The Removal of Clothing Does Not Lead to Nudity

nudity.JPGThat’s a claim that Jim "Chevron" Haynes made yesterday in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on torture. In a pathetic attempt to claim that his own 2-page (with zero footnotes) recommendation and Rummy’s subsequent authorization of a number of techniques–including the use of fear and the removal of clothing–did not lead to the horrors of Abu Ghraib, Haynes actually claimed that the removal of clothing was in some way qualitatively different than nudity.

Haynes: Some conflation. Two of items for Qahtani included clothing and use of phobia. What was approved by SecDef. Widely held understanding of what was in those two categories. Use of dogs not intended to be dogs in interrogation room with detainee. Muzzled dogs in perimeter. Removal of clothing not nudity. You then jumped to dogs in room and naked people.

As Claire McCaskill pointed out to Diane Beaver and Jane Dalton, if the written documentation allows the use of phobias and removal of clothing, and that written documentation doesn’t rule out the removal of all clothing, you’re going to have nudity.

McCaskill Reading memo. You understand words matter. Removal of clothing. It says Using detainee phobias such as fear of dogs. I’m trying to figure out as a lawyer, how that does not envision naked people having dogs sicced on them. How does that not occur?

Beaver When you develop a plan, if someone had said, lets sic the dogs on them. That did not happen.

McCaskill Dogs were used with naked people.

Beaver Not at Gitmo

McCaskill Within our military. It happened.

Beaver I can’t comment..

McCaskill Ms Dalton

Dalton: Those approved for Gitmo and did not involve nudity.

McCaskill Removal of clothing. When you were discussing safeguards. Did any one talk putting in the word "all"? If I saw removal of clothing and I was trying to get info, how would anyone know?

Dalton General Miller said it did not involve nudity.

McCaskill there’s nothing here that would say removal of clothing. It’s not in there.

All three of these people are pretending that "everyone" involved knew there were a certain set of conditions that limited the use of phobias and removal of clothing that would somehow prevent piling detainees into heaps of naked human flesh–conditions that, unfortunately, Haynes’ two page memo failed to communicate. In fact the closest any Senator came to piercing the chilling defenses of Haynes and Beaver and Dalton came when Jack Reed asked Haynes what the conditions on using such techniques were–and how an interrogator would know about those conditions if they were never written on paper (here’s the tail end of this exchange, h/t perris).

Reed: Dalton went to some length to say that her opinion was based on the conditions. Where is that communicated in your memo. If those conditions were central to the legality of your advice, don’t you have an obligation to communicate this to him? Shouldn’t you also communicate to him that his concurrence was contigent on some conditions?

Haynes: All understood that those conditions apply.

Reed; Can you list them?

Haynes: You’ve got more documents than I’ve ever seen on this. There were plans that had to be developed with each detainee. [filibuster filibuster filibuster]

Reed; Where does it reference those conditions.

Haynes: Not to mention the training that that question maligns.

Reed; I reject that. You empowered them to ignore the UMCJ. The only thing you sent them was these techniques apply. Don’t go around claiming you protect the integrity of the military. You degrade the integrity of the US military.

Had Reed persisted, I’m sure, Haynes would have had to admit he could not name the conditions (in his babbling responses to Reed’s questions about conditions, he reminded me distinctly of Lynn Westmoreland stumbling the Ten Commandments). But Reed–like the other Senators (including Lindsey Graham, who did an overall good job here)–simply got disgusted with Haynes before they could pin him on his evasions. I guess it pays to be disgustingly immoral if you want to make it through a Senate hearing on torture.

There are a number of other key revelations not reported widely in the press.

  • According to documents released yesterday, Michael Chertoff was among the Administration Officials who went on a Gitmo field trip on September 25, 2002 (this is important because Yoo claims–and Chertoff denies–that Chertoff signed off on torture techniques before Yoo wrote his DOD-focused opinion)
  • DOD released a document dump of 38,000 documents this week on torture policies
  • Some of the most important orders leading up to DOD’s torture policy–most notably Haynes’ instruction to Admiral Dalton to stop consulting with the military services for input on the torture policy–were not in writing
  • Alberto Mora knows of at least one incidence in which allies have refused to participate in operations with us because of our habit of torturing

Levin You said allies might stop supporting combat operations. That would put more troops in harms way. Do you have specific example?

Mora: One specific one, but I’d prefer to discuss in closed session.

But for me (and for Diane), the revelation from yesterday’s hearings that best characterizes the Administration’s disgusting attempts to disclaim the torture it endorsed is the proposition that removing clothing is not the same as nudity.

103 replies
  1. Citizen92 says:

    Chevron – an inverted ‘V’ on a shield, symbolizes protection. Protection granted as a reward to one who has achieved some notable service. Said to represent the rooftree of a house, and has sometimes been given to those who hae built churches or fortresses or who have accomplished work of faithful service.


    Fitting metaphor for Haynes.

  2. klynn says:

    I had a sense that the committee needs to continue the hearing with Haynes. I hope Haynes is brought back before the committee.

    He needs more interrogation. Can they remove his clothing during the hearing?

    And looking at the list of travelers to the Gitmo field trip… where the “list” was conceived is not lost on anyone…Yoo just “justified” the list.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Have you heard from Webb and Hillary as to their absence ?

        If not, I’m going to call their offices later this afternoon and demand an explanation. Will they humor me with a response, seeing as how I’m a Canuck ?

        • Petrocelli says:

          Thanks LS. You’d think with Byrd & Kennedy being absent, these two would show some leadership … both are possible Veep choices and therefore possible future POTUS.

      • Leen says:

        You would think with the Tech world being what it is…they could have beamed them in. How about that a full screen of Kennedy and Byrd. Why not?

    • darclay says:

      So why don’t we just see how Mr. underwear likes his being removed, its not torture and its civilized and after all Congress has to get to the bottom(lol) of this. Let see how Congress and c-span viewers react to this little bit tougher questioning. I think a muzzled dog and a blindfolded Haynes would give us all a laugh,”its not torture”. (snicker)

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        That would have been a good way to get the MSM to pay attention, if some ballsy Senator (Paging Jim Webb) had asked Haynes “Remove your clothing now, please.”

  3. klynn says:

    BTW that DOD doc dump of 38,000 documents was suppose to be in the committee’s hands a year ago. Did you catch that comment from Levin?

    • emptywheel says:

      Strikes me it’s in the batch of stuff–along with the Yoo memo and the IG report on torture–that couldn’t be liberated until Haynes left as GC.

  4. klynn says:

    My reference to clothing removal in 2 was in reference to his irresponsible (on purpose) opinion of omission of set conditions on clothing removal limitations. It was not to make fun of the use of nudity as a form of torture. My regrets. I did not mean to offend.

    If I was in Haynes shoes, as a lawyer, if I was being asked to structure documents as guidelines which were “new” and counter culture to practices in the past due to the legality of said new interrogations/torture practices, I would have binders tracking EVERYTHING I had written or approved to justify the legal grounds of the opnions.

    Now, if I knew in my heart, and knew legally in my head, that my opinions were still legally questionable (if not fallible), I would not keep track as a tactic of avoid accountability. Or rather, making the legal accountability harder and easier for me to say, “There were so many documents, can’t remember.”

    We got the latter response from Haynes yesterday. Which means, he knew he was wrongfully justifying torture. H was in on the plan.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      There’s a third possible alternative: In 2002 and 2003 Haynes was overflowing with the arrogance and smug self-confidence of a true believer of the meme that his party would be in power for generations. Thus he couldn’t imagine ever being called to account.

  5. Glorfindel says:

    I thought, by the end of the hearing, Haynes had egg all over his nice nose job and expensive suit. He seemed slippery but finally, quite unprepared.

  6. bmaz says:

    I thinks Haynes, like most closeted prurient Gooper boys, has been hanging out in strip clubs a lot and that is where he got this policy. Because removal of clothing is not nudity at strip clubs either. Did Mr. Chevron require that pasties be used?

  7. bobschacht says:

    But Orwellian doublespeak is this administration’s native language, isn’t it?

    George Orwell, meet Alice. Down is up, and up is down. Welcome to Wonderland.

    Bob in HI
    temporarily in SoCal

  8. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    There are a number of other key revelations not reported widely in the press.

    I did a little web search last night to try and locate MSM (teevee) coverage of this hearing, because it’s taken years to develop and collect the evidence and then put it on. I was **appalled** at the pathetic (I’d say **irresponsible**) failure of the MSM on this event.

    No clue whether it’s attributable to gutless stupidity, to the fact that there’s too much ADHD in the media, or to fear. But there’s a case to be made that if the MSM can’t cover something this grave with more focused attention, then it really speaks volumes to the absolutely depraved condition of an FCC that can’t get its sh*t together to tell anyone using PUBLIC airwaves and PUBLIC bandwidth that it’s their responsibility to put more skilled reporting on the key issues of the day.

    For one, it’s unbelievable stupidity, IMHO, on the part of the MSM — when I went to the ABC and CBS websites, if they had this story: (1) it wasn’t highlighted, and (2) it would have taken more than my 4 clicks per site to find the stories. That’s inexcusable for something this fundamental to the economic, political, and military security of the U.S.

    MSNBC did the best reporting, hands down — their national security reporter had a 2 min piece on the Nightly News, and you could spot the story relatively easily. And they focused on the Senate Hearings (which did have some dramatic moments) a bit. But still… two minutes about the fact that our national reputation has gone to hell, and it was institutionally set up by shills like Haynes, is just appalling.

    CNN had a series of 3 short clips, but I had to do a bit of searching to find them. FWIW, I thought they were pretty good clips, but they were something a person had to look for — they were not highlighted at the main website.

    Yes, I know that flooding is a big deal, but floods come and go.
    Once you’ve utterly ruined your reputation, it’s a bit hard to recover.

    I’ve not checked the biz press for coverage, but there are sure as hell business ramifications of being known as torturers (!). And the biz press expects the rest of the MSM to do the ‘heavy lifting’ on things like this — the biz reporters don’t know the ins-and-outs of the institutional politics of the law.

    I have to say, if anyone wanted to do a Case Study on media ineptitude, carelessness, irresponsibility, inane creepiness, and downright stupidity, this Senate torture hearing would be Exhibit A in what to take a look at.

    And the shameful, pathetic dearth of good (teevee) reporting on this issue suggests a couple things:
    1. Someone will have a biz opportunity — because I don’t believe that all the military families are clueless or don’t care about this issue, and they’ll watch whoever explains it well.
    2. It really speaks to how absolutely craven and incompetent the FCC has become as a ‘regulatory’ body.
    3. People will make this mistake again, because they won’t learn from this series of mistakes.
    4. People — mistakenly! — think that ‘Congress isn’t doing anything.
    5. It absolutely explains how this nation ended up with an opportunist, ego-driven conspiracy at the Highest Levels of Government. If the media were doing even a sub-par job covering the political institutions and the ’secret government’ out of OVP, this could never, ever have occurred. The nation would not have stood for any of this if they’d had the info.

    I think this story is going to be a *classic* case of ‘bottom up’ coverage and public understanding. And the MSM is going to lose yet more credibility, because people aren’t so stupid that they think ‘torture’ is less important to cover than Anna Nicole (or whoever this week’s twit is).

    I don’t recall such a breathtaking instance of media incompetence.
    This one is Exhibit A.

    If I had a magic wand, I’d contact some Major News Networks with a warning that their licenses will be revoked unless they get their act together. This is way beyond irresponsible – by failing to focus on this, the media becomes complicit in torture. Because — and I’ll say this for the evangelicals — they understand that when you ignore evil, you become complicit.

    The media should not be evil.
    MSNBC, NBC, and CNN get a ‘pass’.
    CBS, ABC, and Faux appear to be complicit – Edward R Murrow must be rolling in his grave!!

    (And just so bmaz knows, Wazzu in Pullman, WA has the Edward R Murrow School of Communication — Murrow grew up in a little hamlet near the Canadian border, and went to college Washington State College, which is now a ‘university’.)

    • emptywheel says:

      It’ll take a number of them until today to process it (it took me a day to recover from liveblogging the hearings, and I don’t have an editor). But McClatchy also had an article.

      I think a lot of them were unable to dedicate 8 hours to the hearing. So they just went through the docs. And many of htem aren’t good at docs.

    • bmaz says:

      i very much like Wazzou and Pullman (basketball gym/arena there was a nightmare though). If (sniff) only (sniff) you felt the (sniff) same way about little ole ASU.

    • Leen says:

      We know this is par for the course, but nothing we should accept. They just do not get it or maybe they do. They seem to have learned little as to their miserable failures in the run up to the war. But they continue failing the public, no coverage of the Iraq War Vest against the War testimonies, Phase II where did that go? No coverage of the hearings yesterday (thank goodness for c-span). It is obvious the MSM does not want an informed public well mabe about Brittany and Bradgelina.

      Sick sick Sicko

  9. JohnLopresti says:

    Leadership who decided to reject years of US and multinational work toward humanitarian detention, is going to attempt to claim identies and contributions of policymakers who developed torture US-style are classified, or treated as if classified, or states secrets, or executive privilege. There are more lurid words for the intentions of the committees who developed the torture paradigm. The miitary, subsequent presidents, and civilian populations are going to have to work at repairing the outcomes long after the torture paradigm is tossed out. When there are amateur guidebooks for guards to teach them ways to brutalize prisoners, and photos documenting some treatments which were not Yoo organ suppression but merely violations of integument and induction of blood loss, removal of clothing is the preparation for more torture cutting skin. If it were an abatoire, the USDA would shutter the place if first the animals had to endure laceration regimes.

  10. Citizen92 says:

    Former 9/11 Commissioner and former Clinton Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick was DOD General Counsel from 1993-1994.

    The WH tried to impugn her as the reason for 9/11 citing a memo she had written about the limits of the FISA court – ultimately a false claim.

    Wonder if she’d do an online chat or maybe show up on Washington Journal one day for questions… Would very much enjoy hearing an opinion from someone who served in both ends of the spectrum (DOJ and DOD).

  11. Mary says:

    Did the docs released include the tab reference to the full listing of the “other guests” on the GITMO torture fieldtrip?

    Now that we know a definite on Chertoff (apparently when you aren’t meeting with corporations to help them circumvent material support of terrorism laws, there’s always time for a torture fieldtrip) I’d like to get the full list. Does Levin’s office have the tab and will they make it available if it isn’t part of the released docs?

    From what I can tell, piecing the different lists provided from different sources, when it comes to this letter of support for Haynes…..letter.pdf
    from Thompson, Goldsmith, Philbin and Comey – Comey may have been the only one of the four not to be invited on the field trip.

    What a letter. Apparently the ability to make that differentiation between nudity and clothes being removed and a really crappy memory are hallmarks of being a man of integrity.

    I wonder why Goldsmith, Thompson and Philbin didn’t mention to Specter and Leahy that they know, in part, what a great supporter of law Haynes is bc they all went on this kewl trip to talk to the guys at GITMO about how to abuse the human trafficking victims pouring into the place Haynes said, do what you want guys, I make it legal.

    And it sure puts a little different spin on that old saw that Haynes “actually recommended fewer tortures” once all his involvement with shooting down all 4 JAGs and Mora and Fallon’s groups complaints is framed and his involvement in starting up the reverse-SERE approach is highlighted and, with all the JAG objections, his reliance on Beaver’s “what Nuremberg?” memo etc. I’d still like to have had someone delve a bit into his interactions with his squash player, Addington. That “poor Jim, he was terrified of John Yoo and just HAD to do WHATEVER Yoo said” crap falls a bit flat.

    What is especially funny in the letter, after Haynes’ repeated inablity to recollect anything that was not self-serving, were the references to his great capabilities at multitasking and handling legal complexities.

    Haynes began to get questions on the interrogation and torture front very early on from Leahy and Leahy could spot the fibby feel to the answers. So it’s not like this is all something that Haynes is “just now” being asked about, years later, to try to recollect. He has had questions raised from pre-Gonzales memo release times, and at almost all intervals in between, including when Abu Ghraib hit. As the letter shows, some of his fibbiness was at issue two years ago and Haynes thought nothing of putting a JAG officer in the horrible position of pretty much having to call his boss, Haynes, a fibber to the Committee. That was flat evil, a knowing evil.

    Per the Three Tortureteers, plus D’Comey, “[Haynes] is a careful lawyer who has been dedicated throughout his time at DOD to ensuring adherence to the rule of law.”

    Beatings. Hiding detainees from ICRC. Threats to families. Mock executions. Hypothermia that initiated organ failure. Unending stress positions, nudity, isolation and sleep deprivation for completely innocent people, just to see what they could or would take. Waterboarding. Renditions using military bases and support. Authorizing violations of the UCMJ and preimmunizing for them. Transporting protected persons out of country. Hiding victims from the ICRC and covering up interrogation methods from ICRC reviews. On. And. On.

    I wonder if Marty Lederman has any reconsiderations of his claims that he has no reason to doubt his ex-associates, Philbin and Goldsmith?

    Or the repeated benefit of the doubt he tried to give to Haynes?

  12. Mary says:

    8 – I think as long as underwear were placed on the head, he considered that “clothed.”

    13 – If he’s forgotten so much, how could he remember that they were all docs that needed to stay classified?

    Another round of questioning on who, exactly, classified the OLC and DOD opinions and on what basis you can “classify” our governments interpetration of its laws, would be interesting and to follow that up, whether he was ever approached in any of the many years all this has been going on to release his classification and if that never refreshed his recollection of the events surrounding his hiding classification of the the documents.

    And I do think he should be allowed to wear his wife’s underwear on his head while answering. From a humiliation standpoint, after the way he’s already debased himself, the only way left is up.

    • LabDancer says:

      “he should be allowed to wear his wife’s underwear on his head”.

      Cheney on Government provides that the only attire necessary for cover & to facilitate shedding responsibility is a lawyer – the more cover required & the greater number of moults expected the greater the number of lawyers required – & in the case of Rumsfeld that meant Haynes was one of [did I catch this right?] TEN THOUSAND.

      TEN THOUSAND lawyers all taking index cards one at a time out of their IN boxes & talking to their counterpart[s] in the particularly affected or involved office – then marking the cards with “X” in box #1 & putting them into their OUT boxes.

      For some reason[s]- arrogance? hubris? time constraints? – Rove seems just about the only top floating scum in the Syndicate not to adhere religiously to this advice.

      I would love to see Leahy & Whitehouse gather up some of the sharp tacks among the Dem Congressman on the HJC & the HIntell Committee & of course the WAX MAN & draft some legislation that fixes a different model for the lawyer in government service.

  13. perris says:

    holy crap marcy, you have to watch the you tube on this link

    pay SPECIAL attention to the end, it is incredible, in order to obsolve himself of blame, haynes COMES RIGHT OUT AND BLAMES THE PRESIDENT

    I don’t have the transcript but he says [by memory]

    “the president informed us what does and does not apply and approved these methods”

    this is groundbreaking stuff and if he stands by that claim the president is nailed

    go watch the tube and pay attention to the very last of it

    • perris says:

      “…I would also point out, the president of the united states, with the advise of the entire cabinet, made the determination about the application of the Geneva convention”

      there it is, transcribed by yours truly

      that is a direct indictment of the president himself, no surrogates at all, direct indictment

  14. MichaelDG says:

    Now, if I knew in my heart, and knew legally in my head, that my opinions were still legally questionable (if not fallible), I would not keep track as a tactic of avoid accountability. Or rather, making the legal accountability harder and easier for me to say, “There were so many documents, can’t remember.”

    Exactly right. And it goes with the fact that they wouldn’t list exactly who “everyone” were. That, too, seemed to be a something they didn’t want to document.

    • perris says:

      they are certifiably sociopaths, I do not consider that insanity I consider it depravity, a learned behavior

      • sadlyyes says:

        sociopathy can be INBRED in Bushs case… the DNA doesnt lie,i want to upchuck my breakfast…………..

  15. ThingsComeUndone says:

    So are we building a case? Are these hearings leading anywhere or to anyone in particular? Has anything criminal been uncovered yet that could lead to prison time?

  16. maryo2 says:

    Did Bush and Cheney have any public speaking engagements at the time of the Guantanamo trip such that we can physically place them at a location?

    I’d wager Bush was out of the country in plain sight (you know, like reading My Pet Goat), while Cheney was not seen.

  17. sadlyyes says:

    what the hell have we become?…………………dont answer,the hair sprayed,BOTOXED Beltway set is more disgusting than any soldier,or his enemy

  18. DeadLast says:

    “”We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques,” Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who’s since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture.”

    This from a McClatchy article on how the U.S. hid detainees from the Red Cross.

      • DeadLast says:

        I read as much of the live blog as I could, and skimmed the rest. Sorry I missed that one. You deserve our deepest gratitude for all of your tireless effort. I would be willing to call your efforts some of the most important by any DFH patriot of our generation. Keep on truckin’…

        • Leen says:

          Ditto. What the hell would we do without EW ,glenn Greenwald etc. Well I guess I would go back to knocking on their doors in D.C. as many of us have been doing for it seems to be several lifetimes.

          Think I will add that to my to do list

  19. Mary says:

    I think another interesting reference was when Beaver, responding to the dogs sicced on naked prisoners, starts off saying: “When you develop a plan…”

    How were those plans developed? Who had input, how were there guarantees they didn’t go too far if they weren’t in writing and where is the writing, etc. etc. etc.

    Plans were developed.

    And the things Lt. Col. Stuart Couch has said were done to Slahi provide some insight into the plans that got hatched.

    “Did you see that?” he asked his escort. The escort replied: “Yeah, it’s approved,” Col. Couch says. The treatment resembled the abuse he had been trained to resist if captured; he never expected Americans would be the ones employing it.

    A colleague let on that Mr. Slahi had begun the “varsity program” — an informal name for the Special Interrogation Plan authorized by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for the most recalcitrant Guantanamo prisoners.

    By May 2004, Col. Couch had most of the picture relating to Mr. Slahi’s treatment, and faced a painful dilemma: Could he seek a conviction based on statements he thought were taken through torture, as permitted by President Bush’s November 2001 military commission order citing a “state of emergency?” Or was he nonetheless bound by the Torture Convention, which bars using statements taken “as a result of torture…as evidence in any proceedings.”

    Cute little bonding names they could give the torture – “varsity program” Wonder who lettered?

    The Couch article talks about how the recording equipment mysteriously malfunctioned right when Slahi begant to go into his torture during his detainee status hearing. Among other things, they used the tactic of threatening to bring his mother and put her in with all the men who had been held for years. With Higazy they threatened his sister with likely rape in Egypt. With al-Libi they boasted of leaving to go rape his mother. Catch any drift of what it takes to be a Bush torture advocate? And oh yeah, where are those charges against, as Taguba described, the uniformed soldier who, on video, sodomizes an Iraqi woman detainee?

    And who ok’d those plans that Beaver talks about developing?

    Does anyone know if Couch was called to testify in any hearings? Bc it might be interesting to see what someone with ACTUAL misgivings does by way of comparison. Couch and Davis wanted nothing more than to prosecute the bad guys and see them put away or get the death penalty. I probably don’t have oodles in common with either, but I’d like to have seen the same thing. And now where do we go?

    Oh, that’s right – on to a Dem-organized embrace of Bushco amnesty for FISA violations.

    • sadlyyes says:

      that guy looks like a bizzaro world REX REED,from Vidals Myra Brekenridge….scare…………..eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

  20. JohnLopresti says:

    Most of the Lasseter (McClatchy) article today is from Levin’s hearing yesterday and liveblogged, some of which I have yet to read, and missed the video feed altogether, working elsewhere. Yet, maybe some of the McClatchy work depicts more of the organizational labor to aggregate the most pliant attorneys to write the implementation the White House wanted. I noticed questions Lasseter has about Flanigan’s effort.

  21. dipper says:

    “You deserve our deepest gratitude for all of your tireless effort. I would be willing to call your efforts some of the most important by any DFH patriot of our generation. Keep on truckin’…”

    what DeadLast said!!!!

  22. Hugh says:

    If you can have a President who says we do not torture, if you can have numerous Administration officials assert that waterboarding, an iconic form of torture, is not torture, it seems small potatoes for other Administration officials to argue that the removal of clothing does not result in nudity. It should be pointed out that partial nudity, removing underwear but leaving a detainee wearing a tanktop, is just as demeaning as full nudity.

    • LS says:

      What they are getting away with is saying anything they want to…realizing that no one can prove that what they say is wrong. They just challenge the language or ignore it, because they have realized that no one can really prove anything is anything anymore, because it is all just words…The only thing you can get them on is “deeds”…catching them in the act of something. Words mean nothing.

  23. angie says:

    Did anyone find out where Clinton and Webb were.

    (ferget McCain– we know where he was and why he was absent)

    • Nell says:

      Results of my call today to find out what prevented Webb from attending: Extremely disappointing.

      First response (from phone answerer who had gone off to get Armed Services legislative assistant but had either not found her or been rebuffed): “Well, he had a staff member there and is fully briefed.” I said that I had no concerns that the Senator would be unable to find out what happened at the hearing, especially since it had been televised; my question was what prevented him from being there to ask questions of the witnesses.

      So I was put onto an equally low-level intern, to whom I politely expressed my disappointment and concern at the message sent by Sen. Webb’s absence from the hearing and the lack of any explanation from his staff. I encouraged him to have the Armed Services LA get something onto the website about the Senator’s absence from the hearing and his thoughts on the issues raised there. I asked him to pass on the advice to the first staffer not to try the “he sent a staff person” response the next time someone calls wondering why the Senator did not attend a hearing. At no point did the intern ask for my contact information (though I began by giving my name and location, and had to ask twice to get his full name).

      They also decline to provide a staff directory, something that changed between 2004 and 2006 in virtually every Hill office. More security theater (I’m guessing) that serves to increase the distance between “representatives” and the people who pay their salaries.

      I will try a direct email to his LA and report back.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        The current issue of the New York Review of Books has a generally positive piece about Webb by Elizabeth Drew, but she does mention that the Capitol scuttlebutt is that his staff is not the best. In addressing the possibilities of him being Obama’s running mate she has this to say:

        Webb’s roots lie in exactly the area in which Obama has shown his greatest weakness so far—in the Appalachian region. Though both are freshman senators, Webb combines substantial government service with close knowledge of the military and the world. One drawback is Webb’s inexperienced staff, which may not be up to the challenges he faces. (Politicians are in part judged by the press and others on the quality of their staffs; word gets around, and the effects usually show.)

  24. Leen says:

    The no clothing not beung nudity had me choking yesterday.

    The other one is Haynes not having looked at or having been aware of all of the military memos being sent to him. Someone Move on or how about FDL should take that part of Haynes testimony and isolating and using it to demonstrate just what fucking liar this guy is.

    Absurd absolutely absurd

    • Leen says:

      Hope Saturday Night live or Jon Stewart pick up on Haynes claiming not seeing the memos from military officials.

      Haynes going through a pile of papers throwing most off to the side. Then he reads a memo from a General questioning the “new” techiniques and whatever other high command folks sent him memos and he just tosses those off to the side too.

      Haynes “So many places to be so many important people to see. Generals smenerals, whatever”

  25. LS says:

    “Removal of clothing not nudity. You then jumped to dogs in room and naked people.”

    Go after the mofo using the word “naked”…He made a distinction.

  26. Leen says:

    If that person in that picture above appears nude…sorry that is just your “perception”. Lots more people speaking neoconese.

    • Rayne says:

      This is the second time in a little more than a week that news events made me think of Magritte’s artwork.

      Apparently the photo used with Marcy’s post on the front page of Firedoglake should have been given a cutline that read,

      Ce n’est pas la nudité.

      Ah, the treason of images…

  27. brendanx says:

    Even Dana Milbank was a little bit outraged by the testimony:

    In two hours of testimony, Haynes managed to get off no fewer than 23 don’t recalls, 22 don’t remembers, 16 don’t knows, and various other protestations of memory loss.

    It was an impressive performance, to be sure. But let’s see him try to do that with a hood over his head, standing on a crate with wires attached to his arms.

    • Leen says:

      And a muzzled german shepard snarling at your family jewels. These are some sick sick individuals

    • Hugh says:

      In two hours of testimony, Haynes managed to get off no fewer than 23 don’t recalls, 22 don’t remembers, 16 don’t knows, and various other protestations of memory loss.

      What is so egregious about all this is that witnesses before the Congress know why they are being called, have time to review their own notes and memories, and go through materials provided them by the Congressional Committee. Under such circumstances and given how important the subject was then and now, repeated protestations of “I don’t remember” are really nothing more than refusals to answer questions and obstruct Congress and its oversight.

      • bmaz says:

        Like for Gonzales and so many others, the followup question of “If your mental processes are not any better than that, how the fuck were you qualified for your position sir?” comes to mind.

        • Hugh says:

          Yes, if they were half the patriots they pretend to be, their mental deficiencies should have forced them to resign “for the good of the country.”

      • BooRadley says:

        Bullseye, thank you.

        In cases like this, selective amnesia, there is no reason to keep them on the payroll.

  28. Leen says:

    Just can not get that image of naked prisoners in Abu Gharib stacked up on top of each other. Just would like to see the same shot with Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Feith and the rest in the same position with their faces looking back at the camera.

    You know eye for an eye (proportionate punishment) nothing more nothing less. O.k as so many have pointed out here at Marcy’s we’re better than that. Thinking is not the same as doing.

  29. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This administration, led by Dick Cheney, who would know from personally experience, has taken Dick Nixon’s Big Lie mentality to its logical conclusion. Lie about everything, swear it’s the truth, and never give in. It just requires poaching all of big tobacco’s lobbyists for your staff.

    Mind, it only takes a few who recant, who remember their Sunday school or schul training, and are willing to go on the record. Or a few who fall by the wayside, whose wives or husbands or children have left them in disgust, who are down and out enough to succumb to a little direct prosecutorial questioning.

    The Dutch tale about the boy with his finger in the dike remains valid. A leak here, a leak there and suddenly the water is higher than your ankles for miles around. I don’t think this president would know what to do with a paddle if he had one.

  30. dosido says:

    I really despise these people. And I despise the people who think all this is OK because they’re scared.

    “Make him dead”

    “We didn’t say ‘kill him’”

  31. Loo Hoo. says:

    The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability.

    In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that “numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees.” He called the abuse “systemic and illegal.” And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in the New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement.

    Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation.


  32. WilliamOckham says:

    There is an important point that folks are overlooking about the interrogation of al-Qahtani. There is a serious problem with the timeline. It says that Al-Qahtani’s interrogation started on Nov. 23, 2002. That is when the interrogation log starts, but the military started using illegal, cruel interrogation techniques much earlier. From Fine’s report:

    On September 30, 2002, Foy e-mailed his superiors at the BAU about the latest military intelligence plan for Al-Qahtani, which included moving him from the Brig to Camp Delta for a short stay to see if he would cooperate, followed by transferring him to Camp X-Ray for an indefinite period of 20-hour interviews.

    Note the date. Up until this time, the FBI was in charge of al-Qahtani. In a sane world, this controversy would be over the extreme isolation that the FBI had been using on al-Qahtani up to that point. In our world, what came next is the real story.

    Al-Qahtani was interrogated by another military interrogation team from October 3 until the early morning hours of October 4. Lyle said Al-Qahtani was “aggressively” interrogated and that the military interrogators yelled and screamed at him. Foy told the OIG that the plan was to “keep him up until he broke.”

    In addition to sleep deprivation, FBI agents described the use of dogs to intimidate Al-Qahtani and desecration of the Koran on October 4. In an email sent on October 8, 2002, Foy reported the following techniques being used:

    sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights, and “body placement discomfort.”

    Foy stated in the e-mail that Al-Qahtani was “down to 100 pounds” and that military intelligence personnel planned to initiate another phase in the interrogation in the coming weekend.

    Now let’s be clear on the timeline:

    Torture tour at GTMO: 9/25-9/27, 2002 (Wed-Friday)
    Military plan to take al-Qahtani away from FBI: 9/30 (Mon)
    Mtg about SERE techniques w/CIA lawyer: 10/2 (Wed)
    al-Qahtani first 20-hour interrogation of al-Qahtani: 10/3
    Koran desecration: 10/4
    Use of guard dogs for intimidation: 10/5
    Sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights, and stress positions: by 10/8
    First request to use these techniques: 10/11
    Techniques approved: 12/2

    • skdadl says:

      Yes, I was wondering aloud here yesterday about this too. We have these two investigations, DoJ/FBI and DoD, seeming still to run on separate tracks. Great as yesterday’s hearings were, there was no mention (that I noticed) of the many observations made by FBI agents at Guantanamo, many of which we’ve known about for years.

  33. earlofhuntingdon says:

    McCaskill’s point about writing guidance is astute, if obvious. Large bureaucracies are only as effective as their rules. Armies, especially, depend on rigid rules and structures. It’s what allows their chain of command to survive the vagaries of talent, experience, training, aptitude and the holes punched into it during the heat of battle.

    Commanders issue clear orders or SNAFU’s follow and people die. Painfully detailed rules of the road keep order. It’s what tells people where things are and what to do in emergencies, when there isn’t time to think about it. People are trained not to assume and only the boyz at the top get to think out loud. It’s a background color or noise obvious to all, which makes it easy to abuse — if you’re at the top.

    If an order says “remove clothing”, it means any or all of it. It’s like saying, “eat food”. If it says “remove clothing, barring skivvies and socks”, that’s what gets done and the guy in charge of the barefoot prisoner will have hell to pay.

    Haynes methodology intentionally left room for what would lead to abuse. Just as with the dogs. Just as with the enormous bureaucratic effort he devoted to authorizing extreme “interrogation” techniques — the machinations, unannounced and secret meetings, going over and around heads, leading to Cheney privately buttonholing Bush to get him to sign the order. His claim that he was extremely busy and “couldn’t remember” is a standard ploy that fooled no one.

    Haynes also can’t credibly claim not to have been aware of the views of his top JAGs. They are his functional reports, as the top service lawyers, and this was a novel and extremely controversial topic. He knew their views, if not about specific memos (as Sessions tried yesterday desperately to establish) and actively worked to circumvent them.

    If Haynes (and partners) are willing to lie so brazenly about something as obvious as forced nudity, what more is there to find?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Armies, especially, depend on rigid rules and structures. It’s what allows their chain of command to survive the vagaries of talent, experience, training, aptitude and the holes punched into it during the heat of battle.

      Thanks EOH.
      When the news of Abu Gharib was first made public, I happened to run into an acquaintance who’s retired Army officer, and he was just beside himself with frustration and outrage. He described Abu Gharib as a, “complete breakdown of Command and Control”. Its absence was a very worrying sign that’s proven prophetic.

      Leen @ 58 – I don’t think the media intentionally try to ‘avoid’ the Senate hearings. I think there are a cluster of factors, but the lack of meaningful reporting on yesterdays network outlets struck me as inexcusable. EW makes a good point — the hearings provided a great deal of info to absorb. Ideally, other news outfits will follow McClatchy’s lead and create a series of reports once they’ve absorbed the key revelations and had time to respond.

      Wm O @82, hmmmmmmm… interesting.

      • bmaz says:

        Plus they are all in mourning of St. Tim, the greatest journalist in the history of the existence of the universe.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Oh, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m mawkish about Russert. For a fact. It was the whole ‘Elder Care’ topic that he raised (the Baby Boomer Generation is about due for a rename: the Elder Care Generation, as a result of the extended lifespans of so many ‘Boomer parents).

          It’s baffling that ABC and CBS haven’t responded to demographic, economic, and cultural shifts at the pace that MSNBC seems to be doing. I don’t get it.

  34. Bionic says:

    I have a Lebanese friend. Years ago when I introduced him to my new (and certifiably the cutest in the world) puppy he explained that for him and many Middle Easterners that having a dog was akin to owning a rat. In other words, somewhat off putting. The thought of touching it made his stomach turn.

    So when I read these equivocations about dogs I think about what it must be like to have multiple giant vicious rats guarding the perimeter of your prison. Not as bad as having them snap at your genitals, for sure, but in Abu Ghraib just how many of the prisoners do you think were able to unequivocally say the giant rats would stay at the perimeter and everything would be okay?

  35. ScrewBush says:

    You know you’re a Republican when: The Removal of Clothing Does Not Lead to Nudity

    You know you’re a Republican when: No one could have predicted they would use planes as missiles.

    You know you’re a Republican when: If you’re gonna get raped, just lay back and enjoy it.

    You know you’re a Republican when: (Seeing Katrina victims in the Houston Astrodome) these people are better off now than they were before.

    You know you’re a Republican when: … (your turn)

  36. Diane says:

    Wow, I’m honored to be mentioned in EW’s post. Guess I’m getting jaded, but these hearings are usually void of any revelations, only remarkable for the Gonzoness of it all. But how they can find a distinction between nudity and removal of clothing just galls me.

  37. sailmaker says:

    But for me (and for Diane), the revelation from yesterday’s hearings that best characterizes the Administration’s disgusting attempts to disclaim the torture it endorsed is the proposition that removing clothing is not the same as nudity.

    I sense that the Administration will haul out the old Art History parse of nude vs. naked. Roughly defined, a nude is a celebration of the life form (such as The Birth of Venus vs. a work of art where one wishes that they would put their clothing back on, like Durer’s Four Naked Women.

    Pretzel logic all over the place, and they seem to be getting away with it.

    Congress needs to ask people what they saw, which, in my opinion, is much more difficult parse than memos or conversations.

  38. Mary says:

    82 – good point and IIRC it jives with Beaver’s reference to the FBI keeping him away from the ICRC. Benjamin would probably be happy to add that info.

  39. timbo says:

    Name the lawyers in yesterday’s hearings that provided the following quotes or paraphraillogics:

    “I thought they’d stop me if I was wrong because it wasn’t my area of expertise.”

    “Everyone involved knew what the conditions were for [interrogations?].”

    “I don’t recall being aware of that at the time.”

    “My understanding was that this had been approved.”

    “The Geneva Conventions didn’t apply.”

    “Meyers signature was not on the memo.”

    “I didn’t think it was necessary to point out the illegal portions on the memo signed by SecDef…”

    “It was understood that humane conditions always applied to detainees.”

    “I wanted an open brainstorming session on how to improve our interrogation approach to high value detainees.”

    “I wasn’t in the room.”

    “I wasn’t aware there was a Constitutional prohibition there.”

    “I am not a patsy for the cabal.”

    “I just can’t remember whether or not I was aware of that then.”

    “I love Islam.”

    “I love terrorist threats.”

  40. Mary says:

    I also wonder if he shouldn’t start the timeline in Jan of 2002, at least vis a vis the military (earlier for the CIA).

    In extensive interviews with, former leaders of the Defense Department’s Criminal Investigation Task Force said they repeatedly warned senior Pentagon officials beginning in early 2002 that the harsh interrogation techniques used by a separate intelligence team would not produce reliable information, could constitute war crimes, and would embarrass the nation when they became public knowledge.

    The investigators say their warnings began almost from the moment their agents got involved at the Guantanamo prison camp, in January 2002.

    emph added

    Which just happens to coincide with Gonzales issuing a Jan 2002 opinion that the best way to beat the wrap on future war crimes trials for things already done and contemplated for the future would be to make up this “illegal enemy combatant” label and pretend it means you can apply that label with no proof and use those so labelled as lab rats for human experimentation and venting.

  41. earlofhuntingdon says:

    “Combatants” are our soldiers during wartime. “Enemy combatants” are the enemy’s. International law protects them both.

    “Illegal enemy combatants”, I believe, is not so much a new category, but one bent wildly out of its legal shape. Ordinarily, it’s a status accorded, eg, to spies and saboteurs during wartime. The imagery is one of enemy forces in disguise, behind the lines, bent on surreptitiously rather than openly exacting death and destruction. Pirates. Useful political imagery for a catch-all category CheneyBush meant to use not for the rare exception, but for the masses caught caught up in renditions, the fringes of open war, and combined police/intelligence dragnets at home.

    The possible motivations for this were blatantly telegraphed in yesterday’s Senate hearing. The false notion that lawyers were “strangling” effective responses to dangerous new circumstances. That’s a corollary to the irrational resentment the neocons still harbor over the forty-five year old string of cases, such as Miranda, that accord suspects their legal rights. As Reagan’s one time Attorney General, Ed Meese, probably still says, “The police wouldn’t have arrested them if they weren’t guilty.” Except of course when they’re corporate polluters, well-heeled tax evaders, and senior administration officials obstructing justice.

    “Illegal enemy combatants”, bloated beyond recognition, was the cover for lawless treatment of the enemy, and anyone suspected of being the enemy. Responsible politicians, anyone deserving the designation of “citizen”, would have openly advocated their concerns and sought (and after 9/11, readily obtained) new legislative authority to deal with legitimately novel issues. But as they did in lying us into war, Cheney and Bush live in a world of certitude and absolutes, but certitude only available to the initiated, the faithful and the fantasist. Hence, they circumvented public government. They still are.

    Which is what makes the Democrats caving on FISA so corrupt. It is an attempt to close the door on the past so that we can’t go back. It’s obvious why CheneyBush would do that: they don’t want to go to jail for war crimes. But why the Democrats? Because they drove the getaway car?

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