• WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Reggie Walton Unleashes the Rocket’s Red Glare

    2011-07-14 11:51:32View | Delete

    Thanks for the explanation of this. Assuming the prosecutors weren’t trying to throw the case (which wouldn’t make any sense), WTF were they thinking? I don’t know much about this stuff, but just what I’ve read about Reggie Walton here on this blog would be enough for me to know not to try something this stupid. When Judge Walton says you can’t do something, trying to backdoor it in is guaranteed to piss him off. I would expect a lawyer trying a case in his court would know what kind of risk they were taking.

    Is it simple hubris? Total incompetence? Just not knowing anything about Walton? Just trying to bolster a weak case (so thinking they didn’t have anything to lose)?

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post On Two Torture Investigations

    2011-07-13 10:55:36View | Delete

    In his limited hangout presser in June 2004, Rumsfeld claims that he got a letter from Tenet:

    Q Mr. Secretary, I’m wondering, when you get a call or a contact from CIA Director Tenet, and he asks you to do something like this, I have two questions.

    SEC. RUMSFELD: Mmm hmm.

    Q How does that go about? Does he say — in other words, “We need you to do this,” and then doesn’t tell you necessarily why for, you know, as an agreement, and you trust him?

    And then second, do you sort of them monitor the progress of an individual like this? In other words, how’s he or she doing?

    SEC. RUMSFELD: Okay, let me — yeah. As I recall, it wasn’t a phone call in this case, and Dan Dell’Orto is here. I think it was a letter, but I could be wrong. It was a phone call?

    DANIEL DELL’ORTO (DoD deputy general counsel): If it was, it was certainly followed up by a letter shortly thereafter.

    SEC. RUMSFELD: Yeah. So it was a letter. We know from our knowledge that he has the authority to do this.

    And second, I can’t speak for every case, but I have some confidence that in most every case, it has been either in writing or very well understood orally that the — that the specifics that were provided are accurate. And –

    Q (Inaudible) — why the request is made.

    SEC. RUMSFELD: And the nature of this individual and why it’s important to do what they’re doing.

    Rumsfeld seems to be saying (in his inimitable way) that there was a generalized practice of the CIA requesting the military to hold certain detainees “off the books”.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post On Two Torture Investigations

    2011-07-13 10:48:20View | Delete

    The parenthetical was not something Goldsmith every admitted, but it was the only reason to bring Rashul back to Iraq.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post On Two Torture Investigations

    2011-07-13 09:16:14View | Delete

    Let me explain this a little. Here’s the timeline of events for al Jamadi and Hiwa Adbul Rahman Rashul, whose case is interlinked in interesting ways.

    Early 2003 – CIA lawyers prohibit CIA from running interrogations in Iraq because of concerns about the Geneva Conventions.

    June 16, 2003 – The “Bullet Points” document outlines what the CIA thought they could legally do to terrorists (glossed as “Captured Al-Qa’ida Personnel”). The list includes “the attention grasp”, the facial slap, the abdominal slap, cramped confinement, stress positions, and wall standing.

    June/July 2003 – Rashul, an Iraqi alleged to be a member of the Ansar al Islam terrorist group, comes into CIA custody (apparently after being captured by the Kurds). The CIA and OVP want to torture him, but they can’t do that in Iraq. Patrick Philbin is asked if it is ok to send Rashul to Bagram [to be tortured], but he doesn’t have the guts to say no. Rashul is shipped off.

    Oct 6 2003 – Jack Goldsmith becomes head of OLC and is immediately asked to authorize the action of sending Rashul out of Iraq. After a couple of weeks, he tells the WH and OVP to bring Rashul back (sending him was potentially a war crime).

    Oct 27 2003 – The Red Cross office in Baghdad is bombed.

    Oct 29 2003 – Rashul is flown back to Iraq.

    Tenet asks Rumsfeld to hold Rashul as a ghost detainee.

    Nov 4 2003 – al Jamadi is captured by Navy Seals and taken to Abu Ghraib, where he is interrogated by the CIA. His death was caused by the combination of the stress position and the beating, both techniques that the CIA believed were valid to use on terrorists.

    Nov 18 2003 – Gen. Sanchez issues a classified order formally establishing Rashul’s “ghost” status. Rashul is more or less forgotten until the “ghost” detainee story breaks in 2004.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post On Two Torture Investigations

    2011-07-13 06:59:34View | Delete

    The AP article is a little bit misleading about CIA interrogations and ghosting.

    The so-called “ghosting” program was unsanctioned by CIA headquarters. In fact, in early 2003, CIA lawyers expressly prohibited the agency from running its own interrogations, current and former intelligence officials said.

    That second sentence really needs an “in Iraq” added to it. Back in a bit with more explanation.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Emptywheel Leaving Firedoglake

    2011-07-12 08:21:02View | Delete

    Congratulations. Let me know if I can help.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Hamid Karzai’s Brother Killed by Guard

    2011-07-12 05:43:28View | Delete

    BBC Radio reported a few minutes ago that he was killed by his head of security, who was in turn killed by other guards.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post No Wonder They Hired Andy Coulson

    2011-07-11 08:38:57View | Delete

    I am not sure why Cameron hired Coulson, but I’m sure the answer to that question will be a key to the rest to this story. Maybe he was just trying to buy some protection from Murdoch. Maybe he wanted somebody as “connected” as Coulson. Any way you slice, it looks to cost Cameron severely. I think he, along with everyone else assumed Murdoch and his cronies were untouchable.

    On a side note, I’m wondering what sparked this whole mess off now. The really explosive details have been known to some folks in the UK for years.

  • I started reading Carle’s book a couple of days ago. I immediately realized that there was probably enough detail in the book to figure out who CAPTUS was. Yesterday, I saw Horton’s post and was thankful I didn’t have to do the work myself.

    As to your questions, I’m wondering if the CIA didn’t use the documents to reopen the hawala, thus making that a different operation from interrogating CAPTUS. The failure to cough up the documents was as likely stupid bureaucratic turf war as it was malicious.

  • Lichtblau (at the NYT) says it is al-Jamadi and Gul Rahman.

    Now under criminal investigation are the deaths of Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in C.I.A. custody in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and whose body was later photographed packed in ice, and Gul Rahman, who died in 2002 in a secret C.I.A. prison in Afghanistan after being shackled to a cold cement wall, according to the Associated Press, which cited unidentified government officials. The Justice Department did not immediately confirm the identities of the victims.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Waxman Gives Obama Lessons in Negotiation, Again

    2011-06-28 14:05:36View | Delete

    I guess technically what we ought to be worried about is volcanic eruptions. At least according to some theories, that’s what caused the infamous progression of rivers turning to blood, frogs, lice, biting insects, livestock diseases, boils, hail and fire from the sky, locusts, darkness, and deaths of the first born.

    Volcanos definitely threaten nuclear plants on the Pacific Rim…

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Waxman Gives Obama Lessons in Negotiation, Again

    2011-06-28 12:54:27View | Delete

    I would have expected frogs before locusts…

  • This is weird. I’ve been out of the country and didn’t even know that the Pentagon Papers had been released, but in following the links, I saw that Regina Greenwell at the LBJ Library was the one who discovered that the 11 words had been released. I met Greenwell 30 years ago. In fact, I think she was in the room when I witnessed one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen: Henry Kissinger trying to figure out how to eat a crispy taco.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post “SWIFT” Boating the Russian Mafia

    2011-06-28 08:13:06View | Delete

    If the story is true, there is a very scary implication. The Russian mob knew enough about the internal workings of an intelligence community project to kill the right person (someone on the software side).

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Obama War Powers Treachery and The Founders’ Remedies

    2011-06-21 06:44:06View | Delete

    But this is not about an individual and the law. The War Powers Act was always about institutional power. It was passed solely to make a point. I realize that as a lawyer you have real commitment to “The Law”. I admire that. But I come from a school for bare knuckle politics (seriously, I went to the Lyndon B. Johnson School for Public Affairs). Since 9/11, our legislature has completely abrogated its responsibility to serve as a check on the exacutive branch. If you want to place blame for this one, you really ought to be looking at towards the Hill.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Obama War Powers Treachery and The Founders’ Remedies

    2011-06-20 23:47:00View | Delete

    [Putting on my flame retardant underpants.]

    I strongly disagree with the post and most of the comments here. Bmaz is, of course, correct on the technical legal argument that he makes. In theory, the War Powers Act is still good law. In reality, it was a dead letter law the minute it was passed. Presidents have been ignoring it from Day One and Congress after Congress have failed to enforce it. Every President since Nixon (except my hero, Jimmy Carter) has knowingly, and with malice aforethought, violated it. It would be stupid to start talking about impeaching Obama for doing what almost every modern President has done.

    I am pretty sure that Bmaz will say, among other things, that I am treating the U.S. Constitution as a technicality. To that charge, I plead guilty. When it comes to the power of Congress to declare war, it is nothing more than a technicality. That ship, sadly, sailed long ago. If Congress wanted to assert its proper role, it would. Unfortunately, our entire political system has accepted the modern Imperial Presidency and the National Security State. We continue to slouch drunkenly towards the modern equivalent of the old Roman Republic’s dictatorial system, wherein the elites choose a man to be a tyrant for a limited term of office. Obama is doing nothing to reverse this trend, but he is no innovater in the mode of Dick Cheney.

    [Posted from Rome amidst the ruins of another empire pretending to be a republic.]

  • I suspect Feingold would make a better governor than Senator.

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post Hassan Ghul’s World Travels

    2011-06-18 00:30:41View | Delete

    What does it mean, though, that in response to concerns about the legality of removing him from Iraq, we then moved him from Afghanistan (another country we arguably occupied) to one of our “black sites”?

    That is a very big question. I am currently a few thousand miles from my notes on all the Geneva Convention discussions that were going on in the CIA during 2004, but I think I find this all very interesting. I think it hints at some sort of struggle between DoD and the agency at that time. I would guess that DoD must have evicted Ghul from Bagram. The Ghost prisoner controversy was heating at that time.

    Also, note that the story says the CIA had about 24 prisoners when they shut down the secret prison network. 14 went to Gitmo. That leaves roughly 10 unaccounted for.

  • Ok, I have been off-line for 2 weeks (on vacation) and this is the first thing I see. I knew Walker was scum, but attacking good beer? That is just too much. Where do I sign up to fight this one?

  • WilliamOckham commented on the blog post “Terrorists are cowards. Torturers are, too.”

    2011-06-03 11:35:21View | Delete


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