Obama Administration Considers Hiding Details of CIA Torture
Posted by Emptywheel, Firedoglake on April 15, 2009 at 9:25 AM.
Just to lay out a few details based on this article explaining that Obama continues to waver on what parts of the 2005 Bradbury torture memos to reveal. (h/t Steve)
1. According to the WSJ, it's not the description of water-boarding that the CIA wants to hide. It's the description of how the CIA threw people against the wall.
Among the details in the still-classified memos is approval for a technique in which a prisoner's head could be struck against a wall as long as the head was being held and the force of the blow was controlled by the interrogator, according to people familiar with the memos.
2. We know from the ICRC report this technique had been used, three years before Bradbury wrote his OLC memos, with Abu Zubaydah.
I was taken out of my cell and one of the interrogators wrapped a towel around my neck, they then used it to swing me around and smash me repeatedly against the hard walls of the room.
When I was let out of the box I saw that one of the walls of the room had been covered with plywood sheeting. From now on it was against this wall that I was then smashed with the towel around my neck. I think that the plywood was put there to provide some absorption of the impact of my body. The interrogators realized that smashing me against the hard wall would robably quickly result in physical injury.
(According to the report, five more of the High Value Detainees described the same treatment.)
3. We know that Abu Zubaydah now has mental injuries and--apparently--cannot stand trial.
I wonder what happens if and when Spain
he is not planning on giving it up which would make him an abettor to torture.
Spanish AG says no torture probe of US officials
By PAUL HAVEN, Associated Press Writer Paul Haven, Associated Press Writer Thu Apr 16, 6:50 am ET
MADRID – Spanish prosecutors will recommend against opening an investigation into whether six Bush administration officials sanctioned torture against terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, the country's attorney-general said Thursday.
Candido Conde-Pumpido said the case against the high-ranking U.S. officials — including former U.S. Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales — was without merit because the men were not present when the alleged torture took place.
"If one is dealing with a crime of mistreatment of prisoners of war, the complaint should go against those who physically carried it out," Conde-Pumpido said in a breakfast meeting with journalists. He said a trial of the men would have turned Spain's National Court "into a plaything" to be used for political ends.
Prosecutors at Spain's National Court have not formally announced their decision in the case, but Conde-Pumpido is the country's top law-enforcement official and has the ultimate say.
While an investigative judge is not bound by the prosecutors' decision, it would be highly unusual for a case to proceed without their support.
A senior court official told The Associated Press that a formal announcement would not come until Friday. He said prosecutors would stop short of an outright call for dismissal of the case, but would raise a series of legal objections that would make it impossible for it to proceed in its current form. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Coming less than three months after the Bush administration left office, the case was the first of several international efforts to indict former administration officials. Human rights groups have also tried to bring suit against Bush officials in a German court.
In addition to Gonzales, the complaint named ex-Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith; former Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, David Addington; Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee; and Pentagon lawyer William Haynes.
It alleged that the men — who have become known as "The Bush Six" — cleared the path for torture by claiming in advice and legal opinions that the president could ignore the Geneva Conventions, and by adopting an overly narrow definition of which interrogation techniques constituted torture.
Spanish law gives its courts jurisdiction beyond national borders in cases of torture or war crimes, based on a doctrine known as universal justice.
While saying his office supported the principal of universal justice, Conde-Pumpido said Spanish courts had no business trying the American officials.
"If there is a reason to file a complaint against these people, it should be done before local courts with jurisdiction, in other words in the United States," he said.
Gonzalo Boye, one of the human rights lawyers who brought the case in Spain, said the decision by Conde-Pumpido was politically motivated and set a terrible course for Spanish justice.
"The attorney-general speaks of the court being turned into a plaything. Well, I don't think the attorney-general's office should be turned into a plaything for politicians," Boye told The Associated Press. "It is a terrible precedent if those intellectually responsible for crimes can no longer be held accountable."
In previous comments, Boye had made a point of saying he was going after the Bush administration's senior lawyers and advisers — not the rank and file military and intelligence agents who may have carried out the abuse — because he considered them ultimately responsible.
The case was first presented last month to crusading investigative judge Baltasar Garzon, the magistrate who prosecuted ex-Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in the 1990s. Under Spanish law, he passed it on to prosecutors for a recommendation on whether to launch a full-blown investigation.
The court official told AP that in addition to raising the legal doubts, prosecutors will say that Garzon should be replaced by another judge who is already investigating whether secret CIA flights to Guantanamo ever entered Spanish airspace.
yep, I see i spoke too soon