Newly Declassified Report: Bush Officials Approved Torture

The CIA wasn't the only agency involved in torture of detainees. A newly declassified report by the Senate Armed Services Committee shows that high level Bush officials approved the brutal interrogation techniques used by the military at overseas prisons. So now there's confirmation that the military, not just the CIA CIA were involved, and that Rumsfeld's denials were full of it.

The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq — stripping detainees, placing them in “stress positions” or depriving them of sleep — originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations. [More...]

According to the Senate investigation, a military behavioral scientist and a colleague who had witnessed SERE training proposed its use at Guantánamo in October 2002, as pressure was rising “to get ‘tougher’ with detainee interrogations.” Officers there sought authorization, and Mr. Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques.

The report showed that Mr. Rumsfeld’s authorization was cited by a United States military special-operations lawyer in Afghanistan as “an analogy and basis for use of these techniques,” and that, in February 2003, a special-operations unit in Iraq obtained a copy of the policy from Afghanistan “that included aggressive techniques, changed the letterhead, and adopted the policy verbatim.”

From there it spread to Abu Ghraib where Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez approved the techniques.

Sen. Carl Levin said tonight:

“This report, in great detail, shows a paper trail going from that authorization” by Mr. Rumsfeld “to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq,” Mr. Levin said.

The ACLU and Human Rights First brought lawsuits against Rumsfeld, Sanchez and others in 2005. The case was dismissed in 2007. No accountability, once again.

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    Rumsfeld's Denials . . . (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Doc Rock on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 04:58:50 AM EST
    . . . never had a shred of credibility. He was one of the most arrogant and dissembling senior managers in government, ever!

    I never trusted Rumsfeld (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Fabian on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 05:52:43 AM EST
    So I'm not surprised to see this.  

    Our military is even more messed up than I thought.

    (Heartily sick of hearing "..interrogation procedures/tactics" on the news.)


    I was reading a large reporting (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:12:15 AM EST
    of Abu Ghraib and remember there was aas Rumsfeld memo found in the "special" prisoner area where the "bad apples" worked, and it outlined some of the interrogation techniques we call to question today.  It was taped to a door or a wall or something.  That was when I knew it was everywhere, because nobody but nobody replicates like our military does.  It is part of what has led to their success.  Nothing like a memo from the head cheese to spawn giant proportion replications and the army is damned proud of how well it replicates and if you can't replicate well you suck and should probably go home and be a civilian.

    If they broke the law (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Mikeb302000 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 06:26:09 AM EST
    they should be held accountable.  I don't understand why Obama seems to be pulling away from this.  Or is he?

    I'm often accused of being too soft on criminals (I'm not a cop or a lawyer or a judge, just a guy expressing opinions).  I feel people in positions of authority or power should be held to a higher standard.  They certainly shouldn't get a pass when they break the law.

    Bad apples (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:04:47 AM EST

    A NIxon man through and through (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by BobTinKY on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:47:57 AM EST
    that's our Rummy!

    Lest we forget, Deadeye (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:49:29 AM EST
    has always proudly held himself out as "a Rumsfeld man".

    Was not the outing of Abu Ghraib done by CIA (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by joze46 on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:52:54 AM EST
    Was not the outing of Abu Ghraib done by a CIA Whistle blower?

    The outing of the torture was done along time ago, what is with these Journalist, political media analyst, and especially Cheney saying the torture memo's now are going to make America less safe. This torture is a fascist approach to military modeling; here Cheney, Bush and the rest of the administration including high level military generals are war criminals.

    Ladies and gentlemen not being tough on the enemy is not the problem, it is being tough on the core circle of perpetrators in this pre-emption of war discussion. America's leadership for the future depends on how much the Obama administration has the courage to address and apply the law.

    The use of force is two fold in this war crime issue, the use force as one could read is a hard measure of diplomacy rather than blundering plundering with military assertion basically violating Iraq's sovereignty, discarding a countries sovereign constitution all the while making up rules of engagement that pivots around torture. The pitiful reality in this war is modeling war operations that depend on torture to obtain freedom and security. That is insane.  

    How insane? At this time a very substantial argument can be made in the prosecution that since 911 America and the "Iraqi freedom footprint America has in Iraq" has been placed in jeopardy, no has vilified America, and corrupted America's National and International values to the extent crime is plagued in every sector of our culture. Bush and Company did it deliberately with planed intentions.

    Even with these so called interrogation techniques, solders are still killed even with this preventive action of interrogation techniques. Please we must not ever forget that these persons who volunteer, the America solder, are the heart and core of the American Institutions? Of course a solitary solder does not physically stand as tall as the Twin Towers or appear as magnificent as the White House or Pentagon, but surely that soul who offers up their life and energy to fight for our freedom is worth a Twin Tower or more than the marble in the Pentagon or all the majesty of the White House. Those interrogations that fail to stop those IED's and personal suicide bombers are absolute examples of this failed military modeling of torture base freedom initiatives. It does not work, it is wrong, it is a crime.      

    From my view, thousands of American solders and Iraqi solders and civilians have lost their lives, or have been displaced as refugees as this military model has been in progress. One does not need any memo's at all to witness the incredible atrocities done on a daily basis not just in Iraq and Afghanistan but across the world. This military model has failed so bad America is growing perpetrators acting in belligerence aiding these Islamic extremist. It has to be stopped and they, Bush and Company must at minimum be censured and never be given the chance to participate in American politics, ever...fini, done, no more na da zip no more Bush politics.            

    Abu Ghraib was outed by a soldier (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 07:56:27 AM EST
    And then Rumsfeld named the soldier, (5.00 / 4) (#18)
    by scribe on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:08:08 AM EST
    who then had to be removed from his unit for his own safety, and subsequently has had to deal with death threats and similar at home.

    The photos of Abu Ghraib first hit the public consciousness when CBS released them as a part of a story in the spring of 2004.  A person of my acquaintance did the actual releasing of them.  They (at CBS) were under extreme pressure from high officials at DoD (including personal phone calls making arguments not unlike the crap Deadeye and the Rethugs continue to spew to this day ot not release the photos, and there were implicit threats about what was to come if they did.  Most of the rest of the tradmed knew both of the content of the photos and of CBS' intent to run with the story - they were pounding on CBS doors (figuratively speaking) to get at them.  Ultimately, the back and forth of the internal emails (release, don't release) got to the point that the internal email system packed up and this person went with the last email readable, which was "release".  One mouse click and that was that.

    It was that close.  If the DoD folks had managed to squelch that report, none of this would be happening.

    This person later asked me, knowing I'd been in the military and am a lawyer, whether "we (Americans) were getting to the point of committing war crimes."  My response, "we're long past that", caused one of the saddest faces I've ever seen.  And I tried to mollify that person's reaction by reminding them that they'd done the right thing, both professionally and morally.


    They did the right thing and thank God! (5.00 / 3) (#19)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:26:40 AM EST
    It can be very very difficult to do the right thing when utter heat is on you and chit is raining down, and the aftermath can really be difficult too for awhile.  I'm so grateful though that this has all the markings of a future Mei Le moment.  It can take a long damned time to reap some rewards that we earn, I believe that this one will come through for those who did the right thing! I look forward to doing my part to bring that about too.  I think a lot of people do.

    Just dont get it (none / 0) (#20)
    by Iamme on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 09:27:27 AM EST
    How can we as a people be sitting so high in morality?  We can try to however, reality slaps us in the face daily.  Obama be bold.  Obama open your arms to the other cultures of the world.  

    Here is reality from today's news.

    The Taliban in Islamic friendly Pakistan

    The government called the advance into Buner a breach of a recently-signed peace agreement.

    Last week, the Taliban imposed sharia law in Swat Valley as part of a peace deal with the government. Under the Taliban's strict interpretation, the law prevents women from being seen in public without their husbands or fathers.

    Now the Taliban appear to have returned in force -- a move that indicates the recent government concessions may have emboldened the militants to expand their reach.

    So Pakistan gives them something and they come in and kill more people.  

    Reality is that these folks DO NOT PLAY BY THE RULES.  We must use whatever techniques necessary to keep America from further harm.

    So moral.  Where is your outrage at "women cant leave the house without a male".  Come on people wake up.  While you take the moral high ground.  The Taliban is killing people and taking rights away from everyone in their path.  Use whatever techniques you think could even remotely work.  If they want it to stop then stop killing people and I am sure the interrogations will stop.


    Jesselyn Raddack has excellent (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:36:50 AM EST
    commentary up at DKos about this along with a good history of where the SERE training came from, the fact that we prosecuted this type of torture being done to our soldiers after WWII as a war crime, and the fact that in the military....those who were once among a small group of people associated with SERE training told those who thought this was a terrific idea (Tenet and McLaughlin and a couple of military psychologoists -oxymoron alert) that it wasn't effective and it was mostly illegal.  Strange how a Lt. Col seemed to fully understand that the torture was ineffective and illegal but the two military psychologists second oxymoron alert not so much.

    Cheney might regret his current remark (none / 0) (#12)
    by Saul on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:02:46 AM EST
    about declassifying more reports not just the recent ones that Obama put out on the CIA torture recently, in order to show that the so call torture had positive effects in acquiring good information.  

    I say declassify them all.  Keep them coming.

    Not sure why Obama does not want to investigate but I can only speculate to the following:

    1.  He needs all the republicans he can muster if he wants to pass major pieces of legislation.  He does not want to make enemies with them at this time.  Also this is the reason why he does not want to reinstate the assualt weapons restriction statute.

    2.  He feels if he is merciful then when he leaves office they will treat him in the same manner just in case he ends up doing something illegal.

    IMO all this is inconsistent with his campaign rhetoric.

    Obama (none / 0) (#13)
    by JThomas on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:13:07 AM EST
    has made it clear that he expects the AG and DoJ to do their job as laid out in the constitution.

    Smartly,he is not leading the charge which would allow the GOP to scream about a partisan witchhunt.

    This should be a cold,emotionless,non-partisan review of facts followed by prosecutions based on those findings.

    Obama does not want the CIA operatives who followed legal advice to take the fall. He would lose the CIA and allow the real perpetrators to get off scott-free..not good.


    Maybe (none / 0) (#14)
    by Saul on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 08:33:48 AM EST
    What was discussed on TV the other day was that those that executed the orders were not CIA personnel but personnel that had been independently contracted to execute these orders.

    Even if the there were CIA personnel that were responsible for executing these orders, then Obama worries that he might loose the CIA is no excuse to not investigate them.  

    Remember, how many of these that executed the orders knew deep down inside that what they were doing was wrong, no matter what rationalization they got from the upper echelons.

    Remember the rationalization that the defendants used in the  Nuremberg trials.  We told them that it was not a defense.


    Grand Unified Scandal (none / 0) (#21)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 10:37:00 AM EST
    as Krugman calls it. He links to the McClathcey article as well.

    It was always all about Iraq, from day 1 of the Bush administration, IMO. 9/11 just gave them the excuse for all heretofore unimaginable horrors.

    surprised? (none / 0) (#22)
    by jlambert446 on Fri Jun 05, 2009 at 04:45:36 AM EST
    Is this supposed to surprise us?

    assurance habitation