Judge Hellerstein Spanks (Figuratively) the CIA

Michael Hayden and the rest of the torture apologists have been wandering around all week claiming that the Administration could have won its FOIA case against ACLU and withheld the torture memos.

If this ruling from Juge Hellerstein is any indication, they couldn’t be more wrong. It did five things:

  • Demanded a full "Vaughn" index for the FOIAed materials, describing the people involved and other details.
  • Refused the government’s attempt to limit production of descriptions of the torture tapes to August 2002, and instead demanded all of it (through December 2002)
  • Required the government to produce documents relating to the torture tape destruction through at least June 20, 2003.
  • Sent the government back to reconsider the redactions on documents pertaining to the torture tapes that takes into consideration the release of the torture memos.
  • Asked whether it’s too soon to hold CIA in contempt for destroying the torture tapes that were resposive to the original FOIA.

I would imagine we’re going to be seeing a lot more revealing documents get processed through Hellerstein’s Courtroom.

22 replies
  1. GregB says:

    Possibly up to 2,000 photos relating to 400 cases of abuse to be released by Pentagon.

    That’s one big fucking barrel of bad apples.

    I hope Bush and Cheney are ready for this, because the nation is going to realize how monstrous they had been.


  2. WilliamOckham says:

    Descriptions of the interrogrations before August would finally answer the question about when the torture really started. A complete Vaughn index will allow us to cross-ref the timeline with the other reports (DOJ IG, ICRC, etc.). Gonna be fun…

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      It might also be useful/interesting to have a column or two on the Comparison Chart for who was performing what functions, in which departments, for those dates.

      No we know even more about why GW Bush pardoned Libby, IMHO. Libby would have been OVP’s principal fetchit man at that time.

  3. bgrothus says:

    Have the torturers won any significant rulings in any court? Seems like the judiciary finds the rules they made up don’t work.

  4. BayStateLibrul says:

    Imagine if McCain was elected? No release of docs, and they would litigate
    this decision to death.
    I’m so happy that our deeds are seeing the light of day.
    We can start to heal, I hope.

    • cinnamonape says:

      It would have been interesting…what would McCain have done once he finally attained his long desired apogee? Would he have betrayed the only principle that he could actually claim was derived from his personal experience – his opposition to torture? Certainly many in his Administration and those of the Bush-era would have screamed bloody hell if he made a squeak about it.

      At the same time, McCain could have told them to take a hike. He could have become an Eisenhower.

      I’m waiting for him to make a comment on the current revelations…but haven’t heard anything. Maybe he’s waiting to see just how bad it really turns out to be.

  5. bobschacht says:

    Dick Cheney’s standard MO involved compartmentalization and stove piping: It was essential that the left hand NOT know what the right hand was doing. He set it up so everyone in their isolated compartments had limited knowledge, and rationalizations that fit their compartment.

    One of the things that is happening now is that the walls between the compartments are coming down. People in Operations Unit A are beginning to see what people in Operations unit B were doing, and people in Operations unit C are seeing what people in Unit A were doing with what had been produced by unit C. And they are beginning to see that the virtual reality cocoon constructed for them by Cheney does not match up very well with the actual realities. Each of them is starting to do their own OMG routine, and they are starting to mutter to themselves, “If only I had known…” And I bet many of them are starting to “lawyer up”, as the saying goes.

    I suspect that this might be part of Obama’s chess strategy, despite the skepticism of bmaz and others. With his mouth, Obama makes lofty pronunciations of looking forward, etc etc. while at the same time allowing his administration to start opening up the doors to the rank basements around the Government, knowing full well that the stench that will arise therefrom will arouse the public. Taking a cue from FDR, he is creating a climate in which the public will “force” him (and Holder) to “investigate” things, and that as sunshine penetrates into those dank rooms where foul deeds have been done, he will be “forced” to do the right thing.

    Furthermore, this is going to drive the Republicans batshit crazy. If they hold together to uphold and defend torture, warrantless wiretaps of US citizens, etc. they will dance together off the edge of the electoral cliff. More likely, some Republicans will start to see that their future requires breaking with the past. I predict we’ll see the Republican Monolith on Capitol Hill start to fragment and fall apart by the end of summer. Bonehead and Can’t-or will have some adjusting to do.

    Remember, folks, we’re not yet 100 days into the Obama administration.

    Bob in HI

  6. Mary says:

    I like that he’s not just asking whether or not it’s too soon, he’s wanting Gov to affirm that Dunham is actually doing something and also basically affirm that what he is doing will or won’t be harmed by the court pursuing contempt. If they say it will, and then Durham never does one damn thing, things won’t be rosey.

  7. reader says:

    i agree Bob. Obama epedited the release of the memos after the rumours that he was balking … but I only believe what really happens. He said the law said he had to release them which was a huge sign to me.

    i see Obama putting all sorts of stuff in place, getting all sorts of things rolling. The budget is critical and the recovery crisis looms but didja hear what he said about education today? wow.

    it’s not even 100 days yet and maybe around the 300 day mark we’ll all have time to hash out what to do about torture prosecutions. and by then the it won’t be Obama deciding, it will be the law based on the facts that we will have by then.

    the reverse (letting the torture issue overtake everything else) would be less than satisfactory and probably not as successful in dealing with everything.

    as he addresses the GOP and the current state of the country with these actions, his ”numbers” will only go up, which will help as well.

    i simply cannot question his true motivations if he is willing to use reconciliation for health care.

    it’s clear to me that he takes the charge that he is president of the whole country, not just the democrats, very seriously and i have to admire that too.

  8. perris says:

    Possibly up to 2,000 photos relating to 400 cases of abuse to be released by Pentagon.

    there are video tapes as well

    teh shit does hit teh fan, obama is gonna take tons of heat for not making a show of keeping these private even if he wanted them public

    this is getting good

    • perris says:

      this is getting good

      indeed, it is;

      Military agency warned Bush administration in 2002 that its interrogation program was ‘torture.’

      that’s think progress’s link with comentary and quote;

      In a July 2002 document uncovered by the Washington Post, the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency warned that the Bush administration’s interrogation program was “torture”

      it goes on to comentary on some of the consequences;

      [torture] would produce “unreliable information.” JPRA is the military agency that ran the program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE), “which trains pilots and others to resist hostile questioning.” JPRA warned in the 2002 document:

      my bold is more indicting then it seems at first read, assets are finite and inadaquate, waste those assets on just one false lead and you might cost lives, waste those assets on leads you know as a fact are unreliable and you are deliberately obstructing your ability for success

      the president knew in NO uncertain terms he was committing torture, there is simply no two ways around this, and it gets worse, FAR worse, for a man and party who tried to brand themselves as the party of the armed forces this next bit is absolutely anialative;

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

      not only “could” but definately WILL, and the only method for overcoming this “unintended consequence” is to prosecute those who committed this act against our armed forces

      • antibanana says:

        Another shoe drops…

        We now know why the OLC was so keen on demonstrating the “effectiveness” of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. Because the military told them that they were a very bad idea.

        Somehow, I am getting the feeling that there are a lot of p-offed military people out there.

  9. perris says:

    I really REALLY think we need to find out who hired those involved in the torture programs, I am willing to bet they were recruited by Cheney or his team b and THAT would be the final nail in the coffin if we can demonstrate that as a fact

      • perris says:

        thanx for those links, one more point;

        In a July 2002 document uncovered by the Washington Post, the military’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency warned that the Bush administration’s interrogation program was “torture”

        the president is told with no doubt by the military themselves, this IS torture, now connect the dots as follows;

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

        once you are informed by your experts that you are causing this consequence and yet you continue, this is no longer “unintended”

        you have infact intended for consequences you know as a fact will result

        bing, an enemy of our state, this is clear

  10. freepatriot says:

    so we get to see what peggy nooners says should remain a mystery

    spin that away, you mysterious piece of shit

    at what point do these depraved assholes look at the camera and hold up the “Yikes” sign ???

    we’re gonna see what you were defending, pegger, and you are defending a DUNG HEAP

    that ain’t egg, honey

    and you got it ALL OVER YOUR FACE

  11. obsessed says:

    I’d like to hear the “accidentally live mic” audio from Peggy’s reaction when she finally sees the torture evidence. I think she’ll like it less than she liked Sarah P.

  12. stryder says:

    All this shit will get accumulated and go right up to the supremes an WA LA
    POOF the bottom falls out
    Nothing is going to happen to these thugs
    Tell the Saudi royals,Blair and his crowd ,half the bank ceos,90% of the defense contractors,Phone co ceos,50% of the house of reps and 75$ of the senate 50% of the judges and atty gens that there all invited to go on an international cruise and when the ship gets into shark infested waters

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