If America doesn’t torture then why did we hide it from the Red Cross?

Here’s a news item that’ll boil your blood. Newly released documents reveal that our government, which claims it doesn’t torture, went to some length to hide detainees from the International Red Cross to avoid being called out for torture:

“We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques,” Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who’s since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility — Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan — were using sleep deprivation to “break” detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. “True, but officially it is not happening,” she is quoted as having said.

A third person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world.

“In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has ‘moved’ them away from the attention of the ICRC,” Fredman said, according to the minutes.

[…] It’s unclear from the documents whether the Pentagon moved the detainees from one place to another or merely told the ICRC they were no longer present at a facility.

Fredman of the CIA also appeared to be advocating the use of techniques harsher than those authorized by military field guides “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong,” the minutes report Fredman saying at one point.

Am I reading that right? Are they suggesting that if someone doesn’t die from it then it’s not torture?

Not everyone involved was blind to the possible repercussions of what they were doing:

The administration overrode or ignored objections from all four military services and from criminal investigators, who warned that the practices would imperil their ability to prosecute the suspects. In one prophetic e-mail on Oct. 28, 2002, Mark Fallon, then the deputy commander of the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigation Task Force, wrote a colleague: “This looks like the kind of stuff Congressional hearings are made of. … Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.” The objections from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines prompted Navy Capt. Jane Dalton, legal adviser to the then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, to begin a review of the proposed techniques.

But Dalton, who’s now retired, told the hearing Tuesday that the review was aborted quickly. Myers, she said, took her aside and told her that then-Defense Department general counsel William Haynes “does not want this … to proceed.” Haynes testified that he didn’t recall the objections of the four uniformed services.

Of course he doesn’t recall the objections. No one in this administration ever remembers being told what they were doing was probably illegal. Not that it matters, he should have known they were illegal and not needed objections from anyone.

Here’s the interesting part: We train our soldiers on how to resist being tortured. Guess what they did in order to develop their own “harsh interrogation techniques” for use in Guantanamo. That’s right, they checked in with the folks who train our boys to resist torture:

Officials in Rumsfeld’s office and at Guantanamo developed the techniques they sought by reverse-engineering a long-standing military program designed to train U.S. soldiers and aviators to resist interrogation if they’re captured.

The program, known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, was never meant to guide U.S. interrogation of foreign detainees.

An official in Haynes’ office sought information about SERE as early as July 2002, the documents show. Two months later, a delegation from Guantanamo attended SERE training at Fort Bragg, N.C. Levin said, “The truth is that senior officials in the United States government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees.” The documents confirm that a delegation of senior administration lawyers visited Guantanamo in September 2002 for briefings on intelligence-gathering there. The delegation included David Addington, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney; Haynes; acting CIA counsel John Rizzo; and Michael Chertoff, then the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and now the homeland security secretary. Few of the Republicans at Tuesday’s hearing defended the Bush administration’s detainee programs. Guidance provided by administration lawyers “will go down in history as some of the most irresponsible and shortsighted legal analysis ever provided to our nation’s military intelligence communities,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C..

Of course this all makes America look like a nation of hypocrites when the Bush Administration has the gall to chastise countries like China on their civil rights abuses. How can we claim the moral high ground when we’re acting no better than the countries we’re berating?

How the hell any of these people in the Bush administration will walk away without being tried and convicted for war crimes is beyond me.

10 thoughts on “If America doesn’t torture then why did we hide it from the Red Cross?

  1. I don’t want to sound like I am against our brave men and women in uniform, but issues like this remind me of the consequences of careerism in the senior ranks of the officer corps.  If the Joint Chiefs had real integrity they should have resigned their commissions en masse rather than be “good Germans” to the Bush (Mal)administration.

  2. Stupid, Evil, and a Bastard. I couldn’t have said it better myself – anyone who would support Barack Osama is, by definition, an idiot of the highest (or lowest?) order. As an interrogator in Iraq (2005-2006), I never saw anything even remotely resembling torture, not from the U.S. Army or even any three-letter agency. You’re actually crediting a meeting of lawyers? As if they would even have a clue what they were talking about, and didn’t lie by trade. Please, wake up and smell reality.

  3. Dear Mrs Butterworth,

    I think you will find that there are people more stupid than those who would vote for Mr Obama. For instance,

    1.-Those who believe there is any link between Saddam Hussein and the attacks on the World Trade Centre. 

    2.-Those who would support a war against Iraq based on the twin lies of Iraq-WTC and WMD, for which there was no credible evidence, UN inspectors said there was no credible evidence, and the proof appeared to be ‘we can’t find them, ergo he must be hiding them’.

    3.-Those who would throw away world opinion and support for the attack on Afghanistan, allow the protection of the population of Afghanistan to be compromised by diversion of effort into Iraq, a position that has allow brutal religious fundamentalists to regain power through terrorising the local population.

    4.-Those who failed to learn from 200 years of history and think that Afghanistan can be forced into submission by military conquest.

    5.-Those who would award ‘no bid contracts’ at inflated prices to US companies closely involved with the executive, antagonising local workmen in Iraq who bid 2% of the price of the final contract.

    6.-Those who made tax cuts for the very richest DESPITE THE PEOPLE WHO STOOD TO GAIN OPPOSING THEM ON MORAL GROUNDS.

    7.-Those who applaud the economic skill of a president who has turned a surplus into a deficit.

    8.-Those who would vote for the people responsible for points 3-7 above.

    9.-Those who believe non Christians are some how inferior.

    10.-Those who believe atheists are even lower.

    11.Those who believe Muslims should be forcibly converted to Christianity.

    12.In fact any one who forces some one to do something in the name of a ‘god’.

    13.-Those who would ignore the overwhelming evidence of torture and declare ‘it didn’t happen’

    14.-Those (15% of US population) who think Obama is a Muslim.

    15.-Racists

    16.-Homophobes

    17.-Those who ignore any evidence that does not fit with the literal interpretation of their religious book.

    18.Those that misquote science to make it fit with their religion.

    19.Those who think Murdoch news organisations are ‘liberal’.

    20.People who think that ‘Legos’ is an acceptable pluralisation of ‘Lego Bricks’. (Sorry- pet peeve- you know who you are AND YOU ARE STILL WRONG)

  4. I will gladly take a lying lawyer over any murder-loving asshole that supports mass murder for Republican profit.  Go suck a dog dick, you sack of shit.

    There are no real Americans on the right these days, just a bunch of self-righteous, muderous, ignorant little panty-pissers who honestly believe that they are the center of the fucking universe, and that they can do whatever they want without criticism.  Fuck you.

  5. Report: Exams reveal abuse, torture of detainees

    Are Physicians for Human Rights and retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba more credible than apologists for the Bush/Cheney regime? Absolutely.

    “There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”

    Fat chance, alas.

  6. Stupid, Evil, and a Bastard. I couldn’t have said it better myself – anyone who would support Barack Osama is, by definition, an idiot of the highest (or lowest?) order. As an interrogator in Iraq (2005-2006), I never saw anything even remotely resembling torture, not from the U.S. Army or even any three-letter agency. You’re actually crediting a meeting of lawyers? As if they would even have a clue what they were talking about, and didn’t lie by trade. Please, wake up and smell reality.

    That has got to be the lamest argument I’ve ever heard in defense of the current administration, an administration that is denying that they are doing things that are clearly against the law on the one hand, and then arguing that these things may not really be illegal simply because they really really want to do them on the other.

    I don’t care if you have top level security clearance and have every piece of relevant classified information on your desk right now, or if you’ve got telepathy and have scanned the entire DoD top brass, or your Dick Cheney’s ball washer, unless this administration reverses it’s Military Commissions Act changes, wants to change it’s public attitude about waterboarding, admits it made a mistake about going to War with Iraq, allows due process for detainees, gets busy and charges them or lets them go, stops trying to illegally wiretap MY phone service, and stops telling people it’s against the law to talk about an FBI arrest they might witness, I don’t give a ticks butt hair what you think the DoD may or may not be guilty of.

  7. How the hell any of these people in the Bush administration will walk away without being tried and convicted for war crimes is beyond me.

    It is, unfortunately, because of our elected Cowards In Congress:

    “I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference. (source)

  8. When I read “Mrs. Butterworth”‘s comments, one thing popped into my head:

    mall ninja

    For those of you who haven’t heard of mall ninjas, go forth and read about them, then read Butterworthless’s comment again and tell me I am wrong.

  9. http://lonelymachines.org/mall-ninjas/

    Mall Ninjas – that made for some fun reading! Reminds me of 4Chan /k if anybody knows what I mean. Scary people.

    Also reminds me why I wouldn’t want to live in the US, to be honest. The thought that crazies like that can access all this stuff…

    Well, getting off-topic here. No, Bush and cronies will not be held accountable. We can still hope for a crappy historical verdict, though.

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