Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Amazing Coincidence!!

The White House continues to maintain that mavericks, lone wolves, or bad apples, not official policy, are responsible for any "abuse" of prisoners at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere. "We do not torture," says President Bush. Apparently, most Americans buy this (although whether they really believe it or choose to believe it for expediency's sake isn't clear), but at the same time are okay if the government does torture in "crisis" situations.

The curious thing is that the torture techniques used in Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere by mavericks, lone wolves, and bad apples remarkably resemble the interrogatory techniques taught in the notorious, officially sanctioned KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual, a how-to-torture instruction book issued by the CIA in July 1963. The manual, intended for interrogators in Vietnam (KUBARK was the code name for CIA involvement in Vietnam), gives "basic information about coercive techniques available for use in the interrogation situation." (In 1963, the euphemism for torture was "coercive techniques." Today, it's "enhanced interrogation.") These techniques include isolation, stress positions, hooding, plunging prisoners into "strange" environments through sensory deprivation, darkness, sleep-deprivation, clothing them in ill-fitting uniforms, humiliation, threats, and so on. The goal is to create an environment of ever-escalating stress, anxiety, and apprehension that will crack the detainee.
This manual was declassified a decade ago (although there's lots of "For Reasons of National Security" black-outs in the text), and of course it hasn't been officially studied for years and years.
Because "we don't torture."