Originally posted at Firedoglake
Sometimes people can be too smart for their own good.
According to recent news stories (see Spencer Ackerman's article in the Washington Independent), the Obama administration task force on interrogations is likely to recommend "small, mixed-agency teams for interviewing the most important terrorist targets." Moreover, according to former Deputy Attorney General and Intelligence Science Board member Philip Heymann:
... interrogators from across the military, CIA, and FBI, would be charged with creating a "syllabus" of best interrogation practices that fall within the boundaries of the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogations, which complies with the Geneva Conventions.
Obama's reliance on the most recent iteration of the Army Field Manual, which went into effect in September 2006, has been the subject of a number of critiques by myself, and by human rights organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Amnesty International. Its Appendix M allows for use of psychological torture techniques, including isolation, sleep deprivation, and partial sensory deprivation.
The main text of the AFM also changed the wording from the previous Army Field Manual as regards the use of drugs on prisoners, and did so in a way that allowed greater latitude for drugs that cause disruption of the senses and temporary psychosis. You'd think this was the brainchild of someone like John "Crush the Testicles" Yoo, but you'd be wrong.
In Yoo's famous memo, dated March 14, 2003, addressed to to William Haynes, then General Counsel at the Department of Defense, Yoo supposedly was answering Haynes/DoD's questions concerning "both domestic and international law that might be applicable to the conduct of... interrogations" of "alien unlawful combatants held outside the United States." Upon public release of the memo, it seemed to many as if Yoo were advocating an "anything goes" attitude towards torture and interrogations.