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Zman
05-31-2007, 12:00 AM
:sl:/Peace To All

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Shrinks and The SERE Technique At Guantanamo

By Stephen Soldz
05/29/07
InformationClearingHouse

The Defense Department (DoD) has just declassified a report from their Inspector General (OIG) looking at the various investigations that the Department has conducted into repeated claims of detainee abuse--a.k.a. "torture" and "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment"--banned by international and United States law.


The report documents that the various DoD "investigations were, individually and in total, inadequate:

Allegations of detainee abuse were not consistently reported, investigated, or managed in an effective, systematic, and timely manner. Multiple reporting channels were available for reporting allegations and, once reported, command discretion could be used in determining the action to be taken on the reported allegation. We did not identify any specific allegations that were not reported or reported and not investigated. Nevertheless, no single entity within any level of command was aware of the scope and breadth of detainee abuse.

SERE

Perhaps the most important information in this report, however, is that it provides further documentation that psychologists were central to the development of the abusive interrogation paradigm developed at Guantanamo and migrated to Abu Ghraib and other Iraqi prisons. In particular, the OIG provides concrete evidence that techniques developed in the US military's SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) program to help US troops at high risk of becoming POWs evade capture and resist breaking under abusive interrogations were systematically imported to Guantanamo and, less systematically, to Iraq and Afghanistan.


As the report describes:

"DoD SERE training, sometimes referred to as code of conduct training, prepares select military personnel with survival and evasion techniques in case they are isolated from friendly forces. The schools also teach resistance techniques that are designed to provide U.S. military members, who may be captured or detained, with the physical and mental tools to survive a hostile interrogation and deny the enemy the information they wish to obtain. SERE training incorporates physical and psychological pressures, which act as counterresistance techniques, to replicate harsh conditions that the Service member might encounter if they are held by forces that do not abide by the Geneva Conventions." (p. 23)

As part of the SERE program, trainees are subjected to abuse, including sleep deprivation, sexual and cultural humiliation, and, in some instances, waterboarding, described by one SERE graduate thus:

"[Y]ou are strapped to a board, a washcloth or other article covers your face, and water is continuously poured, depriving you of air, and suffocating you until it is removed, and/or inducing you to ingest water. We were carefully monitored (although how they determined these limits is beyond me), but it was a most unpleasant experience, and its threat alone was sufficient to induce compliance, unless one was so deprived of water that it would be an unintentional means to nourishment.

Former Air Force officer and now psychoanalyst Eric Anders described his SERE training experience thusly:

"I remember a variety of sadistic abuses, often in the form of mind games and humiliation. It was a horrible experience, but I imagine it might have prepared me to be in the position some of the Iraqi prisoners have unfortunately found themselves in."
Central to SERE is the role of psychologists. A psychologist is required to be present during certain aspects of the process, such as waterboarding as a "safety officer," to stop the training if (s)he perceives the trainee is being overly-traumatized.

In 2005, the New Yorker's Jane Mayer reported evidence that interrogators at Guantanamo were being trained in SERE techniques; they were "reverse engineering" the resistance techniques in order to figure out how to break down detainees. While Mayer reported suspicions, direct evidence of SERE involvement at Guantanamo was lacking for another year, till, in July 2006 Salon's Mark Benjamin, in Torture Teachers reported documentary evidence that SERE was, indeed, taught at Guantanamo.


In addition to documentary evidence that SERE techniques were taught at Guantanamo, Benjamin pointed out the similarities between what is done to US troops during SERE training and what was done to US detainees:

"There are striking similarities between the reported detainee abuse at both Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib and the techniques used on soldiers going through SERE school, including forced nudity, stress positions, isolation, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation and exhaustion from exercise."
Michael Otterman, in his marvelous and very disturbing new book, American Torture, put together then extant evidence of SERE reverse-engineering. Though the use of SERE techniques at US detention facilities was hardly in doubt after the reporting of Mayer, Benjamin, and Otterman , it was not clear until the OIG report whether the use of the techniques was intentional or inadvertent, a result of widespread exposure to them by US personnel during training.

The new OIG report resolves this question, containing as it does official admissions that SERE was, indeed systematically taught at Guantanamo and in Iraq.


"Counterresistance techniques taught by the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency [the agency responsible for SERE training] contributed to the development of interrogation policy at the U.S. Southern Command. According to interviewees, at some point in 2002, the U.S. Southern Command began to question the effectiveness of the Joint Task Force 170 (JTF-170), the organization at Guantanamo that was responsible for collecting intelligence from a group of hard core al Qaeda and Taliban detainees.

Counterresistance techniques were introduced because personnel believed that interrogation methods used were no longer effective in obtaining useful information from some detainees. On June 17, 2002, the Acting Commander, Southern Command requested that the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) provide his command with an external review of ongoing detainee intelligence collection operations at Guantanamo Bay, which included an examination of information and psychological operations plans.

The CJCS review recommended that the Federal Bureau of Investigation Behavioral Science Unit, the Army's Behavioral Science Consultation Team, the Southern Command Psychological Operations Support Element, and the JTF-170 clinical psychologist develop a plan to exploit detainee vulnerabilities. The Commander, JTF-170 expanded on the CJCS recommendations and decided to also consider SERE training techniques and other external interrogation methodologies as possible DoD interrogation alternatives" (pp. 24-25).

As a result of this review, SERE was introduced at Guantanamo. Notice that psychologists were key to this process:

"On September 16, 2002, the Army Special Operations Command and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency co-hosted a SERE psychologist conference at Fort Bragg for JTF-170 [the military component responsible for interrogations at Guantanamo] interrogation personnel. The Army's Behavioral Science Consultation Team from Guantanamo Bay also attended the conference. Joint Personnel Recovery Agency personnel briefed JTF-170 representatives on the exploitation techniques and methods used in resistance (to interrogation) training at SERE schools.

The JTF-170 personnel understood that they were to become familiar with SERE training and be capable of determining which SERE information and techniques might be useful in interrogations at Guantanamo. Guantanamo Behavioral Science Consultation Team personnel understood that they were to review documentation and standard operating procedures for SERE training in developing the standard operating procedure for the JTF-170, if the command approved those practices. The Army Special Operations Command was examining the role of interrogation support as a " Sere Psychologist competency area" (p. 25, emphasis added.)
For those of opposed to the participation of psychologists in abusive interrogations, this document contains the first definitive proof that the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs), consisting at that point of psychologists and psychiatrists (later, the military announced that they preferred psychologists for this role), were deliberately trained in abusive SERE techniques.


According to the OIG report, SERE psychologists were apparently not directly involved in individual interrogations. Rather, their role was to train those conducting or supervising the interrogations:

"On September 24, 2002, a Joint Personnel Recovery Agency representative at the SERE conference recommended in a conference memorandum report to his Commander that their organization "not get directly involved in actual operations." Specifically, the memorandum states that the agency had "no actual experience in real world prisoner handling," developed concepts based "on our past enemies," and assumes that "procedures we use to exploit our personnel will be effective against the current detainees." In a later interview, the Commander, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency stated that his agency's support to train and teach "was so common that he probably got 15 similar reports [memoranda] a week" (p. 25).

Indeed, the report documents that SERE instructors went to Guantanamo and provided training:

"On at least two occasions, the JTF-170 requested that Joint Personnel Recovery Agency instructors be sent to Guantanamo to instruct interrogators in SERE counterresistance interrogation techniques. SERE instructors from Fort Bragg responded to Guantanamo requests for instructors trained in the use of SERE interrogation resistance techniques" (p. 26).
These efforts led to a October 11, 2002 memorandum and legal brief requesting approval of a selection of these SERE techniques. This request led to December 2, 2002 approval of many of these SERE-based techniques by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld

All evidence is that these SERE techniques continued to be used, with active participation of the BST psychologists. For example, it is well documented (see the interrogation log) that the chair of the Guantanamo BSCT team, psychologist Major John Leso participated in the abusive interrogation (a.k.a. torture) of prisoner 063, Mohammed al-Qahtani.


A July 14, 2004 memo from the FBI to the Army Criminal Investigation Command documents the effects of this interrogation on al-Qatani:

"In September or October of 2002 FBI agents observed that a canine was used in an aggressive manner to intimidate detainee __ after he had been subjected to intense isolation for over three months. During that time period, __ was totally isolated (with the exception of occasional interrogations) in a cell that was always flooded with light. By late November, the detainee was evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non-existent people, reporting hearing voices, crouching in the corner of a cell covered with a sheet for hours on end). It is unknown to the FBI whether such extended isolation was approved by DoD authorities."

SERE In Iraq and Afghanistan


According to the report, these SERE techniques "migrated" to Afghanistan and Iraq:

"Counterresistance interrogation techniques in the U.S. Central Command Area of Operation derived from multiple sources that included migration of documents and personnel, the JTF-Guantanamo Assessment Team, and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency" (p. 26, emphasis added).

The report also provides direct evidence that SERE techniques were deliberately brought to Iraq.

"The Joint Personnel Recovery Agency was also responsible for the migration of counterresistance interrogation techniques into the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility. In September 2003, at the request of the Commander, TF-20, the Commander, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency sent an interrogation assessment team to Iraq to provide advice and assistance to the task force interrogation mission. The TF-20 was the special mission unit that operated in the CJTF-7 area of operations" (p. 28).

In fact, TF-20 was a 40-person special forces unit, with its own "private aviation unit" tasked with capturing or killing former Iraqi Baath leadership and resistance leaders ("high value targets"). TF-20 was accused of being "trigger happy," leading to innocent civilian deaths. Those captured by TF-20 were, according to the OIG report, subject to SERE techniques.

In Iraq it also appears that SERE staff got to participate directly in interrogations:

"The Commander, Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, explained that he understood that the detainees held by TF-20 were determined to be Designated Unlawful Combatants (DUCs), not Enemy Prisoners of War (EPW) protected by the Geneva Convention and that the interrogation techniques were authorized and that the JPRA team members were not to exceed the standards used in SERE training on our own Service members. He also confirmed that the U.S. Joint Forces Command J-3 and the Commanding Officer, TF-20 gave a verbal approval for the SERE team to actively participate in "one or two demonstration" interrogations" (p. 28).

It appears that TF-20 were so brutal in their application of SERE techniques that there was disagreement between SERE and TF-20 staff regarding the appropriateness of using the SERE-based techniques:

"SERE team members and TF-20 staff disagreed about whether SERE techniques were in compliance with the Geneva Conventions. When it became apparent that friction was developing, the decision was made to pull the team out before more damage was done to the relationship between the two organizations. The SERE team members prepared After Action Reports that detailed the confusion and allegations of abuse that took place during the deployment" (p. 28).

American Psychological Association Rresponse

With the release of the OIG's report, it is now irrefutable that both SERE psychologists and Guantanamo BSCT psychologists were involved in the development of these forms of interrogation abuse, forms of interrogation that clearly constitute psychological torture and were illegal under the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and various US laws until the 2006 Military Commissions Act granted immunity to those who had previously broken these laws during the "Global War On Terror."

Since psychologists became aware that their profession was being utilized to teach and conduct abusive interrogations, there has been a movement among them to ban participation in abusive interrogations. In response, the American Psychological Association (APA), the main psychologist professional organizations adopted a resolution condemning torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and forbidding members to participate in abusive treatment.

However, like the Bush administration, the APA is always against torture and abusive treatment but never actually sees it. Thus, the APA has never expressed concern as reports have come flooding out suggesting that abuse treatment (whether formally "torture" or merely "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment") is common in US detention facilities holding so-called enemy combatants. Neither has the APA expressed concern at the repeated reports of psychologist participation in abusive interrogations. Rather, they have attacked the critics of psychologist abuse. In a statement that he probably now regrets for making so obvious his contempt for those shedding light on psychologists' role in abusive interrogations, the 2006 APA President, Gerald Koocher, wrote: "A number of opportunistic commentators masquerading as scholars have continued to report on alleged abuses by mental health professionals."

However, the APA, like other health provider professional organizations felt the heat as these reports escalated. Thus, in June 2005 they convened a Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS), clearly designed to provide a rubber stamp on the participation of psychologists in national security interrogations.


After 2_ days of deliberations this Task Force concluded:

"It is consistent with the APA Code of Ethics for psychologists to serve in consultative roles to interrogation- or information-gathering processes for national security-related purposes. While engaging in such consultative and advisory roles entails a delicate balance of ethical considerations, doing so puts psychologists in a unique position to assist in ensuring that such processes are safe and ethical for all participants."
Of course, the value of a Task Force report depends upon the composition and expertise of the membership of that Task Force. So who did the APA see fit to include on its Task Force?

Strangely, when the report was released, it did not include a list of members; its authorship was, rather, anonymous. When members asked who was on the task Force, they were told the membership was confidential. (For the record it should be noted that the PENS membership, while kept from the public and the broader Association membership, was, in fact, released to the APAs Council of Representatives) When, a year later, the membership was finally published by Mark Benjamin in Salon, it was revealed that six of nine voting members were from the military and intelligence agencies with direct connections to interrogations at Guantanamo and elsewhere; the conclusion of the task Force's deliberations was obviously foregone.

Especially relevant, given the revelations in this newly-released OIG, at least two of the members of this Task Force had direct SERE connections. Captain Bryce E. Lefeve had served at the Navy SERE school from 1990 to 1993 before joining the special forces and becoming the "Joint Special Forces Task Force psychologist to Afghanistan in 2002, where he lectured to interrogators and was consulted on various interrogation techniques." (Criously,, he has "lectured on Brainwashing: The Method of Forceful Interrogation".)

But perhaps most disturbingly, on the task force was Colonel Morgan Banks. His biography states that "[h]e is the senior Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) Psychologist, responsible for the training and oversight of all Army SERE Psychologists, who include those involved in SERE training. He provides technical support and consultation to all Army psychologists providing interrogation support. His initial duty assignment as a psychologist was to assist in establishing the Army's first permanent SERE training program involving a simulated captivity experience."

Given what the OIG's report reveals about the central role of SERE in the development of US abusive interrogation techniques, as well as revelations regarding other PENS members, it appears ever more likely that the APA appointed some of this country's top torturers to formulate its policy on participation in abusive interrogations. The PENS report lacks any credibility. If the APA maintained a shred of decency, they would take the opportunity provided by the release of the OIG report to admit that they made a mistake in creating the PENS Task Force and would immediately set aside the PENS report and begin a new open discussion of the facts and the ethics involved in participation in national security interrogations.

In addition, if the APA were really concerned about ethics and decency, they would join the call by Physicians for Human Rights and by bioethicist Steven Miles for an independent Congressional (or Congressional sponsored) investigation into detainee abuse and the role of psychologists and other health professionals in that abuse.

For only a full investigation can clear up the question of exactly what types of abuse went on in the US detention facilities and exactly what role did psychologists and other health professionals play in these abuses.

If, as the APA repetitively states as if a mantra, its policies are based upon "our belief that having psychologists consult with interrogation teams makes an important contribution toward keeping interrogations safe and ethical," then the APA would surely want an investigation to reveal any abuses that occurred so as to help prevent future abuses. Of course, if, despite the mountains of evidence, psychologists truly are innocent of involvement in detainee abuse, only a full investigation could clear the air.

Unfortunately, I don't expect the APA to set aside the PENS report nor to endorse an independent investigation of detainee abuse. All evidence is that, from the beginning, APA actions have had one goal in mind, to maintain psychologist involvement in interrogations at all cost. After 9/11, the APA sought to show the government that psychologists were key players in "homeland security" [see Making psychological research a priority for countering terrorism]. To eschew involvement, abuse or not, would be to forsake the access and influence for which they have fought so hard.

Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He maintains the Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice web site and the Psyche, Science, and Society blog.

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Zman
05-31-2007, 09:57 PM
:sl:/Peace To All

First off, I'd like to thank the mods for their speedy approval of this post.

Post-9/11 Renditions: An Extraordinary Violation of International Law

Some Say Lack Of Due Process In Kidnappings and Detention At Secret Prisons Amounts To War Crimes


By Michael Bilton
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Posted: 5/22/2007
PublicIntegrity

PORTSMOUTH, England — A plane lands in darkness and is directed to a far corner of an airfield, well out of public view. A group of men described as "masked ninjas" — wearing black overalls and hoods with slits for their eyes, nose and mouth — descend the aircraft steps and make their way to a nearby airport building. Inside a small room the detainee is waiting under armed guard, perhaps already blindfolded. He is immediately hooded as a process known as a "twenty-minute takeout" begins. Soon he is aboard the plane, on his way to another country to be harshly interrogated and possibly tortured.

That is what happened to two Egyptian asylum seekers in Sweden on December 18, 2001, and to numerous other terrorist suspects since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Events like this rarely happened before 9/11, but many sources claim that the CIA began frequent use of the practice almost immediately afterward. Now its pattern is familiar and so is its odd name: "extraordinary rendition."

The United States has never acknowledged such renditions, but the CIA's activities have been extensively studied and documented by European and other governments, as well as organizations that monitor human rights violations. One such inquiry, by Sweden's parliamentary ombudsman, was set in motion when the Egyptian asylum seekers were swept away — and Sweden landed in hot water with the United Nations Human Rights Committee.

Extraordinary rendition may be a new term, but it is not a new practice — the English did it in the 17th century, shipping prisoners to Scotland to be tortured. Secret prisons are not a recent invention either. Britain ran such a camp holding Nazi prisoners at Bad Nenndorf, Germany, after World War II.

Evidence of ill treatment there was kept secret for 60 years. America also had a secret postwar camp known only as "P.O. Box 1142" at Fort Hunt next to the Potomac River in Virginia just outside of Washington, D.C. There, former U.S. interrogators have now disclosed, more than 3,400 Nazi prisoners were kept "off the books" in violation of the Geneva Conventions while they were interrogated about vital technical intelligence that could be useful to America.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States captured terrorist suspects overseas and "rendered" them back to the U.S. or to a third country to face trial. The CIA's extraordinary renditions reported to have occurred after 9/11 are quite different. What makes them extraordinary is that there is no judicial proceeding or due process of law; after the kidnapping, terrorist suspects simply disappear into a system of secret prisons for long-term detention and interrogation, sometimes accompanied by torture.
Human rights advocates and some legal scholars argue that extraordinary renditions are violations of international law, with some characterizing them as war crimes.

For example, Professor Jordan J. Paust of the University of Houston, a former U.S. Army lawyer who is an expert on international law, has presented a formal analysis asserting that U.S. government leaders and those who planned or took part in extraordinary renditions could be prosecuted for committing war crimes.

The program began after the 9/11 attacks; within a week, President Bush signed a classified presidential "finding" authorizing an unprecedented range of covert operations, including capturing terrorists in foreign nations and what the Washington Post characterized as "the expenditure of vast funds to coax foreign intelligence services into a new era of cooperation with the CIA." A portent of what was about to be unleashed came when Vice President Cheney said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will.

We've got to spend time in the shadows of the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion."

Foreign intelligence services — including those inside the European Union — worked closely with their CIA counterparts in hunting those suspected of planning the 9/11 attacks or being al Qaeda members. According to journalist Stephen Grey's respected chronology of known renditions before and after 9/11, terrorist suspects were being picked up under the new programs within weeks of the planes crashing in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Reports indicate that these men were tracked down, handed over to CIA special operations teams and then flown to secret detention centers where harsh techniques were used in their interrogation.
This article examines three thoroughly documented extraordinary renditions.

Sweden Criticized By U.N. Panel

Soon after 9/11, Swedish security police lodged objections to applications for asylum from two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed El Zari. Even before the Swedish government officially decided to return them to Egypt, a report by the Swedish ombudsman relates that the CIA offered use of an aircraft so the men could be expelled the moment a formal order was issued.

According to this report — which was based in large part on interviews with and documentation provided by Swedish security officials — at midday on December 18, 2001, CIA officials told their Swedish counterparts there would be no room on the plane for the Swedish security police.
When the Swedes objected, the CIA relented but insisted that a security check would have to be conducted on the two detainees at Bromma Airport near Stockholm. That being Swedish territory, the Swedes believed they were in charge of the deportation of two men from their country. It did not turn out that way.

A few hours after the expulsion order was official, the men were arrested. They arrived at Bromma about 8:30 p.m. Swedish counterterrorism officers and CIA officials were present, along with the security police.

"Just before 9 p.m. the American plane touched down," according to the ombudsman's report, "Officer Y went to speak to the occupants of the plane. These included, in addition to its crew, a security team of seven or eight, among them a doctor and two Egyptian officials. Officer Y informed the American officials that A. [Agiza] and E.Z. [El Zari] were waiting in the vehicles parked in front of the police station [at Bromma Airport] and the Americans were taken to them.

"The security team, all of whom were disguised by hoods around their heads, then went up to the vehicles in which A. and E.Z. were sitting. One of the men was taken first to the police station by the team. Inside the station, in a small changing room, the American officials conducted what they had referred to as a security check.

"According to reports, a doctor was present in the changing room. When the check had been completed, the second man was sent for and the same procedure repeated.

"The inquiry has revealed that this security check comprised at least the following. A. and E.Z. were subjected to a body search, their clothes were cut to pieces and placed in bags, their hair was thoroughly examined, as were their oral cavities and ears. In addition they were handcuffed and their ankles fettered, each was then dressed in an overall and photographed. Finally loose hoods without holes for their eyes were placed over their heads. A. and E.Z. were then taken out of the police station in bare feet and led to the aircraft.

"In addition, K.J. lawyer has reported that E.Z. said that the security team had forced him to lean forwards in the changing room and he had then felt some object being inserted into his anal cavity. Afterwards he was equipped with a diaper. According to K.J., E.Z. then felt calmer, as if 'all the muscles in his body were slack.' E.Z. was, however, fully conscious for the entire journey.

K.J. has added that E.Z. was blindfolded and placed in a hood and also forced to lie in an uncomfortable position on board the aircraft. …

"According to … witnesses, the security team conducted the security inspection rapidly, efficiently and professionally. The members of the team did not speak to each other but communicated using hand signals. …"

A Council of Europe inquiry obtained data from Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control agency, showing that the aircraft involved was a Gulfstream 5 executive jet with the call sign N379P, owned by Premier Executive Transport Services. The plane had set out on a prearranged two-day trip from the United States to board the two detainees in Sweden, take them to Egypt and then return to the U.S. after a brief refueling stop in Scotland.

This Eurocontrol data indicated that the executive jet that day covered many thousands of miles. It took off from Dulles International Airport during the early hours of December 18, flew direct to Cairo and collected two Egyptian officials; after refueling, it immediately headed for Sweden. The plane was on the ground at Bromma for just 65 minutes before heading back to Egypt.

According to the Swedish ombudsman's report: "Just two representatives of the Security Police were on board the plane: officer Y and the civilian interpreter. The original intention had been for three people to accompany the plane to Egypt but late in the day they were informed by the captain of the plane that there was only room for two from the Swedish Security Police. A. and E.Z. were placed at the rear of the plane, each lying on a mattress to which they were strapped. Their handcuffs, ankle fetters and hoods were not removed during the flight to Egypt.

"The transport log drawn up by officer Y contains the following entry: 'They were kept under observation for the entire time and the guards were changed every other hour. The doctor in the escort inspected them all the time. … [T]he body-search at the airport and the use of handcuffs and fetters was at the express order of the captain of the aircraft. In addition, it was noted that the explanation for requiring A. and E.Z. to wear hoods was that this was a policy that had been laid down on the basis of the events of September 11, 2001, about the transport of
deportees with terrorist links.

"At about 3 a.m. the plane landed at Cairo. A. and E.Z. disembarked and were received by Egyptian officials. They were then driven off in a transit bus."

Despite Egypt's diplomatic assurance to Sweden that the two men would be treated humanely, Human Rights Watch says, based on testimony subsequently given by one of the two men, that they were subsequently tortured. U.N. Committees later decided Sweden had violated the Geneva Conventions by sending the men to Egypt.

"Egypt's promise not to torture was a mere fig leaf for the Swedish authorities," said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, an independent non-governmental advocacy organization. "Transferring people to countries where they face torture violates international law, regardless of what empty promises a country gives… The U.N. committee noted that Egypt had a well-documented history of torture abuses, especially when dealing with terrorism suspects. It said that Egypt's routine use of torture, in combination with interest in Agiza by the U.S. as well as Egypt, should have led to a 'natural conclusion' that he was at risk of torture upon return."

Egypt — a key ally of the United States — has long been the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid, after only Israel. Its secret police are notorious for their brutality during interrogations. The U.S. State Department noted in a 2002 human rights report their frequent torture of prisoners, during which people were stripped, blindfolded, suspended from the ceiling or door frame with their feet just touching the floor; beaten with whips, fists, metal rods; subjected to electric shocks; and doused with cold water.

Canada Apologizes To Citizen

Canadian citizen Maher Arar was born in Syria in 1970 and emigrated to Canada as a teenager, settling in Montreal. In September 2002, he visited Tunisia with his family and was returning home to Canada via the United States. At New York's Kennedy International Airport he was arrested, strip-searched and then held in an immigration detention center for 12 days. On October 8, he was told he was being deported to Syria. Shackled, he was taken to New Jersey, put on an executive jet and flown to Jordan. The next day, blindfolded, he was driven across the border to Syria and taken to Far Falestin, the notorious detention center run by the Syrian military intelligence.

Witnesses to a Commission of Inquiry in Canada testified what they and Arar experienced in Far Falestin: "[They] closed the cell door. It was like a grave, exactly like a grave. It had no light. It was three feet wide. It was six feet deep. It was seven feet high." Arar told the Commission he met the person he later discovered was the head interrogator, identified as George Salloum, and gave this account:

Salloum introduced him to "the chair" — a torture device capable of breaking a detainee's back.

Arar could hear fellow prisoners screaming with pain. Soon he was receiving the same treatment. He was beaten about his body, four lashes with a two-foot-long electric cable that had been shredded. Then he was asked questions. The torture would stop and start, getting worse and worse. He admitted being trained by al Qaeda in Afghanistan only because he had decided to "say anything" necessary to avoid torture. He was constantly warned that "tomorrow will be worse." He slept only two or three hours a night, on a cold concrete floor, known to his guards only by his cell number: Two.

Arar reported that he and other detainees were doused with cold water and had the soles of their feet beaten with thick black plastic cables. Another detainee told investigators that he was ordered to undress, except for his underwear. Interrogators then poured cold water on his body while he stood. He was then laid on the floor and, as interrogators trained a fan on him, more cold water was poured over him. They asked him to raise his legs from the knee and started beating him with black rubber cables.

Arar confessed to membership in al Qaeda, even though the Canadian Commission of Inquiry subsequently found that he had absolutely no connection with the organization or terrorism. After 10 months and 10 days of detention, he was transferred to Sednaya Prison, also in Syria, where he reported that conditions were "like heaven" compared with Far Falestin. On October 5, 2003, he was released from custody after signing a "confession" given to him by a Syrian prosecutor. He has since been awarded $8.9 million in damages (and an official apology) by the Canadian government but remains on a U.S. terrorist watch list.

How The CIA's Cover Was Blown

The aircraft used to transfer detainees from one country to another were supposed to be part of a clandestine CIA operation, but a sloppy mistake blew their cover and helped European investigators create a comprehensive record of renditions.

One frequently used aircraft was Gulfstream N379P, whose trips included delivery of Agiza and El Zari to Egypt. The company that owned it, Premier Executive Transport Services, was a CIA front whose officers had post office box addresses where 325 fictitious names also were registered. The plane's connection began to emerge when another of its renditions got under way at 2:40 a.m. on October 23, 2001, at a little-used terminal at Karachi International Airport in Pakistan.

A 27-year-old Yemeni man, Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, had been apprehended by the Pakistan intelligence service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He was taken blindfolded and in chains to be handed over to the CIA. Suspected of involvement in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, he had been reported missing for three weeks from Karachi University, where he was studying microbiology. He was flown from Pakistan to Jordan and then promptly disappeared.

What gave this transfer significance was the clumsy way in which it was handled. According to Pakistani sources, an airport official at the Karachi airport demanded a landing fee from the CIA plane. The crew refused. ISI agents then instructed airport staff that they would pay the fees, and the plane took off. But the incident created a minor stir that drew attention to the Gulfstream, which had been tucked away in a quiet corner of the airport so as not to be conspicuous.

On October 26, 2001, Masood Anwar, a Pakistani journalist with The News in Islamabad, wrote how Mohammed claimed he had been flown out of the country aboard a plane bearing tail number N379P. Those details ricocheted via the Internet among spy-hunters, bloggers and plane-spotting enthusiasts curious about precisely how the newly declared war on terrorism was being conducted.

Research by human rights groups, journalists and European governments subsequently revealed that the CIA had operated some 30 aircraft disguised by the use of companies like Premier Executive Transport Services and in other ways. Other aircraft were leased to operating companies and their subsidiaries. Eurocontrol data showed that 32 such aircraft made at least 1,245 stopovers in the various European countries.

Dozens of flights went to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. was detaining terrorism suspects. European investigators believed many of the flights were for extraordinary renditions.
Eurocontrol data show the CIA planes made the following stopovers between October 2001 and the end of 2005: 76 in Azerbaijan; 72 in Jordan; 61 in Egypt; 52 in Turkmenistan; 46 in Uzbekistan; 40 in Iraq; 40 in Morocco; 38 in Afghanistan; and 14 in Libya.

Source:
http://www.publicintegrity.org/Milit...t.aspx?aid=855
Reply

Cognescenti
05-31-2007, 10:26 PM
So let me get this straight. Techniques employed during the training of US troops to prepare them for hostile interrogations if captured, when applied to unlawful combatants constitute torture?

:thumbs_up


"....Finally loose hoods without holes for their eyes were placed over their heads. A. and E.Z. were then taken out of the police station in bare feet and led to the aircraft......"


Gasp! Oh the humanity!

The reason "extraordinary rendition" seems extraordinary is the US was not on a war footing before. Standard law enforcement, namby pamby approaches (like sending the FBI to comb trough bomb rubble of the Khobar Towers or the African embassy buildings didn't work.
Reply

MTAFFI
05-31-2007, 11:39 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
So let me get this straight. Techniques employed during the training of US troops to prepare them for hostile interrogations if captured, when applied to unlawful combatants constitute torture?

:thumbs_up


"....Finally loose hoods without holes for their eyes were placed over their heads. A. and E.Z. were then taken out of the police station in bare feet and led to the aircraft......"


Gasp! Oh the humanity!

The reason "extraordinary rendition" seems extraordinary is the US was not on a war footing before. Standard law enforcement, namby pamby approaches (like sending the FBI to comb trough bomb rubble of the Khobar Towers or the African embassy buildings didn't work.
well lets first look at the source of the information here, if you follow the link to the actual article you will find no links to these "declassified" documents, you will also find that it is wrote by an indepedent psychologist and this is all jsut his opinion.

But anyways, we are at war right? We do take prisoners in war right? What should we do with them to question them? I suppose force feeding them chocolate until they crack would do the trick, although I dont know if our troops would benefit from that training
Reply

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Muezzin
06-01-2007, 05:30 PM
Let me preface this by saying I am of no particular 'side' here, I just speak out against injustice where I see it, whoever is committing it.

That disclaimer will prove to be fairly pointless when I am passively aggresively flamed in reply, but meh.

Originally Posted by Cognescenti
"....Finally loose hoods without holes for their eyes were placed over their heads. A. and E.Z. were then taken out of the police station in bare feet and led to the aircraft......"


Gasp! Oh the humanity!
The U.S. makes hooded prisoners walk barefoot while keeping them in outdoor cages and justifying sexual humiliation because it's 'part of the training'. It's fine.

Iran makes prisoners sit on television and buys them cheap suits. The Iranians are monsters!
Reply

MTAFFI
06-01-2007, 07:28 PM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
Let me preface this by saying I am of no particular 'side' here, I just speak out against injustice where I see it, whoever is committing it.

That disclaimer will prove to be fairly pointless when I am passively aggresively flamed in reply, but meh.


The U.S. makes hooded prisoners walk barefoot while keeping them in outdoor cages and justifying sexual humiliation because it's 'part of the training'. It's fine.

Iran makes prisoners sit on television and buys them cheap suits. The Iranians are monsters!

Of course, the Iranians captured some sailors, who were allegedly in their waters, some of the interrogation techniques were revealed and the woman was actually terrorized, as they said they made her think they were going to kill her. The people in Gitmo did a lot more than tread in waters to end up there, questions have to be asked hard to get answers
Reply

islamirama
06-01-2007, 07:47 PM
Originally Posted by MTAFFI
Of course, the Iranians captured some sailors, who were allegedly in their waters, some of the interrogation techniques were revealed and the woman was actually terrorized, as they said they made her think they were going to kill her. The people in Gitmo did a lot more than tread in waters to end up there, questions have to be asked hard to get answers
so you support torture like your master, bush. Even when international community condemed it, and they also condemed that place as did your closest allies and red cross and human rights groups.

What more can we expect from the ever so "compassionate" crusaders. You take "suspects" and torture them to death and then cry about why the world hates you.
Reply

MTAFFI
06-01-2007, 07:58 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
so you support torture like your master, bush. Even when international community condemed it, and they also condemed that place as did your closest allies and red cross and human rights groups.

What more can we expect from the ever so "compassionate" crusaders. You take "suspects" and torture them to death and then cry about why the world hates you.
again you make it seem as though I support Bush, what a laughable joke you are. I will say it again though, I dont support Bush but I do support my country, cant wait for a new president.

As for torture, it well known and documented that nearly every country in the world is guilty of torturing during war times, the US just happens to be the focus at this point. Personally, I believe we are at war with a group of people who will not give up information just because they are captured, and if that means hard questioning, to provide me with my security, then I say ask as hard as necessary.
Reply

Cognescenti
06-01-2007, 08:00 PM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
Let me preface this by saying I am of no particular 'side' here, I just speak out against injustice where I see it, whoever is committing it.

That disclaimer will prove to be fairly pointless when I am passively aggresively flamed in reply, but meh.


The U.S. makes hooded prisoners walk barefoot while keeping them in outdoor cages and justifying sexual humiliation because it's 'part of the training'. It's fine.

Iran makes prisoners sit on television and buys them cheap suits. The Iranians are monsters!
Let me see if I can keep my aggressive side in check, as you seem to be a very resonable person.

1) The excerpt from the article was in regard to the handling of those prisoners transported under "extraordinary rendition". It did not discuss the 'routine" prisoners transported after being captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. To my knowledge, there has not been a claim of "sexual humiliation" of prisoners while under US custody in the extraordinary rendition program. You are mixing apples and oranges. That was Abu Ghraib, which was unauthroized and clearly sadistic. The commanding General was kicked out of the Army and several personally responsible are serving jail time.

2) "Outdoor cages"...those were cells, they were outdoors but it wasn't Alaska. The situation ahs been remedied. The US had no existing facility to house them...we sort of weren't expecting the 9-11 attack. BTW, several detainees at G'itmo have filed suit asking they not be transferred to their country of origin for more "humane" treatment.

3) Blindfolding super-high risk detainees during transport isn't torture. It is a security measure. This is the story of Louis Pepe, a US Federal prison guard:

Four years ago, Louis Pepe, a federal security guard, was assigned to a high-security wing at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) reserved for some of the most dangerous international terrorists being held in federal custody including several alleged al Qaeda operatives. On November 1, 2000, Pepe was brutally attacked by Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, a former top aide to Osama bin Laden who was awaiting trial on charges that included attempting to purchase nuclear weapons components.

Salim used hot sauces purchased in the prison to temporarily blind Mr. Pepe and then thrust a sharpened plastic comb three inches into Pepe’s left eye, resulting in severe brain damage, partial paralysis, the loss of his left eye and the loss of 60 percent of the vision in his right eye. Notes later found in Salim’s cell indicate that the attack may have been part of a plan to seize hostages in an effort to break out of jail.


3) As far as the Iranians and the cheap suits go...you are right, that wasn't torture, but mock executions certainly were. There is also the minor detail that the British sailors had done nothing wrong, they were in uniforms (at least until they changed to the suits) and were conducting a lawful activity under the direction of the UN and Iraqi goverment.

PS...I don't think the US invented the blindfold.
See anyone familiar in this picture? :)

Reply

islamirama
06-01-2007, 08:11 PM
Originally Posted by MTAFFI
As for torture, it well known and documented that nearly every country in the world is guilty of torturing during war times, the US just happens to be the focus at this point. Personally, I believe we are at war with a group of people who will not give up information just because they are captured, and if that means hard questioning, to provide me with my security, then I say ask as hard as necessary.
US seems to go at greater lengths to torture "suspects" who have not even been proven by the court as criminalsl. all those people there are suspects who have been denied basic human rights. And US puts out laws that make those humans subhuman with no rights or anything. US also kidnaps people and send them to europe and other countries to its secrete torture cells. Don't know of any other country that does that.

As for your safety,look up the statistics. you have higher chance of being run over a car or any other crime in the US then a terrorists attack. but hey, you neocons gotta justify your injustice and war crimes some how, don't ya!

what you need is more black hawk down in iraq to send your troops packing home inshallah!
Reply

wilberhum
06-01-2007, 08:14 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
US seems to go at greater lengths to torture "suspects" who have not even been proven by the court as criminalsl. all those people there are suspects who have been denied basic human rights. And US puts out laws that make those humans subhuman with no rights or anything. US also kidnaps people and send them to europe and other countries to its secrete torture cells. Don't know of any other country that does that.

As for your safety,look up the statistics. you have higher chance of being run over a car or any other crime in the US then a terrorists attack. but hey, you neocons gotta justify your injustice and war crimes some how, don't ya!

what you need is more black hawk down in iraq to send your troops packing home inshallah!
Maybe we should have just beheaded them. Kind of like those that you favor.
Reply

MTAFFI
06-01-2007, 08:17 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
US seems to go at greater lengths to torture "suspects" who have not even been proven by the court as criminalsl. all those people there are suspects who have been denied basic human rights. And US puts out laws that make those humans subhuman with no rights or anything. US also kidnaps people and send them to europe and other countries to its secrete torture cells. Don't know of any other country that does that.

As for your safety,look up the statistics. you have higher chance of being run over a car or any other crime in the US then a terrorists attack. but hey, you neocons gotta justify your injustice and war crimes some how, don't ya!

what you need is more black hawk down in iraq to send your troops packing home inshallah!
Yes the US goes to greater lengths....lol... You must not read much about the Russians and the Chinese on your conspiracy sites huh? lol... Your own people in Afghanistan not only torture their detainees without a trial but they then behead them and desecrate their bodies by throwing them on the sides of roads. The only difference is there is no one to point the finger at, which is very convienent for people like you.

Also probably part of the reason there is so little risk of a terrorist attack is because many of them are being killed daily or are locked up at Gitmo, funny how when you remove a problem there ceases to be a problem, isnt it.

As for the black hawk down comment, again you are laughable, what you need is some good parent who will pay more attention to you and show you the difference between reality and your dreamworld. Oh yeah and keep talking like that, you never know who might be reading that terrorist talk.
Reply

Cognescenti
06-01-2007, 08:21 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
....As for your safety,look up the statistics. you have higher chance of being run over a car or any other crime in the US then a terrorists attack. but hey, you neocons gotta justify your injustice and war crimes some how, don't ya!

!

That is a completely specious argument. It wasn't an earthquake, guy. It was an intentional act of malice and the same crowd are possessed of the will to do it again.

It would be as if the Mayor of Pearl Harbor stood up in 1944 and asked "what are we spending all this money on? I havent' seen a Japanese plane in three years."
Reply

islamirama
06-01-2007, 08:24 PM
Originally Posted by MTAFFI

Also probably part of the reason there is so little risk of a terrorist attack is because many of them are being killed daily or are locked up at Gitmo, funny how when you remove a problem there ceases to be a problem, isnt it.
what great logic you have, kill all those that hate you so they don't even think of attacking you. Yea i see your point, so are you going to go kill every single person in the world that hates you now?


As for the black hawk down comment, again you are laughable, what you need is some good parent who will pay more attention to you and show you the difference between reality and your dreamworld. Oh yeah and keep talking like that, you never know who might be reading that terrorist talk.
yea i can see how much freedom of speech i have in this "great land" thank you for reminding me that.




Originally Posted by wilberhum
Maybe we should have just beheaded them. Kind of like those that you favor.
That would be more humane than what you did to innocent civilians...

Hidden Massacre of Fallujah

Hidden Massacre of Haditha
Reply

MTAFFI
06-01-2007, 08:37 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
what great logic you have, kill all those that hate you so they don't even think of attacking you. Yea i see your point, so are you going to go kill every single person in the world that hates you now?
Hate all you want, but the second that hate turns into a plane and 3000 innocent people dead, then yes, kill everyone else with that intention. It is a divine right given by God to protect my women and children. Any person that poses any threat to me or my family, that dares step foot on my property better believe they will not walk away.


Originally Posted by islamirama
yea i can see how much freedom of speech i have in this "great land" thank you for reminding me that.
Freedom of speech is one thing, condoning and promoting terrorism and acts of violence against the country you live in is treason and punishable by death.
Reply

islamirama
06-01-2007, 08:43 PM
Originally Posted by MTAFFI
Hate all you want, but the second that hate turns into a plane and 3000 innocent people dead, then yes, kill everyone else with that intention. It is a divine right given by God to protect my women and children. Any person that poses any threat to me or my family, that dares step foot on my property better believe they will not walk away.
90% Americans Believe US Government Covering Up 9/11, guess your among the other 10% poor saps that is still clinging to lies and propaganda.




Freedom of speech is one thing, condoning and promoting terrorism and acts of violence against the country you live in is treason and punishable by death.
Not condeming the resistance groups for fighting the occupation of their land is promoting acts of violence in this country? you're starting to sound like bush now, "your either with us or against us"

yup, definitly no freedom of speech in this rat hole. What's next, you gona say that i should be put to death for treason?
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wilberhum
06-01-2007, 08:50 PM
November 2004, 8582 total votes. :-[
Boy, you need a life. :D
What more proof do you want? :?
I don't question for a moment that there is a "Cover up" in some areas.
That hardly means I think the CIA helped the Jews do 9/11. :raging:
Reply

MTAFFI
06-01-2007, 08:53 PM
Originally Posted by islamirama
90% Americans Believe US Government Covering Up 9/11, guess your among the other 10% poor saps that is still clinging to lies and propaganda.






Not condeming the resistance groups for fighting the occupation of their land is promoting acts of violence in this country? you're starting to sound like bush now, "your either with us or against us"

yup, definitly no freedom of speech in this rat hole. What's next, you gona say that i should be put to death for treason?
wow yet another post from prisonplanet or infowars\

here is another poll that shows only 43% of americans believe in a coverup
http://www.askquestions.org/details.php?id=2

I bet if I made a poll on a conservative website about whether or not 9/11 was a coverup 90% of americans would not think it was, I guess you wouldnt think that since the poll was advertised on prisonplanet and infowars and the people that visit those sites may have done what the author of the site asked of them and went to cnn and voted, many of them probably more than once. What is your point anyways? Again you venture from the topic.

http://www.debunking911.com/

There are your answers

As for you comments about the treason your exact quote was
"what you need is more black hawk down in iraq"

that is treason
Reply

islamirama
06-01-2007, 09:00 PM
Originally Posted by MTAFFI
wow yet another post from prisonplanet or infowars\

here is another poll that shows only 43% of americans believe in a coverup
http://www.askquestions.org/details.php?id=2

I bet if I made a poll on a conservative website about whether or not 9/11 was a coverup 90% of americans would not think it was, I guess you wouldnt think that since the poll was advertised on prisonplanet and infowars and the people that visit those sites may have done what the author of the site asked of them and went to cnn and voted, many of them probably more than once. What is your point anyways? Again you venture from the topic.

http://www.debunking911.com/

There are your answers
prison planet didn't make up those numbers, don't see the cnn logo on there or are you going to ignore that and show your friendly numbers? it's funny you bash sites question the validity of the "facts" presented to you and yet you promote DC gov't backed sites and quote them to me. What makes you think I wil listen to that crap. I saw the video of 9-11, i can judge for myself.


As for you comments about the treason your exact quote was
"what you need is more black hawk down in iraq"

that is treason
Treason on what grounds?

You have an occupation against the will of the people of iraq, with a war you waged illegally on faulty intelligence. And if i say those people should do to the invaders what the somalis did to their invaders, then that is my right to say. It does not qualify as treason, what's next? burning US flag is treason also?
Reply

Muezzin
06-01-2007, 09:22 PM
Please stay on-topic everyone. I've tried to be a little patient in other threads, but the spam seems to get out of control. All this 9/11 stuff is not really on topic.
Reply

Zman
06-01-2007, 11:36 PM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
Maybe we should have just beheaded them. Kind of like those that you favor.

Like the way we shread people to pieces with Cluster Bombs, or burn them to a crisp with Napalm or Thermobaric Weapons and White Phosphorous, as we did to the civilians of Fallujah.

Those are the methods that "we" favor?
Reply

wilberhum
06-01-2007, 11:52 PM
Originally Posted by Zman

Like the way we shread people to pieces with Cluster Bombs, or burn them to a crisp with Napalm or Thermobaric Weapons and White Phosphorous, as we did to the civilians of Fallujah.

Those are the methods that "we" favor?
Ya, I like them too. In what movie was it said "There is nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning".

If we want to get into a "Who's momma is the ugliest" we first have to admit that our mommas are ugly.
Reply

Zman
06-02-2007, 12:14 AM
Originally Posted by wilberhum
In what movie was it said "There is nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning".

By Robert Duvall, in Apocalypse Now.

If we want to get into a "Who's momma is the ugliest" we first have to admit that our mommas are ugly.

And our mommas are by far ulgier...
Reply

Zman
06-02-2007, 01:00 AM
:sl:/Peace To All

We Were Torturing People For No Reason

By Tara McKelvey
03/29/07
The International Herald Tribune

Tony Lagouranis is a 37-year-old bouncer at a bar in Chicago's Humboldt Park. He is also a former torturer.

That was how he was described in an e-mail promoting a panel discussion, "24: Torture Televised," hosted by the Center on Law and Security of the New York University School of Law on March 21. He doesn't shy away from the description.

As a specialist in a military intelligence battalion, Lagouranis interrogated prisoners at Abu Ghraib, Al Asad Airfield and other places in Iraq from January through December 2004.

Coercive techniques, including the use of dogs, waterboarding and prolonged stress positions were employed on the detainees, he says.

Prisoners held at Al Asad Airfield, about 110 miles northwest of Baghdad, were shackled and hung from an upright bed frame welded to the wall in a room in an airplane hanger, he told me in a phone interview.

When he was having problems getting information from a detainee, he recalls, other interrogators said, "Chain him up on the bed frame and then he'll talk to you."

Lagouranis says he didn't participate directly in hangings from the frames.

The results of the hangings, shacklings and prolonged stress positions - sometimes for hours - were devastating.

"You take a healthy guy and you turn him into a cripple, at least for a period of time," Lagouranis told me. "I don't care what Alberto Gonzales says. That's torture."

Lagouranis was on the NYU panel to talk about torture and its role in the Emmy Award-winning television show "24.

"The show's hero, Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), is ruthless in his attempts to extract information about terrorist plots from suspects in "ticking timebomb" situations.

The prevailing sentiment of the show, as Jane Mayer wrote in an article about "24" in the New Yorker is, "Whatever it takes."

Lagouranis met with the show's creative team in California in November, she wrote.

He told them that the grisly plotlines of television shows like "24" had given soldiers ideas on how to torment prisoners. (for example, forcing a prisoner to listen to the sounds of men being tortured in a nearby cell - a method that was proposed, he said, but not carried out during his time in Iraq.)

...Lagouranis is one of the few individuals to have spoken publicly about his experiences as an interrogator who used or saw harsh techniques inflicted on prisoners in the war.

(His book, "Fear Up Harsh: An Army Interrogator's Dark Journey through Iraq," co-authored with Allen Mikaelian, will be published in June.)

...Yet there have been repercussions. He suffered from panic attacks after his return to the United States and was placed under army psychiatric care...

...He and other soldiers discussed the Geneva Conventions during military training at Fort Gordon, Georgia, in 2003, before being deployed to Iraq. But it became clear they were not always expected to abide by them, he says.

Some of the soldiers and officers had been influenced by Mark Bowden's October 2003 article in the Atlantic Monthly, "The Dark Art of Interrogation," which described techniques that, in the author's words, are "excruciating for the victim" yet "leave no permanent marks and do no lasting physical harm."

"It seems to me Bowden was advocating what he calls 'torture lite,' " Lagouranis told me. "That made an impression on a lot of people. The feeling was that what we had been taught about the Geneva Conventions was not going to be followed anymore."

Things seemed different in Iraq.

"I started realizing that most of the prisoners were innocent," Lagouranis told me. "We were torturing people for no reason. I started getting really angry and really remorseful and by the time I got back I completely broke down."

At the NYU event, Lagouranis said, "I'm from New York City. I'm college-educated. But you put me in Iraq and told me to torture, and I did it and I regretted it later."

That is something Lagouranis and others like him will be dealing with for a long time.

"I didn't know I would discover and indulge in my own evil," he writes in his forthcoming book.

"And now that it has surfaced, I fear that it will be my constant companion for the rest of my life."

Tara McKelvey is a senior editor at The American Prospect. This article was distributed by Agence Global.

Source:
http://www.iht.com/bin/print.php?id=5055191
Reply

Keltoi
06-02-2007, 01:03 AM
I would take these cut and paste articles more seriously if they weren't coming from left-wing sites. For those interested, visit The American Prospect website and take a look at the kind of articles that are written there. It is safe to say that it is hardly an unbiased source of legitimate info.
Reply

Zman
06-02-2007, 01:14 AM
:sl:/Peace To All

The Dark Art Of Interrogation

The Most Effective Way To Gather Intelligence and Thwart Terrorism Can Also Be A Direct Route Into Morally Repugnant Terrain. A Survey Of The Landscape Of Persuasion.

Mark Bowden
October 2003
TheAtlantic

Rawalpindi, Pakistan

...Some say that Sheikh Mohammed was captured months before the March 1 date announced by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Abdul Qadoos, a pale, white-bearded alderman in this well-heeled neighborhood, told me that Sheikh Mohammed was not there "then or ever."

The official video of the takedown appears to have been faked. But the details are of minor importance. Whenever, wherever, and however it happened, nearly everyone now agrees that Sheikh Mohammed is in U.S. custody, and has been for some time.

In the first hours of his captivity the hood came off and a picture was taken. It shows a bleary-eyed, heavy, hairy, swarthy man with a full black moustache, thick eyebrows, a dark outline of beard on a rounded, shaved face, three chins, long sideburns, and a full head of dense, long, wildly mussed black hair. He stands before a pale tan wall whose paint is chipped, leaning slightly forward, like a man with his hands bound behind him, the low cut of his loose-fitting white T-shirt exposing matted curls of hair on his chest, shoulders, and back. He is looking down and to the right of the camera. He appears dazed and glum.

Sheikh Mohammed is a smart man. There is an anxious, searching quality to his expression in that first post-arrest photo. It is the look of a man awakened into nightmare. Everything that has given his life meaning, his role as husband and father, his leadership, his stature, plans, and ambitions, is finished. His future is months, maybe years, of imprisonment and interrogation; a military tribunal; and almost certain execution. You can practically see the wheels turning in his head, processing his terminal predicament. How will he spend his last months and years? Will he maintain a dignified, defiant silence? Or will he succumb to his enemy and betray his friends, his cause, and his faith?

If Sheikh Mohammed felt despair in those first hours, it didn't show. According to a Pakistani officer who sat in on an initial ISI questioning, the al-Qaeda sub-boss seemed calm and stoic. For his first two days in custody he said nothing beyond confirming his name. A CIA official says that Sheikh Mohammed spent those days "sitting in a trancelike state and reciting verses from the Koran." On the third day he is said to have loosened up. Fluent in the local languages of Urdu, Pashto, and Baluchi, he tried to shame his Pakistani interrogators, lecturing them on their responsibilities as Muslims and upbraiding them for cooperating with infidels.

"Playing an American surrogate won't help you or your country," he said. "There are dozens of people like me who will give their lives but won't let the Americans live in peace anywhere in the world." Asked if Osama bin Laden was alive, he said, "Of course he is alive." He spoke of meeting with bin Laden in "a mountainous border region" in December. He seemed smug about U.S. and British preparations for war against Saddam Hussein. "Let the Iraq War begin," he said. "The U.S. forces will be targeted inside their bases in the Gulf. I don't have any specific information, but my sixth sense is telling me that you will get the news from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait." Indeed, in the following months al-Qaeda carried out a murderous attack in Saudi Arabia.

On that third day, once more hooded, Sheikh Mohammed was driven to Chaklala Air Force base, in Rawalpindi, and turned over to U.S. forces. From there he was flown to the CIA interrogation center in Bagram, Afghanistan, and from there, some days later, to an "undisclosed location" (a place the CIA calls "Hotel California")—presumably a facility in another cooperative nation, or perhaps a specially designed prison aboard an aircraft carrier.

It doesn't much matter where, because the place would not have been familiar or identifiable to him. Place and time, the anchors of sanity, were about to come unmoored. He might as well have been entering a new dimension, a strange new world where his every word, move, and sensation would be monitored and measured; where things might be as they seemed but might not; where there would be no such thing as day or night, or normal patterns of eating and drinking, wakefulness and sleep; where hot and cold, wet and dry, clean and dirty, truth and lies, would all be tangled and distorted.

Intelligence and military officials would talk about Sheikh Mohammed's state only indirectly, and conditionally. But by the time he arrived at a more permanent facility, he would already have been bone-tired, hungry, sore, uncomfortable, and afraid—if not for himself, then for his wife and children, who had been arrested either with him or some months before, depending on which story you believe. He would have been warned that lack of cooperation might mean being turned over to the more direct and brutal interrogators of some third nation.

He would most likely have been locked naked in a cell with no trace of daylight. The space would be filled night and day with harsh light and noise, and would be so small that he would be unable to stand upright, to sit comfortably, or to recline fully. He would be kept awake, cold, and probably wet. If he managed to doze, he would be roughly awakened. He would be fed infrequently and irregularly, and then only with thin, tasteless meals. Sometimes days would go by between periods of questioning, sometimes only hours or minutes. The human mind craves routine, and can adjust to almost anything in the presence of it, so his jailers would take care that no semblance of routine developed.

Questioning would be intense—sometimes loud and rough, sometimes quiet and friendly, with no apparent reason for either. He would be questioned sometimes by one person, sometimes by two or three. The session might last for days, with interrogators taking turns, or it might last only a few minutes.

He would be asked the same questions again and again, and then suddenly be presented with something completely unexpected—a detail or a secret that he would be shocked to find they knew.

He would be offered the opportunity to earn freedom or better treatment for his wife and children. Whenever he was helpful and the information he gave proved true, his harsh conditions would ease. If the information proved false, his treatment would worsen.

On occasion he might be given a drug to elevate his mood prior to interrogation; marijuana, heroin, and sodium pentothal have been shown to overcome a reluctance to speak, and methamphetamine can unleash a torrent of talk in the stubbornest subjects, the very urgency of the chatter making a complex lie impossible to sustain.

These drugs could be administered surreptitiously with food or drink, and given the bleakness of his existence, they might even offer a brief period of relief and pleasure, thereby creating a whole new category of longing—and new leverage for his interrogators.

Deprived of any outside information, Sheikh Mohammed would grow more and more vulnerable to manipulation.

For instance, intelligence gleaned after successful al-Qaeda attacks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia might be fed to him, in bits and pieces, so as to suggest foiled operations. During questioning he would be startled regularly by details about his secret organization—details drawn from ongoing intelligence operations, new arrests, or the interrogation of other captive al-Qaeda members.

Some of the information fed to him would be true, some of it false. Key associates might be said to be cooperating, or to have completely recanted their allegiance to jihad. As time went by, his knowledge would decay while that of his questioners improved. He might come to see once-vital plans as insignificant, or already known. The importance of certain secrets would gradually erode.

Isolated, confused, weary, hungry, frightened, and tormented, Sheikh Mohammed would gradually be reduced to a seething collection of simple needs, all of them controlled by his interrogators.

The key to filling all those needs would be the same: to talk.

Smacky-Face

We hear a lot these days about America's overpowering military technology; about the professionalism of its warriors; about the sophistication of its weaponry, eavesdropping, and telemetry; but right now the most vital weapon in its arsenal may well be the art of interrogation. To counter an enemy who relies on stealth and surprise, the most valuable tool is information, and often the only source of that information is the enemy himself.

Men like Sheikh Mohammed who have been taken alive in this war are classic candidates for the most cunning practices of this dark art. Intellectual, sophisticated, deeply religious, and well trained, they present a perfect challenge for the interrogator. Getting at the information they possess could allow us to thwart major attacks, unravel their organization, and save thousands of lives.

They and their situation pose one of the strongest arguments in modern times for the use of torture.

Torture is repulsive. It is deliberate cruelty, a crude and ancient tool of political oppression. It is commonly used to terrorize people, or to wring confessions out of suspected criminals who may or may not be guilty. It is the classic shortcut for a lazy or incompetent investigator. Horrifying examples of torturers' handiwork are catalogued and publicized annually by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and other organizations that battle such abuses worldwide. One cannot help sympathizing with the innocent, powerless victims showcased in their literature.

But professional terrorists pose a harder question. They are lockboxes containing potentially life-saving information. Sheikh Mohammed has his own political and religious reasons for plotting mass murder, and there are those who would applaud his principled defiance in captivity. But we pay for his silence in blood.

The word "torture" comes from the Latin verb torquere, "to twist." Webster's New World Dictionary offers the following primary definition: "The inflicting of severe pain to force information and confession, get revenge, etc."

Note the adjective "severe," which summons up images of the rack, thumbscrews, gouges, branding irons, burning pits, impaling devices, electric shock, and all the other devilish tools devised by human beings to mutilate and inflict pain on others. All manner of innovative cruelty is still commonplace, particularly in Central and South America, Africa, and the Middle East.

...Then there are methods that, some people argue, fall short of torture. Called "torture lite," these include sleep deprivation, exposure to heat or cold, the use of drugs to cause confusion, rough treatment (slapping, shoving, or shaking), forcing a prisoner to stand for days at a time or to sit in uncomfortable positions, and playing on his fears for himself and his family.

Although excruciating for the victim, these tactics generally leave no permanent marks and do no lasting physical harm.

The Geneva Convention makes no distinction: it bans any mistreatment of prisoners. But some nations that are otherwise committed to ending brutality have employed torture lite under what they feel are justifiable circumstances.

In 1987 Israel attempted to codify a distinction between torture, which was banned, and "moderate physical pressure," which was permitted in special cases. Indeed, some police officers, soldiers, and intelligence agents who abhor "severe" methods believe that banning all forms of physical pressure would be dangerously naive.

Few support the use of physical pressure to extract confessions, especially because victims will often say anything (to the point of falsely incriminating themselves) to put an end to pain.

But many veteran interrogators believe that the use of such methods to extract information is justified if it could save lives—whether by forcing an enemy soldier to reveal his army's battlefield positions or forcing terrorists to betray the details of ongoing plots.

As these interrogators see it, the well-being of the captive must be weighed against the lives that might be saved by forcing him to talk. A method that produces life-saving information without doing lasting harm to anyone is not just preferable; it appears to be morally sound.

Hereafter I will use "torture" to mean the more severe traditional outrages, and "coercion" to refer to torture lite, or moderate physical pressure.

...It is likely that some captured terrorists' names and arrests have not yet been revealed; people may be held for months before their "arrests" are staged.

Once a top-level suspect is publicly known to be in custody, his intelligence value falls. His organization scatters, altering its plans, disguises, cover stories, codes, tactics, and communication methods.

The maximum opportunity for intelligence gathering comes in the first hours after an arrest, before others in a group can possibly know that their walls have been breached. Keeping an arrest quiet for days or weeks prolongs this opportunity.

If March 1 was in fact the day of Sheikh Mohammed's capture, then the cameras and the headlines were an important intelligence failure.

The arrest of the senior al-Qaeda figure Abu Anas Liby, in Sudan in February of 2002, was not made public until a month later, when U.S. efforts to have him transferred to custody in Egypt were leaked to the Sunday Times of London.

...All these suspects are questioned rigorously, but those in the top ranks get the full coercive treatment. And if official and unofficial government reports are to be believed, the methods work.

In report after report hard-core terrorist leaders are said to be either cooperating or, at the very least, providing some information—not just vague statements but detailed, verifiable, useful intelligence.

...How much of this can be believed? Are such reports wishful thinking, or deliberate misinformation?

...It would make sense to claim that top al-Qaeda leaders had caved under questioning even if they had not...Word that they had been broken would demoralize their followers, and would encourage lower-ranking members of their organization to talk; if their leaders had given in, why should they hold out?

To some, all this jailhouse cooperation smells concocted. "I doubt we're getting very much out of them, despite what you read in the press," says a former CIA agent with experience in South America...

Bill Cowan, a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who conducted interrogations in Vietnam, says, "I don't see the proof in the pudding. If you had a top leader like Mohammed talking, someone who could presumably lay out the whole organization for you, I think we'd be seeing sweeping arrests in several different countries at the same time. Instead what we see is an arrest here, then a few months later an arrest there."

These complaints are all from people who have no qualms about using torture to get information from men like Sheikh Mohammed. Their concern is that merely using coercion amounts to handling terrorists with kid gloves.

...Is the United States torturing prisoners? Three inmates have died in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, and reportedly eighteen prisoners at Guantánamo have attempted suicide; one prisoner there survived after hanging himself but remains unconscious and is not expected to revive.

Shah Muhammad, a twenty-year-old Pakistani who was held at Camp X-Ray for eighteen months, told me that he repeatedly tried to kill himself in despair. "They were driving me crazy," he said.

Public comments by Administration officials have fueled further suspicion. An unnamed intelligence official told The Wall Street Journal, "What's needed is a little bit of smacky-face. Some al-Qaeda just need some extra encouragement."

Then there was the bravado of Cofer Black, the counterterrorism coordinator, in his congressional testimony last year. A pudgy, balding, round-faced man with glasses, who had served with the CIA before taking the State Department position...Describing the clandestine war, Black said, "This is a highly classified area. All I want to say is that there was 'before 9/11' and 'after 9/11.' After 9/11 the gloves came off." He was referring to the overall counterterrorism effort, but in the context of detained captives the line was suggestive.

A story in December of 2002 by the Washington Post reporters Dana Priest and Barton Gellman described the use of "stress and duress" techniques at Bagram, and an article in The New York Times in March described the mistreatment of prisoners there.

..The treatment alleged falls clearly within the category of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which is absolutely prohibited under international law ... [We] urge the US government to instigate a full, impartial inquiry into the treatment of detainees at the Bagram base and to make the findings public. We further urge the government to make a clear public statement that torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects in its custody will not be tolerated under any circumstances, and that anyone found to have engaged in abuses will be brought to justice.

In June, at the urging of Amnesty and other groups, President Bush reaffirmed America's opposition to torture, saying, "I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture ... and we are leading this fight by example."

A slightly more detailed response had been prepared two months earlier by the Pentagon's top lawyer, William J. Haynes II, in a letter to Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch. (My requests for interviews on this subject with the Pentagon, the White House, and the State Department were declined.) Haynes wrote,

The United States questions enemy combatants to elicit information they may possess that could help the coalition win the war and forestall further terrorist attacks upon the citizens of the United States and other countries. As the President reaffirmed recently to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, United States policy condemns and prohibits torture. When questioning enemy combatants, US personnel are required to follow this policy and applicable laws prohibiting torture.

As we will see, Haynes's choice of words was careful—and telling. The human-rights groups and the Administration are defining terms differently. Yet few would argue that getting Sheikh Mohammed to talk doesn't serve the larger interests of mankind. So before tackling the moral and legal questions raised by interrogation, perhaps the first question should be, What works?

Acid Tests and Monkey Orgasms

The quest for surefire methods in the art of interrogation has been long, ugly, and generally fruitless. Nazi scientists experimented on concentration-camp inmates, subjecting them to extremes of hot and cold, to drugs, and to raw pain in an effort to see what combination of horrors would induce cooperation. The effort produced a long list of dead and maimed, but no reliable ways of getting people to talk.

In 1953 John Lilly, of the National Institute of Mental Health, discovered that by placing electrodes inside the brain of a monkey, he could stimulate pain, anger, fear—and pleasure. He placed one inside the brain of a male monkey and gave the monkey a switch that would trigger an immediate erection and orgasm. (The monkey hit the switch roughly every three minutes, thus confirming the gender stereotype.)

The idea of manipulating a brain from the inside promptly attracted the interest of the CIA, which foresaw, among other things, the possibility of sidestepping a reluctant informant's self-defenses. But Lilly dropped the line of research, pointing out that merely inserting the electrodes caused brain damage.

These experiments and others are recorded in detail in John Marks's somewhat overheated book The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control (1979) and in George Andrews's book mkULTRA: The CIA's Top Secret Program in Human Experimentation and Behavior Modification (2001). Andrews summarized information revealed in congressional probes of CIA excesses. Marks was more sensational. In the spirit of the times, he tended to interpret the Agency's interest in behavioral science, hypnosis, and mind-altering drugs as a scheme to create zombie-like secret agents, although it appears that the real goal was to make people talk.

There was a lot of hope for LSD. Discovered by accident in a Swiss pharmaceutical lab in 1943, it produced powerful mind-altering effects in very small doses. It was more powerful than mescaline, which had its own adherents, and could easily be administered without the victim's knowledge, slipped into food or drink. The hope was that an informant in such an artificially open-minded state would lose sight of his goals and sense of loyalty and become putty in the hands of a skilled interrogator.

Studies on LSD began at a number of big universities, and as word of the drug's properties spread, it started to attract a broad range of interest. Theologians, scholars, and mental-health workers visited the Maryland Psychiatric Research Institute, just outside Baltimore, to turn on and tune in, and similar programs began in Boston, New York, Chicago, and other cities. Almost twenty years ago I interviewed a number of those who took part in these experiments; all of them were apparently motivated only by professional curiosity. The CIA's role was kept quiet.

But the most notorious of its efforts at LSD experimentation involved Frank Olson, an Army scientist who was dosed without his knowledge and subsequently committed suicide. The U.S. Army conducted field tests of LSD as an interrogation tool in 1961 (Operation Third Chance), dosing nine foreigners and an American soldier named James Thornwell, who had been accused of stealing classified documents. Thornwell subsequently sued the government and was awarded $650,000. Most of these efforts led to little more than scandal and embarrassment. The effects of the drug were too wildly unpredictable to make it useful in interrogation. It tended to amplify the sorts of feelings that inhibit cooperation.

Fear and anxiety turned into terrifying hallucinations and fantasies, which made it more difficult to elicit secrets, and added a tinge of unreality to whatever information was divulged. LSD may have unlocked the mind in some esoteric sense, but secrets tended to ride out the trip intact.

Experiments were also conducted with heroin and psychedelic mushrooms, neither of which reliably delivered up the secrets of men's souls. Indeed, drugs seemed to enhance some people's ability to be deceptive. Scopolamine held out some early hope, but it often induced hallucinations. Barbiturates were promising, and were already used effectively by psychiatrists to help with therapy. Some researchers advocated electroshock treatments, to, as it were, blast information from a subject's brain. Drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, and sodium pentothal can lower inhibitions, but they do not erase deep-seated convictions. And the more powerful the drug, the less reliable the testimony.

According to my intelligence sources, drugs are today sometimes used to assist in critical interrogations, and the preferred ones are methamphetamines tempered with barbiturates and cannabis. These tools can help, but they are only as effective as the interrogator.

Better results seemed to come from sensory deprivation and solitary confinement.

For most people severe sensory deprivation quickly becomes misery; the effects were documented in the notorious 1963 CIA manual on interrogation, called the Kubark Manual. It remains the most comprehensive and detailed explanation in print of coercive methods of questioning—given the official reluctance to discuss these matters or put them in writing, because such things tend to be both politically embarrassing and secret.

...Unearthed in 1997, through the Freedom of Information Act, by the Baltimore Sun reporters Gary Cohn, Ginger Thompson, and Mark Matthews, the Kubark Manual reveals the CIA's insights into the tougher methods employed by the military and intelligence agencies.

Much of the practice and theory it details is also found unchanged in the 1983 Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, usually known as the Honduras Manual—which the CIA had tried to soften with a hasty edit prior to releasing it. The manual was shaken loose at the same time by Cohn and Thompson. And the more summary discussions of technique in later U.S. Army manuals on interrogation, including the most recent, also clearly echo Kubark.

If there is a bible of interrogation, it is the Kubark Manual.

The manual cites a 1954 study at the National Institute of Mental Health (again led by John Lilly) in which two volunteers attempted to see how long they could stay suspended in water wearing blackout masks and hearing only the sound of their own breathing and "some faint sounds of water from the piping." Neither lasted more than three hours.

According to the study, "Both passed quickly from normally directed thinking through a tension resulting from unsatisfied hunger for sensory stimuli and concentration upon the few available sensations to provide reveries and fantasies and eventually to visual imagery somewhat resembling hallucinations."

John Marks reported in his book that in a similar experiment a volunteer kicked his way out of a sensory-deprivation box after an hour of tearful pleas for release had been ignored.

The Summary Of Another Experiment Concluded, The Results Confirmed Earlier Findings:

1) The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
2) the stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
3) the subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli; and
4) some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations, and other pathological effects.

But these effects didn't trouble everyone. One man's misery is another man's mind-altering experience. Some people found they liked sensory-deprivation tanks; indeed, in later years people would pay for a session in one. Lilly was fond of injecting himself with LSD and then closing himself off in his tank—a series of experiments made famous in the 1980 film Altered States.

In Canada a scientist put a fifty-two-year-old woman identified only as Mary C. in a sensory-deprivation chamber for thirty-five days. She never asked to be let out.

One thing all these experiments made clear was that no matter what drugs or methods were applied, the results varied from person to person. So another major area of inquiry involved trying to define certain broad personality types and discover what methods would work best for each.

The groups were ridiculously general—the Kubark Manual lists "The Orderly-Obstinate Character," "The Greedy-Demanding Character," "The Anxious, Self-Centered Character"—and the prescriptions for questioning them tended to vary little and were sometimes silly (the advice for questioning an Orderly-Obstinate Character recommends doing so in a room that is especially neat). The categories were useless. Everyone, and every situation, is different; some people begin a day greedy and demanding and end it orderly and obstinate.

The one constant in effective interrogation, it seems, is the interrogator. And some interrogators are just better at it than others.

"You want a good interrogator?" Jerry Giorgio, the New York Police Department's legendary third-degree man, asks. "Give me somebody who people like, and who likes people. Give me somebody who knows how to put people at ease. Because the more comfortable they are, the more they talk, and the more they talk, the more trouble they're in—the harder it is to sustain a lie."

Though science has made contributions, interrogation remains more art than science. Like any other subject, Sheikh Mohammed presented his interrogators with a unique problem. The critical hub of a worldwide secret network, he had a potential road map in his head to the whole shadow world of jihad. If he could be made to talk, to reveal even a few secrets, what an intelligence bonanza that would be! Here was a man who lived to further his cause by whatever means, who saw himself as morally, spiritually, and intellectually superior to the entire infidel Western world, a man for whom capitulation meant betraying not just his friends and his cherished cause but his very soul.

What Would Make A man Like That Decide To Talk?

Alligator Clips

Bill Cowan spent three and a half years fighting the war in Vietnam. He was a young Marine captain assigned to the Rung Sat Special Zone, a putrid swamp that begins just south of Saigon...
So when he captured a Vietcong soldier who could warn of ambushes and lead them to hidden troops but who refused to speak, wires were attached to the man's scrotum with alligator clips and electricity was cranked out of a 110-volt generator.

"It worked like a charm," Cowan told me. "The minute the crank started to turn, he was ready to talk. We never had to do more than make it clear we could deliver a jolt. It was the fear more than the pain that made them talk."

Fear works. It is more effective than any drug, tactic, or torture device.

According to unnamed scientific studies cited by the Kubark Manual (it is frightening to think what these experiments might have been), most people cope with pain better than they think they will. As people become more familiar with pain, they become conditioned to it. Those who have suffered more physical pain than others—from being beaten frequently as a child, for example, or suffering a painful illness—may adapt to it and come to fear it less. So once interrogators resort to actual torture, they are apt to lose ground.

"The threat of coercion usually weakens or destroys resistance more effectively than coercion itself," the manual says.

The threat to inflict pain, for example, can trigger fears more damaging than the immediate sensation of pain ... Sustained long enough, a strong fear of anything vague or unknown induces regression, whereas the materialization of the fear, the infliction of some form of punishment, is likely to come as a relief. The subject finds that he can hold out, and his resistances are strengthened.

Furthermore, if a prisoner is subjected to pain after other methods have failed, it is a signal that the interrogation process may be nearing an end. "He may then decide that if he can just hold out against this final assault, he will win the struggle and his freedom," the manual concludes.

Even if severe pain does elicit information, it can be false, which is particularly troublesome to interrogators seeking intelligence rather than a confession. Much useful information is time-sensitive, and running down false leads or arresting innocents wastes time.

By similar logic, the manual discourages threatening a prisoner with death. As a tactic "it is often found to be worse than useless," the manual says, because the sense of despair it induces can make the prisoner withdraw into depression—or, in some cases, see an honorable way out of his predicament.

Others Disagree.

"I'll tell you how to make a man talk," a retired Special Forces officer says. "You shoot the man to his left and the man to his right. Then you can't shut him up."

John Dunn found the truth to be a little more complicated. In his case the threat of execution forced him to bend but not break.

He was a U.S. Army intelligence officer in the Lam Dong Province of Vietnam, in March of 1968, when he was captured by the Vietcong. He and other captives were marched for weeks to a prison camp in the jungle, where initially he was treated quite well. The gentle treatment lulled him, Dunn says, and contributed to his shock when, in his first interrogation session, he was calmly told, "We don't need you. We did not sign the Geneva Convention, and you are not considered a prisoner of war anyway. You are a war criminal. If you don't cooperate with us, you will be executed."

...His training for captivity had been basic. He had been instructed to tell his captors only his name, rank, and serial number. Anything beyond that was considered a breach of duty—a betrayal of his country, his role as a soldier, and his personal honor.

Faced with death, Dunn weighed his devotion to this simple code. He felt it was unrealistic. He wrestled to come up with a solution that would keep him alive without completely compromising his dignity. He figured there were certain details about his life and service that were not worth dying to protect. Some things needed to be kept secret, and others did not.

Struggling with shame, he decided to answer any questions that did not intrude on that closed center of secrecy. He would not tell them he was an intelligence officer. ("Not out of patriotism," he says. "Out of fear, strictly self-preservation.") He would not reveal accurate details about fortifications around his company's headquarters, in Di Linh. He would not tell them about upcoming plans, such as the Phoenix Program (an assassination program targeting Vietcong village leaders), and above all, he would not make any public statements. But he would talk. The threat of execution in his case was not "worse than useless." It shook Dunn to his core.

In a subsequent session he talked, but not enough to satisfy his captors. Again and again he refused to make a public statement. Starved, sore, and still frightened, Dunn was told, "You will be executed. After dark."

When the sun set, the interrogator, his aide, and the camp commander came for Dunn with a group of soldiers. They unlocked his chain, and he carried it as they led him away from the encampment into the jungle. They stopped in front of a pit they had dug for his grave and put a gun to his head. The interrogator gave him one more chance to agree to make a statement.

"No," Dunn said. He had gone as far as he was willing to go.

"Why do you want to die?" he was asked.

"If I must, I must," Dunn said. He felt resigned. He waited to be killed.

"You will not be executed," the camp commander said abruptly, and that was that.

Judging by Dunn's experience, the threat of death may be valuable to an interrogator as a way of loosening up a determined subject. But, as with pain, the most important factor is fear. An unfrightened prisoner makes an unlikely informer.

If there is an archetype of the modern interrogator, it is Michael Koubi. The former chief interrogator for Israel's General Security Services, or Shabak, Koubi probably has more experience than anyone else in the world in the interrogation of hostile Arab prisoners, some of them confirmed terrorists and religious fanatics—men, he says, "whose hatred of the Jews is unbridgeable."

...For decades he has been experimenting with captive human beings, cajoling, tricking, hurting, threatening, and spying on them, steadily upping the pressure, looking for cracks at the seams.

...There are still many things he is not free to discuss, but he is happy to talk about his methods. He is very proud of his skills, among them an ability to speak Arabic so fluently that he can adopt a multitude of colloquial flavors.

Koubi came to his career as an interrogator through his love of language. He grew up speaking Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic, and he studied Arabic in high school, working to master its idiom and slang.

He also had a knack for reading the body language and facial expressions of his subjects, and for sensing a lie.

He is a skilled actor who could alternately befriend or intimidate a subject, sometimes turning on a dime.

Blending these skills with the tricks he had learned over the years for manipulating people, Koubi didn't just question his subjects, he orchestrated their emotional surrender.

...Charm has always been as important to interrogation work as toughness or cruelty—perhaps more important. Koubi says that only in rare instances did he use force to extract information from his subjects; in most cases it wasn't necessary.

"People change when they get to prison," Koubi says. "They may be heroes outside, but inside they change. The conditions are different. People are afraid of the unknown. They are afraid of being tortured, of being held for a long time. Try to see what it is like to sit with a hood over your head for four hours, when you are hungry and tired and afraid, when you are isolated from everything and have no clue what is going on."

When the captive believes that anything could happen—torture, execution, indefinite imprisonment, even the persecution of his loved ones—the interrogator can go to work.

Under pressure, he says, nearly everyone looks out first and foremost for No. 1. What's more, a very large part of who a man is depends on his circumstances. No matter who he is before his arrest, his sense of self will blur in custody. Isolation, fear, and deprivation force a man to retreat, to reorient himself, and to reorder his priorities.

For most men, Koubi says, the hierarchy of loyalty under stress is:
1) self,
2) group,
3) family,
4) friends.

In other words, even the most dedicated terrorist (with very rare exceptions), when pushed hard enough, will act to preserve and protect himself at the expense of anyone or anything else. "There's an old Arab saying," Koubi says. "'Let one hundred mothers cry, but not my mother—but better my mother than me.'"

With older men the priorities shift slightly. In middle age the family often overtakes the group (the cause) to become the second most important loyalty. Young men tend to be fiercely committed and ambitious, but older men—even men with deeply held convictions, men admired and emulated by their followers—tend to have loves and obligations that count for more.

Age frays idealism, slackens zeal, and cools ferocity. Abstractions lose ground to wife, children, and grandchildren.

"Notice that the leaders of Hamas do not send their own sons and daughters, and their own grandchildren, to blow themselves up," Koubi says.

So it is often the top-level men...who are easier to crack. Koubi believes that having the al-Qaeda leader's wife and children in custody gives his interrogators powerful leverage.

The key is to find a man's weak point and exploit it.

For Koubi the three critical ingredients of that process are preparation, investigation, and theater.

Preparing a subject for interrogation means softening him up. Ideally, he has been pulled from his sleep—like Sheikh Mohammed—early in the morning, roughly handled, bound, hooded (a coarse, dirty, smelly sack serves the purpose perfectly), and kept waiting in discomfort, perhaps naked in a cold, wet room, forced to stand or to sit in an uncomfortable position. He may be kept awake for days prior to questioning, isolated and ill-fed. He may be unsure where he is, what time of day it is, how long he has been or will be held. If he is wounded, as Abu Zubaydah was, pain medication may be withheld; it is one thing to cause pain, another to refuse to relieve it.

Mousa Khoury, a Palestinian businessman, knows the drill all too well. A slender thirty-four-year-old man with a black goatee and thinning hair, he is bitter about the Israeli occupation and his experiences in custody. He has been arrested and interrogated six times by Israeli forces. He was once held for seventy-one days.

"My hands were cuffed behind my back, and a potato sack was over my head," he says. "My legs were cuffed to a tiny chair. The chair's base is ten centimeters by twenty centimeters. The back is ten centimeters by ten centimeters. It is hard wood. The front legs are shorter than the back ones, so you are forced to slide forward in it, only your hands are bound in the back. If you sit back, the back of the chair digs into the small of your back. If you slump forward, you are forced to hang by your hands. It is painful. They will take you to the toilet only after screaming a request one hundred times." He could think about only one thing: how to make the treatment stop. "Your thoughts go back and forth and back and forth, and you can no longer have a normal stream of consciousness," he says.

Preparing an interrogator means arming him beforehand with every scrap of information about his subject.

U.S. Army interrogation manuals suggest preparing a thick "dummy file" when little is known, to make it appear that the interrogator knows more than he does.

Nothing rattles a captive more than to be confronted with a fact he thought was secret or obscure. It makes the interrogator seem powerful, all-knowing. A man's sense of importance is wounded, and he is slower to lie, because he thinks he might be caught at it.

There are many ways that scraps of information—gathered by old-fashioned legwork or the interrogation of a subject's associates—can be leveraged by a clever interrogator into something new. Those scraps might be as simple as knowing the names of a man's siblings or key associates, the name of his girlfriend, or a word or phrase that has special meaning to his group.

Uncovering privileged details diminishes the aura of a secret society, whether it is a social club, a terrorist cell, or a military unit. Joining such a group makes an individual feel distinct, important, and superior, and invests even the most mundane of his activities with meaning.

An interrogator who penetrates that secret society, unraveling its shared language, culture, history, customs, plans, and pecking order, can diminish its hold on even the staunchest believer.

Suspicion that a trusted comrade has betrayed the group—or the subject himself—undermines the sense of a secretly shared purpose and destiny.

Armed with a few critical details, a skilled interrogator can make a subject doubt the value of information he has been determined to withhold.

It is one thing to suffer in order to protect a secret, quite another to cling to a secret that is already out.

This is how a well-briefed interrogator breaches a group's defenses.

Koubi believes that the most important skill for an interrogator is to know the prisoner's language. Working through interpreters is at best a necessary evil. Language is at the root of all social connections, and plays a critical role in secret societies like Hamas and al-Qaeda. A shared vocabulary or verbal shorthand helps to cement the group.

"I try to create the impression that I use his mother tongue even better than he does," Koubi says. "No accent, no mistaken syntax. I speak to him like his best friend speaks to him. I might ask him a question about a certain word or sentence or expression, how it is used in his culture, and then demonstrate that I know more about it than he does. This embarrasses him very much."

Once a prisoner starts to talk, rapid follow-up is needed to sort fact from fiction, so that the interrogator knows whether his subject is being cooperative or evasive, and can respond accordingly.

Interrogation sessions should be closely observed (many rooms designed for this purpose have one-way mirrors), and in a well-run unit a subject's words can sometimes be checked out before the session is over.

Being caught so quickly in a lie demonstrates the futility of playing games with the interrogator, and strengthens his hand. It shames and rattles the subject.

When information checks out, the interrogator can home in for more details and open up new avenues of exploration.

Religious extremists are the hardest cases. They ponder in their own private space, performing a kind of self-hypnosis. They are usually well educated. Their lives are financially and emotionally tidy. They tend to live in an ascetic manner, and to look down on nonbelievers. They tend to be physically and mentally strong, and not to be influenced by material things—by either the incentives or the disincentives available in prison. Often the rightness of their cause trumps all else, so they can commit any outrage—lie, cheat, steal, betray, kill—without remorse. Yet under suffi-cient duress, Koubi says, most men of even this kind will eventually break—most, but not all. Some cannot be broken.

"They are very rare," he says, "but in some cases the more aggressive you get, and the worse things get, the more these men will withdraw into their own world, until you cannot reach them."

Mousa Khoury, the Palestinian businessman who has been interrogated six times, claims that he never once gave in to his jailers. Koubi has no particular knowledge of Khoury's case, but he smiles his crooked, knowing smile and says, "If someone you meet says he was held by our forces and did not cooperate at all, you can bet he is lying. In some cases men who are quite famous for their toughness were the most helpful to us in captivity."

Interrogation Is Also Highly Theatrical. The Kubark Manual Is Very Particular About Setting The Stage:

The room in which the interrogation is to be conducted should be free of distractions. The colors of the walls, ceiling, rugs, and furniture should not be startling. Pictures should be missing or dull. Whether the furniture should include a desk depends not upon the interrogator's convenience but rather upon the subject's anticipated reaction to the connotations of superiority and officialdom. A plain table may be preferable. An overstuffed chair for the use of the interrogatee is sometimes preferable to a straight-backed, wooden chair because if he is made to stand for a lengthy period or is otherwise deprived of physical comfort, the contrast is intensified and increased disorientation results.

The manual goes on to recommend lighting that shines brightly in the face of the subject and leaves the interrogator in shadow. There should be no phone or any other means of contact with those outside the room, to enhance concentration and the subject's feeling of confinement.

In Koubi's experience it was sometimes helpful to have associates loudly stage a torture or beating session in the next room.

In old CIA interrogation training, according to Bill Wagner, a retired agent, it was recommended that mock executions take place outside the interrogation room.

A good interrogator is a deceiver. One of Koubi's tricks was to walk into a hallway lined with twenty recently arrested, hooded, uncomfortable, hungry, and fearful men, all primed for interrogation, and shout commandingly,

"Okay, who wants to cooperate with me?" Even if no hands, or only one hand, went up, he would say to the hooded men, "Okay, good. Eight of you. I'll start with you, and the others will have to wait."

Believing that others have capitulated makes doing so oneself much easier. Often, after this trick, many of the men in the hall would cooperate.

Men are herd animals, and prefer to go with the flow, especially when moving in the other direction is harsh.

In one case Koubi had information suggesting that two men he was questioning were secretly members of a terrorist cell, and knew of an impending attack. They were tough men, rural farmers, very difficult to intimidate or pressure, and so far neither man had admitted anything under questioning. Koubi worked them over individually for hours. With each man he would start off by asking friendly questions and then grow angrier and angrier, accusing the subject of withholding something. He would slap him, knock him off his chair, set guards on him, and then intervene to pull them off. Then he would put the subject back in the chair and offer him a cigarette, lightening the mood.

"Let him see the difference between the two atmospheres, the hostile one and the friendly one," Koubi says. Neither man budged.

Finally Koubi set his trap. He announced to one of the men that his interrogation was over. The man's associate, hooded, was seated in the hallway outside the room. "We are going to release you," Koubi said.

"We are pleased with your cooperation. But first you must do something for me. I am going to ask you a series of questions, just a formality, and I need you to answer 'Yes' in a loud, clear voice for the recorder."

Then, in a voice loud enough for the hooded man outside in the hall to hear, but soft enough so that he couldn't make out exactly what was being said, Koubi read off a long list of questions, reviewing the prisoner's name, age, marital status, date of capture, length of detainment, and so forth. These were regularly punctuated by the prisoner's loud and cooperative "Yes."

The charade was enough to convince the man in the hall that his friend had capitulated.

Koubi dismissed the first man and brought in the second. "There's no more need for me to question you," Koubi said. "Your friend has confessed the whole thing." He offered the second prisoner a cigarette and gave him a good meal. He told him that the information provided by his friend virtually ensured that they would both be in prison for the rest of their lives ... unless, he said, the second prisoner could offer him something, anything, that would dispose the court to leniency in his case.

Convinced that his friend had already betrayed them both, the second prisoner acted promptly to save himself. "If you want to save Israeli lives, go immediately," he told Koubi. "My friends went with a car to Yeshiva Nehalim [a religious school]. They are going to kidnap a group of students ..." The men were found in Erez, and the operation was foiled.

There are other methods of keeping a prisoner confused and off balance, such as rapidly firing questions at him, cutting off his responses in mid-sentence, asking the same questions over and over in different order, and what the manual calls the "Silent" technique, in which the interrogator "says nothing to the source, but looks him squarely in the eye, preferably with a slight smile on his face."

The manual advises forcing the subject to break eye contact first. "The source will become nervous, begin to shift around in his chair, cross and recross his legs, and look away," the manual says. "When the interrogator is ready to break silence, he may do so with some quite nonchalant questions such as 'You planned this operation a long time, didn't you?

Was it your idea?'"

Then There Is "Alice In Wonderland."

The aim of the Alice in Wonderland or confusion technique is to confound the expectations and conditioned reactions of the interrogatee ... The confusion technique is designed not only to obliterate the familiar but to replace it with the weird ... Sometimes two or more questions are asked simultaneously. Pitch, tone, and volume of the interrogators' voices are unrelated to the import of the questions. No pattern of questions and answers is permitted to develop, nor do the questions themselves relate logically to each other.

If this technique is pursued patiently, the manual says, the subject will start to talk "just to stop the flow of babble which assails him."

Easily the most famous routine is "Good Cop/Bad Cop," in which one interrogator becomes the captive's persecutor and the other his friend.

A lesser-known but equally effective technique is "Pride and Ego," "Ego Up/Ego Down," or (as the more pretentious Kubark Manual puts it) "Spinoza and Mortimer Snerd," in which the "Ego Down" part involves repeatedly asking questions that the interrogator knows the subject cannot answer.

The subject is continually berated or threatened ("How could you not know the answer to that?") and accused of withholding, until, at long last, he is asked a simple question that he can answer.

An American POW subjected to this technique has said, "I know it seems strange now, but I was positively grateful to them when they switched to a topic I knew something about."

CIA psychologists have tried to develop an underlying theory for interrogation—namely, that the coercive methods induce a gradual "regression" of personality. But the theory is not convincing.

Interrogation simply backs a man into a corner. It forces difficult choices, and dangles illusory avenues of escape.

A skillful interrogator knows which approach will best suit his subject; and just as he expertly applies stress, he continually opens up these avenues of escape or release. This means understanding what, at heart, is stopping a subject from cooperating.

If it is ego, that calls for one method. If it is fear of reprisal or of getting into deeper trouble, another method might work best.

For most captives a major incentive to keep quiet is simply pride. Their manhood is being tested, not just their loyalty and conviction. Allowing the subject to save face lowers the cost of capitulation, so an artful interrogator will offer persuasive rationales for giving in: others already have, or the information is already known.

Drugs, if administered with the subject's knowledge, are helpful in this regard. If a subject believes that a particular drug or "truth serum" renders him helpless, he is off the hook. He cannot be held accountable for giving in.

A study cited in George Andrews's book MKULTRA found that a placebo—a simple sugar pill—was as effective as an actual drug up to half of the time.

Koubi layered his deception so thick that his subjects never knew exactly when their interrogation ended.

After questioning, captives usually spent time in a regular prison. The Israelis had bugged the prison with a system that was disguised well enough to appear hidden but not well enough to avoid discovery. In this way prisoners were led to believe that only certain parts of the prison were bugged. In fact, all of the prison was bugged. Conversations between prisoners could be overheard anywhere, and were closely monitored. They were an invaluable source of intelligence.

Prisoners who could hold out through the most intense interrogation often let their guard down later when talking to comrades in jail.

To help such inadvertent confessions along, Koubi had yet another card to play. Whenever an interrogated subject was released to the general prison, after weeks of often grueling questioning, he was received with open arms by fellow Palestinians who befriended him and congratulated him for having endured interrogation. He was treated like a hero.

He was fed, nursed, even celebrated. What he didn't know was that his happy new comrades were working for Koubi.

Koubi calls them "birdies." They were Palestinians who, offered an incentive such as an opportunity to settle with their families in another country, had agreed to cooperate with Shabak.

Some days or weeks after welcoming the new prisoner into their ranks, easing his transition into the prison, they would begin to ask questions. They would debrief the prisoner on his interrogation sessions. They would say, "It is very important for those on the outside to know what you told the Israelis and what you didn't tell them. Tell us, and we will get the information to those on the outside who need to know."

Even prisoners who had managed to keep important secrets from Koubi spilled them to his birdies.

"The amazing thing is that by now the existence of the birdies is well known," Koubi says, "and yet the system still works. People come out of interrogation, go into the regular prison, and then tell their darkest secrets. I don't know why it still works, but it does."

Big Daddy Uptown

Most professional interrogators work without the latitude given the CIA, the FBI, or the military in the war on terror. A policeman's subjects all have to be read their Miranda rights, and cops who physically threaten or abuse suspects—at least nowadays—may find themselves in jail.

Jerry Giorgio, the legendary NYPD interrogator, has operated within these rules for nearly forty years. He may not know all the names of the CIA and military techniques, but he has probably seen most of them at work. Known as "Big Daddy Uptown," Giorgio now works for the New York County district attorney in a cramped office in Lower Manhattan that he shares with two others. He is a big man with a big voice, thinning gray hair, a broad belly, and wide, searching greenish-brown eyes. He is considered a wizard by his former colleagues in the NYPD. "All of us of a certain generation came out of the Jerry Giorgio school of interrogation," says John Bourges, a recently retired Manhattan homicide detective.

"Everybody knows the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine, right?" Giorgio says. "Well, I'm always the Good Cop. I don't work with a Bad Cop, either. Don't need it. You want to know the truth? The truth is—and this is important—everybody down deep wants to tell his or her story. It's true. No matter how damaging it is to them, no matter how important it is for them to keep quiet, they want to tell their story. If they feel guilty, they want to get it off their chest. If they feel justified in what they did, they want to explain themselves. I tell them, 'Hey, I know what you did and I can prove it. Now what are you going to do about it? If you show remorse, if you help me out, I'll go to bat for you.' I tell them that. And if you give them half a reason to do it, they'll tell you everything."

The most important thing is to get them talking. The toughest suspects are those who clam up and demand a lawyer right at the start. Giorgio believes that once he gets a suspect talking, the stream of words will eventually flow right to the truth...

Here is how Giorgio summarizes what turned out to be a very long and fruitful conversation:

"I was at home last night," Martinez said. "She did call me."

"Really, why?"

"She wanted me to pick her up. I told her, 'I'm watching the Mets game; I can't pick you up.'"

That was it. Giorgio acted very pleased with this statement, thanked Martinez, wrote it up, and asked the young man to sign it. Martinez did.

Then Giorgio stared at the statement and gave Martinez a quizzical look.

"You know, Carlos, something about this statement doesn't look right to me. You two had been going out for, what? Seven years? She calls you and asks you to pick her up at night where she's just gotten off work. It's not a safe neighborhood, and you tell her no? You mean a ball game on TV was more important to you?"

The question was cunning. The detective knew that Martinez was trying to make a good impression; he definitely didn't want to leave Giorgio with any unresolved issues to play in his mind. So it concerned him that his first statement didn't sound right.

Giorgio's question also touched Martinez's sense of chivalry, an important quality for many Hispanic men. It wouldn't do to be seen as ungentlemanly. Here was a young woman who had just been brutally killed. How would it look to her family and friends if he admitted that she had called and asked him for a ride and he had left her to her fate—for a ball game on TV?

The question also subtly suggested an out: The neighborhood wasn't safe. People got hurt or killed in that neighborhood all the time. Maybe Martinez could admit that he had seen Cheryl on the night of the murder without directly implicating himself. No one ever accused the former footballer of being especially bright. He rose to Giorgio's bait immediately.

He said, "Jerry, let me tell you what really happened." ("Note," Giorgio says proudly, "already I'm Jerry!") Martinez now said that he had left his place to pick Wright up after work, but they had gotten into an argument. "She got mad at me and told me she didn't need a ride, so I waited until she got on the bus, and then I left." ("Look, now he's the picture of chivalry!" Giorgio says happily.)

"Let me take that down," Giorgio said, again acting pleased with the statement. He wrote it out neatly and asked Martinez to look it over and sign it. Martinez did.

Again Giorgio squinted at the paper. "You know, Carlos, something is still not right here. Cheryl was a strikingly beautiful girl. People who saw her remembered her. She's taken that bus home from work many nights, and people on that bus know who she is. And you know what? Nobody who rode that bus saw her on it last night."

(This was, in Giorgio's words, "pure bull****." He hadn't talked to anybody who rode that bus. "Sometimes you have to just take a chance," he says.)

Again Martinez looked troubled. He had not allayed the detective's suspicions. So he tried again. "Okay, okay," he said. "This is really it. Let me tell you what really happened. Cheryl called, and I left to pick her up, but I ran into a friend of mine—I can't tell you his name—and we picked her up together. Then Cheryl and I got in this argument, a big fight. My friend got fed up. So we drove away, up Broadway to 181st Street, and stopped at the McDonald's there. He pulled out a gun, my friend, and he told me to get out of the car. 'Wait here,' he told me. 'I'm going to get rid of your problem.' Then he left. I waited. Then he came back. He said he had gotten rid of my problem."

Giorgio nodded happily and started to write up statement No. 3. He acted troubled over the fact that Martinez refused to name the friend, and the young man quickly coughed up a name. Giorgio's lieutenant, who had been watching the session through a one-way mirror, immediately got to work tracking down Martinez's friend. By the time the third statement had been written up, signed, and nestled neatly on top of the other two, Giorgio had a new problem to pose to Martinez: it seemed that his friend was in South Carolina, and had been for some time.
"We never did get to finish the fourth statement," Giorgio says. "Martinez's family had hired a lawyer, and he called the station forbidding us to further question his client." It was, of course, too late.

Captain Crunch Versus The Tree Huggers

..."It isn't about getting mad, or payback," says Bill Cowan, the Vietnam interrogator. "It's strictly business. Torturing people doesn't fit my moral compass at all. But I don't think there's much of a gray area. Either the guy has information you need or not. Either it's vital or it's not. You know which guys you need to twist."

The official statements by President Bush and William Haynes reaffirming the U.S. government's opposition to torture have been applauded by human-rights groups—but again, the language in them is carefully chosen.

What does the Bush Administration mean by "torture"? Does it really share the activists' all-inclusive definition of the word?

In his letter to the director of Human Rights Watch, Haynes used the term "enemy combatants" to describe those in custody. Calling detainees "prisoners of war" would entitle them to the protections of the Geneva Convention, which prohibits the "physical or mental torture" of POWs, and "any other form of coercion," even to the extent of "unpleasant or disadvantageous treatment of any kind."

(In the contemptuous words of one military man, they "prohibit everything except three square meals, a warm bed, and access to a Harvard education.")

Detainees who are American citizens have the advantage of constitutional protections against being held without charges, and have the right to legal counsel. They would also be protected from the worst abuses by the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment."

The one detainee at Guantánamo who was discovered to have been born in the United States has been transferred to a different facility, and legal battles rage over his status. But if the rest of the thousands of detainees are neither POWs (even though the bulk of them were captured during the fighting in Afghanistan) nor American citizens, they are fair game. They are protected only by this country's international promises—which are, in effect, unenforceable.

What are those promises?

The most venerable are those in the Geneva Convention, but the United States has sidestepped this agreement in the case of those captured in the war on terror.

The next most important would be those in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts, in Article 5, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

There is also the Convention Against Torture, the agreement cited by Bush in June, which would seem to rule out any of the more aggressive methods of interrogation. It states, in Article I, "For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person." Again, note the word "severe." The United States is avoiding the brand "torturer" only by sleight of word.

The history of interrogation by U.S. armed forces and spy agencies is one of giving lip service to international agreements while vigorously using coercion whenever circumstances seem to warrant it.

However, both the Army and the CIA have been frank in their publications about the use of coercive methods.

The Kubark Manual offers only a few nods in its 128 pages to qualms over what are referred to, in a rare euphemism, as "external techniques": "Moral considerations aside, the imposition of external techniques of manipulating people carries with it the grave risk of later lawsuits, adverse publicity, or other attempts to strike back."

The use of the term "strike back" here is significant; it implies that criticism of such unseemly methods, whether legal, moral, or journalistic, would have no inherent validity but would be viewed as an enemy counterattack.

Bill Wagner, the former CIA agent, remembers going to the Agency's three-week interrogation course at "The Farm," in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1970. Until it was shut down, a few years later, it was considered the Agency's "premier course," Wagner says, and only the best recruits were invited to take it. "To say you had been through it was a real feather in your cap."

Volunteers played the role of captives in return for guaranteed space in a future session of the coveted course. They were deprived of sleep, kept doused with water in cold rooms, forced to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions for long periods, isolated from sunlight and social contacts, given food deliberately made unappetizing (oversalted, for instance, or tainted with a green dye), and subjected to mock executions.

At least 10 percent of the volunteers dropped out, even though they knew it was just a training exercise. Wagner says that many of those who had served as victims later refused to take the course and victimize others. "They lost their stomach for it," he says.

Several years after Wagner took the course, he says, the Agency dropped it entirely. The scandals of the Nixon years put the CIA under unprecedented scrutiny. Over the next three decades spying schools and most human-intelligence networks were gradually dismantled. The United States itself was losing its stomach for hands-on intelligence gathering—and with it, interrogation.

Nobody experienced the effects of this shift more dramatically than Keith Hall, who earned the nickname Captain Crunch before he lost his job as a CIA agent. Now he describes himself as "a poster child for political correctness." He is a pugnacious brick of a man, who at age fifty-two is just a thicker (especially in the middle) version of the young man who joined the Marines thirty years ago. After his discharge he earned a master's degree in history and international relations; he took a job as a police officer, because he craved a more physical brand of excitement than academia had to offer. His nickname comes from this craving.

The CIA hired Hall immediately after he applied, in 1979, because of his relatively rare combination of academic and real-world credentials. He was routed into the Investigation and Analysis Directorate, where he became one of the Agency's covert operators, a relatively small group ("about forty-eight guys, total," Hall says) known as the "knuckle-draggers." Most CIA agents, especially by the 1980s, were just deskmen.

Hall preferred traveling, training, and blowing things up, even though he felt that the rest of the Agency looked down its patrician nose at guys like him. When the U.S. Embassy in Beirut was bombed, on April 18, 1983, eight of the seventeen Americans killed were CIA employees. There were going to be plenty of official investigations, but the Agency wanted one of its own. Hall was selected to carry it out.

"They flew me to Langley on one of their private planes, and delivered me to the seventh floor," he says. "They told me, 'We want you to go to Beirut and find out who blew up the embassy and how they did it. The President himself is going to be reading your cables. There is going to be some retribution here.'"

Hall was honored, and excited. This was a mission of singular purpose, of the highest priority, and he knew he was expected to get results. Having been a police officer and a Marine, he knew that the official investigations had to build a case that might someday stand up in court. His goal was not to build a case but just to find out who did it.

He slept on rooftops in Beirut, changing the location every two nights. It was a dangerous time to be an American—especially a CIA officer—there, and Hall kept moving. He worked with the Lebanese Special Security Force, and set up a computer in the police building.

Hall says he took part without hesitation in brutal questioning by the Lebanese, during which suspects were beaten with clubs and rubber hoses or wired up to electrical generators and doused with water. Such methods eventually led him to the suspected "paymaster" of the embassy bombing, a man named Elias Nimr. "He was our biggest catch," Hall says—a man with powerful connections. "When I told the Lebanese Minister of Defense, I watched the blood drain out of his face."

Nimr was a fat, pampered-looking twenty-eight-year-old, used to living the good life, a young man of wealth, leisure, and power. He came to the police building wearing slacks, a shiny sport shirt, and Gucci shoes. He had a small, well-trimmed moustache at the center of his soft, round face, and wore gold on his neck, wrists, and fingers. When he was marched into the building, Hall says, some of the officers "tried to melt into the shadows" for fear of eventual retribution. Nimr was nonchalant and smirking in his initial interview, convinced that when word got back to his family and connections, he would promptly be released.

When Hall got a chance to talk to him, he set out to disabuse Nimr. "I'm an American intelligence officer," he said. "You really didn't think that you were going to blow up our embassy and we wouldn't do anything about it, did you? You really should be looking inside yourself and telling yourself that it's a good idea to talk to me. The best way to go is to be civilized ... I know you think you are going to walk right out of here in a few minutes. That's not going to happen. You're mine. I'm the one who will make the decisions about what happens to you. The only thing that will save your ass is to cooperate." Nimr smiled at him dismissively.

The next time they met, Nimr wasn't in such good shape. In this case his connections were failing him. No one had roughed him up, but he had been kept standing for two days. Hall placed him in a straight-backed metal chair, with hot floodlights in his face. The agent sat behind the light, so that Nimr couldn't see him. Nimr wasn't as cocky, but he was still silent.

At the third interrogation session, Hall says, he kicked Nimr out of his chair. It was the first time anyone had physically abused him, and he seemed stunned. He just stared at Hall. He hadn't eaten since his arrest, four days earlier. But he still had nothing to say.

"I sent him back to his cell, had water poured over him again and again while he sat under a big fan, kept him freezing for about twenty-four hours. He comes back after this, and you can see his mood is changing. He hasn't walked out of jail, and it's beginning to dawn on him that no one is going to spring him."

Over the next ten days Hall kept up the pressure. During the questioning sessions he again kicked Nimr out of his chair, and both he and the Lebanese captain involved cracked him occasionally across the shins with a wooden bat. Finally Nimr broke. According to Hall, he explained his role in the bombing, and in the assassination of Lebanon's President. He explained that Syrian intelligence agents had been behind the plan. (Not everyone in the CIA agrees with Hall's interpretation.)

Soon afterwards Nimr died in his cell. Hall was back in Washington when he heard the news. He assumed that Nimr had been killed to prevent him from testifying and naming others involved in the plot. Armed with tapes of Nimr's confession, Hall felt he had accomplished his mission; but several months after finishing his report he was fired. As he understood it, word had leaked out about torture sessions conducted by a CIA agent, and the U.S. government was embarrassed.

...The perfect model of an interrogation center would be a place where prisoners lived in fear and uncertainty, a place where they could be isolated or allowed to mingle freely, as the jailer wished, and where conversations anywhere could be overheard.

Interrogators would be able to control the experience of their subjects completely, shutting down access to other people, or even to normal sensation and experience, or opening that access up. Subjects' lives could be made a misery of discomfort and confusion, or restored to an almost normal level of comfort and social interaction within the limitations of confinement. Hope could be dangled or removed. Cooperation would be rewarded, stubbornness punished.

Interrogators would have ever growing files on their subjects, with each new fact or revelation yielding new leads and more information—drawn from field investigations (agents in the real world verifying and exploring facts gathered on the inside), the testimony of other subjects, collaborators spying inside the prison, and surreptitious recordings. The interrogators in this center would have the experience and the intuition of a Jerry Giorgio or a Michael Koubi.

Serious interrogation is clearly being reserved for only the most dangerous men, like Sheikh Mohammed. So why not lift the fig leaf covering the use of coercion? Why not eschew hypocrisy, clearly define what is meant by the word "severe," and amend bans on torture to allow interrogators to coerce information from would-be terrorists?

This is the crux of the problem. It may be clear that coercion is sometimes the right choice, but how does one allow it yet still control it?

In considering a change in national policy, one is obliged to anticipate the practical consequences. So if we formally lift the ban on torture, even if only partially and in rare, specific cases (the attorney and author Alan Dershowitz has proposed issuing "torture warrants"), the question will be, How can we ensure that the practice does not become commonplace—not just a tool for extracting vital, life-saving information in rare cases but a routine tool of oppression?

As it happens, a pertinent case study exists. Israel has been a target of terror attacks for many years, and has wrestled openly with the dilemmas they pose for a democracy.

In 1987 a commission led by the retired Israeli Supreme Court justice Moshe Landau wrote a series of recommendations for Michael Koubi and his agents, allowing them to use "moderate physical pressure" and "nonviolent psychological pressure" in interrogating prisoners who had information that could prevent impending terror attacks. The commission sought to allow such coercion only in "ticking-bomb scenarios"—that is, in cases like the kidnapping of Jakob von Metzler, when the information withheld by the suspect could save lives.

Twelve years later the Israeli Supreme Court effectively revoked this permission, banning the use of any and all forms of torture. In the years following the Landau Commission recommendations, the use of coercive methods had become widespread in the Occupied Territories.

It was estimated that more than two thirds of the Palestinians taken into custody were subjected to them. Koubi says that only in rare instances, and with court permission, did he slap, pinch, or shake a prisoner—but he happens to be an especially gifted interrogator.

What about the hundreds of men who worked for him? Koubi could not be present for all those interrogations.

Every effort to regulate coercion failed. In the abstract it was easy to imagine a ticking-bomb situation, and a suspect who clearly warranted rough treatment. But in real life where was the line to be drawn?

Should coercive methods be applied only to someone who knows of an immediately pending attack? What about one who might know of attacks planned for months or years in the future?

"Assuming you get useful information from torture, then why not always use torture?" asks Jessica Montell, the executive director of B'Tselem, a human-rights advocacy group in Jerusalem.

"Why stop at the bomb that's already been planted and at people who know where the explosives are? Why not people who are building the explosives, or people who are donating money, or transferring the funds for the explosives? Why stop at the victim himself? Why not torture the victims' families, their relatives, their neighbors? If the end justifies the means, then where would you draw the line?"

And how does one define "coercion," as opposed to "torture"?

If making a man sit in a tiny chair that forces him to hang painfully by his bound hands when he slides forward is okay, then what about applying a little pressure to the base of his neck to aggravate that pain? When does shaking or pushing a prisoner, which can become violent enough to kill or seriously injure a man, cross the line from coercion to torture?

...She knows that the use of coercion in interrogation did not end completely when the Israeli Supreme Court banned it in 1999. The difference is that when interrogators use "aggressive methods" now, they know they are breaking the law and could potentially be held responsible for doing so. This acts as a deterrent, and tends to limit the use of coercion to only the most defensible situations.

"If I as an interrogator feel that the person in front of me has information that can prevent a catastrophe from happening," she says, "I imagine that I would do what I would have to do in order to prevent that catastrophe from happening. The state's obligation is then to put me on trial, for breaking the law. Then I come and say these are the facts that I had at my disposal. This is what I believed at the time. This is what I thought necessary to do. I can evoke the defense of necessity, and then the court decides whether or not it's reasonable that I broke the law in order to avert this catastrophe. But it has to be that I broke the law. It can't be that there's some prior license for me to abuse people."

In other words, when the ban is lifted, there is no restraining lazy, incompetent, or sadistic interrogators. As long as it remains illegal to torture, the interrogator who employs coercion must accept the risk. He must be prepared to stand up in court, if necessary, and defend his actions. Interrogators will still use coercion because in some cases they will deem it worth the consequences. This does not mean they will necessarily be punished...

The Bush Administration has adopted exactly the right posture on the matter. Candor and consistency are not always public virtues.

Torture is a crime against humanity, but coercion is an issue that is rightly handled with a wink, or even a touch of hypocrisy; it should be banned but also quietly practiced. Those who protest coercive methods will exaggerate their horrors, which is good: it generates a useful climate of fear. It is wise of the President to reiterate U.S. support for international agreements banning torture, and it is wise for American interrogators to employ whatever coercive methods work. It is also smart not to discuss the matter with anyone.

Source:
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200310/bowden
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wilberhum
06-02-2007, 01:17 AM
Does anyone read these long copy/paste articles?
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snakelegs
06-02-2007, 01:28 AM
nah. and i am one who is very concerned that we have forfeited our right to speak out for human rights in the world. we are becoming our enemy.
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Cognescenti
06-02-2007, 02:07 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
nah. and i am one who is very concerned that we have forfeited our right to speak out for human rights in the world. we are becoming our enemy.
I do have a concern you may be right on that, although telling the Chinese not to harvest organs from executed prisoners seemed not to have done much good before.

On the other hand, serving an arrest warrant to the Yemenis for some guy responsible for the Cole bombing is clearly not going to work. An "accidental" collision between his car and a Hellfire missile is about the only way.

PS...Islamara that "poll" you posted with CNN at the top is not a scientifically valid survey. There are two gigantic selection biases:

1) Those watching the show are certainly not representative of the Americna Public as a whole
2) Those motivated to vote are self-selected (and can usually vote more than once)
Reply

Muezzin
06-02-2007, 02:43 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
nah. and i am one who is very concerned that we have forfeited our right to speak out for human rights in the world. we are becoming our enemy.
Human rights are for sissies. We have to punish these terrorists!

(sarcasm)
Reply

MTAFFI
06-02-2007, 03:29 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti

PS...Islamara that "poll" you posted with CNN at the top is not a scientifically valid survey. There are two gigantic selection biases:

1) Those watching the show are certainly not representative of the Americna Public as a whole
2) Those motivated to vote are self-selected (and can usually vote more than once)

Not to mention that prisonplanet and infowars both advertised the survey on their sites and told people to go vote. But you might as well forget it with this guy, he is a conspiracy theorist himself and only looks at figures or opinions that reflect negatively on the US
Reply

Muezzin
06-02-2007, 06:14 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
Let me see if I can keep my aggressive side in check, as you seem to be a very resonable person.

1) The excerpt from the article was in regard to the handling of those prisoners transported under "extraordinary rendition". It did not discuss the 'routine" prisoners transported after being captured on the battlefield in Afghanistan. To my knowledge, there has not been a claim of "sexual humiliation" of prisoners while under US custody in the extraordinary rendition program.
Which kind of prisoners were these?

Confirmation here and here.

Unless of course that's a lie. I guess this guy was also lying then.

However, that stuff was in 2005. I sincerely hope such disgusting techniques are no longer being employed.
Reply

Lina
06-02-2007, 08:35 PM
:sl:

Also, The sad thing is more countries are copying this 'fighting terrorism' regime, where humiliation is key in detainee centres.


May Allah ta'la grant our brothers and sisters sabr insha'Allah,
Fakka Allahu Asrahum insha'Allah.
Reply

Cognescenti
06-02-2007, 09:38 PM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
Which kind of prisoners were these?

Confirmation here and here.

Unless of course that's a lie. I guess this guy was also lying then.

However, that stuff was in 2005. I sincerely hope such disgusting techniques are no longer being employed.
I don't know whether all of that is true or not. Keep in mind he is trying to sell a book. If the book is sensational, he sells more copies.

Keep in mind also the Newsweek story about alleged disrepect for the Quran at G'itmo proved to be utterly false. This was also from an "inside" source.

If you ask me, after 9-11, any Saudi national who came all the way to the US for flight school and is not employed in the industry has some serious 'splaining to do. Even if it is true, I can't honestly say I find an "interrogatress" acting seductively to be something on par with torture. On the other hand, I doubt it would work to gain info so I don't see the value.

I do have sympathy for some of the deluded Pushtun illiterates who were helping the Taliban and got caught in the net in Afghanistan. Many have been sent back. I have close to zero sympathy for the "foreign fighters" who should have well known what was going on before they got involved.
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snakelegs
06-02-2007, 11:15 PM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
I do have a concern you may be right on that, although telling the Chinese not to harvest organs from executed prisoners seemed not to have done much good before.

On the other hand, serving an arrest warrant to the Yemenis for some guy responsible for the Cole bombing is clearly not going to work. An "accidental" collision between his car and a Hellfire missile is about the only way.
so the solution is to become like those we call our enemies?
i am ashamed that my country tortures, humiliates and kidnaps people - for some reason, i expect my country to be better than that. i guess i hold it to higher standards.
the u.s. does have a way of portraying itself as the epitome of righteousness, freedom, democracy, defender of human rights, and any other good things you can think of.
also, looking at it in merely practical terms - there seems to be a broad consensus that torture doesn't work anyway.
Reply

Cognescenti
06-02-2007, 11:40 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
so the solution is to become like those we call our enemies?
i am ashamed that my country tortures, humiliates and kidnaps people - for some reason, i expect my country to be better than that. i guess i hold it to higher standards.
the u.s. does have a way of portraying itself as the epitome of righteousness, freedom, democracy, defender of human rights, and any other good things you can think of.
also, looking at it in merely practical terms - there seems to be a broad consensus that torture doesn't work anyway.
Where did I say I advocate torture? I agree with you on torture. It probably doesn't work on the really hard cores. On the most egregious forms, everyone can agree, ("Waterboarding", for eg., does seem like torture to me) but what about putting a prsioner in isolation or temporary sleep deprivation? Are those torture? Giving him false information? Is that torture?
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Keltoi
06-03-2007, 12:36 AM
Nobody advocates outright torture, although in certain theoretical situations I could see how torture could be justified, but most situations don't rise to those levels. More psychological forms of "torture" seem to be the most effective if there is enough time to devote to it. Like what broke Rosie O'....I mean Khalid Sheik Muhammed. 24 hours of Red Hot Chili Peppers music would break me too.
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Cognescenti
06-03-2007, 12:45 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
Nobody advocates outright torture, although in certain theoretical situations I could see how torture could be justified, but most situations don't rise to those levels. More psychological forms of "torture" seem to be the most effective if there is enough time to devote to it. Like what broke Rosie O'....I mean Khalid Sheik Muhammed. 24 hours of Red Hot Chili Peppers music would break me too.
I am thinking old Osmand Family records.
Reply

Zman
06-03-2007, 02:51 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
although in certain theoretical situations I could see how torture could be justified,
And if such situations arose for the Muslim side and torture was used on our guys, you'd be A-OK with that, right?
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Keltoi
06-03-2007, 02:58 AM
Originally Posted by Zman
And if such situations arose for the Muslim side and torture was used on our guys, you'd be A-OK with that, right?
"Arose from the Muslim side?" Unfortunately these situation arise quite often on the "Muslim side", and thousands of Muslims have died because of it. Terrorism kills more Muslims than non-Muslims. I would think that if a suspect was captured in a majority Muslim country, and this suspect had information about an impending terrorist attack...well, we all know what would happen in that situation.
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snakelegs
06-03-2007, 03:04 AM
Originally Posted by Cognescenti
Where did I say I advocate torture? I agree with you on torture. It probably doesn't work on the really hard cores. On the most egregious forms, everyone can agree, ("Waterboarding", for eg., does seem like torture to me) but what about putting a prsioner in isolation or temporary sleep deprivation? Are those torture? Giving him false information? Is that torture?
apparently i misunderstood your intent - i apologize.
how do we define torture? prolonged isolation, probably. temporary sleep deprivation, probably not. but we are practicing and justifiying "more egregious forms" and this is our shame.
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Cognescenti
06-03-2007, 05:14 PM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
apparently i misunderstood your intent - i apologize.
how do we define torture? prolonged isolation, probably. temporary sleep deprivation, probably not. but we are practicing and justifiying "more egregious forms" and this is our shame.
No worries.....so was Thoreau torturing himself at Walden Pond, then? :)
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Zman
06-19-2007, 02:02 PM
:sl:/Peace To All


Seymour Hersh Reveals Shocking New Details Of Abu Ghraib; 'Father and Son Forced To Do Acts Together'

John Byrne and David Edwards
Published: Sunday June 17, 2007
RawStory

In a Saturday interview with CNN's Late Edition, veteran New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh revealed new details about the coverup of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

His new piece in the magazine can be read here:

"The General's Report":
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/06/25/070625fa_fact_hersh[/url]

"The notion... that our leader, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and his aides, they all went and testified in May after the stories about Abu Ghraib became public that 'oh my God, we just didn't know about, we didn't realize how serious it was,' is simply not true."

Blitzer asks Hersh about a quote given by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said in a May 6, 2004 meeting with Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and top brass at the Pentagon.


"I described the naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum and said, 'That's not abuse, that's torture,'" Taguba said.

"There was quiet."
The following day, May 7, Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee.

"It breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say wait, look, this is terrible," Rumsfeld said.


"We need to do something to manage -- the legal part of these proceeding along fine. What wasn't proceeding along fine was that the president didn't know, and you didn't know and I didn't know and as a result, somebody leaked a secret report to the press and there they are."
Hersh scoffs at Rumsfeld's response.

"It's sort of ridiculous. Everybody at the top, by the middle of January, knew," Hersh said.

"The only question I raise at the end of the article, is what the president know, when?"

Blitzer reads the White House response.

"The President addressed this fully," a White House statement says.

"He first saw the pictures on TV and was upset by them. He called for the investigation to go forward. He found the actions abhorrent and urged the Defense Department to get to the bottom of the matter."

"It's not when they saw the photographs," Hersh stresses.


"It's when they learned how serious it was. They were told in memos what the photographs showed... They showed other, more sexual abuse than we knew, sodomy of women prisons by American soldiers, a father and his son forced to do acts together. There was more stuff [than] was made public.

You didn't need a photograph if you had a verbal description of it.
"It's quite implicit," he added. "They knew very quickly this was bad."

Source:
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Seymou...raib_0617.html
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