Later On

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Posts Tagged ‘interrogation

CIA: knows little of interrogation

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Definitely worth reading. The article begins:

In a bucolic field two miles north of Mount Vernon, beside a baseball diamond in Fort Hunt Park, Va., about 20 veterans of a secret World War II intelligence unit gathered together last year for the first time since 1946. The National Park Service was holding a ceremony to commemorate their service. The men, mostly in their eighties, had never before told their stories. During the war, Fort Hunt was a secret interrogation center, where some 4,000 German and Italian military officers, high-ranking government officials and scientists were debriefed. A few years ago, Park Rangers responsible for the area learned of Fort Hunt’s critical intelligence role in recently declassified documents, and they decided to create a memorial and reunite the unit’s veterans. The dedication ceremony was held over two balmy, peaceful days last October.

Col. Steve Kleinman, a U.S. Air Force Reserve interrogator, 50, who had served in Panama and both Iraq wars, was one of the speakers that fall day. In a conversation earlier this month, Kleinman said he was horrified by America’s turn to what Dick Cheney has called “the dark side” in the war on terrorism: indefinite detention in the name of national security, torture in the name of intelligence collection. And so he fought against it. Kleinman joined an effort, sponsored by the Intelligence Science Board—an interagency intelligence-advisory panel—to get the intelligence community to finally renounce torture. His speech at Fort Hunt was a subtle rebuke of the use of torture, comparing the war on terrorism to an earlier era, when interrogators shunned brutality.

Suddenly, at Fort Hunt that October day, a veteran approached Kleinman. “I never laid a hand on one of my prisoners,” the older man said. “That allowed me to do my job and retain my humanity.” Kleinman was moved. “I thought, when’s the last time I heard an interrogator concerned about that?” he recalled.

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Written by Leisureguy

28 January 2008 at 10:19 am

Bush ordered the torture

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From Raw Story:

More than 100,000 pages of newly released government documents demonstrate how US military interrogators “abused, tortured or killed” scores of prisoners rounded up since Sept. 11, 2001, including some who were not even expected of having terrorist ties, according to a just-published book.

In Administration of Torture, two American Civil Liberties Union attorneys detail the findings of a years-long investigation and court battle with the administration that resulted in the release of massive amounts of data on prisoner treatment and the deaths of US-held prisoners.

“[T]he documents show unambiguously that the administration has adopted some of the methods of the most tyrannical regimes,” write Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh. “Documents from Guantanamo describe prisoners shackled in excruciating ‘stress positions,’ held in freezing-cold cells, forcibly stripped, hooded, terrorized with military dogs, and deprived of human contact for months.”

Most of the documents on which Administration of Torture is based were obtained as a result of ongoing legal fights over a Freedom of Information Act request filed in October 2003 by the ACLU and other human rights and anti-war groups, the ACLU said in a news release.

The documents show that prisoner abuse like that found at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was hardly the isolated incident that the Bush administration or US military claimed it was. By the time the prisoner abuse story broke in mid-2004 the Army knew of at least 62 other allegations of abuse at different prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the authors report.

Drawing almost exclusively from the documents, the authors say there is a stark contrast between the public statements of President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the policies those and others in the administration were advocating behind the scenes.

President Bush gave “marching orders” to Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who asked the Pentagon to approve harsher interrogation methods at Guantanamo, the general claims in documents reported in the book.

The ACLU also found that an Army investigator reported Rumsfeld was “personally involved” in overseeing the interrogation of a Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed al Qahtani. The prisoner was forced to parade naked in front of female interrogators wearing women’s underwear on his head and was led around on a leash while being forced to perform dog tricks.

“It is imperative that senior officials who authorized, endorsed, or tolerated the abuse and torture of prisoners be held accountable,” Jaffer and Singh write, “not only as a matter of elemental justice, but to ensure that the same crimes are not perpetrated again.”

Written by Leisureguy

23 October 2007 at 12:58 pm

Torture does not get good information

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Tom Ricks of the Washington Post has some comments from the military:

Does torture work? The Bush administration has argued that, at a minimum, tough interrogation tactics do. But in the e-mail discussion below, four U.S. military experts with very different life experiences explain why they concluded that torture doesn’t work. The exchange is excerpted with their permission.

First is Army Capt. Kyle Teamey, a current military intelligence officer:

Subject: INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES

When I was in the officer’s basic course, one of the instructors, only half-jokingly, proclaimed, “Beatings and drugs are for fun, not for information.” His point was you can get anyone to say anything you want through torture. Good information came from psychology, interpersonal skills, and long hours with your prisoner. The best interrogators I’ve worked with tended to be very good at reading people and very good at using their understanding of the person and their culture to get them to talk — no waterboarding required. . . .

We should be developing an ideological alternative (or alternatives) to jihad and are instead alienating our allies, enraging the populations from which the terrorists arise, and most importantly, alienating our COG [center of gravity] in the form of the U.S. electorate. A liberal democracy, such as the US, operating in an environment with pervasive media cannot afford to dally in tactics that may provide some short term gains at the expense of long term success.

It is not just the US that has made this error in judgment. The Brits and French did the same in their COIN [counterinsurgency] campaigns in 20th century and suffered for it. We should learn from their mistakes — and ours.

That provoked this comment from retired Air Force Col. Robert Certain, who was held as a prisoner of war after being shot down over North Vietnam:

We ex-POWs don’t look kindly on sadistic behavior, especially when it degenerates into torture. Kyle is right, it doesn’t do much to get useful info, it only gives the sadist some thrills.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Terry Daly, a veteran of military intelligence operations in the Vietnam War, then added:

I have yet to speak with an experienced, successful interrogator who advocates mistreating their subjects. As personally satisfying as it may seem to beat the hell out of detainees, it doesn’t usually get you what you want — accurate, reliable information that you can trust and upon which you can act.

In Vietnam the Provincial Interrogation Centers routinely used skilled Vietnamese interrogators to obtain accurate, detailed information on the organization, personnel and structure of the Vietnamese Communist Infrastructure — exactly the type of information Guantanamo should be producing by the pound on radical Islamic terrorism.

I think we make a major strategic error when we support such would-be macho men as we see in this administration showing their supposed toughness by advocating torture, when we know it doesn’t work.

Finally, Air Force Col. William Andrews, who was a POW during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, added:

. . . when I was shot down over Iraq in 1991, I expected to be tortured . . . because I was in the hands of the bad guys. As I was beaten, I had a sense of moral superiority over brutal men who had a monopoly on physical power in the interrogation room. This moral superiority came from the knowledge that we were the good guys and we didn’t treat our prisoners that way. We were better than they were. I believe we cannot ever afford to give that up.

Written by Leisureguy

15 October 2007 at 12:04 pm

At one time the US didn’t torture

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From the Washington Post:

For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners’ cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

“We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture,” said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration’s methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.

Several of the veterans, all men in their 80s and 90s, denounced the controversial techniques. And when the time came for them to accept honors from the Army’s Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to the war in Iraq and procedures that have been used at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

“I feel like the military is using us to say, ‘We did spooky stuff then, so it’s okay to do it now,’ ” said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University.

When Peter Weiss, 82, went up to receive his award, he commandeered the microphone and gave his piece.

“I am deeply honored to be here, but I want to make it clear that my presence here is not in support of the current war,” said Weiss, chairman of the Lawyers’ Committee on Nuclear Policy and a human rights and trademark lawyer in New York City.

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Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2007 at 12:04 pm

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