Years after the first hints of "harsh interrogation practices" in the US war on terror, years after Obama's decision to "look forward, not back"
and not investigate or pursue official torture by the CIA and other agencies, the 577-page Report of the Task Force on Detainee Treatment
that was released today is, "[i]n many respects, . . . the examination of the treatment of suspected terrorists that official Washington has been reluctant to conduct." The New York Times' Scott Shane reports
. [more inside]
The first thing we learned about war re-enactment is that it's fucking terrifying having guns fired at you, even ones loaded with blanks. The second thing we learned is a common re-enactor's dilemma called "The G.I. Effect", which is basically that people playing Americans don't like to die. So sometimes they just don't.It's Like Vietnam All Over Again, pt 1
. Part 2
Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty
has been named the best film of 2012 by the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the National Board of Review. Does it endorse torture? [more inside]
The DoJ drops all remaining investigation and prosecution of US War on Terror deaths/murders through harsh tactics/torture: "No Charges Filed on Harsh Tactics Used by the C.I.A." [NYT
] Glenn Greenwald reacts and describes the cases that just got dropped. [Guardian
] Second link is arguably a violence trigger, but is better and bothers to do things like talk to the ALCU.
This is the interrogation log of Mohammed al-Qahtani. It is being published in real time: each entry will appear exactly seven years after it was first recorded. The interrogation took place at Guantanamo Bay.
PHR (Physicians for Human Rights)
a new report (pdf)
that details the extent to which doctors were involved in monitoring and recording data on detainees subjected to waterboarding and other techniques [via] [more inside]
Interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda suspects "constituted torture"
, according to a report by the International Red Cross.
Music has been used in American military prisons and on bases to induce sleep deprivation, "prolong capture shock," disorient detainees during interrogations—and also drown out screams. Based on a leaked interrogation log, news reports, and the accounts of soldiers and detainees, here are some of the songs that guards and interrogators chose.
Five myths about torture
In a Washington Post column, Darius Rejali
, author of Torture and Democracy, explains why five beliefs about torture are wrong. In a Harper's interview
, he answers six questions. "Yes, torture does migrate, and there are some good examples of it both in American and French history. The basic idea here is that soldiers who get ahead torturing come back and take jobs as policemen, and private security, and they get ahead doing the same things they did in the army. And so torture comes home. Everyone knows waterboarding, but no one remembers that it was American soldiers coming back from the Philippines that introduced it to police in the early twentieth century." [more inside]
Citing the organization's "sharp shift in values and direction," Ken Pope
, prominent member of the American Psychological Association (and a former chair of its Ethics Committee), resigned his membership
on February 6. He's the latest of a growing number of professional psychologists who have quit
APA in protest of its position
on the use of psychologists in government interrogations
in the "War on Terror."
Fort Hunt's Quiet Men Break Silence on WWII.
After 60 years of silence, the World War II
veterans who interrogated Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt
are telling their story. [Via The Reality-Based Community.] [more inside]
Secret U. S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
. The New York Times has a 4000-word report today on secret Justice Department opinions--never previously disclosed--authorizing severe interrogation methods. Congress has outlawed cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; in response, Justice declared that the CIA's most extreme interrogation methods are not cruel, inhuman, and degrading. These secret opinions, issued in 2005, are still in effect. Most lawmakers did not know they existed. White House response
: "This country does not torture."
Rorschach and Awe.
"America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
The Interrogation Documents
- a collection of available records relating to U.S. interrogation policies. (via
Abu Ghraib, continued.
A new cache of disturbing images and videos from the original interrogations, with commentary from Salon. [Definitely NSFW, or for Earth, for that matter.]
Adieu, Abu Ghraib
-- we hardly
knew ye (classified, ya know.) In the wake of a damning Amnesty International report
, military spokesperson Keir-Kevin Curry says the infamous Baghdad prison
will be closed within three months, its occupants transferred to other facilities in Iraq, including Camp Cropper (and don't ask what's happening there
, or the terrorists win.) Or is Curry's statement premature
? And would the closing of Abu Ghraib represent a change of policy, or merely rebranding the same old same old
to avoid bad associations
The London Cage.
Kensington Palace Gardens is one of the most exclusive addresses in the world
. Between July 1940 and September 1948 three magnificent houses there were home to one of Great Britain'smost secret military establishments: the London office of the Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, known colloquially as the London Cage. It was run by MI19
, the section of the War Office responsible for gleaning information from enemy prisoners of war
, and few outside this organisation knew exactly what went on beyond the single barbed-wire fence that separated the three houses from the busy streets and grand parks of west London. The London Cage was used partly as a torture centre
, inside which large numbers of German officers and soldiers were subjected to systematic ill-treatment. In total 3,573 men passed through the Cage, and more than 1,000 were persuaded to give statements about war crimes. A number of German civilians joined the servicemen who were interrogated there up to 1948. More inside.
The Torture Question tonight on PBS by far, television's most in-depth look at how the controversial interrogation policy evolved after a major power struggle within the Bush administration.
(via Rocky Mountain News)
The problem, of course, is that it's often the things we'd rather not think about that we most need to hear, especially when those things are actions taken in all of our names with an eye toward making us safer. Ellen Gray
Watch a preview here
From the folks who brought you Abu Ghraib,
new information from Afghanistan. More torture of "terrorists," more deaths of prisoners, more untrained interrogators pummeling instead of interrogating—facts direct from a leaked Army investigation.
The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program.
Who thinks this stuff up?
Further to concerns discussed here
regarding the torture of Guantanamo detainees, some interesting stories are emerging from those released about the creativity of gonzo military interrogation. Eww.
Links to the government memoranda on torture and the Geneva Convention can be found here
(sign-up required) or else through the "featured link" on www.c-span.org. While Alberto Gonzales will probably be confirmed as Attorney General, the memoranda were the subject of some stinging testimony by such heavy-hitters as Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, at the end of today's confirmation hearing.
Is this really the best idea the military can think of?
Today's NY Times provides details on some methods used to extract the truth from Iraqi prisoners, including (I'm not making this up) audio tapes played loudly with "songs by Lil' Kim and Rage Against the Machine and rap performances by Eminem played loudly,"
and "a mix of babies crying and the television commercial for Meow Mix in which the jingle consists of repetition of the word 'meow'."
Wouldn't sodium pentathol or some other chemical persuasion be more effective, while providing less fodder for Leno and Letterman?
An interview with Michael Koubi.
Koubi was an interrogator with the Israeli security services for 21 years, and its chief interrogator for 6 years. He claims he can make anyone talk.
The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
Torture and Truth
and The Logic of Torture
--Mark Danner writes about Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade (The Taguba Report)
and Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the Treatment by the Coalition Forces of Prisoners of War and Other Protected Persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq During Arrest, Internment and Interrogation
in the former and concludes thusly in the latter:Behind the exotic brutality so painstakingly recorded in Abu Ghraib, and the multiple tangled plotlines that will be teased out in the coming weeks and months about responsibility, knowledge, and culpability, lies a simple truth, well known but not yet publicly admitted in Washington: that since the attacks of September 11, 2001, officials of the United States, at various locations around the world, from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo in Cuba to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, have been torturing prisoners. (More Within)
U.S. Military Bars Some Iraq Interrogation Methods
...The officials said the decision was made on Thursday by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, on the same day that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with him on a surprise trip to the country and visited the Abu Ghraib facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. ..
Is this a tacit admission that what took place was not simply rogue actions by individuals but rather military folks following orders of some kind? And, then, why do the new ground rules apply just to Iraq and not to other places?
" is the State Department legal term for when they ship
(its a lot like extradition minus due process ) Al Qaida/Taliban POWs to a friendly 3rd country such as Egypt or Jordan for questioning.
"Why not just question them in Guantanamo" you ask? Thats because in some countries, interrogation is less regulated than it is on US soil. Neat, huh?
according to andy borowitz, the cia is using
mariah carey's movie "glitter" in the interrogations of al qaeda operatives. apparently, "the film usually induces prisoners to talk after 10 or 12 minutes.
" yow. the US is fighting dirty!
this has got to be one of the most humorous things i've read in a while. (via newsweek)
Exxon "helped torture in Indonesia."
The Aceh uprising brings up the point--how far do we allow multi-nationals to go to "protect their interests"? Would you sanction torture to keep the price of gas and other petroleum products low?