Tuesday, May 23, 2006

More on Mora

Fascinated by the courageous efforts of Navy attorney Alberto Mora to prevent the government from torturing prisoners? See this excellent Frontline website with wonderful timeline and links to all kinds of documents.

Pulling together some more helpful links on Alberto Mora's story:

Mora's official Navy bio

Boston Globe article, March 16, 2005
by Charlie Savage

Top US Navy officials were so outraged at abusive interrogation techniques being used at the Guantanamo Bay prison in late 2002 that they considered removing Navy interrogators from the operation, according to a portion of a recent Pentagon report that has not been made public.

UPI story, March 16, 2005, "Navy threatened to quit GTMO over abuse"
Mora's memo for the Church investigation also said Mora had received a briefing in December 2002 from NCIS' chief psychologist Michael Gelles.

"Gelles concluded based on extracts of detainee interrogation logs that intelligence personnel at GTMO had started 'using abusive techniques and coercive psychological procedures,'" Levin said.

Gen. Bantz Craddock, the current commander of U.S. Southern Command who at the time served as Rumsfeld's senior military assistant, said at the hearing he had not yet read the Church report but the timeline comported with what he knew happened on detainee affairs.

In the autumn of 2002, U.S. military officials at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base who were holding alleged al-Qaida members asked for permission to use interrogation techniques whose harshness exceeded those allowed by standard military doctrine, said DOD officials last year after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal called into question operations at Guantanamo, or GTMO.

Officials at GTMO told the Office of the Secretary of Defense that at least three of the prisoners were proving resistant to standard methods allowed under the Geneva Conventions. They conducted a legal analysis of the techniques regarding international law, and presented a proposal of 20 new practices to Rumsfeld for his approval. They believed they had the latitude to change the techniques because the prisoners at GTMO were not deemed prisoners of war by the White House, and therefore were not protected by the Geneva Convention.

On advice of the DOD General Counsel William Haynes, Rumsfeld approved all but three of the new techniques, according to Pentagon documents and spokesman Larry DiRita at a meeting with reporters on May 20, 2004.

Memos leaked to the media and released under a Freedom of Information Act request detailed the request. It was broken into three categories. Category 1 included permission to yell at and deceive a detainee into thinking he is being interrogated by an official of another country with a reputation for harsh treatment of detainees.

Category 2 requested use of "stress positions" like standing for up to four hours and falsified documents and reports to deceive the detainee as well as solitary confinement for up to 30 days, with additional confinement possible if the commanding general approved it. It also requested sensory deprivation, hooding, removal of clothing, forced shaving and using detainee phobias like the fear of dogs to induce stress.

Category 3 requested permission to use scenarios that would convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and his family, exposure to cold weather or water (with medical monitoring), and the use of a wet town and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation. It also requested permission to use "mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with a finger and light pushing."

On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved all of category 1 and 2, and only the mild-non-injurious contact request in category 3. Between Dec. 2 and January 15, many of those techniques were used.

Read more at the link above!

A top Navy psychologist reported to his supervisor in December 2002 that interrogators at Guantanamo were starting to use ''abusive techniques." In a separate incident that same month, the Defense Department's joint investigative service, which includes Navy investigators, formally ''disassociated" itself from the interrogation of a detainee, after learning that he had been subjected to particularly abusive and degrading treatment.

The two events prompted Navy law enforcement officials to debate pulling out of the Guantanamo operation entirely unless the interrogation techniques were restricted. The Navy's general counsel, Alberto Mora, told colleagues that the techniques were ''unlawful and unworthy of the military services."

The previously undisclosed events were disclosed at a hearing of the Senate Armed Forces Committee yesterday. The disclosures shed new light on the military services' objections to the Bush administration's policies on how to interrogate prisoners from the Afghanistan war.

Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, said the events are outlined in the largely classified report on military detention and interrogation operations delivered last week by Navy Vice Admiral Albert T. Church. Levin did not disclose which techniques were used on prisoners that triggered the Navy's unusual concerns.

NY Times article: on the Mora memorandum

New Yorker article by Jane Mayer, "The Memo": in-depth on Mora's battle against torture.

Pentagon Process Subverted
Jurist article by JAG Lt. Col., Ret., Prof. Geoffrey S. Corn (S. Texas College of Law)

Going Native at Guantananamo
Jurist article by JAG Lt. Col. Victor Hansen

Mora's Internal Memorandum.
Thank you, New Yorker!

Executive Summary of the Declassified portions of the Church Report

Wonkette's blog entry guessing at the New Yorker's sources

NPR program on Mora's memo, and links to more recent reports on similar topics, Supreme Court on tribunals, Bush administration releases names:

The Nation op-ed "A Fabric of Illegality"

Balkinization blog entry

Wikipedia entry on Alberto Mora, nice links

ACLU press release, documents of torture

** ACLU Documents of Torture and Human Rights Violation (PDF format) Includes links to treaties against torture, news releases about activities and law suits.

Washington Post article on Guantanamo Torture Techniques as approved by Rumsfeld.

ABC News on Mora Memo w/ video
The interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in 2002 triggered concerns among senior Pentagon officials that they could face criminal prosecution under U.S. anti-torture laws, ABC News has learned.
Texas Tech School of Law quoting Financial Times article on related investigation of officer at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib

Seymour Hersh article, New Yorker, "Torture at Abu Ghraib"

No comments: