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’.
The media has frequently reported that the so called enhanced interrogation techniques were developed in the wake of 9/11. More specifically that they were reverse- engineered by psychological consultants Mitchell and Jes- sen1 (contracted by the CIA) from the SERE program—a training program to enable captured military personnel to survive, evade, resist (interrogations), and escape if cap- tured (see United States Army & Marine Corps, n.d.). Mitchell’s logic (McCoy, 2014) for the use of such strate- gies appears to have been the theory of learned helplessness (Seligman, 1975). However, the origin of specific strategies is complex and varied and such methods can be found further back in history (see Rejali’s, 2007, comprehensive review, Torture and Democracy). Rejali gives a historically exhaustive account of the various methods used to degrade and dehumanize detainees, highlighting the evolution of so-called white torture—torture that leaves no marks. In his nonpareil account of torture, he demonstrates how ineffec- tive it has been throughout history as a means of securing information, and that “strategic talk about torture in the face of terrorism turns out to have a deep undercurrent of blood- lust” (p. 535) as well as longer term negative social, polit- ical, and cultural influences.
There were a number of individuals who attempted to hold the high ground in response to the push toward torture. Mark Fallon (2015)—former Naval Criminal Investigative Service deputy assistant director and DOD al Qaeda task force commander—has been particularly vocal: “Torture is illegal, immoral, ineffective, and inconsistent with Ameri- can values” (p. 1, paragraph 2). However, knowing that torture does not work is not enough to stop the notion that it is better than doing nothing. To do that, you must present an alternative option that does work. David Petraeus, former commander of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, hinted at a solution when he stated after his experience of overseeing some of the world’s largest detention centers that the best way for an interrogator to extract information from a de- tainee is “to become his best friend” (Clark, 2014).