In close investigation of the OPR report, Marcy Wheeler has uncovered another gruesome element of the Bush/Cheney torture regime.
CIA’s torturers asked DOJ to let them use mock burials. But DOJ said no.
PDF page 42 of the OPR Report (searchable copy here) includes a list of the torture techniques that Mitchell and Jessen recommended be used with Abu Zubaydah. Whereas the Bybee Two Techniques memo approves ten techniques, Mitchell and Jessen recommended twelve. In other words, Mitchell and Jessen asked for two techniques to be approved that did not get specific approval....
The twelfth technique–which Mitchell and Jessen wanted approved but which Yoo excluded because of the rush to approve waterboarding–is mock burial.
Now, it’s not clear whether Mitchell and Jessen ever did use mock burial with Abu Zubaydah. Zubdaydah didn’t mention it in the narrative he gave to the ICRC of his treatment.
But there are two more reasons why Yoo’s refusal to approve mock burial is dangerous for the CIA. First, an FBI agent told CIA and DOJ that the technique was borderline torture. Nevertheless, the CIA asked to have the technique available to it.
Also, any legal discussion of why mock burial would be a problem would focus on how torture statutes prohibit the threat of imminent death. Yet after mock burial was specifically excluded as a torture technique, CIA torturers went on to threaten detainees with a power drill and a gun. In other words, someone at that CIA had already been told, specifically, that they could not use the threat of imminent death on detainees. But on at least two occasions, they did so anyway.
Marcy has a follow-up post here.