March 29, 2005

This certainly comes as no surprise.

Despite obstruction from the Pentagon, a doggedly persistent Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU has gotten the civil liberties group what it knew existed: A memo showing that the former US military chief in Iraq authorized the use of illegal interrogation techniques on Iraqi prisoners.

In the 2003 memo, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez approved 29 methods of interrogation, a dozen of which 'far exceeded' US military rules and the Geneva Convention on POWs.

The September 14, 2003 memo bearing Lt Gen Sanchez's signature approved using muzzled army dogs in a way that "exploits Arab fear of dogs," and placing detainees in painful "stress positions".

The memo also authorised techniques of isolation and sleep and food deprivation and sensory manipulation to break down prisoners.

"Gen Sanchez authorised interrogation techniques that were in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Army's own standards," Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer, said in a statement.

Mr Singh called for Lt Gen Sanchez and other high-ranking US officials to be held accountable....

The Sanchez memo's existence had been known for some time, but it was only obtained by the ACLU from the Defence Department on Friday following multiple court-supported requests.

The department had refused to release the memo on national security grounds.

The ACLU's press release is here.

You can view or download a copy of the memo here. [Acrobat req'd]

Via AFP and ABC (Australia).

Posted by Magpie at March 29, 2005 09:16 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

Say hello to Mr. Lawsuit.

Posted by: palamedes at March 29, 2005 11:04 PM

The memo also indicates that Sanchez perjured himself during his Senate testimony of May 19, 2004:

U.S. SENATOR JACK REED (D-RI): General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison. Is that correct?

SANCHEZ: Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.

That is absolutely refuted by the newly released memo, which says:

Presence of Military Working Dog: Exploits Arab fear of dogs ...
Sleep Management: Detainee provided minimum of 4 hours sleep per 24 hour period, not to exceed 72 continuous hours.
Yelling, Loud Music, and Light Control: Used to create fear... (Sanchez's wording, not mine.)

More info on this is available at

Posted by: Mark Kraft at March 30, 2005 12:06 PM