DOJ Torture Investigations: Diplomatic Stunt to Forestall International Action

By: Thursday December 2, 2010 1:45 pm

It’s not a surprise that the Obama Administration has been pointing to its own investigations — credible or not — to persuade the international community not to hold our torturers accountable. But it is useful to see how the diplomats and the lawyers first hatched that plan.

 

At Least Five Key Pieces of Torture Evidence Destroyed or “Disappeared”

By: Monday March 15, 2010 6:01 am

Since there are so many incidences of destroyed or disappearing torture evidence, I thought it time to start cataloging them, to keep them all straight.

Were The Torturers Bypassing OLC in July 2004?

By: Saturday March 13, 2010 6:00 pm

It appears that early in July 2004, the White House dictated to DOJ what torture methods would be approved. And only after Congress got involved did the White House agree to niceties like OLC opinions.

Extended Isolation Among DOD Interrogation Techniques Sought in 2004

By: Tuesday March 9, 2010 3:12 pm

Yesterday when I raised the question of what techniques DOD wanted to use in spring 2004, I said there was some ambiguity about what DOD was trying to get approved. In this post I’m going to lay out the conflicting sources of information. Given the totality of information, though, it appears that what DOD asked to use in spring 2004 was extended isolation.

Days after Taguba Reported Sadistic Criminal Abuse at Abu Ghraib, DOD Asked to Use More Torture Methods

By: Monday March 8, 2010 6:07 am

On March 13, 2004, Jack Goldsmith and Patrick Philbin went to Jim Comey’s house on a Saturday to alert him of something. The military had contacted Goldsmith, wanting to use a more extreme form of torture against a detainee–something like isolation, waterboarding, water dousing, or death threats.* But, as Goldsmith had told DOD General Counsel Jim Haynes the previous December, the March 2003 opinion Yoo wrote that authorized DOD’s use of such techniques was hopelessly flawed. Goldsmith wanted to explain the flaws of the memo to Comey to get his support for withdrawing the memo. Comey, who was then acting Attorney General (since John Ashcroft was in the ICU with pancreatitis), agreed with Goldsmith’s judgment and–the OPR Report explains–later got John Ashcroft to agree that “any problems with the analysis should be corrected.”

Clarence Thomas’ Revenge

By: Sunday March 7, 2010 6:45 am

Rosalind linked to this LAT article describing Clarence Thomas’ pro-abuse views. “According to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, a prisoner who was slammed to a concrete floor and punched and kicked by a guard after asking for a grievance form — but suffered neither serious nor permanent harm — has no claim that his constitutional rights were violated.”

“We All Benefited” from Margolis’ “Wise Counsel and Good Judgment”

By: Saturday March 6, 2010 4:00 pm

A bunch of former DOJ bigwigs just wrote a seemingly pointless letter to Pat Leahy to assure him that David Margolis does not have a partisan–and they mean Left-Right partisan–bias. (h/t Main Justice)

OLC Identified 31 Missing Documents During Period Leading Up to Torture Tape Investigation

By: Thursday March 4, 2010 4:50 pm

As I reported on Monday, DOJ lost not only John Yoo and Patrick Philbin’s emails from the period when they were writing the Bybee Memos. It also lost at least 10 documents on torture, a number of them that went into the development of the torture memos.

Boxes and Burials in the CIA’s Torture Plans

By: Thursday March 4, 2010 1:30 pm

In this post, I’m going to test a hypothesis that OLC may not have included “cramped confinement” in its torture plans until it removed “mock burial.” If I’m right, it means after having been told OLC would not approve mock burial, OLC and CIA instead just renamed what they were doing as “cramped confinement” so as to get it past those in DOJ who were opposed to allowing the US to use mock burial in its torture program.

Ibn Sheikh al-Libi’s and Abu Zubaydah’s Coffins

By: Wednesday March 3, 2010 12:27 pm

Just past noon on July 31, 2002, Jennifer Koester sent Patrick Philbin an email alerting him that the White House wanted them to finish the memos authorizing Abu Zubaydah’s torture by close of business the next day. Those memos would either retroactively or prospectively authorize Abu Zubaydah to be exposed to the same kind of treatment Ibn Sheikh al-Libi had undergone five months earlier.

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