[News] The Background: U.S. Policy Shifts Ushered in Abuse
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Feb 22 11:54:06 EST 2007
The Background: U.S. Policy Shifts Ushered in Abuse
In the wake of 9/11, leaders of the U.S.
government at the highest levels created a series
of directives including internal memos urging
soldiers to take the gloves off that created
a situation in which the torture and abuse of
prisoners in U.S. custody became widespread.
facts and figures outlining the scope of abuse.
Timeline of U.S. Policy Encouraging Abuse
October 11, 2002
Guantanamo officials request that additional
techniques beyond those in the U.S. Army Field Manual be approved for use.
December 2, 2002
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prescribes
new interrogation policy for Guantanamo,
authorizing: stress positions, hooding, 20-hour
interrogations, removal of clothing, exploiting
phobias to induce stress (e.g., fear of dogs),
prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation, and
forced grooming (e.g forcing Muslim men to shave
their beards against religious edicts). These
techniques soon spread to Afghanistan and later to Iraq.
FBI officials complain to Defense Department of abuses at Guantanamo.
December 26, 2002
Washington Post reports regular, systemic abuses
at Bagram detention facility, including stress
and duress techniques during interrogation.
Judge Advocates repeatedly object to aggressive
interrogation techniques at Guantanamo but
Pentagon officials didnt think this was a big
deal, so they ignored the JAGs objections.
January 15, 2003
Secretary Rumsfeld rescinds blanket approval of
some techniques but indicates techniques may
continue based on his individual case
approval. Secretary Rumsfeld designates Working
Group to assess legal, policy and operational
issues for detainee interrogation in the war on terrorism.
January 24, 2003
Afghanistan Commander forwards list of techniques
being used in Afghanistan, including some
inconsistent with Army Field Manual, to inform
Secretary Rumsfelds Working Group, including the
use of dogs to induce fear, the use of stress
positions, and sensory deprivation.
April 4, 2003
Working Group issues final report; recommends 35
interrogation techniques to Secretary Rumsfeld,
including techniques from Afghanistan inconsistent with Army Field Manual.
April 16, 2003
Secretary Rumsfeld approves 24 of the recommended
techniques for use at Guantanamo, including
dietary and environmental manipulation, sleep
adjustment, false flag (e.g. making detainees
believe they are in the custody of a nation that
is known to torture) and isolation.
Red Cross reports 200 cases of alleged detainee
abuse in U.S. custody in Iraq to U.S. Central Command.
May 30, 2003
FBI reasserts its objections to Guantanamo
interrogation techniques to Guantanamo commander.
Captain of unit responsible for killing two
detainees in Afghanistan proposes interrogation
techniques for Abu Ghraib, including stress
positions, removal of clothing, lengthy
isolation, sensory and sleep deprivation and use
of dogs. Lt. Gen. Sanchez approves techniques.
Secretary Rumsfeld sends Guantanamo commander,
General Geoffrey Miller, to Iraq to Gitmo-ize
Iraqi detention facilities, promoting widescale
deployment of more aggressive interrogation methods in Iraq.
August 31 - September 9, 2003
Guantanamo commander brings policies to Abu
Ghraib; uses techniques as baseline for
recommending new, harsher interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib.
Lt. Gen. Sanchez authorizes 29 interrogation
techniques for use in Iraq, including the use of
dogs, stress positions, sensory deprivation, loud
music and light control, based on Secretary
Rumsfelds April 16 techniques and suggestions
from captain of military unit formerly in Afghanistan.
October 12, 2003
Iraqi interrogation techniques modified but still
authorize officers to control the lighting, heat,
food, shelter, and clothing given to detainees
and permit the use of dogs in interrogations with prior authorization.
October - December 2003
Torture and serious abuses of detainees take place at Abu Ghraib.
U.S. Army report details abuses committed against
detainees in Iraq by task force of military
Special Operations and CIA officers, known as Task Force 121.
January 13, 2004
Joseph Darby gives Army criminal investigators CD
containing the Abu Ghraib photographs depicting detainee torture and abuses.
February 24, 2004
Red Cross issues confidential report to Coalition
Provisional Authority documenting widespread
abuse and command failures to take corrective action.
February 26, 2004
Maj. Gen. Taguba completes investigation; reports
of systematic and sadistic, blatant and wanton
criminal abuses at Abu Ghraib.
the Taguba Report
Abuse of detainees continues in Iraq.
April 28, 2004
60 Minutes II airs segment showing Abu Ghraib photos.
Abuse of detainees continues in Iraq.
August 24, 2004
Secretary Rumsfeld-appointed panel reports the
Secretarys interrogation policy led to confusion
in the field as to what techniques were
authorized; also reports that civilian Defense
Department leaders failed in their interrogation and detention duties.
Senator John McCain introduces legislation to
reinforce the United States obligation under the
U.N. Convention on Torture not to engage in
cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
punishment; to restrict interrogation methods
used by U.S. personnel to those listed in the
Army Field Manual; to require the registration of
all U.S. military prisoners with the Red Cross,
and to end the practice of sending detainees
abroad for interrogation by foreign
governments. But Bush Administration officials
and congressional allies prevents vote on
legislation, saying the provisions would restrict
the Presidents ability to fight terrorism.
Army Captain Ian Fishback provides firsthand
account of widespread prisoner abuse in Iraq,
describing prisoners in captivity having bones
broken, being forced to form human pyramids, and
having their eyes doused with chemical irritants.
October 3, 2005
Almost 30 retired military officers, including
General John Shalikashvili, former Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff advocate in a letter to
ban all cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell adds his support to the ban.
October 5, 2005
Senate votes 90 to 9 to ban all cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment and requires that all
interrogations in military facility comply with the army field manual.
December 15, 2005
House of Representatives votes 308 to 122 in
support of the ban and President Bush agrees to
the ban, losing his fight to get CIA immunity for
its acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
Congress also passes Graham-Levin Amendment,
which would permit evidence gained by coercion to
be used in detention proceedings
December 31, 2005
President Bush signs Detainee Treatment Act into
law, but adds a signing statement, writing that
he would construe the law in a manner consistent
with the constitutional authority of the
President to supervise the unitary executive
branch and Commander in Chief . . . [which] . .
. will assist in . . . protecting the American
people from further terrorist attacks. This is
in effect a statement saying he will adhere to
the law so long as he does not view it as
interfering with his power as commander-in-chief,
and if and when he views it as an intrusion, he will ignore it.
Human Rights First releases Commands
Responsibility, documenting nearly one hundred
deaths in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan
and inadequate actions taken by investigators and
command to address the abuses and deaths.
Department of Defense prohibits admission of
evidence obtained by torture in military commission proceedings
June 29, 2006
U.S. Supreme Court rules that Common Article 3 of
the Geneva Conventions applies to the U.S.
conflict with al Qaeda, thereby prohibiting
cruel, humiliating and degrading treatment.
July 7, 2006
Department of Defense orders compliance with Common Article 3.
September 6, 2006
President Bush acknowledges for the first time
the CIAs secret detention program and use of
alternative interrogation procedures on
so-called high value detainees, saying that any
legislation passed by Congress must allow the program to go forward.
October 17, 2006
President Bush signs into law the Military
Commissions Act, which, among other things,
supporters claim eliminates habeas corpus for
detainees categorized as enemy combatant,
narrows the scope of laws criminalizing
humiliating and degrading treatment, and permits
coerced evidence into military commission
trials. The President asserts that on the basis
of the new law the secret detention and
interrogation program operated by the CIA could continue if need arises.
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