1. bobschacht says:

    Cheeze Louise, this has got to be one of the shortest FDL diaries ever. But I look forward to the dissection and discussion to come!

    Bob in HI

  2. JasonLeopold says:

    on page 6 it appears that this is something Marcy wrote about/highlighted early on that is now included in the filing.

    Review of the records is particularly important in this case for two reasons. First, there are discrepancies between the May 1, 2009 Vaughn index submitted by the CIA and the recent, June 8, 2009, Vaughn index, which calls into question the accuracy and diligence with which the indices were created.

  3. JasonLeopold says:


    The earlier index catalogues the first half of the August 2002 contemporaneous records, whereas the index relied upon by the CIA in its motion catalogues a sample of all paragraph 3 records, including all non-cables and every tenth cable from April 2002 to December 2002.4 Due to the overlapping time periods covered by the two Vaughn indices, three known entries in the May 1, 2009 Vaughn index correspond to entries from the June 8 index.5 Compare May 1, 2009 ACLU v. DOD Vaughn Index Nos. 1473, 1494, 1512, with ACLU v. DOD Vaughn Index Nos. 24, 25, 58. Surprisingly, the Vaughn indices differ dramatically in their descriptions of the documents
    withheld and exemptions invoked, even though they concern precisely the same three documents. For example, the earlier index describes document 1494 as a “fifty-nine-page notebook containing handwritten notes concerning treatment and conduct of interrogations; reactions to the interrogation techniques; specific intelligence topics concerning terrorist threats to the U.S.; raw intelligence; and medical information.” May 1, 2009 ACLU v. DOD Vaughn Index No. 1494. By contrast, the later index includes the following brief and featureless description of the same document: “a 59-page logbook of handwritten notes written in the field. The notes include observations of interrogation sessions and behavioral notes.”

  4. JasonLeopold says:

    and finally:

    In other words, the later Vaughn index, which the CIA relies exclusively
    upon in its motion without reference to the earlier index, omits any reference to notes concerning “treatment and conduct of interrogations,” “reactions to the interrogation techniques,” and “medical information.” These discrepancies suggest inconsistency in the creation of the Vaughn indices and a failure to describe the documents as fully as possible on the public record to allow
    meaningful testing of their withholding

  5. Hmmm says:

    OT –– Meant to post this the other day about the weird “every 10th” pattern, but forgot. And it’s probably nothing at all, but:

    183 = 83 + 100


    100 = 10 x 10.

    Almost certainly mere numerology, but I thought I should mention it just in case there was anything about the timing pattern of the communications pattern that correlated…

  6. NMvoiceofreason says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t hit harder on the spoilation of evidence doctrine. Since the CIA destroyed the evidence, the court is supposed to look at every pleading from them with a jaundiced eye. The ultra vires doctrine is brought in to say that CIA didnt have the power to do it in the first place (the torture), and the destroyed the evidence (the tapes, after a court order), so there are sanctions waiting in the wings. But no discussion of what effect those actions are supposed to have on the tribunal’s consideration of the relative merits. Further, no judicial notice that the same party has repeatedly lied to the federal courts, BY COUNSEL and by SWORN AFFIDAVIT. I would have gone more with a “Their name should be mud in your court, your honor.” The other technical arguments are spot on. But go for the POed judge – burn ‘em to the ground on sanctions and salt their earth with disclosure.

    • LabDancer says:

      Except that with five you get eggroll:

      By the time you are called on to respond to your opponents’ fifth motion to end your own righteous cause, before a judge who’s clearly accepted your cause as such, and plainly accepted that your opponents are sinking deeper and deeper through the circles of no-credibility Hell like a lead weight sinks into quicksand, often you are relieved of the burden of having to repeat the points you’ve made and the judge has accepted on each of the four previous similar motions.

      And actually it’s not uncommon for the judge to signal that to you: that it’s not necessary to repeat your previous points, and even that you might offend the judge by presuming he’s not already in extremis at having to deal with such motions and those points.

      And it’s often the case that lawyers in the position of those acting here for the ACLU will act most shrewdly in not beating the dead horse or to be seen as having encouraged the impending demonstration of wrath on the part of the judge.

      And finally in this regard: been there.

      • NMvoiceofreason says:

        I certainly can accept that if you are betting on the judge to see it your way, being quiet and technical (as this pleading is) is clearly the way to go. Having been before judges with whom it is hard to tell if they are conscious or on their 4th martini (tea many martoonies?), I prefer to make a record that is clear on appeal, where no issues that are relevant can be claimed to “not have been presented to the court below”. I’m somewhat of a pessimist in that regard, but your suggested course is much more polite.

  7. Mary says:

    I can’t get anything when I click the links. I’ll have to try later from a different computer. Without reading, though, I still tend to think I’ll agree with [email protected] All the lies by counsel, over and over, wear thin. And where some of the sourcing of the lies is teaching new lawyers and getting ink on the WSJ op ed pages – when the OLC knows about the torture and evidence of torture and sits mum through all the legal proceedings and all the court marial proceedings (as for the Abu Ghraib MP soldiers) it is a bit much for a court to let them prance into court and assert a right to deference.

    • NMvoiceofreason says:

      Thanks Mary for the vote of confidence, but I’d still like to see your take. Hope the links are working for you now (I had no problem with them, but I use Mozilla).

    • skdadl says:

      Jaffer was terrific. How can Matthews not know where he stands? Really, how far have people retreated from principle?

      But you made me watch Rivkin.

      • Funnydiva2002 says:

        OH, I had to skip most of Rivkin. What a ff-ing tool.
        And isn’t part of the answer to “oh, the world would be outraged by what’s been done” to say: well, that’s the POINT! That’s the ACCOUNTABILITY! If you don’t want to be hated for behaving brutally and outside the bounds of basic human decency, let alone international law, then DON’T BEHAVE THAT WAY!!!

        Yes, it’s sensational. Yes, the details will, and have, be nauseating. That’s the point: the outrage is supposed to be a deterrent. You’re soooo worried about national security if the unlawful conduct is revealed? WHY did you jeapordize security by breaking the damn law in the first place?

        Tweety is a complete ass. My god.


  8. LabDancer says:

    I like the ACLU going all William Safire on restoring the practice of calling things what they really are.

  9. LabDancer says:

    This is one cold, clinical piece of work by ACLU. I’m thinking they’re of the view that Hellerstein has passed a threshold, and things are about to get very mechanically inconvenient for the defending parties, and are maybe a step, no more than two from getting personally nasty for the defending lawyers.

  10. Funnydiva2002 says:

    Hi, Bmaz
    Sorry to go OT so soon, and back to the Gates thing, but I just heard a clip of the Cambridge PD statement that they thought dropping the DOC charge was wrong, and Gates should have been prosecuted.
    I guess they’re entitled their opinion, and I guess that’s why the prosecutor’s office and police department are separate functions.
    What I don’t get is why it’s so hard for some people to understand that “contempt of cop” is not a crime. Or that some people think the burden of de-escalation was not on the armed police officer, but on the homeowner who had produced ID.

    Oh, and Richard Wolffe in for Keith tonight. Arrrrrghhhhh! How long, O Keef? How long? Schuster is halfway decent. Wolffe is just an unmitigated ass.


    • Waccamaw says:

      Oh, and Richard Wolffe in for Keith tonight. Arrrrrghhhhh! How long, O Keef? How long? Schuster is halfway decent. Wolffe is just an unmitigated ass.

      Does make ya wonder what the spit is going on in the background. I heard who was on and left…..ratings for tonight should be in the proverbial you-know-where…..and deservedly so.

      • Funnydiva2002 says:

        No kidding.
        Somebody email Keef and tell him he’s “doing a Dubya” wrt vacation.
        I mean, Richard Forking Wolffe?!! Pah-leeeeeeze!

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          OT: Wolfe and MSNBC.

          I think Wolfe is terrific. Evidently, there’s no accounting for my taste.
          He has one helluva dry wit, he’s funnier than hell but very ‘buttoned down Brit’ about it, which gives him a view of the US that too few express.

          He’s got the kind of very dry humor that suggests he grew up on Beeb, Monte Python, and has a shrewd eye for America’s class distinctions (which we try so hard to pretend don’t exist.)

          Done with the OT.

          JasonLeopold – nice work @2, 3, 4…

  11. Mnemosyne says:

    When this extremely short post opened just now, right under it was an ad that features cockroaches scuttling for cover. Appropriate, I thought, given some of the cockroach-like characters involved.

  12. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    Gee, I must be in my own private alternate reality. I’m actually enjoying Wolffe over Schuster. Actually, I’d be delighted to see them give Wolffe a permanent slot, say maybe Tweety’s. He asks more intelligent questions, that’s for Damn sure.

  13. MadDog says:

    Tangentially on topic, from CommonDreams.org, torture wasn’t just the CIA’s calling card:

    Iraq Prison Diary: Whatever Happened to the ‘Six of Clubs’?

    Hussam Amin, a high-ranking official in the Saddam Hussein regime, told U.N. weapons inspectors for years there was nothing to find in his country. It was the truth – but that didn’t save him from “Purgatory.”


    …Amin was given the address of a house in the Karada section of Baghdad, from which he was taken in a small convoy of cars to a former presidential site in Ramadi and turned over to the U.S. military. There, he said, he was interrogated for several hours by a “respectful, logical and professional” American colonel with a “good background” on Iraq’s prior WMD programs. Afterwards, he said, he and the colonel shared lunch.

    It was shortly after lunch, Amin said, that he was suddenly overwhelmed by soldiers, his hands and feet bound and a black bag pulled over his head. They hustled him away to a Saddam-era base that U.S. forces used as the first stop for their top prisoners.

    Camp Nama was run by a secretive U.S. Joint Special Operations task force, and was off-limits even to most military personnel. Those who did have access retained operational anonymity — few knew even each other by their real names. The CIA would eventually become worried enough about being associated with what went on there that it barred employees from setting foot inside.

    His senses swimming in the suffocating blackout bag, Amin couldn’t anticipate where the next blow was coming from, he said — or whether it would be a punch, a kick or a whack with “some kind of special metal stick” as unseen interrogators demanded the location of nonexistent weapons. He lost track of time, unsure whether he’d been there hours or days. At some point amid the fusillade, he was told that he would be executed. He believed it. He felt blood running down his face and neck — three jagged gashes across his forehead that would require stitches. “Every day, I thought, ‘Now, I will die,’” he said — which was precisely the point: He was in “Purgatory,” the task force’s nickname for the initial interrogation/disorientation ordeal.

    At some point his captors briefly removed the bag. He was ordered to lie on his side and keep his eyes fixed to the wall inches from his face. It hurt to breathe. He tucked his head in and snuck a glance at his chest: It was black with bruises. Each time he nodded off, one of his minders would kick him or hit him with the stick. “Even when you are sleeping, they beat you,” he told me, shaking his head slowly. “You wake by punching…”

    I don’t remember seeing these as approved torture techniques listed in any of the documents for either the CIA or DOD’s Special Operations folks, do you?

  14. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Also tangential, but this does seem related and looks new at NYT:

    WASHINGTON — Top Bush administration officials in 2002 debated testing the Constitution by sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to arrest a group of men suspected of plotting with Al Qaeda, according to former administration officials.

    Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

    Do I hear a drip…. drip… drip…. from somewhere?

    What pleasant timing this NYT item must be for the ACLU docs, eh?

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Yeah, but why does the NYT wait until it’s too late? Why didn’t they do the warrantless wiretap story before the 2004 election? I think we deserve an editorial explaining their reasoning.

  15. Mary says:

    @22 & 20 Thanks for the back-post reference and link. I had missed the later comments in the scrapple thread. Amin fared better than the other Iraqi General who voluntarily turned himself in (after we kidnapped his children and held them hostage and beat them). That General was the Iraqi who was tag-team beaten and tortured by CIA and their Scorpion friends, then handed over to the military for more torture, where he was stuffed into a sleeping bag and smothered to death, having been smothered to slightly less than death previously. The torture had become so routine that one of the torturers had them hold up while he went for more coffee. They also brought in his 15 yo son and, right before they suffocated the General to death, they told him they were going to kill the boy if he didn’t talk, the took the boy out, made him scream and fired a gun – so the General very likely died thinking his boy had also been murdered.

    But at least someone got a 60 day green zone detention out of it.

    Any chance they’ll be offering up the results of our own, “military commissions” in determining what, by contrast, would be the correct sentence for a GITMO detainee who bought tomoatoes for the Taliban?

    But on the Amin story, this was pretty interesting IMO:

    “I have been interrogated dozens times by the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. army, the U.S. military intelligence, the State Department, the British intelligence and even a professor from Harvard University.”

    A professor from Harvard trotting over to be a party to interrogating a victim of continuing torture? Isn’t that special. It’s no wonder they found a spot for Goldsmith so quickly – I guess there’s an east coast/west coast rivalry for which institutions can be more bigger torture supporters. Anyway, it does lend a little credibility to some of what Siddqui said about having a professor from MIT involved in her questioning during the time she was disappeared.

  16. kgb999 says:

    @Civlivertarian #31

    The general was Abed Hamed Mowhoush ….

    …With these techniques in his interrogator’s mind, Mowhoush’s next session included having his hands bound, being struck repeatedly on the back of his arms, in the painful spot near the humerus, and being doused with water – all these, according to Welshofer and others who later testified, drawn from the lessons of techniques learned in SERE. Later that evening, Chief Welshofer arranged for a short meeting between Mowhoush and his youngest son, Mohammed, then 15 years old; Welshofer hoped the meeting would compel Mowhoush to convey more useful information. He later described Mowhoush as being moved to tears upon seeing his son. According to Mohammed though, the meeting was more than a conversation; in interviews with Human Rights First, Mohammed explained that U.S. personnel made Mowhoush believe his son would be executed if he did not speak to their satisfaction, and soldiers fired a bullet into the ground near Mohammed’s head within earshot but just beyond the eyesight of Mowhoush. Mohammed reports this was the last time he saw his father alive.


    At one point, I started trying to run all the locations of Iraq abuse down. If this interests you, I posted a first draft over at TPM a few months back; It’s a mess but there are some pretty good links (still working on the next draft … it got sort of overwhelming).