Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Rumsfeld says "gloves off" ok for interrogation
After American Taliban recruit John Walker Lindh was captured in Afghanistan, the office of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld instructed military intelligence officers to "take the gloves off" in interrogating him.
Apparently Rumsfeld has not been telling the truth... oh what a shock
The instructions from Rumsfeld's legal counsel in late 2001, contained in previously undisclosed government documents, are the earliest known evidence that the Bush administration was willing to test the limits of how far it could go legally to extract information from suspected terrorists.
Even these guys attorneys are saddistic.
What happened to Lindh, who was stripped and humiliated by his captors, foreshadowed the type of abuse documented in photographs of American soldiers tormenting Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
At the time, just weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. was desperate to find terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. After Lindh asked for a lawyer rather than talk to interrogators, he was not granted one nor was he advised of his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. Instead, the Pentagon ordered intelligence officers to get tough with him.
The documents, read to The Times by two sources critical of how the government handled the Lindh case, show that after an Army intelligence officer began to question Lindh, a Navy admiral told the intelligence officer that "the secretary of Defense's counsel has authorized him to 'take the gloves off' and ask whatever he wanted."
In a series of memos from late 2001 to early 2002, top legal officials in the administration identified the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a safe haven offshore that would shield the secret interrogation process from intervention by the U.S. judicial system.
Now I do not condone Mr. Lindh's behavior but this administration obviously has some issues following the Geneva or any other convention.
However, the memos also show that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell warned the White House that a tougher approach toward interrogation "will reverse over a century of U.S. policy and practices in supporting Geneva Conventions and undermine the protections of the law of war for our troops, both in this specific conflict and in general."
At least one of them has some sense, too bad they did not listen to him.
According to the government documents, when Lindh was first under interrogation at the schoolhouse, authorities realized that as an American he was drawing the attention of the Defense and Justice departments. There was some initial discussion of whether Lindh, as an American, should be advised of his right against self-incrimination before military intelligence officers talked to him.
You think so Donald? No John we can get by without doing it.
On Dec. 14, 2001, Haynes' deputy, Paul W. Cobb Jr., told Lindh's San Francisco lawyers that "our forces have provided him with appropriate medical attention and will continue to treat him humanely, consistent with the Geneva Convention protections for prisoners of war."
But court documents suggest that Lindh was treated much as the prisoners later were at Abu Ghraib. Along with nudity and the sleep and food deprivation, Lindh was allegedly threatened with death. One soldier said he "was going to hang." Another "Special Forces soldier offered to shoot him."
At other times, soldiers took photos and videos of themselves smiling next to the naked Lindh, another image eerily similar to the Abu Ghraib photos.