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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 June, 2004, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Key excerpts: White House texts
The White House has released hundreds of previously secret documents showing the deliberations on how prisoners captured in the war on terror could be treated.

Below are some key excerpts from the texts:


Our nation recognises that this new paradigm - ushered in not by us, but by terrorists - requires new thinking in the law of war.

I accept the legal conclusion of the attorney general and the Department of Justice that I have the authority under the Constitution to suspend Geneva as between the United States and Afghanistan, but I decline to exercise that authority at this time.


We conclude that neither the federal War Crimes Act nor the Geneva Conventions would apply to the detention conditions of al-Qaeda prisoners.

We also conclude that the president has the plenary constitutional power to suspend our treaty obligations toward Afghanistan during the period of the conflict.

He may exercise that discretion on the basis that Afghanistan was a failed state.


I have discussed this with the Deputy, Dough Feith and General Myers.

I believe that all join in my recommendation that, as a matter of policy, you authorise [...] only Categories I and II and the fourth technique listed in Category III ("mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing").

Handwritten annotation signed D. Rumsfeld I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?


Category II techniques:

(1) the use of stress positions (like standing), for a maximum of four hours.

(2) The use of falsified documents or reports.

(3) Use of isolation facility for up to 30 days.

(4) Interrogation of the detainee in an environment other than the standard interrogation booth.

(5) Deprivation of light and auditory stimuli.

(6) The detainee may also have a hood placed over his head during transportation and questioning. The hood should not restrict breathing in any way and the detainee should be under direct observation when hooded.

(7) The use of 20-hour interrogation.

(8) Removal of all comfort items (including religious items).

(9) Switching the detainee from hot rations to MREs (meals ready to eat).

(10) Removal of clothing.

(11) Forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc).

(12) Using detainee individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress.

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