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The Bush Administration has been holding people at Guantanamo for several years, and has acknowledged using "enhanced interrogation techniques" on these suspects.  The Timeline For Torture sets out, in chronological order, the relationship between certain legal memos written specifically to enable torture, and the occurrence of torture at Guantanamo.  It also shows how these memos were used to spread torture from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib.

September 11, 2001 -- Planes fly into World Trade Center towers and Pentagon.  President Bush continues reading children's story for several minutes after learning about this.  

September 17, 2001
 -- An unreleased 14-page memorandum from President Bush to the Director of the CIA pertaining to the CIA's authorization to detain terrorists. According to the ACLU, of the 14 pages, 12 pages are "a notification memorandum" from the president to the National Security Council regarding a "clandestine intelligence activity." http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/27926prs20070110.html

December 2001
 -- William J. Haynes (General Counsel for Department of Defense/Rumsfeld) told the CentCom admiral in charge of detainees in Afghanistan to "take the gloves off" and ask whatever he wanted of John Walker Lindh (May 2008 article by Phillippe Sands in Vanity Fair "VF") www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/05/guantanamo200805

January 9, 2002 -- Memo by John Yoo and Robert Delahunty for William J. Haynes   
    Concluded that the President was not bound by traditional international law prohibitions.  

January 25, 2002 -- Memo by Alberto Gonzales to President Bush
    Declaring "obsolete" the Geneva Convention limitations on questioning enemy prisoners.

February 7, 2002 -- Memo signed by President Bush.
    President determined that none of detainees at GTMO could rely on protections of Geneva Convention.  
    As explained by Douglas Feith (#3 official at Pentagon) to Phillippe Sands in VF --
    -- Geneva didn't apply to al-Qaeda because they weren't part of a state and had no rights under a treaty binding only on states.  Geneva did apply to Taliban, but fighters were not entitled to POW status because they did not wear uniforms.  This left Common Article 3 (safety net).  But detainees could not rely on Common Article 3 because its provisions applied only to armed conflict not of an international character.  Administration interpreted this to mean only civil war, and therefore not to apply in Iraq.  

"The real reason for the Geneva decision, as Feith now made explicit, was the desire to interrogate these detainees with as few constraints as possible."  (VF)

End of February 2002 -- Rumsfeld is looking for someone to oversee military interrogations at Guantanamo.  Rumsfeld holds one-on-one interview with Dunlavey (at that time a judge in Erie, Penn.)  Dunlavey said Rumsfeld "wanted him to maximize the intelligence production"  Rumsfeld told Dunlavey to report directly to him (VF)

March 2002 -- Abu Zubaydah (high-ranking al-Qaeda official) captured in Pakistan.
    CIA director George Tenet wanted to interrogate him aggressively, but worried about risk of criminal prosecution.  Waited for "clear guidance" about how to interrogate (which came later in August 1, 2002 memo).

June 2002 -- Dunlavey under enormous pressure to find out what al-Qahtani knew (VF)

August 1, 2002 -- Legal memorandum authored by Bybee and Yoo (with assistance from Addington)
    Declared that "physical torture occurred only when the pain was equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function or even death". 
    Mental torture required "suffering not just at the moment of infliction but ... lasting psychological harm." 

August 1, 2002 -- Legal memo requested by John Rizzo (senior lawyer at CIA) 
    This memo has never been made public
    Spells out specific techniques in detail 
    According to the ACLU -- 18-page memo prepared for the CIA by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel "advising the CIA regarding interrogation methods it may use against al Qaeda members." It includes information "regarding potential interrogation methods and the context in which their use was contemplated." It also discuses "alternative interrogation methods," a phrase that was echoed by President Bush in a September 2006 speech promoting the Military Commissions Act. According to news reports, interrogation methods specifically authorized by the undisclosed Justice Department memo and used by the CIA include "waterboarding," a technique meant to induce the perception of drowning, and the use of "stress positions." http://www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/27926prs20070110.html

August 1, 2002 -- Another memo that has never been made public.
    A "31-page undated, unsigned, draft legal memorandum...that interprets the Convention Against Torture." According to the CIA, the document is a "preliminary" version of an August 1, 2002 memo prepared for Alberto Gonzales by Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee.

August 8, 2002 -- al-Qahtani placed in isolation.

Fall 2002 -- TV series 24 returns to the air for second season.

September 25, 2002 -- Gonzales, Addington, John Rizzo (CIA) and Haynes arrived at Guantanamo.  All knew about al-Qahtani and wanted to know what was being done to get him.  (per Dunlavey, and confirmed by Beaver, in VF)  Message from visitors -- do "whatever needed to be done" (VF)

October 2002 -- Diane Beaver was asked to give oral advice on interrogation, but refused.  Wanted to have a paper trail leading to the top.  

October 11, 2002 -- Memo by Diane Beaver, staff judge advocate at GTMO.  
    Analyzing 3 categories and recommending legal review of category II and III methods.
    -- Request by GTMO Major General Michael Dunlavey to approve 3 categories of interrogation techniques.

November 4, 2002
 -- Major General Geoffrey Miller replaced Dunlavey at GTMO

November 23, 2002 -- General Miller received "VOCO" (vocal command most likely from Rumsfeld) authorizing immediate start to aggressive interrogation of al-Qahtani  (VF)
    -- interrogation commenced against Mohammed al-Qahtani (so-called 20th hijacker).  Per interrogation log "The detainee arrives at the interrogation booth.  His hood is removed and he is bolted to the floor"  (VF)

November 27, 2002 -- Action Memo, authored by Haynes (general counsel to Rumsfeld) and signed by Rumsfeld, authorizing use of techniques set forth in categories I and II and part of III.  

January 15, 2003
 -- Memo by Alberto Moro, general counsel of the Navy.
    Stating that (1) majority of Category II and III techniques violated domestic and international law; (2) legal analysis by Diane Beaver was wrong; and (3) he strong "non-concurred" with these interrogation techniques.

January 12 to 15, 2003 -- knowing that abusive interrogation of al-Qahtani about to end, interrogators made final push.  Al-Qahtani had "black coal for eyes."  (VF)

May 2003 -- Yoo leaves Justice Department

August 2003 -- General Miller leaves Guantanamo and goes to Abu Ghraib

September 14, 2003 --  General Sanchez, commander of coalition forces in Iraq, authorized new interrogation techniques.  Approved several techniques not sanctioned in Army Field Manual, but permitted under Haynes memo.  

October 2003 -- interrogation abuse began at Abu Ghraib (VF)

October 2003 -- Jack Goldsmith begins working at OLC

December 30, 2003 -- Due to Jack Goldsmith, the OLC issues a memo superseding the August 1, 2002 memo

July 14, 2005 -- DoD Principal Deputy General Counsel Daniel Dell'Orto testifies before Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Yoo memo was a "binding legal opinion" that governed DoD policy. Dell'Orto also testified (note the passive voice) that "we were asked not to rely upon it going back to December of 2003 and have not relied upon it since," and he further stated that the Yoo memo was formally "withdrawn as an operational document" in February of this year.

June 29, 2006 -- U.S. Supreme Court case of Hamden v. Rumsfeld
    Held that detainees at GTMO were entitled to protections under Common Article 3 of Geneva Convention.  Justice Kennedy, joining the majority, wrote that "violations of Common Article 3 are considered 'war crimes.'"

October 17, 2006 -- Military Commissions Act signed by President Bush
    Grants immunity for actions from Sept 11, 2001 until Dec. 20, 2005.  

April 28, 2003 -- Haynes leaves the administration and begins work as General Counsel for Chevron at its headquarters in San Ramon, California

May 13, 2008 -- Charges dropped against al-Qahtani, no reason given by Pentagon.  
Administration had sought the death penalty
His attorney says charged dropped because w statements were extracted under torture. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7398953.stm

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This page contains a single entry published on June 12, 2008 12:56 PM.

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