Holiday Season Torture Document Dump Open Thread

Sorry for even suggesting that there could be a “holiday season” torture document dump. But if you need a break from health care fights, here are some torture docs. Consider this an open thread.

113 replies
        • cinnamonape says:

          Not far from it. After suffering through the turgid Yoo to Delahunty justifications of why neither Al Qaida nor the Talaban deserved protection under the Geneva Conventions I now realize that no one is technically a civilian any more.

          According to Yoo all that needs to happen to allow the President to do anything to any group of civilians he wishes is to declare them a “terrorist non-governmental actor”. And that can be based upon anyone associated with the group being suspected (not tried) of a terrorist act. Yoo lists all the protections accorded to civilians and non-combatants, and acts which would be considered war crimes even if there was a uniformed combatant…and says…the President can do any of this to members of a group he declares a terrorist organization.

          No trial needed to establish that the individual is actually a member of that group either, says Yoo.

          And what if it’s a legally recognized State, like the Talaban was until the United States invaded? And a signatory to the Geneva protocols? Simple, all it takes is a simple declaration by our President that the regime is a “failed State”. Then like fairy dust the Geneva Conventions no longer apply…you can do anything you damn well please to the members of the former government and their military after they lay down their arms…or even the civilian population…since the Geneva Conventions don’t apply. Why? Because the President considers it a “failed State”.

          Oh, wait, there’s one little catch that Yoo realizes. He knows that Bush didn’t declare Afghanistan a “failed State”…so he has to suggest that this was his mind state at the time of the initial attacks. He does this by quoting Rummy saying so. Apparently it doesn’t require a Presidential Order or Executive Statement…Rummy can do it for the Pres.

          • MadDog says:

            And then take a gander at Yoo’s “brainstorming” (19 page PDF) on charging John Walker:

            …in federal court with treason, killing a federal employee, assisting a terrorist organization, or unlawfully participating in foreign affairs…

            Unlawfully participating in foreign affairs?

            Given Yoo’s lack of any common sense at all, I’d not bet against his ability to find a scheme for a death sentence upon conviction of jaywalking.

            • BoxTurtle says:

              He wasn’t jaywalking. He wanted to be martyr, so he was sacrificing himself to create a massive traffic accident.

              Boxturtle (As proof, I offer this evidence that the suspect is actually a moslem)

            • Jeff Kaye says:

              I would like to know the source of Yoo’s information that John Walker had become a member of Al Qaeda.

              Who’s pulling the strings around here? The people who control the flow of information control the spin, and they can create reality (as one of them has said) any way they wish (or so they think, as the laws of physical matter and historical causation as yet elude them).

                • Jeff Kaye says:

                  Speaking of Haynes, the latter’s letter from Bradbury on the Army Field Manual and Appendix M (the only “appendix” singled out for mention in the letter) is evidence that in this case, anyway, the AFM interrogation policies were definitely run by DoJ and the White House. This would seem unremarkable except, one, it shows this was not just a Rumsfeld operation, and two, that the WH was involved in Appendix M’s construction. I’d note that at the time of the letter, Appendix M was to be a secret annex, i.e., a classified component of the AFM. John Warner balked at that and the decision was made to release it in unclassified format.

              • MadDog says:

                Another interesting point about Yoo-Hoo’s OLC opinion to Billy Haynes on John Walker Lindh is the fact that John-boy Yoo-Hoo is involved at all!

                It shows that John Walker Lindh wasn’t in the custody (yet) of the DOJ or FBI (though the FBI was involved in interrogating him in Afghanistan).

                It also shows that Billy Haynes wasn’t consulting with his own DOD JAGs about the issue.

                It also shows that Billy Haynes wasn’t consulting with the DOJ in general about the issue. Particularly the Criminal Division which eventually charged John Walker Lindh.

                It simply shows that Billy Haynes was consulting his BFF squash partner Yoo-Hoo because Billy knew that the only “law” that mattered in the Bush/Cheney regime was Yoo-Hoo law.

                • Jeff Kaye says:

                  It simply shows that Billy Haynes was consulting his BFF squash partner Yoo-Hoo because Billy knew that the only “law” that mattered in the Bush/Cheney regime was Yoo-Hoo law.

                  See my note at 58, such that while agreeing with the bulk of what you say, I’d rewrite the conclusion, viz. “the only ‘law’ that mattered in the Bush/Cheney regime was Bush/Cheney law.”

                  Of course, Yoo was one of the primary servants and loyal factotums. But the rewrite here isn’t as snazzy. “Yoo-hoo” law raises associations in my mind to (Swiftian) “Yahoo law” (assuming Swift was even generous enough to grant the Yahoos enough wits to draw up any kind of law — which he wasn’t).

                • skdadl says:

                  Forgive the pedantry (ok: the gossip columnry), friend MadDog, and I know he’s formally William J. Haynes, but I think we have come to know him (even if not all that fondly) as Jim rather than Billy.

  1. BoxTurtle says:

    Enhanced interrogation techniques-and in many cases, only a small number of the techniques – have been applied only to 30 detainees in the history ofthe program

    Did we know that number? Isn’t it odd that it matches the magic number of permitted civilian kills in a predator strike?

    Boxturtle (Not reading under water, reading under scotch)

    • Nell says:

      That’s complete bullshvt; already existing testimony from Guantanamo prisoners alone far exceeds that number, and there were at least a hundred prisoners who went to black sites.

  2. person1597 says:

    Who said the holidays weren’t torture? It’s War on that goddamn piece of paper aka the Constitution…

    In summary, the Report acknowledges that the United States is currently in a state-of war, and recognizes the President’s constitutional authority to detain enemy combatants, regardless of their citizenship, in time of war.

    Just ignore those bench-warming dress-up mannequins. Clearly, Article II comes before Article III. In fact, let’s just dispense with the whole notion of justice. It’s so eighteenth century.

  3. cinnamonape says:

    Seems that Obama and Holder had to throw something out to keep you from analyzing their big Joe I. Lie ball of poop.

    What an image…all these Democratic Senators trying to push a massive turdball up a hill, With Obama and LIEberman directing traffic atop it like a stagecoachman and a buddy riding “shotgun”.

  4. sailmaker says:

    OT on this open thread – Harvard University is offering an online, and on the air (PBS) class in “Justice” with Michael Sandel. . One can watch these online or watch on TV. There is an online forum, or one can start one’s own discussion circle. A list of episodes:

    01 The Moral Side of Murder / The Case for Cannibalism
    02 Putting a Price Tag on Life / How to Measure Pleasure
    03 Free to Choose / Who Owns Me?
    04 This Land is my Land / Consenting Adults
    05 Hired Guns? / For Sale: Motherhood
    06 Mind Your Motive / The Supreme Principle of Morality
    07 A Lesson in Lying / A Deal is a Deal
    08 What’s a Fair Start? / What Do We Deserve?
    09 Arguing Affirmative Action / What’s the Purpose?
    10 The Good Citizen / Freedom vs. Fit
    11 The Claims of Community / Where Our Loyalty Lies
    12 Debating Same-sex Marriage / The Good Life

    People here are probably way beyond some of these topics – but I think it is a good idea to keep an eye on what is being distributed in the media. The discussion circle on torture is an eye opener – personally I can’t read more than a couple of entries without having to leave because some of these people actually think torture is o.k. – but at least they are talking about it.

    • eblair says:

      Any class that begins with the trolley car problem should be avoided. If you have time for contemporary philosophy of the highest order, then Bernard Williams’ last two books are to be recommended: Truth And Truthfulness and In The Beginning Was The Deed. Both are concerned with politics, especially the latter. Indeed, he was very eager to finish a book explicitly on politics before his death in 2003. Both will be in print long after Sandel is forgotten. I know your point was mostly about the discussions but the difference here is very very stark: the humanities as it is supposed to be (informed by history among other things) and academics in the pejorative sense. This heads up is my modest way of giving back to the FDL community since this is now the first place I go for news.

      • person1597 says:

        Good call…

        What role does truth play in our lives?

        Truth and Truthfulness presents a powerful challenge to the fashionable belief that truth has no value, but equally to the traditional faith that its value guarantees itself. Bernard Williams shows us that when we lose a sense of the value of truth, we lose a lot both politically and personally, and may well lose everything.

        My emphasis.

        • eblair says:

          That is most definitely worth emphasizing. The other book merits some emphasis too as it develops the Shklarian idea that for liberals there is no greatest good, but there is a greatest evil: cruelty.

  5. BoxTurtle says:

    Oh, I love this:

    The Department of Justice has not hadthe occasion to examine several of the Act’s offenses in depth, as they are not remotely applicable to the CIA’s program. These inapplicable offenses include performing biological experiments, murder, mutilation or maiming, rape, sexual assault or abuse, and the taking of hostages

    Lessee. Diet manipulations (previously admitted in the same testimony) would be biological experiments by any defination. Several detainees died under interrogation, that would be murder. We cut the genitals of a prisoner with a scalpel, that would be mutilation or maiming. We’ve all seen some of the Abu G. photos, that would rape sexual assualt or abuse. And it appears we have KSM’s children in custody and have threatened their welfare to get KSM to talk, that would be the taking of hostages.

    Oh, wait. This was only about the CIA. As long as it wasn’t the CIA doing it, it’s outside the bounds of our investigation.

    Boxturtle (If I hire some contrators to beat the hell out of someone, I’m innocent, right?)

      • BoxTurtle says:

        And not only were they lying about the offenses occurring, at the time this was done they were lying about the DoJ having investigated!

        BTW, there’s a treatment for thinking the same as I do. Expensive, time consuming, but reportedly worth it.

        Boxturtle (And you have to really WANT to change)

  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    Am reading Bradbury’s April 12, 2007 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. The man is an accomplished liar, but what I wanted to post here is that once again — and probably serendipitously, but who knows? — there’s that magic number “30” again:

    As the President explained, and as this Committee is aware, the CIA’s enhanced techniques were approved only for “dangerous terrorists with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and plans for new attacks… The security of our Nation and lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.” At the same time, the program is extremely limited. Enhanced :interrogation techniques-and in many cases, only a small number of the techniques have been applied only to 30 detainees in the history of the program, Plus, as has been explained to the Committee, the program is conducted pursuant to careful safeguards and limitations by highly trained CIA professionals.

    One can almost hear the sense of deep satisfaction, even relish, when Bradbury tell the Senators how the past few years has altered the legal landscape regarding the laws around torture and interrogations: “…the Supreme Court decided that Common Article 3 applied to the armed conflict with al Qaeda, and Congress responded to that decision through detailed amendments to the War Crimes Act.”

    Can almost hear Cheney saying, with a sneer, “Thank you!”

    • BoxTurtle says:

      Makes me suspect that 30 is a bogus number and the actual number is much higher.

      Anytime I see the number 30 in relation to government activities, I’m going to treat it with great suspicion. They determined that number very carefully, based on what people would accept. Not too big, not too little Believable.

      Boxturtle (Suspects that some shrink helped BushCo come up with that number)

  7. qweryous says:


    White House Press Secretary Gibbs press conference statements about release of prisoners from Guantanamo are not correct.

    Via The Raw Story link:

    “At Wednesday’s briefing, Gibbs told reporters that when courts have ruled that detainees should not be held at Guantanamo, those detainees have been transferred “back to either their home country or third-party countries.””

    Hey what about the Uighers?

    From The Raw Story again: “The Uighurs were ordered released in October 2008, but the government is struggling to find countries to take them.”

    • prostratedragon says:

      There’s a far worse one in the same article. Somebody needs to be informed that the current administration is not an automatic improvement over the previous one.

    • bobschacht says:

      From The Raw Story again: “The Uighurs were ordered released in October 2008, but the government is struggling to find countries to take them.”

      IIRC, the Uighurs were Chinese, i.e. from China, and China regards all Uighurs as terrorists by definition. Historically, the Uighurs once had their own nation, but are now split up amongst China’s western provinces, and central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan. Nobody wants them because they’re regarded as potential troublemakers.

      IMHO they’re a bit like Kurds, who live in Turkey, Iran and Iraq, but who are regarded as troublesome minorities in each one. (If you don’t think they’re a troublesome minority in Iraq, just ask the Sunni Arabs and the Shi’a Arabs and Iranians.)

      Bob in AZ

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        If one were really looking for “terrorists”, in the context of Afghanistan and Pakistan, I’d place my vote for U.S. interest in Balochistan. Obama recently approved Predator strikes in Balochistan, which, btw, is nowhere near the mountainous border territories.

        Moreover, like the Kurds, Balochistan proper bleeds over into more than one state, with Baloch nationalism in Iran and Afghanistan as well.

        The importance of Balochistan…? Well, consider this quote from a former High Commissioner of Pakistan to the United Kingdom:

        In the context of Balochistan, one would like to refer back to the 2015 NIC [National Intelligence Council] report. It forecast a Yugoslavia-like fate for Pakistan. The military operation that has been put in motion would further distance Baloch people from rest of the country. That perhaps is the plan. This brings me to an interesting observation in a book by Abul Maali Syed “The Twin Era of Pakistan-Democracy and Dictatorship” (1992). The caption of his First Chapter is 2006 and its opening para is as follows: “Who would have believed that Balochistan, once the least-populated and poorest province of Pakistan, would become independent and the third richest oil-producing country after Saudi Arabia and Kuwait”.

        Worth reading, this biased but interesting article in the South Asia Tribune, circa 2005.

        Officially, the Balochistan Liberation Front are “terrorists”… in the UK, but not the U.S., or India…

        I believe that Pakistan is the game, at this point, and Afghanistan a staging area, essentially, or the parts the U.S. can control.

        It is worth noting that in Pakistan, recent developments point towards direct forms of US military intervention, in violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

        Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a “Yugoslav-like fate” for Pakistan “in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan.” (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005).

        According to a 2006 report of Pakistan’s Senate Committee on Defence, British intelligence was involved in supporting the Balochistan separatist movement. (Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). The Bolochistan Liberation Army (BLA) bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo’s KLA, financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA.

        Washington favors the creation of a “Greater Balochistan” [similar to a Greater Albania] which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan, thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, December 30, 2007)

        If the UK is involved with a group it calls terrorist, well, that’s pretty interesting, and what role is the U.S. playing? Similar in many ways to the intricate games played around the Kurds, with Pakistan in the role of Turkey, Afghanistan in the role of Iraq, and Iran in the role of… Iran!

        • fatster says:

          This Afghanistan escalation raises all kinds of questions, doesn’t it? Protecting the pipeline? That sounded reasonable until China won the rights to the damned thing. Being friendly or threatening to Pakistan? For what purpose (depending on whether friendly or threatening)? Something most strange is going on, and however much I find your Balochistan information intriguing, it is also foreboding. If they intend to expend more of our tax dollars and, far more importantly, the lives and limbs of our troops in this “surge”, surely we can know why?

          I know, I know, a wacked out old thing wants all the answers. And I do.

          • bobschacht says:

            Protecting the pipeline? That sounded reasonable until China won the rights to the damned thing.

            Ah, but this is all about competition. There was already a pipeline from central Asia to Europe– but remember the choke point in, um, Georgia, I think? The China pipeline means that Central Asia will not be a captive of GAZPROM and the European market. The central Asian countries would also welcome, I am sure, a southern pipeline through Afghanistan and Baluchistan, if it could be made secure.

            Bob in AZ

              • Jeff Kaye says:


                Re the new NYT article on Pakistan:

                Pakistani officials acknowledged the situation but said the menacing atmosphere resulted from American arrogance and provocations, like taking photographs in sensitive areas, and a lack of understanding of how divided Pakistanis were about the alliance with the United States.

                American and Pakistani officials declined to be identified while speaking about the issues because of their senior positions and the desire not to further inflame tensions….

                Much of the heightened suspicions about American diplomats appears to revolve around persistent stories in the Pakistani press about the presence of the American security company Blackwater, now called Xe Services, in Pakistan.

                I’d add that the U.S. decision to escalate in Afghanistan is heating up the already volatile situation in Pakistan. — And we were assured the escalation was needed to achieve a stable Pakistan. I should have learned. Whatever the U.S. government says, believe the opposite. It appears the escalation is a forerunner of greater intervention in Pakistan, and it looks like a primary target is Baluchistan (also run by tribal chieftans).

                Things appear to be devolving fast. Consider the accompanying article: Pakistan Strikes Down Amnesty for Politicians

                The Supreme Court struck down a controversial amnesty on Wednesday that had dismissed corruption allegations against thousands of Pakistan’s politicians, including President Asif Ali Zardari, effectively restoring the cases against them….

                …the Supreme Court order is expected to reverberate across Pakistan’s rocky political landscape and to further weaken the standing of Mr. Zardari, whom the United States has tried to support as a partner in the fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

                Wow! So the President of Pakistan, a U.S. ally, who took over Bhutto’s party after her assassination, may be going down. What timing!!!

                The Punjabis and others in the Pakistani elite have been playing the double game (triple game, quadruple game) for a long, long time now. The Americans may not yet be their equals. (Maybe the Brits are, or the Indians.) But the U.S. has the weapons and the money. — I guess Pakistan is not as easy to manipulate as say — Honduras, eh, Madame Secretary.

                  • Jeff Kaye says:

                    I’ve only followed this from great distance over the years. First came across the Baluchis as a separatist movement unsympathetic to the Shia mullahs over 20 years ago. I’m only one step ahead of you on current events, and you can perhaps take over, or Bob, or anyone, and follow this up, as my time is up for this wonderful activity, and I must be swallowed back up in the maw of ordinary life for a few days.

                    Yes, the more one delves into the Pakistan situation, the more disturbing it all becomes. It appears the U.S. is barreling into quite the morass in South Asia, and as we’ve already seen, but our ruling classes haven’t quite absorbed, the U.S. cannot project in a reliable way its imperial force over there.

                    Yet another empire to fall, but on our own heads…

                    • fatster says:

                      ” . . . and I must be swallowed back up in the maw of ordinary life for a few days”

                      Best holiday wishes to you. And thanks ever so much for all the information and insight.

              • bobschacht says:

                Well, between the links Jeff and I have provided, you’ve got a start on a lot of reading to do. At the Wikipedia, note that Balochistan has multiple referents– the major one is probably Balochistan (Pakistan). The only major city in Baluchistan, historically, has been Quetta. But now there is Gwadar, the new port city being built by China and run by Singapore on Baluchistan’s southern coast.

                Baluchistan is vast, and very thinly populated. The Baluchi are an Iranian people, as are several of Afghanistan’s other minorities. As you’ll see from the references in the Wikipedia reports, they’ve had their own independence traditions. Alexander the Great had a bit of trouble in Baluchistan, and his troops almost rebelled. I don’t blame them.

                Bob in AZ

        • bobschacht says:

          Obama recently approved Predator strikes in Balochistan, which, btw, is nowhere near the mountainous border territories.

          Take another look at your map. Baluchistan is huge, and it is a mountainous border territory, but it’s further west than most of what we hear news about. It is also due south of Kandahar. The Baluchi are an ethnic group distinct from the Pathans, and there are small fingers of Baluch populations in southern Afghanistan that ‘stick up’ across the border from Baluchistan.

          Also IIRC, the oil pipeline that was planned from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean was going to go through Baluchistan.

          Bob in AZ

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            You are correct that Baluchistan has a mountainous region, but my main point, not well put originally, is that the intrusions into Pakistan are in the Northwest Frontier Province, where Bin Laden is said to be hiding out. Baluchistan has not been put forward publicly as an area of great concern (although Quetta has been reported to be a Taliban stronghold, Quetta being the capital of Baluchisan province, though mostly populated by Pashtuns and Hazara, not Balochi). Certainly I would imagine that 98% of America never even heard of Baluchistan, and for the most part, it is a distinctly different part of the country from the Northwest Frontier.

            • bobschacht says:

              You are correct that Baluchistan has a mountainous region, but my main point, not well put originally, is that the intrusions into Pakistan are in the Northwest Frontier Province, where Bin Laden is said to be hiding out.

              That would be the intrusions that we have been fussing about. But there’s a major pass from Baluchistan to the main road to Kandahar from the south. There have been plenty of “intrusions” along that part of the border; we just don’t hear much about them.

              Baluchistan has not been put forward publicly as an area of great concern (although Quetta has been reported to be a Taliban stronghold, Quetta being the capital of Baluchisan province, though mostly populated by Pashtuns and Hazara, not Balochi).

              The first part of your sentence is true, but I have some problems with the parenthetical part. I sorta agree, because the Baluchi are just not really city people; they’re nomads. But they do have a tradition of oral literature and poetry.

              And Quetta is in the NE part of the province, i.e. close to the Pashtun area, so more exposed to non-Baluchi influences. The anthropologist Walter Fairservis conducted several archaeological expeditions to Baluchistan in the 1950s, and I met his daughter (and wife) while I was living in Hawaii. But historically, Quetta has been the ONLY Baluchi city. And I don’t think I’d characterize Quetta as a Taliban stronghold. What’s that based on?

              Certainly I would imagine that 98% of America never even heard of Baluchistan, and for the most part, it is a distinctly different part of the country from the Northwest Frontier.

              Yes. Very, very different.

              Bob in AZ

              • Jeff Kaye says:

                I bow to your greater knowledge on this (no irony or sarcasm here… I mean it). Re the influence of the Taliban in Quetta… I don’t know if true, but was only saying what is “reportedly” said, in the Western press.

                I was not saying that Quetta was not Balochi, just that it was a Pashtun-majority city, but then, I plead ignorance over the history. That could be a recent phenomena. I don’t know.

                I can see that studying Pakistan in much greater detail will be on my holiday agenda… along with EW’s doc dumps ;-)

  8. Jeff Kaye says:

    The Department of Justice has not had the occasion to examine several of the [2006 Military Commission] Act’s offenses in depth, as they are not remotely applicable to the CIA’s program. These inapplicable offenses include performing biological experiments, murder, mutilation or maiming, rape, sexual assault or abuse, and the taking of hostages.

    Hmmm. Murder, sexual assault or abuse, taking of hostages, and (I believe) biological experiments. I think these can all be proved, more or less, if the relevant documents and testimony were in place. Of course, I also believe the administration fails on their torture apologia in general, but I think it’s important to remember these supposedly “not remotely applicable” procedures. Note that Bradbury states they are not applicable to the CIA’s interrogation program, not that CIA has indulged in same. But that’s why I’m pushing the issue of the experimentation. I think it was a crucial part of the program, though obviously I can’t prove it, except to offer an inferential, circumstantial case. I soon will offer some new installments in the latter.

    • bobschacht says:

      This shows the power of reframing. It just would never occur to many people to think of, e.g., “biological experiments” and dietary manipulation in the same thought-space.

      Bob in AZ

      • rxbusa says:

        some of the things they did with body temperature…like throwing water on people and keeping the room cold…probably fall into the same category.

  9. cinnamonape says:

    OLC #4 looks as if someone could easily figure out the names of those detainees involved. But it’s odd that they have complete wiped out two topics. I guess they couldn’t even tell us the medium of the communication or dates it’s so Top Secret.

    Hmmm!? Could it be something on videotape?

  10. MadDog says:

    And can somebody tell me WTF this OLC opinion could be for in the DOJ Office of Legal Counsel Opinions for 2003 (3/11/2004) (1 page PDF):

    2. – 29 May 2003 – Memo For Scott W. Muller, GC/CIA; Subject: Criminal Liability of CIA Officials under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2339A or 2339B for Providing Material Support or Resources to Terrorists

    I’m having a hard time understanding the “how and why” of the subject of “Criminal Liability of CIA Officials…for Providing Material Support or Resources to Terrorists”.

    • MadDog says:

      And I’d like to see this one too:

      3. – 30 May 2003 Memo For John B. Bellinger; III, Legal Adviser, NSC; Subject: Exercises of CIA Authority and “Covert Action”

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I’m gonna guess they were dealing with something listed as a terrroist group for the purposes of the Iraq war. The CIA would deal with the devil if they thought it was in their best interest. A look at the terrorist list at that time might give a list of suspects.

      Boxturtle (Personal guess would be a kurdish group)

    • bmaz says:

      The CIA has collaborated and aided numerous terror groups from the Balluccis/Jundallah to go into Iran, to Dostrum to any number of others (MEK also has been speculated).

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Wasn’t Blackwater accused by Turkey of selling weaponry illegally to the PKK-a Kurdish group deemed terrorist?

      • bmaz says:

        Heck, I think we may have been doing that more directly than Blackwater actually. Thanks, the PKK were the ones I was trying to remember and was spacing on.

        • Gitcheegumee says:

          BTW, I posted about a week or so ago about the Blackwater/PKK allegations on another thread here.

          I may be mistaken, but I think it was about Prince’s Graymail.

    • scribe says:

      I’m going to make a wild-assedguess it’s one of three possibilities which come to mind: MEK in Iraq and/or Iran, FARC in Colombia (what Holder got Chiquita out of), noodling around with those guys who allegedly did the Mumbai attak last year. If you remember, Fitz is currently prosecuting a guy (US citizen) who had been an informant for the DEA and may also have been a double agent for the Mumbai attacker folks. TalkLeft has been following that case pretty closely.

    • Gitcheegumee says:

      Perhaps I’m above my “pay grade”( /s )here, but I typed “US mercenaries 2003” into my search engine and got some extremely interesting hits.

  11. qweryous says:

    OT to some degree but not completely
    Haven’t seen this yet.
    If it has been discussed moderator please delete this.

    At the press conference 12-15-09 there was some discussion of authorities already held and additional authorities needed to hold prisoners indefinitely without trial. Additional legislation may be coming on this issue.

    Additional statements made by Press secretary Gibbs in the press conference held 12-15-09: Link at :

    Start of first quote:

    “Q In a conference call that the White House established earlier today, senior administration officials told reporters on the call that the goal of the Obama administration is to house those detainees in that fourth category, the ones who cannot be tried and yet cannot be released, of whom there have not been any identified as of yet and signed off by the President — that the goal would be to ultimately house them at Thomson, and the administration will work with Congress to do that. How would that be constitutional to indefinitely hold somebody in the United States without trial?

    MR. GIBBS: Understand that the President does not seek new authority; that under the auspices of the declaration from 2001, that would be allowable. But understand this, Jake, what we have said is — again, that’s the collective decision of Congress — not one individual, the President — a collective body in Congress — that would be and can be reviewed as it is now by the judiciary, and has been — as you know, a number of the transfers have been required by U.S. courts that have said there’s no reason to continue to hold this individual. So there are certainly — that is built into the newer regime that the President is moving forward on.

    Yes, sir.”

    End of first quote.

    Also this :

    Start of second quote:

    “Q Can you just clarify, you said the President is not seeking authority, but on the conference call earlier, administration officials told us that he will need a change in law.

    MR. GIBBS: Well, what I’m saying — I’m sorry, let me be more specific. New authority for any long-term detention. In other words, since Congress has authorized that as a result of — in 2001, the President isn’t seeking new legislative authority to do that. That is still the — that’s still — any decisions that are ultimately made about detention can be reviewed by the judiciary.

    There’s no doubt, Sam, that the supplemental language and other appropriations bills that have yet to be signed into law that prevent detention from happening now will need to be changed, and the President will work with Congress in order to change any law that prevents a facility at Thomson from being used.

    Q And for funding?

    MR. GIBBS: And for funding, absolutely.


    End of second quote.

  12. Gitcheegumee says:

    BBC NEWS | Americas | Blackwater ‘arms smuggling probe’Sep 22, 2007 … Blackwater provides security to US diplomatic staff in Baghdad … have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of the PKK. … – Cached

  13. cinnamonape says:

    The Matrix of Gitmo Detainee Cases is interesting. The identies of most of the detainees are listed but 72-109; and 180-217 remain nameless. The latter 37 are clearly Saudi as they fall into the middle of the list. But the nationalities of the earlier 27 is ambivalent. They could be Chinese or Algerian…as they fall between these two nations. But other Chinese, clearly Uigher) and Algerians are named.

    It could be a third nation (or nations) that for some reason or other would be sensitive to reveal having detainees in Gitmo. Perhaps “Britain”??

    Another point of interest is the matrix has completely redacted the legal status of the cases in the right section. However they do include a coding system for the abbreviations used in the matrix. It’s interesting that many of the detainees appear to have no real evidence against holding them, and face no charges…yet are not being released.

    • MadDog says:

      The Matrix of Gitmo Detainee Cases is interesting. The identies of most of the detainees are listed but 72-109; and 180-217 remain nameless…

      I’d rather not give them the benefit of the doubt, but it might just be that somebody goofed and forgot to xerox those 2 pages (there are between 35 and 37 detainees listed per page which would fit the number of names missing).

  14. MadDog says:

    If your reading the Detainee Assessment Matrix (List of Guantanamo Detainees) (3/8/2007) (10 page PDF), a couple of abbreviations to know:

    FNU – First Name Unknown (used in the 4th column titled “Current Name”)
    LNU – Last Name Unknown (used in the 4th column titled “Current Name”)
    OARDEC – Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants
    ARB – Administrative Review Board (the 3rd column is titled “Date ARB Completed”)

    • MadDog says:

      One additional abbreviation:

      ISN – Internment Serial Number

      And based on the chart, it seems that the highest ISN number is that of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at US9KU-10024 (where the KU stands for Kuwait).

      The fact that KSM has the highest ISN is likely because he was only assigned that ISN when he was finally transferred to GITMO from CIA custody to DOD custody.

      The next highest listed is that of Hassan Ahmed Guleed from Somalia at 10023. Some of his ISN is blacked out (as are most detainees), but going by KSM’s ISN and others, the full ISN for Hassan Ahmed Guleed is likely US9SO-10023.

      • MadDog says:

        And I forgot to mention that 10,000+ Internment Serial Numbers probably is a valid pointer to 10,000+ detainees by the US government, doncha think?

        • bobschacht says:

          Not necessarily. When I opened a new checking account here in Flagstaff, the bank suggested that my checks start with 1001. Why? Because anything less than 1001 is a flag to businesses that this is likely to be a new account, and therefore to ask for additional ID info.

          I’m not sure what the analogy would be with prisoner numbers, but I’d be interested in knowing who prisoner 10,001 was, and if there was a prisoner 9,999 or not.

          Bob in AZ

          • MadDog says:

            True, but when I thought about that technique, I decided it wouldn’t work very well.

            The US government couldn’t predict how many detainees it would eventually hold, so an arbitrary division (say 100 to 300 for Saudis, 301 to 400 for Yemenis, etc.) might run into a stumbling block when the detainees captured from one particular place exceeded the alloted slots.

            Just MHO, so YMMV. *g*

  15. Gitcheegumee says:

    Jeff, it would be interesting to see who is at the top and who’s at the bottom of Yoo’s fac-totem pole.

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Don’t know if I want to go there. In my line of business, I’ve gained a healthy respect for psychopathology. The less I think about the inner workings of a man like Yoo, the better.

  16. Gitcheegumee says:


    Actually, there were only a few Blackwater references listed for the first page. Here are the bulk of the first page entries:

    William A. Cook: Sharon Recruits US as Mercenary Force Against SyriaApril 22, 2003. Edward Said The Appalling Consequences of the Iraq War … Sharon Recruits US Mercenaries Against Syria. Of Pariahs and Pre-emptive Strikes … – Cached – Similar

    mostly AFRICA: US mercenaries offer to arrest Charles TaylorThursday, August 07, 2003. US mercenaries offer to arrest Charles Taylor … it had no funds and privately suggested the US might be willing to pay for it. ……/us-mercenaries-offer-to-arrest-charles.html – Cached

    MERCENARIES: MAKE US CONGO’S PEACEKEEPERS | Defense TechJun 26, 2003 … A consortium of mercenary groups has made the UN a deceptively simple proposal: give us $200 million, and we’ll help bring an end to the war ……/mercenaries-make-us-congos-peacekeepers/ – Cached
    Foreign Policy In Focus | Global Affairs Commentary | Bombings …William D. Hartung, “Bombings Bring U.S. ‘Executive Mercenaries’ Into the Light,” (Silver City, NM & Washington, DC: Foreign Policy In Focus, May 16, 2003). … – Cached

    For the Record: United States Mercenaries run wild in United StatesUnited States Mercenaries run wild in United States. The rule of law in the United States seems to have completely broken down: The men from Blackwater USA ……/united_states_m.html – Cached – Similar Airmen Without Portfolio: U.S. Mercenaries in Civil … Airmen Without Portfolio: US Mercenaries in Civil War Spain … and FLYING FOR ORVILLE: HOWARD RINEHART’S LIFE OF ADVENTURE (2003). … › Books › Biographies & Memoirs – Cached – Similar

    After Fallujah: The Truth About the Blackwater Mercenaries –RW/OR …Apr 11, 2004 … In August 2003, Blackwater was awarded a $21 million contract to supply … Using mercenaries to carry out these operations enables the U.S. … – Cached – Similar

    Rape of Iraqi girls by US mercenaries and soldiers was rampant in …Rape of Iraqi girls by US mercenaries … On May 22, 2003, in Baghdad, a nine-year-old girl was abducted from the stairs of the building where she lived, … – Cached – Similar

    Basingstoke mercenary’s last adventure lands him in US jail | UK …Sep 14, 2003 … Exclusive: From suburbs to Colombia, the bizarre tale of a failed assassin. – Cached – Similar

    NOTE: Will mods allow all these links?

    • person1597 says:

      Wow! You broke the link barrier!

      I’ve never attempted more than three, but I use the little “chain” prompt so that the link is attached to highlighted wording such as a headline or news source.

      For example, your last link would look like this…

      Basingstoke mercenary’s last adventure lands him in US jail

      Just copy the url into the “chain link” prompt box and the link gets associated with your highlighted text.

  17. Jeff Kaye says:

    More on Balochistan from Asian Times:

    Balochistan is totally under the radar of Western corporate media. But not the Pentagon’s. An immense desert comprising almost 48% of Pakistan’s area, rich in uranium and copper, potentially very rich in oil, and producing more than one-third of Pakistan’s natural gas, it accounts for less than 4% of Pakistan’s 173 million citizens. Balochs are the majority, followed by Pashtuns….

    Strategically, Balochistan is mouth-watering: east of Iran, south of Afghanistan, and boasting three Arabian sea ports, including Gwadar, practically at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.

    Gwadar – a port built by China – is the absolute key. It is the essential node in the crucial, ongoing, and still virtual Pipelineistan war between IPI [the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline] and TAPI [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, which is supported by U.S. interests]….

    Washington’s dream scenario is Gwadar as the new Dubai – while China would need Gwadar as a port and also as a base for pumping gas via a long pipeline to China….

    To top it all, there’s the New Great Game in Eurasia fact that Pakistan is a key pivot to both NATO and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), of which Pakistan is an observer.

    • person1597 says:

      Great heads-up on the unspoken significance of what the US is really doing over there…

      China – which built Gwadar and needs gas from Iran – must be sidelined by all means necessary. The added paranoid Pentagon component is that China could turn Gwadar into a naval base and thus “threaten” the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.

      This tells the reader that the US strategic goal is containment of Chinese expansionist ambitions. Which is why the US shouldn’t be alienating the folks who live there. The Taliban may like fighting the US but if China decides to try their hand at taming the graveyard of civilizations… well… it is going to be back to funding (not fighting) the mujahideen. Can’t we all get along?!

    • bobschacht says:

      OK, your comment at 70 anticipates mine @ 84 and confirms my memory about “pipelineistan”. It is a border region (and much else), and there are Baluchi areas in Afghanistan (and adjacent Iran).

      Bob in AZ

  18. pmorlan says:

    I started with Bradbury’s 2007 testimony and didn’t get very far before I found this twisted piece of work addressing the Federal Anti-Torture Statute:

    “…We underscore that the term “severe,” much like the prohibition on torture, targets conduct that is universally condemned and thus requires physical pain or suffering that is extreme and difficult to bear. Nevertheless, we do not believe that the term “severe” reaches conduct involving only “excruciating” or “agonizing” pain. It is possible to have “severe physical suffering” without having “severe physical pain,” but that condition may not be purely mental and must be of an extended duration or persistence, as well as of a sufficient intensity”.

    What kind of pathetic excuse for a human being could actually believe this BS much less testify to it in front of a Congressional hearing? I bet his family is SO PROUD of him.

    • fatster says:

      What Congressional Committee could listen to this without demanding his immediate ouster?

      That’s a major part of our problem.

    • worldwidehappiness says:

      God, that is one shocking load of evil garbage from Mr Bradbury.

      Bradbury? He’s a lawyer right? Went to university? In America? And wrote this for the American government…?

      “…We underscore that the term “severe,” much like the prohibition on torture, targets conduct that is universally condemned and thus requires physical pain or suffering that is extreme and difficult to bear. Nevertheless, we do not believe that the term “severe” reaches conduct involving only “excruciating” or “agonizing” pain. It is possible to have “severe physical suffering” without having “severe physical pain,” but that condition may not be purely mental and must be of an extended duration or persistence, as well as of a sufficient intensity”.

      His soul is sold.

  19. Jeff Kaye says:

    I risk going way off thread here, but was following up my Balochistan mania, and ran across this in an Army publication, written by a supporter of a “Free Balochistan,” not to mention a general redrawing of the map of the Near East and South Asia. He is also in favor or predicts perpetual war. When the quote below was written (1997), Lt. Col. Ralph Peters was in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, where he was “responsible for future warfare”.

    There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair
    amount of killing.

    More recently, Peters wrote in the summer 2006 edition of Armed Forces Journal:

    Meanwhile, our men and women in uniform will continue to fight for security from terrorism, for the prospect of democracy and for access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself. The current human divisions and forced unions between Ankara and Karachi, taken together with the region’s self-inflicted woes, form as perfect a breeding ground for religious extremism, a culture of blame and the recruitment of terrorists as anyone could design. Where men and women look ruefully at their borders, they look enthusiastically for enemies.

    From the world’s oversupply of terrorists to its paucity of energy supplies, the current deformations of the Middle East promise a worsening, not an improving, situation. In a region where only the worst aspects of nationalism ever took hold and where the most debased aspects of religion threaten to dominate a disappointed faith, the U.S., its allies and, above all, our armed forces can look for crises without end….

    Pakistan, another unnatural state, would also lose its Baluch territory to Free Baluchistan. The remaining “natural” Pakistan would lie entirely east of the Indus, except for a westward spur near Karachi.

    Any reason to be paranoid, oh Pakistani brethren? While Peters does have it right about the historical instabilities of the existing political state boundaries in that part of the world, his vision of a powerful U.S., wading knee-deep in blood, playing one national and ethnic conflict off the other for the access to oil (and I’d add natural gas) supplies, and geopolitcal supremacy is frightening. Peters’ other writing assures us of the supremacy of the U.S., even over a modernizing China. Victory is ours, he might say.

    I’m afraid our own society, much less the rest of the world, may not survive such victory.

    • skdadl says:

      Jeff, it has been my vague and amateur understanding for a few years that Cheney was focused on Baluchistan partly because of its strategic location and that, in exchange for Musharraf’s undertaking to pacify the region and ensure the security of U.S. bases there, Cheney would wink at Musharraf’s benign neglect of the autonomous tribal regions. See this 2006 reading by Luciana Bohne.

      Maybe yes, maybe no, but that is pretty much what has happened. There is a strong Baloch nationalist movement still though. Write about Baluchistan, and you will get mail.

  20. Rayne says:

    Jeff Kaye (77) — yes, Balochistan is a critical issue with regards to the pursuit of terrorists, and yes, energy plays a critical role as well.

    I’ve theorized that we have been engaged in a global energy war; not all the aims are transparent, nor the players. The average citizen hasn’t been watching carefully enough, in part because it requires watching from a global perspective and over time, while most events appear in a localized silo.

    Like the disputes between Russia and countries which contract with them for natural gas — we see periodic episodes where threats to cut off gas are made if pricing isn’t changed. It appears quite coincidental that leaders of countries die of heart attacks. Or that individuals die under odd circumstances in foreign lands.

    But there’s not a lot of public effort to map these events and connect any dots. Perhaps it’s because connections aren’t always made in the same plane of space and time, and are often disrupted by political events over the course of years.

    Like these things which appeared unrelated over the course of years:

    Turkmenistan was a substantial natural gas producer under the Soviet Union, but after the country became independent, Turkmen natural gas became a competitor with Russian natural gas. Since Turkmenistan’s only natural gas export routes ran through Russia, Gazprom limited Turkmen natural gas exports, and as a result Turkmenistan’s natural gas production sagged throughout the 1990’s. Following the resolution of a pricing dispute with Russia in 1998 and the construction of an export pipeline to Iran, Turkmenistan’s natural gas production began to climb steadily. In 2001, the country’s natural gas production jumped to 1.64 Tcf against consumption of just 0.26 Tcf. Turkmengaz produced 85% of this total, with Turkmenneft accounting for the remaining 15%.”

    President Nizayov survives assassination attempt 25-NOV-2002

    Central pipeline deal signed 27-DEC-2002
    “An agreement has been signed in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, paving the way for construction of a gas pipeline from the Central Asian republic through Afghanistan to Pakistan.”

    Russia-Ukraine gas dispute remains unsettled 20-DEC-2005

    Ukraine’s Oil Intrigues Escalate (date unknown, note Turkmenistan’s role)

    “China and Turkmenistan signed an agreement in which Beijing agreed to fund a pipeline that would potentially threaten Gazprom’s regional standing (PDF), writes Eurasia expert Kathleen J. Hancock in the China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly.” April 2006

    President of Turkmenistan, national father, may die of heart attack 04-OCT-2006

    Gas pipeline project Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India approved 21-NOV-2006

    Turkmenistan’s President dies from heart attack 21-DEC-2006

    That pipeline through Afghanistan may be the same Central pipeline referred to in links above, and to the best of my knowledge might run right through Balochistan. There has been another pipeline in discussions for over a decade (see first link in this comment) which does not run towards the ocean but towards India.

    Let’s assume for a moment that we’ve been to peak oil and we’re on a decline. What’s the next fuel we use until we can develop enough alternative energy at scale? And what might an unrestricted, asymmetrical war for the next fuel look like?

    A lot of terrorism? a mess of assassinations — or convenient heart attacks?

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Yes, the natural gas resources are vital. It was only some months ago (a year) that Europe was held hostage of sorts when Russia was battling Ukraine over control of gas flow (IIRC).

      Coincidences indeed. I’d not place all assassinations upon the U.S., however (as horrible as it is that the U.S. does this at all — ask Thomas Narut!), but between the Brits, the ISI, the various “terrorists”, the Chinese, the Russians, the Uzbeks, Turkmen, etc. etc. (and don’t forget the tribal grudges!), we’ve got ourselves quite a bloody mess. Wait til those little baby Predators start buzzing through those windows (per Jane Mayer) — Hey, caves don’t have windows… go figure!

      • Rayne says:

        Nah, no need to place all the assassinations on the U.S. — but we are the point of origin for what is now an independently-owned and operated army which has a depth of experience in the trade.

        I suspect that BW is for hire by all comers, particularly if the interested parties are asking for a hit on a non-Christian.

        And the little baby Predators don’t need windows, only a small opening. Imagine all the little kiddies playing video games today, used to perceiving the world through their monitors, comfortable with “flying” via remote console, all grown up and tasked with doing the same thing for money but remotely flying tiny devices smaller than an iPod Nano with an onboard camera.

        Quite literally Frank Herbert’s “hunter-seeker” realized by DARPA.

    • klynn says:

      Well done. What makes your list of events interesting to me is the overlay of the EU energy history and their moves made towards full alternative energy during the time period of 2002-2006. Once the EU was on a schedule for total green energy by 2021. Three years ago, there was a push to move things along and their membership has been working overtime to move that completion date and by no mistake or happenstance. Now the EU is forecast to be all alternative energy between 2012-2015. Those are dates that we need to wake up and smell the coffee over.

      I think the “Oh crap we sit in the middle of this race,” brought an edge to their vision to get going ASAP.

      • Rayne says:

        Thanks. Was listening to news yesterday morning about the XTO acquisition by Exxon, during which the journo said that XTO was a plus for Exxon being one of the largest natural gas companies here in US, and natural gas was going to be much in demand since it created less carbon emissions than coal as a fuel and seen as a gateway fuel between coal/petroleum and alternative energy sources.

        It was the perfect encapsulation as to why all the global natural gas plays over the the last decade must be viewed more carefully.

  21. Gitcheegumee says:


    It was the perfect encapsulation as to why all the global natural gas plays over the the last decade must be viewed more carefully..

    War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas …Jan 8, 2009 … In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. … – Cached – Similar

    NOTE: Rayne this is an excellent piece. I had read a while back about the abundance of natural gas off the Gaza coast.

    This article gives an extensive timeline of previous events leading to current situation off Gaza coast today.

    Superior info,imho.

  22. x174 says:

    CIA working with Palestinian security agents

    US agency co-operating with Palestinian counterparts who allegedly torture Hamas supporters in West Bank

    Palestinian security agents who have been detaining and allegedly torturing supporters of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

    Less than a year after Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited torture and provided for the lawful interrogation of detainees in US custody, evidence is emerging the CIA is co-operating with security agents whose continuing use of torture has been widely documented by human rights groups. . .

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