So the CIA did indeed torture Abu Zubaida, the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded..
Articles for comparison…questions below…..
5 Myths About Torture
By Darius Rejali
Sunday, December 16, 2007; B03
So the CIA did indeed torture Abu Zubaida, the first al-Qaeda terrorist suspect to be waterboarded. So says John Kiriakou, the first former CIA employee directly involved in the questioning of “high-value” al-Qaeda detainees to speak publicly. He minced no words last week in calling the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” what they are.
But did they work? Torture’s defenders, including the wannabe tough guys who write Fox’s “24,” insist that the rough stuff gets results. “It was like flipping a switch,” said Kiriakou about Abu Zubaida’s response to being waterboarded. But the al-Qaeda operative’s confessions — descriptions of fantastic plots from a man whom journalist Ron Suskind has reported was mentally ill — probably didn’t give the CIA any actionable intelligence. Of course, we may never know the whole truth, since the CIA destroyed the videotapes of Abu Zubaida’s interrogation. But here are some other myths that are bound to come up as the debate over torture rages on.
1 Torture worked for the Gestapo.
Actually, no. Even Hitler’s notorious secret police got most of its information from public tips, informers and interagency cooperation. That was still more than enough to let the Gestapo decimate anti-Nazi resistance in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, France, Russia and the concentration camps.
Yes, the Gestapo did torture people for intelligence, especially in its later years. But this reflected not torture’s efficacy but the loss of many seasoned professionals to World War II, increasingly desperate competition for intelligence among Gestapo units and an influx of less disciplined younger members. (Why do serious, tedious police work when you have a uniform and a whip?) It’s surprising how unsuccessful the Gestapo’s brutal efforts were. They failed to break senior leaders of the French, Danish, Polish and German resistance. I’ve spent more than a decade collecting all the cases of Gestapo torture “successes” in multiple languages; the number is small and the results pathetic, especially compared with the devastating effects of public cooperation and informers.
2 Everyone talks sooner or later under torture.
Actually, it’s surprisingly hard to get anything under torture, true or false. For example, between 1500 and 1750, French prosecutors tried to torture confessions out of 785 individuals. Torture was legal back then, and the records document such practices as the bone-crushing use of splints, pumping stomachs with water until they swelled and pouring boiling oil on the feet. But the number of prisoners who said anything was low, from 3 percent in Paris to 14 percent in Toulouse (an exceptional high). Most of the time, the torturers were unable to get any statement whatsoever.
And such examples could be multiplied. The Japanese fascists, no strangers to torture, said it best in their field manual, which was found in Burma during World War II: They described torture as the clumsiest possible method for gathering intelligence. Like most sensible torturers, they preferred using torture for intimidation, not information.
3 People will say anything under torture.
Well, no, although this is a favorite chestnut of torture’s foes. Think about it: Sure, someone would lie under torture, but wouldn’t they also lie if they were being interrogated without coercion?
In fact, the problem of torture does not stem from the prisoner who has information; it stems from the prisoner who doesn’t. Such a person is also likely to lie, to say anything, often convincingly. The torture of the informed may generate no more lies than normal interrogation, but the torture of the ignorant and innocent overwhelms investigators with misleading information. In these cases, nothing is indeed preferable to anything. Anything needs to be verified, and the CIA’s own 1963 interrogation manual explains that “a time-consuming delay results” — hardly useful when every moment matters.
Intelligence gathering is especially vulnerable to this problem. When police officers torture, they know what the crime is, and all they want is the confession. When intelligence officers torture, they must gather information about what they don’t know.
4 Most people can tell when someone is lying under torture.
Actually, no — and we know quite a bit about this. For about 40 years, psychologists have been testing police officers as well as normal people to see if they can spot lies, and the results aren’t encouraging. Ordinary folk have an accuracy rate of about 57 percent, which is pretty poor considering that 50 percent is the flip of a coin. Likewise, the cops’ accuracy rates fall between 45 percent and 65 percent — that is, sometimes less accurate than a coin toss.
Why does this matter? Because even if a torturer breaks a person, the torturer has to recognize it, and most of the time they can’t. Torturers assume too much and reject what doesn’t fit their assumptions. For instance, Sheila Cassidy, a British physician, cracked under electric-shock torture by the Chilean secret service in the 1970s and identified priests who had helped the country’s socialist opposition. But her devout interrogators couldn’t believe that priests would ever help the socialists, so they tortured her for another week until they finally became convinced. By that time, she was so damaged that she couldn’t remember the location of the safe house.
In fact, most torturers are nowhere near as well trained for interrogation as police are. Torturers are usually chosen because they’ve endured hardship and pain, fought with courage, kept secrets, held the right beliefs and earned a reputation as trustworthy and loyal. They often rely on folklore about what lying behavior looks like — shifty eyes, sweaty palms and so on. And, not surprisingly, they make a lot of mistakes.
5 You can train people to resist torture.
Supposedly, this is why we can’t know what the CIA’s “enhanced
interrogation techniques” are: If Washington admits that it waterboards suspected terrorists, al-Qaeda will set up “waterboarding-resistance camps” across the world. Be that as it may, the truth is that no training will help the bad guys.
Simply put, nothing predicts the outcome of one’s resistance to pain better than one’s own personality. Against some personalities, nothing works; against others, practically anything does. Studies of hundreds of detainees who broke under Soviet and Chinese torture, including Army-funded studies of U.S. prisoners of war, conclude that during, before and after torture, each prisoner displayed strengths and weaknesses dependent on his or her own character. The CIA’s own “Human Resources Exploitation Manual” from 1983 and its so-called Kubark manual from 1963 agree. In all matters relating to pain, says Kubark, the “individual remains the determinant.”
The thing that’s most clear from torture-victim studies is that you can’t train for the ordeal. There is no secret knowledge out there about how to resist torture. Yes, there are manuals, such as the IRA’s “Green Book,” the anti-Soviet “Manual for Psychiatry for Dissidents” and “Torture and the Interrogation Experience,” an Iranian guerrilla manual from the 1970s. But none of these volumes contains specific techniques of resistance, just general encouragement to hang tough. Even al-Qaeda’s vaunted terrorist-training manual offers no tips about how to resist torture, and al-Qaeda was no stranger to the brutal methods of the Saudi police .And yet these myths persist. “The larger problem here, I think,” one active CIA officer observed in 2005, “is that this kind of stuff just makes people feel better, even if it doesn’t work.”
Second article ……
TORTURE IS WRONG-BUT IT MIGHT WORK
M. GREGG BLOCHE
Torture-lite: It’s wrong, and it might work By M. Gregg Bloche May 27, 2011 Torture, liberals like me often insist, isn’t just immoral, it’s ineffective. We like this proposition because it portrays us as protectors of the nation, not wusses willing to risk American lives to protect terrorists. And we love to quote seasoned interrogators’ assurances that building rapport with the bad guys will get them to talk. But the killing of Osama bin Laden four weeks ago has revived the old debate about whether torture works. Could it be that “enhanced interrogation techniques” employed during the George W. Bush administration helped find bin Laden’s now-famous courier and track him to the terrorist in chief’s now-infamous lair? Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and current administration officials say no. Former attorney general Michael Mukasey and former vice president Dick Cheney say yes. The idea that waterboarding and other abuses may have been effective in getting information from detainees is repellant to many, including me. It’s contrary to the meme many have embraced: that torture doesn’t work because people being abused to the breaking point will say anything to get the brutality to stop — anything they think their accusers want to hear. But this position is at odds with some behavioral science, I’ve learned. The architects of enhanced interrogation are doctors who built on a stillclassified, research-based model that suggests how abuse can indeed work. I’ve examined the science, studied the available paper trail and interviewed key actors, including several who helped develop the enhanced interrogation program and who haven’t spoken publicly before. This inquiry has made it possible to piece together the model that undergirds enhanced interrogation. This model holds that harsh methods can’t, by themselves, force terrorists to tell the truth. Brute force, it suggests, stiffens resistance. Rather, the role of abuse is to induce hopelessness and despair. That’s what sleep deprivation, stress positions and prolonged isolation were designed to do. Small gestures of contempt — facial slaps and frequent insults — drive home the message of futility. Even the rough stuff, such as “walling” and waterboarding, is meant to dispirit, not to coerce. Once a sense of hopelessness is instilled, the model holds, interrogators can shape behavior through small rewards. Bathroom breaks, reprieves from foul-tasting food and even the occasional kind word can coax broken men to comply with their abusers’ expectations. Certainly, interrogators using this approach have obtained false confessions. Chinese interrogators did so intentionally, for propaganda purposes, with American prisoners during the Korean War. McCain and other critics of “torture-lite” cite this precedent to argue that it can’t yield reliable information. But the same psychological sequence — induction of hopelessness, followed by rewards to shape compliance — can be used to get terrorism suspects to tell the truth, or so the architects of enhanced interrogation hypothesize. Critical to this model is the ability to assess suspects’ truthfulness in real time. To this end, CIA interrogators stressed speedy integration of intelligence from all sources. The idea was to frame questions to detect falsehoods; interrogators could then reward honesty and punish deceit. It’s been widely reported that the program was conceived by a former Air Force psychologist, James Mitchell, who had helped oversee the Pentagon’s program for training soldiers and airmen to resist torture if captured. That Mitchell became the CIA’s maestro of enhanced interrogation and personally waterboarded several prisoners was confirmed in 2009 through the release of previously classified documents. But how Mitchell got involved and why the agency embraced his methods remained a mystery. The key player was a clinical psychologist turned CIA official, Kirk Hubbard, I learned through interviews with him and others. On the day 19 hijackers bent on mass murder made their place in history, Hubbard’s responsibilities at the agency included tracking developments in the Support journalism. Get one year for $29 behavioral sciences with an eye toward their tactical use. He and Mitchell knew each other through the network of psychologists who do national security work. Just retired from the Air Force, Mitchell figured he could translate what he knew about teaching resistance into a methodology for breaking it. He convinced Hubbard, who introduced him to CIA leaders and coached him through the agency’s bureaucratic rivalries. Journalistic accounts have cast Mitchell as a rogue who won a CIA contract by dint of charisma. What’s gone unappreciated is his reliance on a research base. He had studied the medical and psychological literature on how Chinese interrogators extracted false confessions. And he was an admirer of Martin Seligman, the University of Pennsylvania psychologist who had developed the concept of “learned helplessness” and invoked it to explain depression. Mitchell, it appears, saw connections and seized upon them. The despair that Chinese interrogators tried to instill was akin to learned helplessness. Seligman’s induction of learned helplessness in laboratory animals, therefore, could point the way to prison regimens capable of inducing it in people. And — this was Mitchell’s biggest conceptual jump — the Chinese way of shaping behavior in prisoners who were reduced to learned helplessness held a broader lesson. To motivate a captive to comply, a Chinese interrogator established an aura of omnipotence. For weeks or months, the interrogator was his prisoner’s sole human connection, with monopoly power to praise, punish and reward. Rapport with the interrogator offered the only escape from despair. This opened possibilities for the sculpting of behavior and belief. For propaganda purposes, the Chinese sought sham confessions. But Mitchell saw that behavioral shaping could be used to pursue other goals, including the extraction of truth. Did the methods Mitchell devised help end the hunt for bin Laden? Have they prevented terrorist attacks? We’ll never know. Not only are counterterrorism operations shrouded in secrecy, but it’s impossible to prove or disprove claims that enhanced interrogation works better than other methods when prisoners are intent on saying nothing. Scientific study of this question would require random sorting of suspects into groups that receive either torture-lite or conventional forms of interrogation. To frame this inquiry is to show why it can’t be carried out: It would violate international law and research ethics. The CIA, Hubbard told me, conducted no such study for this reason. So we’re left with the unsavory possibility that torture-lite works — and that it may have helped find bin Laden. It does no good to point out, as some human rights advocates have, that the detainees who yielded information about his courier did so after the abuse stopped. The model on which enhanced interrogation is based can account for this. The detainees’ cooperation could have ensued from hopelessness and despair, followed by interrogators’ adroit use of their power to punish and reward. This possibility poses the question of torture in a more unsettling fashion, by denying us the easy out that torture is both ineffective and wrong. We must choose between its repugnance to our values and its potential efficacy. To me, the choice is almost always obvious: Contempt for the law of nations would put us on a path toward a more brutish world. Conservatives are fond of saying, on behalf of martial sacrifice, that freedom isn’t free. Neither is basic decency
- Do Rejali and Bloche hold opposing viewpoints on the use of torture-or are their differences more that of approach and focus? Read each author again and then write a analysis of their differences in style, approach to the issue, and position on the issue.
- Reflect on what you have learned about torture from Rejali and Bloche and then consider; What may be the greatest “unknown” part of the equation in the use of interrogation as a strategy for finding people who have broken the law? Or, put another way, what do you see as the biggest problem to ensuring success from questioning people under pressure to gain intelligence from them?
- Should debate over enhanced interrogation procedures be about effectiveness or ethics? And if it should be about effectiveness, then how much evidence is needed to defend torture on the grounds that it works?