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Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Just Ice

NOISE

FBI agents saw military interrogators use abusive tactics on prisoners at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, including a woman interrogator who grabbed a detainee's genitals, officials said on Monday.

The account of incidents in 2002 involving foreign terrorism suspects held at the base was contained in a July letter from FBI counterterrorism official Thomas Harrington, to Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, the Army's provost marshal, and was confirmed by Pentagon and Justice Department officials.

Harrington, who headed a group of investigators which visited the base, detailed incidents including one in which a female Army interrogator grabbed a male prisoner's genitals and bent his thumbs backward. Two other incidents he described included a prisoner who was menaced by a dog and placed into isolation and another detainee whose mouth was covered with duct tape.

In his letter, Harrington referred to the incidents as examples of "highly aggressive interrogation techniques" and asked Ryder, the Army's senior criminal investigator, to take "appropriate action." Harrington wrote that the FBI told Pentagon lawyers in January 2003 about the abusive treatment, but the matter had not been addressed.

Will Dunham, FBI Letter Details Guantanamo Prisoner Abuses, Reuters, December 7, 2004




An August 2002 Justice Department memo "was vetted by a larger number of officials, including...the White House counsel's office and Vice President Cheney's office." According to Newsweek, the memo "was drafted after White House meetings convened by George W. Bush's chief counsel, Alberto Gonzales, along with Defense Department general counsel William Haynes and [Cheney counsel] David Addington." The memo included the opinion that laws prohibiting torture do "not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants." Further, the memo puts forth the opinion that the pain caused by an interrogation must include "injury such as death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions—in order to constitute torture." The methods outlined in the memo "provoked concerns within the CIA about possible violation of the federal torture law [and] also raised concerns at the FBI, where some agents knew of the techniques being used" overseas on high-level al Qaeda officials.

Alberto Gonzales: A Record of Injustice, Center for American Progress, August, 2004




A 1/25/02 memo written by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales said "the war against terrorism is a new kind of war" and "this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." The memo pushes to make al Qaeda and Taliban detainees exempt from the Geneva Conventions' provisions on the proper, legal treatment of prisoners. The administration has been adamant that prisoners at Guantanamo are not protected by the Geneva Conventions.

Alberto Gonzales: A Record of Injustice, Center for American Progress, August, 2004




 
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