Senior Pentagon officials planned abusive tactics at Guantanamo Bay

June 18th, 2008 - 3:10 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, June 18 (ANI): A Senate investigation unveiled today found that senior Pentagon officials began planning to use abusive tactics at Guantanamo Bay earlier than they previously acknowledged, borrowing from a programme that trained US troops to resist cruel interrogations.

Harsh interrogation techniques used at US War on Terror prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay were sanctioned by top US Government officials in 2002 against the advice of lawyers from all branches of the military, a senior US senator alleged today.

New documents disclosed today show that lawyers in the army, navy and marines objected vigorously to the use of violent methods against detainees but were overruled by aides to the former US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

In a hearing Carl Levin, the Democratic head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said a high-level debate raged in the US defence and intelligence community from mid-2002 over techniques such as waterboarding, sexual humiliation, menacing dogs and sensory deprivation.

Counter to the Bush Administrations argument that mistreatment at the prisons arose from simply a handful of out-of-control military jailers, or a few bad apples, The Australian reported.

Citing previously secret documents and testimony from those involved, Senator Levin said that in the internal government debate, US armed services lawyers raised strong doubts over whether the techniques were legal or useful.

But, he said, a Central Intelligence Agency lawyer who met Guantanamo staff on October 2, 2002 argued that torture is basically subject to perception.

If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong, Jonathan Fredman, then chief counsel to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Centre, told the meeting, Senator Levin said.

Two months later, after the Guantanamo detention camp’s senior legal officer Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver said they would need documentation to protect us from potential legal charges over alleged torture, Rumsfeld signed a letter authorising most of the interrogation techniques recommended, Senator Levin said.

When Secretary Rumsfeld approved the use of abusive techniques against detainees, he unleashed a virus which ultimately infected interrogation operations conducted by the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.

According to Alberto Mora, former general counsel for the navy, there was strong resistance to the interrogation techniques, within Pentagon legal circles and from US allies. (ANI)

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