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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Does torture work?

"Remember the 8th amendment to the US constitutiton.

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

That covers torture...."nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Colonel Allen West
"In August 2003, Colonel Allen West – commanding a US unit in Baghdad – heard a rumour that one of the Iraqi policeman he was working with was a secret insurgent. He ordered his officers to go and seize Yehiya Hamoodi, a thin, bespectacled 31-year-old, from his home. They dragged him into a Humvee, beat him, and then handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded him. In a dank interrogation room, they told him he had better start talking.

Perplexed and terrified, Yehiya explained he didn't know what they were talking about: why was he here? So West was called in. He told Yehiya he was going to be killed. While his men beat him again, he explained he had one last chance to save his life – by talking.

Yehiya protested: I am innocent! What are you talking about? So West took him outside, had him pinned down, and began to shoot. First he fired into the air. Then he ordered his men to ram Yehiya's head into a barrel used for cleaning weapons – and fired right next to his head. Then he began to count down from five. Finally Yehiya began to scream out names – any name he could think of, just to make it stop.

The men he named were seized and roughed up in turn. No evidence was found of any plot, and after another 45 days of terror, Yehiya was released. Today, he is severely traumatised, and collapses when he sees a Humvee approaching. The story only came to light after one of West's soldiers began to protest against these practices, and the Pentagon launched an investigation. At a pre-trial hearing, West was fined $5,000, and now concedes grudgingly: "It's possible I was wrong about Mr Hamoodi." But he says he would do it again, and again, and again

The prisoner was a policeman and after being beaten for several days (with West present at some times) he was dragged out and a mock execution was staged.
The prisoner confessed and then was locked up without charge for 45 days
The prisoner then recanted his confession as he thought he was going to die when shot at and said anything.

The prisoner was
realeased without charge (ie innocent)

West did not inform the military police, the CIA or the defence
intel people he used his own headquarters group to capture and contain this guy. Also West did not inform the chain of command of his actions.

For all the above he was fined and and given the specious “choice” of either resigning his commission just three days before qualifying for a retirement pension and benefits, or facing court martial, which could bring him up to eight years in military prison. (although he was allowed to retire and keep his pension)

He is unfit to command a regiment and unfit to command a brigade and unfit for the role as commander in chief.

Mock execution is a form of torture.
Let alone the fact that the CIA Do D Intel or the MP's were not notififed about the incident till later. This showcases poor leadership and lack of faith in the military systems that he has sworn to protect.

"This is why torture does not work.

Why when a reporter is placed in a mock execution stance... it is wrong.

"Three British Broadcasting Corporation journalists were detained, beaten and subjected to mock executions by pro-regime soldiers in Libya while attempting to reach
Zawiyah, the BBC said, while Britain’s Guardian newspaper said on Thursday it was making urgent attempts to trace one of its correspondents, who has gone missing in Libya.

Chris Cobb-Smith, a part of the BBC crew, said they were driven to a building in Tripoli on Tuesday, and were told to bow their heads and line along a wall by soldiers. “A man with a small sub machine gun was putting it to the nape of everyone’s neck in turn. He pointed the barrel at each of us. When he got to me at the end of the line, he pulled the trigger twice. The shots went past my ear,” Cobb-Smith said."

Therefore in my view he would make a very poor choice as Vice president and or President
Army times

or this one


And if this is not enough:
Or in Somalia:

"A British journalist held hostage in a Somali "hellhole" for almost six weeks told on Monday how kidnappers at one point put a gun to his head and acted out a mock execution."

Or in Kabul:

"Germany's army was hit by fresh allegations of misconduct on Saturday when a newspaper reported peacekeeping soldiers in Afghanistan staged the mock execution of a local child in 2002."

Or in the US

"CIA staged mock execution, wielded power drill in interrogations, secret report says The methods were not mentioned in Justice Department memos authorizing the so-called enhanced interrogation program for terrorism detainees."

Us Military in Iraq:

"More than 2,500 pages of documents just released by the Army reveal instances of detainee abuse, including mock executions, by U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The Army released the documents this week as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. The same request resulted in the release of several thousand pages of similar documents earlier this year.

"The Army does not tolerate detainee abuse and will continue to aggressively investigate all allegations of abuse and hold individuals accountable when appropriate," an Army spokesman said."

Abu Gharib and the dogs used to intimidate and place fear into the detainees

As to if torture and enhanced tactics work ill let the FBI and the CIA tell the story.

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The contentious debate over so-called enhanced interrogation techniques took center stage Wednesday on Capitol Hill as a former FBI agent involved in the questioning of terror suspects testified that such tactics -- including waterboarding -- are ineffective.

Ali Soufan, an FBI special agent from 1997 to 2005, told members of a key Senate Judiciary subcommittee that such "techniques, from an operational perspective, are ineffective, slow and unreliable and harmful to our efforts to defeat al Qaeda."

Soufan's remarks followed heated exchanges between committee members with sharply differing views on both the value of the techniques and the purpose of the hearing.

Soufan, who was involved in the interrogation of CIA detainee Abu Zubaydah, took issue with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has said that enhanced interrogation techniques helped the government acquire intelligence necessary to prevent further attacks after September 11, 2001.

Waterboarding in 1901 in the Phillipines
The techniques, which the Bush administration approved, are considered torture by many critics. Watch analysts discuss harsh interrogations and torture 

Water boarding in 1968 in Vietnam

"From my experience -- and I speak as someone who has personally interrogated many terrorists and elicited important actionable intelligence -- I strongly believe that it is a mistake to use what has become known as the 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' " Soufan noted in his written statement.

Such a position is "shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation."

Soufan told the committee that within the first hour of his interrogation of Zubaydah, the suspected terrorist provided actionable intelligence.

But once the CIA contractors took over and used harsh methods, Zubaydah stopped talking, Soufan said. When Soufan was asked to resume questioning, Zubaydah cooperated. After another round of more coercive techniques used by the contractors, however, Soufan said it was difficult for him to re-engage Zubaydah."


Such a position is "shared by many professional operatives, including the CIA officers who were present at the initial phases of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation."Soufon FBI interrogator..

FM 2-22.3 Human Intelligence Collector Operations


Multi-National Force—Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq
APO AE 09342-1400

10 May 2007

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen serving in Multi-National Force—Iraq:

Our values and the laws governing warfare teach us to respect human dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our values distinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we—not our enemies—occupy the moral high ground. This strategy has shown results in recent months. Al Qaeda’s indiscriminate attacks, for example, have finally started to turn a substantial portion of the Iraqi population against it.

In view of this, I was concerned by the results of a recently released survey conducted last fall in Iraq that revealed an apparent unwillingness on the part of some US personnel to report illegal actions taken by fellow members of their units. The study also indicated that a small percentage of those surveyed may have mistreated noncombatants. This survey should spur reflection on our conduct in combat.

I fully appreciate the emotions that one experiences in Iraq. I also know firsthand the bonds between members of the “brotherhood of the close fight.” Seeing a fellow trooper killed by a barbaric enemy can spark frustration, anger, and a desire for immediate revenge. As hard as it might be, however, we must not let these emotions lead us—or our comrades in arms—to commit hasty, illegal actions. In the event that we witness or hear of such actions, we must not let our bonds prevent us from speaking up.

Some may argue that we would be more effective if we sanctioned torture or other expedient methods to obtain information from the enemy. They would be wrong. Beyond the basic fact that such actions are illegal, history shows that they also are frequently neither useful nor necessary. Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone “talk”; however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees.

We are, indeed, warriors. We train to kill our enemies. We are engaged in combat, we must pursue the enemy relentlessly, and we must be violent at times. What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight, however, is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings. Stress caused by lengthy deployments and combat is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign that we are human. If you feel such stress, do not hesitate to talk to your chain of command, your chaplain, or a medical expert.

We should use the survey results to renew our commitment to the values and standards that make us who we are and to spur re-examination of these issues. Leaders, in particular, need to discuss these issues with their troopers—and, as always, they need to set the right example and strive to ensure proper conduct. We should never underestimate the importance of good leadership and the difference it can make.

Thanks for what you continue to do. It is an honor to serve with each of you.
David H. Petraeus
General, United States Army

What does the FBI say?

Top Interrogation Experts Agree: Torture Doesn't Work

Apologists for torture say that it was a "necessarily evil" to stop future terror attacks.

However, the top interrogation experts all say torture that doesn't work:

The military agency which actually provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects warned the Pentagon in 2002 that those techniques would produce "unreliable information."
Army Field Manual 34-52 Chapter 1 says:

"Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear."

A declassified FBI e-mail dated May 10, 2004, regarding interrogation at Guantanamo states "[we] explained to [the Department of Defense], FBI has been successful for many years obtaining confessions via non-confrontational interviewing techniques." (see also this)

Brigadier General David R. Irvine, retired Army Reserve strategic intelligence officer who taught prisoner interrogation and military law for 18 years with the Sixth Army Intelligence School, says torture doesn't work
CIA's own Inspector General wrote that waterboarding was not "efficacious" in producing information

A former FBI interrogator -- who interrogated Al
Qaeda suspects -- says categorically that torture does not help collect intelligence. On the other hand he says that torture actually turns people into terrorists
A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:
“The administration’s claims of having ‘saved thousands of Americans’ can be dismissed out of hand because credible evidence has never been offered — not even an authoritative leak of any major terrorist operation interdicted based on information gathered from these interrogations in the past seven years. … It is irresponsible for any administration not to tell a credible story that would convince critics at home and abroad that this torture has served some useful purpose.

This is not just because the old hands overwhelmingly believe that torture doesn’t work — it doesn’t — but also because they know that torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.”
Gitmo and its detainees

The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn't work.

A former US Air Force interrogator said that information obtained from torture is unreliable, and that torture just creates more terrorists.

The number 2 terrorism expert for the State Department says torture doesn't work, and just creates more terrorists.

A former high-level CIA officer states:
Many governments that have routinely tortured to obtain information have abandoned the practice when they discovered that other approaches actually worked better for extracting information. Israel prohibited torturing Palestinian terrorist suspects in 1999. Even the German Gestapo stopped torturing French resistance captives when it determined that treating prisoners well actually produced more and better intelligence.

The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously found that torture doesn't work.

A former CIA station chief in Pakistan who served at the agency for three decades doubts that torture saved any lives

Still don't believe it? These people also say torture doesn't produce usable intelligence:

Former high-level CIA official Bob
Baer said "And torture -- I just don't think it really works ... you don't get the truth. What happens when you torture people is, they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you."
Rear Admiral (
ret.) John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General for the Navy, said "Another objection is that torture doesn't work. All the literature and experts say that if we really want usable information, we should go exactly the opposite way and try to gain the trust 
and confidence of the prisoners."
Michael Scheuer

Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, said "I personally think that any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear."

Dan Coleman, one of the FBI agents assigned to the 9/11 suspects held at Guantanamo said "Brutalization doesn't work. We know that. "
Many other professional interrogators say the same thing.

In fact, one of the top interrogators in Iraq got information from a high-level Al
Qaeda suspect not through torture, but by giving him cookies.

And top American World War 2 interrogators got more information using chess or Ping-Pong instead of torture than those who use torture are getting today.

And the head of Britain's wartime interrogation center in London said:
“Violence is taboo. Not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information.”
Indeed, one of the top military interrogators said that torture does not work, that it has resulted in hundreds or thousands of deaths of U.S. soldiers, and that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place (in fact, the experts agree that torture reduces national security).

And - according to the experts - torture is unnecessary even to prevent "ticking time bombs" from exploding (see this, this and this). Indeed, a top expert says that torture would fail in a real 'ticking time-bomb' situation
And Dick Cheney's claim that
waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed stopped a terror attack on L.A.? As the 

Chicago Tribune notes:
The Bush administration claimed that the
waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed helped foil a planned 2002 attack on Los Angeles -- forgetting that he wasn't captured until 2003.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

Indeed, Khalid
Sheikh Mohammed himself said:
During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I'm sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.
And "the CIA inspector general in 2004 found that there was no conclusive proof that
waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques helped the Bush administration thwart any 'specific imminent attacks,' according to recently declassified Justice Department memos."

And when long-time FBI director Mueller was asked whether any attacks on America been disrupted thanks to intelligence obtained through “enhanced techniques”, he responded “I don’t believe that has been the case.

Did the Air force, Marines, Army and Navy complain about Torture even as early as 2002?

"FBI Weren't the Only Ones Objecting to Torture in 2002 -- So Did the Army, Marines & Air Force
There were already serious objections to the use of torture when the Bush administration made it legal in 2002 -- FBI chief Robert Mueller refused to let his agents participate in the CIA's "coercive interrogations" in June of that year, well before the Bybee memo made them legal on August 1.

But it's not like the FBI was alone in expressing those concerns. On October 1, the commander in charge of detainee interrogation at Guantanamo Bay wrote a memo requesting authority to use "aggressive interrogations techniques" that were similar to those outlined in the Bybee memo. It reached the desk of Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Joint Staff solicited opinions before making a decision. Here's what came back to them in November 2002 (PDF):

Air Force: Had "serious concerns regarding the legality of many of the proposed techniques...Some of these techniques could be construed as 'torture' as that crime is defined by 18 U.S.C 2340." Further, they were concerned that "implementation of these techniques could preclude the ability to prosecute the individuals interrogated," because "Level III techniques will almost certainly result in any statements obtained being declared as coerced and involuntary, and therefore inadmissible....Additionally, the techniques described may be subject to challenge as failing to meet the requirements outlined in military order to treat detainees humanely and to provide them with adequate food, water, shelter and medical treatment." They called for an in-depth legal review.

Criminal Investigative Task Force (CITM): Chief Legal Advisor to the CITF at Gitmo, Maj Sam W. McCahon, writes "Both the utility and the legality of applying certain techniques identified in the memorandum listed above are, in my opinion, questionable. Any policy decision to use the Tier III techniques, or any techniques inconsistent with the analysis herein, will be contrary to my recommendation. The aggressive techniques should not occur at GTMO where both CITF and the intelligence community are conducting interviews and interrogations." He calls for further review and concludes by saying "I cannot advocate any action, interrogation or otherwise, that is predicated upon the principal that all is well if the ends justify the means and others are not aware of how we conduct our business."

Army: The Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans writes: "As set forth in the enclosed memoranda, the Army interposes significant legal, policy and practical concerns regarding most of the Category II and all of the Category III techniques proposed." They recommend "a comprehensive legal review of this proposal in its entirety by the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice."

Navy: recommends that "more detailed interagency legal and political review be conducted on proposed techniques."

Marine Corp: expressed strong reservations, since "several of the Category II and III techniques arguably violate federal law, and would expose our service members to possible prosecution." Called for further review.

Legal adviser to the Joint Chiefs, Jane Dalton, commenced the review that was requested by the military services. But before it was concluded, Myers put a stop to it -- at the request of Jim Haynes, the Department of Defense General Counsel, who was told by Rumsfeld that things were "taking too long." Over the objections of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and the Criminal Investigation Task Force, Haynes recommended that the "aggressive technique" be approved without further investigation. He testified that Wolfowitz, Feith and Myers concurred.

On December 2, 2002 Rumsfeld approved Haynes' recommendation with the famous comment "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

One of the conclusions of the Senate Armed Services Committee report is that Myers screwed up:
Conclusion 11: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers's decision to cut short the legal and policy review of the October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by his Legal Counsel, then-Captain Jane Dalton, undermined the military's review process. Subsequent conclusions reached by Chairman Myers and Captain Dalton regarding the legality of interrogation techniques in the request followed a grossly deficient review and were at odds with conclusions previously reached by the Anny, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Criminal Investigative Task Force.

They also conclude that "Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there. Secretary Rumsfeld's December 2,2002 approval of Mr. Haynes's recommendation that most of the techniques contained in GTMO's October 11, 2002 request be authorized, influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques, including military working dogs, forced nudity, and stress positions, in Afghanistan and Iraq."

Objections to torture aren't the exclusive terrain, as Bill Kristol likes to pretend, of "President Obama" and his "leftist lawyers" looking back on a "bright, sunny safe day in April" with "preening self-righteousness" and forgetting how "dark and painful" that chapter in our history was.

When Donald Rumsfeld approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" for Guantanamo Bay in 2002, he did so in defiance of the recommendations of the Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force and the Criminal Investigation Task Force."

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