THE TEA ROOM OFFERS THE FOLLOWING BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN AMERICANS' RIGHT TO KNOW THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, SANS COVER-UPS, LIES, AND PROPAGANDA.
GITMO WAS AND IS A POINTLESS WASTE OF MONEY AND LIVES, A BOIL ON THE BUTT OF AMERICA, AND UTTERLY SENSELESS.
IT IS A CONVENIENCE FOR HIDING MORE THAN WE MAY EVER KNOW, INCLUDING SOME WHO HAVE "DISAPPEARED" FROM AMERICAN SOIL AFTER THE PASSAGE OF THE PATRIOT ACT AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TAXPAYER MONEY.
AS TIME GOES ON, MORE FACTS, MORE TRUTH WILL COME OUT UNTIL THE PLACE IS CLOSED AND OUR GOVERNMENT HAS TO FIND ANOTHER "HIDING PLACE" FOR THEIR COVERT OPERATIONS REGARDING AMERICAN CITIZENS ILLEGALLY DETAINED BY A BAT-GUANO INSANE ADMINISTRATION AND BY THE CURRENT ONE, WHICH LACKS THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE TO SHUT GITMO DOWN AND END THE TERRORIST THREAT OF OUR OWN TREASONOUS GOVERNMENT.
TO HIS CREDIT, OBAMA DID JUST VETO THE SLUSH FUND SPENDING FOR GITMO
LAST THURSDAY, AND PUT A STOP TO THE PENTAGON AVOIDING BUDGET RESTRICTIONS BY TAPPING INTO THOSE FUNDS FOR GITMO.
ONE THING HAS ALWAYS GRATED ON ME ABOUT THE PENTAGON...THEY WILL FUND A GITMO OR OTHER SUCH USELESS INSTALLATIONS BUT WON'T PROVIDE OUR TROOPS WITH ENOUGH CLEAN WATER, DECENT EQUIPMENT, OR PROPER FOOD.
SHOWS YOU HOW MUCH THE PENTAGON VALUES THE MEN WHO WEAR THOSE "BOOTS ON THE GROUND"....NOT AT ALL.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS READ, IN THEIR OWN WORDS, WHAT GITMO WAS AND IS.
IT'S PLAIN TO SEE, NOT DIFFICULT READING AT ALL, AND ANYONE NOT AVERSE TO TRUTH MAY FIND ALL THE TRUTH THEY CARE TO FIND IN THESE DOCUMENTS.
THE PROVERBIAL CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG AND EGG IS ALL OVER THE FACES OF OUR PREVIOUS LIARS AND THOSE IN HIGH PLACES TODAY.
ONCE AGAIN, AMERICANS WERE HOODWINKED.
CERTAINLY, THOSE WHO WANT TO BE HOODWINKED WILL LEARN NOTHING FROM ANYTHING REVEALED ABOUT OUR ELECTED LIARS AND SOLD-OUT GOVERNMENT WHORES.
FOR MOST, "FANTASY ISLAND" IS THE ONLY AMERICA THEY WILL EVER KNOW.
FOR SOME, THE DAWN OF UNDERSTANDING HAS BROKEN AND THEY ARE SEEING HOW WE HAVE ALL BEEN BETRAYED.
In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo — 765 out of 779 in total — are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.
These memoranda, known as Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), contain JTF-GTMO’s recommendations about whether the prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred to their home governments, or to other governments). They consist of a wealth of important and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example, and, in the cases of the majority of the 172 prisoners who are still held, photos (mostly for the first time ever).
They also include information on the first 201 prisoners released from the prison, between 2002 and 2004, which, unlike information on the rest of the prisoners (summaries of evidence and tribunal transcripts, released as the result of a lawsuit filed by media groups in 2006), has never been made public before.
Most of these documents reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantánamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake (or because the US was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects), and numerous insignificant Taliban conscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Beyond these previously unknown cases, the documents also reveal stories of the 399 other prisoners released from September 2004 to the present day, and of the seven men who have died at the prison.
The memos are signed by the commander of Guantánamo at the time, and describe whether the prisoners in question are regarded as low, medium or high risk.
Although they were obviously not conclusive in and of themselves, as final decisions about the disposition of prisoners were taken at a higher level, they represent not only the opinions of JTF-GTMO, but also the Criminal Investigation Task Force, created by the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations in the "War on Terror," and the BSCTs, the behavioral science teams consisting of psychologists who had a major say in the "exploitation" of prisoners in interrogation.
Crucially, the files also contain detailed explanations of the supposed intelligence used to justify the prisoners’ detention.
For many readers, these will be the most fascinating sections of the documents, as they seem to offer an extraordinary insight into the workings of US intelligence, but although many of the documents appear to promise proof of prisoners’ association with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, extreme caution is required.
The documents draw on the testimony of witnesses — in most cases, the prisoners’ fellow prisoners — whose words are unreliable, either because they were subjected to torture or other forms of coercion (sometimes not in Guantánamo, but in secret prisons run by the CIA), or because they provided false statements to secure better treatment in Guantánamo.
Regular appearances throughout these documents by witnesses whose words should be regarded as untrustworthy include the following "high-value detainees" or "ghost prisoners".
Please note that "ISN" and the numbers in brackets following the prisoners’ names refer to the short "Internment Serial Numbers" by which the prisoners are or were identified in US custody:
Abu Zubaydah (ISN 10016), the supposed "high-value detainee" seized in Pakistan in March 2002, spent four and a half years in secret CIA prisons, including facilities in Thailand and Poland.
Subjected to waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, on 83 occasions in CIA custody. August 2002, Abu Zubaydah was moved to Guantánamo with 13 other "high-value detainees" in September 2006.
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (ISN 212), the emir of a military training camp for which Abu Zubaydah was the gatekeeper, who, despite having his camp closed by the Taliban in 2000, because he refused to allow it to be taken over by al-Qaeda, is described in these documents as Osama bin Laden’s military commander in Tora Bora.
Soon after his capture in December 2001, al-Libi was rendered by the CIA to Egypt, where, under torture, he falsely confessed that al-Qaeda operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss obtaining chemical and biological weapons.
Al-Libi recanted this particular lie, but it was nevertheless used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Al-Libi was never sent to Guantánamo, although at some point, probably in 2006, the CIA sent him back to Libya, where he was imprisoned, and where he died, allegedly by committing suicide, in May 2009.
Sharqawi Abdu Ali al-Hajj (ISN 1457), a Yemeni, also known as Riyadh the Facilitator, who was seized in a house raid in Pakistan in February 2002, and is described as "an al-Qaeda facilitator."
After his capture, he was transferred to a torture prison in Jordan run on behalf of the CIA, where he was held for nearly two years, and was then held for six months in US facilities in Afghanistan. He was flown to Guantánamo in September 2004.
Sanad Yislam al-Kazimi (ISN 1453), a Yemeni, who was seized in the UAE in January 2003, and then held in three secret prisons, including the "Dark Prison" near Kabul and a secret facility within the US prison at Bagram airbase.
In February 2010, in the District Court in Washington D.C., Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. granted the habeas corpus petition of a Yemeni prisoner, Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, largely because he refused to accept testimony produced by either Sharqawi al-Hajj or Sanad al-Kazimi.
As he stated, "The Court will not rely on the statements of Hajj or Kazimi because there is unrebutted evidence in the record that, at the time of the interrogations at which they made the statements, both men had recently been tortured."
Others include Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (ISN 10012) and Walid bin Attash (ISN 10014), two more of the "high-value detainees" transferred into Guantánamo in September 2006, after being held in secret CIA prisons.
Other unreliable witnesses, held at Guantánamo throughout their detention, include:
Yasim Basardah (ISN 252), a Yemeni known as a notorious liar. As the Washington Post reported in February 2009, he was given preferential treatment in Guantánamo after becoming what some officials regarded as a significant informant, although there were many reasons to be doubtful.
As the Post noted, "military officials ... expressed reservations about the credibility of their star witness since 2004," and in 2006, in an article for the National Journal, Corine Hegland described how, after a Combatant Status Review Tribunal at which a prisoner had taken exception to information provided by Basardah, placing him at a training camp before he had even arrived in Afghanistan, his personal representative (a military official assigned instead of a lawyer) investigated Basardah’s file, and found that he had made similar claims against 60 other prisoners in total.
In January 2009, in the District Court in Washington D.C., Judge Richard Leon (an appointee of George W. Bush) excluded Basardah’s statements while granting the habeas corpus petition of Mohammed El-Gharani, a Chadian national who was just 14 years old when he was seized in a raid on a mosque in Pakistan.
Leon noted that the government had "specifically cautioned against relying on his statements without independent corroboration," and in other habeas cases that followed, other judges relied on this precedent, discrediting the "star witness" still further.
Mohammed al-Qahtani (ISN 063), a Saudi regarded as the planned 20th hijacker for the 9/11 attacks, was subjected to a specific torture program at Guantánamo, approved by defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
This consisted of 20-hour interrogations every day, over a period of several months, and various other "enhanced interrogation techniques," which severely endangered his health. Variations of these techniques then migrated to other prisoners in Guantánamo (and to Abu Ghraib), and in January 2009, just before George W. Bush left office, Susan Crawford, a retired judge and a close friend of Dick Cheney and David Addington, who was appointed to oversee the military commissions at Guantánamo as the convening authority, told Bob Woodward that she had refused to press charges against al-Qahtani, because, as she said, "We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture."
As a result, his numerous statements about other prisoners must be regarded as worthless.
Abd al-Hakim Bukhari (ISN 493), a Saudi imprisoned by al-Qaeda as a spy, who was liberated by US forces from a Taliban jail before being sent, inexplicably, to Guantánamo (along with four other men liberated from the jail) is regarded in the files as a member of al-Qaeda, and a trustworthy witness.
Abd al-Rahim Janko (ISN 489), a Syrian Kurd, tortured by al-Qaeda as a spy and then imprisoned by the Taliban along with Abd al-Hakim Bukhari, above, is also used as a witness, even though he was mentally unstable.
As his assessment in June 2008 stated, "Detainee is on a list of high-risk detainees from a health perspective ... He has several chronic medical problems. He has a psychiatric history of substance abuse, depression, borderline personality disorder, and prior suicide attempt for which he is followed by behavioral health for treatment."
These are just some of the most obvious cases, but alert readers will notice that they are cited repeatedly in what purports to be the government’s evidence, and it should, as a result, be difficult not to conclude that the entire edifice constructed by the government is fundamentally unsound, and that what the Guantánamo Files reveal, primarily, is that only a few dozen prisoners are genuinely accused of involvement in terrorism.
The rest, these documents reveal on close inspection, were either innocent men and boys, seized by mistake, or Taliban foot soldiers, unconnected to terrorism. Moreover, many of these prisoners were actually sold to US forces, who were offering bounty payments for al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects, by their Afghan and Pakistani allies — a policy that led ex-President Musharraf to state, in his 2006 memoir, In the Line of Fire, that, in return for handing over 369 terror suspects to the US, the Pakistani government “earned bounty payments totalling millions of dollars.”
Uncomfortable facts like these are not revealed in the deliberations of the Joint Task Force, but they are crucial to understanding why what can appear to be a collection of documents confirming the government’s scaremongering rhetoric about Guantánamo — the same rhetoric that has paralyzed President Obama, and revived the politics of fear in Congress — is actually the opposite: the anatomy of a colossal crime perpetrated by the US government on 779 prisoners who, for the most part, are not and never have been the terrorists the government would like us to believe they are. (Andy Worthington)
How to Read WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files
The nearly 800 documents in WikiLeaks’ latest release of classified US documents are memoranda from Joint Task Force Guantánamo (JTF-GTMO), the combined force in charge of the US "War on Terror" prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to US Southern Command, in Miami, Florida, regarding the disposition of the prisoners.
Written between 2002 and 2008, the memoranda were all marked as "secret," and their subject was whether to continue holding a prisoner, or whether to recommend his release (described as his "transfer" — to the custody of his own government, or that of some other government).
They were obviously not conclusive in and of themselves, as final decisions about the disposition of prisoners were taken at a higher level, but they are very significant, as they represent not only the opinions of JTF-GTMO, but also the Criminal Investigation Task Force, created by the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations in the "War on Terror," and the BSCTs, the behavioral science teams consisting of psychologists who had a major say in the "exploitation" of prisoners in interrogation.
Under the heading, "JTF-GTMO Detainee Assessment," the memos generally contain nine sections, describing the prisoners as follows, although the earlier examples, especially those dealing with prisoners released — or recommended for release — between 2002 and 2004, may have less detailed analyses than the following:
1. Personal information
Each prisoner is identified by name, by aliases, which the US claims to have identified, by place and date of birth, by citizenship, and by Internment Serial Number (ISN). These long lists of numbers and letters — e.g. US9YM-000027DP — are used to identify the prisoners in Guantánamo, helping to dehumanize them, as intended, by doing away with their names.
The most significant section is the number towards the end, which is generally shortened, so that the example above would be known as ISN 027. In the files, the prisoners are identified by nationality, with 47 countries in total listed alphabetically, from "az" for Afghanistan to "ym" for Yemen.
This section describes whether or not the prisoner in question has mental health issues and/or physical health issues. Many are judged to be in good health, but there are some shocking examples of prisoners with severe mental and/or physical problems.
3. JTF-GTMO Assessment
a. Under "Recommendation," the Task Force explains whether a prisoner should continue to be held, or should be released. b. Under "Executive Summary," the Task Force briefly explains its reasoning, and, in more recent cases, also explains whether the prisoner is a low, medium or high risk as a threat to the US and its allies and as a threat in detention (i.e. based on their behavior in Guantánamo), and also whether they are regarded as of low, medium or high intelligence value. c. Under "Summary of Changes," the Task Force explains whether there has been any change in the information provided since the last appraisal (generally, the prisoners are appraised on an annual basis).
4. Detainee’s Account of Events
Based on the prisoners’ own testimony, this section puts together an account of their history, and how they came to be seized, in Afghanistan, Pakistan or elsewhere, based on their own words.
5. Capture Information
This section explains how and where the prisoners were seized, and is followed by a description of their possessions at the time of capture, the date of their transfer to Guantánamo, and, spuriously, "Reasons for Transfer to JTF-GTMO," which lists alleged reasons for the prisoners’ transfer, such as knowledge of certain topics for exploitation through interrogation.
The reason that this is unconvincing is because, as former interrogator Chris Mackey (a pseudonym) explained in his book The Interrogators, the US high command, based in Camp Doha, Kuwait, stipulated that every prisoner who ended up in US custody had to be transferred to Guantánamo — and that there were no exceptions; in other words, the "Reasons for transfer" were grafted on afterwards, as an attempt to justify the largely random rounding-up of prisoners.
6. Evaluation of Detainee’s Account
In this section, the Task Force analyzes whether or not they find the prisoners’ accounts convincing.
7. Detainee Threat
This section is the most significant from the point of view of the supposed intelligence used to justify the detention of prisoners.
After "Assessment," which reiterates the conclusion at 3b, the main section, "Reasons for Continued Detention," may, at first glance, look convincing, but it must be stressed that, for the most part, it consists of little more than unreliable statements made by the prisoners’ fellow prisoners — either in Guantánamo, or in secret prisons run by the CIA, where torture and other forms of coercion were widespread, or through more subtle means in Guantánamo, where compliant prisoners who were prepared to make statements about their fellow prisoners were rewarded with better treatment. Some examples are available on the homepage for the release of these documents: http://wikileaks.ch/gitmo/
With this in mind, it should be noted that there are good reasons why Obama administration officials, in the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by the President to review the cases of the 241 prisoners still held in Guantánamo when he took office, concluded that only 36 could be prosecuted.
The final part of this section, "Detainee’s Conduct," analyzes in detail how the prisoners have behaved during their imprisonment, with exact figures cited for examples of "Disciplinary Infraction."
8. Detainee Intelligence Value Assessment
After reiterating the intelligence assessment at 3b and recapping on the prisoners’ alleged status, this section primarily assesses which areas of intelligence remain to be "exploited," according to the Task Force.
9. EC Status
The final section notes whether or not the prisoner in question is still regarded as an "enemy combatant," based on the findings of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, held in 2004-05 to ascertain whether, on capture, the prisoners had been correctly labeled as "enemy combatants." Out of 558 cases, just 38 prisoners were assessed as being "no longer enemy combatants," and in some cases, when the result went in the prisoners’ favor, the military convened new panels until it got the desired result.
THE NEW YORK TIMES, REUTERS AND A FEW OTHER MAINSTREAM MEDIA REPORTED ON THE RELEASE OF THE ABOVE DOCUMENTS.
Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.
The dossiers also show the seat-of-the-pants intelligence gathering in war zones that led to the incarcerations of innocent men for years in cases of mistaken identity or simple misfortune.
In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.
USELESS TORTURE AT GITMO, A TIMELINE
THERE IS SOME VERY INTERESTING INFORMATION IN THIS TIMELINE.
HAD WE BUT KNOWN, RIGHT?
Torture Timeline compiled by Emptywheel
December 2, 2002: Rumsfeld approves aggressive techniques for Gitmo.
December 3, 2002: Habibullah dies after being tortured.
December 4, 2002: CIA stops taping Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri’s interrogations.
December 9 or 10, 2002: Dilawar dies after being tortured.
Late December 2003: Unauthorized interrogation techniques used on al-Nashiri.
January 2003: Pavitt informs Helgerson of al-Nashiri abuse.
January 2003: CIA OIG starts investigation of detainee interrogation.
January 2003: Leonie Brinkema grants Moussaoui right to interview Ramzi Bin-al-Shibh by video.
January 15, 2003: After having three-times orally warned Jim Haynes that Gitmo interrogation techniques “could rise to the level of torture,” Alberto Mora drafts memo and threatens to sign it unless techniques stopped. Techniques stopped. Rumsfeld convenes “Working Group” on interrogation, but Haynes directs Yoo to draft memo anyway.
January 28, 2003: Tenet writes memo to OLC outlining acceptable interrogation and confinement methods and stating that records must be kept.
February 2003: CIA claims to have informed Intell leadership of torture tapes’ destruction; though SSCI has no records.
January 2003: Pat Roberts is briefed on torture, along with staff director and minority staff director of Committee; Jay Rockefeller did not attend briefing.
February 5, 2003: Jane Harman and Porter Goss briefed on interrogation methods and torture tape.
February 10, 2003: Harman writes letter advising against the destruction of the tape.
February 28, 2003: Scott Muller responds to Harman without addressing the tapes.
March 2003: According to NYT report, the CIA briefs Congress on destroying the torture tapes.
March 2003: Public Affairs Guidance for Media Coverage of EPWs and Detainees allows photos (within guidelines) but prohibits photographs of custody operations or interviews.
March 1, 2003: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and al-Hasawi captured.
March 5, 2003: Majid Khan captured.
March 6, 2003: KSM’s torture begins.
March 13, 2003: Jay Bybee leaves.
March 14, 2003: John Yoo opinion on torture, governing interrogations by DOD.
After March 2003: Roberts and Rockefeller briefed on torture.
April 2003: CIA Office of Medical Services disseminates draft guidelines for treatment of detainees.
April 28, 2003: Legal Principles on torture hand carried to John Yoo.
April 29, 2003: Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Mohammed captured.
May 2003: Government tells Leonie Brinkema it has no interrogation tapes.
May 2003: CIA OIG reviews torture tapes at black site.
June 2003: DDO Guidelines require that subject pose a continuing serious threat.
June 2003: Abdul Weil dies after being interrogated by CIA.
June 6, 2003: 9/11 Commission requests “‘all TDs and other reports” of intelligence information obtained from interrogations of forty named individuals from CIA, DOD, and FBI.
June 8, 2003: Bin Amin captured.
June 16, 2003: Legal Principles on torture faxed to Pat Philbin.
June 26, 2003: In speech, Bush says we will prosecute those who torture. In response, Tenet requests and gets memo approving of water-boarding–giving the program “top cover.”
July 13, 2003: CIA Directorate of Intelligence, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al-Qa’ida (July 13, 2004) created.
July 29, 2003: Tenet and Muller meet with Cheney, Condi, Ashcroft, Acting head of OLC?, DAAG, Gonzales, and Bellinger to discuss torture. Principles reaffirmed that program was lawful. CIA claims Ashcroft reaffirmed support for program, but Ashcroft contested their description of his approval.
August 11, 2003: Bin Lep and Hambali captured.
August 13, 2003: Rumsfeld approves plan for Mohamedou Ould Slahi including sensory deprivation and “sleep adjustment.”
Mid-August 2003: CJTF HQ in Iraq requests “wish list” of interrogation techniques, stating “we want these detainees broken.”
August 31 to September 9, 2003: Major General Geoffrey Miller ordered to Abu Ghraib from Gitmo.
September 2003: OMS updates guidelines for detainee treatment.
September 4, 2003: Roberts and Rockefeller briefed; presentation compared torture with other interrogation methods.
September 4, 2003: Goss and Harman briefed; presentation compared torture with other interrogation methods.
September 10, 2003: Government refuses to let Moussaoui question Al Qaeda witnesses.
September 16, 2003: Colin Powell and Rummy briefed on torture (CIA implied Ashcroft attended but he did not).
September 22 and September 25, 2003: 9/11 discussions with CIA about interrogation process.
October 1, 2003: Hamdi petition filed with SCOTUS.
October 7, 2003: ACLU first FOIAs documents pertaining to detainee interrogations.
October 14 and 16, 2003: 9/11 Commission sends questions to CIA General Counsel Scott Muller on interrogations.
October 31 and November 7, 2003: Response to 9/11 Commission with little new information.
Fall 2003: General Sanchez visits Abu Ghraib regularly.
December 2003: Jack Goldsmith tells Rummy he will withdraw March 2003 opinion on torture.
December 23, 2003: 9/11 Commission requests access from Tenet to seven detainees; Tenet says no; Lee Hamilton asks for any responsive documents.
January 5, 2004: 9/11 Commission decides CIA responses inadequate.
January 9, 2004: SCOTUS agrees to hear Hamdi.
January 13, 2004: Joseph Darby gives CID a CD of images of abuse.
January 15, 2004: Memo to Gonzales, Muller, and Steve Cambone asking for more information on interrogations.
January 15, 2004: General Craddock receives email summary of Abu Ghraib story.
January 19, 2004: General Sanchez requests investigation of allegations of abuse.
January 20, 2004: Craddick and Admiral Keating receive another notice of abuse.
January 2004: General Myers learns of Abu Ghraib abuse.
January 23, 2004: Hassan Ghul captured.
January 24, 2004: FBI On Scene Commander tells FBI Deputy Assistant Director Bald about Abu Ghraib.
January 26, 2004: After negotiations with Gonzales, Tenet, Rummy, and Christopher Wray from DOJ, 9/11 Commission accepts asking questions through intermediary.
January 31, 2004: Taguba appointed to conduct investigation.
February 9, 2004: 9/11 Commission requests “all TDs and reports related to the attack on the USS Cole, including intelligence information obtained from the interrogations of Abd al Rashim al Nashiri” from CIA.
February 2 to 29, 2004: Taguba’s team in Iraq, conducting investigation.
March 2, 2004: Padilla interrogation. The tape of the interrogation would later disappear. Request for reaffirmation of torture approvals faxed to Jack Goldsmith.
March 9, 2004: Taguba submits his report.
Late March, 2004: 60 Minutes II starts on Abu Ghraib story.
April 2004: General Miller ordered to Abu Ghraib to fix problems.
April 7, 2004 (approximately): 60 Minutes II acquires photos authenticating Abu Ghraib story.
Mid-April, 2004: General Myers calls Dan Rather to ask him to delay story.
Mid-April, 2004: Taguba begins to brief officers on his report (“weeks” before his May 6 meeting with Rummy).
April 28, 2004: Hamdi and Padilla argued before SCOTUS. Paul Clement assures the Court that we don’t torture. 60 Minutes breaks Abu Ghraib story and proves he’s wrong.
May 2004 (within days after Abu Ghraib becomes public): CIA briefing for Addington, Bellinger, and Gonzales on torture tapes.
May 6, 2004: Taguba meets with Rummy, Wolfowitz, Cambone, Myers, and others
In the meeting, the officials professed ignorance about Abu Ghraib. “Could you tell us what happened?” Wolfowitz asked.
“Here I am,” Taguba recalled Rumsfeld saying, “just a Secretary of Defense, and we have not seen a copy of your report. I have not seen the photographs, and I have to testify to Congress tomorrow and talk about this.”
May 7, 2004: Rummy testifies before Congress on Abu Ghraib.
May 7, 2004: CIA OIG draft report on interrogation techniques.
May 2004: Muller meets with Gonzales, Addington, Bellinger, and “senior DOJ officials” about the IG report.
May 10 2004: Sy Hersh’s Abu Ghraib story.
May 20, 2004: 9/11 Commission asks about Abu Zubaydah reference to Saudi prince; they get no response.
May 27, 2004: Goldsmith tells Muller to stop waterboarding.
June 3, 2004: Tenet announces his resignation; John McLaughlin resigns as well. SOUTHCOM Commander James Hill traces source of abusive techniques used on al-Qahtani to SERE training.
June 2004: (After announcing his resignation) Tenet requests more explicit approval water-boarding.
June 7, 2004: WSJ refers to March 2003 OLC opinion.
June 8, 2004: WaPo reports on details of Bybee Memo.
June 10, 2004: Goldsmith tells Muller that the Legal Principles are not an opinion of OLC, demands any more request for opinions to be in writing.
June 15, 2004: Goldsmith informs Ashcroft he will withdraw Bybee Memo and resigns. This effectively leaves the CIA with no legal protection for the water-boarding it had already done.
June 17, 2004: Jack Goldsmith announces his resignation.
June 18, 2004: Goldsmith writes Tenet telling him the IG Report mis-represents Ashcroft’s statements.
June 22, 2004: In an off-the-record briefing, Comey, Goldsmith, and Philbin renounce Bybee Memo. Rizzo sends Philbin copy of earlier approval from Yoo. Muller responds to Goldsmith saying he had forwarded the complaints to John Helgerson, but would release the IG Report that week.
Week of June 22 2004: Roberts, Rockefeller, and staff directors get copies of CIA IG report.
June 24, 2004: Ted Olson announces his resignation, citing frustration that he did not learn of memos justifying legal decisions.
June 28, 2004: Hamdi decision.
June 29, 2004: John McLaughlin confirms that CIA “has taken and completed all reasonable steps necessary to find the documents in its possession, custody, or control responsive” to the 9/11 Commission’s formal requests and “has produced or made available for review” all such documents.
July 2004: Scott Muller resigns as General Counsel of CIA.
July 2004: Principals meeting–all agree to seek new OLC memo.
July 2004: CIA briefs Roberts and Rockefeller on IG Report; CIA indicates it is determining whether program consistent with CAT.
July 2, 2004: Helgerson responds to Goldsmith, telling him they can’t revise the Report, but will circulate corrections with the document. Bellinger, Comey, Muller meet, after which Muller followed up to say approved techniques included all the Bybee Memo techniques except waterboarding, and all the April 2003 DOD techniques.
July 7, 2004: Goldsmith follows up on July 2 conversation, making it clear this pertains to specific detainee, cautioning CIA to stick to limits in documents.
July 11, 2004: Tenet’s resignation effective.
mid-July 2004: CIA gets its more detailed authorization for water-boarding.
July 13, 2004: Porter Goss and Jane Harman briefed on IG report and legal issues.
July 14, 2004: Associate Deputy Attorney General (?) explains Senate reservation on CAT.
July 15, 2004: Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller briefed on IG report and legal issues.
July 20, 2004: CIA requests new legal advice from OLC (13 page letter).
July 22, 2004: Ashcroft confirms to Acting DCI McLaughlin that all techniques except waterboarding legal under CAT. Levin refuses to approve waterboarding without more details.
July 25, 2004: Ghailani captured.
August 6, 2004: Daniel Levin advises that subject to reservations, CIA’s use of waterboarding not illegal.
September 22, 2004: Porter Goss becomes DCI.
November 2004: Steven Kappes resigns; Jose Rodriguez replaces him as Deputy Director of CIA for Operations. Rodriguez is reported to be the person who ordered the terror tapes’ destruction.
December 30, 2004: Daniel Levin writes new torture memo (he’s the guy who waterboarded himself so he could prove it was torture); it ignores the questions about torture’s compliance with the 5th, 8th, and 14th amendments under CAT.
January 2005: Abu Gonzales renounces the Bybee Memo, sort of.
January 25, 2005: Crazy Pete Hoekstra and Jane Harman briefed.
February 2005: Senior CIA official provides incomplete account of CIA treatment of detainees at HPSCI briefing.
February 3, 2005: Gonzales confirmed.
February 4, 2005: Acting Assistant Attorney General of the OLC Daniel Levin writes to DOD General Counsel Haynes reminding him again of both Goldsmith’s opinion and Philbin’s testimony. He informs Haynes that the March 2003 Yoo memo has been formally withdrawn.
February 14, 2005: Gonzales sworn in.
March 2, 2005: Memorandum for Steven G. Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Re: Effectiveness of the CIA Counterintelligence Interrogation Techniques created.
March 6, 2005: NYT reports on extraordinary renditions.
March 7 2005: CIA briefs Roberts and Rockefeller on torture.
March 8, 2005: CIA and Cheney briefs Roberts, Rockefeller, Goss, and Harman on torture.
April 8, 2005: May 10, 2005 Bradbury memos drafted.
April 15, 2005: Fax from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Briefing Notes on the Value of Detainee Reporting created.
April 20, 2005: DOJ announces Comey’s resignation.
April 22, 2005: Moussaoui pleads guilty.
May 2005: Jello Jay Rockefeller writes to CIA IG requesting terror tape investigation materials; he doesn’t receive them.
May 10, 2005: DOJ produces two memos allowing CIA to torture. (Techniques, Combined)
May 25, 2005: Flanigan nominated for DAG.
May 30, 2005: DOJ produces another torture memo.
June 1, 2005: Cheney CYA document created.
Summer 2005: Negroponte writes a memo to Porter Goss strongly advising him not to destroy the torture tapes.
June 2005: Senior CIA Officer tells SSCI the CIA does not engage in cruel or inhuman treatment.
July 2, 2005: Public Affairs Guidance for High Value Individual Capture permits photographing high value detainees (within guidelines).
July 21, 2005: House passes revised version of PATRIOT Act.
July 30, 2005: Senate passes revised version of PATRIOT Act.
July 21, 2005: Cheney attempts to persuade McCain and others not to restrict detention policies.
The Bush administration in recent days has been lobbying to block legislation supported by Republican senators that would bar the U.S. military from engaging in “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees, from hiding prisoners from the Red Cross, and from using interrogation methods not authorized by a new Army field manual.
August 1, 2005: 101st Airborne Division Detention SOP states that “detainees will not be photographed, humiliated or placed in positions with sexual overtones.” Division General Order Number 1 (not clear if this is part of the SOP or not) prohibits soldiers taking photographs of detainees unless conducted pursuant to official duties, which include, intelligence gathering and official investigations.” [my emphasis]
August 15, 2005: Comey’s Farewell Address.
October 2005: Bradbury notes in QFR that we abide by Article 16.
October 5, 2005: McCain’s Detainee Treatment Act passes Senate; it prohibits cruel and unusual treatment for all detainees and makes the Army Field Manual the standard for all DOD detainees.
October 7, 2005: Tim Flanigan withdraws from consideration for DAG.
October 18, 2005: Ted Stevens and Thad Cochran briefed on torture; they were two of just 9 Senators who opposed DTA and both had already been named as conferees on bill.
October 20, 2005: The week before the House and Senate meet to resolve the bill, Cheney makes a third attempt to convince McCain not to restrict the use of torture, which McCain again rejects.
Late October, 2005: McCain briefed on torture–probably on October 20, 2005 meeting with Goss and Cheney.
October 22, 2005: USCENTCOM Policy Prohibiting Photographing or Filming Detainees … or Posting Visual Images Depicting Human Casualties prohibits photographing or filming detainees as well as the possession, distribution, transfer or position … of visual images depicting detainees.” [my emphasis]
October 22, 2005: Paul McNulty–whose ED VA USA Office oversaw Moussaoui prosecution–nominated to be Deputy Attorney General.
October 31, 2005: Bill Frist briefed on torture.
November, unknown day: CIA destroys terror tapes from High Value Al Qaeda Detainees.
November 1, 2005: Bill Frist briefed on torture.
November 1, 2005: Dana Priest reveals the use of black sites in Europe. In response, CIA starts moving detainees from the countries in question.
November 3, 2005: Leonie Brinkema inquires whether govt has video or audio tapes of interrogations.
November 4, 2005: Member of Congress writes four page letter to CIA IG.
November 7, 2005: Detention Operations at Multinational Corps-Iraq prohibits coalition and Iraqi forces from photographing detainees.
November 8, 2005: CIA reaffirms March 2005 statement that all interrogation methods are lawful. Duncan Hunter briefed on torture. Pete Hoekstra briefed on torture.
November 9, 2005: Doug Jehl article on spring 2004 CIA IG report on interrogation methods appears.
Mid-November, 2005: CIA destroys torture tapes depicting torture of Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri.
November 14, 2005: Govt tells Brinkema it has no audio or video tapes.
November 22, 2005: DOJ brings charges against Padilla, avoiding an imminent hearing on the case before SCOTUS.
December 2005: Condi and Hadley states US policy accords with Article 16.
December 13, 2005: The Army approves new Field Manual, which seems to push the limits intended by McCain’s amendment.
December 14, 2005: PATRIOT Act reauthorization comes out of conference.
December 16, 2005: Risen and Lichtblau’s first story on the NSA domestic spy program. Cheney provides emergency briefings on program.
PATRIOT Act reauthorization defeated in Senate.
December 19, 2005: The House passes the Conference Report on McCain torture bill.
December 20, 2005: The Administration writes document clarifying its policy on photographing detainees.
December 21, 2005: The Senate passes the Conference Report on McCain torture bill.
December 2005: Porter Goss writes memo refusing to torture anymore without a new DOJ approval.
December 22, 2005: House passes one month extension of PATRIOT Act.
December 30, 2005: President Bush signs the Appropriations Bill, issuing a signing statement“interpreting” the McCain amendment.
Christmas break, 2005-2006: Hadley calls Goss to try to get him to back off memo.
April 20, 2006: Mary McCarthy fired from CIA, purportedly for leaking to Dana Priest.
May 4, 2006: Moussaoui sentenced to life in prison.
May 5, 2006: Porter Goss resigns as DCI; General Michael Hayden replaces him.
June 29, 2006: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld rules Article 3 applies to al Qaeda.
Summer 2006: Condi wins argument to move high value detainees to Gitmo.
July 11, 2006: Roberts and Rockefeller briefed on “potential to revive use of the [torture] program.”
July 24, 2006: Steven Kappes returns to CIA as Deputy Director.
August 2006: Opinions on Detainee Treatment Act, “interpretation” of Common Article 3, both on confinement.
September 6, 2006: Bush admits to secret detention program for High Value Detainees.
All members of SSCI obtain access to CIA IG Report and Bybee II Opinion.
Hayden briefs Frist and Reid. Hayden briefs Jane Harman. Hayde briefs full SSCI committee (less Ron Wyden). Hayden briefs full HPSCI (Mike Rogers did not attend second briefing).
September 19, 2006: Bill Young and John Murtha briefed (Murtha not present for torture techniques discussion).
October 6 to 10, 2006: ICRC visits High Value Detainees at Gitmo.
October 17, 2006: The Military Commissions Act signed into law.
November 2006: CIA claims SSCI was informed the Al Qaeda torture tapes were destroyed; SSCI claims it has no records to back that claim.
November 16, 2006: CIA briefs most of SSCI (Roberts, DeWine, Rockefeller, Bayh, Bond, Chambliss, Feingold, Feinstein, Levin, Lott, Mikulski, Warner).
November 16, 2006: CIA briefs HPSCI on torture.
December 4 to 14, 2006: ICRC makes second visit to High Value Detainees.
December 19, 2006: Hayden briefs Silvestre Reyes.
February 14, 2007: ICRC completes report on 14 High Value Detainees.
March 9, 2007: Padilla attorneys reveal March 2, 2004 tape missing.
March 14, 2007: Hayden briefs HPSCI.
April 12, 2007: CIA briefs ICRC Report on torture to most of SSCI (Rockefeller, Bond, Levin, Feinstein, Burr, Hatch, Warner, Feingold, Chambliss, Nelson).
May 15, 2007: DoD issues document preservation order for documents relating to Jessen Mitchell.
June 19, 2007: John Rizzo nomination hearing–briefs torture to Rockefeller, Bond, Bayh, Feingold, Feinstein, Levin, Snowe, Warner, Whitehouse, Wyden.
July 2007: EO 13440 interprets Common Article 3. OLC issues legal opinion analyzing torture.Does not include analysis of anti-torture statute but refers to May 2005 opinions. Does not address waterboarding.
July 20, 2007: OLC opinion on enhanced techniques.
August 2, 2007: SSCI hearing on EO 13440, Common Article 3. (Rockefeller, Bond, Chambliss, Feingold, Feinstein, Levin, Mikulski, Nelson, Snowe, Wyden, Warner.
September 13, 2007: In the course of a different national security matter, CIA discovers interrogation tapes not disclosed during the Moussaoui trial.
September 14, 2007: CIA announces Michael Sulick will return to lead Directorate of Operations.
September 17, 2007: Michael Mukasey, who signed off on a warrant based on the torture testimony of Abu Zubaydah, nominated to be Attorney General.
September 25, 2007: John Rizzo’s nomination to be CIA General Counsel withdrawn.
September 30, 2007: Jose Rodriguez (purported to be the person that ordered the destruction of the tapes) retires.
October 11, 2007: Michael Hayden announces investigation into CIA’s IG, John Helgerson. Hayden discusses “number of detainees subjected to” torture with John Murtha.
October 25, 2007: DOJ informs Leonie Brinkema that they’ve discovered three interrogation tapes.
November 2, 2007: Cheney Counsel Shannen Coffin leaves, with little notice.
November 9, 2007: Bill Nelson briefed on torture.
December 6, 2007: NYT reports that CIA destroyed tapes.
December 11, 2007: Hayden briefs SSCI on torture tapes, reading techniques used on Abu Zubaydah (including waterboarding) during hearing (Feinstein, Wyden, Bauh, Mikulski, Feingold, Nelson, Whitehouse, Levin, Warner, Hagel, Hatch, Snowe, Burr).
December 14, 2007: Michael Mukasey refuses to share information on torture tape inquiry with Congress, citing the need to avoid politicization of investigation (he would later change his mind).
January 2, 2008: Mukasey announces criminal investigation of torture tape destruction.
January 16, 2008: John Rizzo, acting General Counsel for the CIA, testifies before HPSCI about torture tape destruction. Jose Rodriguez refuses to testify without immunity. (Reyes, Eshoo, Hoekstra, Schakowsky, Rogers, Ruppersberger, Issa, Gallegy, Thornberry, Langevin, Cramer, Everett, Boswell, McHugh, Tiahrt, Murphy, Holt.)
January 30, 2008: Mukasey states waterboarding not used.
February 5, 2008: Michael Hayden admits to waterboarding of three detainees at Annual SSCI Threat Assessment briefing. (Feinstein, Rockefeller, Bayh, Whitehouse, Warner, Hatch, Feingold, Snowe, Chambliss, Nelson, Bond.)
February 14, 2008: HJC OLC oversight hearing. (Jerry Nadler, Trent Franks, Artur Davis, Mel Watt, Bobby Scott, Darrell Issa, John Bradbury, Keith Ellison.)
February 14, 2008: Steven Bradbury admits waterboarding “adapted from SERE.”
March 31, 2008: 2003 Yoo Torture Memo declassified.
May 13, 2008: Convening Authority dismisses all charges against al-Qahtani.
May 19, 2008: Administration makes “all” OLC opinions “and other documents” available to SSCI.
April 6: NYRB posts the Red Cross report on high value detainees.
April 8, 2009: Dusty Foggo interviewed in torture tape case.
April 9: CIA Director Leon Panetta bans contractors from conducting interrogations, black sites.
April 16: Obama statement on memo release, torture memos released:
August 1, 2002: Memo from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA
May 10, 2005: Memo from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA [“Techniques”]
May 10, 2005: Memo from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA [“Combined”]
May 30, 2005: Memo from Steven Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General, OLC, to John A. Rizzo, General Counsel CIA
April 21: Senate Armed Services Committee releases declassified Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in US Custody.
April 22: Senate Intelligence Committee releases declassified Narrative Describing the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel’s Opinions on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program (Jello Jay’s statement on the release).
April 23: Ali Soufan, FBI interrogator, publishes NYT op-ed describing early interrogation of Abu Zubaydah.
April 23: DOJ announces it will release a number of photos showing detainee abuse that had previously been FOIAed, along with thousands more.
April 24: In ACLU FOIA case, Judge Hellerstein orders a more expansive response on torture tape documents from CIA.
April 24: WaPo releases JPRA memo–which had been circulated among the torture architects–using the word “torture” and warning that torture will beget false information
AND GITMO TORTURE RESULTED IN JUST THAT...USELESS CONFESSIONS AND MADE-UP FAIRY TALES TOLD BY MEN WHO WOULD SAY ANYTHING TO END THEIR TORTURE...JUST LIKE MANY AMERICAN POWs DID IN DECLARED WARS AND IN VIETNAM.
JUST LIKE MOST OF US WOULD DO IF WE WERE BEING TORTURED.
GITMO WAS ROLLING SOON AFTER BUSH SENT TROOPS TO IRAQ.
BUSH'S PATH TO WAR, WE NOW KNOW FROM RELEASED 'SECRET' DOCUMENTS OF TONY BLAIR'S COMPLICITY IN THE BUSH PLAN FOR WAR ALMOST A YEAR BEFORE WE SENT TROOPS AGAINST IRAQ, WAS A PATH BUILT ON LIES UPON LIES.
THE BLAIR/BUSH SCHEME WAS RECENTLY REVEALED IN BRITISH MAINSTREAM MEDIA, AND BY A VERY FEW AMERICAN MEDIA.
The Bush administration devised a carefully-constructed mechanism to lead the U.S. to war with Iraq.
First, they manufactured a problem, declaring that Iraq was a grave danger to the United States:
• Arguing that Iraq was a threat to America and to the peace of the world, through its alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and ties to terrorist networks.
• Asserting there was a grave and growing danger from Iraq, thus there was an
urgency to act.
• Cultivating widespread anxiety by propagating fear stories about enemies seeking
to do the American people great harm.
• Demonizing Hussein as someone so evil and irrational that there was a moral imperative for action.
Next, they had to dismiss other policy options that could have avoided war:
• Arguing that containment – an effective strategy during the Cold War – couldn’t work with Iraq.
• Attacking the efficacy of U.N. weapons inspections (which, ironically, had successfully disarmed Iraq from 1991-1998).
• Declaring that there would be no negotiations or discussions with Iraq.
Finally, they stated that “we have no choice” – the U.S. did not want war but was being forced to act:
• It is Saddam’s choice to go to war. The U.S. argued that Hussein must disarm. If he did not comply by turning over his weapons of mass destruction, he was choosing war.
• If the U.N. refuses to act, then the U.S would have to act.
• They argued that war is our last option, even though the U.S. actively blocked every other viable policy. In this way, the U.S. made war the only option.
Subjected to this sustained campaign, the majority of Americans came to support the war, which began on March 19, 2003.
Dismissing Other Policy Options
Campaign Against Containment
Containment is a policy used in international relations to isolate and weaken an enemy state through a variety of means short of war. This policy proved effective during the 45 years of the Cold War against the Soviet Union, a military superpower. Containment tactics included, among other things, propaganda, espionage, food aid to third-world nations, and strategic placement of military bases as a deterrent to military confrontation.
Since the Bush administration was seeking military action against Iraq, Bush officials needed to undermine any public perception that containment could be a viable strategy with respect to Iraq.
This campaign against containment started as early as the spring of 2002, with President Bush’s June 1 commencement speech at West Point:
On August 26, Vice President Cheney addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars:
CHENEY: ...Old doctrines of security do not apply.
In the days of the Cold War, we were able to manage the threat with strategies of deterrence and containment. But it's a lot tougher to deter enemies who have no country to defend. And containment is not possible when dictators obtain weapons of mass destruction and are prepared to share them with terrorists who intend to inflict catastrophic casualties on the United States.
Bush officials cited the impossibility of containing dictators who could share their WMD with terrorists. In fact, Hussein had neither links to al-Qaeda nor any WMD.
Furthermore, it’s doubtful that Hussein would have shared WMD even if he did have them.
The political scholars John Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Stephen M. Walt (Harvard University) have written:
Given the deep antipathy between fundamentalists like Osama bin Laden and secular rulers like Saddam Hussein, the lack of evidence linking them is not surprising. Even if American pressure brings these unlikely bedfellows together, Mr.Hussein is not going to give al-Qaeda weapons of mass destruction. He would have little to gain and everything to lose since he could never be sure that America surveillance would not detect the handoff. If it did, the United States response would be swift and devastating.
Finally, it is worth noting that a policy of containment had already worked successfully in controlling and weakening Iraq. After the conclusion of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. supported such a policy against Iraq, using economic sanctions, U.N. weapons inspections, the stationing of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the creation and patrolling of no-fly zones over areas of Iraq.
As Secretary of State Colin Powell had acknowledged to reporters on February 20, 2001, “containment has been a successful policy in limiting Baghdad’s ability to threaten other regional countries."
Campaign Against Inspections
• Casting doubt that inspections could work
Long before the U.N. reinstated weapons inspections in Iraq in November 2002 – to facilitate complete disarmament of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction – Bush officials embarked on a campaign to cast doubt on the efficacy of inspections and to undermine them as a strategy to resolve the situation.
They contended that U.N. weapons inspections couldn’t succeed because:
1. Iraqis were skilled in deception and hiding weapons.
2. Hussein could not be trusted.
3. Hussein would not cooperate.
4. Inspectors were actually “dangerous” – Cheney asserted that inspections would lull the U.S. into a false sense of security.
5. The previous inspection regime after the first Gulf War had failed.
6. Iraqi scientists and engineers were being intimidated by Hussein’s regime and therefore could not cooperate with inspectors.
7. It was impossible and fruitless task – Bush painted a bleak picture of inspections, likening them to a
“scavenger hunt” for weapons hidden across “a country the size of California.”
• Undermining the new U.N. weapons inspection regime
Iraq agreed to allow the return of U.N. inspectors as early as September 16, 2002 – six months before the war began. Two months later, on November 18, 2002, the U.N. inspectors returned to Iraq.
On January 18, 2003, Charles Hanley of The Associated Press reported that “international experts have uncovered no ‘smoking guns’ in Iraq in almost 400 inspections since late November.” Reports from the U.N. were that the Iraqis were generally being cooperative.
These unfolding facts created an extremely difficult dilemma for the United States, since it had predicated its hostility towards Saddam Hussein on the claim that he definitely possessed weapons of mass destruction – yet no WMD had been found to date, and a more comprehensive inspection regime still might not yield any WMD.
In order to accomplish their goal of justifying an invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration fabricated a framework that would eventually doom the inspection process and lead to war:
• First, the Bush administration stated that the only way inspections could succeed was for Saddam to fully cooperate and comply;
• then, they went further by saying that the inspections had no chance of succeeding if Saddam did not fully cooperate and comply;
• finally, they declared that the only proof of Saddam’s compliance was to be determined by the handing over of his weapons of mass destruction to U.N. weapons inspectors. Failure to do so would be considered a lack of compliance and a breach of U.N. resolutions.
This framework excluded the following two important possibilities:
• That inspectors had the ability and the resources to discover WMDs (if they existed), even with modest or no cooperation from Saddam Hussein.
• That Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction.
The terms of this framework made failure of the inspections inevitable; the stated measure of Saddam’s cooperation and compliance – handing over weapons of mass destruction – would be impossible if he did not have any WMDs (as we now know was indeed the case).
Overall, what makes this campaign against inspections particularly tragic is that inspections actually had been effective during the 1990’s, and again during the 4 months from November 18, 2002 through March 17, 2003 – regardless of how one judged the cooperation levels of Saddam Hussein. All evidence points to the fact that the 1991 – 1998 inspections regime led to the elimination of all Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
As the current inspections failed to find any WMD, Bush officials challenged these outcomes, questioning once again the effectiveness of inspections.
Even though Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC (U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission), had requested a few more months to complete their inspections – stating that Iraq was cooperating more than it had in 10 years – and despite a proposal from key U.S. allies, France and Germany, to triple the number of inspectors, President Bush announced on March 17, 2003 that military action against Iraq was imminent, and that for their own safety, all inspectors should leave Iraq immediately.
It is interesting to note...
As early as February 24, 2002 – nine months before renewed weapons inspections even began – Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was already working to undermine the usefulness and efficacy of weapons inspections on Face the Nation.
RUMSFELD: They have advanced their weapons of mass destruction programs. They've developed greater degrees of mobility. They are very accomplished liars, as to what's going on. You could put inspectors all over that place, and it would be very difficult to find anything.
REPORTER: So, are you saying that weapons inspections would be worthless?
RUMSFELD: No, I'm saying that if one thought that the old [inspections] regime was successful, they're mistaken…
You would have to have a much more intrusive regime and many more inspectors and the Iraqis not controlling when they could come in, where they could go, what they could do. And the Iraqis aren't going to agree to something like that.
REPORTER: I'm not sure I understand. Are you saying it's more important than ever for us to be able to go in there and inspect, or are you saying that maybe it doesn't make that much difference? I'm just not clear.
RUMSFELD: I'm saying that, under the best of circumstances, inspectors have a very, very difficult time, because you're dealing with a regime that is repressive, that kills people, their own people frequently, that lies in very skillful ways, that's had years to take advance technology, go underground, hide things, deny things, create mobility where they can actually keep them moving ahead of any inspectors. And it's just very difficult to do.
You're quite right, it's enormously important that we have knowledge about what he's doing. He has shown that he is willing to use weapons of mass destruction on his own people. He has used chemical weapons on his own people.
REPORTER: But what you also seem to be saying is that it may not be that important. We may not gain that much -- am I understanding you correctly -- by having the ability to get in there and inspect.
RUMSFELD: I guess what I'm saying is that we have to be very honest with ourselves about what we could accomplish, and recognize that using an old regime that didn't work very well except with the assistance of defectors, and trying to have that work today, with the technology having advanced, with much greater skill in denial and deception, we would be fooling ourselves.
We would have to have a much more intrusive inspection regime, in my view.
In the months leading up to war, President Bush issued a series of ultimatums, threatening military action. He and his cabinet asserted that there would be no negotiations and no discussions with Iraq because those options ended “a long time ago.” They argued that Hussein had WMD, as well as some capacity for nuclear weapons development, and warned that Hussein had to show his weapons and disarm immediately – or face military action.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz said he was willing to sit down and talk about all of the issues involving Iraq. This offer was not accepted by the U.S., who charged Iraq with being untrustworthy and playing games.
We now know that Hussein did not possess any WMD, and that this policy of “no negotiations” undermined Iraq’s ability to use diplomatic means to resolve the situation peacefully.
BUSH: ...Saddam Hussein must disarm.
There’s no negotiations.
Those ended a long time ago.
There’s no need for us to try to sit down at a table.
There’s no discussion to be had... No discussion. No debate. No negotiation.
The burden of proof is on Saddam Hussein.
RICE: It is high time that the international community tell Saddam Hussein and his regime that this is not an issue of negotiation with the U.N. about obligations that they took in 1991...
No, nobody is going to negotiate anything with this regime.
BUSH: ...there are no negotiations to be held with Iraq. They have nothing to negotiate. They’re the people who said that they would not have weapons of mass destruction. The negotiations are over.
SCOTT McCLELLAN (White House Press Secretary): No more games, no more cheat and retreat, no more deny and deceive, no more rope-a-dope in the desert with inspectors. No negotiation.
Items of Note
The Importance of September 8, 2002
The launch of an aggressive war marketing campaign
Throughout the fall and winter of 2002/2003, the White House repeatedly told the public and the media that the president had made no decision to go to war with Iraq, and that all options for a peaceful resolution were being explored. However, the leaked Downing Street Memo tells a different story.
Months earlier, on July 23, 2002, Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of Britain’s MI6 intelligence service, had met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discuss Dearlove’s recent meeting with President Bush. The minutes from this meeting, known as the Downing Street memo, stated that in the White House, “military action was now seen as inevitable… Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD… the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”
Other reports cite that the Bush administration had made the decision to go to war many months earlier. ‘Bush has decided to overthrow Hussein’ Feb. 13, 2002
Further proof that the White House had already decided to go to war with Iraq was the creation of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) in August 2002, with a sole mission: to market a war against Iraq to the American people.
Organized by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, WHIG’s 10 members included Karl Rove, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Condoleezza Rice, Karen Hughes, Mary Matalin, and Stephen Hadley.
According to a New York Times article on September 7, 2002, the Bush administration “was following a meticulously planned strategy to persuade the public, the Congress and the allies of the need to confront the threat from Saddam Hussein” and had decided to “wait until after Labor Day to kick off their plan. ‘From a marketing point of view,’ said Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff who is coordinating the effort, ‘you don't introduce new products in August.’”
This intensive rollout of the administration’s aggressive case for war began on September 8, 2002, when five senior Bush administration officials – Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, and Myers – appeared on Sunday morning talk shows on the five major news outlets: CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox. This was just three days before the first anniversary of 9/11, and two months before the congressional mid-term elections (the Bush administration was actively trying to retain and win Republican seats… They succeeded).
Not coincidentally, on the same morning of September 8, the New York Times reported that Iraq had sought to purchase aluminum tubes for alleged use in enriching uranium to build a nuclear weapon (it is now known that this allegation was false). The article cited anonymous “Bush administration officials” who had leaked the story to journalists Judith Miller and Michael Gordon.
Bush officials then had the audacity to cite on television the information from that New York Times article – which the administration itself had leaked – thereby giving them the opportunity to discuss intelligence that would otherwise be classified.
The five Bush officials also used this television opportunity to outline many other justifications for a preemptive war, displaying a notable coordination in their talking points:
• Hussein’s possession of WMD
• Iraqi contacts to lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta
• Iraq’s ties to al-Qaeda
• Iraq was 6 months away from having a nuclear weapon
LIES, ALL LIES, ALL.
All of these allegations were false, and were based on little or no credible evidence.
Among other common themes discussed that day were America’s increased vulnerability in an uncertain post-9/11 world, and that “doing nothing” was no longer an option.
Also noteworthy was the introduction of the fear-provoking slogan:
“We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”
Here is the September 8th sequence from Leading to War:
It is interesting to note that five days earlier, on September 3, 2002, the following exchange occurred between a reporter and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld:
REPORTER: Vice President Cheney said last week that Iraq was once close to producing or obtaining nuclear weapons. And said that they’re getting close again. What evidence does the U.S. have that Iraq, Saddam Hussein, may be getting close again to obtaining a nuclear weapon?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I think I’ll leave that for the coming days and weeks.
One can speculate that Rumsfeld refused to respond to the question about nuclear weapons since he knew that his administration would be leaking the aluminum tubes story to the New York Times only days later, in conjunction with the five television appearances on September 8.
"IN PROPAGANDA WE TRUST", RIGHT?
OLD GITMO...GOT US NOTHING BUT BAD PRESS ...AND WASTED TAXPAYER MONEY.
~ HOW WE WERE LED TO WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST