Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yet A Few More Bad Apples . . .



. . . from a Rotten Branch

DK, guest-blogging at Talking Points Memo points to a new Human Rights Watch report that "collects accounts from soldiers in Iraq who participated in and witnessed detainee abuse."

We've all known about a lot of this "no blood, no foul" nonsense for a long time know, including the fact that authorization came directly from the top, including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the President of the United States for abuse, mistreatment, and torture, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and U.S. laws against torture. DK was "struck by the existence of written documentation authorizing the abuse." He points to two key excerpts:
In March 2004, when Lagouranis and another interrogator voiced concerns about the techniques, their supervising MI officer provided them with an Interrogation Rules of Engagement card, authorizing the use of dogs, exposure to hot and cold temperatures, sleep deprivation, forced exercises and use of painful stress positions, and environmental manipulation (allowing strobe lights and loud music):

When we were doing that stuff it was under the direction of Chief Warrant Officer [name withheld]; he was telling us, this is what he wants. But when he told us this, you know, of course, we got a little worried. So we asked for IROE [Interrogation Rules of Engagement] and he gave us the IROE that his unit was supposedly using.

I think it was sort of an outdated IROE now that I think about it, because I felt—because I saw others later that were different. I think he was using one from Afghanistan or something like that. But everything that he said, as far as I could tell, was it was legal on the IROE [i.e., the techniques were detailed in the IROE:] that we could use dogs, we could use environmental manipulation, sleep deprivation, sort of stress positions. But who knows—I don't know if it was legal or not, what we were doing.
But what torture bureaucracy would be complete without a computerized torture template checklist?
There was an authorization template on a computer, a sheet that you would print out, or actually just type it in. And it was a checklist. And it was all already typed out for you, environmental controls, hot and cold, you know, strobe lights, music, so forth. Working dogs, which, when I was there, wasn’t being used. But you would just check what you want to use off, and if you planned on using a harsh interrogation you’d just get it signed off.

I never saw a sheet that wasn’t signed. It would be signed off by the commander, whoever that was, whether it was 03 [captain] or 06 [colonel], whoever was in charge at the time. . . . When the 06 was there, yeah, he would sign off on that. . . . He would sign off on that every time it was done.
Anyone who believes it was just a few bad apples is fooling themselves.

If you want to read up on the applicable legal standards, which are confirmed to be applicable following Hamdan, read here.

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