Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Forgetful William "Jim" Haynes :
I cant remember what i havent forgotten or Selective Memory.
An unforgettable display of amnesia but sheer torture - Post Media Reply
IF EVER there was a case that cried out for enhanced interrogation techniques, it was Tuesday's Senate appearance by the Pentagon's former top lawyer.
William "Jim" Haynes, the man who blessed the use of dogs, hoods and nudity to pry information out of recalcitrant detainees, proved to be a model of evasion himself as he resisted all attempts at inquiry by the Armed Services Committee.
Did he ask a subordinate to get information about harsh questioning techniques?
"My memory is not perfect."
Did he see a memo about the effects of these techniques?
"I don't specifically remember when I saw this."
Did he remember doing something with the information he got?
"I don't remember doing something with this information."
When did he discuss these methods with other Bush Administration officials?
"I don't know precisely when, and I cannot discuss it further without getting into classified information."
The chairman, Democrat Senator Carl Levin, had had enough. "You say you don't remember it any more clearly than what you've said," he pointed out.
"Therefore, going into classified session isn't going to give us any more information than what you've said, which is you had conversations but your memory is bad."
"Correct," Mr Haynes agreed.
"And that's all you remember?"
"Correct," Mr Haynes repeated.
Luckily for the witness, they don't allow naked pyramids and simulated electrocutions in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
It was the most public case of memory loss since former attorney-general Alberto Gonzales, appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, forgot everything he ever knew about anything. And, like Mr Gonzales, Mr Haynes (who, denied a federal judgeship by the Senate, left the Pentagon in February for a job with Chevron) had good reason to plead temporary senility.
A committee investigation found that, contrary to his earlier testimony, Mr Haynes had shown strong interest in potentially abusive questioning methods as early as July 2002. Later, ignoring the strong objections of the uniformed military, Mr Haynes sent a memo to Donald Rumsfeld recommending the approval of stress positions, nudity, dogs and light deprivation.
Before Mr Haynes took his seat at the witness table on Tuesday, a parade of underlings pointed the finger at him. The former top lawyer for the Joint Chiefs of Staff testified that Mr Haynes "was aware that the services had concerns". The woman on whose legal reasoning Mr Haynes relied for his judgement on torture testified that she was "shocked" that he did so. And the former general counsel for the Navy said he had warned Mr Haynes that the legal reasoning was "inadequate".
In two hours of testimony, Mr Haynes managed to get off no fewer than 23 don't recalls, 22 don't remembers, 16 don't knows, and various other protestations of memory loss.
It was an impressive performance, to be sure. But let's see him try to do that with a hood over his head, standing on a crate with wires attached to his arms.
Dana Milbank, Washington June 19, 2008 WASHINGTON POST
Forgetful: William "Jim" Haynes
Posted by Peter Wolf at 17:44