Torture At Guantanamo: The Reckoning
In just a few minutes, the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing on a long-obscured and controversial subject: how exactly did Guantanamo Bay become a torture chamber? Numerous reports into the question have raised more questions than answers. But what we know so far is this: shortly after terrorism detainees began arriving at Guantanamo in 2002, the Bush administration’s national security principals determined that individuals in CIA custody could be tortured — but were, as far as we know, silent on the question of what specifically could be done to the Pentagon’s new charges. By October, however, commanders at Guantanamo were writing to the Pentagon complaining that detainee recalcitrance merited going beyond the interrogation techniques permitted by the Geneva Conventions-compliant Army Field Manual FM 34-52 on interrogation. Donald Rumsfeld agreed. The rest is infamy.
But how did those commanders know they’d be allowed to even request going beyond the field manual, since doing so used to mean committing war crimes? To answer that question, the panel will hear from a key architect of Bush’s torture policies at the island prison complex: William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s chief lawyer, who resigned in February after his role in the various torture scandals prevented him from getting his reward of a federal judgeship. Watch him bob, weave, and — who knows — maybe even answer a question. Do a shot if he takes the Fifth.
I’ll be liveblogging the theatrics.