Rumsfeld ignored torture warnings

This Pentagon file photo, obtained by The Associated Press, shows Sgt. Michael Smith, left, with his dog Marco, menacing a detainee at an unspecified date in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.

Military psychologists were enlisted to help develop more aggressive interrogation methods, including snarling dogs, forced nudity and long periods of standing, against terrorism suspects, according to a Senate investigation.

Before they were approved by then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, such harsh techniques had drawn warnings from military lawyers that they could be illegal, an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee has found. Officials familiar with the findings discussed them on condition of anonymity because the information has not been formally released.

The psychologists who helped interrogate terror suspects for the CIA were set to testify Tuesday before the Senate committee, which was expected to release details of the investigation.

The hearing is the committee’s first look at the origins of the harsher methods used in Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq and how policy decisions on interrogations were vetted across the Defense Department. Its review fits into a broader picture of the government’s handling of detainees, which includes FBI and CIA interrogations in secret prisons.

Democrats contend that the Senate investigation will refute the Bush administration’s argument that abusive conditions in some military prisons were only the result of a handful of personnel. Instead, they say, the conditions were the consequence of senior defense civilians eager to extract intelligence in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Pentagon’s top civilian lawyer at the time, chief counsel William "Jim" Haynes, was expected to testify Tuesday. Also scheduled to be present were Richard Shiffrin, Haynes’ former deputy on intelligence matters, as well as legal advisers at the time to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Guantanamo Bay prison.

According to the Senate committee’s findings, Haynes became interested in using harsher interrogation methods as early as July 2002 when he sent a memo inquiring about a military program that trained Army soldiers how to survive enemy interrogations and deny foes valuable intelligence. Jerald Ogrisseg, a former top military psychologist, was expected to testify Tuesday that the program was never intended to be a means of finding tougher ways to interrogate U.S. prisoners.

Shortly after requesting more information about harsh techniques, Haynes traveled in September 2002 to Guantanamo Bay with other administration lawyers, including then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief counsel, David Addington.

A month later, the military commander in charge of Guantanamo Bay, Gen. Michael Dunlavey, asked his superiors at U.S. Southern Command for approval to employ harsher interrogations. According to officials familiar with the Senate investigation, the military services’ lawyers told the Joint Staff that the techniques warranted further study, and the Air Force and Army specifically warned that the methods could be illegal. Their objections were ignored.


  1. Pablo

    So schools can’t do it, and parents won’t do it because they are products of our screwed up educational system and television. So you believe we are screwed? Have we no hope? Do you believe if there was a will perhaps we could reform our educational system and improve society?

    If not, then we might as well just give up!

  2. Ladywolf55

    Our public schools wouldn’t even BEGIN to know how to teach critical thinking. They are perfectly designed for what they were meant to do: Dumb down the people and make them into apathetic, mindless sheep. Mission accomplished!

  3. Pablo

    Sandra, I agree
    100% that the solution is in the home. I also believe our educational system can help in this matter, by involving parents more and working toward common goals of teaching critical thinking skills and the importance of things like democracy and the environment. But the problem is such a high % of the population is either unconcerned or clueless. The challenge is changing these two things. They need a leader who will lead and to whom they will listen. I think the last time we had a leader who was willing to tell them what they didn’t want to hear, that leader, Jimmy Carter’s, popularity plummetted. I’m referring to when he told them they needed to change their consumption habits. They simply don’t want to hear that just being a proud american isn’t enough. And they won’t vote for somebody they believe is like that. So this whole thing is a vicious cycle.

    How to break that cycle I don’t know, and that is frustrating.

  4. Sandra Price

    We all see what has conveniently destroyed the freedoms of a Republic. America was built and designed for the people who chose to live here and only the fear of the afterlife could and did destroy it. We are not the first to fall into the terrorism of demons and angels and we will not be the last. Our tribal leaders did a good job of controlling us through the old follow the leader culture and there is no doubt that when we elected Bush 43 as our family values leader he would accept the responsibility of complete control.

    Of course Bush and the neoconservatives told Rum Dum to ignore the laws in the Constitution. Torture has been a human experience and cannot get it’s claws into any nation without dumbing down the people under a brutal dictator.

    We see so much violence in our lives and we are allowing our next generations to play brutally violent video games and watch the same horrors on television and in the movie theaters that we cannot ask them to stop what they have witnessed. The latest game is to shoot down people in commercial malls and schools.

    The answer is not to ban the guns but the parents to introduce a new culture in their homes. One cannot take trained-to-kill pitbull and make him into a house pet.

    America is still searching for a leader who will ask nothing of the population except for complete support. Why do we keep giving our freedoms away?

    This article is the eye-opener that we Americans have failed to demand more from our leaders. We must self-educate immediately. If we cannot figure out what is true and what is spin, remember we have a well-informed leader here at CHB. Doug has exposed the hypocrisy for years without taking sides.

  5. Direct Democracy

    This expose beggars the question: Who told Rum Dum to go ahead and ignore the warnings?



  6. staunchdem

    I’ve long called these folks “Convenient Christians”.
    Whether the issue is torture or murder in Gitmo or Iraq they can certainly bleat like sheep listening to Rush during the week then go to church on Sunday and be good Christians.
    Most of the ones I’ve been able to have a conversation with think that being a “Conservative” means conservative christian family values.
    If they listen long enough to realize they’ve been pandered to by crooks and liars they can often be awakened to what is really happening.
    Alas, some are lost causes and I tend to move on.

  7. Pablo

    Christ’s message
    was very much like Buddhas, two highly enlightened men, not Gods, but men. But soon after Christ died, those in power decided that all that Buddha-like stuff that came from Christ was heresy and those that believed Christ’s true message were forced into hiding with their Christ-inspired writings. They could control people much easier by hiding the truth and deceiving the masses into believing that Christ was actually God and needed to be worshiped, that the power of God wasn’t within as Christ actually taught. Also, they told people they had to follow their infallible leader (the pope) and go to their churches (and don’t forget to tithe) for salvation, lest their kind and loving god torture them into eternity.

    It’s all about control and power and wealth as already mentioned above. It is no surprise that “Christians” on a whole are such a violent and judgemental bunch of sheep. They believe a bunch of big lies, and have little hope. I’d be bitter and judgemental too if I followed lies.

    Oh, and one might deny that most “Christian” are violent, as most “Christians” aren’t attacking or directly killing. I believe it is mostly self-proclaimed church-going “Christians” who have been supporting these wars. Just because one supports another who does the slaughtering and didn’t actually do it themselves does not mean they are not very guilty.
    I believe it was Christ that said “Seek and you will find”. Not many have sought and look at what they are for blindly believing lies!

  8. Dr.D

    Thanks for the insight Deja Vu,and your thoughts are not really off-topic,considering that we are trying to reconcile the rationale of our obviously misguided “leaders”,ya know?

  9. DejaVuAllOver

    I agree, Dr. D. Ironically, Buddha abhorred the concept of organized religion and realized that spirituality is indeed a personal thing; that truth comes through karmic purity (kind actions and thoughts), not through doctrine or some organized fraternity of self-worshiping sycophants .

    I know this is off-topic. Sorry, I’m done now.

  10. Dr.D

    Whatever happened to the “Golden Rule” ???

    Why do people have to equate morality with religion anyway? I personally have come to believe that organized religion(regardless of denomination or sect)is inherently evil.In my youth,I thought that my twisted views on religion were due to my Roman Catholic upbringing,with all of it’s guilt inducing dogma.But as time went by I realized that ALL organized religions are designed to subjugate their adherants by some sort of psychological subterfuge or other for the sole purpose of gaining the material wealth that they say is jeopardizing your ascent to the “promised land”,and they are all too happy to relieve you of your burden.

    I say it’s time to revert to the “Balkan Method”(Pitchforks and torches).After all,we outnumber the usurpers by about 1,000,000 to 1.