April 23, 2008

Books of Note: Torture Team


GUARDIAN, UK The US's most senior general was "hoodwinked" by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques for terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian can reveal. The development led to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

General Richard Myers, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantanamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture. The way he was duped by senior officials in Washington - who believed the Geneva conventions and other traditional safeguards were out of date - is disclosed in a devastating account of their role. . . In his new book, Torture Team, Philippe Sands QC, a professor of law at University College London, reveals:

- Senior figures in the Bush administration pushed through previously outlawed measures with the help of unqualified and inexperienced military officials at Guantanamo.

-Myers believes he was a victim of "intrigue" by top lawyers at the department of justice, the office of the vice president, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld's defence department.

- Myers wrongly believed interrogation techniques had been taken from the army's field manual.

The lawyers who pushed through the interrogation techniques - all of them political appointees - were Alberto Gonzales, David Addingon and William Haynes.

Others involved were Doug Feith, Rumsfeld's undersecretary for policy, and Jay Bybee and John Yoo, two assistant attorney generals. . .

"As we worked through the list of techniques, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled,"
Sands writes.
"Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him." Myers and his closest advisers were cut out of the decision-making process, so he was not given suffficient opportunity to object to measures he now says he strongly disapproved of. . .
Sands comments: "[Myers] really had taken his eye off the ball ... he didn't ask too many questions, or inquire too deeply, and kept his distance from the decision-making process."
At April 20, 2008 7:09 AM, Anonymous m said...

The way the military is structured it is possible for the torturing administration to have kept this from Myers, but the excuse that Myers presents, "that he knew but didn't know" is nonsense.

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