March 28

Oct. 11, 2002: Guantanamo intelligence unit seeks OK to use torture

The Joint Task Force of Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) requested permission to use torture techniques such as, isolation, sensory deprivation, stripping off clothing, hooding, exploiting the detainee’s phobias (such as a fear of dogs) to induce stress, and “scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family.” The memo incorporated the three categories of severity outlined in the BSCT memo (Oct. 2). The JTF officials also requested permission to use two of Category III techniques not included in the BSCT mem; phobias and waterboarding. (Jane Mayer. The Experiment, The New Yorker, 2005)

The memo was accompanied by a cover memo and legal brief written by LTC Diane Beaver GTMO’s top legal adviser who stated that “the proposed strategies do not violate applicable federal law” if the intent is not to cause serious permanent harm. She argued that waterboarding might “be permissible if not done with the specific intent to cause prolonged mental harm, and absent medical evidence that it would.” She suggested caution should be exercised with this method, as foreign courts have already advised about the potential mental harm that this method may cause. She then noted that since physical contact with a detainee would constitute a “per se violation” of assault under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), she recommended obtaining “immunity from command authorities” in advance; that is, get a license to commit a crime with impunity. That proposal was rejected by numerous military lawyers, including the Judge Advocate General Legal Center. (Armed Services Report, p. 62-64; Jane Mayer. The Experiment, The New Yorker, 2005)

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