All About Trey

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Quivering Mad

Have you ever been so mad that you almost start to physically shake? I'm there now. I surfed to Andrew's website and saw where some of the JAG Memo's on the "Military Interrogration Techniques" had been declassifed. I found the actual memo's here. Here's the first one:

Washington, DC, February 5, 2003.


From: AF/JA

Subject: Final Report and Recommendations of the Working Group to Assess the
Legal, Policy and Operational Issues Relating to Interrogation of Detainees
Held by the U.S. Armed Forces in the War on Terrorism (U)

1. (U) In drafting the subject report and recommendations, the legal opinions of the Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel (DoJ/OLC), were relied on almost exclusively. Although the opinions of DoJ/OLC are to be given a great deal of weight within the Executive Branch, their positions on several of the Working Group's issues are contentious. As our discussion demonstrate, others within and outside the Executive Branch are likely to disagree. The report and recommendations caveat that it only applies to "strategic interrogations" of "unlawful combatants" at locations outside the United States. Although worded to permit maximum flexibility and legal interpretation, I believe other factors need to be provided to the DoD/GC before he makes a final recommendation to the Secretary of Defense.

>>So this was DOJ, probably at the request of the WH, trying to stretch definitions and push the limits and the Services pushed back. YEAH!

2. (U) Several of the more extreme interrogation techniques, on their face, amount to violations of domestic criminal law and the UCMJ (e.g., assault). Applying the more extreme techniques during the interrogation of detainees places the interrogators and the chain of command at risk of criminal accusations domestically. Although a wide range of defenses to these accusations theoretically apply, it is impossible to be certain that any defense will be successful at trial; our domestic courts may well disagree with DoJ/OLC's interpretation of the law. Further, while the current administration is not likely to pursue prosecution, it is impossible to predict how future administrations will view the use of such techniques.

>>So some of the "techniques" could be construed as criminal. Let's just skip the legalese and the word "violations". If you used these techniques, you would be breaking the law and could be tried by the US court system or the UCMJ. I like the concern for the interrogators. I think that was added because the JAGs probably realized they were going to lose this battle but that they needed to put up a good fight.

3. (U) Additionally, other nations are unlikely to agree with DoJ/OLC's interpretation of the law in some instances. Other nations may disagree with the President's status determination regarding the Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) detainees; they may conclude that the detainees are POWs entitled to all of the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Treating OEF detainees inconsistently with the Conventions arguably "lowers the bar" for the treatment of U.S. POWs in future conflicts. Even where nations agree with the President's status determination, many would view the more extreme interrogation techniques as violative of other international law (other treaties or customary international law) and perhaps violative of their own domestic law. This puts the interrogators and the chain of command at risk of criminal accusations abroad, either in foreign domestic courts or in international fora, to include the ICC.

>>This has been one of my sticking points about this whole fiasco. This policy can put US service members at risk if they are ever capture. And I know the whole arguement that Al Queda isn't going to respect the Geneva Conventions so why should we? Because we're better than them damn it!

4. (U) Should any information regarding the use of the more extreme interrogation techniques become public, it is likely to be exaggerated/distorted in both the U.S. and international media. This could have a negative impact on international, and perhaps even domestic, support for the war on terrorism. Moreover, it could have a negative impact on public perception of the U.S. military in general.

>>Gee, you think? It's kind of hard to win over the hearts and minds of these people if we are going to treat them worse than criminals. Has this been exaggerated and distorted in the media. Oh hell yes. But then this policy puts us in this position. We've always argued that we are the good guys. I don't believe that this was just some crazy people on the night shift. And there are more pictures coming out soon that will prove that unfortunately.

5. (U) Finally, the use of the more extreme interrogation techniques simply is not how the U.S. armed forces have operated in recent history. We have taken the legal and moral "high-road" in the conduct of our military operations regardless of how others may operate. Our forces are trained in this legal and moral mindset beginning the day they enter active duty. It should be noted that law of armed conflict and code of conduct training have been mandated by Congress and emphasized since the Viet Nam conflict when our POWs were subjected to torture by their captors. We need to consider the overall impact of approving extreme interrogation techniques as giving official approval and legal sanction to the application of interrogation techniques that U.S. forces have consistently been trained are unlawful.

>>THANK YOU! This isn't how we are supposed to operate. Please don't put us in that position. Becuase if you put us in a position where our morals can be compromised (well, it's just a little bit of torture), then it's a dangerous slippery slope that leads to pictures of piles of naked prisoners taken late at night.

Major General, USAF,
Deputy Judge Advocate General.

Each of the service JAGs wrote similar memos. These are the wise men trying to put the brakes on a really bad idea that got rammed down there throat. I hope one day we can correct this insane policy. But it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. Apparently some of the Republicans on the hill delayed the Defense bill because McCain (who KNOWS what torture is) tried to add an amendment that looks into the interrogration and treatment of our enemy combatants. Nice.

How can these people sleep at night?