guys’ out there — lawyers, civil servants, FBI, remaining DoJ, who can connect the dots, track down the perpetrators, and bring them before the law — without the luxury of pardons.
But I leave that to law enforcement types (which I’d be terrible at).
I didn’t mean to agitate conspiracy theories, although I do think the connections I’ve drawn have merit and I’m assuming that I’m not the only one to draw them. Just the only one to comment on them here at EW.
Yall are doin good. All a curmudgeonly generalist like myself can do is just watch in awe. I would have brought a pizza if I knew where to bring it. If nothing else organizing the published facts will serve history. I noticed piracy is jus cogens along with torture and genocide. I wonder if that includes dry land piracy?
Cheney and Rumsfeld waited for nearly 40 years. They have been convinced if only they could be sufficiently brutal they would win the hearts and minds of our enemies. Still, with all the social and organizational layering of manners in the operative DC culture I find myself muttering to myself “…forget about it Jake, its Chinatown.”
Don’t forget al-Nashiri, who was taken into custody in this time frame and was waterboarded.
One of the things that has struck me is that regardless of all the hyperbole the FBI touts with their new “mission” to prevent terrorism, they have not, yet, thrown off their law enforcement backgrounds.
For both the DoD and CIA, the underlying motivation is “actionable intelligence” (included in that is a fair amount of the Cheney philosophy of “the ends justify the means”).
For the FBI, it is still about “criminal prosecution”. Building a legal case that withstands the scrutiny of the courts.
These are two entirely different definitions of “winning” with neither resolving the real and obvious dilemma.
Over the last several months, I’ve often tried to foresee the future after January 20th, 2008. The fookin’ messes that will be dropped in the new Administration’s lap are not going to be easily reduced to simple solutions.
The dishonest, and dishonorable, have painted this country into a corner.
When the honest, and honorable, retake positions of leadership, we are still going to be in the painted corner.
Though that concern for taking cases may be one of the only things that gives some kind of resolution with these detainees. Because that may be the only evidence that will be admissible, even in Gitmo Show Trials.
Was Ramzi Binalshibh tortured by the CIA? It sure looks like it. Footnote 63 on p.93 (136/438) specifically notes that the “Transfer” document refers to the interrogations of Binalshibh. Check out the redactions on:
p. 95 (138/438) the interrogations of Zubaydah [REDACTED] (three letter word at the end of a line) [REDACTED] … and Binalshibh fits
p. 96 (139/438) footnote 69 … techniques the CIA used on Zubaydah [REDACTED] at the time of the proposal… and Binalshibh fits
… the CIA was using on Zubaydah [REDACTED] … and Binalshibh fits
I suppose those could all be coincidences…
Binalshibh is one of the folks going on trial. If I was his lawyer, I’d be calling Nahmias and the others mentioned in this section to find out what they know about what the CIA did.
Well, clicked too fast, missed two typos and a comment.
The point of the last two quotes is that the army really wanted to torture, at the expense of information and prosecution.
Don’t forget that one reason behind the low-level torture (that is, not Abu Zubaydah and KSM, but the pawns) was to recruit agents to reinfiltrate Al Qaeda. Don’t know if that is operative here, but I think it may have been in Abu Ghraib.
I’m very much behind the rest of the crew here, still on 14/438, reading the foot notes.
Is it just me, or does the redaction of roughly 1-2 sentences or approximately 200 characters get explained later in the same footnote if one matches up the CIA Acting General Counsel’s objections with the OIG’s rebuttals and noting the one that does not have a legible, unredacted match?
There seems to be a lot of that, where you can figure out what’s been redacted by reading between the unredacted lines. With that, I’m off to get a bit of sleep. See you all tomorrow.
Me too! To sleep, perchance to dream.
And I hope EW keeps this thread open or continues it with another ’cause we got a lot more to peruse and ponder.
For a prescient look at the forces pushing the Iraq war in 2002, check out Coming Soon: “Total War” On the Middle East by Jason Vest in The Nation.
Thanks to you folks for all of your work and insights. Just how do we get the folks who ordered this to the International Court of Justice?
“glee” “utter lack of sophistication” “circus like atmosphere” “redacted techniques even more medieval”
I’m sick to my stomach
The OIG received a copy of a memorandum dated November 6, 2002, from Michael Chertoff (then Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division) through the Deputy Attorney General to the Attorney General, with a copy to the FBI Director. In the memorandum, Chertoff provided a detailed summary of the Al-Qahtani investigation and efforts to elicit information from Al-Qahtani. With respect to Al-Qahtani’s “Current Status,” he stated:
[REDACTED] (11 lines of indented text appearing to comprise two paragraphs)
This memorandum indicates that concerns about the effectiveness of DOD interrogation tactics at GTMO were raised to the Attorney General as early as November 2002.
Note the passive voice (OIG received the copy). Chertoff didn’t turn this over. I’d bet that Nahmias did. Chertoff sent this memo right in the middle of the FBI/DOD dust-up over how to interrogate al-Qahtani. Nahmias went to GTMO in mid-October, 2002. The FBI guys on the scene were actively raising the alarm about what the DOD was doing and planned to do to al-Qahtani. Somehow, Chertoff has only vague memories of the whole affair.
Convenient memory, that Chertoff.
In re: al-Qahtani, we need the following:
“Investigation into FBI Allegations of Detainee Abuse at Guantanamo Bay,” by Lieutenant General Randall M. Schmidt, April 1, 2005.
Grey only has one reference to al-Qahtani in his book ‘Ghost Plane’ (which I will refer to a LOT because of the thorough research and citations); he refers to this investigation with this reference, said that only an executive summary had been published on http://www.defenselink.mil and that the full report was not released.
Has this report leaked out in full? How could Chertoff conveniently forget something that triggered an investigation more than 3 years ago?
Schmidt-Furlow report is here. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of whitewash. If you compare it to the OIG report, you’ll notice that the DOD report plays with the timeline of events so as to claim certain interrogation techniques were authorized when they clearly weren’t.
Yeah, it’s obvious that it was a whitewash — but the Schmidt-Furlow report would provide more “dogs not barking” if compared to the FBI’s documentation.
It would look like the footnote on 14/438, where the redaction is one of four times removed, but the FBI provides rebuttals to four items; we can compare the “dogs barking” on the FBI side to the DoD dox and point to the “dogs not barking” to see what it is they choose to hide or obscure.
This bit points to a key bone of contention between FBI and DoD — note the quote,
So why would the F.B.I be left holding the bag before the public? If records and documents show that they questioned the techniques being used?
The reference is to a case where DOD torturers were impersonating FBI agents.
Why have we not seen actions for impersonating an agent? I realize this info came out originally to the ACLU through their lawsuit. We’ve known about the impersonating since 2004…
Gee just a few weeks ago, a guy was arrested for trying to rob a bank by impersonating a FBI agent…He got hit harder for the impersonation of an agent than the attempted robbery…
Damn, this is one of those times when I wish I had EW’s holographic memory.
I know in the last 24 hours I saw something from DoD that mentioned a disciplinary action taken, but it was buried in a document and cryptic in a way that didn’t indicate who was disciplined or for what. It’s possible somebody was published, but if DoD punished one of their own for something they signed off on, it was merely an exercise in paperwork.
There, I found it:
On the face of it, without pulling up both the Schmidt-Furlow report and Craddock’s amendment, it’s not clear that anybody was punished for impersonating an FBI agent. My impression is that this was ignored by DoD, but I could be wrong.
So did the DoD use the 2003 MOU with FBI as carte blanche to impersonate FBI agents? The OIG report appears to suggest that was not agreed to at any time.
As of the date of the email, 05-DEC-2003, the FBI’s protest against DoD or CIA methodologies may not have been as widely known. We were only 9 months out from the launch of the war at that point, and the public’s opinion was still quite easily manipulated against any entity that didn’t appear to sync with the administration’s agenda.
Are you counting from the beginning of the Iraq War and not the Afgan War when we started taking prisoners?
Obviously the start of the Iraq War. Public sentiment was still running pretty high at that point, even if it was clear that there were no flowers thrown at the feet of troops. Activities in Afghanistan were much less transparent than they were in Iraq to the public, so they were less likely to influence public opinion.
My point was that the FBI might not have been very public with objections because it would have hurt their image and their powers to affect change, particularly when they were still suffering a black eye from post-9/11 fallout (Colleen Rowley, remember?).
Also note that the case of Mohamedou Slahi is entwined with that of al-Qahtani.
Jeebus, I just want to bitch slap “of the Devil” for his convenient memory lapses. They had to appoint Schmidt as senior investigating officer because the initial investigating officer — BG John T. Furlow — found he was required to interview someone above his rank during the course of the investigation.
91 “Documents by Swartz indicate that as a result of media reports he became concerned about detainees being subjected to abusive treatment and that in March of 2003 he raised this issue during a PCC meeting”
##Only concerned when it becomes public? Are these the people we are supposed to respect?
Chertoff “does not recall”
Mueller “no recollection of a dispute”
This really gets to me “Al Qahtani’s resistance began to crumble after the DOD began the application of Category II techniques in the DOD interrogation Plan”.
Category II and Category III sound like they are beyond my imagination.
My stomach gets weak when I read these documents. This is what we believe we have to do to protect our country? Would it not be easier to find out “why they hate us” so much. The I/P conflict, military bases on their holy lands etc and do some negotiating before it gets to this point. I know I am naive but just saying.
Off to work. thanks Ew and fdl crew for helping another peasant try to understand what is going on
Why not give Miranda warnings?
I’m struck by the admission that–as soon as the Administration decided not to give Miranda warnings to people, they were going to have a tough time trying anyone in civilian court.
BUt even the FBI agents were specifically told NOT to Miranda anyone. I know conservative legal scholars think Miranda was a wrong SCOTUS decision. SO did they not Miranda because it really has that much effect on the info you get, or out of some ideological bent? Honest question–I don’t know the answer.
Perhaps it hinges on the nature of “non-enemy combatant” or “enemy combatant” identification; if these folks are not U.S. citizens, why Mirandize?
If Mirandized, does the government acknowledge an equality of rights on par with U.S. citizens, and therefore require due process within U.S. civilian court system, versus that of a military tribunal?
The last thing in the world that the Administration wanted those prisoners to hear was “You have the right to remain silent”. The entire point of the torture regime was to undermine that right. They intended to have military commissions with coerced self-incrimination and quick executions.
Oh my god. I have to go to work. Hope I can get back to this today. This is some absolutely yummy reading. Like watching the work of a fine surgeon. (if I had a clue about what makes for a fine surgeon!!)
Great work. I can’t wait to get back to this. It’s no wonder I haven’t read a fiction novel in a while. Amazing story so far, and nothing beats reality.
Chertoff tells OIG that the decision to try Qahtani would have been made at the NSC level, can’t remember if it was discussed there.
In other words, Dick didn’t want real trials at all. Presumably bc it would validate the notion that you can treat AQ as a police issue, not a war issue. And what would be the fun of that?
I haven’t even made a passing effort on the OIG report. On the first day it was out I discovered I couldn’t do word search with it and I kept thinking I might try to print it and re-scan to see if that would help, but I got tied up with work and horse stuff and never got around to it.
But here are some questions/considerations for you guys who are plowing through.
The older MSNBC reports here and here talk about two, parallel DOD sets of interrogators/interrogations going on at GITMO. There was the ”law enforcement” group, the Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF), and the military intelligence group. The MSNBC reports indicate that there were perhaps some FBI agents working with the primarily military CITF, ”The task force drew from the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as from the FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies.” (part I)
But there were also some indications, particularly regarding the plans to render al-Qhatani, that the FBI was there as a separate presence as well.
”[The CITF]…blocked an FBI plan to move al-Qahtani to another country where he could be tortured”
I know I have raised this issue before in older ”white hat” discussions of FBI and you guys are discussing it on this thread, but I’m a little puzzled about the extent to which FBI involvement was independent, as a part of CITF task forces, or both and the extent to which the OIG report include CITF information. I do know that in the MSNBC reports, Fallon and other members of his task force were a little dumbfounded that the Pentagon never talked to any of them in the ”investigation” of abuses in Iraq and at GITMO. ”They also were surprised not to be contacted during subsequent Pentagon investigations of detainee treatment at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, which concluded that there was no policy of abuse.”
So I’m wondering, with their very open and detailed listings of objection after objection that they raised (starting in Jan 2002, which is, oddly enough, the month when Gonzales issued his opinion to Bush that other administrations might find the things they are already doing to prisoners to be war crimes, so they needed to come up with a magic label for the detainees to escape criminal liability for what they were doing) if they are a part of the OIG report and if so, to what extent. IOW, how do the CITF teams and Tiger teams and FBI investigators, etc. all tie or untie?
On another issue raised above, as to the FBI siging non-disclosures, contracts for illegal acts are void from the get go. Not just voidable, but void. And covering up crimes is an illegal act. Now, to the extent the FBI wanted to play along and pretend that the ”secret” OLC opinions had any kind of binding effect while they were being passed around class without the teacher getting a chance to look, that’s one thing. But as soon as the Hamdan decision came out – it was clear that the things FBI had agreed to non-disclose were illegal acts, and clearly at that time (if not much earlier), the continued commitment to non-disclose became a commitment to break the law.
On another point, about the DOJ et al visit to GITMO Sept 25, 2002, the OIG report may clarify this more, but the MSNBC series provided this timeline.
a) al-Qhatani captured in Dec. 2001,
b) complaints raised from Jan 2002 over treatment of detainees,
c) Mallow and Fallon raising the issue of abusive interrogations ”almost weekly” in meetings with lawyers from Hayne’s office in August and Sept 2002,
d) early Sept 2002 the FBI comes up with the idea to render al-Qhatani and CITF fights it and it is abandoned [and a ”later FBI legal analysis” – the one mentioned above in this thread apparently, indicates that discussing such a plan could be a crime]
e) ”by September, 2002” CITF begins to hear about intelligence interrogators wanting to use reverse engineered SERE tactics,
f) Sept 2002 CITF Fallon and his boss, Mallow, issue orders not to engage in abusive interrogations, esp those including reverse engineered SERE tactics,
g) Sept 16-20, intelligence interrogators and at least one ”medical advisor” go to Ft Bragg for SERE training, and
h) Sept 25, Addington, Gonzales, Flanigan, Haynes, Thompson, Christopher Wray, [and apparently per Goldsmith’s book, Goldsmith and Alice Fisher?? I haven’t read the book so I’m taking that on faith from someone else’s cite and I don’t know if Goldsmith, a special counsel to Haynes, would have been one of the Pentagon lawyers mentioned in c] all travel to GITMO to watch interrogations.
The fact that the visit date was after months of CITF complaints about EXISTING abuse, and just days after ”the crew” at GITMO gets polished up on reverse engineering SERE, makes you think that the trip was especially to see the effects of SERE – specifically so the lawyers could watch their torture advocacy in action. I don’t know if the OIG report goes into that, but it certainly seems sequential if not consequential. Then there’s the fact that after the visit from Haynes, Gonzales, et al, Dunlavey on Oct 11 puts in for authorization for additional abuse – some of which apparently may have been suggested directly from the visiting lawyers.
As to massacio’s suggestion of ”more medieval” aspects, keep in mind that in Dana Priest’s report, http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..01644.html she mentions some very important aspects that have never been even touched on by Congress. First, she indicates (and that was seemingly confirmed in interviews Hayden gave) that the CIA rendered around 100 detainees to its own blacksites. We know what happened to the 14 shipped to GITMO and to Khalid el-Masri, who our courts refuse to give a forum for his kidnap and torture by Bush and/or his agents. That leaves a lot unaccounted for, especially since she mentions that around 30 were treated as being high value.
We also know that el-Masri’s kidnap only occured after the involvement of quite a few people in Macedonia knew of the CIA’s participation. What might have happened to other ”mistakes” where there was not so much unintended third party knowledge of the CIA’s involvement? Reports about el-Masri indicate that, once it was discovered he was a complete mistake there were conversations about just making that mistake disappear forever.
And we know a little more. Priest’s story reveals that at least one detainee became the victim of a torture death in CIA hands.
No one says how young. But there are reports that when binalshibh was captured in March of 2002, the US also took KSM’s wife and two young sons, then aged 6 and 8, and any word of any of these three has completely disappeared from all media, except that a GITMO detainee who claims to have knowledge of their torture has been one of the ones DOJ has clamped down on hardest to prevent him talking – even trying to get a court to buy that he couldn’t talk to his lawyers about his detention/treatment (which includes his allegations about the children) becasue just mentioning what was done to him is a ”state secret”.
We know that GITMO detainees included human trafficking victims who were likely as young as 11, some of whom have been returned to Afghanistan now. We know that one Abu Ghraib whistleblower talked about the military taking the son of a detainee and dousing the child in water and inducing hypothermia, starting up the freezing process, to get the father ”to talk.” We also know that the military was kidnapping wives and children in Iraq – I think Harman mentioned children as young as 10 in ”her ward” who were being held just to get their fathers to turn themselves in.
So a ”young detainee” might have been very young indeed.
Mad Dog: When the honest, and honorable, retake positions of leadership, we are still going to be in the painted corner
That’s it. That’s been it since revelations began to come out in 2003/2004 and the reaction of DOJ and Congress was to not only ignore, but to engage in further cover ups and to so pervert the nation and our national and legal identity as to pass pieces of crap like the DTA, the Patriot Act renewals (I cut slack for the original Pat Act as bad reaction to trauma – but you judge not so much on that piece of legislation as on how, after a few months, it is handled imo), and the MCA. (The DTA doesn’t really prohibit inhumane treatment to detainees, in that it provides no consequences and no enforcement mechanism – so it’s like saying to a kid ”you are not allowed to take cookies from the jar, but if you do or did, you have amnesty for old cookie thefts and for future cookie thefts, no one’s watching, no one has authority to do anything about it, there is no consequence and there is no recourse – if that prohbits cookie taking, then the DTA prohibits detainee abuse)
Congressional response to story after story of children being abused and disappeared, mistake after mistake after mistake, unaccounted for detainees, deaths, illegal programs, destruction of evidence, etc. was to ”take impeachment off the table.” Remember that Pelosi, who so quickly nixed impeachment, was more clued in on what was going on than almost anyone in Congress. Congress proceeded to allow and encourage DOJ and DOD and CIA to inhouse investigation after investigation and lie, hide information, obfuscate and invoke state secrets to cover up crimes.
So yeah, we are ”painted into a corner” and in essence, we’ve already addressed that. Apparently the way we are going to handle the casual disemboweling of a then-still-breathing system of justice and the destruction of morality and integrity throughout government, will be to redefine honest and honorable. Instead of holding anyone to the standards of a Coleman or a Fallon (and think what a resource they lost when they lost Coleman), we now have celebrate lesser evil as being the same as good.
Schlesinger and Church: very low-level question here, but why would Rumsfeld set up two such reviews in the same month (May 2004)? I see slight differences in the descriptions in this report, and Church took longer, seems more detailed, but I am not grasping the distinctions in the original assignments.
73 – I read 20 as saying the false documents and reports are authorized to use “in the interrogations” (as in, to lie to the detainees) as opposed to ABOUT the interrogations. Am I reading it wrong? Does the OIG report say Rumsfeld authorized lies in reports about the interrogations? That would be pretty big news.
The recruitment document at the Padilla trial was pretty odd in that the fingerprints they “found” seem much more consistent with handing the document to Padilla to get those fingerprints, than with him sitting down and fingering and thumbing through the application.
No, you’re reading is correct–to use false documents in interrogation. I imagined it to be, “here, Abu Z, here’s a diary account from OBL saying you guys were best friends.”
It’s not surprising. I just suspect that once you’ve used such false documents, it leads to false documents down teh road.
I’ve imagined that the false documents were not about the interactions between detainees and targets, but other documents designed to coerce info.
I’m wondering about the one outlined in the Schmidt-Furlow report enclosures as “72.
(S//NF)Apprehension of Mother Deception Memo”.
Lying to the person you are interrogating, is defendant interrogation 101.
It’s allowed in regular criminal interrogations too. In fact, it’s considered a preferred technique. make the perp think you have him cold, so he has no reason to lie to you and his only way to improve his situation is to get whatever leniency comes from confession.
27 – Who is the agents’ boss who took the concerns up-chain to Chertoff, Fisher and possibly Kelley? I thought that was likely Coleman. And to the extent Kelley was getting that info, about the military abuse of detainees, he doesn’t seem to have then had any misgivings about his office’s involvement in delivering al-Mari and Padilla for that kind of abuse and again, I keep wondering, where the hell are the document protection notices. All these lawyers, no one requiring preservation. It’s about the same as outright encouraging destruction.
83 – good, that’s what I thought you were saying. Actually, a little deceit is something that they can get by with in normal, criminal investigations so that doesn’t bother me too much. The bigger issue, though, is that once you have these false documents prepared in this covert, “state secrets” setting, isn’t someone going to be tendered to proffer them up as the real deal? And with no limits on lies to courts or tribunals and no documentation of the “secret” false documents approach etc. aren’t they likely to just end up in a file as if they were real. I mean, in Kurnaz file you had hundreds of pages of real intel reports that were all exculpatory and all ignored for his kangaroo court. How easy to just dump the false docs you have been using in interrogations, without provence, into someone’s super secret file to justify holding them forever – especially if they are a “mistake” and if you have committed war crimes against them (and without even a showing of abuse, the war crime is a completed crime and severe breach as soon as a civilian non-combatant was shipped out of country – which certainly simplifies the evidentiary issues related to all the secret torture too).
My thoughts exactly.
How do they define a “little deceit?”
87 – except you would have spelled correctly (tendered should be tempted). *g*
86 – I think that primarily involves Slahi, although the intel crew in CIA and DOD both seemed to especially enjoy threatening violence to and sexual abuse of mothers.
I pointed to the item 72. as an example; I suspect there’s a lot more like this if they were able to get any results from threatening family members, in actuality or virtually. I’m guessing this is beyond the pale with FBI, where other kinds of untruths might be used more regularly, the kind that are more like white lies.
48 – on the “intent” front, you are presumed at law to INTEND the natural consequences of your actions.
Of course, all that may be changing with luminaries such as Goldsmith, Posner and Yoo taking charge on the educational front and equal stars having been installed in the judiciary (Bybee sits there, no one even seriously discussing pulling his torture advocating self off the bench) a lot about “intent” for legal purposes may be changing.
All the nonsense from Yoo about “intent” to question as opposed to intent to torture, while using torture to question, somehow absolving an actor runs so contrary to everything I ever learned about specific intent, general intent and presumed intent as to be dizzying.
I like ACLU’s Chris Anders take overall on the DOJ IG report as well:
Everyone here has contributed a great amount to pulling on the threads of this report. Thanks for the great dig! Thanks WO and masaccio! Thanks for putting up this collaborative post EW.
it is threads like this one that make me feel so blessed to have ever encountered/stumbled upon ‘the blogs’ dear gaia, would that most americans know not only what y’all are doing but why you are doing it.
mad props to all participating in this
A great Chris Ander’s quote here:
Many more ACLU legal views in this release:
94 – if you think it is “beyond the pale’ with FBI to be threatening family members, read up on the Higazy case. I believe both Comey and Kelley have waxed poetic about what a fine example it is of FBI interrogation. Everyone wants the “deal” without allocuting.
1. Start back in Clinton days, with the Albanian renditions to Egypt of some of Zawahiri’s crew. All tortured, one unaccounted for, two dead, two still living. Whether the embassy bombings were in the works or not, Zawahiri was able to use these renditions in his propaganda, indicating that the embassy bombings were a retaliation for that bit of rendition. Oh, wait, I think I was supposed to call it “aggressive” or “non-risk averse” or “risk-nonaverse” or whatever.
Then there was Cheney’s pride and joy, the rendition of al-Libi. He was captured in Pakistan, sometime the end of 01 and turned over to the CIA in January of 2002 (again, the January date for the Gonzales memo about needing a new name for the victims of US war crimes comes to mind). After some questioning that included the FBI (Jack Cloonan) and may have started pre-Jan, al-Libi was shipped off for Egytian “torture to order” to get him to say what Cheney wanted said about Iraq. IIRC, Cloonan mentioned some deep seated desire expressed by the CIA operative involved to rape al-Libi’s mother too. Who knew Alice’s Restaurant was so factual? The Group W bench really is sprinkled with a rape fixation.
Now that we know that NSA was sure Zubaydah had to be important bc they intercepted his name so much, but subesquent events have shown how “notsoimportant” as well as nutso Z was, this older WaPo story about al-Libi, also by Priest, shows that even someone like her can end up reciting Gov planted propaganda (although to be honest, she doesn’t say anything that Comey didn’t hit on and hit hard in his Padilla presser)
Back in 04, in a story about the al-Libi “recanting” (i.e., having the govt tell him that they don’t really need his old lies anymore and they’ve been exposed so, what with the war they were needed for accomplished and al-Libi having proved to be such a lovely torture to order participant in Gov’s experiment, he can retract now) even Priest and even in a story about the coercive interrogations and untruthful statements, says:
“Under questioning, al-Libi provided the CIA with intelligence about an alleged plot to blow up the U.S. Embassy in Yemen with a truck bomb and pointed officials in the direction of Abu Zubaida, a top al Qaeda leader known to have been involved in the Sept. 11 plot.”
that Z was a “top al Qaeda leader” who was “involved in the Sept. 11 plot” all of which is pretty questionable.
OK, so those are a couple of renditions. Then in the “other” priest article on blacksites, she talks about the fact that most of the 70 or so of the blacksite prisoners who were mistakes or of no intelligence value were rendered over to foreign intell to have their way with them.
Also, if you go back to the Clinton era renditions, Scheurer (who Clinton stuck with the task of “rolling up” terrorists but not bringing them here to our courts) has said that he went to Mary Jo White (then SDNY USA) to get her advice on what to do and she helped him along with the rendition program. So people with NY FBI or other counterterrorism experiences may have known about that possible tactic for a long time. Despite Scheurer’s public statements about White, I don’t know that she’s ever been questioned, has she? Of course, the Dems aren’t interested in hearing about Bush’s renditions, much less Clinton’s.
The phrase of the day: False confessions.
KSM is probably exhibit B
Here are some articles on false confessions which happen more than people think and don’t even involve “coercive interrogation” of the Gitmo kind
99 – Bellinger is another case of the bar being moved so low an ant towers above it. I remember Clemons and others going on and on about how he was one of the good guys, who wouldn’t have known about or participated in the cover up of torture and would have fought it and … then he sat in the UK and refused to say it would be torture to waterboard US soldiers.
And on the “forgetful” front, Coleman and Cloonan have been outspoken for years now, with their allegations in print for years now – once again I have to wonder, why no preservation orders, why no actions by Mueller, Wainstein, Ashcroft, Thompson, Comey, Gonzales, McNulty, Clement, Keisler, Mukasey, Filip to issue preservation orders or take statements? Especially with the President’s counsel claiming in Jan of 02 that there was a likelihood of criminal litigation under future administrations stemming from the actions being taken.
91 – on the torture “get out of jail free” cards for the DTA and MCA, I think that if torture was done on orders, then it was basically attainder and I don’t see how you can Constitutionally pass legislation that allows such attainder to have no consequences. But that argument hasn’t been made yet that I’ve seen.
96 – The Canadian court’s ruling is pretty flattering, pretending that the US has any respect for its own law, much less international law, after 7 years of loyal Bushies and the DOJ, is kind of like the politician telling the 88 yo Madame that she looks like a dewey 16 yo.
29/92 – and Wainstein managed to avoid even getting asked to draft, and look where that got him.
What!? Lurita was making stuff up?!!
From The Federal Times
One more thing: we often get so weedy that we forget in the background a presidential campaign was beginning to ramp up; by late 2003, it was a factor in decision making. I’ve wondered what other events including news about torture formed the smaller blips on this chart.
Fantastic thread, everyone. I only have one question. Mary, horse stuff?
EW, apologies for being egregiously off topic.
But, thought you might be interested in seeing this from the Washington Monthly.
113 – I own way too many horses and have no help with them, so now and then they monopolize huge chunks of my time. Spring tends to be a bad time for that. That’s why I sometimes have frustrating internet issues too – home is the boonies (work is good, but generally I need to be doing a certain amount of work at work).
106/108 – thanks for the summary.
GOP Contender in N.M. Linked to U.S. Attorney Firing
Though virtually unknown outside the Albuquerque area, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White is betting that his conservative credentials and close ties to the White House will help Republicans retain the hotly contested congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Heather Wilson.
Wilson, in turn, is campaigning hard for the Senate seat that Republican Pete Domenici has held for 36 years in a race that could determine whether Democrats expand their narrow control of the U.S. Senate.
But all three of these Republicans – Domenici, Wilson and White – have something else in common: They all were implicated in the firing of New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney David Iglesias as part of the White House-driven federal prosecutor purge in 2006.
Wilson is currently the subject of a preliminary House Ethics probe related to a phone call she placed to Iglesias just a few weeks before the 2006 midterm elections, inquiring about the status of an indictment against a prominent Democrat in the state.
Domenici was the subject of a similar probe in the Senate over a call he made to Iglesias about the timing of indictments, a call that the Senate Ethics Committee said created an “appearance of impropriety” in a formal admonishment of the six-term senator.
Sheriff White also appears to have been pushing Iglesias to crack down on Democratic-backed voter registration drives and then took his complaints about Iglesias’s lack of aggressiveness to Washington.
d-kos diary is up about scotty mcclellan’s new book wherein he supposedly suggests:
*That two top aides held a secret West Wing meeting to get their story straight about the CIA leak case at a time when federal prosecutors were after them – and McClellan was continuing to defend them despite mounting evidence they had not given him the full facts.
*That the aides — Karl Rove, the president’s senior adviser, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff – “had at best misled” him about their role in the disclosure of former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.
We have Adobe Professional at the office, and we tried to convert the OIG report. It gave an error message: the text is less than 144 dpi, and the converter doesn’t work unless the resolution is greater than that. I left my assistant with the task of trying to convert it. She is really good, and I’ll report tomorrow.
I’ve been able to convert the pages to tiff format and ocr the first 30 pages. I’m losing the placement of the redactions, but I’ll have a text format when I’m done.
Thanks to both you and your assistant for the effort!
I’m crossing my finger that you’ll be successful, but given that the document was converted to images by the DOJ OIG in order to prevent removing the redactions, it may have the added complication of not being restorable to text.
I guess we’ll hear about that mañana.
i’m giving the OCR conversion a try this evening too. although this is my first attempt, may have to ask masaccio’s colleague for tips. thought it was worth trying to learn to do in any event – as i expect there will be a next time.
Totally OT here, but I hope folks stopped by to check out Pat Lang’s latest blockbuster post:
And further details from the Asia Times article he links:
190/438 Footnote 109 has another reference to Horton. In addition to seeing him as temperamentally unsuited to Afghanistan, apparently he circumvented the chain of command with his complaint that the FBI is participating the the illegal act, even if they remove themselves while the torture is going on, unless they completely leave. Bureaucratic procedures kept the FBI from seeing the legitimacy of the argument.
As far as other torture techniques “worse than waterboarding”, I would be very surprised if electrical shock was not used on detainees. This technique was used extensively in CIA experimentation, MKUltra,etc. Klein discusses rather extensively in The Shock Doctrine. The results, regression to childlike behavior, memory loss , really complete loss of previous personality are consistent with reports of detainee behavior as reported by some of their lawyers. This was also used in Vietnam by Americans.
Also, which has been mentioned previously but I thought I’d add to this comprehensive thread, the variation called “water treatment”. The person’s head is put in a bucket of water and then they are punched in the stomach, which forces them to breath in water.
143-4/438 OIG Report:
The timing of all this is unclear. Did Yoo try to get the advance declination in connection with the first or second torture memo?
198/438 In response to the Abu Ghraib disclosure, Mueller asked if anyone from the FBI had any knowledge of any abuses there. The e-mail asking for data states that the sender, the ITOS-2 Section Chief, knew that the FBI had been made aware of allegations in the past, but did not know of instances in which they had to make a referral as to Abu Ghraib.
Footnote 114 appended to the previous comment says that the term “allegations in the past” may have been a reference to the treatment of Zubaydah or Al-Qahtani or other detainees at GTMO, which makes me wonder why it doesn’t relate to the five referrals Fisher mentioned.
Did you see my comment saying there’s a Durbin letter I’ll post later noting there were 20 total referrals from CIA and DOD?
Yes. The DOJ has no shame. Some of them must have been on one of Alice Fisher’s two watches, and she passed. These people are loathsome.
100/438 None of the FBI people at Abu Ghraib were aware of any videotapes or other recorded data depicting misconduct or inappropriate behavior by US personnel.
Chapter 7 is about training. I am looking for mentions of DOJ personnel and redactions.