The Justice Department has closed its inquiry into Bush-era CIA interrogations without bringing criminal charges, the AP reports.The investigation was headed by federal prosecutor John Durham, who was selected in 2009 to investigate charges of torture in CIA interrogations during the Bush Administration.
As we’ve previously reported, the foundation of Bush’s post-9/11 “enhanced interrogation” program is a torture manual used to train U.S. military personnel to withstand brutal interrogation techniques if captured by the enemy during wartime.
After several meetings of top Bush administration officials, seven techniques from the manual—attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing and stress positions—ended up in the August 2002 legal opinion of Justice Department attorney John Yoo and Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee that is widely referred to as the “torture memo.”
The techniques were originally compiled by the Department of defence’s (DOD) Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) and used by instructors in the JPRA’s Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) in role-playing scenarios with U.S. military personnel.
Air Force Col. Steve Kleinman, a career intelligence officer considered one of the DOD’s best interrogators as well as a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, told Truthout that he assured students that the techniques were “employed exclusively by nations that were in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions and international treaties against torture” and the techniques weren’t used in the U.S.
John Yoo’s “torture memo” went above and beyond the training manual’s instructions, increasing the recommended limits to the techniques while adding three more: insects placed in a confinement box, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding.
Waterboarding, the most controversial technique used on 9/11 suspects, was drawn from other SERE documents the CIA and DOD obtained from JPRA, according to an investigation by the Senate Armed Services Committee and reported by Truthout.
A 2006 memo released in April shows that at least one U.S. state department official strongly disagreed with the Bush administration’s secret legal interpretation that an international treaty against torture did not apply to CIA interrogations in foreign countries, according the Guardian.
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