Wednesday, July 09, 2008
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Posted by Mulch at 12:58 AM
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Wednesday, July 02, 2008
The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of "coercive management techniques" for possible use on prisoners, including "sleep deprivation," "prolonged constraint," and "exposure."
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.
The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after reviewing the 1957 article that "every American would be shocked" by the origin of the training document.
"What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions," Levin said. "People say we need intelligence, and we do. But we don't need false intelligence."
Biderman's 1957 article described "one form of torture" used by the Chinese as forcing American prisoners to stand "for exceedingly long periods," sometimes in conditions of "extreme cold." Such passive methods, he wrote, were more common than outright physical violence. Prolonged standing and exposure to cold have both been used by American military and CIA interrogators against terrorist suspects.
The chart also listed other techniques used by the Chinese, including "Semi-Starvation," "Exploitation of Wounds," and "Filthy, Infested Surroundings," and with their effects: "Makes Victim Dependent on Interrogator," "Weakens Mental and Physical Ability to Resist," and "Reduces Prisoner to 'Animal Level' Concerns."
The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: "Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance."
In other news, A federal appeals court reviewing evidence at Guantanamo Bay compared a Bush administration legal argument to one made by a hapless, dimwitted character in a 19th century nonsense poem by Lewis Carroll.
The three-member court, which was made up of two Republican judges and one Democrat, was particularly pointed in its criticism of the argument that evidence is reliable because it appears on multiple documents.
“The government insists that the statements made in the documents are reliable because the State and Defense Departments would not have put them in intelligence documents were that not the case,” the court wrote. “This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true.”
The judges compared the argument to the logic in Carroll’s nonsense poem, in which a hapless crew hunts for a creature that is never quite defined. The Bellman, the ship’s leader, led his men across the ocean, guided by a map that was just a blank piece of paper. He rallied and reassured his crew simply by repeating himself.
“I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true,” the Bellman says in the poem.
“Lewis Carroll notwithstanding, the fact that the government has ’said it thrice’ does not make an allegation true,” the court wrote.
Posted by Mulch at 11:59 AM