DOD lawyer pushed for harsh detainee interrogations: Senate committee chair

[JURIST] Former DOD General Counsel William "Jim" Haynes [DOD profile] encouraged the use of harsh interrogation tactics on terror detainees, US Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin [official website] (D-MI) said [opening statement] at a Tuesday committee hearing [witness list]. Refering to Haynes and others, Levin asked:

So, how did it come about that American military personnel stripped detainees naked, put them in stress positions, used dogs to scare them, put leashes around their necks to humiliate them, hooded them, deprived them of sleep, and blasted music at them? Were these actions the result of "a few bad apples" acting on their own? It would be a lot easier to accept if it were. But that’s not the case. The truth is that senior officials in the United States government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees. In the process, they damaged our ability to collect intelligence that could save lives.
The committee released documents [PDF text] revealing that Haynes studied interrogation methods used in a US military personnel training exercise and explored ways in which they could be applied to terror detainees. Some of the program's techniques were later approved for use against terror detainees in a 2002 memo [JURIST report] by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Some military lawyers reportedly argued against the use of the techniques. Haynes was scheduled to testify at Tuesday's hearing.

In another document released Tuesday, Guantanamo military lawyer Lt. Col. Diane Beaver [prepared statement, PDF] said that the DOD habitually prevented the International Committee of the Red Cross [group website] from seeing detainees who had been exposed to harsher interrogation methods. The Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials] authorize the ICRC to visit prisoners of war and inspect the conditions of their detention. AP has more.

 

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