More documents prove that top defense officials approved of abuse at Guantanamo detention center

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The American Civil Liberties Union has released documents that prove that top Department of Defense officials endorsed interrogation methods at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp that the FBI described as both abusive and illegal.

“We now possess overwhelming evidence that political and military leaders endorsed interrogation methods that violate both domestic and international law,” said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU. “It is entirely unacceptable that no senior official has been held accountable.”

A memo written in 2003 names Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, former Commander of Joint Task Force–Guantanamo, as favoring interrogation techniques that the FBI said “could easily result in the elicitation of unreliable and legally inadmissible information.” That memo also indicates that FBI personnel brought their concerns to senior Department of Defense officials, but those concerns were ignored.

A few days ago, The New Yorker released a memo from Alberto Mora, outgoing General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, which describes his unsuccessful efforts in 2002 and 2003 to convince the Pentagon to renounce the prisoner abuse at Guantanamo. One of the people he had trouble convincing was his boss, William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the Department of Defense.

At one point, however, Haynes did take Mora’s concerns to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who responded by joking that he himself often stood for eight hours a day. “Torture? That’s not torture!” One of his staff members reminded him that he had the option to sit down whenever he chose.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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