More Torture Documents

Anyone feel like they drowning under the weight of a really horrible bureaucracy yet.

DOJ IG Documents (1)

DOJ IG Documents (2)

CIA Documents

DOD Documents

OLC Documents

Consider this a working thread.

Jeff Kaye–see the first document in the OLC batch, which pertains to Appendix M.

In CIA Thread, PDF 3 is a document that has to have been written after September 4, 2003 (I suspect it was written sometime during the finalization of the CIA IG Report). It shows that the Memoranda for the Record memorializing the Congressional briefings in February and September 2003 were not yet finalized. This means that the MFR for the Goss and Harman briefing on February 5, 2003–at which Harman may have expressed concern about the torture and destruction of the torture tapes–was written at least seven months after the briefing. It also suggests that CIA may not have considered the September 2002 briefings to be briefings on torture (as they appear not to have been).

23 replies
  1. bmaz says:

    Eric Holder has announced that we need not worry about due process for Bin Laden:

    Earlier in the hearing, Holder had said that in some ways mass-murderer Charles Manson and Osama bin Laden were comparable people.

    Holder later rejected a hypothetical situation proposed by Culberson in which bin Laden had the rights of American citizens in a civilian court.

    “You’re talking about a hypothetical that would never occur. The reality is that we will be reading Miranda rights to the corpse of Osama bin Laden. He will never appear in a U.S. courtroom. That’s the reality,” said Holder.

    That is a relief and will certainly save time on all these “Memos For The Record”.

    • Jim White says:

      That’s just completely disgusting. The United States Attorney General just called for an extrajudicial killing. Shouldn’t that be an impeachable offense for an AG?

      • PJEvans says:

        Manson got a fair trial (or something fairer than what the detainees will ever get). Don’t we owe these guys at least that much?

      • cheneywatchorg says:

        “That’s just completely disgusting. The United States Attorney General just called for an extrajudicial killing. Shouldn’t that be an impeachable offense for an AG?”

        I didn’t hear him call for extrajudicial killing. He might have affirmed that the US position might end in killing bin Laden, but even then…It is a well promoted notion that Bin Laden won’t be captured alive because there are orders to his bodyguards to kill him if close to capture. If Holder accepts this as inevitable, he might have simply inappropriately lent agreement to this idea.
        Que No?

  2. klynn says:

    Anyone feel like they drowning under the weight of a really horrible bureaucracy yet.

    No totally yet. Just driven to distraction when a gifted investigative writer uses the words “big reveal.”

    Having dreams of EW making a citizen’s arrest. Literally.

  3. Mary says:

    The DoD docs include a letter from Spectre to Bush, Jan 29, 2002, wherein Spectre is encouraging Bush as best he can without using the words – to torture detainees.

    He starts out saying,

    “I have noted the media reports that you are reconsidering your position on how to handle aptives of war.”

    Then moves on to,

    “It is of the greatest importance that the el-Qaeda and
    Taliban captives be interrogated in-depth in an effort to find clues or leads which might lead our intelligence or armed forces to thwart another terrorist attack. To refrain from interrogating these captives would, in my
    opinion, be a gross dereliction of our duty to do everything in our power, legitimately, to protect the security of our citizens and others”

    Then in something kind of weird, he makes it his legal advice to the WH – as if he doesn’t have any problems or issues offering such a thing up –

    After considering the matter, it is my legal judgment that such interrogation is not inconsistent with international law. Professor Detlev Vagts, an expert in international law at Harvard Law School,who studied
    at thePOW Interrogation School in the 1950’s in the United States Air Force, advises that it is legal to interrogate POWs for intelligence purposes even though answers might not be admissible in court under

    There are exceptions to fundamental constitutional rights where there is the threat of imminent harm which would be applicable to potential terrorist attacks.

    There are solid legal reasons to conclude that the Geneva Convention is not violated by such interrogation.

    The international and Congressional inspections showthat the captives are being treated in a humane and appropriate way.

    I am further concerned of a potential problem that this debate may discourage interrogators from proceeding or encourage captives not to talk. On this state ofthe record, I urge you to continue vigorous
    interrogation based on the precedents of legality and the importance to the safety of the American people.

    • tjbs says:

      Is that single bullet arlin spector, he who slipped in the language that allowed the firing and hiring of AG without congressional oversight as true patriots? That specter?

      • Mary says:


        I love the shout out to “fundamental constitutional rights” have “exceptions” interwoven with a call to engage in “vigorous” interrogation, all interspersed with the CYAs of *cuz, ya know, everyone is being treated all humanely and stuff, or so we’ve been told by international and Congressional inspectors*

  4. Mary says:

    More fun – a letter from Norm Dicks to Bush, pushing support for closing GITMO and signed by a bevy of 141 beauts, including Rahm Emmanuel.

  5. Mary says:

    Some nudges in the DoD docs from Neil Abercrombie re: the (didn’t happen) Mohamed Atta and Iraqi Ahmad Samir al-Ani meeting in Prague.

    Which, btw, does point to that other non-Plame forgery – the Habbush letter and the mysterious leaking process to the media of anything that pointed towards going to war with Iraq, even the uncorroborated Czek intel on Atta that was later disproven and which the Czek intel guys were really pissed to see get into the US press so fast.

  6. Jeff Kaye says:

    Much thanks, EW, for pointing me the way to this new Bradbury memo/review of the 2006 AFM and Appendix M. Given the prominence of these latter in the current interrogation regime, I hope that it gets the attention and analysis of the earlier torture memos. I know I’ll be doing that.

    Your finds regarding the late composition of the memos for the record is just astonishing. If I wrote my notes for patients so long after the fact, I’d be sued for malpractice or lose my license. With what a cavalier sense is the very government that has such tremendous power over lives conducted! It’s a crime in and of itself.

    Those are gret finds on the Dicks letter and on Spectre’s advocacy of torture (so much like Dershowitz’s arguments at the time).

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, I’m going to hold off on the Appendix M opinion until I read yours, bc you are so much more knowledgeable about it (and you’ll be able to figure out what they’re redacting).

      • Jeff Kaye says:

        Um, well… not finished yet, but they redacted all discussion of four and a half of the Appendix M techniques. At least Bradbury never adopts the pretense that it is one technique, i.e., “Separation”.

        I say 4-1/2 of the six, b/c they redact half the discussion on “Mutt and Jeff”. (Huh?) There’s nothing on isolation, sensory deprivation, or sleep deprivation. I’ll have to think what constitutes the sixth “technique”. Only “False Flag” is briefly covered sans redaction. — Ah! I see, there are three “adjustment” techniques, and these must refer to limited sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and either temperature adjustment or dietary restrictions (I’ll go back and research the third). There’s a discussion of “separation” [isolation] towards the end.

        Also, Bradbury characterizes the changes in the rest of the manual as “modest”. I’ve written about the significant changes to “Fear Up,” use of drugs, and the elimination of sleep deprivation as a banned technique.

        Notice, too, how Bradbury relies on medical oversight to make the techniques “lawful”.

        What a joke! From pg. 5, relying once again on the Reservations to CAT, and ruling out both the relevance of the 8th and 14th amendments, Bradbury turns to supposed precedents to application of the 5th amendment, and concludes “…that none of the techniques at issue exceeds the bounds of due process.” — The fact that they are used on prisoners denied the right of habeas corpus is only the first evil irony one can detect in this statement.

        In the end, Bradbury relies on “compelling government interest”, and admits that if these techniques were used on all prisoners, it would violate the DTA.

        • Mary says:

          You can kind of piece together a bit of what was redacted, though, when he goes into discussion.

          After he gives the wholly improbable false flag discussion (where he pretends that he’s talking about convincing them they are being hand off to a friendly nation instead of the known use of the false flag to not only threaten shipment off for torture or that the foreign interrogators will be allowed to torture on site, but the actual accompanying torture that he knows took place from the info he has been provided and info that has been made public) he talks about (p. 6) the “three ‘Adjustment’ techniques” which he says are “designed to change the detainee’s environment” followed by the most of a line redacted, “but without
          dcpriving him of any basic necessities or exposing him to dangerous or tortuous conditions.”

          I’d wonder about nudity being a part of the redact, since he goes on (and notice how humane conditions for environment give way so quickly to *not dangerous or torturous*) to say that “the detainee is guaranteed to receive
          adequate levels of food, water, sIeep, heat, ventilation and light” during the adjustment techniques, but doesn’t mention clothing. That’s just spec, though.

          And re: sensory deprivation, on the one hand he says that any “detainee subjected to this technique does not undergo sensory deprivation [which implies that maybe others, who aren’t separated, do] and thus is far less likely to suffer the adverse physiological consequences associated with that experience.

          Interesting that here, in this doc, for the military, he highlights that combining techniques absolutely can violate due process, while in the CIA authorizations for much worse, he doesn’t even bat an eye at that concern.

          • Jeff Kaye says:

            It couldn’t be nudity, because it’s not in Appendix M, and he’s referring to the techniques in that document. (Unless this was something being considered in April 2006, and was later dropped, but that seems unlikely.)

            I agree that False Flag is a by its very nature a threatening technique. Dressing someone up to look like an Egyptian official, for instance, will be an implicit threat of possible torture to any Arab or Egyptian prisoner. Also, while certain categories are not allowed (minister, doctor, journalist), all other categories are accepted, including representation of a State Department official (see my commentary on the Davis-Kleinman correspondence at Doctors and Detainees).

            Re sensory deprivation, you’ll notice that Bradbury says that separation, by which he means isolation, is not sensory deprivation. Of course, it is. Unfortunately, U.S. law has been poor on this, as the U.S. has implemented for many years now its supermax isolation prisons. Still, Bradbury doesn’t address the use of opaque goggles and gloves on prisoners, a sensory deprivation technique that even the Manual says needs a standby doctor (because it can really freak a person out to be essentially blindfolded and unable to feel things with your hands for many hours on end — this was figured out in research long ago).

            Bradbury tries to argue that the use of “separation”/isolation is an expedient for administrative or safety purposes. But Appendix M makes it very clear that it isn’t. From my article at AlterNet in Jan. 2009:

            Army G-2 senior intelligence officer Lt. Gen. Jeff Kimmons described the “technique” of separation at a DOD briefing on Sept. 6, 2006, unveiling the “new” AFM:

            … we include one restricted technique called separation, for use on a by-exception basis only with unlawful enemy combatants. That is, it’s not authorized for use on prisoners of war and other protected persons.

            Separation allows interrogators to keep unlawful enemy combatants apart from each other as a normal part of the interrogation process, so they can’t coordinate their stories and so that we can compare answers to questions that interrogators have posed to each other without there having been collusion. It’s for the same reason that police keep murder suspects separated while they’re questioning them, although this is within an interrogation context.

            Separation meets the standard for humane treatment, the single standard that exists across DOD, and it is enshrined in this manual.

            This description is inconsistent with the explanation for separation given in the current Army Field Manual. Separation is not about the “normal interrogation process”:

            The use of separation should not be confused with the detainee-handling techniques approved in Appendix D. Specifically, the use of segregation during prisoner handling (Search, Silence, Segregate, Speed, Safeguard and Tag) should not be confused with the use of separation as a restricted interrogation technique….

            Separation should be used as part of a well-orchestrated strategy involving the innovative application of unrestricted approach techniques. Separation requires special approval, judicious execution, special control measures and rigorous oversight.

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    OT stuff. I wonder if the full version of AcrobatReader can extract searchable text in the **set7** DoD IG documents, both downloads had that problem. The free version of Reader preserves the Ibeam cursor but copy and paste produces gibberish chars. To the knowledgeworker*s eye, the patterns of dots on every page resembles video noise from a noise generator, instead of what at first appears to be a worn copier drum.

    Many of the arguments advanced in some of the documents in these five sets echo then-contemporaneous discussions: defining vested members (signatories, or…) of the 1949 treaty, identifying citizenship, parsing the concept of illegal transport across thousands of miles of international boundaries as humane, and the rhetorical device itself **war on [fill in the blank]**. Regarding the latter, a legal writer has had a draft project for many months examining the temporality construct in the noun *wartime*; the study postulates most of the twentieth century was a time in which wars proceeded, but various countries* domestic propaganda machines created the illusion of a time of *peace* when the hostilities were conducted Nimby; the draft paper suggests the 21st century needs to clarify the definition to reflect more amorphous conflicts* constituents and loci. Link is to the abstract, which is written in clear English.

    • burnt says:

      To my knowledge the answer to your Adobe question is “no”.

      If you want something made searchable contact me or in the comments point me to a link to download the docs. I can turn it around in less than a day and usually hours but it depends, of course…

      So far I’ve just been using Acrobat Pro 8.2.1 for the OCR stuff. However, I have access to some more sophisticated tools which enhance the OCR-ability of junky documents/junky pdfs. Of the docs I’ve made searchable so far only one would benefit from some massaging prior to OCR.

      Oh, excuse me, OCR=Optical Character Recognition.

      OK. I need to concentrate on catching up. I only saw this because a friend alerted me.

      • PJEvans says:

        When I’ve dealt with OCR’d docs they were scanned and turned into text files. Lots of after-scan massaging required – basically they’d turn people loose with a print of the original page and the text file, and have them fix the mistakes. (Some of those could have you giggling, just from the computer’s idea of what was intended.)

  8. tjbs says:

    From the holder story
    “Obama is close to recommending that KSM and four alleged co-conspirators be tried before a military tribunal instead of a civilian court. Holder said the final decision is only weeks, not months, away.”

    He didn’t say his decision, so much for an independent DOJ.

  9. Palli says:

    Somebody tell these people that we are not the only nation that has lost citizens to attacks on civilians!!!!!

Comments are closed.