Guantanamo Interrogation Techniques

If you\’re going to have some people who decide to rewrite the trules about prisoners, who is defined as a prisoner, what rights they have, how they can be treated, you\’d rather hope that they were competent, wouldn\’t you? At least, if they were nominally on your side?

American military trainers gave a class to camp interrogators in 2002 on how to use "sleep deprivation", "exposure" and other "torture" methods to reduce captives to "animals" and obtain information.

But it has emerged that the techniques presented in the class were copied word-for-word from a 1957 US Air Force study which focused on Chinese techniques – that did not work.

The study by sociologist Alfred Biderman, Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War, commented on methods that led to false confessions and "brainwashing".

As Radley Balko goes on:

The whole purpose of the Air Force study was to figure out how the Chinese were able to elicit false confessions from American soldiers and pilots during the Korean War. U.S. special forces troops are put through these interrogation techniques during training so they’ll recognize them–not so they won’t give up classified information, but so they won’t submit to giving fake information for propaganda purposes, as happened in Korea.

Those techniques were then adopted at Guantanamo. Which leaves us with one of two possibilities. The first is that this administration is so incompetent that it was foolishly using techniques the military has known for decades lead to false confessions in a bumbling effort to collect real intelligence. That would be bad enough. But at least that would indicate mere incompetence. The second possibility is even scarier: The administration knew the history of these techniques but adopted them anyway, because it wanted confessions it could then trumpet to the public as successes in the war on terror–and they didn’t much care whether or not they were false.

Yes, the techniques used were known to produce false results. Yet they were used anyway.

Rather obviates that ticking bomb argument, doesn\’t it?

4 thoughts on “Guantanamo Interrogation Techniques”

  1. MikeinAppalachia

    As is the norm with the NYT, the question, now as before, is which of these techniques actually came into play, not whether they appeared on a chart in a classroom setting. According to the support materials provided by the Times and their actual reporting, it’s not clear that any of the objectionable techniques were used.

  2. Surely the reason it’s not clear is that the military refuses to comment on the policy. They are the guys that know, why blame the New York Times for the information gap?

  3. BlacquesJacquesShellacques

    “why blame the New York Times for the information gap”

    Because they always lie about everything. Every word, including ‘and’ and ‘the’, and probably in the ads too.

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