Memo Ties Gen. Sanchez To Torture

From Holden:

The ACLU forced the Pentagon to reveal yet another smoking gun.

The top U.S. commander in Iraq authorized prisoner interrogation tactics more harsh than accepted Army practice, including using guard dogs to exploit “Arab fear of dogs,” a memo made public on Tuesday showed.


The Sept. 14, 2003, memo by Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the senior commander in Iraq, was released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained it from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

“The memo clearly establishes that Gen. Sanchez authorized unlawful interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, and in particular these techniques violate the Geneva Conventions and the Army’s own field manual governing interrogations,” ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in an interview.


In the memo, Sanchez laid out which interrogation techniques were permitted in Iraq, and said some required his prior approval. Some of the harshest techniques were disallowed the next month because of opposition from some military lawyers.

Singh said at least 12 of the techniques were beyond the scope of the Army field manual, whose interrogation rules are designed to adhere to the Geneva Conventions.

The memo also noted that the Geneva Conventions “are applicable” and that detainees must be treated humanely.


The memo allowed for military working dogs, or MWD, to be present during interrogations, saying the practice “exploits Arab fear of dogs while maintaining security during interrogations. Dogs will be muzzled and under control of MWD handler at all times to prevent contract with detainee.”

Following the General’s orders, SIR!

The memo permitted “stress positions,” in which a prisoner is placed in potentially painful bodily positions to try to get them to talk. It allowed for “environmental manipulation” such as making a room hot or cold or using an “unpleasant smell,” isolating a prisoner, and disrupting normal sleep patterns.

General Sanchez says this is just fine.

The ACLU said the Pentagon initially refused to release the Sanchez memo on national-security grounds.

“It is apparent that the government has been holding this document not out of any genuine concern that it will compromise national security but to protect itself from embarrassment,” Singh said.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld denied that as a motivation, telling a Pentagon briefing, “If anyone can validate that allegation, I’d be happy to look into it, but I doubt that they can. It sounds like a political charge.”