KGB “interrogation” techniques were used to “break” Jose Padilla. Warren Richey writes for the Christian Science Monitor:
According to defense motions on file in the case, Padilla’s cell measured nine feet by seven feet. The windows were covered over. There was a toilet and sink. The steel bunk was missing its mattress.
He had no pillow. No sheet. No clock. No calendar. No radio. No television. No telephone calls. No visitors. Even Padilla’s lawyer was prevented from seeing him for nearly two years.
For significant periods of time the Muslim convert was denied any reading material, including the Koran. The mirror on the wall was confiscated. Meals were slid through a slot in the door. The light in his cell was always on.
He lived like this for three years and seven months.
Those who haven’t experienced solitary confinement can imagine that life locked in a small space would be inconvenient and boring. But according to a broad range of experts who have studied the issue, isolation can be psychologically devastating. Extreme isolation, in concert with other coercive techniques, can literally drive a person insane, these experts say. And that makes it a potential instrument of torture, they add.
Then, later, we find (emphasis added):
So-called coercive interrogation methods â€“ including isolation â€“ have been specially authorized for certain units in the military and the Central Intelligence Agency.
The technique is not new. The Soviets used isolation and sensory deprivation to identify and discredit political dissidents. US prisoners of war confessed to nonexistent war crimes in the Korean War after similar treatment.
Be sure to see the last page, “How a Cold War program inspired terror war interrogations.”
It appears the Padilla detention exceeded even the fuzzy field manual guidelines. Also, members of the American Psychological Association want the APA to issue a ban on detention and interrogation work by its members.
Oh, and what did their three years and seven months of being “tough” on Padilla get us? Curt Anderson writes for the Associated Press:
But there is little other hard evidence linking Padilla, a Muslim convert, to al-Qaida or to the alleged North American terror support cell prosecutors say was operated by Hassoun, Jayyousi and others. Thousands of hours of FBI wiretap intercepts from 1993 to 2001 include numerous conversations of Hassoun and Jayyousi, but Padilla’s voice is heard on only seven.