Hassan Ghul, Mystery Detainee 2, and the Three Bradbury Memos

Update, March 12, 2015: We know from the Senate Torture Report that the Techniques memo was about Janat Gul, not Hassan Ghul. 

Since the Comey emails have come out, I’ve been trying to puzzle through why the Bush Administration issued three memos in May 2005–Techniques, Combined, and CAT–rather than just one or two. I guess I sort of understand doing a separate memo on whether the torture program complies with the Convention Against Torture, since that was largely written to placate Congress and ought to have (but did not) involve a more sensitive analysis. But since all the techniques are used in combination, why not join the analysis of Techniques and Combined?

This is to an extent a wildarsed guess. But I think they did three memos to hide the analysis and authorization of a particular detainee’s treatment. And I think that detainee was waterboarded.

Two Detainees

It has long been established that Hassan Ghul is discussed in these memos. Dafna Linzer reported on it the day the memos came out (and someone here MadDog also noted it about the same time–gold star to MadDog!!).

But the May 30 CAT memo actually mentions two detainees.

We understand that two individuals, [redacted across two pages] are representative of the high value detainees on whom enhanced techniques have been, or might be, used.

I’ll come back to this passage, but for the moment, understand that by the end of May 2005, Bradbury was ready to at least name two detainees in his memo.

The “Techniques” Memo Is about Ghul

I’m not 100% certain, but I believe that the May 10 Techniques memo is–at least ostensibly–exclusively about Ghul. The title of the memo uses the singular–Detainee. And the memo describes the detainee by name (the name is redacted, but it appears to be an appropriate length to spell “Hassan Gul”–CIA spelled “Ghul” without an “h”).

You asked for our advice concerning these interrogation techniques in connection with their use on a specific high value al Qaeda detainee named [redacted]. You informed us that the [redacted] and information about al Qaeda’s plans to launch an attack within the United Staes. According to [redacted] had extensive connections to various al Qaeda leaders, members of the Taliban, and the al-Zarqawi network, and had arranged meetings between an associate and [redacted] to discuss such an attack. August 25 [redacted] Letter at 2-3. You advised us that medical and psychological assessments [redacted] were completed by a CIA physician and psychologist, and that based on this examination, the physician concluded “[redacted] medical stable and has not medical contraindications to interrogation, including the use of interrogation techniques” addressed in this memorandum.

So by all appearances, the Techniques memo uses the interrogation of Ghul to reapprove all the techniques used by the CIA, thereby replacing Bybee Two.

The New Techniques Described in Techniques Were Used with Ghul

The reason they had to write a memo that applied specifically to Ghul (aside from the desire to replace Bybee Two), it appears, is that they used at least one significant new technique on Ghul. The CAT memo tells us that in an August 25, 2004 memo to Daniel Levin, CIA sought authorization to use dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap with Ghul (and this is the passage in which Ghul’s name was not redacted, so we can be sure it pertains to Ghul).

For example, after medical and psychological examinations found no contraindications, [redacted]’s interrogation team sought and obtained approval to use the following techniques: attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap, wall standing, stress positions, and sleep deprivation. See August 25 [redacted] Letter at 2. The interrogation team “carefully analyzed Gul’s responsiveness to different areas of inquiry” during this time and noted that his resistance increased as questioning moved to his “knowledge of operational terrorist activities.” [redacted] feigned memory problems (which CIA psychologists ruled out through intelligence and memory tests) in order to avoid answering questions.

At that point, the interrogation team believed [redacted] “maintains a tough, Mujahidin fighter mentality and has conditioned himself for a physical interrogation.” Id. The team therefore concluded that “more subtle interrogation measures designed more to weaken [redacted] physical ability and mental desire to resist interrogation over the long run are likely to be more effective.” Id. For these reasons, the team sought authorization to use dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap. Id. at 4-5. In the team’s view, adding these techniques would be especially helpful [redacted] because he appeared to have a particular weakness for food and also seemed especially modest. See id. at 4.

If you compare the list of ten techniques approved by the Bybee Two memo with the thirteen techniques approved in the Techniques memo, the insect in closed space dropped off and four new techniques got added: dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap, precisely those techniques requested on August 25, 2004.

One more detail supports the notion that the Techniques memo was about Ghul. In the section on nudity, it describes the technique as being particularly useful with those perceived to be “modest.”

Nudity. This technique is used to cause psychological discomfort, particularly if a detainee, for cultural or other reasons, is especially modest.

This seems to be a reference to the modesty attributed to Ghul in the CAT memo.

The August 25, 2004 Levin Authorization and the August 2 Rizzo Letter Pertain to Ghul

This provides us with two important markers with regards to Ghul’s torture. Both the August 25, 2004 request from Levin for authorization to use these techniques and the August 2, 2004 Rizzo Letter to Levin pertained to Ghul.

We know the August 25 memo pertains to Ghul because the CAT memo cites it specifically as the document that requested to use–among other things–the water dousing.

And assuming I’m correct that the Techniques memo discusses Ghul, we can surmise that the August 2 Rizzo Letter also pertained to Ghul. That’s because the Techniques memo cites a description of Ghul’s medical assessment that was attached to the August 2 Rizzo Letter.

The medical examination reported [redacted] was obese, and that he reported a “5-6 year history of non-exertional chest pressures, which are intermittent, at times accompanied by nausea and depression and shortness of breath.” Medical and Psychological Assessment of [redacted] at 1, attached to August 2 Rizzo Letter. [redacted] he has never consulted a physician for this problem,” and was “unable or unwilling to be more specific about the frequency or intensity of the aforementioned symptoms.” Id. He also reported suffering “long-term medical and mental problems” from a motor vehicle accident “many years ago,” and stated that he took medication as a result of that accident until ten years ago. Id. He stated that he was not currently taking any medication. He also reported seeing a physician for kidney problems that caused him to urinate frequently and complained of a toothache. Id. The medical examination [redacted] showed a rash on his chest and shoulders and that “his nose and chest were clear, [and] his heart sounds were normal with no murmurs or gallops.” Id. The physician opined [redacted] “likely has some reflux esophagitis and mild cheek folliculitis, but doubt[ed] that he has any coronary pathology.” Id.

This fleshes out the interrogation process described in the CAT memo. On August 2, Rizzo sought authorization for a number of techniques (and included Ghul’s medical evaluation with that Letter). Several weeks later, after the interrogators weren’t getting the information they wanted, they asked Levin to use new techniques, including water dousing.

The August 19 Letter

Interestingly, in addition to the August 2 Rizzo Letter and the August 25 Levin Authorization, there was an August 19 Letter to Daniel Levin (as well as an earlier July 30 Letter that is not cited in any interesting way), from the same Associate General Counsel of CIA that wrote the August 25 Letter. That August 19 letter appears to relate exclusively to waterboarding.

Now it may be that this August 19 memo was just part of OLC’s efforts to work through the repercussions of Jack Goldsmith having withdrawn the Bybee One memo and having placed some limits on waterboarding. After all, most of the citations from the August 19 Letter lay out the faux scientific guidelines for waterboarding that add limits that didn’t exist in Bybee Two: two sessions a day, two hours each, six applications of water for 10 seconds or more, no more than 40 seconds.

But I don’t think so. I think–but am not sure–that the August 19 Letter was an attempt to get Levin to approve the use of waterboarding with Ghul.

I say that, first of all, because the August 2 Rizzo letter–the one to which Ghul’s medical and psychological assessment was attached–also discussed waterboarding.

You have explained that the waterboard technique is used only if: (1) the CIA has credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent; (2) there are “substantial and credible indicators the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt, or delay this attack”; and (3) other interrogation methods have failed or are unlikely to yield actionable intelligence in time to prevent the attack.

Now, keeping in mind that this description of using waterboarding was attached to the same letter, look at the language from Ghul’s medical assessment.

The physician opined [redacted] “likely has some reflux esophagitis and mild cheek folliculitis, but doubt[ed] that he has any coronary pathology.”

This sounds like the language of someone dismissing concerns about a heart problem so that torture could be approved.

There’s one other reason to believe that August 19 is not just general, but was a direct request to use waterboarding with Ghul. We know that Levin approved waterboarding with limitations on August 6.

On July 22, 2004, the Attorney General confirmed in writing to the Acting Director of Central Intelligence that the use of the interrogation techniques addressed by the August 1, 2002, classified opinion, other than waterboarding, would not violate the U.S. Constitution or any statute or treaty obligation of the United States, including Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture. On August 6, 2004, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for OLC advised in writing that, subject to the CIA’s proposed limitations, conditions and safeguards, the CIA’s use of waterboarding would not violate any of those legal restrictions.

It’s possible that the August 19 Letter was just a response to this authorization–an attempt to fill out the safeguards demanded by Levin. But it seems like there would be no need to revisit waterboarding after Levin’s approval unless someone wanted to use it. And giving the timing–several weeks into the one month of intensive interrogation with Ghul–it seems likely that request was to use waterboarding with Ghul.

They Didn’t Waterboard Ghul for Medical Reasons–So They Water Doused Him Instead

Ultimately, at least according to Techniques, they didn’t waterboard Ghul. A footnote in the Techniques memo states that there was a medical contraindication.

20 You have advised us that the waterboard has not been used [redacted]. We understand that there may have been medical reasons against using that technique in his case. Of course, our advice assumes that the waterboard could be used only in the absence of medical contraindications.

And the memo itself reveals that the Counterterrorism Center never approved waterboarding for Ghul.

Prior written approval “from the Director, DCI Counterterrorist Center, with the concurrence of the Chief, CTC Legal Group,” is required for the use of any enhanced interrogation techniques. … We understand that, as to the detainee here, this written approval has been given for each of the techniques we discuss, except the waterboard.

It appears that–either because Levin wouldn’t approve waterboarding with Ghul, because the doctor wouldn’t, or because CTC wouldn’t–they decided to come up with those new techniques: dietary manipulation, nudity, abdominal slap, and–most interestingly–water dousing.

The Techniques memo describes water dousing in similarly faux scientific terms as it does waterboarding: you can use 41 degree water for 20 minutes, 50 degree water for 40 minutes, or 59 degree water for 60 minutes. They claim the water never enters the detainee’s mouth or nose–so at least in theory, this is not controlled drowning. Given all the discussion of hypothermia, it appears that this is instead controlled freezing.

So that appears to be what happened to Ghul: they used this water dousing based on oral authorization from Daniel Levin in August, and insisted on getting an OLC memo to approve the new techniques in May 2005.

The Combined Memo Pertains to Detainee 2

All of which leads me to believe that the May 10, 2005 Combined memo pertains to Detainee 2, the other Detainee mentioned in the CAT memo–and that the memo was designed to authorize that Detainee’s waterboarding, which is still being covered up.

Now, to be sure, the Combined memo pretends to be about multiple detainees, as indicated by its title, which uses “detainees” in the plural. And there are a number of aspects of the “Prototypical Interrogation” that appear to describe Ghul’s interrogation, particularly the abdominal slaps and the repeated water dousing.

But it’s clear that the ultimate point of the memo is to approve waterboarding, to be used in conjunction with dietary manipulation and sleep deprivation. And the memo relies not on the August 19, 2004 Letter to Levin (though it does cite it for the faux scientific limits on waterboarding), but on the April 22, 2005 fax written in the middle of the OLC memo drafting process.

Now, aside from the Techniques memo’s claim that Ghul was not waterboarded and the seeming substitution of water dousing for waterboarding, I think the Combination memo deals primarily with the other detainee because of the way they refused to describe his torture. Recall that the Alberto Gonzales and his COS refused to make the Combined memo specific to one detainee.

I just finished a long call from Ted Ullyot. He said he was calling to tell me that “circumstances” were likely to require that the second opinion “be sent over tomorrow.” He said Pat had shared my concerns, which he understood to be concerns about the prospective nature of the opinion and its focus on “prototypical” interrogation.

[snip]

He mentioned at one point that OLC didn’t feel like it could accede to my request to make the opinion focused on one person because they don’t give retrospective advice. I said I understood that, but that the treatment of that person had been the subject of oral advice, which OLC would simply be confirming in writing, something they do quite often.

The excuse Ullyot gave Comey looks even more bogus when you consider that the Techniques memo–issued on the same day as the Combined memo–explicitly ties its analysis to Ghul. And the Combined memo even admits, sort of, how unusual it was to write a general memo like this, not tied to any particular individual.

Finally, in both of our previous opinions about specific techniques, we evaluated the use of those techniques on particular identified individuals. Here, we are asked to address the combinations without reference to any particular detainee. As is relevant here, we know only that an enhanced interrogation technique, such as most of the techniques at issue in Techniques, may be used on a detainee only if medical and psychological personnel have determined that he is not likely, as a result, to experience severe physical or mental pain or suffering. Techniques at 5. Once again, whether or not detainees would, in the relevant ways, be like the ones previously at issue would be a factual question we cannot now decide.

In other words, OLC was doing something very unusual in writing the opinion so abstractly–and even admitted as much in its body (though the admission may have been a response to Comey’s objections).

Given the explicit detail they give of Ghul’s interrogation in the other two memos (particularly CAT), I don’t think he can be the detainee in question (unless the details they give elsewhere are blatant lies).

The CAT Memo Mentions–But Doesn’t Describe–Detainee 2

The silence about Detainee 2 may also extend to the CAT memo, even though it mentions him explicitly. Take the passage where the memo describes Ghul and Detainee 2 as the sort of people who get tortured.

We understand that two individuals, [redacted across two pages] are representative of the high value detainees on whom enhanced techniques have been, or might be, used. On [redacted] the CIA took custody of [redacted], whom the CIA believed had actionable intelligence concerning the pre-election threat to the United States. See Letter from [redacted,] Associate General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, to Daniel Levin, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel at 2 (Aug. 25, 2004) (“August 25 [redacted] Letter“). [Redacted] extensive connections to various al Qaeda leaders, members of the Taliban, and the al-Zarqawi network, and intelligence indicated [redacted] arranged a … meeting between [redacted] and [redacted] at which elements of the pre-election threat were discussed.” Id. at 2-3; see also Undated CIA Memo, [redacted].

Intelligence indicated that prior to his capture, [redacted] “perform[ed] critical facilitation and finance activities for al-Qa’ida,” including “transporting people, funds, and documents.” Fax for Jack Goldsmith, III, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from [redacted] Assistant General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency (March 12, 2004). The CIA also suspected [redacted] played an active part in planning attacks against United States forces [redacted] had extensive contacts with key members of al Qaeda, including, prior to their captures, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (“KSM”) and Abu Zubaydah. See id. [redacted] was captured while on a mission from [redacted] to restablish contact with al-Zarqawi. See CIA Directorate of Intelligence, US Efforts Grinding Down al-Qa’ida 2 (Feb 21, 2004).

Reading it with all the redactions (it’s on page 6 of the CAT memo), it appears that the first paragraph (using parallel structure) ought to describe Detainee 2, while the second paragraph ought to describe Ghul. Except that the description in the first paragraph–particularly its mention of the detainee arranging a meeting to plan an attack, and its reference to al Qaeda, Taliban, and Zarqawi ties–matches the description of Ghul from the Techniques memo.

You asked for our advice concerning these interrogation techniques in connection with their use on a specific high value al Qaeda detainee named [redacted]. You informed us that the [redacted] and information about al Qaeda’s plans to launch an attack within the United Staes. According to [redacted] had extensive connections to various al Qaeda leaders, members of the Taliban, and the al-Zarqawi network, and had arranged meetings between an associate and [redacted] to discuss such an attack. August 25 [redacted] Letter at 2-3.

In addition, that first paragraph cites the August 25 memo, which we know asks for authorization to water douse Ghul. In other words, after introducing two “typical” detainees on whom torture can be used, they go on to describe just one at length–Ghul. Later in the memo, as we have seen, Bradbury describes the interrogation used with Ghul and the request to use water dousing, but he once again does not do the same for Detainee 2.

Somebody’s Lying

This theory is all very neat–except it means somebody is lying, either to Comey, or in the CAT memo.

From Comey’s emails, it appears that he believed that the Combined memo pertained to torture that had already occurred.

He mentioned at one point that OLC didn’t feel like it could accede to my request to make the opinion focused on one person because they don’t give retrospective advice. I said I understood that, but that the treatment of that person had been the subject of oral advice, which OLC would simply be confirming in writing, something they do quite often. [my emphasis]

And he suggests he can make the memo right by doing some fact gathering.

I told [Pat Philbin] to go back to [Bradbury and Ted Ullyot] and reiterate … the fact that I would oppose any opinion that was not significantly reshaped (which would involve fact gathering that we could not complete by Friday).

I always took that to mean he would figure out what had happened to the detainee in question, and make the memo specific to that detainee.

But the CAT memo twice claims that waterboarding had only been used three times.

Consistent with its heightened standard for use of the waterboard, the CIA has used this technique in the interrogations of only three detainees to date (KSM, Zubaydah, and ‘Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri) and has not used it since the March 2003 interrogation of KSM. See Letter from Scott W. Muller, General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, to Jack L. Goldsmith III, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel at 1 (June 14, 2004).

[snip]

Once again, the CIA’s practice confirms the program’s selectivity. CIA interrogators have used the waterboard only on three detainees to date–KSM, Zubaydah, and Al-Nashiri–and have not used it since March 2003.

Now, if Detainee 2 had already been waterboarded, then these two claims would be patently false. Then again, it is possible that Detainee was about to be waterboarded in May 2005. This would explain why the Combined Memo read like it was prospectively authorizing waterboarding–because it would have been. And it would explain the extensive references to Abu Zubaydah and KSM in the CAT memo–because Bradbury needed to make sure waterboarding was included in his analysis. And it would provide a more plausible explanation for Addington and Cheney’s rush than the one they gave–that they were “getting killed on the Hill.”

But if it’s true that this was all an elaborate ruse to authorize waterboarding Detainee 2, then someone gave Comey a totally false understanding of what or who the Combined memo pertained to. However, since Techniques–authorized on the same day as the Combined memo–authorized techniques used on Ghul pursuant to a verbal authorization which we know were used in combination, it wouldn’t have been too hard to lie to Comey and pretend the Combined memo pertained exclusively to Ghul. And that would sure explain why Addington and Cheney didn’t want to give Comey any time to do any fact gathering, because then he might expose the ruse.

Like I said–some of this is a wildarsed guess, though much of it seems to be supported by the memos. But it might explain why there was so much pressure surrounding these three memos in 2005.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

142 replies
  1. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I’m curious about the fixation on authorization for individual detainee’s treatment. (Not yours, the governments.)

    Except for individual court judgments (the province of another branch) and agency decisions, virtually all legislation, rules and regulations are programmatic. They apply to all like-situated individuals. They define permitted and prohibited conduct, the liability one incurs for going outside those bounds, and the presumption (not the inevitability) that one will not be liable for behavior that stays within them.

    Here, the government seems to obsess over excruciating detail, in effect, to “back describe” behavior with the intention that it be deemed not punishable.

    Among other things, that means it knew it was illegal and punishable when committed, and that it has lied about it ever since. The government attempts to absolve all involved, in and outside government, but especially its senior most echelon. It absolves a version of behavior already committed, then counts on a variation of “shit happens” to excuse known excesses beyond the gross behavior it admits. Behavior it goes to such extents to hide that it must be more atrocious than any non-authoritarian state’s legal or political system could tolerate.

    And here we have Barack Obama, one of Harvard Law’s best and brightest in half a century, still hushing it all up. And Democrats thought ill of Dick Nixon for keeping the Vietnam war going so he could win re-election in 1972. Even when he admits his predecessor was wrong, he send its victims to Pacific islands so remote, not even Jack Abramoff would have them as clients.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, and if we’ve got opinions tied to Abu Zubaydah and–I argue–Ghul and Detainee 2, then what of Nashiri and Mohammed and all the others?

      While arguably the Zubaydah opinion encompasses everything we know was done to those two, it does suggest (as I think you’re suggesting) they only get approval when they’ve broken new ground or experienced a setback. It is itself admission that everything changed with the IG Report (and, admittedly, Goldsmith’s withdrawal of bybee One).

  2. pmorlan says:

    Marcy, maybe you should send a copy of your post to Comey and ask him if he thinks he was lied to about this. Who knows, maybe he can give even more info on this series of memos.

  3. MadDog says:

    …(and someone here also noted it about the same time).

    That would be me! I take credit! Does that mean I get a gold star on my forehead? *g*

      • MadDog says:

        How many gold stars do I need to qualify for the free kazoo? *g*

        Seriously EW, I do think you are really onto something signficant here with the hypothesis that there is another mystery detainee who was waterboarded.

        I would also note that a couple of possibilities that conforms to the idea of another waterboarded detainee, as well as allowing the CIA to state this as truthful:

        …Consistent with its heightened standard for use of the waterboard, the CIA has used this technique in the interrogations of only three detainees to date (KSM, Zubaydah, and ‘Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri) and has not used it since the March 2003 interrogation of KSM…

        1. Waterboarding on detainees done by DOD personnel/contractors such as Special Forces folks (Operation Copper Green description by Seymour Hersh back in May 2004) and/or DIA folks who were/are the responsible organization for HUMINT acquisition within DOD:

        …Rumsfeld reacted in his usual direct fashion: he authorized the establishment of a highly secret program that was given blanket advance approval to kill or capture and, if possible, interrogate “high value” targets in the Bush Administration’s war on terror. A special-access program, or sap—subject to the Defense Department’s most stringent level of security—was set up, with an office in a secure area of the Pentagon. The program would recruit operatives and acquire the necessary equipment, including aircraft, and would keep its activities under wraps…

        …In theory, the operation enabled the Bush Administration to respond immediately to time-sensitive intelligence: commandos crossed borders without visas and could interrogate terrorism suspects deemed too important for transfer to the military’s facilities at Guantánamo, Cuba. They carried out instant interrogations—using force if necessary—at secret C.I.A. detention centers scattered around the world. The intelligence would be relayed to the sap command center in the Pentagon in real time, and sifted for those pieces of information critical to the “white,” or overt, world…

        …In mid-2003, the special-access program was regarded in the Pentagon as one of the success stories of the war on terror. “It was an active program,” the former intelligence official told me. “It’s been the most important capability we have for dealing with an imminent threat. If we discover where Osama bin Laden is, we can get him. And we can remove an existing threat with a real capability to hit the United States—and do so without visibility.” Some of its methods were troubling and could not bear close scrutiny, however…

        …By fall, according to the former intelligence official, the senior leadership of the C.I.A. had had enough. “They said, ‘No way. We signed up for the core program in Afghanistan—pre-approved for operations against high-value terrorist targets—and now you want to use it for cabdrivers, brothers-in-law, and people pulled off the streets’ ”—the sort of prisoners who populate the Iraqi jails. “The C.I.A.’s legal people objected,” and the agency ended its sap involvement in Abu Ghraib, the former official said.

        The C.I.A.’s complaints were echoed throughout the intelligence community. There was fear that the situation at Abu Ghraib would lead to the exposure of the secret sap, and thereby bring an end to what had been, before Iraq, a valuable cover operation. “This was stupidity,” a government consultant told me. “You’re taking a program that was operating in the chaos of Afghanistan against Al Qaeda, a stateless terror group, and bringing it into a structured, traditional war zone. Sooner or later, the commandos would bump into the legal and moral procedures of a conventional war with an Army of a hundred and thirty-five thousand soldiers…”

        (My Bold)

        2. Waterboarding on detainees done by an “ally”. Perhaps an “ally” such as the Australian or British Special Forces who formed part of Task Force Hatchet in Afghanistan:

        From the book The Interrogators by Chris Mackey:

        …In The Interrogators, Chris Mackey (a pseudonym), who as a reservist in a military intelligence unit served as an interrogator in Afghanistan, wrote that in the early days of the war in Afghanistan violations of the Geneva Conventions, such as putting prisoners in “stress positions” were quickly stopped by supervisory officers. By February 2002, however, military intelligence in Afghanistan received “a barrage of new collection priorities.” Most had to do with the exodus of so-called “foreign fighters” (mostly Arabs) from Afghanistan. Interest focused on what Mackey called “the craggy porous border” with Afghanistan.

        Although their precise charter is not clear, teams similar to Task Force 121 had been operating in Afghanistan at least since 2002. Mackey referred to a “team of Rangers and special operators conducting raids across Afghanistan in search of leadership figures, including bin Laden” as “Task Force Hatchet” And it was from Task Force Hatchet that, according to Mackey, coercive interrogation techniques that went beyond standard military intelligence training and the Geneva Conventions were introduced in Afghanistan. Sleep deprivation was the first such technique to be applied…

        • emptywheel says:

          Also, there’s the possibility that CIA never told Bradbury for sure this was for waterboarding (unlikely, but possible). What I love best is that he uses a 2004 document to say waterboarding was only used 3 times. Which would leave open a full year for waterboarding to occur–so why not get a new certification from the CIA?

          Like I said, I don’t think that’s the case, but it’s one possibility.

          One more thing: the waterboarding theory would explain why the NYT’s source on Comey’s emails focused on their “approval” of waterboarding. BC if it comes out in the OPR report that this was really abotu waterboarding, then they’re going to want to say it was not an unreasonable position.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Techniques memo describes water dousing in similarly faux scientific terms as it does waterboarding: you can use 41 degree water for 20 minutes, 50 degree water for 40 minutes, or 59 degree water for 60 minutes. They claim the water never enters the detainee’s mouth or nose–so at least in theory, this is not controlled drowing [sic]. Given all the discussion of hypothermia, it appears that this is instead controlled freezing.

    If they’re using water, but it’s prevented from entering the nose and mouth, presumably nothing else can enter either, including air. So in addition to “controlled” hypothermia — which Nazi doctors used extensively on concentration camp prisoners to learn more about how to help German troops survive Russian winters — water dousing may have involved suffocation. It would result in similar pain and panic, though not as intense, so I understand, as when it also involves water.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This sounds like the language of someone dismissing concerns about a heart problem so that torture could be approved.

    Indeed it does, as well as indicate that the immediate physical damage to the victim’s airways is less likely to have obvious longlasting physical effects.

    The best torture in a democracy is one that leaves no marks, including the death of the victim. But I understand that prolonged stress of this magnitude can permanently degrade the heart and lungs, leaving the patient susceptible to later, life-threatening problems. An example would be greater susceptibility to TB and pneumonia or heart ailments.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree with the perception that isolating authorizations by dividing them among multiple memoranda would be a routine way to hide from an executive or her counsel exactly what was being authorized (in breadth or depth), and to make later discovery of its true extent by internal or external investigators far more problematic.

    • emptywheel says:

      I also wonder–though I didn’t say it in my post–whether the CAT opinion was designed to be “clean” so it could be shown to Congress. If I am not mistaken, it does not mention the April 22 fax, for example, nor many of the earlier documents which were clues to me of what went on. So you write two memos that have all the revealing cites, then a third memo that cites back to those two earlier memos.

      So there would be two pressures. The pressure to get Congress that “clean” memo that proves you’ve considered their concerns about CAT (though, it appears from the SSCI memo that they didn’t see this until 2007 or 2008, at which point they probably lost their shit seeing the way Bradbury dismisses the 8th Amendment after they had pressed for consideration of it for a year). But also the pressure to get the two underlying memos done to make a clean memo possible.

      • emptywheel says:

        One more point about “clean” memos.

        Using Ghul (if he was in fact not waterboarded) gives you some reason to revisit Bybee Two (the water dousing) yet be able to say, “waterboarding is just in here to cover KSM’s torturer, we’re not actually going to use it!), while then pretending to have reviewed it.

        So it’s a way to reauthorize waterboarding (either retroatively or prospectively for Detainee 2) without seeming like you need to.

  7. emptywheel says:

    eoh

    Thanks for the correct. I must have about 100 typos in this one–I was pretty distracted trying to pull this all together.

    It’s really worth reading that bit on the water dousing (which is why I focused on it more than the stomach slap–which is just more organized beating, IMO–and the dietary manipulation–which must have been pretty bad with Ghul if they felt the need to write it into a memo after having been doing it for years). They note that the SERE technique was full submission in even colder water. The CAT memo describes hosing someone down–I keep thinking of police using fire hoses. But it does seem like dousing is a lot more about hypothermia than they let on.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Oh, even God can’t hit a one iron. If I were a keystroke logger on your computer, I’ve have burnt out long ago. Thanks for all your hard work; it’s my principal news, though Jon Stewart, so far, is funnier.

    • Garrett says:

      The CAT memo describes hosing someone down–I keep thinking of police using fire hoses. But it does seem like dousing is a lot more about hypothermia than they let on.

      A short history of the use of fire hoses (and cold showers) here. The book stresses the distinction of leave no marks methods, used wherever there is some chance of legal remedy or exposure, and the methods used in more totalitarian nations, where they need not bother.

      I also see, in liberal democratic torture, some tendency to provide the practitioners with defense mechanisms about it. All the rules and regulations, so it’s OK. Or that they can joke about it: a firehose would just be “cleaning the detainees cell.” For his benefit. I suspect that the large set of cables with “atmospherics,” perhaps aimed at a non-CIA audience of higherups, might have lots of jokes and encoded language like this.

      Long cold showers were a standard technique at Abu Ghraib. Steve Stefanowicz, a contractor interrogator who worked closely with OGA, was a fan of it, and used the “detainee has hygiene problems” defense in getting the MPs to go along.

      By photo date, this guy is perhaps an OGA rather than MI prisoner. A couple days before Saddam was captured, and leave no marks was not entirely in effect.

      It’s suggestive rather than demonstrable, but I’m trying to say that techniques sometimes filtered up from AG to war on terror prisoners, not only down. Hassan Ghul, overweight and given the nakedness treatment: By the time he showed up in the system, field-manual-approved Pride and Ego Down exploitation of things like obesity had been developed to a pretty high art.

    • phred says:

      The CAT memo describes hosing someone down–I keep thinking of police using fire hoses. But it does seem like dousing is a lot more about hypothermia than they let on.

      I was just about to ask about “dousing” when I saw your comment on this. So it looks like they get a two-fer using the fire-hose approach rather than submersion: you get to physically beat up on someone (due to the pressure of the water coming out of the hose) while simultaneously causing serious pain from the cold temperature of the water. These guys thought of everything didn’t they?

      I agree EW, this kind of dousing has nothing to do with drowning and everything to do with freezing.

      • acquarius74 says:

        phred, re the “fire hoses = freezing” in your comment here:

        Here is a Human Watch Report of interviews with interrogators who were ‘uncomfortable/disgusted’ with abuse at Camp Nama. The soldier interviewed here is Jeff Perry:

        Jeff also saw several more severe interrogations that took place outside the main facility in the courtyard, including one that took place soon after he arrived at Nama, involving a detainee who was linked to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian insurgent leader who was later killed by a U.S. air strike, in June 2006:

        He was kind of a financier of Zarqawi, or one of them from the beginning. He was caught and he didn’t want to talk and say anything. I had no part in this interrogation, I was just observing. In fact, it was shortly after I got there, so I was observing this and a few other interrogations at the same time. Whenever I went in, there was a kind of courtyard in between what was next to the soft room and the other side of the main office, but no roof, in the middle of this building. There was kind of a garden-like area with dirt and mud and a hose out there.

        He was stripped naked, put in the mud and sprayed with the hose, with very cold hoses, in February. At night it was very cold. They sprayed the cold hose and he was completely naked in the mud, you know, and everything. [Then] he was taken out of the mud and put next to an air conditioner. It was extremely cold, freezing, and he was put back in the mud and sprayed.

        This happened all night. Everybody knew about it. People walked in, the sergeant major and so forth, everybody knew what was going on, and I was just one of them, kind of walking back and forth seeing [that] this is how they do things.

        [I haven’t checked the time frame, but could this have been Detainee 2?]

        Soft words to tell of this means of “temperature manipulation”.

        This entire report is well worth study. I note that Gen’l. Stanley McCrystal was commander of Camp Nama and its outlying posts. He with his favorites are now in command of the Afghanistan war, and the Special Ops Forces are to be increased by 2000 men which brings the total to 5000. God help the poor Afghanis who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        Anyone is dreaming who thinks the Muslim grapevine can’t tell the difference in what Obama is saying and what he is doing.

        • acquarius74 says:

          I left off the date of Jeff Perry’s time as interrogator in Camp Nama; it was the last half of 2004.

        • acquarius74 says:

          including one that took place soon after he arrived at Nama, involving a detainee who was linked to Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian insurgent leader who was later killed by a U.S. air strike, in June 2006:

          He was kind of a financier of Zarqawi, or one of them from the beginning. He was caught and he didn’t want to talk and say anything. I had no part in this interrogation, I was just observing. In fact, it was shortly after I got there,

          Jeff Perry was an interrogator with the Special Task Force at Camp Name the last half of 2004. He observed this “shortly after I got there” (June,July,August?)

          I don’t see how a human being could survive this all-night hosing down with cold water, naked, thrown in the mud puddle, then put in front of an air conditioner. The detainee was some sort of a financier for Zarqawi (fits Detainee 2). He probably died, thus refs drop from 3 to 2 detainees. They wanted Comey to retrospectively approve the dousing, etc. Thus Comey would be the scapegoat for the murder of Detainee 2… ???(My brand of wildarse guessing).

        • acquarius74 says:

          Correction to my @131: Jeff Perry was at Camp Nama the first half of 2004 not the last half. He tells that this mud-and-hose torture session happened in February [2004].

          Sorry for the mistake.

  8. tjbs says:

    Is water dousing using plastic wrap rather than a cloth over your mouth when they turn the hose from the spigot?
    Missing in the parameters are GMP and allowable pressure.
    These seem like medical experiments from another era.

    OT sorta: Check out the National Religious Conference Against Torture Thursday’s Rally across from the White House @ .(www.flickr.com/photos/nrcat) You can see my sign, for those who think torture is treason, on page one, row four center.
    Peace for now.

  9. drational says:

    The person largely missing from these memos is al-Nashiri. You (and I) have previously speculated that he had some sort of bad outcome while waterboarded. We know that Comey had a unique problem with combination EITs based upon a past case. I assume this means there was some experience with waterboarding in combination that he knew about and his objection to the combination memo was ignoring the specific in favor of abstraction.

    In your prior thread, I outlined a possible medical situation in which edema from stress positions combined with waterboarding could lead to a serious and painful complication; I wonder whether the Comey objection is based upon knowledge of specific bad outcome with al-Nashiri that is not explicitly precluded in the Combination memo abstraction.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m not sure we know why Comey opposed Combined, at all.

      EVERY use of waterboarding has been Combined. Yet Comey at least appears to have approved of the Techniques memo (though I have my doubts about whether he had the memo in hand). So it’s not clear at all that his opposition was to the use of combined techniques. And it’s pretty certain he was not talking about al-Nashiri here. The whole point of this memo was to approve something that happened after the IG Report/withdrawal of Bybee One/restriction on Bybee Two in 2004.

      Mary has said–and I certainly agreed before I did this analysis–that Comey objected to Combined going forward because it effectively authorized waterboarding, and it does do that. (Obviously, since waterboarding has to be used with diet manipulation, it can only be legal going forward if it is used Combined). I still think that’s a part of Comey’s objection–basically that he was losing a pragmatic attempt at making waterboarding legal going forward.

      But I also wonder whether he had a suspicion this was a big ruse, in which case he’d oppose it because the OLC memo was fundamentally a big fakeout.

      In other words, I’m fairly certain we don’t know why Comey opposed Combined, and the stuff that I’ve got in this thread makes it clear there are a lot of potential reasons why.

      • drational says:

        I don’t understand why you assume these memos were written to cover only the time period after the IG Report/withdrawal of Bybee One/restriction on Bybee Two in 2004. Didn’t they also need to cover everything that happened from the program initiation, since the actions were far outside what was approved in the initial Bybee memos? At least they needed new memos that did not explicitly make their prior actions illegal….

        If there was a specific bad outcome from waterboarding, then to write memos about combined use without specifically addressing the past event (as they appeared to do in techniques with tracheotomy, and all the bits about medical exams) then they risk serious questions in 2005 about their good faith efforts to draft opinions.

        I’m also having a hard time imagining a secret 4th waterboarded detainee. Philbin and Comey are trying to get the combo memo to deal with a retrospect. It’s hard for me to see how he could concur with the premise of only 3 waterboardees in the Techniques memo yet hold the combined memo for inclusion of a 4th waterboarded detainee.

        As to the issue of prior oral approval. The prior combined use outside of Bybee guidelines would presumably be covered by oral approval since there are no ensuing memos. Or am I wrong?

        • emptywheel says:

          First, we know AZ’s and KSM’s torture was outside guidelines–starting with the amount of water used and the amount of time used. But that’s not in the memo. So we know they weren’t going back to make everything pre-2004 right.

          Next:

          Philbin and Comey are trying to get the combo memo to deal with a retrospect. It’s hard for me to see how he could concur with the premise of only 3 waterboardees in the Techniques memo yet hold the combined memo for inclusion of a 4th waterboarded detainee.

          First, this is not Philbin and Comey getting the memo. It’s CIA getting the memo (and Comey’s emails make that explicit)–it may have been CIA trying to get Combined in response to the IG Report–though I’m not sure I buy that since IG Report doesn’t show up in Combined. Second, my previous stance (and Mary’s, if I’m not misrepresenting her argument) is that the objection to Combined was about objection to ANY MORE waterboarding at all. The perception–correct or not–that Techniques was meant to replace Bybee Two and that it had to not rule out anything Bybee Two said was legal. So you’ve got to include waterboarding. But under the old pragmatic theory, if you rule that waterboarding CAN’T be used combined with anything else, it effectively makes waterboarding impossible (bc we know it had to be combined, at least, with dietary manipulation).

          But you’re also assuming that Comey knew precisely what Combined was for. I think it’s fairly safe to say one of the reasons why Cheney didn’t want any delays was to prevent Comey from doing the fact finding that he threatened to do. Assume for a moment he was told teh memo was to approve Ghul’s treatment (which after all was combined). Then if he did fact finding and made it explicit to Ghul, then it woudln’t serve as authorization for Detainee 2. Or, assume Detainee 2 HAD ALREADY been waterboarded, then fact finding might reveal that. But the very fact that Comey threatened to do fact finding–and Cheney stopped him–suggests Comey was designed to never find out what the memo was really about in one way or another.

          Also, we don’t KNOW there was a tracheotomy (though we might when the CSRT memos come out). We know there were kits. So we probably shouldn’t judge memos on whether or not they explain tracheotomies that we don’t know for sure happened but could have been caused by behavior within the very lenient Bybee Memo (though I agree a tracheotomy is quite possible).

          We also KNOW they were not in any way engaged in good faith memo-writing–taht was true from the Bybee Two memo.

          We do know, however, that there is a very weird treatment of Detainee 2 in the CAT memo. So while I admit that I can’t prove he was waterboarded, I am very safe in saying they treat him weirdly in the memo, which begs explanation. (We also know that Nashiri is almost certainly not Nashiri, since they name him two paragraphs down.)

          • drational says:

            I see your points; I was imprecise at 18.
            I did not mean to suggest trach was ever done- I meant that 2005 Techniques it was apparently important to them to address all prior events AND raised objections (OMS input like trach and medical exams). There was a seeming “good faith” (in the OLC CYA style) in Techniques to deal with IG report and OMS. No real past events are addressed at all in Combined, yet we know they were used in past, so this is a seeming big difference with Techniques.

            I understand your concerns about the weird detainee 2 in CAT, but he is not present in Combined. No one is discussed in Combined. I didn’t make the same connection between Comey’s retrospective subject in re Combined and anything in CAT.

            It’s not clear to me what the role of Comey or Philbin was in CAT, at least not referenced in the Comey email.

            Clearly so much more to know and you and MD may be right about more waterboarding but I just don’t see strong evidence yet (but I am dense).

          • daka101 says:

            We do know, however, that there is a very weird treatment of Detainee 2 in the CAT memo. So while I admit that I can’t prove he was waterboarded, I am very safe in saying they treat him weirdly in the memo, which begs explanation. (We also know that Nashiri is almost certainly not Nashiri, since they name him two paragraphs down.)

            I’m confused. What do you mean “Nashiri is almost certainly not Nashiri”? Are you referring to the section that names “Gul”? Because most of those redacted names seem too long to be either Ghul or Gul, but seem the right size for Nashiri or al-Nashiri. No?

            Also, I’m so very confused about what questions we are trying to answer. Every time I look at the docs on the ACLU site, it seems there’s nothing hidden. If I knew better what I was looking for, I could possibly be more helpful in looking over all of the documents.

            And, of course, all of this proof is virtually meaningless unless somebody decides to prosecute, which it seems would be “a slam dunk.”

            Oh, and regarding al-Nashiri, any speculation on why the charges against him were dropped regarding the USS Cole bombing? Because it was tortured out of him?

            http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…..rror-trial

            • emptywheel says:

              Sorry: Detainee 2 can’t be Nashiri.

              A lot of those redactions are of more than one word, grammatically. Here’s a possible read:

              On July 23, 2004 the CIA took custody of Hassan Gul whom the CIA believed had actionable intelligence concerning the pre-election threat to the US. See Letter from AGC. Gul had extensive connections to various al Qaeda leaders, members of the TAliban and the al-Zarqawi network and intelligence indicated that Gul had arranged a meeting between Zawahiri and some other AQ guy at which elements of the pre-election threat were discussed.

              And so on.

              As to what we want to find out? Like I said, on this count I’m just trying to understand why there were three memos and why the Combined memo was so weird, what they were trying to hide from Comey.

              But I was also trying to figure out whether Techniques really was Ghul, because if it is (and this is where WO comes in, hopefully), you’ve got to explain why they held him for six months and only then got around to torturing him.

              • skdadl says:

                I think I see why daka asked the question, though:

                (We also know that Nashiri is almost certainly not Nashiri, since they name him two paragraphs down.)

                Don’t you mean that to read:

                (We also know that Detainee 2 is almost certainly not Nashiri, since they name him two paragraphs down.)

              • Rayne says:

                Have we ruled out that either the detainee we believe to be Ghul or Detainee 2 are not one of the other “desaparecidos”?

                Pacha Wazir, for one, was supposed to have considerable knowledge of the financial workings of al-Qaeda, and yet there’s very little info about him at all.

                Or al-Libi, who was also supposed to know more about al-Qaeda’s operations and “suicided” conveniently; he was rumored to have health problems, including diabetes.

      • Rayne says:

        I can’t wrap my head around this, going to have to re-read the emails and everything.

        I can’t help but wonder if the techniques other than waterboarding were so pervasive that Comey wasn’t simply trying to attack waterboarding by attacking combined. Military in Iraq were greenlighted to do all but kill the detainee in order to “soften them up”, making the scope of the problem completely out of hand. Narrowing sights to combined techniques goes after the very heart of the problem with all torture, since it focuses the scope while targeting the decisionmaking. Comey wasn’t thinking about this offensively, mind you, as we are, but defensively.

  10. alabama says:

    I like to think that Cheney’s “stay behinds,” along with the CIA’s “team B”, are reading every word posted on this site, and with a growing sense of helplessness and dread. Keep the pressure on, and let’s watch them go crazy (perhaps they already have…).

  11. fatster says:

    Judge rules terrorist can sue over torture memos

    By DON THOMPSON Associated Press Writer

    Jun 13th, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO — “A convicted terrorist can sue a former Bush administration lawyer for drafting the legal theories that led to his alleged torture, ruled a federal judge has ruled who said he was trying to balance a clash between war and the defense of personal freedoms.

    “The order by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco is the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially liable for the abuse of detainees.

    “White refused to dismiss Jose Padilla’s lawsuit against former senior Justice Department official John Yoo on Friday. Yoo wrote memos on interrogation, detention and presidential powers for the department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.”

    http://www.salon.com/wires/ap/…..index.html

    • fatster says:

      Three additional points from the same article:

      ‘”The issues raised by this case embody that … tension — between the requirements of war and the defense of the very freedoms that war seeks to protect,” White wrote in his 42-page decision. “This lawsuit poses the question addressed by our founding fathers about how to strike the proper balance of fighting a war against terror, at home and abroad, and fighting a war using tactics of terror.”

      . . .

      ‘”It’s a really a significant victory for accountability and our constitutional system of checks and balances,” said Tahlia Townsend, an attorney with the Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School who represented Padilla.

      “White ruled that “the treatment we allege does violate the Constitution and John Yoo should have known that,” Townsend said Saturday. “This is the first time there’s been this sort of ruling.”‘

  12. pdaly says:

    This medical-”clearance”-for-torture paragraph reads very strangely, and not just the parts I’ve bolded:

    The medical examination reported [redacted] was obese, and that he reported a “5-6 year history of non-exertional chest pressures, which are intermittent, at times accompanied by nausea and depression and shortness of breath.” Medical and Psychological Assessment of [redacted] at 1, attached to August 2 Rizzo Letter. [redacted] he has never consulted a physician for this problem,” and was “unable or unwilling to be more specific about the frequency or intensity of the aforementioned symptoms.” Id. He also reported suffering “long-term medical and mental problems” from a motor vehicle accident “many years ago,” and stated that he took medication as a result of that accident until ten years ago. Id. He stated that he was not currently taking any medication. He also reported seeing a physician for kidney problems that caused him to urinate frequently and complained of a toothache. Id. The medical examination [redacted] showed a rash on his chest and shoulders and that “his nose and chest were clear, [and] his heart sounds were normal with no mururs or gallops.” Id. The physician opined [redacted] “likely has some reflux esophagitis and mild check folliculitis, but doubt[ed] that he has any coronary pathology.” Id.

    First of all, he’s having chest pressure for several years, has never seen a doctor for this problem and is not forthcoming about the frequency or severity of his symptoms. Although this could be just acid reflux (aka, reflux esophagitis), for 99+ % of doctors this is a description of coronary artery disease– until proved otherwise!

    Heart disease that causes angina, pain, or chest pressure at rest (non-exertional) is usually more advanced than heart disease which is evidenced by pain only after some exertion has occurred.

    Tests to prove or disprove heart disease would include either a functional test of the heart such as with a treadmill stress test (water dousing, while no doubt a stress test for the heart, is not currently a medically approved test), a chemical stress test to mimic the work and heart rate of a treadmill test (useful in patients who cannot or will not walk on a treadmill), or an anatomical test of the coronary arteries with a coronary artery catheterization procedure. A cardiologist examing someone with chest pressure or chest pain at rest usually would skip the stress test and move directly to the coronary catheterization procedure, with angioplasty, coronary stenting or, if severe enough blockages were found, transfer to the cardiothoracic surgeon for open heart surgery with coronary artery bypass grafting.

    Symptoms of heart disease include nausea and shortness of breath. Depression can accompany any chronic medical condition (cancer, heart disease, emphysema), but the list of “nausea, depression and shortness of breath” is a weird list in combination–not normally linked.
    Of note, findings for heart disease include “ST depressions” on an EKG. Maybe the transcript left “ST” off?

    Mururs is an obvious typo: it should be “murmurs”. Murmurs are abnormal noises made by an abnormal shaped or abnromally functioning heart valve–there are 4 valves in the heart, so some murmurs are more ominous than others.

    “Check” folliculitis is another typo. Folliculitis is an infected hair follicle, so if “check” is cheek, then Ghul either is shaving or is no longer sporting a beard (growing a beard and refraining from shaving are recommendations to treat/prevent sycosis barbe–i.e., folliculitis of the beard); else it is “neck” and not “check” folliculitis–usually the nape of the neck which can occur in anyone–including someone with a beard.

    • emptywheel says:

      Thanks for the typo fixes. Murmurs was my own (and I used to have a friend with a bad murmur, so that I did know). Cheek foliculitis was a typo I blame on the crappy quality of the document.

      And that was my sense–this guy is dismissing heart symptoms in an obese man.

      I’m led to believe there will be a blockbuster story on the role of doctors in torture in the very near future–I wonder whether this guy and his diagnosis will feature.

      • pdaly says:

        I agree.
        Though I wondered if “chest pressure” for years accompanied by the weird list of “nausea,” “shortness of breath,” and [ST ?] “depression” wasn’t originally a list of reasons a medical expert gave supporting a diagnosis of suspected heart disease.

        Maybe the medical review was tampered with?

        A doctor, no matter how Jack Bauer like, would not have written a report this way if he/she wanted to be credible. To bolster the conclusion that heart disease is “doubtful,” the words “chest pressure” should have been followed by reassuring findings such as “no nausea, no shortness of breath, and no ST depressions or ecg changes.”
        The way the words in the medical report stand now, however, they support a diagnosis of heart disease. It is weird. Or tampered with writing.

        • R.H. Green says:

          Tightness in the upper chest, hypertension, shortness of breath (without exertion), nausea, urinary incontinence, dizzyness, inability to concentrate, are all features in the symptamatology of anxiety disorders, which could very well be related to an auto accident. It’s possible that treatment by some antipsychotic medications could cause longterm liver and kidney complications.

            • R.H. Green says:

              Doesn’t rule out heart disease; just opens a wider range of possibilities. Long distance diagnosis is problematic; think about the Terry Shivo (sp?) case and the good doctor Senator Whatsisname.

              • pdaly says:

                The “medical” person cleared Ghul for torture, and “doubted” Ghul’s symptoms were heart-related.
                That seems more like the long distance diagnosis you are cautioning against.
                Heart disease is a “can’t miss” diagnosis if you are trying to save lives –and need to torture the truth out of someone before they croak (/snark).

                • phred says:

                  pdaly or drational, I have another medical question…

                  If Ghul had heart disease, wouldn’t there be a risk of a heart attack if he was subjected to very cold water temperatures? Perhaps it is an old wives tale, but I thought a person could have a heart attack if they dove into very cold water. Is that a real risk or not?

                  • drational says:

                    almost certainly, yes, submerging in water would be stressful to the heart. It would be surprising to me that they would “douse” someone they would not waterboard for medical reasons.

                    • phred says:

                      Thanks! I appreciate your confirmation of that. That’s what I didn’t get with the switch from waterboarding to water-dousing, it would still dangerously stress a person with heart trouble, so it’s a substitution that makes no sense to me… Unless the problem wasn’t one of heart-attack, but the edema problem you explained earlier…

                    • drational says:

                      yes, dousing would circumvent the water intoxication problem. By the way, pretty clear from Techniques that sleep deprivation = shackling to the ceiling= edema.
                      I think they wanted to put an edematous person into a tank of ice water to torture them in lieu of waterboarding after the early days.

                    • phred says:

                      Thanks again, your explanation of how these combined techniques might play out in practice has been really really helpful.

                    • emptywheel says:

                      One thing I noted in passing, but deserves more focused attentions it the bit of the April 22 fax that makes it into the Techniques memo: the description of seated “sleep deprivation.” I have wondered whether that was in there to address Ghul specifically. We know Abu Zubaydah underwent seated “sleep deprivation” (for obvious reasons–because of his injuries). But I get the sense that Ghul did too.

                    • pdaly says:

                      I haven’t found the link to this fax yet. Can you point me to it and I’ll take a look, too?

                    • emptywheel says:

                      We don’t have the fax itself–I’m just tracking the references to it in the Techniques memo (which are all about sleep deprivation) and Combined (which focus more on waterboarding–but it clearly addresses the two used together). The reference to the seated sleep deprivation is in the footnote that carries over onto fax page 14 of the Techniques memo.

                      Interestingly, the fax doesn’t show up in the footnote on fax page 8, which purports to list all the technique based descriptions Bradbury used. That supports my suspicion that the April 22 fax reference in Techniques was at the last minute, perhaps after COmey concurred with it.

                    • pdaly says:

                      Thanks. That clears up my confusion. I was just trying to read this document in the meantime and I see what you mean about the lousy copy. I’m getting a headache after squinting through just the first page.

                • R.H. Green says:

                  P,

                  I hope you didn’t get the idea that the thrust of my remarks were intended as any sort of repudiation of your medical knowlede or assessment of the presented data. My reply was less to you personally as to the words in your remarks. What you say about the possibility of a heart condition seems reasonable to me, and I didn’t mean to say it’s wrong. I did want to point out that another conclusion is possible, given the “data” we have to work from.

                  There were remarks made about Ghul and remarks attributed to him in the Rizzo letter (which is a far cry from a medical eval by you, or a psych eval by me). Some of these remarks are self-serving. For example Rizzo states that Ghul “feigned memory problems” when asked about areas of interest to the interrogators. We might ask how Rizzo knows Ghul was “feining”;Rizzo cites Intelligence and Memory tests which indicate no such problem, therefore he must have been feining. I suggest this is just so much grabbing at an excuse to raise the torture level another notch or two. Ghul was also described as having a “weakness for food” and of being “modest”. I don’t know the basis for these jugments, but taken at face value they suggest an obese man who is not proud to parade about in the nude, not surprising for a fat man. Further, those at this blog who have more clinical experience than me, can likely attest that persons with poor self-image or anxieties about self-worth are known to seek out what some refer to as “comfort food”, which over time can result in massive calorie intakes. Taken together with the physiological symptoms I referred to earlier, we have the basis for seeing the possibility of an anxiety problem that overlaps in appearance, a possible heart condition.

                  Peace,
                  R.

                  • pdaly says:

                    I agree with your point that other non life threatening conditions could cause symptoms that appear similar to heart disease. My point is to highlight that this report–at least the snippets that we do have–reads strangely, as if cherry-picked by a non-physician, because the facts quoted do not support the conclusion that coronary artery disease is ‘doubtful.’ The facts quoted make stronger the argument for objective testing for heart disease.

                    One possibility occurs to me: if the timeline permits, maybe 6 months elapsed between the history taking and the conclusion doubting that Ghul’s symptoms are due to heart disease. (Six months is plenty of time to recover from angioplasty or bypass surgery). Pure speculation.

    • Rayne says:

      You said,

      Although this could be just acid reflux (aka, reflux esophagitis), for 99+ % of doctors this is a description of coronary artery disease– until proved otherwise!

      What’s the 1% of doctors who wouldn’t catch this? right now we don’t have a lot of info about the docs’ credentials after all. And are we absolutely certain there were docs versus EMTs or other para-professionals involved?

      Just throwing this out there, no answers of any kind required. We already know a company with no expertise in interrogation was permitted to conduct them using “enhanced techniques.” Why would we expect the kinds of doctors we’d demand in the local ER?

      • pdaly says:

        A doctor would have provided better reasoning for doubting heart disease.
        I would have to assume a doctor did not write this, at least not one who was concerned about another human’s well being. But I left in the (less than) 1% option, because I guess you can never say never.

        • Rayne says:

          What puzzles me and makes me think that no real medical exam of the subject or related records occurred is the lack of any mention of diabetes, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia or lack thereof. Why would anybody with any med background not include these points (even as caveats, that they haven’t been checked) with the subject’s personal observations, unless these weren’t available or somebody had no intention of bothering with them, especially given a subject’s obesity?

          Again, no response required, just another fishy bit (the kind of thing one would notice readily if they lived with a diabetic with a family history of heart disease).

          • pdaly says:

            I agree. Those are three of the major risk factors for heart disease.
            Doubters of heart disease in a particular patient would make sure to state that the person in question is free of those conditions.

            Fishy indeed.

      • emptywheel says:

        One interesting aspect of Ghul is that he was probably in DOD custody for about 6 months but then was shifted to CIA custody in the summer some time (WO has a great theory about this–I’ll see if he pops in, bc I don’t want to spoil it).

        But in those six months, he surely was investigated by a doctor, no? Maybe not, this was Iraq in 2004 after all. But still…

        • MadDog says:

          One interesting aspect of Ghul is that he was probably in DOD custody for about 6 months but then was shifted to CIA custody in the summer some time (WO has a great theory about this–I’ll see if he pops in, bc I don’t want to spoil it)…

          Oh boy, can’t wait to read it!

          And I do think that there is much more hidden vis a vis the DOD and EITs torture techniques.

    • bobschacht says:

      I want to concur in what pdaly wrote. As someone with a lifelong cardiac condition, this report looks exceedingly perfunctory. No one with training in cardiology (even a GP) would describe heart-beats as “gallops,” and “mururs” is clearly a typo for murmurs, which is legit medical terminology. With these symptoms, it is amazing that they did not even do an EKG– possibly because they were in a remote area without EKG equipment. The lack of any diagnostic testing in this report is a clear indication to me of primitive medical environment.

      Bob from HI currently in WI at a family reunion

      • pdaly says:

        emptywheel admitted the murmurs and cheek folliculitis typos were hers (and she corrected them).
        Agree with the rest of what you wrote. If they did those tests and they were normal, I assume they would have mentioned them as further ‘proof’ that Ghul’s symptoms are noncardiac in nature.

  13. alabama says:

    The parties responsible toss out a few crumbs, and emptywheel reconstitutes the whole cake. They should soon be paralyzed by paranoia, if this hasn’t already happened. And when it does, I hope the Agency requires them to consult its own in-house psychiatrists, psychologists, and cardio specialists (”in-house” including contractors, as far as I’m concerned).

  14. MadDog says:

    An additional area that I think needs deeper investigation is this part that EW writes about:

    And the memo itself reveals that the Counterterrorism Center never approved waterboarding for Ghul.

    Prior written approval “from the Director, DCI Counterterrorist Center, with the concurrence of the Chief, CTC Legal Group,” is required for the use of any enhanced interrogation techniques. … We understand that, as to the detainee here, this written approval has been given for each of the techniques we discuss, except the waterboard.

    The “written approval” process described above does not jibe with the ABC Brian Ross Interview with John Kiriakou (49 page PDF):

    JOHN: Correct. And I should add too that 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 shake– or the open-handed belly slap, each one of these had to have the approval of the Deputy Director for Operations.

    So before 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.”

    (My Bold)

    A couple of important points on the Kiriakou interview:

    Some of it has been contradicted by the release of the OLC memos and even reluctantly disavowed by Brian Ross who has since admitted being totally spun by the CIA and his “single” source Kiriakou.

    But other parts still stand, including I believe the requirement for “written approval” for using EITs torture techniques.

    And Kiriakou specifically states that approval was required from the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations as a requirement for each EIT torture technique.

    Additionally, as Kiriakou was specifically talking about the torture/interrogation of Abu Zubaydah who was captured on March 28, 2002, the CIA’s Deputy Director for Operations was James L. Pavitt at that time:

    “Hard, Fast, Unambiguous Rules”

    As was the case for so many of the Bush-administration torturers, Pavitt’s world view and professional identity were forged during the years of the Iran-Contra affair, which had led to shrinking and partial hobbling of the CIA. The lessons he took from Iran-Contra concerned the consequences of allowing low-level agents and contractors to take the fall while high-level policymakers hid behind secrecy and deniability. That way of operating, Pavitt believed, destroyed agency morale and also left the public impression that CIA leaders could not control rogue agents. Pavitt’s CIA was tightly run from the top, with paperwork backing up all operations and procedures. Memos providing legal justification for torture are a reflection of this mindset.

    (My Bold)

    And that brings me to my final point; another unanswered question: Where are the written documents approving each and every EIT torture technique, particularly those used on AZ?

    Because if you believe the CIA, and its filings to Judge Hellerstein, the CIA’s List of Contemporaneous and Derivative Records filed with the ACLU on 5/18/2009 (17 page PDF) shows zero, nada, zilch email communications to the Field from Hqtrs from April 13 until May 28 2002.

    So just what kind of invisible writing did the CIA Hqtrs use to approve AZ’s EITs torture techniques?

    • emptywheel says:

      As to approval, later in (I believe) CAT, they actually say that standard practice is for DCIA to approve the torture. So I’ve read that as saying that DCIA was out of the loop for this (but remember, if Ghul was being tortured in August, you’re in an interim stage for DCIA, with McLaughlin finishing up until Goss comes in, and almost certainly not keen to approve this since Tenet, he, and Muller all decided to leave after the torture thing broke.

      As to the lack of email from HQ–I do think these were verbal approvals,mostly. Though there are more cables from HQ to Field around the beginning of August in 2004.

    • MadDog says:

      The NYT reported:

      …The report by the inspector general, whose secret findings in April 2004 led to a suspension of the C.I.A. interrogation program, will be released by June 19, the Justice Department said in a letter to a federal judge in New York…

      • thegris says:

        Thanks MadDog. June 19. Another week to decide the definition of delicate.

        the documents are likely to be redacted to withhold information the C.I.A. still considers especially delicate.

        • drational says:

          Does anyone know what happened to the gtmo testimony that was supposed to be disclosed friday? It has been asked in several threads, but I have not seen an answer. This had the torture-related testimony of ksm and al nashiri.

          • newtonusr says:

            Maddow mentioned it yesterday – the release means the documents are sent, ‘in transit.’ She mentioned snail-mail, and it was unattributed.

            • drational says:

              thx. my understanding was that this was a required court filing, so i am surprised it could be submitted by mail. Does anyone knows the name of the case and court?

              • newtonusr says:

                When she said, quoting, ’snail-mail,’ I knew right away that it was her throw-away reference for ‘in-transit,’ as it is or was probably in the hands of a certified courier.
                Which is why I mentioned lack of attribution. But I took her point, which was that minimum compliance is still compliance.

              • MadDog says:

                The case is one of the ACLU ones. Since it is regarding the CSRTs (Combatant Status Review Tribunals), I would hazard a guess that the case is ACLU v. Department of Defense.

                The judge is Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the District Court for the Southern District of New York.

                You can review many of the relevant legal documents for this case here as well as many of those relating to the CIA Contempt for Videotape Destruction case, those relating to Abuse Photographs case, as well as those relating to the Bradbury Memos case.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        The NY Times article you linked to gives IG report date as April 2004, but this Washington Post article from last month, Hill Panel Reviewing CIA Tactics http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..2489.html, dates the report May 7, 2004. Why the difference? Did it get altered?

  15. MadDog says:

    I agree that AZ’s EITs torture techniques approvals were probably verbal from CIA Hqtrs to the Field in mid-2002, though I’ve got to believe that CIA Hqtrs would never have been satisfied with verbal from Fredo.

    DDO Pavitt left at the same time as Tenet (June 4, 2004). Both were gone by the time the 2005 OLC memos were needed, so your point about McLaughlin and Goss is an important one too.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, maybe.

      We think they were getting verbals on stuff like sleep deprivation and nudity before May 28. HQ had somethign to say on May 28. And perhaps at the same time the small box came out.

      Then Ali Soufan left, CIA began to worry about FBI going haywire on them, and meanwhile Bellinger is saying–is this legal. So they hold off for a bit, get approval, waterboard, chase Soufan’s partner away, at hte end of July (working with my new theory that the law enforcement personnel referred to in the Vaughn index is the second FBI guy).

  16. JimWhite says:

    Couple of points:

    1) With regard to the mention of additional waterboard victims, back in November, 2007 Brian Ross had al-Libi on his list of three, rather than al Nashiri. I have a screen grab from that report in this Oxdown.

    2) Dousing brings to mind PapaDick’s comments about a “dunk in the water”. The date for that comment appears to be October 24, 2006, so it would be after the events discussed here.

    • drational says:

      al-Libi was waterboarded; by the egyptians, according to Wilkerson with Cheney directing the action.

      It would be telling if the dousing times were designed after consulting the Nazi experimentation in which they dunked prisoners in the North Sea to determine how long downed pilots could last.

  17. daka101 says:

    I just noticed something odd. How is it that there were no deaths of detainees prior to December 2002?

    And, considering that some 100 prisoners have died in US custody elsewhere, why only 6 purported deaths at Gitmo?

    Don’t these statistics just scream out for some sort of attention?

  18. BoxTurtle says:

    Here’s my engineers theory about Detainee #2…he’s a nobody.

    If I’m the CIA and I need to use untested and dangerous techniques on a High Value fellow, I’m going to test them out on someone expendable first. I don’t want my HV to die on me before he’s told me everything he knows.

    Somewhere out there are the guinea pig(s).

    Boxturtle (Or their remains, as they’d be real inconvienent to explain)

  19. JasonLeopold says:

    Hey there. I am interested in your theory regarding Ali Soufan’s FBI partner, Steve Gaudin. I have long wondered whether he stayed behind longer than we have known because of his statement to DOJ IG Glenn Fine that he did not have “moral” objections to the interrogation of Zubaydah because similar techniques were used against him in SERE training.

    But according to Fine’s report, Gaudin, identified as “Gibson,” told the IG he was not immediately ordered to leave and:

    “remained at the CIA facility until some time in early June 2002, several weeks after ‘Thomas’ (Soufan) left, and that he continued to work with the CIA and participate in interviewing Zubaydah.”

    Do you think there could possibly be a mistake here in what Gaudin told Fine and that he stayed longer? It would make sense if he did leave in July because it appears that is when much of the discussion, if I am not mistaken, took place regarding what the FBI agents had witnessed between Mueller, D’Amauro, Chertoff, Fisher and others.

    • drational says:

      EW has speculated an FBI person was present beyond Aug 1, 2002 but before Aug 6.
      I’d be surprised if Gaudin misled Fine. There are other “law enforcement” personnel, including US Marshalls and Secret Service, so it may not necessarily be FBI who were pretty clearly mandated to stay clear. If FBI, it may not be Gaudin.

        • drational says:

          I was just quoting EWs insight, but I have to say, Jason, your recent work is excellent. Beyond that, I am both surprised and grateful about the change in your online presence. Keep on trucking!

          • JasonLeopold says:

            ah thank you! And let me publicly apologize to you for my previous outbursts. I sincerely am sorry about that.

      • thatvisionthing says:

        Just wondering — last month on Daily Kos, MinistryOfTruth published a couple of diaries about DoD impersonating FBI at Guantanamo: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…..ng-torture and http://www.dailykos.com/storyo…..037/31371.

        Source was an ACLU document dump. Memos include 11/25/03, 12/05/03 and 12/15/04 in the first diary; 1/21/04, 5/13/04 and 8/2/04 in the second.

        �Of concern, DOD interrogators impersonating Supervisory Special Agents of the FBI told a detainee that REDACTED. These same interrogation teams then REDACTED. The detainee was also told by this interrogation team REDACTED. These tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date and CITF believes that techniques have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee. If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done the �FBI� interrogators. The FBI will be left holding the bag before the public.�

        (12/15/04)

        I thought that was a Holy Shit! story, but the diaries came and went without much stir. Eh? Could this have any bearing on your scenarios of FBI agents at Guantanamo?

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, I think there’s a possibility he stayed longer. Or, alternately, it’s possible he stayed in the loop through August. Soufan seems to have a pretty good idea of when the waterboarding started, so it’s possible Gaudin was still in the loop on those cables until after the waterboarding itself started.

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Trotwood!?! Greetings, neighbor!

      Looks like there’s more Wheelers in this area than I thought.

      Boxturtle (Enough to make a group lunch worthwhile, maybe)

        • fatster says:

          Oh, no prob at all. Right now the conversation with the physicians here is so riveting, that I’m hoping no one thought I was trying to divert attention. Just wanted to post the Judge White thing, as I’m sure you did, so it won’t get lost.

  20. WilliamOckham says:

    Ok, I’ve been out all day. Let’s see if I can catch up. Here’s the theory that ew mentioned above. The Kurds captured Hassan Ghul in Jan 2004 when he allegedly tried to enter Iraq to meet up with Al Zarqawi. The Kurds turned him over to the DOD. [New factoid that just occurred to me. Goldsmith’s memo on renditioning people from Iraq (Mar 2004) was probably finished up for Ghul.]

    The first fax trying to get approval for the CIA to torture Ghul went out on Aug. 2. August 2, 2004 was also the day that somebody (either in the U.S. or Pakistan) blew the cover on Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan. He was the al Qaeda ‘computer expert’ (the working definition of computer expert seems to have included anyone who knew how to use email) who had been arrested in Pakistan in July (13 or 14). He was turned and continued to communicate with various al Qaeda cells in the U.K. When his name became public, the Brits were forced to round up some alleged al Qaeda operatives, but some got away. There was a strong belief/assertion that Khan was involved in planning an election-related terrorist incident in the U.S.

    I think the Bush/Cheney folks went into a panic about this threat, decided Ghul must know something about, and wanted torture him to get answers. They (or their Pakistani allies, it’s never been clear) blew the law enforcement operation because BushCo needed a PR coup before the Democratic convention. In all likelihood, if there was a pre-election threat, Ghul knew nothing about it.

    • MadDog says:

      …The Kurds captured Hassan Ghul in Jan 2004 when he allegedly tried to enter Iraq to meet up with Al Zarqawi. The Kurds turned him over to the DOD…

      So my # 19 could be part of the hidden interrogation story of Ghul.

      I wondered in that comment if the CIA statement in the OLC memos (and elsewhere) about only waterboarding 3 detainees was factual truth (as EW points out, at that moment in time), and that possibly “success” stories about the use of waterboarding by the CIA of AZ and KSM migrated to the Special Ops folks of Operation Copper Green hidden as a SAP by Rumsfeld in DOD.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yes, I was going to point out that taht Goldsmith memo was probably related to Ghul–he fits the pattern of someone who was believed to be AQ in Iraq. Which would explain some of the prressure surrounding getting a real memo for him–after the IG report came out in 2004, the CIA moved onto an investigation into ghost detainees, including on Iraq, which probably included Ghul. And that’s actually the focus of some of the early 2005 attention from the press and Congress.

      So aside from the great controversy over whether Ghul was really who they said he was and the appearance that they invented propaganda associated with him (the letter from Zawahiri to Zarqawi, which was debunked), there’s the Khan stuff. It sure looks like they were trying to squeeze something interesting out of him pre-election.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh, and one more point about Ghul and the ghost detainee memo.

      As I said, there are elements of Combined that appear to come from Ghul’s interrogation (if my theory is correct, at least partly so it could look like Ghul, and not Detainee 2 was the focus).

      But note the centrality of the flight to the discussion–the only time, I think, it shows up in these memos (and keep in mind Mary’s focus on the preliminaries here). Obviously, there’s a lot of room for a flight within Iraq (from Kurdistan to the prisons in Baghdad). But those would have been helicopter, more likely than plane.

    • emptywheel says:

      Just one more point. I don’t think it undermines your theory that the Ghul interrogation relates to the Noor Khan story in July-August 2004. But the first interrogation memo pertaining to Ghul may be the July 30 one referenced in the footnote on fax page 8 in Techniques.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Glad you showed up, what with the suspense EW built up! Good theory. So that would make (at least) twice Bush/Cheney screwed up operations for the Brits.

    • Rayne says:

      The election was definitely a pressure on the entire situation.

      Remember this blast from the past?

      They had to knock off the terror alerts after Juliusblog showed a strong correlation between flagging presidential approval ratings and terror alerts. Which in turn may have increased stories related to terror but without a corresponding terror alert.

      Aug. 26, 2004 – An ‘October Surprise’? Neocons have Iran in their sites

      Sep. 2, 2004 — Iran Uranium Conversion Plans Provoke U.S. Fury

      But they were still clinging to the hope that they’d have a terror threat they could use like a cudgel:

      Sep. 7 2004 — Ridge says vigilance necessary in run-up to November elections

      Have not lost site of that terror alert timeline; could be time to revisit some of the key points and cross-match them to EW’s timeline.

      One thing to keep in mind as we look at summer of 2004: the 9/11 Commission’s results were released on July 22, 2004, and they didn’t reflect well on the Bush administration. The driver that week in July was not just the impending DNC convention.

      [edit: should add this link to an article by David Corn about the 9/11 Commission report dd. Jul. 25, 2004: The 9/11 Report: Bad News for Bush]

  21. WilliamOckham says:

    One other thing. When ew refers to the “new” techniques:

    four new techniques got added: dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap, precisely those techniques requested on August 25, 2004.

    They weren’t really new. Just look at the ICRC report. With the exception of the abdominal slap, these techniques had previously been considered part of the conditions of confinement.

    • drational says:

      Dana Priest’s article on the November 2002 CIA detainee death in Afghanistan notes he died of hypothermia following “dousing” with water and being left hanging from the ceiling. Victim of combined EIT, and not described as a “high value” detainee.

  22. Jkat says:

    i see some big potential troubles deriving from donald rumsfelds’ special little group of operators .. black ops military jumping borders .. engaging in activities well outside the boundaries allowed to military personnel under the UCMJ .. etc ..etc .. and all of it would have to have been authorized by a pre. finding ..imo .. where’s that finding ??

    this is such a flucked up mess on so many levels .. bush and company went completely off the reservation .. totally rogue .. and outlaw ..

    and all of it .. every bit of it .. is a direct consequence of us ..as a nation .. allowing war de jure ..as opposed to de facto war ..

    we’ve simply got to get back to the original constitutional structure of formal declarations from congress which define more exactly what we’re doing ..and hold the executive within the bounds of defined limits ..

    and yeah .. it’s going to be hard to get congress to live up to it’s constitutional duties in this regard .. imo .. but otherwise .. look at the mess we can get into ..

    there has to be accountability .. we can’t let this pass .. i don’t care how “good” [and i’m not throughly convinced ] the intentions of the executive and it’s designated actors was/is ..

    and dammit gal .. thank you marcy for all the really hard work you put in on these real-life jigsaw puzzlements ..

  23. klynn says:

    EW,

    Thanks for the last two posts. When I first read the combined response from Comey a while back, as you know, it struck me in a way I could not shake and wondered out-loud here, about the use of controlled hypothermia…

    It appears what I could not shake, was most likely true.

    The comments tonight have been great. Thanks to all.

  24. daka101 says:

    This is probably stating the obvious, but regarding detainee deaths: it seems that the earliest deaths while in US custody occurred in Aug 2002 (although I read earlier a report–on the ACLU site, that I cannot locate now–that the US claimed that NO deaths occurred prior to Nov 2002).

    Wasn’t the Yoo oral authorization for torture given in July 2002?

    So, for several months after the start of the war in Afghanistan, NO detainees died, but coincidentally, immediately after the green light is given on EIT/torture, the deaths (many categorized as “natural”) just start.

    Isn’t that weird? Like, nobody had “heart attacks” and all those other “natural” deaths until after torture started?

  25. R.H. Green says:

    I had to laugh when I read that a slap on the belly is supposed to “weaken” a detainee’s “desire to resist interrogation”.

    Then I remembered a bit of Karate folklore. It seems if the fingers and thumb are held tight together and the whole hand, wrist and forearm are held staight, ridgid, and parallel to the ground, the the entire arm streatched back and suddenly thrust forward, enough force can be generated upward against the upper abdomen to rupture the heart.

    Now I don’t know if this is true, but it brings to mind a variation. The difference between a punch and a slap entails whether the fist is clenched or the palm is open and the fingers extended. If an open palm is driven forward, not unlike a softball pitch, and if the hand stikes in the upper abdomen with the heel of the palm first (ahead of the fingers) it would seem that one could cause a temporay paralysis of the diaphragm; the kind of impact we often call,”getting the wind knocked out”. This could cause an inability to breathe for maybe 20 seconds. Repetitions could prolong the time, which could lead to a very unpleasant state of heightened anxiety called a panic attack. This could seriously weaken a desire to resist interrogation.

    This is all idle speculation an a Sat evening as I put dinner together. As gruesome as it sounds, it’s not what I’d put past those who come up with such “dunk in the water” innocent sounding names such as “walling” for what it entails, as sleep deprivation for what it entails, and so on. Abdominal slapping, indeed. And “head slapping, and “face slapping”; these pigs are getting slap-happy.

  26. drational says:

    4151 is the videotape case, and I could not figure out if CSRT transcripts are expected. On the other hand, there is a case in DC district court that looked like it might be after the docs, 1:04-cv-01254-HHK. who knows…?

  27. rincewind says:

    A hypothermia chart from MN Sea Grant:

    Water Temp(F) == Expected Time Before Exhaustion or Unconsciousness; Expected Time of Survival

    32.5° == less than 15 min; 45 min
    32.5° – 40° == 15–30 min; 30–90 min
    40° – 50° == 30–60 min; 1–3 hours
    50° – 60° == 1–2 hours; 1–6 hours
    60° – 70° == 2–7 hours; 2–40 hours
    70° – 80° == 3–12 hours; 3 hours–indefinite
    > 80° == indefinite; indefinite

    The “rules” said they could go 20 min at 41°; 40 min at 50°; 60 min at 59°. That means they were pushing right to (or past) the edge of expectable unconsciousness, and at 59°, the lower bound of survivability.

    • pdaly says:

      The “rules” said they could go 20 min at 41°; 40 min at 50°; 60 min at 59°. That means they were pushing right to (or past) the edge of expectable unconsciousness, and at 59°, the lower bound of survivability.

      Great summary of the findings. I wonder if those survival times are even shorter if dousing with cold water occurs to the armpits and groins where most heat is lost (arms shackled overhead?).

      The article you link to points out the important but initially counterintuitive fact that swimming in cold water means a shorter time to reach hypothermia than just remaining still in the water–probably because swimming exposes your armpits to the cold water. You cool off faster than you generate new heat from the effort of swimming. Don’t swim unless safety or shore is a short distance away.

      Apollo 13 astronaut Lovell mentions (in the commentary track of Ron Howard’s movie Apollo 13, I believe) the same thing –that remaining motionless in the cold capsule (they were conserving electricity for reentry so they had no heat) allowed him to remain in a small envelope of warmer air generated by his own bodyheat.

    • drational says:

      It is important to note that these values refer to immersion in a large body of water- which is an endless heat sink that will drive body temperature to the temp of the water.

      The Techniques memo notes that the water is poured on the detainee, so the heat exchange will not be as efficient. The consciousness/death limits of dousing in this manner are likely very different than immersion but they are unknown. Nonetheless, I think it is safe to say that this was another area of torture “experimentation”.

      • rincewind says:

        If the business about using hoses is how they actually did it, ISTM that could be even worse than full-body immersion? As pdaly pointed out, a shackled person being hosed can’t “huddle” to conserve their core heat. And as anybody who’s been sprayed with a garden hose — even at relatively low pressure — knows, the impact FEELS colder than the water temp alone, almost like a wind-chill effect. Continuous hosing would also produce an “endless heat sink”. Hasn’t there also been mention of water “dousing” in combination with cold rooms (dressed up as “environmental manipulation”)?

        Since we don’t know how they were “implementing” “dousing”, it’s all just guessing…. but yes, experimentation.

        Most of the layman’s info about hypothermia makes a HUGE deal of taking extreme care in the handling of a hypothermic person; repeated warnings to avoid “jostling” or “jarring” as this can cause cardiac arrest (I didn’t understand the physiological mechanics of this?); and the requirement to rewarm the core but not the extremities, because when the body starts to recover, the cold blood returning from the extremities will overwhelm the warmer core — and again, bring on cardiac arrest. Do any of us believe these monsters were handling torturees carefully?

        I should note one point on the positive(???) side: all other things being equal, a fat person can survive longer than a thin one — more insulation.

        • drational says:

          The anti-jostling issue is that cold hearts are prone to arrythmias. It turns out that physical strikes on the chest wall generate electrical discharges. When I was first taught advanced cardiac life support, we actually employed precordial thumps for certain abnormal rhythms. This is a sharp blow with the edge of your fist to the chest wall that generates about 5 joules of electrical energy. Importantly, the timing of an electrical shock to the heart is critical (handled automatically by modern defibrillators). If you shock a heart at the wrong part of the cardiac cycle, you can produce a fatal arrythmia, commotio cordis. This is, incidentally, one of the ways young otherwise healthy athletes die from minor trauma.

          And before you get any ideas, cold heart refers to the temperature kind, not the angry, bitter, ex-vice president kind.

        • Aeon says:

          Since we don’t know how they were “implementing” “dousing”, it’s all just guessing…

          True enough, but we do know what the approved technique entailed, though. (From Techniques memo May 10, 2005.):

          11. Water Dousing. Cold water is poured on the detainee from either a container or a hose without a nozzle. This technique is intended to weaken the detainee’s resistance and persuade him to cooperate with interrogators. The water poured on the detainee must be potable, and the interrogators must ensure that water does not enter the detainee’s nose, mouth or eyes. A medical officer must observe and monitor the detainee throughout application of this technique, including for signs of hypothermia.

          (…)

          You have also described a variation of water dousing involving much smaller quantities of water; this variation is known as “flicking.” Flicking of water is achieved by the interrogator wetting his fingers and then flicking them at the detainee, propelling droplets at the detainee. Flicking of water is done “in an effort to create a distracting effect, to awaken, to startle, to irritate, to instill humiliation, or to cause temporary insult.

  28. cinnamonape says:

    These two statements seem contradictory and illogical.

    You have explained that the waterboard technique is used only if: (1) the CIA has credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent; (2) there are “substantial and credible indicators the subject has actionable intelligence that can prevent, disrupt, or delay this attack”; and (3) other interrogation methods have failed or are unlikely to yield actionable intelligence in time to prevent the attack.

    However, the team therefore concluded that:

    “more subtle interrogation measures designed more to weaken [redacted] physical ability and mental desire to resist interrogation over the long run are likely to be more effective.”

    If the rationale to use waterboarding was to ONLY thwart an imminent attack…then the joint application with the other techniques which would gain results in the “long run” seems to suggest that they were not on a hunt to stop an imminent attack. The rationales given to Levin are contradicted by the claim that they would only eventually get useful information using the additional methods.,

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. And with a guy that had been in US custody–and therefore presumably in some kind of interrogation–since January (six, seven months).

  29. pdaly says:

    The description of seated sleep deprivation is very short, so I have a hard time picturing a stool which a detainee is “seated on and shackled to” that

    “supports a detainee’s weight, but is too small to permit the subject to balance himself sufficiently to be able to go to sleep”

    A one or two-legged stool might do the trick, but how does shackling work in that case?
    Maybe the seat is on a ball bearing and therefore pivots in all directions.
    I wonder If the detainee falls asleep, does he whack his head on the floor?

    As far as what happens to a detainee’s swollen lower limbs while balancing on such a small stool– I have to assume the swelling persists. Feet should be at the level or or elevated higher than the level of the heart in order for the edema to decrease in the legs. An obese person’s abdominal fat might act as additional external compression on the veins of the lower limbs, especially while in a crouched/seated position.

    The horizontal sleep deprivation would alleviate the edema (feet and heart are in roughly the same horizontal plane), but how comfortable is it for anyone (never mind an obese person) to lie face down with arms and legs stretched?

    The description of the technique admits that the swelling occurs in the legs and feet from prolonged standing and also somewhere it mentions that care is taken to avoid shackles that are ‘too tight’ (maybe I’m putting words into BushCo’s OLC mouth). As the swelling increases, therefore, does it follow that someone must be loosening the shackles to prevent circulation compromise in the feet? No mention about loosening shackles that I could spot.

    • pdaly says:

      Since sitting and standing both can promote leg edema, I assume the main usefulness to interrogators for choosing seated sleep deprivation for their torturee would be the fact that it causes less trauma to the shackled wrists in obese people who might fall asleep (or faint easily from a medical condition).
      If you are obese that is a lot of dead weight for your wrists to support if you fall asleep and your body tries in vain to slump to the ground from a standing position.

    • thatvisionthing says:

      ~ see Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for secretary chairs for the Johnson Wax Building:

      http://www.greatbuildings.com/…..lding.html

      Wright designed all the original furniture for the building, including the three-legged secretary chairs, which tip over if one does not sit with correct posture.

      sigh, no pix

  30. pdaly says:

    The horizontal sleep deprivation would alleviate the edema (feet and heart are in roughly the same horizontal plane), but how comfortable is it for anyone (never mind an obese person) to lie face down with arms and legs stretched?

    and I guess that is the point…

  31. Jkat says:

    now .. there’s an all-telling illustration of the fundamental difference between lib’ruls and conservonazis:

    emptywheel admitted the murmurs and cheek folliculitis typos were hers (and she corrected them)

  32. barbara says:

    I am endlessly awed by the collective wisdom at the Lake. Once in a while (not often enough, unfortunately), I have the great good sense to shut up, read and learn. Blessings, Marcy and diligent dawgs.

  33. klynn says:

    Here is one of many links I posted in the past irt hypothermia. Scientific research on hypothermia will often fall under “thermal physiology”. Enjoy the “similar” names listed in the index.

    Link posted below @ 125! Sorry it didn’t link here.

  34. ilollipop says:

    Just how many people have been waterboarded by the USA? No the answer is not 3. I know you are curious as to who is Detainee number 2? I don’t know which, but detainee number two is either Hambali (Riduan Bin Isomudden) or Ramzi Binalshibh If you add these two to KSM, al-Nashiri and Zubaydah that makes it 5! (Excluding al-Libbi of course… I would love to know who in Egypt came up with that thought first.) So from the time line….? I need to know.. Is it Binalshibh or Hambali?

    I have often wondered about the waterboard the CIA had specifically designed and manufactured. How does it really work? When the detainee starts showing distress does it simply right him, or does it right him by lowering him and going the roundabout route? (if your sinuses have been filled with water the second would allow that water to drain instead of flooding the lungs) Is it electric or totally manual?

    • drational says:

      The ICRC report is probably a good place to go to test your hypotheses. The three known waterboardees described their episodes in detail.
      Binalshib described dousing. Hambali described walling and diet manipulation. Neither described being waterboarding, which was certainly explored by the ICRC interviewers and was likely significant enough to mention had it happened….

      I did a diary on the special waterboard gurney you might like.

      • ilollipop says:

        True – I just re-read the ICRC report. You would expect it to be there. They describe the treatment of Binalshibh – which involved water, but not waterboarding. Being “restrained on a bed, unable to move, for one month, February 2005 and subjected to cold air-conditioning during that period” is pretty harsh! I can’t lose my suspicion the number is not more than 3… but there you go! It’s not like the CIA or the Pentagon are going to win any credibility awards now are they? The torture story just does not seem to want to end. Thankfully there are some really sharp minds on it. Each time a person is released from Guantanamo Bay the details emerge and rational people are wondering why that person in particular was singled out for such treatment.

        Mr Yoo losing $1 today might not seem like much, but tomorrow that might not be a dollar.

        More memo’s will clear this up… I am sure!

  35. emptywheel says:

    And for the record, the guess that Detainee 2 was authorized to be waterboarded is just that–a guess. And that’s not the same as him being waterboarded.

  36. ilollipop says:

    Reading all the memos and the articles regarding torture I have kept notes. One of the things I keep notes of is what I like to think of as ALL AMERICAN heroes. Hear me out. I am not American, so we are talking about people who embody and lives the ideals America is (traditionally) associated with. The good ideals… you know… My list kept getting shorter. Daniel Levin had a go at waterboarding (I recall) but that didn’t stop him. The last ones on there are Anthony Taguba, Amrit Singh and Jameel Jaffer (the ACLU in general). I have added MW to that list! Fantastic work. I particularly like the way you look at what is not there. Sure it’s redacted, but that lack of signal doesn’t stop you. The comments are almost as good as the post…. I don’t think that anyone who was involved in torturing people should sleep to easily! You guys give me hope!

    Then just a point on the ticking time bomb scenario which I keep hearing. What does the law say about the conditions under which it is permissible to torture someone? Article 2.2 on the Convention of Torture is a good place to start: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” I don’t understand which part of this you don’t understand when you float a ticking timebomb. This is what the law says, but the “24″ scenario lives on somehow….

  37. thatvisionthing says:

    I am WAY not as clued in as you all are, but I’ve read through almost all of this, and the question in my mind about Detainee 2 was, is that Detainee 002, the way Detainee 001 was John Walker Lindh and Detainee 063 was Mohammed Al-Qahtani? In which case, he would be Dave Hicks from Australia. Wikipedia has this section on his torture allegations — a lot of shameful crap, but I don’t see hypothermia, dousing, waterboarding, submerging, hosing, though there may be something in the ICRC report that wikipedia doesn’t have:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D…..llegations

    Torture allegations
    In an affidavit, dated 5 August 2004 and released on 10 December 2004, Hicks alleged mistreatment by U.S. forces, included being:

    beaten while blindfolded and handcuffed
    forced to take unidentified medication
    sedated by injection without consent
    struck while under sedation
    regularly forced to run in leg shackles causing ankle injury
    deprived of sleep “as a matter of policy”
    witness to use of attack dogs to brutalise and injure detainees.

    He also said he met with US military investigators conducting a probe into detainee abuse in Afghanistan and had told the International Red Cross on earlier occasions that he had been mistreated.[34] Hicks told his family in a 2004 visit to Guantanamo Bay that he had been anally assaulted during interrogation by the U.S. in Afghanistan while he was hooded and restrained. Hicks’ father claimed; “He said he was anally penetrated a number of times, they put a bag over his head, he wasn’t expecting it and didn’t know what it was. It was quite brutal.”[5] In a Four Corners interview, Terry Hicks discussed these “allegations of physical and sexual abuse of his son by American soldiers”.[35]

    Hicks claims to have found conditions at the camps in the latter years to be equally trying. According to conversations with his father, Hicks said he had been abused by both Northern Alliance and US soldiers. In response, the Australian government announced its acceptance of U.S. assurances that David Hicks had been treated in accordance with international law.[33] In March 2006, camp authorities moved all ten of the Guantanamo detainees who faced charges into solitary confinement. This was described as a routine measure because of the impending attendance of the detainees at their respective tribunals. However, Hicks remained in solitary confinement, for seven weeks after the US Supreme Court’s confirmed a ruling that the commissions were unconstitutional, which was reported to have “deteriorated his condition”.[36] Hicks was a well-behaved detainee, but he was in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.[37] The window in his cell was internal, facing onto a corridor.[38][39] Hicks claimed to have declined a visit from Australian Consular officials because he had been punished for speaking candidly with consular officials about the conditions of his detention on previous visits.[40] Hicks was talking about suicidal impulses during his periods in isolation at Camp Echo, “He often talked about wanting to smash his head … against the metal of his cage and just end it all.”

    • thatvisionthing says:

      ICRC report http://www.nybooks.com/icrc-report.pdf has whole section I.3.8. on Exposure to Cold Temperature/Cold Water (in between section I.3.8 Sleep Deprevation and Use of Loud Music, and I.3.9. Prolonged Use of Handcuffs and Shackles. Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi Binalshib, and Mr. Bin Attash are identified by name in that section with descriptions of their cold treatment, but several other detainees wanted their names kept out of it, though they described their experiences. There’s a section at the end of the report (Annex 2) that names the 14 detainees the ICRC has used testimony from for their report, but only one had no ICRC written interventions, Haned Hassan Ahmad Guleed, identified earlier in the report as a Somali arrested March 4, 2004 in Djibouti. He must be the detainee on Page 3: “The remaining detainee was not known to the ICRC,” hence they hadn’t written to US in his regard.

      My lost-in-the-woods question: Is Haned Hassan Ahmad Guleed another name for Hassan Ghul? If so, wikisource has some documents on him: http://en.wikisource.org/w/ind…..8;redirs=1 (which I don’t have time to look at now).

      • acquarius74 says:

        I had the same lost-in-the-woods question before I got to your last sentence. His name has been shown as Ghul, Gul, and the Hassan fits. I bet there’s more than a 50/50 chance it’s the same man. I’ll go to your links.

        This thread will close soon. In which case we’ll have to re-connect at a later thread.

    • acquarius74 says:

      I see your thinking about the number, 2 or 002. Can’t figure it. I don’t think Hicks is “2″ because his wiki says nothing about his ever being in Iraq or connected to Zarqawi (I spell it differently each time, heh,heh).

      The description in Marcy’s quotes definitely links Detainee 2 to Zarquawi who operated in the northern section of Iraq.

      From what I’ve read of the monsters in the Special Ops Task Force at Camp Nama, Hicks would have fit right in there.

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