On Thursday, a former chief investigator at the Guantanamo Bay detention center is accusing the Pentagon of blocking publication of his book on the use of brutal interrogation techniques. Mark Fallon, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) veteran, said his book “Unjustifiable Means” reveals no classified information. He said his book only details internal deliberations about interrogation methods, identifies officials who advocated “torture.”
A former NCIS investigator who worked at the wartime prison during the Bush administration has written a book, “Unjustifiable Means.” Now his civil liberties lawyers are asking a bipartisan group of senators for help getting the Pentagon to clear it for publication.
Retired 27-year career federal worker Mark Fallon’s manuscript “has been held up for more than seven months in ‘pre-publication review,’ and we are increasingly concerned that some in the government are committed to suppressing Mr. Fallon’s account,” the lawyers write six senators. They include Republican John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it drew up the so-called Torture Report on the Bush administration’s secret CIA prison network.
A former chief investigator at the Guantanamo Bay detention center is accusing the Pentagon of blocking publication of his book on the use of brutal interrogation techniques and top U.S. officials’ advocacy of what he calls “torture.”
Mark Fallon, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) veteran, said his book “Unjustifiable Means” reveals no classified information or new detainee abuse cases but details internal deliberations about interrogation methods, identifies officials who advocated “torture” and describes how he and others objected.
“This is more of an inside view of the fight to try to stop torture,” he said in an interview this week with Reuters. “There was a tremendous opposition within the government itself believing these were war crimes, and I name names.”
The use of the brutal interrogation methods made the country less safe, he said.
The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University and the American Civil Liberties Union yesterday sent a letter to six senators asking them to intervene in a stalled Department of Defense review that is blocking publication of a former military criminal investigator’s book on government torture. Mark Fallon, a 27-year veteran of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), submitted his manuscript, “Unjustifiable Means,” to the Defense Department for review seven months ago, but has been refused basic information about its status.
In the letter, the Knight Institute and the ACLU note that books defending American torture policies do not appear to have faced similar delays: “It is hard to escape the inference that the extended delay in reviewing Mr. Fallon’s book is related to his criticisms of the torture policies. We note that the Defense Department and CIA have authorized (or not stood in the way of) the publication of many books defending those policies.”
On behalf of Mark Fallon, the ACLU sent a letter to Senators Diane Feinstein, Martin Heinrich, John McCain, Jack Reed, Mark Warner and Ron Wyden regarding the seven months of delays in reviewing the ‘Unjustifiable Means’ transcript.
The ACLU wrote that the manuscript was submitted on January 4, 2017 and that more than seven months have passed since then, far exceeding the thirty-day advisory timeline in policy. The letter cited that the Pentagon has missed every estimate of completion and has refused to provide basic information regarding the status of the review, including a list of the agencies reviewing the book, or even the number of agencies reviewing it.
Just Security publishes a piece citing a letter Mark, and other national security professionals signed opposing the nomination of Stephen Bradbury as general counsel for the Department of Transportation. Bradbury served in the Bush administration and helped provide the legal cover for torture.
As acting director of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) under President George W. Bush, Bradbury was the primary author of four now-infamous memos that provided legal authorization for a range of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” that are widely considered methods of torture or cruel treatment. (His memos have since been discredited, and in 2009, were formally withdrawn.) Even if one believes his legal justifications were defensible at the time, the Senate should not approve a nominee who authorized some of the most damaging and embarrassing national security policies in recent U.S. history. The senators on the committee should reject his nomination.
Bradbury’s memos concluded that waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions and forced nudity of detainees, among other things, either alone or in combination, did not violate the international Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), or the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 passed to similarly prohibit “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment” of anyone in U.S. custody.
Awarding one of the key figures who approved that torture with a plum legal job implicitly undermines that consensus, and taints not only the Trump administration, but everyone who votes to affirm him. There are plenty of other qualified, ethical and independent legal professionals who can assume the important role of providing legal advice to ensure the safety and security of our nation’s transportation systems.
A Newsweek piece cited a letter Mark was a signatory on, with other national security professionals, opposing the nomination of Steven Bradbury to be general counsel for the Department of Transportation.
At his nomination hearing in June, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) made a forceful case for why Bradbury should not be confirmed.
“Your willingness to aid and abet torture demonstrates a failure of moral and professional character that makes you dangerous regardless of which agency you serve in,” said Duckworth, who is also an Iraq war veteran.
In reference to the letter, the author wrote: As a nonpartisan group of former national security, law enforcement, intelligence, and interrogation professionals put it in a recent letter to senators: “If the Senate confirms Mr. Bradbury, it would send a clear message to the American public that authorizing the use of torture is not only acceptable but is not a barrier to advancement into the upper ranks of our government.” They added: “Torture is not a partisan issue.”
Roger’s guest this week, Mark Fallon, has been involved in some of the most significant terrorism investigations and operations in recent history, including the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman (known at “the Blind Sheik”) and the attack on the USS Cole. They discuss counterterrorism tactics vs. strategies and the unintended effects of Western intervention and torture policies on extremist recruiting.
TRT world travels to Guantanamo to find out whether President Trump’s plan to fill the controversial prison up with “bad dudes” will help or harm the US so-called ‘war on terror’.
Before Barack Obama left office, he released 10 detainees from Guantánamo to Oman. Among them was Abdul Zahir, a 45-year-old man from Afghanistan. Zahir was detained at Guantánamo for 14 years, even though the US government later admitted that he was wrongfully held. He was mistaken for another man who shared his nickname, Abdul Bari. Zahir’s story exemplifies the cruelty of Guantánamo and the policies of indefinite detention and torture, which will, in all likelihood, continue with Trump as president.
Like every Guantánamo detainee, Zahir was tortured. His military defense lawyer, US Air Force Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas told Truthout that after Zahir’s capture, US forces “gave him the treatment that they thought every Brown person, every Muslim person they captured deserved — they tortured him.”
Thomas explained that Zahir suffered beatings, exposure to cold temperatures, cramped confinement, stress positions, hog-tying and sexual assault. “He would be kept in very small rooms with the air conditioning unit running full blast without proper clothing — so, a pair of shorts — and an iron bed,” Thomas said. Zahir “would be placed in interrogation rooms right under the air conditioner and they would make the room as cold as possible, with his hands tied to his waist, and then he would be tied into a fetal position on the floor in that very cold room.” In addition, Zahir “spent a year in a room that he called ‘a cage for animals.’ And in that room, he had to eat, sleep, exercise and shower all in the same place. Including elimination of waste.”
This reality has always been clear to some people within the US government. One of them is Mark Fallon, a retired 30-year federal investigator who, from 2002 to 2004, headed the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF), established to investigate cases that would be brought before a military commission. In the early days, Fallon said it was clear to him and CITF that most of the people arriving at Guantánamo were not the super-villain terrorists portrayed by the US government.
Fallon said CITF concluded “an overwhelming majority” of detainees had no intelligence or investigative value and should be released, while JTF-GTMO argued for further detention. However, it was JTF-GTMO’s assessments that caught the White House’s ear, while voices like Fallon’s were marginalized.