Vanity Fair: The Green Light

From the introduction:

The Green Light

As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guantánamo detainee wouldn’t talk, the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual. The attorneys would even fly to Guantánamo to ratchet up the pressure-then blame abuses on the military. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail, and holds out the possibility of war crimes charges.

Here is an excerpt, please take the time to read the entire article as well as, Rorschach and Awe, a piece on how the torture techniques were developed by “scientists” in the employ of your goverment.

On September 25, as the process of elaborating new interrogation techniques reached a critical point, a delegation of the administration’s most senior lawyers arrived at Guantánamo. The group included the president’s lawyer, Alberto Gonzales, who had by then received the Yoo-Bybee Memo; Vice President Cheney’s lawyer, David Addington, who had contributed to the writing of that memo; the C.I.A.’s John Rizzo, who had asked for a Justice Department sign-off on individual techniques, including waterboarding, and received the second (and still secret) Yoo-Bybee Memo; and Jim Haynes, Rumsfeld’s counsel. They were all well aware of al-Qahtani. “They wanted to know what we were doing to get to this guy,” Dunlavey told me, “and Addington was interested in how we were managing it.” I asked what they had to say. “They brought ideas with them which had been given from sources in D.C.,” Dunlavey said. “They came down to observe and talk.” Throughout this whole period, Dunlavey went on, Rumsfeld was “directly and regularly involved.”

Beaver confirmed the account of the visit. Addington talked a great deal, and it was obvious to her that he was a “very powerful man” and “definitely the guy in charge,” with a booming voice and confident style. Gonzales was quiet. Haynes, a friend and protégé of Addington’s, seemed especially interested in the military commissions, which were to decide the fate of individual detainees. They met with the intelligence people and talked about new interrogation methods. They also witnessed some interrogations. Beaver spent time with the group. Talking about the episode even long afterward made her visibly anxious. Her hand tapped and she moved restlessly in her chair. She recalled the message they had received from the visitors: Do “whatever needed to be done.” That was a green light from the very top-the lawyers for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and the C.I.A.


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  1. Photobucket

  2. it would be possible to put Bush and Cheney in a box with Charles Taylor and Mugabe?  Or maybe we should simply take ALL former leaders of all countries and treat them to an expenses-paid retirement on a small island in the Caribbean (I hear Devil’s Island is available).  Maybe hang one every other year ‘pour encourager les autres’.  

    I’m not confident that there will ever be war crimes trials:  this is corporate government, where no bucks stop nowhere, because, at worst, ‘mistakes were made’.  Moreover, and this, while awful, sort of makes sense, no President is going to push for full accountability against a former President, because the job is, almost by definition, about making life-and-death decisions, and those go wrong sometimes.  Which, ultimately, is a license to contemplate the unthinkable while in office.

    I do suspect, however, that a sizable chunk of the upper echelons of this administration will have to think twice about traveling abroad, once out of office, if this kind of revelations gets enough play:  I’d LOVE to catch Gonzalez with his shorts down in a cabana in Cancun, and lashing Addington upside-down with his head in a Paris pissoir would be delicious.  I’ve often thought that I’d like to follow Bush to Paraguay, preferably with a Tomahawk, but it would be ever so much better to make these assholes pay in the currency of ridicule and ignominy.

    • robodd on April 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    torture is just the tip of the iceberg. Inquire what the torture was for: to coerce a false confession and to obtain false intelligence justifying a preemptive war.  That is the real crime here and torture is not the only means by which intelligence was cooked to justify a war.

    The war crimes go well beyond individual instances of torture.  They go to the murder of 100s of thousands of Iraqis based on deliberately fabricated falsehoods.  The civilized world cannot stand such injustice.

  3. Unethical in its design, incompetent in its operation, incorrect in its results.

    Nice to know that the two psychologists in the article, Mitchell and Jessen, both got medals for their service.  Would that be the same medal George Tenet got for his stellar work?

    If you’re interested in getting in on the action, check out the company profile of Mitchell Jessen & Associates.  

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