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The American Way of Torture

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PalJoey
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The American Way of Torture#1
Posted: 8/6/07 at 2:40pm
Jane Mayer in this week's New Yorker, details the methods we have been using to elicit confessions. Every one of us is complicit in these practices. None of us is innocent.

On the CBS Evening News, Mayer said:

"The Red Cross went in and got to interview these people for the first time. What these people described was hanging from the ceilings by their arms and being water-boarded, partially drowned, put on leashes and knocked into walls and basically deprived of all kinds of sensory imagery for years."

Here's an excerpt form the New Yorker article:

===

In the C.I.A.’s program, meals were delivered sporadically, to insure that the prisoners remained temporally disoriented. The food was largely tasteless, and barely enough to live on. [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed, who upon his capture in Rawalpindi was photographed looking flabby and unkempt, was now described as being slim. Experts on the C.I.A. program say that the administering of food is part of its psychological arsenal. Sometimes portions were smaller than the day before, for no apparent reason. “It was all part of the conditioning,” the person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry said. “It’s all calibrated to develop dependency.”

The inquiry source said that most of the Poland detainees were waterboarded, including Mohammed. According to the sources familiar with the Red Cross report, Mohammed claimed to have been waterboarded five times. Two former C.I.A. officers who are friends with one of Mohammed’s interrogators called this bravado, insisting that he was waterboarded only once. According to one of the officers, Mohammed needed only to be shown the drowning equipment again before he “broke.”

“Waterboarding works,” the former officer said. “Drowning is a baseline fear. So is falling. People dream about it. It’s human nature. Suffocation is a very scary thing. When you’re waterboarded, you’re inverted, so it exacerbates the fear. It’s not painful, but it scares the **** out of you.” (The former officer was waterboarded himself in a training course.) Mohammed, he claimed, “didn’t resist. He sang right away. He cracked real quick.” He said, “A lot of them want to talk. Their egos are unimaginable. K.S.M. was just a little doughboy. He couldn’t stand toe to toe and fight it out.”

The former officer said that the C.I.A. kept a doctor standing by during interrogations. He insisted that the method was safe and effective, but said that it could cause lasting psychic damage to the interrogators. During interrogations, the former agency official said, officers worked in teams, watching each other behind two-way mirrors. Even with this group support, the friend said, Mohammed’s interrogator “has horrible nightmares.” He went on, “When you cross over that line of darkness, it’s hard to come back. You lose your soul. You can do your best to justify it, but it’s well outside the norm. You can’t go to that dark a place without it changing you.” He said of his friend, “He’s a good guy. It really haunts him. You are inflicting something really evil and horrible on somebody.”

Among the few C.I.A. officials who knew the details of the detention and interrogation program, there was a tense debate about where to draw the line in terms of treatment. John Brennan, Tenet’s former chief of staff, said, “It all comes down to individual moral barometers.” Waterboarding, in particular, troubled many officials, from both a moral and a legal perspective. Until 2002, when Bush Administration lawyers asserted that waterboarding was a permissible interrogation technique for “enemy combatants,” it was classified as a form of torture, and treated as a serious criminal offense. American soldiers were court-martialled for waterboarding captives as recently as the Vietnam War.

A C.I.A. source said that Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding only after interrogators determined that he was hiding information from them. But Mohammed has apparently said that, even after he started coöperating, he was waterboarded. Footnotes to the 9/11 Commission report indicate that by April 17, 2003—a month and a half after he was captured—Mohammed had already started providing substantial information on Al Qaeda. Nonetheless, according to the person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, he was kept in isolation for years. During this time, Mohammed supplied intelligence on the history of the September 11th plot, and on the structure and operations of Al Qaeda. He also described plots still in a preliminary phase of development, such as a plan to bomb targets on America’s West Coast.

Ultimately, however, Mohammed claimed responsibility for so many crimes that his testimony became to seem inherently dubious. In addition to confessing to the Pearl murder, he said that he had hatched plans to assassinate President Clinton, President Carter, and Pope John Paul II. Bruce Riedel, who was a C.I.A. analyst for twenty-nine years, and who now works at the Brookings Institution, said, “It’s difficult to give credence to any particular area of this large a charge sheet that he confessed to, considering the situation he found himself in. K.S.M. has no prospect of ever seeing freedom again, so his only gratification in life is to portray himself as the James Bond of jihadism.”
The Black Sites: A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.
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JoeKv99
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re: The American Way of Torture#2
Posted: 8/6/07 at 3:10pm
Thank you for posting this- Of all the horrible things this administration has done, making the US a nation that tortures it's prisoners is the most abhorrant to me.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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PalJoey
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re: The American Way of Torture#2
Posted: 8/6/07 at 3:39pm
American soldiers were court-martialled for waterboarding captives as recently as the Vietnam War.

Enough said.
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re: The American Way of Torture#3
Posted: 8/6/07 at 4:09pm
Updated On: 8/6/07 at 04:09 PM
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re: The American Way of Torture#4
Posted: 8/6/07 at 5:21pm
And in the Neuremburg trials, people who performed these acts were dentenced to death.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
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PalJoey
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re: The American Way of Torture#5
Posted: 8/6/07 at 6:22pm
HD?