Double-Dipping at Gitmo?

MadDog pointed to the full 2007 ICRC Report on detainee treatment.

There’s a lot to say about this (and Joby Warrick’s got a story out reporting its criticism of medical personnel who abet the torture).  But this stuck out for me:

…the ICRC notes that four detainees believed that they had previously been held in Guantanamo, for periods ranging from one week to one year during 2003/4. They reported recognising this location upon return there in September 2006, as each had been allowed outdoors on a daily basis during their earlier time there. The ICRC has been assured by DoD that it was given full notification of and access to all persons held in Guantanamo during its regular detention visits. The ICRC is concerned, if the allegations are confirmed, it had in fact been denied access to these persons during the period in which they were detained there.

We already knew that DOD moved prisoners to hide them from ICRC–so I suspect ICRC will soon have its fears confirmed.

"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.


A third person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world.

"In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has ‘moved’ them away from the attention of the ICRC," Fredman said, according to the minutes.

But I’m rather interested in the timing: 2003/4.

Which suggests, of course, they had high value detainees in Gitmo. But then moved them as the Abu Ghraib scandal broke and those who didn’t already know learned that the US was torturing detainees.

You gotta hide the high value detainees, of course, because if they could talk, they’d reveal that the techniques at Abu Ghraib were anything but a few bad apples. 

33 replies
  1. FrankProbst says:

    Proofreader police: “didn’t already knew” should be “didn’t already know”, I think.

    As a physician, I zeroed in on Section 3, and I think it’s pretty damning for the doctors involved. They should all be stripped of their licenses and any board-certifications that they have.

  2. MadDog says:

    Hello Ms. Dot Connector (EW, of course *g*).

    Do you see any connections to the recent hullabulloo regarding those OLC Torture memos hold-up in the ACLU vs CIA Torture Videos case, the reporting on same, John Brennan’s and Mikey Hayden’s “furiousity” at their likely publishment, and Senator John Cornyn, Texas (R) and his Repug Senatorial colleagues threatening a Filibuster over Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head DOJ’s OLC if these OLC Torture memos (requested specifically by the CIA perhaps?) are released?

    And now the NYT releases the ICRC report?

    No, of course not. I didn’t think you did. *g*

    • emptywheel says:

      Why, yeah.

      But I’ve been going after Jamie Dimon for the last few days.

      I gotta return to this stuff.

      Does make you wonder if they’ve got anything to up the ante after this ICRC report, though? I mean, if this doesn’t generate some public ill will (or some more European cases), I don’t know what will?

      THough I will say this. KSM’s descriptions of his torturers is pretty specific, and I wonder whether he’ll ever get a chance to ID the two Mormons put in charge of repurposing SERE techniques…

      • MadDog says:

        I wonder if we should get a pool together on whether the Obama Administration will go for it (publish the OLC Torture memos) or punt (not publish) in the face of the threatened “nuclear war” by Cornyn and his Repug Senatorial colleagues.

        My bet, based upon the text of the most recent DOJ filing in the ACLU vs CIA Torture Videos case, is that the Obama Administration is gonna call the Repugs’ bluff and publish.

        As to upping the ante, I think those OLC Torture memos are gonna be betting the farm!

        And it sure seems like the NYT at the highest level has chosen to be a playuh too! The publishing of the ICRC report is no nickel-and-dime bet.

  3. MadDog says:

    And from a commenter over at Glenn’s place, comes this from McClatchy:

    Judge: U.S. used mentally ill witness in Guantanamo cases

    The Justice Department improperly withheld important psychiatric records of a government witness who was used in a “significant” number of Guantanamo cases, a federal judge has concluded…

    …In a little-noticed ruling last week, Judge Emmet Sullivan found that the witness’s testimony in other cases could be challenged as unreliable.

    During a hearing last week, Sullivan castigated the government for not turning over the medical records and ordered department lawyers to explain why he shouldn’t cite them for contempt of court.

    “To hide relevant and exculpatory evidence from counsel and from the court under any circumstances, particularly here where there is no other means to discover this information and where the stakes are so very high . . . is fundamentally unjust, outrageous and will not be tolerated,” Sullivan said, according to a transcript of the hearing.

    “How can this court have any confidence whatsoever in the United States government to comply with its obligations and to be truthful to the court?”…

    When the cookie crumbles…

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, just passed that on elsehwere. Note it’s Judge Sullivan, who’s already to go after the DOJ guys who were withholding evidence.

      So maybe Toobz Stevens will run interference for these Gitmo detainees, since he’s in the same situation they are? Or maybe Sarah Palin will call for these Gitmo detainees to be the next Senator of AK?

      • MadDog says:

        I’m sure Sarah Palin can see Gitmo from Alaska, and it frightens her so much that she’s thinking of moving to…Florida.

      • bmaz says:

        Um, yeah. Because it is not like Emmet Sullivan hasn’t been the weakest assed jurist imaginable on prosecution malfeasance form start to finish on the Toobz case or anything. For instance, the kind of guy that make John Conyers’ “stern letters” look like the wrath of god” kind of thing.

        Just saying.

    • Hmmm says:

      “How can this court have any confidence whatsoever in the United States government to comply with its obligations and to be truthful to the court?”

      That was a rhetorical question, wasn’t it?

  4. Hmmm says:

    OT — Last Friday the Obama DOJ response to the EFF suit is essentially that “the U.S. can never be sued for spying that violates federal surveillance statutes, whether FISA, the Wiretap Act or the SCA.” Then on Sunday Obama himself said “Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.”

    I feel a head explosion coming on.

    • emptywheel says:

      No, he hasn’t.

      Al-Haramain’s lawyers would like you think think so. And they’ve pitched that to about 5 different journalists.

      But the fact is (unless Walker made an order yesterday while I was firing Chase), Walker has not yet decided what he’ll give to the lawyers.

  5. Valtin says:

    Hi EW… a couple of things. You forgot to put the link to the second quote, re Beaver and Fredman and the Guantanamo minutes. It’s from a June 2008 McClatchy article by Warren Strobel.

    Second, interested readers can read a full searchable and copyable version of the Guantanamo 10/2/2002 minutes, which the McClatchy article quotes, at my blog. What follows is the relevant passage re ICRC and hiding detainees. I’d note, too, that a psychiatrist and a psychologist, BSCT team members, i.e., medical personnel, were present at this meeting. (BSCT members were under authority of intelligence personnel, though, not medical departments of the military. — Also, in the selection below, Fredman is CIA and Becker is DIA. — Bold emphases are added.)

    LTC Beaver: We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross — added by transcriber] is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques. We must have the support of the DOD.

    Becker: We have had many reports from Bagram about sleep deprivation being used.

    LTC Beaver: True, but officially it is not happening. It is not being reported officially. The ICRC is a serious concern. They will be in and out, scrutinizing our operations, unless they are displeased and decide to protest and leave. This would draw a lot of negative attention.

    COL Cummings: The new PSYOP plan has been passed up the chain

    LTC Beaver: It’s at J3 at SOUTHCOM.

    Fredman: The DOJ has provided much guidance on this issue. The CIA is not held to the same rules as the military. In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD has “moved” them away from the attention of the ICRC. Upon questioning from the ICRC about their whereabouts, the DOD’s response has repeatedly been that the detainee merited no status under the Geneva Convention.

    Finally, re the “Mormon mafia” who taught the SERE techniques to interrogators, we know who they were: Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell. Their story was first told in Katherine Eban’s article at Vanity Fair a few years ago, “Rorschach and Awe”.

    Interrogators who were sent for classified training inevitably wound up in a Mitchell-Jessen “shop,” and some balked at their methods. Instead of the careful training touted by President Bush, some recruits allegedly received on-the-job training during brutal interrogations that effectively unfolded as live demonstrations.

    Mitchell and Jessen’s methods were so controversial that, among colleagues, the reaction to their names alone became a litmus test of one’s attitude toward coercion and human rights. Their critics called them the “Mormon mafia” (a reference to their shared religion) and the “poster boys” (referring to the F.B.I.’s “most wanted” posters, which are where some thought their activities would land them).

    • skdadl says:

      Y’know, I actually felt sorry for Diane Beaver during Senator Levin’s hearing last year — she had so obviously been used, had so obviously been out of her depth, and was still so obviously out of her depth.

      But I’ve just stopped feeling sorry. That transcript casts some doubt on her testimony.

      And Mitchell and Jessen — bad enough on their own, but they got away with it, or have so far, which argues both cowardly observers and authorization from higher up.

  6. der1 says:

    The Bush Administration was a criminal enterprise that needs to be exposed and punished but I have doubts that Obama will do what should be done. To expose some of it is to expose all of it and to make public what they know in secret means that those who broke the law and violated agreements and treaties (war crimes) must be brought to justice. My doubts come from what Obama said in Prague:

    *”To strengthen the treaty, we should embrace several principles. We need more resources and authority to strengthen international inspections. We need real and immediate consequences for countries caught breaking the rules or trying to leave the treaty without cause.”
    *”Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to prevent [the spread of these weapons].

    Admitting to any of the crimes we already know means to follow through on promises we made in the treaties we signed. Not going to happen no matter how loud we make our voices. Congress is the real hope, but they’ve shown little courage in the face of power.

  7. Palli says:

    Would someone interview Dr. Stephen Mills, the Oath Betrayed author, about this river of public information about American torture. What is the AMA going to do? They should all lose their medical license.

    Although he died in late 2004, my father made a point of talking about torture with each nurse, assistant, clerk & doctor he had contact with at the VA…as a WWII POW he deserved the uncomfortable conversation. His country, not a manical officiert and a gang of bored GIs, his GOVERNMENT, was systematically committing crimes against humanity.

    Who is compiling the Bloody Red list of names? I certainly don’t want any of these medical professionals in any hospital or clinic… let them be Cheneys’ doctors.

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  9. Chacounne says:

    Something I noticed is that the US broke yet another UN Convention, this one on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance, when they disappeared Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s kids. It is also highly likely that Dr. Saddiqui’s kids were disappeared and others too.

    Just my two cents,

  10. Mary says:

    25 – I think about the kids a lot too. And there was KSM’s wife with the children. No one ever says a word. Even at places like Cropper and Bagram you have the disappearances issue, though. It’s like they know that part of what damned the Nazis was their “good records” so they keep none, which means family members are left hanging – esp in a country where the disappeared so often have met with a bad end, that means the anxiety never lets up. My first attention on Abu Ghraib didn’t result from the abuse scandal breaking – it was some European coverage of the throngs of women hovering around the camps, none speaking English, some terrified to be out without a male family member (but that was who had been disappeared) and they were holding pictures and little pieces of paper and trying so desparately to get information and being pushed aside. It brought to mind other places and situations where women were lined up, holding pictures of their disappeared sons, husbands, brothers – but this time the US was doing it. And that was when I realized that no US “embeds” or news services were covering it at all – if it hadn’t bee for the European coverage, I would never have known.

  11. Mary says:

    26 – Do you think there’s a real likelihood that he might make a ruling and allow gov an ex parte review of it first, or “negotiate” ex parte with them some first, or even seal the order first to let them take a crack at a kind of a sealed appeal of his order just to really keep him off the hook as much as possible if an appeal were to hold he shouldn’t have made X public or allowed Y access, but that can’t be “unrung” at that point?

    I dunno – I just think that he has likely made his decisions, but the delays are due to either negotiating efforts to try to get Gov on the same page or Gov trying to pull in the big guns like Holder et al to try to help make the case – or that they are due to allowing gov some time to try to get a higher court to reverse him on some of his determinations and he’s letting them pursue that in some fashion. Probably I’m wrong, but it’s just the feeling I get.

    • bmaz says:

      It is possible I suppose, but I talk to plaintiff lawyers fairly regularly and they swear that they have not been notified of this and seem certain they would be at least notified by Walker. I tend to agree with that thought, so I don’t think what you describe is going on.

      But who the hell really knows?

  12. Mary says:

    14 – to be fair, they are saying that they can’t be sued for those things unless they then disclose the unconstitutionally and illegally obtained information in an “unauthorized” manner.

    So if, for example, they only use it as their decision model to kidnap and disappear someone forever, or into torture after shipping them out of country, that kind of use wouldn’t be a problem. Just, ya know, bringing a court case based on the info.

    Obama has been worthless – the major issues facing us and he’s shown that he’s got nothing. The only place he has shown anything is on voting rights violations – that’s a pretty self interested position so it’s not surprising that’s where he finds at vertebrae. It’s the only place he found one pre-election for that matter.

    • Hmmm says:

      You have a point, though FWIW I took the ‘unauthorized’ language as a purpose-built dodge tailored to the oopsie-release of the surveillance list in this case. A scoundrel’s dodge, I mean.

  13. joanneleon says:

    Bravo, Marcy. It’s hard to know what to do today, in order to have some kind of affect or send a message to these giants who care nothing about real people.

  14. Mary says:

    32 – I was being kinda snarky when I typed that: “to be fair” I didn’t mean that I thought you weren’t – more that their argument was really absurd.

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