"That the CIA may be in possession of the world’s most highly classified vacuum cleaner blueprints is but one peculiar, lasting byproduct of the controversial U.S. detention and interrogation program."
Confined to the basement of a CIA secret prison in Romania about a decade ago, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, asked his jailers whether he could embark on an unusual project: Would the spy agency allow Mohammed, who had earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, to design a vacuum cleaner?
Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) force-fed under standard Guantánamo Bay procedure.
As Ramadan begins, more than 100 hunger-strikers in Guantánamo Bay continue their protest. More than 40 of them are being force-fed. A leaked document sets out the military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees. In this four-minute film made by Human Rights organisation Reprieve and Bafta award-winning director Asif Kapadia, US actor and rapper Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), experiences the procedure.
LTMC: Since this event is “staged,” there’s undoubtedly some people that will be skeptical about the legitimacy of his reaction. Then again, we really don’t need to see Bey’s reaction for this video to have its intended effect. Just imagine having someone grease up a tube, shove it so deep into your nose that it hits the back of your throat, and then pumping fluid into you without your consent. I imagine it would be about as uncomfortable as Bey’s reaction suggests.
I’m also left wondering what the psychological effect on GITMO staff is from administering this procedure. This strikes me as a “staring into the abyss” sort of situation. We should not only mourn for the wounds that this inflicts on the psyche of the prisoners, but also the wounds it inflicts on the psyche of their handlers. This isn’t a normal way to treat people.
"I considered the arrival to Cuba a blessing, and so I told my brothers, “Since you guys are not involved in crimes you need to fear nothing. I personally am going to cooperate, since nobody is going to torture me. I don’t want any of you to suffer what I suffered in Jordan.” I wrongly believed that the worst was over, and cared less about the time it would take the Americans to figure out I am not the guy they are looking for. I trusted the American justice system too much, and shared that trust with people from European countries. We all have an idea about how the democratic system works."
As part of a recent study about military interrogations techniques, I spoke to many human intelligence (HUMINT) collectors. Through an online survey, 143 active-duty reserve, and retired military interrogators were asked them how they performed their jobs. These men and women, who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan, were also asked to rate the effectiveness of a variety of interrogation techniques.
With the exception of one member of the sample, these interrogators uniformly agreed that torture and other harsh methods were worth little when trying to gather accurate human intelligence. The majority of study participants stated a strong dislike of violence in interrogations and asserted time and again that if the direct questioning of a detainee failed, building rapport was the most effective way to collect information from a human subject. As one study participant wrote, “Torture is for amateurs.”
Omar Khadr, a sixteen year old Guantanamo Bay detainee weeps uncontrollably, clutching at his face and hair as he calls out for his mother to save him from his torment. “Ya Ummi, Ya Ummi (Oh Mother, Oh Mother),” he wails repeatedly, hauntingly with each breath he takes.
The surveillance tapes, released by Khadr’s defence, show him left alone in an interrogation room for a “break” after he tried complaining to CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) officers about his poor health due to insufficient medical attention. Ignoring his complaints and trying to get him to make false confessions, the officers get frustrated with the sixteen year old’s tears and tell him to get himself together by the time they come back from their break.
“You don’t care about me. Nobody cares about me,” he sobs to them.
The tapes show how the officers manipulated Khadr into thinking that they were helping him because they were also Canadian and how they taunted him with the prospect of home (Canada), (good) food, and familial reunion.
Khadr, a Canadian, was taken into US custody at the age of fifteen, tortured and refused medical attention because he wouldn’t attest to being a member of Al Qaeda, even though he was shot three times in the chest and had shrapnel embedded in his eyes and right shoulder. As a result, Khadr’s left eye is now permanently blind, the vision in his right eye is deteriorating, he develops severe pain in his right shoulder when the temperature drops, and he suffers from extreme nightmares.
He has been incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay since 2002, suffering extremely harsh interrogations and torture (methods), and is now 25 years old.
"Having served for almost a decade in the Middle East, I’ve seen the grave long-term strategic damage done to our country by the use of torture. The so-called Enhanced Interrogation program, no matter how many times its supporters claim it kept us safe, has been a powerful recruiting tool for al-Qaida and like-minded associates among the politically disenfranchised young men of the Middle East.
In his treatise “The Art of War,” the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu stated that all warfare is based on deception — deception aimed at making our enemy’s perception of reality fit the tactical and strategic objectives of our side.
However, we are deceiving no one but ourselves when we believe that torture is a valuable tactic in our struggle against terrorism. Hollywood’s artistic license aside, the ultimate victory against groups like al-Qaida will not be achieved through the ham-handed use of medieval methods of interrogation."
As a retired Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent with 23 years of experience, I performed numerous rapport-based interrogations on terrorist suspects in the United States, the prison at Guantánamo Bay and Afghanistan. I can attest to success of traditional law-enforcement-type interrogations.
"What liberals want is ultimately to do what conservative hawks want to do, but only after experts and leaders assure them that they have no choice. They want extreme events to make the choice for them. That’s why every discussion of torture always descends into some absurd hypothetical where you *know* that there’s a ticking time bomb and you *know* that a terrorist in your custody has info and you *know* that you can get that info and stop that bomb if you torture him. They devise these incredibly complex scenarios because they need them to take away their personal choice. That’s why writers like Spencer Ackerman exist, to present the proper level of squeamishness and showy moral grappling— to say that these scenes “can make a viewer ashamed to be American, in the context of a movie whose ending scene makes viewers very, very proud to be American”— before the torture happens anyway. The key is to go through the moral indigestion but to eventually get to the all-American pride. There’s a whole cottage industry, like that, for fretting liberals who want to get to the tough guy routine in the end."
Here is far-right Conservative and proponent of torture, Eric Mancow, being waterboarded and admitting it’s torture.
Here is Kaj Larsen from Current being waterboarded. (This one is especially nasty.)
Here is journalist Sheila Casey, who thinks he can withstand more than 15 seconds of being waterboarded.
Here are the guys of Mythbusters being waterboarded.
Here is former CIA agent Bob Baer discussing torture, claiming Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who was waterboarded 183 times is “almost brain dead.”
Here former FBI Interrogator Jack Cloonan talks about the techniques he used while working in the elite Bin Laden unit.
Here Jack Cloonan explains that regular interrogation tactics work well on even the worst terrorists, that there’s no such thing as a “ticking timebomb” scenario, and that waterboarding has done much more harm than good.
Here, in an IQ2US debate, Jack Cloonan argues against the notion that “tough interrogation of terror suspects is necessary”
Here General David Petraeus denounces the use of torture on Fox News
Here intelligence officials admit that torture does not work
Here Cenk Uygur explains the CIA report that concludes torture did not stop or prevent any attacks or “produce the desired results”
Here Cenky Uygur explains how and why the U.S. employed torture
Here Richard Armitage denounces torture in an interview with Al Jazeera
Here journalist Henri Alleg discusses being waterboarded by the French Army
Here Dick Cheney tells Matt Lauer it’s not okay for Americans to be waterboarded
How many more do you need?
LTMC: well done, MohandasGandhi. This list is a bit more comprehensive than the one I have on hand.
"It is telling that, to my knowledge, four individuals with first-hand experience in interrogations during the “War on Terror,” have spoken out about enhanced interrogation methods: two Air Force officers (Steve Kleinman and another officer writing under the pseudonym Matthew Alexander), an FBI officer (Soufan), and a CIA officer (myself). All of us, independently, make the same points: interrogation must be based on rapport; enhanced interrogation methods are ineffective, counterproductive, immoral, illegal, and unnecessary, and they had nothing to do with obtaining much, if any, information not otherwise obtainable. It is only apologists for the Bush Administration, or Bush Administration policymakers themselves, who assert that “enhanced interrogation techniques” are legal, or work."