The July 2002 Torture Training Session

As I suggested, I’m working on a narrative of the known torture approvals. As part of that, I wanted to look at the approvals the CIA claimed were in place in early July, 2002–before the first known OLC opinion relating specifically to torture.

The Senate Armed Services Committee Report describes a training session JPRA conducted for CIA officers headed to Afghanistan and elsewhere on July 1-2, 2002 (we know it’s CIA because it later quotes Jonathan Fredman, then the Counterterrorism Center’s top lawyer). The training covered a range of torture techniques–apparently including some, like water dousing, not later approved by OLC for use with Abu Zubaydah.

In advance ofthe training, JPRA developed a two day lesson for [redacted] covering the "full spectrum [of] exploitation," including both explanations and demonstrations of physical pressures that were approved for use at JPRA’s SERE school. 149 At the time, JPRA-approved techniques included body slaps, face slaps, hooding, stress positions, walling, immersion in water, stripping, isolation, and sleep deprivation, among others. 150

At the training, instructors demonstrated waterboarding, even though they weren’t qualified by SERE guidelines to do so.

In addition to explaining and demonstrating the physical pressures used at SERE school, the JPRA personnel also provided instruction on waterboarding.


None of the JPRA personnel who provided the assistance had ever conducted waterboarding and would not have been qualified to do so at SERE school.

That’s the range of torture techniques trained at the session. And here’s what two CIA lawyers instructed participants with regard to the legality of using those techniques.

The July 16, 2002 after action memo stated that two agency legal personnel were also present for the training. 157 According to the memo, [redacted] personnel "requested and were granted time to present the legal limits of physiological and psychological pressures that were acceptable at the present time." 158 The after action memo described the legal briefing:

Their 30-40 [minute] brief was very supportive. Basically, [redacted] were told they could use all forms of psychological pressure discussed and all of the physiological pressures with the exception of the ‘water board.’ They were advised that should they feel the need to use the water board, they would need prior approval. They were also briefed on the ramifications for participating in torture, which under international law is defined as a ‘capital crime’ and could result in a death sentence if convicted. An eye opener to say the least. 159

Now, this training session (and the comment about capital crime) has been reported by others before. What I’m interested in is the timing, July 1 to 2, 2002. That’s almost two weeks before CIA’s lawyers met with John Bellinger, John Yoo, Michael Chertoff, Daniel Levin, and Alberto Gonzales to discuss the proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah (which had, of course, started three months earlier). After that meeting, John Yoo sent what may be the first OLC document outlining (generically, not just with regards to Abu Zubaydah)  "what is necessary to establish the crime of torture." And the training session–with its briefing on "the legal limits … that were acceptable at the present time"–took place over two weeks before Condi gave policy approval for torturing Abu Zubaydah.

That timing has several implications. First, those CIA officers headed out to Afghanistan and elsewhere couldn’t have been relying on the Bybee One or Bybee Two memos. Those memos didn’t exist yet. If they never later learned of the Bybee One memo–as Daniel Levin has suggested–then they would still be relying on the legal guidance given at this training session. Yet, as far as we know, the legal advice provided at that training session did not, in turn, rely on any advice from OLC.

Of course, the Bush Administration reportedly had approved torture by this point, though that approval reportedly came directly from Alberto Gonzales, and not OLC.

84 replies
  1. JohnForde says:

    The participants were told they could not use the waterboard and if they did they may be subject to capital punishment.
    Then they waterboarded anyway.
    Wouldn’t active concealment of this briefing constitute conspiracy?
    Wouldn’t that legal net incriminate a lot of players including Addington & Dick?

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    The [redacted] were told not to worry about criminal charges related to [redacted] as the subjects are all scary brown moslems and nobody will care enough to inconveience themselves.

    We won’t get prosecutions until AMERICAN churchs start seriously condemning what was done. Every time a politician goes to church, the sermon should be morality, justice, and the law. Except for C street, I think they need to stick with adultry for awhile.

    Boxturtle (Face secular justice, or face divine justice. You pick)

  3. perris says:

    As I suggested, I’m working on a narrative of the known torture approvals. As part of that, I wanted to look at the approvals the CIA claimed were in place in early July, 2002–before the first known OLC opinion relating specifically to torture.

    marcy, nobody’s looked into the fbi agents claim that they were hanging people upside down naked from the ceiling

    somthings shock the mind and even though some of these “techniques” are more physically challenging, hanging a captive from the ceiling naked really shocks the mind and demonstrates the detached depravity from cheney’s team b

    it was in the fbi interview where he aluded to something like, “if these techniques are allowed here that means any citizen could be hung naked from the ceiling”

    he was clearly indicating the tecniques he witnessed and giving a reason why they were clearly illegal

    • perris says:

      marcy, nobody’s looked into the fbi agents claim that they were hanging people upside down naked from the ceiling

      found it;

      In other words, Americans in any town of this country could constitutionally be hung from the ceiling naked, sleep deprived, water-boarded, and all the rest — if the alleged national security justification was compelling. I did not believe our federal courts could reasonably be expected to agree with such a reading of the Constitution.

      here he is numerating the techniques he witnessed and saying if they are alloewd then they become constitutional in the country as well but it’s clear, these are tecniques he himself witnessed

      • xyno says:

        Just a minor quibble: I don’t see “upside down” there.

        That said, it seems clear, as you say, that he’s enumerating techniques he actually witnessed and that there’s no question in his mind that this was way over the line.

        • perris says:

          ya, I don’t see upside dwon there either, my memory extrapolated

          but this still shocks the mind since it’s descriptive, the term they’re using for water torture is not descriptive and actually sounds benign

          “hanging captives naked from the ceiling” is something very base, you can imagine what’s going on and you can’t imagine anything but depravity for the reason

          it would be very good to get that as part of the discussion, and get in there “this means women and children” since there is no exclusion to who they are haning naked from the ceiling

          the discussion should go;

          “so, if your daughter or wife was held captive because someome made believe she is a security threat, you are fine with them hanging your daughter and your wife naked from the ceiling, and I suppose you don’t think they would get their jollies from this, and I don’t suppose you think they would take tapes home for their future pleasure, is that what you are saying?”

          their heads would explode

          • BoxTurtle says:

            The response would be “My wife/daughter aren’t scary brown moslems, so it won’t happen”.

            IMO part of the problem is that Americans don’t see it happening to themselves, if they notice it at all. It’s happening to a population that has been effectively dehumanized by BushCo and the MSM. These men don’t have families, they have several women (each) that they keep basically as slaves. Their offspring (NOT children) are trained to Jihad in the cradle. Torture is the only way to handle those folks!

            Bet if I said the above at a teabagger rally, I’d get a standing O.

            Boxturtle (Sorry about the bitter sarchasm that dripped on your floor. I’ll get a mop)

          • xyno says:

            I can’t recall where it was now, but I read a detailed description of the “long time standing” technique which described chaining the arms high above the head, forcing the victim to stretch upwards in order to relieve painful pressure on the arms.

            It’s really unfortunate that so much of the conversation has focused on water-boarding, since that has detracted from people’s understanding of the protracted, multi-technique regimen to which we have subjected people. Combine that with the tacit assumption in almost all mainstream discussion that those who suffered this are “terrorists” (certainly some were but also certainly many were not) and it becomes all too easy for most folks to classify all this as unpleasant but necessary.

            • emptywheel says:

              Not to mention the fact that stress positions (which is the euphemism for the arm-hanging we’re discussing) and sleep deprivation have been tied to actual homicides in custody, whereas waterboarding has not, as far as we know.

              • scribe says:


                To elaborate: under the torture statute, you can get life for
                plain ol’ torture if the tortured person survives, but you can get death for torture if the tortured person dies.

                So, plain old arm-hangin’ gets you life, but if the guy dies from it, makes you eligible for death. Waterbarding the guy to death, gets you death.

                • skdadl says:

                  Well, a slight correction: There is only one country in the Western world (please forgive the lazy generalization) that still has capital punishment, and that is the U.S.

                  If anyone is ever seriously investigated and prosecuted for these heinous crimes, they had better hope that it is done under the aegis of the ICC or any of its members, because the rest of us don’t execute.

                  I just discovered yesterday that Afghanistan has signed and ratified the Rome Statute. I thought that was … promising.

              • skdadl says:

                My understanding is that it’s slow suffocation. Other terrible things happen in a number of the “stress positions,” but the ones that amount to crucifixion both dislocate the shoulders and cause the slow collapse of the lungs.

                • scribe says:

                  IIRC, it was one of the captives at Abu Ghraib who died that way.

                  Moving on to another point, and thinking all lawyer-like, the fact that the torturers got the instruction on how to do it, then got the legal brief telling them they could be executed (if they got caught), could (quite easily) be construed as a conspiracy to obstruct justice because there was a quite-explicit incentive on everyone’s part to make sure no trace of their criminality ever surfaced.

                  Just sayin’.

                  • Garrett says:

                    I’ve always thought that Jamadi was at least as much beaten to death by the SEALs and the CIA, as he died under CIA interrogation from being strung up in the stress position.

                    All that blood he coughed up after he died and they unstrung him. The shackling did not cause that.

                    The broken ribs, the broken and bloodied nose, the plastic hood, the backward hanging stress position: it all adds up.

              • Mary says:

                and @19

                The descriptions of Dilawar’s death have been likened to crucifixion a lot. I’m not sure if that is the one you were thinking of tjbs, but here is one piece:

                The passion of Dilawar of Yakubi
                by David Townsend, in the National Catholic Reporter, Aug 12, 2005.

                Dilawar of Yuakubi, a small village in Afghanistan not unlike Nazareth in Palestine where Jesus grew up, died by crucifixion

                Dilawar of Yakubi was a frail 122 pounds standing at 5 feet 9 inches. His hands died first. When brought in for interrogation, his arms waved about, a common effect of crucifixion. Dilawar of Yakubi could neither stand nor sit, his legs now pulpified.

                “Allah! Allah! Allah!” cried out Dilawar of Yakubi and gave up his spirit.

                There is nothing else to say in this Year of Our Lord 2005 except his blood is on our hands and on the hands of our children.

                I don’t know the copyrights on this pic (I think it was originally NYT but I can’t find a link to place it there), and the link here is to a blog that I’m sure lifted it, but below is a picture of Dilawars daughter, left behind while men like John Ascroft get multimillion dollar contracts. For everyone at DOJ who bent over backwards to make sure “theirs” get cover and don’t have to even worry about “embarassment” over their depravity – the real world stakes were very different. If they looked at Dilawar’s daughter – and they won’t – they should see their own children and the blood they’ve soaked them in.

                But they won’t.

                • tjbs says:

                  The Romans went out to break the legs so they wouldn’t be on the cross on the sabbath. E/W and Mary and all here, this is a fearsome walk down a lonely road and I’m so glad we’re going down this road together but we will prevail.
                  Then the peace.

            • perris says:

              I actually haven’t seen that but I’ll read it as soon I can, you have of course seen this but I thought I would post it in case you haven’t

              the most striking thing about that article is the fact that it wsa printed BEFORE we went into Iraq and it told us every single thing that was happening for the run up to war in Iraq happened before because of cheney/rumsfeld, the only differance there is the fact that cheney was the underling when it happened the first time

              what’s that expression, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…errr…CAN’T BE FOOLED AGAIN”?

              well, we were warned and let it happen excactly the same, by the exact same players

      • Mary says:

        You are right about FBI reports, but the link in your post is to Zelikow, who was State Dept and who is basing that story supposedlyon reviews of the memos and not on his first hand role as a torture observer. Not a big point, but fwiw.

    • tjbs says:

      They crucified St Paul that way with nails instead of stay-ties. In two weeks of torture 101 you can learn just the right tightness on the stay-ties w/ a doctor on call if they turned out to be too tight.Amazing,are we really sure we didn’t draw and quarter the very worst of the worst?

  4. Garrett says:

    At the time of the autopsy project, there was some talk about “red-purple lungs” and unusual lung weights, someone with some medical knowledge found it.

    It would be slow organ failure, from lack of oxygen coming in from the blood side.

    Some unknown combination of blood clots from the beating, and inability to breath from the stress position and the broken ribs and the hooding.

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    Pondering the question of legal authorization, it occurs to me that the CIA did feel more exposed. By their charter, they act under the National Security Council of the President. Historically, they are more legally exposed than, say, the military.

    The CIA made sure they had legal reps at the early July JPRA “training”. Note that Witsch, a JPRA instructor, finds the CIA’s legal warnings “an eye opener”. JPRA had already earlier conducted trainings, for instance to DIA in February 2002. (And the role of DIA in the origins and propagation of the torture program has not been sufficiently examined. Maybe Dave Becker, DIA’s counsel, was present at this February 2002 meeting, we just don’t know. He was at the meeting in Oct. 02 at Gitmo, whose famous minutes have been discussed before. Fredman was there, too.) From an article of mine in June:

    Sometime in February 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency asked JFCOM if they could get a “crash course” on interrogation for the next team headed out to SOUTHCOM (Guantanamo). The request went to BG Moore, who approved it. Jessen and another JPRA instructor were tasked with the seminar.

    The presentation on detainee “exploitation” described phases of exploitation and included instruction on initial capture and handling, conducting interrogations, and long term exploitation… The exploitation presentation also included slides on “isolation and degradation,” “sensory deprivation,” “physiological pressures,” and “psychological pressures… At SERE school, each of these terms has special meaning.

    I don’t see any issue around legal approval re these earlier JPRA “trainings.” They were approved by a brigidier general, and it strikes me that in the military, the chain of command substitutes (too often) for the rule of law.

    Witsch was certainly impressed enough by what the CIA counsel said to have a change of heart about what they were training. After the August 2002 JPRA “training” of Guantanamo BSCT interrogators, Witsch must have been thinking of the “eye-opener” revelations from the July CIA training. From another thing I wrote, in April:

    Approximately a week after the end of training, in the latter part of September, one of the JPRA instructors, Joseph Witsch, was having second thoughts, which he expressed in a memo to Col. Moulton and Lt. Col. Baumgartner, as well as leadership at Special Operations Command:

    I believe the techniques and tactics that we use in training have applicability. What I am wrestling with is the implications of using these tactics as it relates to current legal constraints, the totally different motivations of the detainees, and the lack of direction of senior leadership within the [U.S. Government] on how to uniformly treat detainees. We are now attempting to educate lower level personnel in DoD and OGAs [other governmental agencies] with concepts and principles that are somewhat foreign to them and while it all sounds good they are not in a position nor do they have the depth of knowledge in these matters to effect change and do it in reasonable safety….

    The handling of [Designated Unlawful Combatants] is a screwed up mess and everyone is scrambling to unscrew the mess … If we want a more profound role in this effort we need to sell our capabilities to the top level people in the USG and not spend our time trying to motivate the operators at the lower levels to sway their bosses. This is running the train backwards and that is a slow method to get somewhere. There are a lot of people in the USG intelligence community that still believe in the old paradigm and wonder just what we’re doing in their business.

    Two other points that may or may not be helpful in your efforts, EW.

    1) The CIA, or their proxies, had much earlier waterboarded al-Libi.

    2) The CIA was asking for permission to waterboard as early as mid-May 02, which is something you already pointed out, but I’m bringing up here to remind you.

    My main point is that the legal requirements of the CIA do not necessarily follow from the legalities of the way the military is run. It is not enough to ask how or why the CIA did what they did, and when — although that may be enough for building a prosecutorial brief against them — but to get the full picture of how the torture program emerged, we must combine this with how or why JPRA, or Joint Forces Command, or Joint Special Operations Command, developed, or acted upon proposals for torture. These two interact in some way which is not clear to me, but the fact that they do interact seems indubitable.

    My theory, which I’ve pieced together before, has Cheney and “team B” going to their people in JSOC and CIA and setting up a SAP (some in the military’s Joint Forces Command or JFCOM and DIA were also likely read into this at some level). This SAP puts together Mitchell-Jessen’s enterprise ultimately, but first, is meant to utilize JPRA and SO interrogators for torture. The Al Qaeda “McGuffin” is launched as cover, the manuals or CONOPs are written. Then, they are “hired” by CIA. — I don’t know that there is a need for any legal finding for a SAP. By the time the torture program has spread to full institutional status, the need for legal approval emerges.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      And one final thought. Yoo maintains if the president orders it (in a time of war, as a possible constraint) it’s legal. The torture program was no doubt signed off on by Bush.

      But this is not the first illegal activity the U.S. government has arranged. Where were the legal approvals for overthrowing other governments, for a host of different covert operations and assassinations, etc. The wish to forego an investigation on torture is partly because these kinds of questions are likely to be asked, and it will become more and more apparent that the U.S. government, at its highest levels, as been a lawless regime going back decades.


      My theory, which I’ve pieced together before, has Cheney and “team B” going to their people in JSOC and CIA and setting up a SAP (some in the military’s Joint Forces Command or JFCOM and DIA were also likely read into this at some level).

      Agreed. Feasible and business as usual when SAPs are concerned.

      This SAP puts together Mitchell-Jessen’s enterprise ultimately, but first, is meant to utilize JPRA and SO interrogators for torture.


      Then, they are “hired” by CIA.


      I don’t know that there is a need for any legal finding for a SAP.

      There isn’t. And there still isn’t (see: COPPER GREEN)
      SAPs are not briefed to oversight committees. Sometimes, the commanders of units don’t even know their subordinates are read into and operating under SAPs.

      By the time the torture program has spread to full institutional status, the need for legal approval emerges.


    • WilliamOckham says:

      Do you have a source (other than Col. Wilkerson) for the claim that al-Libi was waterboarded? I am not aware of any other source and I think Wilkerson is wrong on that.

      • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

        You’ll have plenty of sources when CIA paramilitary personnel get dragged down to the District Court in Alexandra, Virginia and start pointing fingers at JSOC and other Special Force types.

        “We didn’t do it, they did it and it was their idea!”

        If you think Serena Williams tennis matches are fun, wait until you see the JSOC/”dark” DoD world engage in open warfare with indicted CIA officers out for revenge.

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        No, I have no other source. I take it that others found Wilkerson’s charges credible. But you are right to point out that it’s the only source thus far. I have read a comment by Mary that she thought Suskind discussed it in his book, One Percent Solution, but I have not read that book… yet.

        We need to have Jessen’s early document on Physical Pressures declassified to see what was really being proposed and how early. We can see it was being discussed at by July in JPRA trainings. Was it discussed in their trainings earlier in the year? We don’t know.

      • Mary says:

        Suskind mentions it in his One Percent Doctrine – in a list of things done to al-libi. I’d have to go back, but I think he mentions waterboarding for one other person too, who was not KSM, Zubaydah or al-Nashiri. When the CIA documents on waterboarding were coming out, which focued on only KSM, Zubaydah and al-Nashiri, I sent an email to the “info” email for his book & publishers, asking about whether with the new info he still though al-libi had been waterboarded and if so, if was just not directly by CIA (and also asking about his reference to KSMs childen being a boy and a girl instead of two boys), but I never heard anything back.

        Also, I think that on an interview with one of the news networks, either Berntsen or Baer or some other ex-CIA mentioned al-libi being waterboarded, but it wasn’t said as if they had direct knowledge more so than if they were repeating something they had heard IIRC.

        History commons also mentions waterboarding re: al-libi

        One day before the transfer, a CIA officer enters al-Libi’s cell, interrupting an interrogation being conducted by FBI agent Russel Fincher, and tells al-Libi: “You’re going to Cairo, you know. Before you get there I’m going to find your mother and I’m going to f_ck her.” Soon after, al-Libi is flown to Egypt. [Newsweek, 6/21/2004; Washington Post, 6/27/2004; Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 121] Vincent Cannistraro, former head of the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, will later say: “He’s carried off to Egypt, who torture him. And we know that he’s going to be tortured. Anyone who’s worked on Egypt, has worked on other countries in the Middle East, knows that. Egyptians torture him, and he provides a lot of information.” [PBS Frontline, 6/20/2006]
        Provides Mix of Valid, False Information – It is unclear whether al-Libi is interrogated solely by Egyptian officials, or by a combination of Egyptian and CIA interrogators. Al-Libi is subjected to a series of increasingly harsh techniques, including at least one, waterboarding, that is considered torture (see Mid-March 2002). Reputedly, he is finally broken after being waterboarded and then forced to stand naked in a cold cell overnight where he is repeatedly doused with cold water by his captors. Al-Libi is said to provide his Egyptian interrogators with valuable intelligence about an alleged plot to blow up the US Embassy in Yemen with a truck bomb, and the location of Abu Zubaida, who will be captured in March 2002 (see Mid-May 2002 and After). However, in order to avoid harsh treatment he will also provide false information to the Egyptians, alleging that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases. Officials will later determine that al-Libi has no knowledge of such training or weapons, and fabricates the statements out of fear and a desire to avoid further torture. Sources will later confirm that al-Libi did not try to deliberately mislead his captors; rather, he told them what he thought they wanted to hear. [ABC News, 11/18/2005; New York Times, 12/9/2005]

        So perhaps waterboarding, perhaps by proxy, perhaps US reps there, perhaps not, perhaps some cables going back enthusing over live burials and waterboarding as done by Egyptian interrogators, perhaps not, etc.

        • JasonLeopold says:

          Although he does not specifically mention waterboarding, in the book State of War, James Risen wrote:

          “The CIA, however, had no interest in allowing al-Libi to set foot in the United States. In the end, CIA officers simply came and took al-Libi away from the FBI in Afghanistan, according to the FBI source. The agency flew him to Egypt, where Egyptian intelligence, an organization known to have tortured prisoners, interrogated him on behalf of the agency. According to the FBI source, as the CIA took the prisoners away, an FBI agent overheard one CIA officer say to al-Libi: You know where you are going. Before you get there, I am going to find your mother and fuck her.”

          Italicized in the book

          • Mary says:

            Thank you – and thanks for the info @ 45. I think I remember somewhere Cloonan saying that the CIA guy who was psyched up over taking al-Libi to Egyptian torture and with threats to rape his mother was a former FBI agent too.

            All the threats of rape are another part of the GWOT that get glossed over by “the patriots.” Whether it was implied, as in the Higazy interrogations where they said they woud have Egyptian authorities “pick up” his sister, or the multiple hostage takings during the war, or the threats to al-libi and Qhatani re: their family members, or whether it was more – like an orchestrated plan of anal assualts on stripped and hooded men – or even more than that – it’s not been examined much, but it’s there on the periphery of almost everything. In the chapter on the Boy Spies in Lawrence Wright’s book, The Looming Towers, we get some insight into how our Egyptian interrogator friends used children. There doesn’t seem to be any person or any thing surfacing during those early years of Bushco torture that indicates anyone much would have drawn the line over handing off children for that kind of treatment, and there have been a fair number of stories of the US allowing a foreign translator to sodomize a boy at Abu Ghraib, in addition to the reports of sodomy with lightbulbs that no one faced any charges over.

            The only thing lacking for most of this is any investigation as to what did actually happen to family members of “detainees.” Who would know whether threats were bombast, or even carried out, since the families of our detainees never get mentioned. They managed to go through the court martial involving one of soldiers involved in Dilawar’s killing without ever mentioning his child and wife (who may have been little more than a child herself given customs and Dilawar’s own young age). We do know that now and then we get custody of relatives of detainees, like KSM’s wife and children, but nothing more after that.

            • JasonLeopold says:

              Mary, the story about Dilawar is so heartbreaking.

              I agree that the stories about threats of rape and murder against detainees get glossed over and are sort of tossed aside because it’s not seen as a big deal by the media or that it should even be considered any sort of violation because these people don’t deserve to be treated humanely.

              • JasonLeopold says:

                When I say that “these people don’t deserve to be treated humanely” I am referring to the attitude by the “patriots,” as you describe Mary, when these revelations are brought to light.

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            What I’s still like to know is why OccamsRazor doesn’t believe Wilkerson on this score. There are things I don’t believe that Wilkerson says, as he bends things to support the Powell clique, but I don’t know why OR finds this particular assertion questionable.

            • JasonLeopold says:

              Wilkerson doesn’t strike me as someone who would just make those things up out of whole cloth. At a minimum, maybe he obtained this information from people in the intelligence community and during the investigation into detainee abuse he had conducted on his own at Powell’s request

              • JasonLeopold says:

                I just went back to Wilkerson’s account in the Washington Note:

                What I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002 — well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion — its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.

                So furious was this effort that on one particular detainee, even when the interrogation team had reported to Cheney’s office that their detainee “was compliant” (meaning the team recommended no more torture), the VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods. The detainee had not revealed any al-Qa’ida-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, “revealed” such contacts. Of course later we learned that al-Libi revealed these contacts only to get the torture to stop.

                There in fact were no such contacts. (Incidentally, al-Libi just “committed suicide” in Libya. Interestingly, several U.S. lawyers working with tortured detainees were attempting to get the Libyan government to allow them to interview al-Libi….)

                • JasonLeopold says:

                  Correction. Marcy wrote about this here. And her post states that Spencer reported that Wilkerson doesn’t know what the timing was with regard to al-Libi being tortured.

                  I am basing my conclusions on the fact that DCI Tenet and DDCI McLaughlin presented the information about al-Libi to Secretary Powell in Feb 2003 and not in Feb 2002. The strong impression was that the interrogation had just occurred or, at a minimum, that Tenet had just received the information (otherwise, why wouldn’t they have given it to Powell much earlier, say when he first expressed concerns over the terrorist links some days earlier?). I have no idea when the Egyptians waterboarded al-Libi other than what Tenet and McLauglin implied in their presentation to Powell–which, incidentally, was quite effective on him. Who says the Egyptians tortured al-Libi in Feb 2002? I’m prepared to modify my views if that can be proved. But not by much because that is a minor part of my position.

                  Marcy added: “Note, earlier reporting stated that al-Libi gave up the Iraq intelligence in 2002 under torture. It is not clear it was waterboarding, though.”

                  It would be great if we could see some documents.

            • WilliamOckham says:

              If you’re still here, I’m sorry I had to disappear out of the thread. I had to take my 21 year old daughter to ER yesterday for kidney stones. She’s doing better now, but I have to take her to the urologist now. I’ll come back to why I’m suspicious of this particular story. I think Wilkerson’s sources misled him, perhaps inadvertantly.

              Looking back over the older press reports (from 2005), I suspect someone was intentionally confusing al-Libi with AZ when speaking to the press. The full explanation is complicated and a bit of guesswork.

              • Jeff Kaye says:

                Hope your daughter will be okay. No need to apologize for leaving the thread. Thanks for elaborating. I think the consensus — which is much as Marcy had earlier stated — is that there is some question whether Wilkerson was correct about it. I’ll be more careful re asserting it. For now, I consider the waterboarding of al-Libi a possibility.

  6. Mary says:

    @19 “it better not have happened”

    Well, they had multiple participants, many of whom thought it was funny to hear Dilawar cry out to Allah while they were pulverizing his legs. No one was convicted of murder, the main soldier charged contended that while sure, they had done everything that has come out, none of it was wrong.…..wanted=all

    Of 27 soldiers and officers against whom Army investigators had recommended criminal charges, 15 have been prosecuted. Five of those have pleaded guilty to assault and other crimes; the stiffest punishment any of them have received has been five months in a military prison. Only one soldier has been convicted at trial; he was not imprisoned at all.

    “If this case were to go to trial, it would be a big, ugly loser for the government,” Lt. Col. Thomas S. Berg, the Army judge who oversaw Captain Beiring’s pretrial inquiry, wrote in a report on the evidence.

    In the modest Fort Bliss courtrooms where the trials have been held, the two Afghan victims have rarely been evoked, except in autopsy photographs. But much testimony focused on hardships faced by the soldiers themselves: the poor training they received, the tough conditions in which they operated, the vague rules with which they had to contend. As in other recent abuse cases, Army judges and jurors also seemed to consider the soldiers’ guilt or innocence with an acute sense of the sacrifices they had made in serving overseas.

    Lt. Col. Joseph A. Simonelli Jr., who sat on the jury for a former Bagram guard who admitted to repeatedly striking one of the detainees who died, was asked after the trial how he had viewed the defendant. The soldier, convicted of maiming, assault and other crimes, was sentenced to only a demotion in rank, and honorably discharged.

    “This individual was an American citizen who had been called up,” Colonel Simonelli, a Fort Bliss battalion commander, said in an interview. “He had volunteered, and when they called upon him to perform his duties in a time of war, he did it without question.”

    But by charging Sergeant Boland for his role in the overhead shackling, a common method to keep prisoners from sleeping or to punish them, the prosecutors were effectively arguing that one of the standard procedures at Bagram had itself been criminal.

    That assertion raised the possibility that senior officers at Bagram and even Pentagon officials could also be held liable for authorizing the practice or acquiescing in it.

    According to one of dozens of confidential Army documents recently obtained by The New York Times, agents of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command made it a high priority in the summer of 2003 to determine “who authorized the forced-standing and no-sleep practices” at Bagram.

    But Mr. Loring, who left the Army at the end of 2003, was rarely mentioned in court and never charged.

    A military official familiar with the Loring case said the Army referred it to the Justice Department, which declined to prosecute

    So many guards had admitted to striking the two men, the lawyers said, that it would be almost impossible to fix blame on one or even several of them.

    The prosecutors did not mention the young wife and a 2-year-old daughter that Mr. Dilawar left behind, or that interrogators had concluded before his death that he was almost certainly innocent of any involvement in the rocket attack on the American base.

    It’s a wonderful thing, how America freed Bibi Rashidi. It’s a story whose impact isn’t lost – on the Muslims in the area or on the soldiers who saw what “it better not have happened” really means. Lots of sympathy – not for Dilawar and Bibi, but for them. And honorable discharges. Because what could be more honorable?

    It would be interesting to see what was involved in the Crim Div refusals to prosecute re: Loring – who the referrals went to (were they handled by the same ED VA guys who gave CIA torturers a bye and sat mum about evidence while their USA office filed fraudulent documents with the court? Or are there just so many more who were willing to play ball? And where are they now? Which law firms, which consulting agreements, which defense contractors, which oil companies?

    It doesn’t matter that much, bc their accomplishment really lives on independent of their actions – it’s that they’ve wedded America with torture. And it’s a marriage like that of the 12 yo Yemeni “wife” who died in childbirth. It’s a marriage that will leave behind a thriving “husband” and a dead mother and child.

    It better not have happened doesn’t really have much behind it anymore. It all did happeend, the nation and the world know it happened, and it changed who we are as a nation. ANd the “patriots” who pulled that off don’t care – as long as they are covered and their life is lucrative, it doesn’t matter. In the end, they all sign off on the memos; they all sign off on the states secrets invocations; they all sign off on the lies to courts; and they change who we are as a nation.

  7. timbo says:

    personnel “requested and were granted time to present the legal limits of physiological and psychological pressures that were acceptable at the present time.”

    Uh huh. Why haven’t the folks who participated in that meeting been publicly deposed yet? My national security is threatened by a bunch of anti-Bill of Rights fanatics that have used the psychophants in charge as some sort of shield from legal consequences. These thugs need to be brought before a reputable court of law and before a working system of justice.


    My personal belief now is that DIA SSB were the original interrogators. Later, contractors were brought in. Around November or December 2001 there were too many OGA[CIA] personnel involved and they (unlike the military who operated unilateraly under a SAP) needed legal authorization, or a Finding (politically impossible, even then).
    They knew that, eventually, FBI would send a delegation out to Afghanistan. So this needed to be “legal” – stat.

    Long story short: they sought legal approval for those who weren’t military. It was only when CIA began capturing people did they worry.

    In conclusion:
    – CIA was late to the party
    – DoD was in charge from the beginning of HVT interrogation; specifically DIA SSB
    – DIA SSB, contractors and the intelligence arm of JSOC were used because they fell under a Special Access Program (SAP) created specifically for this purpose.
    – once CIA became involved, CIA refused
    – alternate theory: or CIA would not without a Presidential Finding
    – Findings must be briefed to Senate/Congress.
    – Addington decides they need legal cover – yesterday.
    – Yoo and OLC are consulted to create legal cover for CIA…
    – …and later, conventional military intelligence and police units…
    – who are not (Guantanamo) and never were (Iraq) read into the SAPs

    The trail begins with DIA, JPRA, JFCOM, JSOC and the compartmentalized intelligence unit with JSOC that specializes in human intelligence collection and “gators” (interrogators). Seek and ye shall find.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      This concurs very closely with what I have independently researched and concluded. The primary difference is the hypothesis that DIA SSB (or SSB contractors) were the initial contractors. But then, SSB is so secret, that it has eluded much of my ability to find them (at least initially) via my research. [SSB stands for Strategic Support Branch, for those who don’t know. Here’s a link to an article about them.]

      I still wonder what role CIA played re SERE. Do you, Skimpy, make much out of my finding that a CIA researcher (with military funding) spent years and megabucks researching the physiological and psychological effects of SERE techniques?

  9. nahant says:

    I am still reading “The Dark Side” by Jane Mayer and fuck I can only read it in bits and pieces before I have to put it down in disgust at what I have been reading that these Criminal Lawyers cooked up!! WTF did they think they were doing throwing away two Centuries of strict US policy of never Torturing!! And that the President has the power to completely wipe out our Constitution and Treaties that we had not only signed but pushed the rest of the world to follow our lead!!
    These people are all criminals and must be brought to Justice! Either by US law officials or by the International community!!


      The torture troop will be thrown to the wolves when the investigation starts to threaten other US clandestine operations.

      The CIA and the OLC lawyers will then be sacrificed to preserve DoD and FourthBranch. You heard it here first.

  10. TarheelDem says:

    Based on the date of Bush’s stated opposition to ratification of the treaty on the International Criminal Court, the decision to allow torture was made sometime before May 6, 2002.

  11. JasonLeopold says:

    This ended up getting buried in a story I had been working about Helgerson and the Spiegel interview And it’s not really news per se but if anyone’s interested I thought I would share.

    In an interview, Jack Cloonan, a former FBI special agent assigned to the agency’s elite Bin Laden unit, said Abu Zubaydah “wasn’t privy to a lot of what I would consider to be a lot of really good operational details.”

    “I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of things related to [9/11 mastermind] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah,” Cloonan said, adding that the information he obtained about Zubaydah came from other people within al-Qaeda cells who knew him and stayed in his safe houses. “I first obtained information about Abu Zubaydah in 1996. We thought he would be best described as a logistical officer who managed a series of safe houses and was a great travel agent. But to cast him and describe him as the al-Qaeda emir or leader for the subcontinent or worse to that effect I think was a mistake.

    “The way somebody put it to me, and this was a guy that knew Abu Zubaydah and actually was asked to do a little bit of an investigation into Abu Zubaydah, he was asked to do this by [top al-Qaeda leader Ayman al] Zawarhi because there was some money missing from one of the safe houses, and he came away with the idea that Abu Zubaydah would never, ever based on his age and ethnicity would ever be brought into the inner circle of al-Qaeda. My partner had a chance to look at a lot of Abu Zubaydah’s diaries, poems and other things that he has written and he said that after reading this you just come away with the feeling that this is a guy who can’t be trusted or being given huge amounts of responsibility. He just seemed mentally unstable.

    “It’s very important for the agency and others who promulgated these policies to have Abu Zubaydah described [as a top al-Qaeda figure]. To do otherwise just throws their whole theory to the wind. I’m not at all suggesting that Abu Zubaydah wasn’t valuable. Anytime you get one of these guys and get their cooperation I think is a win. You can get information that’s really valuable from people who are further down the food chain. It’s how you get the information and whether you’re getting real cooperation or simply compliance because somebody’s either waterboarding you or gets you on sleep deprivation. We know and the science tells us that people cannot recall details accurately, they can’t look at pictures, they will make things up if deprived of the bare essentials of life over the course of time. I don’t understand how you could sleep deprive somebody for 11 days and now expect this person to provide you with accurate information. Even if they wanted to they’re probably so debilitated at this point they need to be rehabilitated before they ever give you anything.”

  12. alinaustex says:

    skimpypenguin @ 36 ,
    When this ‘open warfare ‘begins between the JSCOS and the CIA field officers will there then be an opportunity to work up the chain of command – those who actually put togather the sap for the SSB- Its ben reported that Rumsfeld was in particular eager to have a stovepiped stand alone program to do what the CIA was doing already. Would Principals other then OVP actors been briefed regarding the SSB.
    I have never been in the military skimpy -but have had family members and close friends who have served – and have immense respect for who they are and what they do . One of my buddies is an former Marine that I gather was attached to the Penatgon and was sent to help Feith and Cambone sell the Iraq Occupation -he still is adamant that Cambone is a bigger threat to our national security then al Qa’ida ever was


      First you need to understand the “players”:

      – JSOC
      – DIA SSB
      -(unknown JSOC intelligence unit)
      – Contractor interrogators (Xe/Blackwater, Blackwater Select, CACI, MPRI)
      – Contractor logistics (Abraxis, Gryphon, Raven LLC)
      – Contractor air travel (Boeing-Jeppesen, Presidential Airways/Blackwater)

      And then the “chain of command”:
      (From least important to the top, based on what we know)

      – the people read into the Special Access Program actually doing it
      – the Interagency Task Force overseeing it (TF-xxx) (JTF-xxx) (TF-”color”)

      – CIA CTC / DIA SSB leadership / JSOC commander

      – Pentagon / State Department / CIA / DIA (Cambone/Bolton/Rodriguez/Maples)
      ——> Office of Special Plans (for the Special Access Programs, not CIA)
      – OSD (Rumsfeld, Feith) / CIA/DCI (Tenet, Goss, Hayden)

      – NSC
      – OVP National Security Adviser (Hannah, Libby)
      – Addington
      – OVP
      – EOP

  13. Mary says:

    BTW – as set forth in the history commons timeline, it looks like they were getting input from Egypt and Saudi Arabia on their lists of techniques, starting in March, 2002 or so.

    The list is secretly drawn up by a team including senior CIA officials, and officials from the Justice Department and the National Security Council. The CIA got help in making the list from governments like Egypt and Saudi Arabia that are notorious for their widespread use of torture (see Late 2001-Mid-March 2002). [New York Times, 11/9/2005]

    The History Commons timeline also makes it sound as if Chertoff, in addition to Yoo, may have been giving advice to CIA prior to the OLC opinions [Mid-May entry.]

    The CIA is being advised by Michael Chertoff at the Justice Department, but there will be no formal legal opinion permitting the techniques until August 2002. [New York Times, 9/10/2006]

    There’s not much else out there indicating a direct Chertoff role – the one meeting, but not a lot. I still remember that, after all the reports about which lawyers went on the torture field trip to GITMO, how well Chertoff managed to keep his name from being included until the list came out finally.

  14. alinaustex says:

    [email protected] 53 ,
    Thank you – if I follow what you are saying this ‘open warfare “between the JSOC and the CIA field officers will brew up because the CIA will not want to be left liable for the torture/homicides (among other war crimes ) that occurred at Camp Nama and elsewhere in the gwot ? Did I understand that right skimpy -And if I understood this — the coming brouhaha will leave many careeer military and ‘OGA’ line officers potentially indictable for their individual leaderships decision -Why wouldn’t the ” OGA” line officers and the military JOSOC personel want to give up all the potentially criminal ‘chain of command ” including Tenet , Rumsfeld and or Erik Prince. Would not giving up Senior Leadership be a good way to limit the down the chain criminal liabilty – rat out the OSD/and the Veep maybe you could get yourself a pardon ? BTW to your knowledge would NSC advisor Rice have been briefed into this sap SSB

    I wonder too skimpy if any of these lower level types have been visiting with the Durham grand jury yet ? Its been mentioned in the MSM -maybe its all speculation -that the Durham grand jury has already had contractors come sit before it …

    • bmaz says:

      This is all sheer baloney. First off, the executive branch, not to mention the agency lawyers simply are not going to allow wholesale testifying by operatives such as has been speculated. There is no precedent that supports that this could ever occur, and every precedent militates in favor of it not being allowed, and courts have been particularly circumspect and give the government every deference on these calls. The thought that they are going to all be coming in and spilling their guts on this is laughable on its face. Not to mention that it is outside of the scope of the DOJ review and the jurisdiction Durham has for the torture tape investigation. Secondly, “will leave many careeer military and ‘OGA’ line officers potentially indictable for their individual leaderships decision” is not even close to the case in light of the the affirmative defense provided by the immunity provision of the Detainee Treatment Act. It is worded in such a way as to effectively preclude prosecutions under DOJ charging guidelines in all but the extreme outlier situations of conduct.


      – I seriously doubt there will pardons.

      – My personal opinion is that CIA will go down fighting. The added benefit that no one here has mentioned is that if and when CIA the agency, not the people, goes up in flames because of the investigation, that benefits DoD. They can then move in and control the entire intelligence community, not just the 80% they control now. Right now, DHS and CIA run their own shops.
      After this, they can make the (logical) argument it all needs to be consolidated under DoD. Eliminating or sidelining ODNI would be part of that.

      – Some of these people under indictment will try to run. I know we have a lot of lawyer types on FDL/EW…but you guys need to face facts. Some of them will disappear. Don’t fool yourself. The FBI is not that good. In this case, the Marshals are not that good and they are no match. I know, I know…they’ll issue subpoenas. Many will say fuck it, and run. They’re trained to do that, and they do it very well. If it comes down to them breaking rules to evade punishment and prison, or taking the blame for the torture policies, they will run. Anyone that doesn’t think so, is lying to themselves.

      – Many won’t “rat” because loyalty to FourthBranch is a very powerful currency. But you should all know that by now: look at all the appearances of Liz Cheney, John Bolton, John Hannah and even Cheney himself in the past few months. This is calculated psychological warfare: “Yes, we know about the investigation. He may try to indict some of us. But don’t you dare think about coming forward. You know what we will do to you.”
      That is the intended message, and it’s been very effective. If it wasn’t, we’d have plenty of Tice’s coming forward.

      – Loyalty trumps everything for these people.

      • bmaz says:

        You talk about facing facts. Perhaps you ought to give that a try and quit falsely ginning people up with your fantastical stories that have no basis, precedent or credibility with the way things actually work in the legal system.

        • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

          You lawyer types are all the same. Disconnected from reality…a false sense of entitlement. There’s this fantastical world that YOU live in where bad people end up confessing to their crimes and owning up to them. Clearly you didn’t grow up in America, the opposite happens all the time. You think what you want: some will burn. Others, will run. Still more will be grilled in front of committees and walk away. I know that doesn’t jive with you, but that’s too bad. Get over it. Is it wrong? Yes. Is it going to happen? You tell me. Do we have any convictions other than a “lone wolf” contractor? No…

          Lawyers are the ones that got us into this mess. Yet here you stand: questioning what I know.

          As Bill Cosby would say: “Ooooooooook.”

          • bmaz says:

            You are rude and obnoxious, constantly belittling people and lording over them with your hyped up bullshit. You denigrate people you don’t know, constantly tell others what they need to do, and think you have all the answers and all others are uninformed. Far as I can tell you have a good base of knowledge on many areas and then extrapolate it wildly into areas that you don’t know or understand in the least. You dish out the crap, but any time you are called on something, you shriek with indignation and become abusive. That truly unattractive and really doesn’t cut it here.

            • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

              What, are you showing me the door? So – you’re a glorified concierge? Don’t flatter yourself. You don’t have the power. But the people that e-mail me do.

              Go heckle someone else, like the neocons. I contribute because I’m asked.

              *returns to watching the VMAs*

              • bmaz says:

                All I asked is for you to be polite, yet you respond with more insults, arrogance and petulance. This is an open forum, but you do not have the right to be abusive. The proper course would be to respond to the merits of my arguments instead of attacking me personally me with your petty insults. You can, and should, do better.

                • SKIMPYPENGUIN says:

                  In the interest of further discussion on torture, I will maintain a reasonable level of decorum if you agree to do the same. The national security arena is not a courtroom. There are supposed to be principles and ideals that people adhere to because they believe in what American really stands for. America does not stand for torture. People like myself who have gave their entire lives to this segment of the government understand it. You do not. I would not lecture you on legal matters. Nor have I. So why attack me? We’ll never know.

                  What this really boils down to is professional courtesy. And I’m not showing you any because you haven’t shown me why I should. As I stated before, lawyers got us into this mess. Lawyers that thought too much of themselves and re-interpreted the Constitution, and lawyers that thought they could stop it by trying arcane legal maneuvers on people who don’t care about the law. The entire Bush presidency was the epic debacle it was because of lawyers. From the recount, to the attempted legalization of torture to the politicization of attorneys to them stacking the Supreme Court. So, as a public servant, and a veteran and a member of the intelligence community, I find it amusing that people like you, bmaz, sit atop their high horse and call foul. Where the fuck were you when my bosses where violating every American principle I swore to uphold? Where were you and all your blustering lawyer kinfolk in Brooks Brothers turncoats when they – successfully – legalized torture? Where were YOU?!

                  And before you dismiss what I say as a personal attack, I’m a moderate Republican. I contribute to EW and FDL because they’re the only community that even comes close to uncovering what’s really going on re: CIA, DOD etc.
                  I contribute what I know, and not an ounce more. No one is talking down to anyone except you.

                  • bmaz says:

                    I was not a part of the legal action you describe, and I was right here fighting it the best I could. You act like people who have not walked in your shoes are lesser Americans and not worthy, a repellant attitude. Furthermore, neither Dick Cheney, George Bush or Donald Rumsfeld were lawyers; claiming that everything is the fault of lawyers only is absurd. And I have not “called foul” on your claims and asserted knowledge on the inside of the military/intelligence/industrial complex; you seem to have a solid background in that and have valuable insights. I do challenge how you claim this is all going to play out in EDVA, And despite your pledge at the beginning of your comment, I see you return to attack me as a “turncoat”. On other occasions, you have called me a dick, a traitor, various other demeaning insults and suggested that I be physically tortured with multiple modalities, including being waterboarded (in a comment sufficiently laced with invective, hatred and talk of violence that the moderators had to remove it). I grow tired of your insolence.

                • conduit1104 says:

                  attitude, arrogance–whatever one calls it, may be projected back and forth, or not, depending on one’s perspective. the way i saw it, things started heading south in your comment #63–for whatever it’s worth.

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            Disconnected from reality…a false sense of entitlement.

            I know he can defend himself, but if anyone is NOT disconnected from reality, and NOT owning a false sense of entitlement, it is bmaz.

  15. Rayne says:

    Can we get back on topic, gentlemen? Truce, for now?

    Does this bit,

    [redacted] personnel

    look at all like M-J could have been the redacted component? Because JPRA isn’t redacted elsewhere, it must be non-JPRA personnel, right? Does this read to you that M-J may have been warned about capital crimes?

    [edit: and the classification has been redacted, too, not one but two redactions to that section, and to the related footnote. SCI, I wonder? Definitely missing something here, doesn’t make sense to me.]

    [edit 2: can’t be M-J, as they follow on the next several pages – or at least Jessen does. Have to wonder if it’s a task force name instead.]

  16. cinnamonape says:

    Here’s an interesting document that describes the process SERE instructors go through (+ those undergoing the regimes). The JPR sessions were ridiculously brief…SERE instructors undert ake one year of intensive tr aining b/c the sessions were so d angerous. Students were debriefed to prevent psychologic al h a rm.…..#038;gl=us

  17. Jeff Kaye says:

    Looking at the document itself, we can see that the redaction runs about 10 character spaces. The info is footnoted as coming from a memo “from Joseph Witsch to Col Randy Moulton and Christopher Wirts”.

    I think the redaction might simply repeat the words “agency legal”, but redacted it at the request of CIA, who had to vet the release of info, as it didn’t directly want its people tied to specific legal advice. Okay to say they were there, not what they did, in other words.

    That’s my guess. The phrase looks as if it could easily be inserted into the approximately two word redacted space.

    • Rayne says:

      Thanks, Jeff; when I get more time this morning I will look at this again and see if it is internally consistent across the document. The odd nature of the redaction of classification may indicate where else in the document I need to look.

  18. JasonLeopold says:

    off topic but related to Marcy’s “Helgerson’s Hints” post. FWIW, I spent a couple of days reporting and have a couple of sources who said that OLC, specifically Yoo, provided the CIA with oral legal advice regarding torture pre 8/1/02 memo and that it is discussed in the OPR report and Yoo provided a response to that.

    But, they said he was not the only one who gave the CIA legal advice in this area.

    Anyway, just FYI and I suppose we will find out whether that is indeed the case when the report is released whenever that is.

  19. Mary says:

    RE: the waterboarding, I think the explanation that best fits is that al-libi was waterboarded, but during his Egyptian stay (whether with or without US participation). I don’t think anyone who has said he was waterboarded puts it in any different time frame than during the time he was in Egypt.

    EPU’d and not that important I guess – but Skimpy, bmaz has been saying for a long time much of what you are saying now.

    There’s this fantastical world that YOU live in where bad people end up confessing to their crimes and owning up to them.

    This is so far from what the lawyer here have said that I have to wonder where you get it from – everytime the msm theme of these “few brave laywers fighting to protect us” gets trotted out, it’s mostly the lawyers here who challenge it and bmaz in particular.

    I think your insights are interesting, but also I think you are doing more to fan false hopes than bmaz and you seem to be all over the board.

    You have gone from talking about how there were going to be all kinds of whistleblowers coming out for a list of reasons, ranging from them not liking what was being done to self preservation etc. (which I didn’t find super believable – esp your scenario that there would be such a strong fire raining down that any of these guys would feel the need for self preservation or find a benefit from it when revelations would probably just cause more personal exposure as well) to other times talking about how codes of honor and big future payoffs would prevent anyone from ever saying anything (something I find a lot more believable and something bmaz has talked about many times as well) to saying now that people will disappear bc that’s what they’ve been trained to do. I don’t doubt there are some elements of truth in all those posits, but each one comes out as kind of absolutist when it does come out, and esp when you were talking about whistleblowers it was fanning a lot of hopes.

    And even in your posts in this thread, you go from talking about how lawyers got us into this (something, again, that bmaz has talked about for a long long time – so you guys are pretty much on the same page on most things so far) to also saying at the same time that the other fault of lawyers, in addition to *getting us into* this mess, was “lawyers that thought they could stop it by trying arcane legal maneuvers on people who don’t care about the law.” Now, to me that seems to be saying that you are acknowledging there were people who didn’t care about the law calling a lot of the shots, to where the lawyers were pretty much immaterial (legal maneuvering was not going to stop them).

    It’s a downside of the internet that a lot of things in a passing comment can’t be expanded upon at the time, or that a comment often presupposes some familiarity with the history of comments (bc there isn’t time to reinevent the wheel with each post) But it’s pretty confusing when you pick out bmaz for so much anger when he’s pretty much said what you are saying and made some of the same complaints.

    As for:

    Where the fuck were you when my bosses where violating every American principle I swore to uphold? Where were you and all your blustering lawyer kinfolk in Brooks Brothers turncoats when they – successfully – legalized torture?

    You know, for a long time what was being done was being done in secret. The intel community sat on it, covered it up, and allowed it to progress to something that would be very difficult to ever do anything about when it was exposed. Sure, the lawyers (and that’s my community, so it’s my blame as well) were huge offenders (the worst imo) and so were, as Jeff Kaye has been exposing, the doctors and pscyhologists.

    Something to note, though, is that while there are lots of nonDOJ lawyers now, who with information are trying to do something (and who fought originally to get access to GITMO personnel while the intelligence community sided with the DOJ lawyers and claimed even releasing names would harm intelligence gathering opportunities) and while a lot of psychologists are out in the open now, that facts are coming out, fighting againt what happened in their community; and while JAG corps lawyers have fought from the start and even uniformed Generals are coming out – the community that hasn’t come forward by and large is the intelligence community.

    So while I also believe that, “There are supposed to be principles and ideals that people adhere to because they believe in what American really stands for. America does not stand for torture.” I hear that from people like bmaz (and Scott Horton, et al); I hear it from Swifts and Kueblers; I hear it from the Jeff Kayes; but the intel community has been pretty silent, and on two fronts. On the one front, it was silent while the laws were being broken and principles demolished – so it is convenient to pop up after years of enhancing the veil of secrecy behind which such things were being done and saying “well, how come you guys who didn’t know what we knew didn’t do something” when your community was the one sitting on the secrets and not saying a word while lies were being claimed to the American people and the courts. The second front is the dearth of objection from your community, the intelligence community, once things have come out.

    So you don’t have to twist arms here to get an agreement on both the individual lawyers and the legal community and culpability – but the main difference between bmaz (and Jeff for that matter) and you so far has been the ability to confess to the faults of their community. You still are painting yours as a community of “the good guys” but they are the ones who covered up the secrets and did their best to prevent people like bmaz and Jeff from getting the information they would have needed to be effective. To say that NOW they are going to come out of the woodwork is, imo, creating false hopes and running counter to what has happened during the better part of a decade. If it happens, good, very good, great. So far, it has been an unabashed community that points to everyone else and says “why didn’t YOU” and never says, “why DID we”

    • timbo says:

      Mary, there were objections within the intelligence, military, and diplomatic arms of government, both in the US and from our allies. Many people resigned or retired early rather than participate in the illegal behavior that the Bush thugs unleashed. Some of the US intelligence operatives decided to resign and live in other countries. The exact numbers of such folks are unknown because of obvious issues surrounding classified personnel and methods, etc. But these objectors and those disgusted by the actions of the Bush-league Terror War did object and they did resign, etc. My guess is there is plenty of documentation of what occurred too…just that no legal authorities are as yet actively pursuing the folks who knowingly objected to the torture regimes agenda.

      Still, you are right in that there is little if any comment or pushback against the torture thugs from the intelligence communities managers. That’s the scary part–they seem to have bought into and buried the machanisation of skeletons.


      JAG fought this from the start?

      I can’t contribute if I’m laughing. Stop making me laugh.

      Where do you work?

  20. Rayne says:

    I wish this was all as clear cut as it often sounds. We can all see there are many shades of grey within the communities of practice being discussed — whether law, intelligence, legislative, political appointees or activists, other — and there’s plenty of blame to go around. We don’t need to turn this into a circular firing squad.

    There’s also the obvious buttons being pushed which set people off, and instead of simply ignoring the buttons and focusing on content, they’ve been getting tripped.

    I recommend that we implement a cease-fire and get back on topic of this thread, which is the July 2002 Torture Training Session. What do we have to post here in comments which is new in content or analysis, or elaborates on the investigative work Marcy has done?

    Personally, I’m still quite curious about the classification redaction and the entity name also redacted. And I’m still wondering about earlier advice mentioned by Jason at (76).

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