CIA Memo Details Procedures For Breaking Detainees

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Aug 26, 2009.

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  1. CIA Memo Details Procedures For Breaking Detainees

    WASHINGTON - Sleep deprivation, "insult slaps," water dousing and "walling," or slamming a detainee's head against a wall, were techniques used by CIA interrogators to break high-value detainees, according to an agency memo.

    The memo, sent to the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel on December 30, 2004, was released on Monday under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday named a special prosecutor to probe Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prisoner abuse cases.

    His decision, which promises political headaches for President Barack Obama, came after the Justice Department's ethics watchdog recommended considering prosecution of CIA employees or contractors for interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan that went beyond approved limits.

    "The goal of interrogation is to create a state of learned helplessness and dependence conducive to the collection of intelligence," the memo, outlining procedures for handling captured al Qaeda leaders sent to CIA "black site" prisons, said.

    The document, first reported by The Washington Post, said prior to an interrogation session, detainees may be stripped and held in a "vertical shackling position" to begin sleep deprivation.

    Once the interrogation begins, the "insult slap" on the face may be used when the interrogator needs to immediately correct the detainee, the memo said.

    The document said "walling" was one of the most effective interrogation techniques for wearing down detainees physically.

    "An HVD (high-value detainee) may be walled one time (one impact with the wall) to make a point or 20 to 30 times consecutively when the interrogator requires a more significant response to a question," the document said.

    Interrogations at CIA prisons occurred in special cells outfitted on one side with a plywood wall to prevent severe head injuries, The Washington Post reported.

    The paper said agency spokesman George Little noted that the interrogation program operated under guidelines approved by top legal officials of the Bush administration.

    "This program, which always constituted a fraction of the CIA's counterterrorism efforts, is over," Little was quoted as saying.

    CIA officials have also noted that harsh techniques were reserved for a small group of top-level terrorism suspects believed to be knowledgeable about the September 11, 2001, attacks, the Post said.

    Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney criticized Obama's ability to handle national security after the special prosecutor was appointed.

    Cheney, who has emerged as a vocal defender of Bush administration policies since leaving the White House, said the intelligence obtained from harsh interrogation techniques had saved lives.

    "The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions," he said in a statement.
  2. Sounds like an average weekend in barracks.
  3. I believe your signature applies here, JJ.
  4. I agree. I think most right-thinking (in the sense of right and wrong) Americans see this as crass politics. I also see it as a transparent effort to divert attention from what the government is now trying to do to subvert the Constitution.
  5. Aaand the latest news, folks, is that the US is now slated to revert to dunking "wimmin" suspected of witchcraft. Thaangzz foor youyare sappowart!

    You couldn't make it up!

  6. Not any longer-we won't even do that to Ben Laden if we had him. Obama would apologize for us making him so angry with the US.
  7. "Interrogations at CIA prisons occurred in special cells outfitted on one side with a plywood wall to prevent severe head injuries, The Washington Post reported."

    Can't say the CIA weren't thinking of the welfare of their prisoners at least!
  8. jumpinjarhead - your persistent and unsubstantiated allegations that your recently elected; very popular and democratic POTUS is now perverting the US Constitution in some way come as a great surprise to me and many other people. OT I always wondered how Dubya and his gang of Neo Nazis produced the Patriot Act which is a huge document in a matter of days. I am sure any residual suspicion that you are a right wing christian racist red neck in the good ole boy American tradition is entirely misplaced. I am sure you served your country nobly for many years. But that does not mean I have to like you or your politics.
  9. I would find it humorous if it weren't so important that there is such dramatic outrage ( I frankly doubt it is real) at these practices. Almost every thing complained of was done to me and my recce platoon when we attended SERE school in the late 60's. There is really not much new under the sun as far as non-lethal torturing goes.
  10. I can't for a second believe that all the phoney outrage from Amnesty and the ACLU has actually made the CIA change their interrogation routines, though; I'd bet any money that they're still at it (and hopefully so are we), just much more discreetly.
  11. I have to disagree with you on this one jj. 'We are America, we don't torture' as Shep Smith says.

    We have a set of laws; putting on a uniform or being on the gov't payroll do not give you carte blanche to pick and chose when or were you'll follow them. If anything history has taught us that a government's security apparatus can be a dangerous thing if not give proper oversight.

    OK, admittedly the list doesn't seem to me to be the stuff of bamboo shoots stuck in fingernails or electric shocks to genitals and so on--insult slaps, walling, etc.--but that isn't the point. I doubt seriously that rank-and-file employees there came up with this one and it was imposed by a political appointee--of which there were several--at that organization.

    And jj, this will make me even less popular with you today; I've read a lot of George Orwell (Eric Blair) from all of his novels--not just the 'big two'--but hundreds of pages of his essays (a four volume set is on my wall). The man was a died-in-the-wool socialist who never gave those principles up.

    I'll grab my coat...dodges thrown objects...runs to door... :)

  12. Bunch of lightweights.
  13. A lot of the outrage is faux and merely a tactic designed to undermine the effectiveness of the intelligence agencies.

    Some Human Rights Lawyers go further and actively get involved in their clients causes, Red Army Faction being a case in point in Germany.

    We had a similar thing in NI when we were beginning to really hurt the Provos by clever use of SF.

    To quote Cpl Jones from Dads Army "They don't like it up em!"
  14. I actually agree with you on 99% of what you say. I tried to point out the difference between nonlethal torture and stress interrogations (I make a distinction in that I don't define the latter as torture). My frustration is more with the many inconsistencies and political gaming that is involved in this specific situation.

    We have neither an agreed on definition of torture nor a coherent policy on even handling detainees (are they combatants and if so, are they lawful or unlawful in the sense of Geneva protections and the like). In any event, until the law of war changes, for those we have deemed "lawful combatants" (and this should be carefully done unlike the Bush administration fumble early in the GWOT), they must be handled in accordance with those laws. That is why those issues are so important to get right the first time.Also the military should not be involved with any other than lawful combatants and then again in accordance with the law.