Torture Timeline and Iraq-Al Qaeda Ties

Mostly because I want to point you all to the newly updated Torture Timeline, I want to make a point about the timing of the decision to torture Abu Zubaydah.

At least according to the Senate narrative, they started discussing torture plans for Abu Zubaydah after February  22, 2002–when DIA first questioned Ibn Sheikh al-Libi’s claim of a tie between Iraq and al Qaeda that derived from torture. And they signed the Bybee Memo the day after the second DIA report questioning al-Libi’s Iraq-al Qaeda ties. 

The intelligence reports from al-Libi’s torture, of course, were used (in spite of DIA doubts about them) as a central claim in Colin Powell’s speech to the UN a year later.

I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al Qaeda.

Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story. I will relate it to you now as he, himself, described it.

This senior al Qaeda terrorist was responsible for one of al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan.

His information comes firsthand from his personal involvement at senior levels of al Qaeda. He says bin Laden and his top deputy in Afghanistan, deceased al Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef, did not believe that al Qaeda labs in Afghanistan were capable enough to manufacture these chemical or biological agents. They needed to go somewhere else. They had to look outside of Afghanistan for help. Where did they go? Where did they look? They went to Iraq.

The support that (inaudible) describes included Iraq offering chemical or biological weapons training for two al Qaeda associates beginning in December 2000. He says that a militant known as Abu Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) had been sent to Iraq several times between 1997and 2000 for help in acquiring poisons and gases. Abdula Al-Iraqi (ph) characterized the relationship he forged with Iraqi officials as successful.

In other words, they were getting false information from torture–the false information they would use to bring us to war with Iraq–at the same time as they were devising their plan to torture Abu Zubaydah. 

Here’s an excerpt of the full timeline.

September 17 (alternately, 15), 2001: Bush signs Memorandum of Notification authorizing CIA to capture, detain, and interrogate al Qaeda figures.

October 21, 2001: OLC memo eviscerating 4th Amendment. 

December 17, 2001: DoD OGC asks JPRA for information about detainee "exploitation."

December 2001 or January 2002: James Mitchell asked Bruce Jessen to  review documents describing al Qaeda resistence training. They generated a paper on al Qaeda resistence capabilities and countermeasures.

December 18, 2001: Ibn Sheikh al-Libi captured. After being tortured, al-Libi made up stories about Al Qaeda ties to Iraq.

December 27, 2001: Rumsfeld announces plans to hold detainees at Gitmo. 

January 20, 2002: Bybee to Abu Gonzales memo specifying that common article 3 of the Geneva Convention does not apply to "an armed conflict between a nation-state and a transnational terrorist organization."

January 25, 2002: Gonzales memo for Bush recommends against applying the Geneva Convention to enemy detainees.

January 2002: Supplemental Public Affairs Guidance on Detainees affirms Geneva Convention wrt media photographs.

February 2, 2002: William Taft argues for the application of Geneva Conventions.

February 12, 2002: Jessen sends paper on al Qaeda resistance capabilities to JPRA commander Randy Moulton.

February 22, 2002: DIA voices doubts about al-Libi’s claims of Iraq-al Qaeda ties.

March 28, 2002: Abu Zubaydah taken into custody.

March 29, 2002: James Mitchell closes consulting company, Knowledge Works, in NC.

March 31, 2002: Abu Zubaydah flown to Thailand.

April 2002: CIA OGC lawyers begin conversations with John Bellinger and John Yoo/Jay Bybee on proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah. Bellinger briefed Condi, Hadley, and Gonzales, as well as Ashcroft and Chertoff.

April 16, 2002: Bruce Jessen circulates draft exploitation plan to JPRA Commander.

May 2, 2002: The US "un-signs" the International Criminal Court treaty.

May 8, 2002: Jose Padilla taken into custody based on material warrant signed by Michael Mukasey and based on testimony from Abu Zubaydah.

Mid-May 2002: CIA OGC lawyers meet with Ashcroft, Condi, Hadley, Bellinger, and Gonzales to discuss alternative interrogation methods, including waterboarding.

June 25, 2002: Moussaoui arraigned.

July 10, 2002: Date of first interrogation report from Abu Zubaydah cited in 9/11 Report.

July 13, 2002: CIA OGC (Rizzo?) meets with Bellinger, Yoo, Chertoff, Daniel Levin, and Gonzales for overview of interrogation plan.

July 17, 2002: Tenet met with Condi, who advised CIA could proceed with torture, subject to a determination of legality by OLC.

Late July 2002: Bybee discusses SERE with Yoo and Ashcroft.

July 24, 2002: Bybee advised CIA that Ashcroft concluded proposed techniques were legal.

July 26, 2002: Bybee tells CIA waterboarding is legal. CIA begins to waterboard Abu Zubaydah.

July 31, 2002: DIA issues second report doubting al-Libi’s confession of Iraq-al Qaeda ties.

August 1, 2002: "Bybee Memo" (written by John Yoo) describes torture as that which is equivalent to :the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."

112 replies
  1. JTMinIA says:

    Thanks for this timeline.

    To prove no good deed goes unpunished, with regard to: “February 22, 2002: DIA voices doubts about al-Libi’s claims of Iraq-al Qaeda ties,” could you tell me (about) where to look? That pdf isn’t searchable.

  2. perris says:

    In other words, they were getting false information from torture–false information they would use to bring us to war with Iraq–at the same time as they were devising their plan to torture Abu Zubaydah.

    December 18, 2001: Ibn Sheikh al-Libi captured. After being tortured, al-Libi made up stories about Al Qaeda ties to Iraq.

    HOLY GANOLI MARCY!, you just threw that pitch of the entire torture discussion;

    “of COURSE torture hurts us more then it helps us, if it weren’t for torture the administration would have NEVER gotten the FALSE information linking al qaeda to Iraq, LOOK at all the Americans killed thanks to torture!”

    it needs to be worked better then that but man that’s good

  3. eyesonthestreet says:

    I wondered if the “photos” described in this NYTimes article by Scott Shane,from June 2008, are photos that have been published, or are these likely to be what is to come:
    “Photographs of the raid reviewed by The Times last month showed Abu Zubaydah, a clean shaven 30-year-old Palestinian, shot three times during the raid, lying face down in the back of a Toyota pickup before he was taken to a hospital.”

    I also found this interesting in the article, the CIA interrogator quit the CIA and went to work for Mitchell & Jessen Associates, LLC, not that that is surprising:

    “His life today (6/2008)is quiet by comparison with the secret interrogations of 2002 and 2003. But Mr. (Duece) Martinez has not turned away entirely from his old world. He now works for Mitchell & Jessen Associates, a consulting company run by former military psychologists who advised the C.I.A. on the use of harsh tactics in the secret program.

    And his new employer sent Mr. Martinez right back to the agency. For now, the unlikely interrogator of the man perhaps most responsible for the horrors of 9/11 teaches other C.I.A. analysts the arcane art of tracking terrorists.” ( )= my additon

    Mitchell & Jessen Assoc, LLC discussed on DEMOCRACY NOW:…

  4. Aeon says:

    From your timeline:

    January 25, 2002: Gonzales memo for Bush recommends against applying the Geneva Convention to enemy detainees.

    Interesting stuff there.

    It repeats for the record Bush’s BS “war on terror” is “a new kind of war”, and gives Gonzo’s [or whoever was putting the bug in Gonzo’s ear] legal opinion that this renders GPW null and void. Then adds:

    “The nature of the new war places a high premium on other factors, such as the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians, and the need to try terrorists for war crimes such as wantonly killing civilians. In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva’s strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners…”

    Then warns Bush that violations of GPW are war crimes and death penalty offenses under Section 2441 so that it is imperative that the U.S. claim that GPW does not apply to us. Also that:

    “it is difficult to predict the motives of prosecutors and independent counsels who may in the future decide to pursue unwarranted charges under Section 2441. Your determination would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution.”

    Such prescience.

  5. oldtree says:

    We have to thank general Powell for his admitting to using bogus info, knowing about torture that wasn’t getting any results, and treason. No admission yet from the general about his lying. How odd? A perfect republican?
    Can’t wait to see you on trial at the Hague. It is hard to describe someone so comfortable with lying about torture. What a great career you had? I hope that you are remembered for what you have done to your own troops and the people of Iraq. I hope you enjoy your cell if they choose to give you the field marshall treatment they gave the nazi generals.

  6. maryo2 says:

    The trend has been do illegal act first, CIA lawyers cry foul and ask for written statement of policy, Bush gets his own flimsy legal cover and writes a statement for the CIA.

    Given this trend, (I would think that) somebody was captured and detained before September 15, 2001, AND CIA lawyers cried foul, or else Bush would not have written an authorizing memo.

  7. plunger says:

    Karl Rove’s job was to dream up scary headlines to frighten the American people into a war for the benefit of the Oligarchs, Big Oil, Big Banking and Israel. Rumsfeld’s job was to instruct the interrogators as to exactly what they wanted the victims of torture to confess to, so as to advance the story line of the “al Qaeda In Iraq” connection – A Rovian Brand Name if ever one was invented (from thin air).

    “Admit that you have ties to the development of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, and we’ll stop drowning you!”

    They positioned the purported “Portal Bioweapons Lab” in Iraq, suckered Colin Powell into staking his reputation on it, and voila! Iraq is alleged to be the epicenter of bioterror, thanks to the fantasies of Karl Rove, enabled by Donald Rumsfeld, all at the behest of Dick Cheney on behalf of his overlords, Henry Kissinger, GHW Bush and David Rockefeller, with plausible denyability for GW Bush.


    Purported Swine Flu Pandemic just happens to coincide with pressure being brought on the Rumsfeld co-conspirators in TortureGate. Coincidence? Not.

    These bastards won’t rest until they have all the power and money, and we’re all dead.

    How many shares of the vaccine manufacturer does Rummy own?

  8. TheraP says:

    This may really be obvious and already mentioned and checked on, but this makes me wonder again about the missing emails. Forgive me for not knowing their dates off-hand, but are these events and others that have come out recently possibly connected with the dates on which the emails went missing?

    Somehow we’re looking at so many intertwined crimes here, it’s getting hard to keep them straight.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Somehow we’re looking at so many intertwined crimes here, it’s getting hard to keep them straight.

      Yup. And money, BCCI, tax havens, money laundering, and swaps have to be in among them.

      My stomach lurched when I saw this post heading; I had begun to form this conclusion but hoped that I was wrong. When I saw EW draw the same conclusion, my heart sunk and my stomach twisted:

      In other words, they were getting false information from torture–the false information they would use to bring us to war with Iraq

      I’m glad that I can count on Bill Kristol, Bill O’Reilly, and the rest of the neocon and wingnut sphere to claim that those of us who are concerned about what happened are simply out for some kind of ‘retribution’.

      I can only conclude from their attitudes that they never try to figure out why their car engines make weird sounds, that if their computer screens start blinking and flashing UNIX characters it doesn’t cross their minds to track down the source of the trouble, and that they fully oppose investigating aircraft accidents on the grounds that would be ‘retribution’ against airplane companies and pilots.

      I guess that if you dismiss any attempts to fix something that broke as simply ‘retribution’, you’ll have a future of more broken, unworkable, unfixed, non-functional messes on your hands bleeding your wallet and wasting your time.

      It’s all okay; no need to look into it. Nothing like this torture stuff would break the US military…
      Oh…. wait!

      • TheraP says:

        From what I can see the “we’re after retribution” attack is not working, so now it’s on to “these folks are obsessed with torture.” I got that very attack this morning. Lately, they seem unable to tell which “field” I’m coming from, so it’s usually about a 12 hour lag – and then the new-fangled attack meme emerges.

        So, folks, get ready for the accusation that you have some kind of pornographic fascination with torture. Gosh, if that were the problem, at least we could get it fixed! I love how these folks pass the buck! Every. Single. Time.

        • cbl2 says:

          projection much ?!?!?! not you T, they.

          I have been saying for a very long time, that the Right is flat out tantric about this sh*. I could fill 10 servers with examples of this from the righty blogs alone.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          I expect to see MiniCheney foaming on my Internet machine any minute now, although the swine flu may take the heat off temporarily.

          I still believe it is important that this is coming from Levin’s committee: Armed Services.
          I also think that Karpinski’s incredible comments last week have to have been something of a shock for the neocons.

          And I note — with utter contempt and derision — that the Sunday chat show clips over at Crooks&Liars show all the Republicans huffing about how we can’t get stuck in the past. Not a single one of them showed the slightest empathy for whether these actions placed American troops at greater harm, and none of them even raised the issue of ‘who are these ‘contractors’ named in all these memos…?!

          Complete weenie, craven, bleating butt-covering.
          No one but Karpinski and some retired Army guest on MSNBC has said diddly squat about how this fit US objectives, it’s impacts on our troops.

          Nor has anyone but Larry Wilkerson pointed out that these activities were overseen by Mr. Five Deferrments Hisself, Richard B. Cheney.

          The neocons have to strip this conversation of all context and make it an issue of ‘retribution’. LIke we need one more single conversation in this nation that’s motivated by fear and guilt, rather than by outrage, courage, and resolve.

          Except for y’all here, who exemplify the last three.
          Good on ya’!

    • tjbs says:

      Look you ,if it was possible to separate the e-mail from the live stream torture room feeds they would gladly share the e-mails. Digital feeds is what the tapes are. They’re saying they deleted the e-mails ,with the guys yucking it as as they went about their daily chores with the bath tub dance.
      Now that Mc Connell, karls IT man, forgot how to fly his plane they can’t be sure Mc Connell didn’t save a file copy to get out of jail for fixing the 2004 election for which he was about to be deposed in the Ohio vote fraud.
      Damn I wish it wasn’t like this.

    • Mary says:

      ew has a time line for them too – I’d say some overlay will happen at some point – can’t juggle all balls at one time.

  9. Leen says:

    Ew thank you. Just read the timeline had never heard that William Taft had argued for application of the Geneva Convention.

    So when Sere techniques are used the goal is false info? is that right?

    It would really be interesting to have the timeline of when Harman, Pelosi, Jello Jay knew what when mixed in with the above timeline.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s in the overall timeline. They had not been briefed in the least in the fragment of the timeline I show here. Remember–they didn’t get briefed until AZ had already been tortured, and even then CIA was talking about torturing in the future, not having done it in the past. That’s the point I’ve been making about Dem foreknowledge.

      • Leen says:

        This timeline and the other one that you linked are so helpful for wrapping one’s mind around all of this.

        so with all of the memo’s etc that have been released is there any reason to think that any other meetings could have taken place that they are still unable to discuss due to the classification of the intelligence that may have not been released yet?

    • JTMinIA says:

      My reading of the Taft memo is different from what’s implied by the timeline. Taft says that the GCs apply to the conflict in Afghanistan, but also says they do not apply to AQ and the Taliban. It’s confusing as all heck. (Forgive me if I missed a thread on this memo and I’m either rehashing an old point or missing the boat entirely.)

  10. klynn says:

    Anatomy of Deceit II on bookshelves soon.

    In other words, they were getting false information from torture–the false information they would use to bring us to war with Iraq–at the same time as they were devising their plan to torture Abu Zubaydah.

    Boy, this turns the Plame leak on full tilt.

    I cannot wait to see our Plameologist make that tie-in.

    We have motive building in your timeline.

  11. maryo2 says:

    From the Vanity Fair article ew linked to in the ‘Who gave Mitchell the Resistance Manual’ thread:

    “In Spokane, several survival companies share space with Mitchell, Jessen & Associates. … There, Mitchell, Jessen maintains a Secure Compartmented Information Facility, or scif, for handling classified materials under C.I.A. guidelines…”

    It may not be significant, but we have had discussions about where live torture and/or videos might be viewed and where classified memos could be shared or discussed without breaking clearance rules.

  12. FormerFed says:

    Marcy, I am sure you have covered this in another post; but when did Jello Jay write his CYA letter to Cheney?

    Thanks – keep up the great work!!

  13. tjbs says:

    Can any of us imagine bybee sentencing from the bench this week or deliberating on any of our cases?
    An accessory to many murders sits on a Federal bench, thanks george.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Well there are scores of people applying for refugee immigrants status before Bybee who are arguing precisely that they confront a real fear of torture by their home countries “regimes”.…..0000000140

      Of course, most of these people have their appeals (of Mukasey’s denial of their “threat of torture status) turned down.

      But what would you expect of a guy who signed off on a Memo excusing waterboarding as “not torture”, written by a guy (John Yoo) who said that the logic intrinsic to that memo would probably allow the crushing of the testicles of a child in order to compel an internee to give over information.

      What luck would you have with these guys?

  14. CalGeorge says:

    For your excellent timeline, don’t forget Colin Powell’s Feb. 5, 2003 speech to the UN Security Council, where he used the al-Libi “evidence”.

    What’s so very interesting are the private and public faces of this nightmare, what we were told and what was going on behind the scenes.

    Go, Marcy, go!

  15. obsessed says:

    Off-topic, but Kevin Spacey will play Jack Abramoff in an upcoming movie – Abramoff, who can’t profit from the movie, is helping them by meeting with Spacey and the director. Abramoff’s motivation is to show that most of what he did was being doing commonly on K-Street and is still being done today.

    I’m still waiting for the Judy Miller story starring Judy Davis.

  16. klynn says:


    I could not bring myself to comment on your Who Gave Mitchel the AQR Manuel post because, just before your comment at 81, it hit me that what I had figured for a while, was starting to shake lose with evidence in terms of 9-11.

    Then your comment at 81.

    I just sat quiet at the computer for a long time.

    Thank you for your efforts and those efforts of those commenting with research and professional insight.

    Here’s to shining light in the darkest corners.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Sorry, have missed quite a few threads.
      Any way to quickly catch up to what you’re referencing?
      If not… will catch up later.

  17. ghostof911 says:

    It is simply a matter of time before Marcy presents hard evidence of related activities occurring before September 11, 2001.

  18. scottpot says:

    The real purpose of the torture was to create the myth of Al-Qaeda.Prior to a Sept.18th,2001 article in the N.Y.Times by David Sanger, Al-Qaeda was never part of the vocabulary used to describe violence committed by Muslims.Sanger reported that then Secretary of State Colin Powell described Al-Qaeda as a “holding company” for a variety of terrorist groups.John Burns reporting in 2000 and early 2001 on the attack on the U.S.S. Cole never uses the term Al-Qaeda.That was before a complicit and unquestioning media attributed all Muslim violence as having ‘links or ties to Al-Qaeda.’
    The first major media effort to create and describe Al-Qaeda was in an A.P. article the N.Y.T. ran Sept.30,2001 by Benjamin Weiser and Tim Golden.In that short Al-Qaeda for Dummies piece,The term Al-Qaeda was used 17 times. Through thoughtless repetition,the mythical Al- Qaeda,became our mortal enemy in the Rove/Bush/Cheney War on Terror and The Constitution.

    • dakine01 says:

      The Bush Administration may not have uttered Al-Qaeda at all other than as a holding point but the Clinton Admin had been following Al-Qaeda for years prior to 9/11.

      Of course, Clinton was mocked unmercifully by the Rs for trying to attack Al-Qaeda and Bin Laden and was accused of a “Wag the Dog” type activity

    • cinnamonape says:

      I think that at that time there was some effort (even by the Neo-Cons) to pass off a lot of these attacks as being done under the auspices of Iran. The Shohar Towers attacks were heavily pushed as such, pre 9/11. The Saudis also wanted to distract the US from Sunni-backed terrorism, as it suggested a weakness in the regimes system of encouraging Wahabbist education and that this would lead to radicalism. If they could foist attacks on the State off as “Shi’a-based” it could be used to crack-down on their own Shi’a minorities (most of which live in the oil-rich areas to the North and NE).

      • bobschacht says:

        Yes, I think Cheney kept the WHIG alive to sell war with Iran right up until the last day of the Bush administration. Fortunately, Admiral Fallon applied the brakes, and even Georgie boy understood what Cheney was trying to do. They were all pushing dope, hoping the public would take another bite out of the cookie. Thank goodness that didn’t work.

        Bob in HI

    • Aeon says:


      Al Qaeda was named in the indictment for the 1998 embassy bombings.

      United States v. Usama bin Laden, et al. / In Re: Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa

      The Grand Jury charges:
      Background: Al Qaeda
      1. At all relevant times from in or about 1989 until
      the date of the filing of this Indictment, an international
      terrorist group existed which was dedicated to opposing non-
      Islamic governments with force and violence.This organization
      grew out of the “mekhtab al khidemat” (the “Services Office”)
      organization which had maintained offices in various parts of the
      world, including Afghanistan, Pakistan (particularly in Peshawar)
      and the United States, particularly at the Alkifah Refugee Centerin Brooklyn, New York. The group was founded by defendants USAMA
      BIN LADEN and MUHAMMAD ATEF, a/k/a “Abu Hafs al Masry,” together
      with “Abu Ubaidah al Banshiri” and others. From in or about 1989
      until the present, the group called itself “al Qaeda” (”the

      • skdadl says:

        Yes — I think that most of us who were following events in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s knew of al-Qaeda by the mid-nineties anyway, and we certainly knew even during the eighties of cadres incoming to oppose the Soviet occupation who were also very hostile to Westerners (reporters, eg), as the Afghan rebels themselves were not.

    • robspierre says:

      I do not speak Arabic. But my understanding is that “Al Qaida” means “The Base,” as in “base of operations” or “support organization”. It originated back in the Reagan administration as a joint Saudi-US-Pakistani venture. It provided recruiting and logistical support to mujahideen groups fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.

      The main beneficiary was the Taliban. The administrator was Osama bin Laden. The funding came from the Saudi royals and from wealthy businessmen/hangers-on like the bin Laden family. The weapons came from us via the Chinese. Pakistani military intelligence provided the expertise and safe haven for warehouses and camps. The recruits from a worldwide network of reactionary, Saudi-financed mosques and madrassas.

      The Reaganauts were not very forward-looking and dismissed those who were. They just didn’t care as long as they were annoying the Commies. They told everyone that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. But it was obvious from the first that the Al Qaida concept–a massively financed, deniable/quasi-independent clearing house for terrorist finance, recruiting, and logistics–was an extremely dangerous innovation.

  19. Leen says:

    With all of the lying, torturing and cherry picking of false intelligence that they were doing it is surprising that it took them this long to “unsign” the International Criminal Court treaty

    May 2, 2002: The US “un-signs” the International Criminal Court treaty.
    US ‘undermined’

    “Judge Richard Goldstone, the first chief prosecutor at The Hague war crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, echoed these sentiments saying:

    “I think it is a very backwards step. It is unprecedented which I think to an extent smacks of pettiness in the sense that it is not going to affect in any way the establishment of the international criminal court”.

    “The US have really isolated themselves and are putting themselves into bed with the likes of China, the Yemen and other undemocratic countries,” he added.

    US senior diplomat Pierre-Richard Prosper said the letter “neutralised” Mr Clinton’s signature on the treaty.

    The ICC
    Comes into being on July 1 and begins work early next year
    Will be based in The Hague
    66 nations have ratified the treaty
    Nearly 100 nations have signed up and may ratify the treaty in the future
    China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iraq and Turkey have failed to sign up to the treaty
    Egypt, Iran, Israel and Russia have failed to ratify the treaty
    “It frees us from some of the obligations that are incurred by signature. When you sign you have an obligation not to take actions that would defeat the object or purpose of the treaty,” he said.

    By unsigning the treaty, the US would no longer have to extradite people wanted by the court, he said.

    “What we’ve learnt from the war on terror is that rather than creating an international mechanism to deal with these issues it is better to organise an international mandate that authorises states to use their unilateral tools to tackle the problems we have,” Mr Prosper said.

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell, announcing the decision on Sunday, said the court would undermine US judicial authority.

    He said it would be accountable to no higher authority – including the UN Security Council – and would be able “to second-guess the United States after we have tried somebody”.

    ‘Wrong side of history’

    For President George W Bush’s critics, this decision serves as further proof of a unilateralist approach to foreign policy and puts him at odds with allies, including Canada and the European Union, which support the ICC.

    “The administration is putting itself on the wrong side of history,” said Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch.

    “Unsigning the treaty will not stop the court. It will only throw the United States into opposition against the most important new institution for enforcing human rights in 50 years,” he said.

    The court itself still has enough international support to begin work in The Hague next year – but without US backing, correspondents say it will be a far less powerful and effective player on the world stage.”

    ### What a way to not only undermine the Geneva Convention but undermine the International Communities ability to hold them accountable for their well thought out crimes.

    • TheraP says:

      And in addition, wasn’t there some kind of special “exemption” they requested and got from the UN regarding things the US might do which were contrary to lawful behavior in wartime. Exemption is likely the wrong word, as I tried to google and didn’t get links to this. But I well recall before the Iraq War (maybe Afghanistan too) that they were looking for “permission slips” so to speak, from the UN. And that, right there, to me, was a tip off: Uh, oh! Why else would you seek to go around UN standards?

  20. klynn says:

    obsessed @ 23-

    Just remember criminal “Jack” has a great deal to gain and protect by telling the story in such a way.

    To think, that’s the argument being used by a couple of AIPAC spies too.
    What a sorry-a— excuse for who he is.

    “K-Street made me do it.”

    • plunger says:

      Keep track of the money behind the production, who owns the media company paying for it, and who controls the network or studio distributing it. Abramoff = Mossad Agent. Reality Creation Architects.

      Media ownership study ordered destroyed
      Sept 14, 2006

      ‘Every last piece’ destroyed

      Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that “every last piece” of the report be destroyed. “The whole project was just stopped – end of discussion,” he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC’s Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.

  21. phred says:

    Great job as always EW!

    So, if I’m reading this correctly, al-Libi was tortured into making a false confession that linked Iraq and Al Qaeda sometime between Dec 18, 2001 and Feb 22, 2002.

    This raises 2 questions for me:

    First, it appears that false link was what they were after from the very beginning. So who was guiding his interrogation to get that confession during this period of time?

    Second, this raises the question of the Principals. IIRC (and as always, I may not) Powell was part of the group of Principals that met to discuss and direct the “enhanced” interrogations of the high values detainees. When did they begin to meet? From the snippet of the timeline above, it appears that during this time, Powell was not in on the dirty little secret yet.

    I have read Powell was opposed to some of the bs he was asked to spew in that UN speech. I just wonder how he could possibly not have known that the al-Libi info was false and obtained by torture. On the one hand, he appears to have been excluded from the discussions during this time frame. Surely later as a member of the Principals group he must have been able to draw some conclusions about the reliability of the al-Libi story he told to the UN.

    • LabDancer says:

      Not showing Vanna the solution in advance generates more genuine-appearing expressions of surprise and whatnot.

      • phred says:

        Agreed, but that’s the question really… Was Powell Vanna or one of the writers for the show? And we still don’t know who wrote the first Iraq – Al Qaeda question for al-Libi before the show’s writing staff expanded to include all of the Principals.

    • emptywheel says:

      Powell, quite honestly, may not have been briefed until September 16, 2003. Dunno if the SSCI narrative is exhaustive, but that’s the first he’s in it. It may be that since he and Taft were making a stink in the early period about GC, they just cut him out of the loop until they got the war started by him.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        It may be worth keeping in mind that according to Elliott Abram’s ‘lessons learned’ (per Sy Hersh in his New Yorker “Redirection” piece some years back), the neocons did **not** trust ‘the uniformed military’.

        They would surely have viewed Powell as ‘the uniformed military’, so IMVHO it wouldn’t be surprising if he were cut out of the loop. They wanted his credibility; they wanted him to carry their water and he appears to have been such a loyal ‘Good Soldier’ (stoic, honorable, felt he had to follow orders unless he was able to prove them wrong) that they got what they wanted — short term, anyway. Long term, still playing out…

      • phred says:

        Thanks EW. Vanna it is then. From the time-line you linked to from the other day…

        July 2003: Tenet and Muller meet with Cheney, Condi, Ashcroft, Acting head of OLC?, Yoo, Gonzales, and Bellinger to discuss torture. Principals reaffirmed that program was lawful.

        September 16, 2003: Colin Powell and Rummy briefed on torture.

        July 2004: Principals meeting–all agree to seek new OLC memo.

        So it appears neither Powell nor Rummy were among the Principals.

        Ok, so now I’m confused again. I thought Rummy was in on the action on the DoD side (what with his appalling snark about his own ability to stand at length). And I thought that the Principals were reported to be directing the enhanced interrogations directly (approving methods and questions for each individual). Is there any record of them meeting during the AZ, or KSM waterboarding periods?

      • phred says:

        By the way, I wonder how long it took after Sept. 16, 2003 for Powell to realize he had been punked with the al-Libi tale.

  22. tjbs says:

    Al-kaeda is a Republican myth.
    Who ,other that stupid republicans, would spell a “Q” word without the attendant “U” following the “Q”.
    Flip open to the “Q” section of your dictionary just to see how brain dead these guys are.
    JHCOC are they all flunkies?

    • dakine01 says:

      Uh, the usage of “u” to follow words beginning with “q” is an English construct.

      Last I knew, the folks in the Middle-East did not have English as their native tongue, which would mean that they can use whatever combinations they desire without breaking English grammer rules.

  23. Leen says:

    January 2003: Pat Roberts is briefed on torture, along with staff director and minority staff director of Committee; Jay Rockefeller did not attend briefing.


  24. jdpriestly says:

    My first post on FDL:

    Three dates to keep in mind for a more inclusive chron chart:

    1. First of the anthrax attacks (intimidation of Congress by someone, we don’t know whom): September 18, 2001

    2. Arrest of the shoe bomber (There is a rumor that the tip-off on Reid was obtained by torturer. Is there evidence supporting it?), Richard Reid on December 22, 2001

    3. Feb. 1, 2002 — the date of the horrifying torture and murder of Daniel Pearl — possibly a trigger for revenge tortures

  25. klynn says:

    Your timelines tell an interesting story when you overlap them.

    Where did your Plame timeline go?

    I grab one off the web, but I thought you had made one?

      • klynn says:


        Then there are the dates pushing for the WMD info like the VP’s office pushing for confirmation on the yellow cake from Niger in Feb 2002. Wilson’s report in March 2002. The SOTU in Jan 2003. The leak itself after Wilson’s Op Ed.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Yup. When you start overlapping EW’s Timelines, not only does the rubber meet the road, the road gets so hot the damn asphalt starts melting!

  26. EmmaKY says:

    Marcy, I’m a first time commenter and want to let you know how valuable I find your organizational and analytical skills.

    Please forgive me for asking what is surely an uninformed question re: Jose Padilla. JP has always seemed to me to be a bit of a weak link in all of this and the revelation (at least to me) that he was taken into custody in the immediate aftermath of the (recently legally justified) use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on AZ only adds to my doubt about his involvement.

    Is it possible that AZ was asked about JP because JP was on their radar (via one of what I’m sure were numerous, yet utterly baseless tips that circulated in the wake of 9/11) and that AZ implicated him under duress. In other words, do you think that it’s likely/possible that a suggestive line-up or line of questioning that only served to confirm the interrogation team’s assumptions in tandem with the infliction of torture on AZ resulted in the implication of JP or do you feel that JP was volunteered spontaneously?

    Marcy, would you consider a quick reference chart that defines the abbreviations (JPRE, etc;) that you use in your diaries? Perhaps all abbreviations can link to one page that contains definitions and background information for context. Like you don’t have enough on your plate ; ).

  27. Leen says:

    February 2003: CIA claims to have informed Intell leadership of torture tapes’ destruction; though SSCI has no records.


    Marcy/all if all information having to do with informing congress members of the torture have been released are Rockefeller and Harman the only ones in jeopardy?

    • Nell says:

      [timeline:] February 2003: CIA claims to have informed Intell leadership of torture tapes’ destruction; though SSCI has no records.


      The shorthand is misleading you a bit there; what the timeline means is “SSCI has records of that meeting and says they do not show any such info from CIA.” This is I believe something Rockefeller said in response to the CIA claim. Follow the links in that timeline entry for more detail.

  28. Leen says:
    We Could Have Done This the Right Way’

    How Ali Soufan, an FBI agent, got Abu Zubaydah to talk without torture.

    “Three months later, on Aug. 1, 2002, Justice lawyers issued a chilling memo blessing everything the CIA contractors had proposed—including waterboarding, or simulated drowning, a ghoulish technique that was administered to Abu Zubaydah 83 times.”


    During the Diane Rehm show last week Elisa Massissimo of Human Rights first mentions that it was the torture contractors who really pushed hard for the use of these “enhanced techiniques

    10:00Release of C.I.A. Interrogation Memos

    The latest on the Obama Administration’s review of interrogation tactics and pressure to publicize what was gained from the techniques.

    Marc Thiessen, speechwriter for former President Bush

    Elisa Massimino, Washington director, Human Rights First

    Jameel Jaffer, Director of ACLU National Security Project

    Jess Bravin, reporter, Wall Street Journal

  29. Leen says:

    Elisa Massissimo on the Rehm show
    10:00Release of C.I.A. Interrogation Memos

    The latest on the Obama Administration’s review of interrogation tactics and pressure to publicize what was gained from the techniques.

    Elisa at 19 minutes 00 seconds

    Elisa ” In fact that this was forced on some people. One of the reasons that President Obama I think and Leon Panetta the CIA director has now said that NO PRIVATE CONTRACTORS will be engaged in interrogations is because it appears that a lot of the impudence for getting authorization to use these techniques came from there” (private contractors)

    Mark Theissan quickly responds by blaming Tenet for the use of these techniques

    Mark Theissan ” Well uh uh uh I’ll tell you first of all the person who came up with this program and these techniques was the Clinton administrations director of Centraly intelligence who was a hold over in the Bush administration George Tenet that’s where the origin of this program is. He came to the President with this program”


    When will we find out anything about these private torture contractors?

    • perris says:

      Mark Theissan ” Well uh uh uh I’ll tell you first of all the person who came up with this program and these techniques was the Clinton administrations director of Centraly intelligence who was a hold over in the Bush administration George Tenet


      I KNEW it was clinton’s fault, I KNEW it!

      I was wondering when they’d get back to blaiming clinton, it certainly took long enough

    • antibanana says:

      that a lot of the impudence for getting authorization to use these techniques came from there” (private contractors)

      The impetus (?) came through the contractors, but that does not mean that it came from them originally. Especially when you consider the possibility of cut-outs.

  30. maryo2 says:

    Simply because Spokane, WA, seems like a weird place for intelligence analysis and out of curiousity, I looked into who is US Attorney for Eastern District of WA. Preston Gates is a huge firm, so probably not related to Abramoff, but still another coincidence:

    James A. McDevitt was appointed by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate on November 30, 2001. Prior to his appointment as United States Attorney, Jim was a partner in the Spokane office of Preston Gates Ellis, LLP.

    • plunger says:

      How much more evidence is required to prove that Mossad wiretaps every US official for purpose of blackmail?

      From the Raw article you linked:

      National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair said Monday that Rep. Jane Harman (D-Ca.) was not wiretapped by the National Security Agency, contrary to a prior report. He declined to specify where the surveillance originated.

      Harman was allegedly caught by an NSA wiretap pledging to intervene in an espionage case involving Israeli lobbyists, Congressional Quarterly reporter Jeff Stein revealed on April 19.

      According to a purported transcript of the wiretapped call, Harman had spoken with an Israeli agent about threatening Pelosi with withholding campaign donations if she wasn’t named chairwoman of the intelligence committee.

      Can we all admit it out loud now? Israel wiretaps us!

  31. Mary says:

    You can toss or incorporate this, depending on whether you think it is nitpicking or to much detail for you headings:

    May 8 2002 Padilla warrant is based on an FBI affidavit (Enis Affidavit) that uses both Zubaydah and Binyam Mohamed as sources. At the time of the arrest, Padilla’s lawyer requested discovery into how the info was obtained and claimed medications and environmental coercion for Z and actual torture regarding Mohamed, the other source. Mukasey was on notice at that point on and more importantly, DOJ was on notice of claims by the adverse party with regard to the facts and circumstances surrounding the statements on which Enis relied in his affidavit.

    Mid-May 2002 is also when Soufan complains of borderline torture and is pulled out

  32. fatster says:

    Greenwald nails succinctly what I’ve been whining about for a while. Fortunately, he stands a much greater chance
    of getting results.

    “It just cannot be said enough that our political elites truly do believe that “law” is only for the dirty, filthy masses — but not for them. ” And so on.…../newsweek/

  33. prostratedragon says:

    How things have changed! Back during the studio system days, an actor like Kevin Spacey would have been kept around on contract and vehicles judged suitable to his talents found.

    But nowadays, producers can pre-determine the project that they want to bring forward to the public and then recruit a likely sort of actor to play the parts.

    Which brings me to the question, how were the production and use of these tortured confessions to things of great use to the torturers, which we now know were probably known to be false as a rule, really co-ordinated?

    Since we folks out here don’t hang around detention centers, it’s no difference to us whether al-Libi “really” confessed to something or whether we just have some guy on botox overdose say he did —and note that we never get these guys paraded before us, except I guess Moussaoui— so why torture him? Was it partly so others who might be allowed a little closer to the action, but aren’t to be fully informed, would become believers in the overall program? You know, show them a little of this over here, and then some of that over there, and then wink, shrug your shoulders, wave your hands, or just stare at someone provocatively?

  34. Mary says:

    I guess it’s not all that insightful or new, but looking at this thread something that occured to me is that what we said in the lead up to war, over and over, was that Hussein had handed off or trained al Qaeda in nuclear weapons and CBWs. If that’s so, why would we have been torturing using legal enhanced interrogations on people like al-Libi and Zubaydah who couldn’t have known what Hussein did, but not on Hussein?

    He was the guy we were saying put the fuse on the ticking time bomb – why isn’t there an OLC memo on the ability to “enhance” Hussein, with the eyes of the world and our military partners watching, eh, it might have been a little touchier, but if would have been “legal” and who better to know about Bin laden’s CBW training or nuke access etc. than they guy we sold as his partner in crime? But no torture enhanced interrogation for Hussein after we got him. Hmm.

    OT – but I never realized that Binyam Mohamed’s lawyers apparently have a chunk of info on the US employee who took the torture porno nude photographs of Binyam Mohamed after his Moroccan torture.

    From a discovery request that google sent my way when I was looking for something else:…..s-Doc-1032

    The questions in the proposed deposition are carefully tailored to prove the existence of additional evidence that remains undisclosed. 1 Case 1:05-cv-00765-EGS Document 103-2 Filed 10/28/2008 Page 2 of 43 b) “Jane Payne,”is one of two female members of Mr. Mohamed’s rendition crew from Morocco to Kabul, who apparently photographed some of the injuries inflicted on Mr. Mohamed during his abuse in Morocco.

    If Respondent suggests for one moment that he does not know who Jane Payne is, we are happy to furnish her US passport number and her home address (which out of respect for her privacy we have omitted from this pleading) – notwithstanding the fact that “Payne” was working for the government at all times relevant to this case. As Respondent surely knows, “Payne” was one of the people on the plane that rendered Mr. Mohamed from Morocco to Kabul on or about January 21, 2004. If she is honest, she will be able to answer most of the questions necessary to prove Mr. Mohamed’s case. If she is not honest, then Petitioner also knows the names used by the other US personnel on the flight.

    emph added

    No wonder Holder is over in the UK today

    • phred says:

      Yep. I was listening to the BBC World Service this morning and they mentioned Holder’s visit with the usual sort of excuses, but my first thought was this was all about Mohammed’s case. They also said he would be visiting Prague. Huh. What do you bet some old Polish chums happen to stop by, you know just for a few laughs.

      • fatster says:

        Is Victor Ashe–Bush’s appointee, former college pal and once mayor of Knoxville–still US Ambassador to Poland? Yes, that could get very interesting.

      • rosalind says:

        from today’s latimes:

        Poland’s Krystian Zimerman…created a furor Sunday night in his debut at Walt Disney Concert Hall when he announced this would be his last performance in America because of the nation’s military policies overseas.

        Before playing the final work on his recital…Zimerman sat silently at the piano for a moment, almost began to play, but then turned to the audience. In a quiet but angry voice that did not project well, he indicated that he could no longer play in a country whose military wants to control the whole world.

        “Get your hands off of my country,” he said. He also made reference to the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

        • phred says:

          Wow. I like the fact that it wasn’t just the torture he objected to, but the very presumption of our Imperial ambitions. Good for him.

            • phred says:

              Once again rosalind, WOW. Over at Ely’s diary, cinnamonape suggests this story is the one that had Zimerman so angry and I would have to agree. I had no idea that Poland was investigating any of this, and here they’ve been working on it for a year…

              EW, if you happen to look back here, I would just like to point out that near then end of the Der Spiegel article they mention investigations into a secret prison in ROMANIA ; ) I just felt compelled to point that out ; )

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, those crafty Brits. Hope that was just a teaser and they have a whole bushel full more of tricks to whip out on him.

  35. Mary says:

    Same caveats as my 75

    Dec 19 – FBI gets access to al-Libi and reports cooperation using non-enhanced techiniques…..cherAlLibi

    Two FBI agents from New York are tasked with interrogating him. One of the agents, Russell Fincher, spends more than 80 hours with al-Libi discussing religion and prayer in an effort to establish a close bond. It works, and al-Libi opens up to Fincher, giving him information about Zacarias Moussaoui and the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid (see December 22, 2001). [Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 120] But despite this progress, he will soon be transferred to Egypt and tortured there into making some false confessions (see January 2002 and after).

    But the local CIA station chief complains about the FBI questioners for some reason and Tenet has al-Libi pulled from FBI and turned over to CIA.

  36. MrWhy says:

    somewhat OT – broken links in Torture Timeline

    courtTV links have apparently been changed to truTV

    a simple substitution of truTV for courtTV doesn’t work

    a search at truTV for Moussaoui didn’t bring up an obvious candidate

  37. hazmaq says:

    To add to your information collection:

    Interview with Richard Perle

    Interviewer ‘Jamie’ Rubin: “You have friends and colleagues and close collaborators in the Pentagon, the State Department, the vice president’s office, elsewhere. It seems as if the very strongly held view, the so-called hawkish view that you’ve adopted,[to attack Iraq], has not been adopted by the president.

    We’re now ten months since September 11 and there’s still no movement.[To attack Iraq.] How do you feel the balance of views in the administration is shaping up?

    Richard Perle: “Well, I think we’re moving not nearly fast enough, but clearly in the right direction. Bureaucracies are sluggish. And, we had an administration that wasn’t prepared to contemplate military action to remove Saddam. So it was a standing start. Then you had September 11 and the preoccupation in dealing with the immediate crisis. I think things are now moving along in the right direction.”
    (emphasis added)…..erle/1864/

    For a little background, PBS aired an outrageous documentary produced by some English hack, then brought it to Perle(?) and Perle’s friend ‘Jamie’(??) for commentary.

    Richard Perle, in this interview, is saying that Cheney, Perle and Co. had the plans for Iraq ready to go, that Bush was not really in on it, and that 9-11 interrupted their pre-set plans, but because of 9-11, they convinced George W. Bush to go along with them..

    And Cheney from then on, I think, tried to answer to and cover his lying ass – to George W.Bush.

  38. MrWhy says:

    I’ve been wondering why Bush seemed to have abjured torture, while Cheney and others continued its advocacy. Any thoughts?

  39. Mary says:

    From a year ago, the special Washington Monthly issue on No Torture, No Exception


    It included pieces by a number of people, including Cloonan. But the sad to read, makes your head shake, piece is Panetta’s “then” piece compared t his “now” positions.

    • fatster says:

      Actually, Mary, I was stunned at first, followed a while later by sadly shaking my head. Still muttering about it, I am.

  40. cinnamonape says:

    One interesting snippet I got from reviewing the interview with John Kiriakou was this

    “The former intelligence officer says the interrogators activities were carefully directed from Langley, Va., every step of the way.

    “It wasn’t up to individual interrogators to decide, “Well, I’m gonna slap him”. Or “I’m going to shake him.” Or “I’m gonna make him stay up for 48 hours.” Each one of these steps, even though they’re minor steps, like the intention [to] shake–or the openhanded belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the Deputy Director for Operations.

    “[B]efore you laid a hand on him, you had to send in the cable saying, “He’s uncooperative. Request permission to do X.” And that permission would come. “You’re allowed to him one time in the belly with an open hand.”

    So it seems that they had an “open” cable system during these events with the DDO directing them. In addition, Kiriakou claims he never realized that there was taping occurring. Thus there must have been either a hidden camera or a “mirrored booth” for observers. But it’s unlikely that the events were being streamed “live” if the agents had to actually describe events in the cables.

    Kiriakou’s observations were not made during the water boarding sessions, he claims. And he appears to inflate the intelligence obtained from those…citing other CIA agents who were there.

  41. ondelette says:

    Please add November 13th 2001: President Bush declares an “extraordinary emergency”, signing Military Order “Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Noncitizens in the War Against Terrorism”, in which he coins, but does not define, the charge of “enemy combatant”, and establishes for the use of military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay. (source. B. Olshansky, Democracy Detained, pp. 47-48).

  42. scottpot says:

    In response to aeon @ 40 and robspierre @ 98
    My point was that the Al- Qaeda myth was created by Rove and the weak and complicit media.Al-Qaeda was not a national security issue in January 2000.
    Here*s former Atty.General Janet Reno*s testimony{p.269)from the 9/11 Investigations.
    Commissioner Timothy J.Roemer:”Do you recall-and excuse me for pushing you on this-but do you recall mentioning Al-Qaeda,Osama bin Laden,domestic cells of terrorists in the United States to the new attorney general?”
    Reno:”No,I don*t”
    My conclusion to that exchange is the reason for my origanal post @26.I am questioning the plausibility of the existance of the Al-Qaeda that Rove and the media created. The kidnappings,sleeper cells,bio-terror labs,and nukes never existed.If Al-Qaeda is everywhere ,why aren*t there any attacks on the thousands of U.S. interests around the world.They are all soft targets.Why aren* we being poisoned,bombed,run down by hijacked big rigs,sniped at in parking lots?It*s because The Al-Qaeda Brand that Rove and the media rolled out a week after 9/11 never existed . The hype exceeded the capacity to attack.Al-Qaeda would never truly threaten the United States.
    The threat posed by Al-Qaeda was exagerated.The frightened and gullible public bought the story.It was a myth. The myth that still controls American minds.

  43. lysias says:

    Wayne Madsen has claimed that, when Cheney visited Auschwitz for the 60th anniversary of its liberation in Jan. 2005, he made a side trip to that secret CIA prison in Poland. I wonder if he witnessed any torture.

  44. lysias says:

    When Rumsfeld made that comment about “Old” and “New Europe,” had the secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania already opened?

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