Scott Horton provides an invaluable overview:

He’s forgetting that the whole push to introduce torture at Guantánamo started with the War Council in which he and David Addington played such a central role. And he’s forgetting the key role played by Vice President Cheney and David Addington, his mentors, who raised him from obscurity when they decided to elevate a retiring Army captain to be general counsel of the Army. (Haynes’s utter fidelity to his masters is impressive, and yesterday it showed. Fidelity requires the code of omertà.)

He forgot his visit in September 2002 to Guantánamo with the rest of his War Council, a most convenient memory failure about which Philippe Sands confronted him during their interview. The minutes of that visit point to many private discussions between Haynes and the Guantánamo commander. Haynes doesn’t recall those, either, but immediately after them, the process of preparing requests for highly coercive techniques begins. Haynes wants us to consider this a coincidence. Experience teaches otherwise.

And he’s forgotten all about the push from the top, originating in his office, to have the SERE (“Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape”) techniques studied as a basis for new “gloves off” interrogation techniques.

Haynes had his deputy, Richard Shiffrin, launch a dialogue with SERE trainers about techniques that could be derived from their training program. This is path through which waterboarding and a number of other illegal techniques made their passage into the interrogator’s repertoire, first for the CIA and later for the military. In July 2005, Jane Mayer reported on this in a New Yorker article, and yesterday her work was validated through disclosure of the paper trail. He’s forgotten about the ferocious opposition to these practices that sprung up within the military, starting with the Navy’s General Counsel, Alberto Mora, and spreading to the leadership of the JAG Corps. But most curiously, he’s forgotten all about the role played by the Justice Department and its Office of Legal Counsel.

He’s forgotten about the torture memo itself. Why? The August 2002 torture memo is a smoking gun that shows torture being introduced top-down, as a project of the Cheney–Addington team of which Jim Haynes was a proud member. It refutes the whole administration narrative about torture practices coming on the strength of an appeal from below. And it puts the lie to John Yoo’s claims never to have influenced the abuses that occurred in the field in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Guantánamo. In fact the Yoo–Bybee memorandum unleashed the abuses, and was used by Jim Haynes just for that purpose. Once more, Jim Haynes is protecting his friends and protecting himself. Once more, Haynes gives not the candor and openness he owes to a Congressional oversight body, but the code of silence that more typically binds the participants in a criminal scheme.

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