Sunday, April 26, 2009

C.I.A.Interrogation Techniques Were In Fact Torture: Armed Services Report Released

UPDATE: 2:03 PM, April 26, 2009

Anyway With the release of the Armed Services Senate Report on Detainee Treatment this week combined with the release last week of both the so called C.I.A.Torture Memos and the International Committee of the Red Cross Report on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo we now have a fairly good picture of the time line regarding the Bush Regime's decisions to ignore the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law in the humane treatment of detainees captured after 9/11.

It is also now clear that the so called "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques " were in fact torture techniques which were illegal under U.S. law and had been banned by the Geneva Conventions. It is also reasonable to assume that Bush and Cheney and others in the White House during this period were aware that these techniques were in fact torture Techniques which were illegal under U.S. law and had been banned by the Geneva Conventions.

It is also known that the Bush Regime had been warned that these techniques were not considered to be a reliable means to the gathering of usable intel from detainees.
And the Bush Regime were warned about the risk which these techniques would have on the detainees . The detainees could be permanently harmed either physically or psychologically by these techniques and that there was also a risk of killing the detainees by using these techniques .

Another revelation in the report is how these Torture Techniques were not just to be used at Guantanamo but also at other U.S. facilities & detention centres in Iraq and Afghanistan. The pressure was on from the top - the White House that the C.I.A., the military and other U.S. personnel get results . So the so called "Enhanced Techniques" not merely migrated to Iraq and Afghanistan prisons such as Abu Ghraib haphazardly by word of moth or some other means but were in fact the official policy from the top down. So the Few Bad Apples Theory was a lot of nonsense . The only with Abu Ghraib from the White House point of view was that some dumb ass took some photos and passed them along the internet - so it was a public relations problem they needed to address to cover up how widespread their "Enhanced Interrogation Program " really was. It was one thing to convince the public to have some top Al Qaida detainees at Gitmo tortured but quite another thing to torture hundreds of people .

So what you end up with is a further cycle of abuse and torture as detainees make false confessions , name names of people who may not be guilty of anything or who know anything. Then those people are brought in for Interrogation that is torture and the cycle continues with more false confessions. And all this activity merely added fuel to the fire in Iraq and so the insurgency grew as did the anti-Americanism in Iraq.


See full documents of Torture Memos at: "Bush Torture Memos Released By Obama: See The Complete Documents" at Huffington Post

and recently released:
Red Cross Report on Detainee Torture At Guantanamo

The report details the intention of the Bush administration's desire to use the military and C.I.A. program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training which uses interrogation techniques which are illegal under U.S. law and are banned by the Geneva Conventions to make US personnel familiar with these torture techniques to prepare them in case these techniques are used on them if they are captured by the enemy.

What Bush and Cheney wanted to do was to reverse the program to train their personnel on how to use these banned illegal techniques on those detainees taken into U.S. custody.But these harsh techniques were mainly used by other countries to elicit not usable intel bu rather to get false confessions and compliance and essentially to break the individual. So the question arises what were the goals of the Bush administration in using these techniques on detainees- to elicit usable intel and to get false confessions ? The report makes it quite clear that these enhanced interrogation techniques were characterized as amounting to torture and abuse. The report also makes it clear that these techniques are illegal under U.S. law and by International Law including the Geneva Conventions.

For some background in case you haven't had the opportunity to take a look at it yet here are some choice bits from the Armed Services Senate Report on Detainee Treatment:

In December 2001, more than a month before the President signed his memorandum, the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel's Office had already solicited information on detainee "exploitation" from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), an agency whose expertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques considered illegal under the Geneva Conventions.

JPRA is the DoD agency that oversees military Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) training. During the resistance phase of SERE training, U.S. military personnel are exposed to physical and psychological pressures (SERE techniques) designed to simulate conditions to which they might be subject if taken prisoner by enemies that did not abide by the Geneva Conventions. As one JPRA instructor explained, SERE training is "based on illegal exploitation (under the rules listed in the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War) of prisoners over the last 50 years."

The techniques used in SERE school, based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean war to elicit false confessions, include stripping students of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. It can also include face and body slaps and until recently, for some who attended the Navy's SERE school, it included waterboarding.

Typically, those who play the part of interrogators in SERE school neither are trained interrogators nor are they qualified to be. These role players are not trained to obtain reliable intelligence information from detainees. Their job is to train our personnel to resist providing reliable information to our enemies. As the Deputy Commander for the Joint Forces Command (JFCOM), JPRA's higher headquarters, put it: "the expertise of JPRA lies in training personnel how to respond and resist interrogations - not in how to conduct interrogations." Given JPRA's role and expertise, the request from the DoD General Counsel's office was unusual. In fact, the Committee is not aware ofany similar request prior to December 2001.

(U) In late July, JPRA provided the General Counsel's office with several documents, including excerpts from SERE instructor lesson plans, a list ofphysical and psychological pressures used in SERE resistance training, and a memo from a SERE psychologist assessing the long-term psychological effects of SERE resistance training on students and the effects of waterboarding.

The list of SERE techniques included such methods as sensory deprivation,sleep disruption, stress positions, waterboarding, and slapping. It also made reference to a section ofthe JPRA instructor manual that discusses "coercive pressures," such as keeping the lights on at all times, and treating a person like an animal. JPRA's Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baumgartner, who spoke with Mr. Shiffiin at the time, thought the General Counsel's office was asking for the information on exploitation and physical pressures to use them in interrogations and he said that JFCOM gave approval to provide the agency the information. Mr. Shiffiin, the DoD Deputy General Counsel for Intelligence, confmned that a purpose ofthe request was to "reverse engineer" the techniques. Mr. Haynes could not recall what he did with the information provided by JPRA.

...a handwritten note that referred to limits proposed in the memo on the use of stress positions: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

SERE school techniques are designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies. There are fundamental differences between a SERE school exercise and a real world interrogation. At SERE school, students are subject to an extensive medical and psychological pre-screening prior to being subjected to physical and psychological pressures.

The schools impose strict limits on the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of certain techniques. Psychologists are present throughout SERE training to intervene should the need arise and to help students cope with associated stress. And SERE school is voluntary; students are even given a special phrase they can use to immediately stop the techniques from being used against

Neither those differences, nor the serious legal concerns that had been registered, stopped the Secretary of Defense from approving the use of the aggressive techniques against detainees. Moreover, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the techniques without apparently providing any written guidance as to how they should be administered.

On December 30,2002, two instructors from the Navy SERE school arrived at GTMO. The next day, in a session with approximately 24 interrogation personnel, the two SERE instructors demonstrated how to administer stress positions, and various slapping techniques. According to two interrogators, those who attended the training even broke off into pairs to practice the techniques.

ExemplifYing the disturbing nature and substance of the training, the SERE instructors explained "Biderman's Principles" - which were based on coercive methods used by the Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during the Korean War - and left with GTMO personnel a chart of those coercive techniques. Three days after they conducted the training, the SERE instructors met with GTMO's Commander, Major General Geoffrey Miller. According to some who attended that meeting, Major General Miller stated that he did not want his interrogators using the techniques that the Navy SERE instructors had demonstrated.

That conversation, however, took place after the training had already occurred and not all of the interrogators who attended the training got the message.

Keith Olbermann and Jonathan Alter-Secret Document Proves Bush/Cheney were told Torture Was Ineffective
Harsh/ Enhanced Techniques unequivocally characterized as "Torture"

Keith Olbermann- Bush/Cheney Approved Techniques Referred to Explicitly as Torture
Techniques WhiteHouse was told do not Work in Gathering Usable Intel
Was Torture Used to gather evidence Against Saddam to justify Iraq War

U.S. Military and C.I.A. involved in widespread use of Torture throughout Iraq and Afghanistan
U.S. Military Scapegoated by Bush and Cheney during Abu Ghraib Scandal
Soldiers at Abu Ghraib merely following orders fro The White House to put pressure on detainees to get results
Olbermann- U.S. Military Use of Torture- Ret. General Jean-Paul Baptiste

Pelosi defends herself and others who were briefed during the Bush Regime but were not told the whole truth about the so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
During the Bush/Cheney era Security matters became more and more secret
In investigations of torture she says there should not be blanket immunity, this should be on a case by case basis.
If people knew what they were doing was illegal and a criminal offense or if they knew these torture techniques did not work or they were merely committing these crimes to appease those higher up the chain of command then the question arises were they acting in 'Good Faith'- this is one of the defenses that Obama has suggested.

Saturday, April 25, 2009
We Were Not! I Repeat NOT EVER TOLD Waterboarding Was Used! Nancy Pelosi

From a US interrogator who casts doubts on the morality and efficacy of torture :

" My Tortured Decision " By ALI SOUFAN New York Times oped , April 22, 2009

FOR seven years I have remained silent about the false claims magnifying the effectiveness of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding. I have spoken only in closed government hearings, as these matters were classified. But the release last week of four Justice Department memos on interrogations allows me to shed light on the story, and on some of the lessons to be learned.

...There was no actionable intelligence gained from using enhanced interrogation techniques on Abu Zubaydah that wasn’t, or couldn’t have been, gained from regular tactics. In addition, I saw that using these alternative methods on other terrorists backfired on more than a few occasions — all of which are still classified. The short sightedness behind the use of these techniques ignored the unreliability of the methods, the nature of the threat, the mentality and modus operandi of the terrorists, and due process.

Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May.

One of the worst consequences of the use of these harsh techniques was that it reintroduced the so-called Chinese wall between the C.I.A. and F.B.I., similar to the communications obstacles that prevented us from working together to stop the 9/11 attacks. Because the bureau would not employ these problematic techniques, our agents who knew the most about the terrorists could have no part in the investigation. An F.B.I. colleague of mine who knew more about Khalid Shaikh Mohammed than anyone in the government was not allowed to speak to him.

For reporting on the latest on US Detainee torture Kudos to The Osterly Times & Hullabaloo & Ice Station Tango & Main St. USA &

For more articles on the subject also see;

Hullabaloo :Friday, April 24, 2009 "Nobody Said This Was Going To be Pretty "by digby

At AlterNet "Jack Bauer Tactics Used In Attempt to Establish Non-Existent Iraq-al Qaida Link" by Steve Benen, Washington Monthly April 22, 2009.

" Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link " by Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers, April 21, 2009

" CIA official: no proof harsh techniques stopped terror attacks " by Mark Seibel & Warren P. Strobel at McClatchey Newspapers, April 24, 2009

" Three Key Rules of Media Behavior Shape Their Discussions of “the ‘Torture’ Debate” by Glenn Greenwald,,April 24, 2009

As for Condoleeza Rice it appears she knew more about the torture taking place and was in fact involved in its approval.

"Rice, Cheney Approved Waterboarding " at Huffington Post , April 23, 2009

" U.S. Soldier Killed Herself -- After Refusing to Take Part in Torture " by Greg Mitchell, at Huffington Post , April 23, 2009

" The Cancerous Rot at the Center of the Empire" By Jacob G. Hornberger April 23, 2009 "fff

" On Torture, the Pressure Builds " By Ray McGovern ,April 23, 2009 "ICH"

" MoveOn Torture Ad Highlights Cheney for Investigation" by Sam Stein, Huffington April 22, 2009.

and so it goes,

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