Torture Memo Signed By Bush

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Offline industria

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Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« on: April 11, 2008, 04:31:23 PM »

Torture Memo Signed By Bush

Here's the central point:

As detailed in the recent ABC News story on how top White House officials in the National Security Council discussed specific details of torture, the Bush Administration torture policy was determined by the NSC.

What ABC didn't mention is that Bush is the head of the National Security Counsel and the 2002 NSC decision memo in question, shown at the bottom of this post, signed by George W. Bush, establishes that Bush was in 2002 indeed doing his job as acting head and final decision maker of the National Security Council.

An April 11 AP News study claims Bush was "insulated" from the torture decision making process but existing documents, such as showcased in this post, rebut that claim and indicate Bush was in the torture loop, the top "decider"


UPDATE:

On Countdown last night, George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley emphasized that there was a torture program and that it was authorized "AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL".

Turley said, about the "NSC Principals Committee" that discussed torture at a grotesquely specific level of detail, "this is like a meeting of the badda bing club".

Turley stated, bluntly,"This was a torture program... and it goes right to the President's desk."

But Turley went even further than that:

Olberman: "You said it goes to president Bush's desk here... Is it the smoking gun that president Bush authorized torture by the United States of America ?"

Turley: "We really don't have much of a question about the president's role here. He's never denied that he was fully informed of these measures. He in fact, early on in his presidency, he seemed to brag that they were using harsh and tough methods. And I don't think there's any doubt that he was aware of this. The only doubt is simply whether anybody cares enough to do something about it."


BUSH CHENEY & RICE MUST BE PUT ON TRIAL FOR WAR CRIMES!!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tsalJ6Trc

SUMMARY: We have at least ONE signed memo which establishes George W. Bush as the executive authority making final decisions in the National Security Council policy formation and decision making process which created a United States run torture regime; the document shown at the bottom of this post.

This post discusses that and also outlines the National Security Council process, Bush's role in the NSC process and how the NSC generates national policy. Key concept: the US president is the final decision maker in the NSC process and the chair of the NSC.

As corroborating evidence, Bush's August 3, 2003 signing of the "Hague Invasion Law" which asserted a US right top use military force to liberate Americans held by the International Criminal Court at the Hague indicate Mr. Bush was aware of the possibility that Americans might be charged with crimes under international law. Bush's signing of the law was part of a broader attack against the new war crimes court at the Hague, by the United States, which was underway at the time Bush signed the August 2003 legislation. IN short, on February 7, 2002 Bush signed an NSC memo selectively setting aside Geneva Conventions restrictions against torture and then, on August 3, 2002, Bush signed a law asserting a US right to use military force to liberate Americans held by the new International war crimes court at the Hague. That further establishes Bush as the top executive decision maker signing off on laws and policy decisions shaping the evolving US policy regarding torture and International Law, which led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and elsewhere.


[NOTE: I originally used 'authorizing torture' in my story title but decided that 'allowing torture' was more apt. The prior characterization was, I think, true but might have been taken as indicating that the memo in question, which Bush signed, actively called for torture rather than declaring that, under certain circumstances, torture was legal because the Geneva Conventions didn't apply.

SUBSTANTIATING DOCUMENTS

"On June 22, 2004, the White House officially released 14 documents originating from the White House, the Pentagon and the Justice Department concerning the Administration's interrogation policies. These records include only one that previously was published by news media sources, and did not include at least 5 additional documents widely reported in the news media and already made available to the public by the news media concerning interrogation policies from the White House, Pentagon, Justice Department and Department of State. Still other records are reported to exist or referenced in the already released materials, but have not been made available -- either officially or unofficially -- to the public. This Electronic Briefing Book includes a comprehensive listing of available records relating to U.S. interrogation policies, including records officially released by the White House and the Department of Defense on June 22, leaked documents that have not been officially released, and a description of 17 records that have not been made available to the public. In addition, this posting includes the text of a congressional subpoena proposed by Senators Leahy and Feinstein that was defeated on June 17, 2004 by the Senate Judiciary Committee and a copy of the "Taguba Report" detailing the findings of a Department of Defense investigation into the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq."


Here is a large trove of declassified National Security documents which help substantiate the overall picture which is finally starting to emerge and which I've elaborated in this post - the Bush Administration torture policy and torture program came right out of the White House and George W. Bush, in all likelihood, probably signed off on National Security Council memos and resolutions on torture.]

The memo discussed in this post undercuts the frame that the recent ABC torture story established [and that other news media is already picking up] - the ABC story suggested, by simply not mentioning the central role of the president in the NSC, that George W. Bush was elsewhere when decisions were made about torture. Now, we have signed memo indicating Bush was probably at the helm.

The media frame on this, per a Google search, is that "Bush's Principal Advisors OK'd torture" but that's highly misleading because it suggests Bush was out of the loop.

Memo shows Bush at Top of NSC Decision Making Loop On Torture

Ray McGovern has pointed the way to an NSC action memo, signed by George W. Bush himself, which was part of the process under which an entire torture regime, using methods that violate not only the Geneva Conventions but also US anti-torture laws signed by Bill Cinton, came to be.

[note: here's a bit of background on who Ray McGovern is, courtesy of a thoughtful dKos member

Eventually this expanded definition of presidential authority, holding that the chief executive could suspend both US law and the Geneva Conventions simply by executive fiat, came to include, as we have recently learned, the proposition that the president could also, as he saw fit in the interest of national security, have the eyes of United States citizens gouged out.

George W. Bush wasn't somehow detached from that process of insane and probably illegal executive overreach.

Bush signed a National Security Action memo [and lo! - here it is, George W. Bush's signature and all] and delegated the authority to implement it.

The rest is history - written in acts judged by the US itself after World War Two as war crimes.

--

NOTE: I wrote the following BEFORE I got the news about Ray McGovern's tip on the Bush/Yoo torture authorization memo.

But, my post below, with two 10-minute videos I've put together from a recent interview with George E. Lowe, should serve as a primer on the national security/NSC decision making process and George Bush's relation to it [he's the decider], for those who want to learn how to cut through government and press misdirection on the torture issue.

If you're interested in researching this issue, the framework and perspective I've laid out derives from one insider understanding, which as far I've taken things is both orthodox and accurate, on how the US national security policy making apparatus works. So, equipped with that understanding you may be able to determine how the considerable public trove of declassified and leaked documents now available fits into the picture I've developed here on how the Bush Administration, at the White House level, developed the torture program and torture doctrine, and how that doctrine was implemented.

In terms of pushing this story, it's also VERY important to put the right questions to the White House and Dana Perino, such as:

"We now have an NSC action memo, authorizing torture, with George W. Bush's signature. What other NSC torture resolutions or memos did Bush sign ? If the torture program was implemented through the NSC, how could it have been that Bush was out of the loop ?"



So, last year I had breakfast with former Reagan Adm. official George E. Lowe and he described to me how the implementation of the Bush Administration torture policy probably went down.

As it turns out, Lowe's call was highly accurate and about an hour ago George Lowe called to tell me that a memo, probably one of several memos, resolutions and executive decisions from the office of George W. Bush and with Bush's signature which set the whole Bush Administration torture regime in motion, is publicly available. How about that. [CORRECTION : I initially wrote that this was the first NSC torture memo/document Bush signed but George Lowe suggests to me it isn't the FIRST memo/NSC document in the NSC document trail]

The memo then likely got turned into an NSC resolution [which we have yet to see], a formal national security policy document, that Bush also signed and which set the whole national security apparatus in motion so that calls went out to various civilians, academics and others, for bids on contracts to research how to most effectively torture and drive people insane. That's how Abu Ghraib, Gitmo and the whole network of secret US detention centers around the world came to be.

Well, Lowe's description has proven, as documents have come out, uncannily accurate and now Ray McGovern has pointed out the simple truth:

The NSC Action memo which establishes George W. Bush was the final authority in the NSC's decision making process on US torture policy, which led to an entire torture regime and concomitant legal insanity and eventually to the assertion that George W. Bush could legally order the eyes of United States citizens gouged out in the name of national security and he could also order men's testicles crushed on that premise...

That National Security Action memo has been sitting quietly in a website, at George Washington University.

As McGovern asks, why is the press and everyone else going after John Yoo ? Yes, he's irritating but he's actually an extremely minor figure in the drama. McGovern answers his rhetorical question:

"...is it because our press is STILL reluctant to go after Yoo's guys – first and foremost his ultimate client – President George W. Bush? Oh, but that would be hard, you say.

Nonsense.

Available on the Web, in its original format, is a 7 Feb. 2002 action memorandum that the president signed to implement the dubious advice he was getting from Yoo and those at Justice who hired Yoo – and from the vice president's office which guided Yoo.

Yoo did their dirty work (and now he takes the rap).

Weren't Yoo's co-conspirators careful to keep their fingerprints off the more blatantly offensive memoranda? Sure they were.

But there was one problem. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and then-CIA Director George Tenet could not get their people to torture folks without written, signed authorization by the president.

And we have a copy of that authorization? Yes, it's been available for years. You have to download it to believe it."

George E. Lowe knows the National Security policy process from his experience in the two Reagan Administrations, his time in the Navy and Naval Intelligence and his experience working on the theory of nuclear deterrence.

Yesterday an ABC news story incriminated top Bush Administration officials Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Ashcroft and Powell, in discussing highly specific details of proposed torture techniques, in National Security Council meetings, and then approving those techniques as policy through the NSC. There's a problem with this however ; the president is the head of the NSC, chairs certain meetings and, crucially, is the only one with authority to sign off on key National Security Council policies and decisions.

That's not surprising; it's the very role of the chief executive in American government and if the NSC, not to mention the Justice Department, could somehow operate quasi-independently from the president American Democracy would fall apart. That's American government 101; the president is head of the executive branch and functions as, put so charmingly by George W. Bush, "the decider".

That's an accurate description. The president is the ultimate "decider" of the executive branch and it also happens that, as president, George W. Bush is the head of the National Security Council, "the decider" for all key NSC decisions.

In other words, George E. Lowe suggested to me, if Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and other in the administration authorized US policy on torture without Bush's clearance they staged, in effect, a virtual coup :

bizarrely, the ABC story neglects to mention that the NSC is an executive body which helps formulate national security policy and that, at the head of it, the final authority who signs off on the national policy documents the NSC generates, the final authority who signs off on NSC policy documents, NSC resolutions, is the president: George W. Bush, the decider.

For a description of how that process works, listen to part two of my latest interview with George E. Lowe, part 2 :

Interview With George E. Lowe, Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgCRANYYonw

Last week law professor Jonathan Turley suggested that the Yoo memos pointed to the White House, and now ABC reports that the "most senior Bush administration officials" discussed and approved specific torture techniques. As ABC news reported yesterday April 9, 2008:

In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News.

But based on my interviews George E. Lowe the ABC story amounts to what the CIA calls "limited hang out", because the strong likelihood is that George W. Bush himself signed off on torture.

The ABC story says Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Tenet, Ashcroft and Powell discussed highly specific details and also authorized the torture policy. In an interview last year, Former CIA Director George Tenet stated that "It [the suggested torture techniques] was legal according to the Attorney General" and "it was authorized."

Tenet did not say who authorized the torture and although the ABC story notes the Justice Dept. had issued a 'top secret' memo declaring the "enhanced" torture methods to be legal such a ruling, on the supposed legality of the torture methods, does not indicate that the "authorization" Tenet referred to came from the Justice Department. Indeed, evidence points rather to the National Security Council and the White House.

Regardless of the Justice Department ruling, Tenet was apparently unwilling to implement the torture techniques without the additional legal cover of direct orders to do so from the White House. Tenet has referred to the "golden shield" which protects CIA agents his multiple trips to the National Security Council and the White House, on the torture issue, indicate he was was anxious to get as much legal cover for his people as possible.

As ABC details, Tenet "wanted reassurance his agents would be protected" went to the White House "again and again". That in turn suggests Tenet knew that using the torture techniques promoted by the administration would violate the Geneva Conventions and amount to war crimes.

The ABC story indicates that the Justice Department bears some of the culpability for the torture policy, and it also specifically implicates Condaleeza Rice and Dick Cheney, but ABC's coverage fundamentally muddies the nature of the power relationships.

The suggestion inherent to ABC's coverage is that the Justice Department and also the National Security Council operate as independent or qausi independent branches of government, somehow autonomous from presidential control. That is wildly misleading.

As George E. Lowe has informed me this is not how the NSC works - the NSC does not operate independently from the president. The president chairs NSC meetings and he signs off on NSC resolutions. Here's how the White House itself describes the National Security Council:

The National Security Council is chaired by the President. Its regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) are the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, and the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the statutory military advisor to the Council, and the Director of National Intelligence is the intelligence advisor. The Chief of Staff to the President, Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy are invited to attend any NSC meeting. The Attorney General and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited to attend meetings pertaining to their responsibilities. The heads of other executive departments and agencies, as well as other senior officials, are invited to attend meetings of the NSC when appropriate.
National Security Council's Function

The National Security Council is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies.

The Federation of American Scientists has a highly detailed description of the function and history of the NSC as an institution. The FAS account corresponds very closely with the account given to me by George E. Lowe right down to the specific sorts of terminology used.

The most salient point is this :

The National Security Council does not formulate policy independently from the president. The President chairs the NSC and is the final authority in policy formation.

Indeed, the president signs off on all key National Security Council decisions and all key NSC policy documents, and the president is the one who delegates authority so that NSC decisions and policies are implemented.

Thus, it's very likely George W. Bush signed an NSC document authorizing specific torture methods. In doing so Bush would have authorized, as official United States national policy, torture methods judged both by the Geneva Conventions, and also United States anti-torture legislation signed by Bill Clinton in the mid 1990's, to be illegal and which were treated, per the US prosecution of Japanese military officers for waterboarding, as war crimes.

As quoted by ABC, then Attorney General John Ashcroft's outburst during one of the NSC meetings on torture highlights the legally dubious nature of the torture techniques: "WHY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT THIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE ! --HISTORY WILL NOT JUDGE THIS KINDLY."

[Below: part one (10 minutes) of my interview with George E. Lowe. Bottom and also a (5 minute) video based on an excerpt from a previous interview with Lowe]

George E Lowe Interview, part 1

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8TI_HZ_sdk


Based on his 30 years of experience in government, as someone who has written National Security Council decision memos and is quite familiar with the National Security Council, George E. Lowe last week walked me through the process by which the Bush Administration torture program was probably first conceived of, as a legal opinion, and then turned into a National Security Council action memo, which presented a range of options, that got sent up the line to Bush.

As Lowe describes in the interview, "it's an art form", the writing of these things and the idea is to craft them in such a way (and to whisper in his ear to this end) so the president picks the right option.

Then, that act memo gets converted, probably, into a National Security Council resolution or other NSC document and it sets the official government policy and, as Lowe stresses, that's what this is all about, "it's about controlling the policy".

Here's the basic situation, as George Lowe describes it to me:

The torture techniques that were devised, sanctioned and implemented by the Bush Administration are widely recognized to violate the Geneva Conventions and international law, and this presented a bureacratic problem because the torture program, implemented at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib and throughout a network of secret US detention centers established around the world, was massive.

The torture program was global policy, there were lots of people involved in implementing it. So, simply on a "cover your ass" basis, civil servants and people in the professional military, whomever was involved in the program in any capacity, needed the best possible legal cover. That's the subtext to Former CIA Director Gerge Tenet's resistance to authorizing torture based on a mere ruling from the Justice Department. Tenet wanted direct orders from the White House and he appears to have gotten them as, described in the ABC story, Condaleeza Rice instructed Tenet "This is your baby. Go do it!". Rice was delegating the authority to Tenet and ordering him to implement the new NSC torture policy.

As Lowe explains, is about process, there's an established process by which government policy gets set, and then authority to implement that policy gets delegated, from Bush down the line.
According to Lowe, the only person who has the level of authority necessary to sign off on National Security memos and resolutions is the president. So, at the White House level, there are two possibilities: Bush signed off on the torture policy or top members of his administration, Cheney, Rumsfeld and maybe others illegally usurped the authority, in effect staging a virtual coup. That would also indicate the president to be oblivious and incompetent, and we have to take such a possibility seriously, yes, but the greater likelihood is that George W. Bush signed off on torture and a National Security policy document got generated. Then Bush delegated to Rumsfeld the authority to implement the torture policy and from there Rumsfeld delegated down the line.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPtePKZs9kQ






http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/4/10/95033/2181/104/493151

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - MLK

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Offline Sub-X

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2008, 04:38:43 PM »
"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us." (George H.W. "Poppy" Bush)

Not soon enough.
“If you strike at,imprison,or kill us,out of our prisons or graves we will still evoke a spirit that will thwart you,and perhaps,raise a force that will destroy you! We defy you! Do your worst!”-James Connolly 1909


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Offline Loungin

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2008, 04:50:48 PM »
I love how this entire post uses the word "torture" instead of fluff words like "aggressive interrogations".  Bravo for calling it what it is!
A despicable act that should land anyone with ties to it in jail for the rest of their lives.

Offline industria

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2008, 07:16:45 PM »
 

Capital Crimes: Another Smoking Gun on Terror War Torture 
http://www.chris-floyd.com/

Written by Chris Floyd   
Thursday, 10 April 2008

From ABC:
In dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House, the most senior Bush administration officials discussed and approved specific details of how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, sources tell ABC News....

Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic...


At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Cheney, former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

This is not just a smoking gun -- it's a MOAB dropped right on the White House, confirming, yet again, what any sentient being should already know: the illegal torture tactics (yes, they are torture; and yes, they are illegal, no matter what "the Attorney General says") used on George W. Bush's Terror War captives were approved by the highest officials of the government, all of whom knew -- in exacting, sickening detail -- just what they were inflicting.

These cold-blooded atrocities were not restricted to "high value al Qaeda suspects" - the demure fiction that the ABC report, like most others in the mainstream media that have begun, gingerly, to delve into these crimes, still retains. As mountains of evidence has already shown, these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were used throughout the Terror War prison system, from top to bottom, on prisoners rounded up at random in mass raids in Iraq and Afghanistan, on innocent people sold into captivity by bounty hunters, on innocent people snatched off the streets in Asia, Africa, Europe. They've been used on "low-level prisoners" in Bagram, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, in the brig at the Naval Weapons Station in Charleston, South Carolina, and all the other "secret prisons" and holding pens of the Terror War regime.

All of the atrocities and murders that have thus far come to light from the hellish pit of the Bush gulag are the direct responsibility of the "Principals," the inner circle, the Privy Council, the Star Chamber of the real American government: the "National Security State" that operates outside all law, all oversight, all constitutional legitimacy.

Yet even as the media digs out the workings of this junta, they feel compelled to offer what they believe is a fig leaf that will allow all good and decent folk to retain their sacred faith in American exceptionalism: "Hey, we're not evil; we only torture the really bad guys, the worst of the worst, the high value al Qaeda scum. Torture's too good for the likes of them!"

And the sad fact is, the media mandarins are right. American society has become so degenerate that the majority of people -- and the entirety of the American Establishment -- will now countenance torture, as long as they can convince themselves it is used only against "the bad guys." At one time, the leaders of this nation condemned and punished the torture even of proven Nazis, on the principle that we must uphold our own humanity, and not descend to the brutish level of the most degraded among us.

But no more. We are the degraded now, ruled by brutes: by deliberate torturers, military aggressors and mass murderers who walk the streets freely, live in wealth and comfort, receive public honors, and will never face justice, never have to answer for their crimes against humanity. If this were not so, these evil counsellors and their leader would already be subjected to the workings of the law: impeachment proceedings, criminal investigations, arrest, trial. The fact that they are not is yet another crime -- a crime in which the entire political establishment is deeply complicit.

We'll say it again: anyone in public life who accords these criminals the slightest legitimacy is an accomplice to their crimes. It's really that simple. You can move toward the light or you can hang back with the brutes.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - MLK

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Offline chris jones

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2008, 07:49:35 PM »
"If the people knew what we had done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us." (George H.W. "Poppy" Bush)

Not soon enough.    Yup, he was being interviewed by a blond female reporter, It appeared he didn't realize the camera was running. Those were his  words. CJ

Offline chris jones

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2008, 08:36:29 PM »
I agree, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumfeild, Kissinger,Powell, The Attorney General Ashcroft, aid de camps, Director Tennet, and any other official who assisted in this inhuman document allowing torture, should experience each and every detail of the same they have conjured up. Let the interrogators go to work on them.
Give them a taste of their own medicine,  medicine sounds nice doesn't it.
That this nation has stooped to this level is not acceptable legally or moraly.
It looks as though these sadists shits are not satisfied they have killed over one half million children in Iraq. These freaks  probably have tapes sent to them of the tortures taking place for nightly entertainment. Putting them on trial in Nuremburg would seem a fitting gesture.

Offline industria

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2008, 10:57:27 PM »


Bush Aware of Advisers' Interrogation Torture Talks
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/LawPolitics/Story?id=4635175&page=1

By JAN CRAWFORD GREENBURG, HOWARD L. ROSENBERG and ARIANE de VOGUE
April 11, 2008
ABC NEWS

President Bush says he knew his top national security advisers discussed and approved specific details about how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to an exclusive interview with ABC News Friday.

"Well, we started to connect the dots in order to protect the American people." Bush told ABC News White House correspondent Martha Raddatz. "And yes, I'm aware our national security team met on this issue. And I approved."

As first reported by ABC News Wednesday, the most senior Bush administration officials repeatedly discussed and approved specific details of exactly how high-value al Qaeda suspects would be interrogated by the CIA.

The high-level discussions about these "enhanced interrogation techniques" were so detailed, these sources said, some of the interrogation sessions were almost choreographed -- down to the number of times CIA agents could use a specific tactic.

These top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding, sources told ABC news.

The advisers were members of the National Security Council's Principals Committee, a select group of senior officials who met frequently to advise President Bush on issues of national security policy.

At the time, the Principals Committee included Vice President Dick Cheney, former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, as well as CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

As the national security adviser, Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by most of the principals or their deputies.

The so-called Principals who participated in the meetings also approved the use of "combined" interrogation techniques -- using different techniques during interrogations instead of using one method at a time -- on terrorist suspects who proved difficult to break, sources said.

Contacted by ABC News, spokesmen for Tenet and Rumsfeld declined to comment about the interrogation program or their private discussions in Principals meetings. The White House also declined comment on behalf of Rice and Cheney. Ashcroft could not be reached.

ABC News' Diane Sawyer sat down with Powell this week for a previously scheduled interview and asked him about the ABC News report.

Powell said that he didn't have "sufficient memory recall" about the meetings and that he had participated in "many meetings on how to deal with detainees."

Powell said, "I'm not aware of anything that we discussed in any of those meetings that was not considered legal."

In his interview with ABC News, Bush said the ABC report about the Principals' involvement was not so "startling." The president had earlier confirmed the existence of the interrogation program run by the CIA in a speech in 2006. But before Wednesday's report, the extraordinary level of involvement by the most senior advisers in repeatedly approving specific interrogation plans -- down to the number of times the CIA could use a certain tactic on a specific al Qaeda prisoner -- had never been disclosed.

Critics at home and abroad have harshly criticized the interrogation program, which pushed the limits of international law and, they say, condoned torture. Bush and his top aides have consistently defended the program. They say it is legal and did not constitute torture.

In interview with ABC's Charles Gibson last year, Tenet said: "It was authorized. It was legal, according to the Attorney General of the United States."

The discussions and meetings occurred in an atmosphere of great concern that another terror attack on the nation was imminent. Sources said the extraordinary involvement of the senior advisers in the grim details of exactly how individual interrogations would be conducted showed how seriously officials took the al Qaeda threat.

It started after the CIA captured top al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah in spring 2002 in Faisalabad, Pakistan. When his safe house was raided by Pakistani security forces along with FBI and CIA agents, Zubaydah was shot three times during the gun battle.

At a time when virtually all counterterrorist professionals viewed another attack as imminent -- and with information on al Qaeda scarce -- the detention of Zubaydah was seen as a potentially critical breakthrough.

Zubaydah was taken to the local hospital, where CIA agent John Kiriakou, who helped coordinate Zubaydah's capture, was ordered to remain at the wounded captive's side at all times. "I ripped up a sheet and tied him to the bed," Kiriakou said.

But after Zubaydah recovered from his wounds at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, he was uncooperative. "I told him I had heard he was being a jerk," Kiriakou recalled. "I said, 'These guys can make it easy on you or they can make it hard.' It was after that he became defiant."

The CIA wanted to use more aggressive -- and physical -- methods to get information. The agency briefed high-level officials in the National Security Council's Principals Committee, led by then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and including then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, which then signed off on the plan, sources said. It is unclear whether anyone on the committee objected to the CIA's plans for Zubaydah.

The CIA has confirmed Zubaydah was one of three al Qaeda suspects subjected to waterboarding. After he was waterboarded, officials say Zubaydah gave up valuable information that led to the capture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad and fellow 9/11 plotter Ramzi bin al-Shibh.

Mohammad, who is known as KSM, was also subjected to waterboarding by the CIA.

In the interview with ABC News Friday, Bush defended the waterboarding technique used against KSM.

"We had legal opinions that enabled us to do it," Bush said. "And no, I didn't have any problem at all trying to find out what Khalid Sheikh Mohammed knew."

The president said, "I think it's very important for the American people to understand who Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was. He was the person who ordered the suicide attack -- I mean, the 9/11 attacks."

At a hearing before a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay March 10, 2007, KSM, as he is known, said he broke under the harsh interrogation. COURT: Were any statements you made as the result of any of the treatment that you received during that time frame from 2003 to 2006? Did you make those statements because of the treatment you receive from these people?

KSM: Statement for whom??

COURT: To any of these interrogators. ?

KSM: CIA peoples. Yes. At the beginning, when they transferred me...?

Lawyers in the Justice Department had written a classified memo, which was extensively reviewed, that gave formal legal authority to government interrogators to use the "enhanced" questioning tactics on suspected terrorist prisoners. The August 2002 memo, signed by then head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jay Bybee, was referred to as the so-called "Golden Shield" for CIA agents, who worried they would be held liable if the harsh interrogations became public.

Old hands in the intelligence community remembered vividly how past covert operations, from the Vietnam War-era "Phoenix Program" of assassinations of Viet Cong to the Iran-Contra arms sales of the 1980s were painted as the work of a "rogue agency" out of control.

But even after the "Golden Shield" was in place, briefings and meetings in the White House to discuss individual interrogations continued, sources said. Tenet, seeking to protect his agents, regularly sought confirmation from the NSC principals that specific interrogation plans were legal.

According to a former CIA official involved in the process, CIA headquarters would receive cables from operatives in the field asking for authorization for specific techniques. Agents, worried about overstepping their boundaries, would await guidance in particularly complicated cases dealing with high-value detainees, two CIA sources said.

Highly placed sources said CIA directors Tenet and later Porter Goss along with agency lawyers briefed senior advisers, including Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and Powell, about detainees in CIA custody overseas.

"It kept coming up. CIA wanted us to sign off on each one every time," said one high-ranking official who asked not to be identified. "They'd say, 'We've got so and so. This is the plan.'"

Sources said that at each discussion, all the Principals present approved. "These discussions weren't adding value," a source said. "Once you make a policy decision to go beyond what you used to do and conclude it's legal, [you should] just tell them to implement it."

Ashcroft was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.

According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: "Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly."

The Principals also approved interrogations that combined different methods, pushing the limits of international law and even the Justice Department's own legal approval in the 2002 memo, sources told ABC News.

At one meeting in the summer of 2003 -- attended by Cheney, among others -- Tenet made an elaborate presentation for approval to combine several different techniques during interrogations, instead of using one method at a time, according to a highly placed administration source.

A year later, amid the outcry over unrelated abuses of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the controversial 2002 legal memo, which gave formal legal authorization for the CIA interrogation program of the top al Qaeda suspects that was leaked to the press. A new senior official in the Justice Department, Jack Goldsmith, withdrew the legal memo -- the Golden Shield -- that authorized the program.

But the CIA had captured a new al Qaeda suspect in Asia. Sources said CIA officials that summer returned to the Principals Committee for approval to continue using certain "enhanced interrogation techniques."

Rice, sources said, was decisive. Despite growing policy concerns -- shared by Powell -- that the program was harming the image of the United States abroad, sources say she did not back down, telling the CIA: "This is your baby. Go do it."
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - MLK

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Offline chris jones

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2008, 04:51:42 PM »
Waterbord our illustrious leaders, lets see what they have to say.

Offline lord edward coke

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2008, 08:06:42 PM »
"Liberty has never come from government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history  of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it." http://sedm.org/

Offline EchelonMonitor

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2008, 08:53:36 PM »
Waterbord our illustrious leaders, lets see what they have to say.

Waterboard their wives--let's see if that will make them tell the truth.  Of course, Bush would probably just giggle with glee.

Offline yanaar

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2008, 11:04:27 PM »
"The man who dies wealthy dies in disgrace." 
Chaucer

Offline qimds

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2008, 11:11:11 PM »
To think I voted for these vermin.
I feel like throwing up.
Stop Monsanto from killing us!

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Offline lord edward coke

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2008, 09:53:57 AM »
To think I voted for these vermin.
I feel like throwing up.
  pobodies nerfect. ;D
"Liberty has never come from government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history  of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it." http://sedm.org/

Offline merlon

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2008, 02:20:52 PM »
GOD, THE LORD did not tell Adam that he would burn in hell if he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Man seems fascinated with becoming YOUR god. Such as Caeser, such as the pharoh, etc. You are just a man Mr cheney....Man invented hell as a myth. A propaganda, and God can do it. Shall they believe in God? just like Yoda said to Luke when Luke said 'im not afraid'(to go in the cave. Yoda said 'you WILL be, you will be'. that is what I say to 'they'. You will be Mr cheney....
     As it happens i had a dream, I wont go into details, but it is becoming quite technologically possible for man to become like satanic little'g' gods. The can hook you up to life support and torture you forever. When acceptible confirmation by the presidents of america that they are butchering humans is redily recieved, like The Colesieum(sp) in Rome, i am sure satan will try to be God,or the perception of Gods punisment in the judgment. HA! THE LORD can do it. Shall we fear hell? I say and tell you what Jesus(Joshuah in english) said' Fear not the one who can kill the flesh, but not the soul. Rather fear the one who can send them to the eternal fire.
       Anyhow I'm sure it's a controlled leak. tks.

Offline lord edward coke

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2008, 03:03:51 PM »
GOD, THE LORD did not tell Adam that he would burn in hell if he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Man seems fascinated with becoming YOUR god. Such as Caeser, such as the pharoh, etc. You are just a man Mr cheney....Man invented hell as a myth. A propaganda, and God can do it. Shall they believe in God? just like Yoda said to Luke when Luke said 'im not afraid'(to go in the cave. Yoda said 'you WILL be, you will be'. that is what I say to 'they'. You will be Mr cheney....
     As it happens i had a dream, I wont go into details, but it is becoming quite technologically possible for man to become like satanic little'g' gods. The can hook you up to life support and torture you forever. When acceptible confirmation by the presidents of america that they are butchering humans is redily recieved, like The Colesieum(sp) in Rome, i am sure satan will try to be God,or the perception of Gods punisment in the judgment. HA! THE LORD can do it. Shall we fear hell? I say and tell you what Jesus(Joshuah in english) said' Fear not the one who can kill the flesh, but not the soul. Rather fear the one who can send them to the eternal fire.
       Anyhow I'm sure it's a controlled leak. tks.

yes they have torture machines that are worse than lethal,excruxciating pain no physical damage. electronicly applied.the new prisons   torture chamber cocoons.inflicting gahstly torture 25/8
"Liberty has never come from government.  Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history  of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it." http://sedm.org/

Offline merlon

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2008, 08:01:53 PM »
Mr. Edward Coke, ty for replying. What i was refering to is that in Egyptology, the pharoh was percieved as 'a god'. Really? I guess so. some idiot fvcking egyptians thought he was god. just like caeser, and Romulous the founder of Rome.
             I'm reading a book. ha ha. It is called 'battlefield Earth'. They made a move about it with John travolta, but it does no justice to the book.
       That has nothing to do with bush/cheney torture. Just like life when the eternal fire is tortruring those within....... But what I'm saying is, is that man is, and is going to be capible of sentencing people to, eternal damnation, via life support and the gift of medicinal ly keeping man's brain alive during the uttmost pain for extended periods. Do not believe me? Did God condemn Adam to Hell and the Eternal Fire? But will George W. pardon a person condemned to life-supported torture? Let the expirimantation begin!HA!
        Is this torture real? Why does the media not tell THAT PART of 'big brother' in ORSEN WELLS BOOK 1984.??!?!!? Who cares. Untill man can maketh himself without beginning(like Jesus(Joshuah in English)).....ha ha.....think about it. GWB threatining Osama Bin Laden with eternal damnation in the 'life supported torture chamber hell'......Etc etc

Offline merlon

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2008, 11:46:55 PM »
Orsen Wells didnt write 1984. George Orwell did you retard Merlon.

Offline industria

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Re: Torture Memo Signed By Bush
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2008, 07:13:39 AM »

Stress hooding noise nudity dogs
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/19/humanrights.interrogationtechniques

Saturday April 19 2008

It was the young officials at Guantánamo who dreamed up a list of new aggressive interrogation techniques, inspired by Jack Bauer from the TV series, 24. But it was the politicians and lawyers in Washington who set the ball rolling. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail right to the top

On Tuesday, December 2 2002, Donald Rumsfeld signed a piece of paper that changed the course of history. That same day, President Bush signed a bill to put the Pentagon in funds for the next year. The US faced unprecedented challenges, Bush told a large and enthusiastic audience, and terror was one of them. The US would respond to these challenges, and it would do so in the "finest traditions of valour". And then he signed a large increase in the defence budget.

Elsewhere in the Pentagon, an event took place for which there was no comment, no fanfare. With a signature and a few scrawled words, Rumsfeld reneged on the tradition of valour to which Bush had referred. Principles for the conduct of interrogation, dating back more than a century to President Lincoln's famous instruction of 1863 that "military necessity does not admit of cruelty", were discarded. He approved new and aggressive interrogation techniques that would produce devastating consequences.

The document had been drafted a few days earlier by the general counsel at the Defence Department, William J Haynes II (known as Jim Haynes), Rumsfeld's most senior lawyer. The Haynes memo was addressed to Rumsfeld and copied to two colleagues: General Richard Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the most senior military official in the US, and Doug Feith, under-secretary of defence for policy and number three at the department.

Attached to the memorandum were four short documents. The first was a legal opinion written by Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, a staff judge advocate at Guantánamo. The second, a request for approval of new methods of interrogating detainees from Beaver's boss, Major General Mike Dunlavey, the army's head of interrogation at Guantánamo. The third was a memorandum on similar lines from General Tom Hill, commander of US Southern Command (Southcom, covering Central and South America). Last, and most important, was a list of 18 techniques of interrogation, set out in a three-page memorandum.

These techniques were new to the military. Category I comprised two techniques, yelling and deception. Category II included 12 techniques, aiming at humiliation and sensory deprivation, including stress positions, such as standing for a maximum of four hours; isolation; deprivation of light and sound; hooding; removal of religious and all other comfort items; removal of clothing; forced grooming, such as shaving of facial hair; and the use of individual phobias, such as fear of dogs, to induce stress.

Finally came Category III. These methods were to be used for only a very small percentage of detainees - the most uncooperative (said to be fewer than 3%) and exceptionally resistant individuals - and required approval by the commanding general at Guantánamo. In this category were four techniques: the use of "mild, non-injurious physical contact", such as grabbing, poking and light pushing; the use of scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences were imminent for him or his family; exposure to cold weather or water; and, finally, the use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation. This last technique came to be known as water-boarding, described on a chat show by the vice-president, Dick Cheney, as a "dunk in the water" and a "no-brainer" if it could save lives.

The Haynes memo recommended "blanket approval" of 15 of the 18 techniques, including just one of the four techniques listed in Category III: mild, non-injurious physical contact. However, he did not reject the others, nor did he advise that they were contrary to the Geneva conventions. Rumsfeld signed his name next to the word "Approved", and added his comment at the bottom of the page: "I stand for eight to 10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to four hours?"

The techniques were devised with at least one specific detainee in mind. Detainee 063 had been refused entry to the US just before 9/11 and captured in Afghanistan in November 2001. In January 2002 he joined the first captives to be transported to Guantánamo, one of a group labelled by the administration as "the worst of the worst". "The faster we can interrogate these people and identify them, and get what they have in them out of them, in as graceful a way as is possible," Rumsfeld said, "we have a better chance of saving some people's lives."

When the Haynes memo reached Guantánamo on December 2, Detainee 063 was in an isolated, plywood interrogation booth at Camp X-Ray. He was bolted to the floor and secured to a chair, his hands and legs cuffed. He had been held in isolation since August 8, nearly four months earlier. He was dehydrated and in need of regular hook-ups to an intravenous drip. His feet were swollen. He was urinating on himself.

During Detainee 063's first few months at Guantánamo, the interrogators had followed established practices for military and law enforcement interrogations. Building rapport is the overriding aim of the US Army Field Manual 34-52, the rule book for military interrogators, colloquially referred to as "FM 34-52". Legality was also essential, which meant operating in accordance with the rules set out in the US military's Uniform Code of Military Justice and international law, in particular the four Geneva conventions.

At the heart of them lies "Common Article 3", which expressly prohibits cruel treatment and torture, as well as "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment". Tactics that had conformed to these principles changed dramatically. The interrogation log describes what happened immediately after Rumsfeld signed the Haynes memo.

The pattern was always the same: 20-hour interrogation sessions, followed by four hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation appears as a central theme, along with stress positions and constant humiliation, including sexual humiliation. These techniques were supplemented by the use of water, regular bouts of dehydration, the use of IV tubes, loud noise (the music of Christina Aguilera was blasted out in the first days of the new regime), nudity, female contact, pin-ups. An interrogator even tied a leash to him, led him around the room and forced him to perform a series of dog tricks. He was forced to wear a woman's bra and a thong was placed on his head.

Rumsfeld led the charge for war in Iraq; in part he did so because of Saddam Hussein's contempt for human life. "Torture is systematic in Iraq, and the most senior officials in the regime are involved," Rumsfeld said, a few months before Saddam was overthrown. "Electric shock, eye gouging, acid baths, lengthy confinement in small metal boxes are only some of the crimes committed by this regime." He spoke those words one day after secretly signing the Haynes memo and approving his own techniques of aggressive interrogation at Guantánamo.

Ironically, it was the Iraq war - in particular, events at Abu Ghraib prison - that brought the Haynes memo into the open two years later. By the autumn of 2003, Abu Ghraib was being run by the US as a detention facility. On April 28 2004, a CBS television report revealed the nature and scale of abuse being inflicted upon Iraqi prisoners. Photographs taken by US military participants were published, including one, now notorious, showing a prisoner standing on a box with his head covered and wires attached to his fingers. Another showed Private Lynndie England holding a leash tied to the neck of a naked man on the floor.

Was there a connection between the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the Bush administration's secret interrogation policies at other places, including Guantánamo? In June 2004, President Bush, hosting the G8 summit in Savannah, Georgia, was asked by the media if he had authorised any kind of interrogation techniques necessary to pursue the "war on terror"? No, he said, his authorisation was that anything the US did would conform to US law and be consistent with international treaty obligations. "We're a nation of law. We adhere to laws. We have laws on the books."

Four days later, the administration unexpectedly declassified and released a number of documents relating to interrogation in the belief that this would reflect the thorough process of deliberation that, it was claimed, took place, and demonstrate a commitment to the rule of law. At the briefing, conducted by three lawyers from Bush's inner circle, Alberto Gonzales, the president's counsel, Jim Haynes from the Defence Department, and his deputy, Dan Dell'Orto, it was made clear that particular documents were crucial: the Haynes memo, and a decision taken a few months previously by the president, on February 7 2002, that none of the detainees at Guantánamo, whether Taliban or al-Qaida, could rely on any of the protections granted by the Geneva conventions, not even Common Article 3.

The second set of documents were legal opinions issued on August 1 2002. One of these, by two senior lawyers at the Justice Department, concluded that physical torture occurred only when the pain was "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily functions, or even death". Mental torture required "lasting psychological harm". The memo concluded that torture of suspected terrorists under interrogation would not be unlawful if it could be justified on grounds of necessity or self-defence.

On October 11 2002, Guantánamo had request that additional techniques beyond those in FM 34-52 be approved for use against high-value detainees, in particular a Saudi Arabian, Mohammed al-Qahtani - otherwise known as Detainee 063. The underlying message of the briefing was spelled out: Rumsfeld had merely responded to a request from Guantánamo, and in doing so had acted reasonably. By contrast, the abuses at Abu Ghraib were unauthorised and unconnected to actual policies.

Much later, in March 2006, Time magazine published on its website the interrogation log of Detainee 063. Some of the Abu Ghraib images bore a resemblance to what Detainee 063 had been through: humiliation, stress, hooding, nudity, female interrogators, shackles, dogs. Was this just a coincidence?

A few days after the president made his decision that the detainees were not covered by the Geneva conventions, Rumsfeld appointed the head of military interrogations at Guantánamo - Major General Michael E Dunlavey, a reservist, in civilian life a judge in Erie, Pennsylvania. Rumsfeld told Dunlavey to report directly to him on a weekly basis, bypassing the usual chain of command. When we met, I asked Dunlavey about the mission Rumsfeld gave him. He paused. "He wanted me to maximise the information. He wanted me to identify who was there and get the intelligence, to prevent the next 9/11."

When Dunlavey arrived at Guantánamo, "plane loads" of detainees were being delivered on a daily basis. Many posed no threat; some were very elderly; others posed a serious threat. The focus of attention soon shifted to Mohammed al-Qahtani. Dunlavey had no doubts about his identity or the threat he posed: al-Qahtani was the 20th hijacker on September 11. (How many "20th hijackers" are there, I asked, alluding to Zacarias Moussaoui, who'd recently been convicted. Dunlavey smiled.) "This guy may have been the key to the survival of the US," he told me. By August, Dunlavey was clear that the rule book FM 34-52 was too restricting for someone like al-Qahtani, who was trained to resist interrogation. In his memo of October 11 2002 he set out the key facts as he saw them. The usefulness of the existing techniques had been exhausted. Some detainees had more information. He requested that aggressive new techniques be approved.

Dunlavey told me that at the end of September a group of the most senior Washington lawyers visited Guantánamo, including David Addington, the vice president's lawyer, Gonzales and Haynes. "They brought ideas with them which had been given from sources in DC." When the new techniques were more or less finalised, Dunlavey needed them to be approved by Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, his staff judge advocate in Guantánamo. "We had talked and talked, brainstormed, then we drew up a list," he said. The list was passed on to Diane Beaver."

Apart from Beaver's legal input, no one else seemed to have provided any detailed legal advice on the new techniques. It seemed strange that on so important a decision the legal advice of a relatively junior lawyer, with limited experience of these issues, could be definitive. Several months passed before I met Beaver. By then, like Dunlavey, she was being sued in American courts, although the cases were later dropped.

Beaver told me she arrived in Guantánamo in June 2002. In September that year there was a series of brainstorming meetings, some of which were led by Beaver, to gather possible new interrogation techniques. Ideas came from all over the place, she said. Discussion was wide-ranging. Beaver mentioned one source that I didn't immediately follow up with her: "24 - Jack Bauer."

It was only when I got home that I realised she was referring to the main character in Fox's hugely popular TV series, 24. Bauer is a fictitious member of the Counter Terrorism Unit in LA who helped to prevent many terror attacks on the US; for him, torture and even killing are justifiable means to achieve the desired result. Just about every episode had a torture scene in which aggressive techniques of interrogations were used to obtain information.

Jack Bauer had many friends at Guantánamo Bay, Beaver said, "he gave people lots of ideas." She believed the series contributed to an environment in which those at Guantánamo were encouraged to see themselves as being on the frontline - and to go further than they otherwise might.

Under Beaver's guidance, a list of ideas slowly emerged. Potential techniques included taking the detainees out of their usual environment, so they didn't know where they were or where they were going; the use of hoods and goggles; the use of sexual tension, which was "culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected"; creating psychological drama. Beaver recalled that smothering was thought to be particularly effective, and that Dunlavey, who'd been in Vietnam, was in favour because he knew it worked.

The younger men would get particularly agitated, excited even: "You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas." A wan smile crossed Beaver's face. "And I said to myself, you know what, I don't have a dick to get hard. I can stay detached."

Beaver confirmed what Dunlavey had told me, that a delegation of senior lawyers came down to Guantánamo well before the list of techniques was sent up to Washington. They talked to the intelligence people, they even watched some interrogations. The message from the visitors was that they should do "whatever needed to be done", meaning a green light from the very top - from the lawyers for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the CIA.

By the first week of October, the list of 18 techniques was more or less completed and it fell to Beaver to provide the legal sign-off. She was conscious of her relatively lowly position - "the dirt on the ground", as she put it, too self-deprecatingly - but also acutely aware of the time constraints, the pressures. Relations with Dunlavey were now very tense. It was rumoured that Dunlavey was leaving, that he'd become paranoid, lost the plot. She tried getting help from more senior lawyers in Florida and Washington, but got nowhere. So she ploughed on alone, proceeding methodically through the 18 techniques. Each was tested against the standards set by US law, namely, the Eighth Amendment of the constitution (which prohibited "cruel and unusual punishments"), the federal Torture Statute, and the military law of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Her standard was elastic. The federal Torture Statute, she wrote, would not be violated so long as none of the proposed techniques was "specifically intended to cause severe physical pain or suffering or prolonged mental harm". Legality was thus boiled down to intent.

The techniques were justified because there was "a legitimate governmental objective in obtaining the information for the protection of the national security of the United States". The ends always justified the means. Rumsfeld had described the detainees as "the worst of the worst"; Beaver herself had unambiguous views about some of them. "Psychopaths," she told me. "Skinny, runty, dangerous, lying psychopaths."

Beaver explained what she had tried to do, and her sense of shock about the way in which her advice was made public. "They gave me an hour's notice, no warning, no preparation." They left her name on the advice when they released it; Haynes could have blacked it out but didn't. She took the flak and the lawsuits personally.

General James T Hill visited Guantánamo a week before he took over command of Southcom in August 2002. He had not closely followed all the comings and goings over new interrogation techniques, but he had become increasingly concerned about a "dysfunctional" command leadership. He worried that the full intelligence value of the detainees may not be fully exploited. He was also concerned that the interrogators hadn't been properly trained. "They were just kind of swimming by themselves," he said. However, he was not happy about the suggestion from the Pentagon that he should be the one to approve the new techniques. "I said no, no, no. This is way too important to leave at our level." He pushed the decision back to Washington.

Hill's memo reached General Dick Myers, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the most senior person in the US armed forces, on October 25 2002. "There was a sense of urgency that in my 40 years of military experience hadn't existed in other contingencies," he explained when we met. There was the real fear that one of the detainees may know when the next attack would happen, and that they would miss vital information.

The first big decision was Geneva. For historic, cultural and training reasons, Myers insisted that the Geneva conventions should apply, even to a rogue, lawless actor such as al-Qaida. It became clear to me that Myers was a little confused about the decision that was actually taken. He claimed to be satisfied with the president's decision of February 7 2002. "After all the arguments were done, the decision was, we don't think it applies in a technical sense, but we're going to behave as if it does." That wasn't what the president decided.

The actual decision distinguished between the Taliban - to whom Geneva applied, although detainees could not invoke rights under it because they were not wearing uniforms or insignia - and al-Qaida, to whom it didn't apply at all because they were not a state. Had Myers understood what had been decided? Did he appreciate the consequences for interrogation techniques? If the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff was confused, then inevitably soldiers in the field would also be confused. As one seasoned observer of military affairs put it to me, Myers was "well and truly hoodwinked".

So what did Myers think about the new techniques? "We thought, OK, all the techniques came out of the book, there weren't any techniques invented." I stopped him.

"Out of which book?" I asked.

"Out of 34-52," he replied. "I think all of these are in the manual." They were not - not one of them. "They aren't?" he asked, surprised. Not only that, but most of them violated Geneva's Common Article 3. Such an answer from the chairman of the joint chiefs surprised me.

As we worked through the list of techniques, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled. At forced grooming and dogs he became defensive. "Dogs were only to be present, never to be..." his words tailed off. "When you see this, you say, holy mackerel," he exclaimed. "We never authorised torture, we just didn't. Not what we would do." Little by little, my understanding of Myers's role was becoming more focused. He hadn't pushed for these new techniques, but he didn't resist them, either. He didn't inquire too deeply.

With Rumsfeld's verbal approval and Haynes's support, the interrogation of al-Qahtani began. The interrogation log for November 23 2002 recorded the first moment. "The detainee arrives at the interrogation booth at Camp X-Ray. His hood is removed and he is bolted to the floor."

Meanwhile alarm bells were ringing with the FBI. One of the FBI's behavioural psychologists called headquarters in Washington. Concerns were raised by an FBI special agent who arrived to find al-Qahtani already "incarcerated in a darkened cell in the naval Brig". He was interrogated by the FBI, and the plan was for military personnel to continue for 24 hours straight. The FBI agent objected, but was told that this technique was approved by "the Secretary", meaning Rumsfeld.

The agent described how "the reservists yelled and screamed" at al-Qahtani, and "a German shepherd was positioned at the door of the interrogation hut and made to growl and bark at the detainee". At one point, a copy of the Qur'an was placed in front of al-Qahtani while he was handcuffed to a chair, and an interrogator "straddled the Qur'an". The detainee became very angry, but still refused to provide any information.

The FBI agent was not the only one with concerns. Mike Gelles, a clinical forensic psychologist, had worked since 1990 for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the primary law enforcement and intelligence arm of the US Navy. He first visited Guantánamo in February 2002, and had concerns from the outset.

By June, the numbers at Guantánamo had grown to more than 500 detainees and interrogations were underway. Were they getting any useful information? The expression on Gelles's face suggested not. Even assuming that they had the right people, nobody discovered what they knew. "I remember being down in Camp X-Ray and wandering around," Gelles recalled, "and seeing a couple of very psychotic folks, and thinking, 'What's going on here, why would you fly a guy who's flagrantly psychotic from Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay?' It didn't make any sense." Gelles thought that Beaver had tried to rein in some of the greater excesses. "She tried to cool it, but basically she was so immersed and so lost..." Gelles' words trailed off. "She drank the Kool-Aid."

His chief doubts were that the new techniques would produce "unreliable information" - unusable in any court case against al-Qahtani - that they were immoral and they'd "set a pattern that was clearly going to impact our folks overseas when they were captured".

It was because of sustained pressure from dissenters at Guantánamo, such as Gelles and the FBI agent, and in particular Alberto Mora, the navy's top counsel at the Pentagon, that Rumsfeld rescinded the new interrogation techniques on January 15 2003. Subsequently a working group was set up; it approved a revised set of interrogation techniques, which were less harsh than those rescinded but which nevertheless contributed to a climate that was tolerant of abuse.

After 54 days of interrogation using the new aggressive techniques, what information did al-Qahtani give up? In June 2004, Gonzales, Haynes and Dell'Orto told the assembled media that the new techniques had worked and America was a safer place: al-Qahtani had admitted he had met Osama bin Laden, that he knew one of the 9/11 pilots, and had been sent to the US by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. It was also claimed that he had provided detailed information about a number of key people, including José Padilla, the dirty bomber, and Richard Reid, the British shoe bomber. No details were given to support these assertions.

On the face of it, al-Qahtani's interrogation log provided little support for any of these claims. (Nonetheless, he faces trial on terrorism charges at a military commission - possibly later this year.)

At the time al-Qahtani's aggressive interrogation began, Cal Temple, a Defence Department intelligence expert, was in charge of an exploitation team created to support interrogations at Guantánamo. Had the pressure from the Pentagon produced anything useful? A measured and thoughtful man, Temple chose his words with care, indicating a negative response to my question. "There was a lot of data of interest," he said. "It was contextual in nature, confirming in nature. Did it help us catch Osama bin Laden? No."

In that same June 2004 press briefing, Gonzales and Haynes went to great lengths to crush any suggestion of a connection between Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. The facts, however, suggest that there was a link between the two places, and that the Haynes memo had a malign influence over time and distance.

One army investigator compared the treatment of al-Qahtani to that displayed so graphically in the Abu Ghraib photos. "Here's this guy manacled, chained down, dogs brought in, put [in] his face, told to growl, show teeth," he said of al-Qahtani, "If you had a camera and snapped that picture, you'd be back to Abu Ghraib."

In August 2003, General Miller made a trip from Guantánamo, where he had taken over as commander from Dunlavey, to Baghdad. He was accompanied by Diane Beaver. They visited Abu Ghraib and found shocking conditions of near-lawlessness. Miller made recommendations to General Ricardo Sanchez, the commander of Coalition Ground Forces in Iraq, to codify and develop proper interrogation techniques. Within two weeks, on September 14 2003, Sanchez signed a memorandum authorising new techniques that plainly violated the Geneva Conventions, and that were similar to those included in the Haynes memo, including environmental manipulation (temperature adjustment), the presence of military dogs, sleep management (four hours' sleep per 24-hour period) and stress positions. These would have been very familiar to al-Qahtani. The photographic evidence showed abuse beginning at Abu Ghraib on October 17 - one month later.

In August 2006, the Pentagon inspector general released his own damning report. This concluded unequivocally that interrogation techniques had migrated to Iraq because operations personnel believed traditional techniques were no longer effective for all detainees. The clear conclusions from the various reports - three in three years - reinforced what Gelles told me about "force drift", the situation where interrogators come to believe that if some force is good, then more will be even better. "If you let slip the dogs, they will run," was the way a former Defence Department official put it. And so they did, from Guantánamo, to Baghdad, to Basra.

A group of British soldiers were charged with allowing or participating in the abuse of Iraqi detainees in Basra in September 2003. The detainees there had been subjected to conditioning processes to prepare them for interrogation, involving "maintaining a stress position and deprivation of sleep whilst hooded and cuffed". One of the detainees died. At least one of the techniques (sleep deprivation) had been approved by Sanchez on September 14, just days after Miller's visit. Colonel Jorge Mendonca, the most senior officer charged, argued that he was advised that sleep deprivation, stress positions and other conditioning processes had been cleared by the chain of command. The Court Martial Board accepted this defence and dismissed the charges.

But the climate was changing. In June 2006, the Supreme Court overturned President Bush's decision on Geneva, ruling it to be unlawful. The court confirmed that Common Article 3 applied to all Guantánamo detainees. It was as simple as that. Whether they were Taliban or al-Qaida, every one of the detainees had rights under Common Article 3 - and that included Mohammed al-Qahtani.

The majority opinion, reaffirming the "minimal protection" offered by Common Article 3, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens. One of the Justices went even further: Common Article 3 was part of the law of war and of a treaty that the US had ratified. "By Act of Congress," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote pointedly, "violations of Common Article 3 are considered 'war crimes', punishable as federal offences, when committed by or against United States nationals and military personnel."

Justice Kennedy's remark put the issue of war crimes on the American political agenda. Individuals who had contributed to a violation of Common Article 3 would know that they were at risk of criminal investigation and prosecution. Even more ominously, it underscored the risk of being investigated outside the US.

Parties to the international Torture Convention are required to investigate any person who is alleged to have committed torture. If appropriate, they must then prosecute - or extradite the person to a place where he will be prosecuted. The Torture Convention is also more explicit than Geneva in that it criminalises any act that constitutes complicity or participation in torture. Complicity or participation could certainly be extended not only to the politicians and but also the lawyers involved in the condoning of the 18 techniques. After all, the scheme applied to al-Qahtani was devised by lawyers, reviewed by lawyers, overseen by lawyers.

Interrogation Log of Detainee 063

Day 25, December 17 2002          

0120: Control shows detainee photos from a fitness magazine of scantily-clad women. 

1400: Detainee was shown 9/11 tribute videos.         

2100: Detainee did not appreciate being called a homosexual. He also appeared annoyed by the issue of his mother and sister as examples of prostitutes and whores.         

Day 27          

1100: Happy Mohammed mask placed on detainee and he was yelled at when he tried to speak.         

2320: He attempts to resist female contact. He attempts to pray as she spoke in his ear about his continuous lies...         

1940: Sgt M had shown detainee a picture of Mecca, there were thousands of Muslims congregated... Detainee broke down and cried.         

Day 28          

1115: Told detainee that a dog is held in higher esteem because dogs know right from wrong. Began teaching the detainee lessons such as stay, come, and bark... Detainee very agitated.         

1300: A towel was placed on the detainee's head like a burka, with his face exposed, and the interrogator proceeded to give him dance lessons.         

2200: The detainee was strip-searched. After five minutes of nudity, the detainee ceased to resist...         

Day 29          

2103: ...I was forehead to forehead with the detainee and he stated that he would rather be beaten with electrical wire than have me constantly in his personal space...         

Day 31          

0100:  ... lead (interrogator) hung pictures of swimsuit models around his neck.         

Day 32          

1145: Detainee refused water so control poured a little on his head.         

2100: Detainee seems to be on the verge of breaking.         

Day 33          

0300: Detainee started falling asleep so interrogator had detainee stand up for 30 minutes. Detainee was subjected to white noise (music) waiting for his IVs to be completed.         

Day 50          

0230: Source received haircut...  Detainee stated he would talk about anything if his beard was left alone. Beard was shaven... detainee began to cry when talking.         


This is an edited extract from Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty And The Compromise Of Law, by Philippe Sands
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - MLK

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