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Interrogation Techniques

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No More Guantánamos thanks Jeanne Herrick-Stare, creator of TorturesNotUs and now Policy Counsel for the Center for Victims of Torture, for her compilation and analysis of these materials. Reproduced with permission.

14 Mar 2009:  Torture at the hands of the CIA:  Detainees who were interrogated by the CIA at secret "black sites" and were later transferred to G'Bay were interviewed at G'Bay by the ICRC.  The ICRC produced a secret (now-leaked) report described by investigative reporter Mark Danner in the 9 Apr 2009 NY Review of Books article, "U.S. Torture:  Voices from the Black Sites."  A shorter op-ed about the ICRC's description of the detainees' treatment at the hands of the CIA as "torture" and "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" (the language of war crimes), appeared in the NYTimes 14 Mar 2009, "Tales from Torture's Dark World."    Here's the ICRC report, and here's Mark Danner's second of two reports in the NY Review of Books, "The Red Cross Torture Report:  What it Means."  The second article, to be published in the 30 Apr 2009 edition of the NY Review of Books, is brutally frank and makes for tough reading.
 
22 Jan. 2009:  Pres. Obama signed an executive order Ensuring lawful interrogations, limiting interrogation practices to those described in the Army Field Manual for Detainee Interrogations, with standards set by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
 
11 Dec 2008.  The Senate Armed Services Committee released the Executive Summary and Conclusions of its inquiry into the treatment of detainees in U.S. Custody, following publication of Part I of the report on 17 June 2008 (see below) and Part II on 25 Sept 2008.  Sen. Levin's press release contains PDF links to all three of these documents, which in turn provide links to the source documents.  Example of a conclusion the inquiry reached:  the authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials was both a direct cause of abuse and sent a message of approval of the abuse to subordinates. A New York Times article provides a good summary and background.
 
9 Oct 2008.  A newly reissued Dept. of Defense directive explicitly prohibits several of the more controversial interrogation techniques that have previously been practiced against suspected enemy combatants (e.g., waterboarding; use of dogs; use of SERE techniques). "DOD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning," DOD Directive 3115.09, October 9, 2008. [Ed. note:  Thanks, once again, to the invaluable work Steve Aftergood and the Federation of American Scientists.]
 
June 2008:  Five principles for effective intelligence interrogations are laid out succinctly in a document posted by Human Rights First, signed by 15 individuals who served as senior interrogators, interviewers and intelligence officials in the U.S. military, the FBI, and the CIA (biographies of the signers are included).
 
June 2008:  In a law review article about extraordinary rendition, Louis Fisher describes the differences between the intelligence interrogation techniques approved for CIA use and those allowed by the Army Field Manual. A link to the article is posted on  the "Extraordinary Rendition" page.
 
17 June 2008:  The Senate Armed Services Committee  (SASC) released over two dozen previously classified documents that demonstrate senior Pentagon administration involvement in the migration of torture techniques from the military's SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape - training military special forces to resist torture if captured) to U.S. military interrogations of detainees post-9/11.  McClatchy News accumulated pertinent portions of the documents in this article.   Salon.com compiled a summary timeline of Bush administration involvement in the attempt to "reverse engineer"  interrogation techniques, July 2002 through April 2004. 
2 July 2008: Among the documents released by the SASC, Scott Shane of The New York Times traced methods used in the SERE training (and afterward in U.S. interrogation methods post-9/11) back to 1950's communist Chinese methods for eliciting false confessions. Click here to see the 1957 Air Force report laying out the Chinese procedures.  
 
June 2008:  Physicians for Human Rights' report:  "Broken Laws, Broken Lives:  Medical Evidence of Torture by U.S. Personnel and Its Impact."  (link to page that allows unrestricted viewing of report; free registration required for download).  This report provides first-hand accounts and medical evidence of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of eleven former detainees held in U.S. custody overseas, resulting in short term and lasting harm.  Includes details about the cases, the method of study, and recommendations.
 
May 2008.  Vanity Fair article:  "The Green Light" by Philippe Sands, QC, law professor at Queens College London, establishing White House and Bush Administration approval of brutal interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay, techniques that demonstrably migrated to Iraq and Abu Ghraib and mirrored the treatment meted out at other  U.S. detention facilities around the world. For addition publication of Sands' work, see:  19 April 2008,  The Guardian article:  "Stress Hooding Noise Nudity Dogs" by Philippe Sands, an edited excerpt of Sands' book Torture Team:  Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law, to be published in early May.  This article traces the development of the torturous interrogation techniques at G'Bay, which later migrated to other settings.
 
21 Feb 2008.  "Visiting the Torture Museum:  Barbarism Then and Now," by Karen J. Greenberg.  An exploration of techniques from the Dark Ages, echoing some that are employed today, including so-called "torture lite" techniques.  
 
Aug 2007.  Christian Science Monitor Report on Jose Padilla's treatment.  "Despite warnings, officials used 43 months of severe isolation to force Jose Padilla to tell all he knew about Al Qaeda," by Warren Richey.  Article includes background section: "How a Cold War program inspired terror war interrogations."
 
Aug. 2007:  "Leave No Marks:  Enhanced Interrogation Techniques and the Risk of Criminality."  Co-produced by staff and consultants of Human Rights First and Physicians for Human Rights.
 
17 July 2007:  "Rorschach and Awe" by Katherine Eban (Vanity Fair) - describing the CIA's reverse-engineering of interrogation methods.
 
29 May 2007.  "Verschafte Vernehmung" by Andrew Sullivan (atlanticmonthly.com).  A description of WWII German interrogation techniques.  Title of this piece translated:  "enhanced interrogation."
 
Dec. 2006:  Educing Information: Interrogation Science and Art. Produced by the Intelligence Science Board, National Defense Intelligence College, Center for Strategic Intelligence Research. 
In 2005, members of both civilian and military intelligence agencies asked the Intelligence Science Board to conduct a study about the current state of scientific knowledge relevant to interrogations. The resulting multi-volume study, "Educing Information," was published in December 2006. It urges intelligence agencies to rely on non-physical, non-coercive techniques like building rapport with detainees-much like the FBI does, and much like what worked 60 years ago at places like Fort Hunt against hardened, sadistic Nazi officers. (Description adapted from article by Spencer Ackerman.)
 
Sept. 2006:  Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogations (FM  2-22.3 ((FM 34-52)): Human Intelligence Collector Operations)
 
 
11 July 2005.  Reporter at Large, The New Yorker:  "The Experiment" by Jane Mayer, in which she explores the question:  "The military trains people to withstand interrogation.  Are those methods being misused at Guantanamo?"
 
31 May 2005.  Center for Defense Information.  Essay:  "The Use of 'Torture' in Interrogation."  by Maj. (Ret.) Anthony F. Milavic, USMC, formerly an instructor in Communist Interrogation, Indoctrination, and Exploitation of Prisoners of War; a tactical interrogator in Vietnam and a strategic interrogator; the principal intelligence officer of a Marine squadron, regiment, and division equivalent in combat; and, a DIA briefer for the CJCS/SECDEF.
 
2004: Istanbul Protocol:  Manual on the Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  (Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva)
 
"Texts for Torturers:  From Stanford to Abu Ghraib - What Turns Ordinary People into Oppressors?" Times Literary Supplement article discussing The Lucifer Effect, by Philip Zimbardo.