New Grand Jury Investigation on Torture, or DOJ Smokescreen?

By: Thursday April 14, 2011 2:00 pm

News certainly travels fast, sometimes. While it took the U.S. government two years to reply to a request by a Spanish judge regarding whether or not the U.S. has instigated any investigations or proceedings against six high-level Bush administration figures named in a complaint by the Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners, and it took another three weeks to get the response distributed to the parties involved, and yet another three weeks to have the news of this response released to the world at large, it took less than 24 hours to learn that the entire case was dismissed by the Spanish judge on Wednesday.


Did CIA Misrepresent Interrogation Policy to Court in Passaro Case?

By: Monday April 12, 2010 3:25 pm

I wrote in my last post on David Passaro that he knew precisely how to defend himself (go here for general background on Passaro and his case). Even before he was indicted, Passaro asked for discovery on CIA’s rules of engagement for detainee interrogations, which he tied to SERE techniques well before the connection had been made publicly. Which is why Passaro’s requests–and CIA’s refusals–for interrogation guidelines are so interesting.

Justice Dept.’s Daniel Levin Told DOD General Counsel Haynes – Again – Not to Torture

By: Sunday April 11, 2010 5:00 pm

We’ve long known that in February 2005, then-acting head of OLC Daniel Levin contacted DOD General Counsel to remind him that the March 14, 2003 Yoo memo on torture had been withdrawn. But I, for one, had never seen a copy of that letter. It turns out the government included it with their Appeals brief in the David Passaro case (see pages 99-100).

Only CIA Guy Prosecuted for Abuse Threatened to Expose the SERE-Torture Tie

By: Saturday April 10, 2010 5:00 pm

As I said in my last post on David Passaro, the only CIA guy to be prosecuted for detainee abuse, Passaro knew (or learned, in anticipation of his indictment) how to defend himself against charges stemming from torture. As I’ll show here, he was trying to expose the tie between SERE and the government’s torture program in spring 2004, long before it became public.

Meet David Passaro, the Only CIA Guy Prosecuted for Detainee Abuse

By: Friday April 9, 2010 4:42 pm

As I said in my last post, bmaz and I are about to let loose a slew of posts on David Passaro, the only CIA guy prosecuted for detainee abuse. I first decided to look into Passaro’s case given that he was prosecuted in relation to the death of an Afghan detainee, Ahmed Wali, in June 2004, whereas the CIA guy in charge of the Salt Pit was not prosecuted in relation to the death of Gul Rahman seven months earlier. Why, I wanted to know, was Passaro tried and convicted but Gul Rahman’s killer has, thus far, avoided any consequences for Rahman’s death.

As we’ll eventually see, Passaro’s lawyers tested many of the theories John Yoo laid out in his OLC memos.

Overseeing Torture: Looking for Patterns and “High Side” Cables

By: Thursday April 8, 2010 2:15 pm

As you’ll no doubt understand over the next week or so, bmaz and I have been comparing the case of David Passaro, the only CIA-related person to be prosecuted for detainee abuse, with what happened in Gul Rahman’s death at the Salt Pit. Passaro, a CIA contractor obviously trained in SERE-based interrogation techniques, was convicted of assaulting an Afghan, Abdul Wali, with his hand, foot, and flashlight, while interrogating him at the Asadabad firebase in Eastern Afghanistan in June 2003.

I’ll have a lot more to say about Passaro’s case in upcoming posts (short story, though, is his defense tested many of John Yoo’s favorite theories and lost). But for now, I wanted to point to two passages in this filing, which requests electronic communications evidence related to Wali’s interrogation and death. One thing it requests are transcripts of satellite phone calls from the Field.

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