The Talking Dog

March 3, 2009, Adventures in disclosure

We'll start, I suppose, with the shocking (not!) revelation, in response to a lawsuit by the ACLU demanding release of video tapes of torture-filled interrogation of "high value" detainees that the CIA intentionally destroyed 92 of the tapes; two years ago, the CIA told a court it had only destroyed 2 of the tapes.

A federal judge had ordered evidence of interrogations preserved as early as 2005 (discussed in part in our interview with Stephen Truitt and Charles Carpenter, who mention that at least one federal judge, Judge Roberts of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., issued such an order on behalf of their clients); it is unclear, of course, if contempt will be sought, and it is inconceivable (to me, anyway) that a contempt citation would be issued against the government, although, of course, this kind of conduct is the very definition of contempt of court (for which those responsible should, ordinarily, go to jail and pay a hefty fine. As if.)

The tapes showed "harsh interrogations" (including waterboarding and God knows what else) of crazy-man (literally) Abu Zubayda and wild man Abd al-Nashiri. The ACLU certainly contends the Government is in contempt... well, that and $2 gets one a single ride on the NYC subway these days, I'm afraid.

For added fun, the Justice Department released nine once-super-secret torture memos from its Office of Legal Counsel, in response to ACLU's law suit seeking their release.
Among other things is John Yoo's contention that the 4th Amendment (unlawful search and seizures) doesn't apply if the President invokes the magic words (it only works for a Republican President, btw... Democrats lack the appropriate mojo)... the [Republican] President must click his heels three times and say abra cadabra open sesame "national security".

And in the ultimate act of disclosure, our friend Andy Worthington treats us to his ultimate list of Guantanamo detainees-- that's every poor bastard publicly known to have ever been hooded and chained in an orange jump suit at America's Favourite Gulag and Beach Resort. Andy calls it "Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List," and presents it in four parts: Part 1 (ISNs 002 to 200); Part 2 (ISNs 201 to 496); Part 3 (ISNs 497 to 732); and Part 4 (ISNs 743 to 10030). Andy tells us:

The list, which is the result of three years’ research and writing about Guantánamo, provides details of the 533 prisoners who have been released, and includes, for the first time ever, accurate dates for their release. It also provides details of the 241 prisoners who are still held, including the 59 prisoners who have been cleared for release. Although some stories are still unknown, the stories of nearly 700 prisoners are referenced either by links to Andy’s extensive archive of articles about Guantánamo, or to the chapters in "The Guantánamo Files" where they can be found.

“It is my hope that this project will provide an invaluable research
tool for those seeking to understand how it came to pass that the
government of the United States turned its back on domestic and
international law, establishing torture as official US policy, and
holding men without charge or trial neither as prisoners of war,
protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects to be put
forward for trial in a federal court, but as ‘illegal enemy combatants.’

“I also hope that it provides a compelling explanation of how that same
government, under the leadership of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and
Donald Rumsfeld, established a prison in which the overwhelming majority
of those held -- at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned
in total -- were either completely innocent people, seized as a result
of dubious intelligence or sold for bounty payments, or Taliban foot
soldiers, recruited to fight an inter-Muslim civil war that began long
before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that had nothing
to do with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or international terrorism.”

[Interested readers should check out Andy's "The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison." You can also check out my interview with Andy.]

This has been... "Adventures in Disclosure".