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View Diary: Rumsfeld's Revenge: Army Field Manual to Allow Torture (217 comments)

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  •  Read, and re-read, and don't get the hysteria... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rhubarb, Troutnut, Ice Blue, BrighidG, CS in AZ

    This is about separation?  Not sensory deprivation, not torture, not waterboarding.... but separation?

    Horrible things have been done, plenty of abuse, some genuine torture.  The AFM, even the new version of the AFM, doesn't condone, allow, wink at, or encourage torture.  This is about interrogation, after all.  It has a legitimate purpose, and done well, and legally, is in the national interest.

    Is it possible we're flogging a dead horse?  I'm all for prosecution of past acts, and future abuses; but this story, or at least the treatment of the story, is overheated.  

    To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

    by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:16:15 PM PST

    •  Read up on the history of solitary confinement... (7+ / 0-)

      ...in this country.  

      It started out as a reformative idea, by Quakers no less, but turned out -- at places like Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia -- not to have the salutary effects that were envisioned.

      "There is only one caution. Don't let it happen again." -- edscan, 21 Jan 2009

      by ArtSchmart on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:21:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Solitary confinement, as an aid to interrogation, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Herticalt

        is not meant to have salutary effects.  I think you're confusing prison and punishment with detention and interrogation.  

        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

        by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:24:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's used to break down resistance. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Garrett, conchita, Valtin, Tanya, LynneK, cgirard

          Yeah, I get that.

          Eastern State was not about punishment, but about rehabilitation, the first such institution in the nation.  And the aims of breaking a "detainee" (not a "prisoner," in your lexicon) only come about when they achieve the same effect that the Quaker administrators found at ESP: insanity.

          "There is only one caution. Don't let it happen again." -- edscan, 21 Jan 2009

          by ArtSchmart on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:30:39 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You don't know what you're talking about. In... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Herticalt

            the world of interrogation, "breaking" a subject simply refers to the point where they move from resistance to cooperation.  It's not about insanity or torture, it's about obtaining cooperation and reliable information.

            There's a 24 mentality going on, from both sides.  Plenty of hysteria, whether it's the right's belief in the efficacy of Jack Bauer's nonsense to the left's belief that all non-kid glove treatment is torture.

            To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

            by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:40:16 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I can't tell you *how* I know... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              LynneK, cgirard

              ...what I'm talking about.  But I do.

              "There is only one caution. Don't let it happen again." -- edscan, 21 Jan 2009

              by ArtSchmart on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:45:42 PM PST

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            •  The professional interrogators (6+ / 0-)

              at least within CIA have long favored the "touchless" interrogation techniques advocated by KUBARK. The more coercive techniques are reserved for those who don't respond to regular interrogation rapport-building techniques. But they are definitely to be used, and the potential damage involved is understood.

              I don't believe the CIA or the Pentagon should have access to these "touchless" torture techniques. Why? Well as one interrogator told my colleague Stephen Soldz receently:

              My retired 20-years veteran army interrogator friend agrees that use of isolation as authorized by Appendix M is very problematic. He also states, as have other interrogators I’ve discussed with, that they don’t want to know where The Line (of abuse) is, because they neither want, not need, to get anywhere near that line. If they are close, they are in the danger zone. They are likely also to get bad information. Prolonged isolation is already well over that line.

              War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

              by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:48:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I read your link. And was relieved by it. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Phoenix Woman, Troutnut

                I've been troubled by your allegations of sensory deprivation, but the link made clear that it is only to be used when physical separation is impossible in the very short term.  In other words, goggles and masks are used when detainees have to be together temporarily, and it is required that they not be allowed to communicate.  I don't have a problem with that.  And I don't see why anyone would, to be honest.

                To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:05:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Creosote, truong son traveler

                  read the diary's quotes from Kimmons. It's clear that the AFM doesn't ban other forms of sensory deprivation as well.

                  Twelve hours with goggles and earmuffs... funny... they did a study using the same over thirty years ago, and after only eight hours the subjects, who weren't suffering the "shock of capture" were already freaking out. Reference the Zubek book above.

                  If you are reassured by Appendix M, then I can't help you.

                  War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                  by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:34:52 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You're an absolutist on this stuff, and I... (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Phoenix Woman, Troutnut

                    appreciate your position.  The lines between abuse, torture, and legitimate interrogation techniques are pretty clear.   I don't like arguing with you, because our realities are different, and I find myself supporting things I would love to condemn in blanket fashion.  But I can't.  

                    If you truly believe that American interrogators regularly use torture, or want to use torture, or have used torture....then I can't help you.  I can imagine scenarios where I would want to "sensory deprive" detainees during movements that last more than 8 hours.  I don't want them seeing, and I don't want them hearing, and I don't want them talking to one another.  If it's torture, then I'm a torturer.  But I'm not.  

                    To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                    by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:50:55 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Great comments throughout here, joesig. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Phoenix Woman

                      You bring expertise and reason to the general viewpoint that I've just been expressing with snark.  I oppose torture, but I see Valtin's diary as too absolutist.

                      ---
                      "If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed." -Rush Limbaugh
                      "Always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama." -Olbermann

                      by Troutnut on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:04:08 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Thank you. I think Valtin is terrific... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Phoenix Woman

                        but his expertise on torture makes him set impossible standards for real interrogations of real bad actors.  

                        I appreciate your support, and his knowledge as well.  My hands are too dirty to be an absolutist.

                        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                        by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 06:34:37 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  I actually don't believe (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Phoenix Woman, Creosote

                      American interrogators "regularly" use torture. Just wanted to make that clear. Why? Because the vast majority of prisoners cooperate with the use of rapport measures and direct questioning. The "shock of capture" is usually more than enough "breakage" for the average prisoner.

                      Am I right, joesig?

                      But whether I'm an absolutist or not, Geneva, CAN and other protocols are pretty clear about how prisoners should be treated. It's not up to me.

                      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                      by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 08:39:02 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Valtin... sorry for the delay. And you are .... (0+ / 0-)

                        absolutely right.  Both about interrogation and the Geneva Conventions.  

                        I used to instruct this stuff, to guys who were going to be doing the capturing, and the bagging and tagging, to be honest.  I stressed one thing: this stuff is simple, regarding the treatment of prisoners.  The Conventions are absolutely clear: ALL captured personnel are to be treated as legitimate POW's until they are adjudicated otherwise in an official procedure.  In other words, there is no thinking or judgment required; the guys on the ground have no leeway to decide that a bearded, non-uniformed, non-citizen of the country where captured is an illegal combatant.  It's not in our legal power to decide, even if it seems obvious.  

                        Thanks for your work.

                        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

                        by joesig on Mon Jan 26, 2009 at 05:10:07 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  Please read this comment (12+ / 0-)

      Perhaps I didn't do a good enough job giving all the evidence for sensory deprivation in this diary. I'd note, however, the article has a long interchange with Gen. Kimmons exactly on this question.

      "Separation" is a euphemism for "isolation" or "solitary confinement", which itself is a form of social sensory deprivation. I did not go into it in this diary, but did in a former one, but there are also provisions for the use of goggles and earmuffs to be used on prisoners. The AFM is so concerned about the reaction of prisoners to the latter that medical personnel must be nearby if that technique is to be used.

      Please see the fuller discussion in the diary, How the U.S. Army's Field Manual Codified Torture -- and Still Does.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:29:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I used to work for Kimmons. He's not going to... (6+ / 0-)

        support torture.  I respect your work, but you'rein the weeds here.  "Social" sensory deprivation is not sensory deprivation in any real sense, and I believe you know that.  Virtually all prison systems use isolation, both for safety and for punishment reasons.  Isolation, in an interrogation sense, is used to get the detainee to welcome the social interaction with the interrogator, the only interaction allowed.  It is a useful and effective technique.  

        As a side story, I was involved in the interrogations of Osman Atto, Hassan Alawi, and Omar Salad, the three Somalis made famous (well, Osman anyway) in Blackhawk Down.  They were kept in solitary confinement for three months in an isolated place and their only human interaction was with the interrogators.  When we arrived, we were eventually treated as old friends, a welcome and needed change in their routine.  It was helpful, and gained their cooperation, mostly truthful.

        To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

        by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:48:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Just because a technique works (5+ / 0-)

          does not make it legal. Here is what government researcher and then-professor in clinical psychiatry, Laurence Hinkle said about "isolation" in a study published in the early 1960s ("The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function") (emphasis added):

          Classically, isolation has been used as a means of "making a man talk," simply because it is so often associated with a deterioration of thinking and behavior and is accompanied by an intense need for companionship and for talk. From the interrogator's viewpoint it has seemed to be the ideal way of "breaking down" a prisoner, because, to the unsophisticated, it seems to create precisely the state that the interrogator desires ... However, the effect of isolation upon the brain function of the prisoner is much like that which occurs if he is beaten, starved or deprived of sleep.

          I note that you say nothing here of the use of sleep deprivation or sensory deprivation, which as Kimmons admitted in at the DoD briefing, is allowed as part of the AFM.

          You are certainly entitled to your view, and I thank you for revealing the source of your possible bias. The source of my own has to do with working with torture survivors and also studying the history of torture. I presented on the history of government sponsored research into sensory deprivation and its effects at the APA convention in 2007.

          Btw, you are wrong about social sensory deprivation. Isolation is a form of sensory deprivation and is described by such in the technical literature, see Chapter 1, "Introduction and Historical Background," by Peter Suedfeld, and other assorted material in Zubek, ed., Sensory Deprivation: Fifteen Years of Research, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969

          War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

          by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:27:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess the devil is in the details. (4+ / 0-)

            I think that sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and isolation can be used in support of torture.  I think all sleep deprivation and isolation can be legitimately used in support of interrogation.  

            I've done tons of interrogations, mostly battlefield tactical interrogations, but a little booth work as well.  I'm a rapport guy, certainly in the booth and for long term stuff, but have seen the value of "the shock of capture" used in a tactical environment.  

            On the larger points, I think we agree.  I support the fight against the radical groups who seek to destroy us, but I think the metric for victory is effect on recruitment.  More recruits, they win; less, we win.  Abu G, Gitmo, any talk of permissible torture....all represent huge recruitment victories for people we don't want to win.  

            Sometimes I think Obama gets it, others I'm not so sure.  I support prosecution of the Bush administration because successful prosecution will represent a huge win in our fight against recruitment.  

            To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

            by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:59:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since I work (8+ / 0-)

              with patients who were innocent but suffered due to torture (not by U.S., but foreign interrorators/torturers), I can't agree it's all about efficacy and recruitment.

              But I do hear you, and the issue of producing or radicalizing new "terrorists" was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Abu Ghraib. I thought, shit, another entire generation, and many will now die for this. If this country had any morals, it would try Rumsfeld and the others responsible, publicly, and put them in prison for life. (I am against the death penalty.) That might have an effect on the "street" in the Middle East, the only way to counter the ongoing effects of massive U.S. prisoner abuse and torture under Bush.

              War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

              by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:09:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  We're worried about "a form of social sensory... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Herticalt

        ...deprivation" now?

        Next, it'll be considered torture if we put an Xbox in their cell and don't hook it up to the Internet.

        ---
        "If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed." -Rush Limbaugh
        "Always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama." -Olbermann

        by Troutnut on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:18:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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