They Are Us

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 – including isolation – 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.

12 thoughts on “They Are Us

  1. I see a similarity to the ordeals of Henri Charrière that were portrayed in the movie Papillonby Steve McQueen.

    The whole torture thing is really sick and what’s sickest is that think they are torturing somebody for our benefit and on our behalf. I’m disgusted by the complete immorality exhibited by the Bush administration lackeys and by the indelible shit stain they’ve smeared upon our country.
    Yeah right, ” we did use white phosphorus in Fallujah,but it was only for illumination purposes”. They incinerated women and children without any regard for humanity. Yep, that’s the America I love. They’re sick fucking criminals!

  2. It’s hard for me to say “Bush” and “torture” in the same sentence and not think “Arar” this week. More evidence has come to light that CSIS knew that Americans intended to send him to be tortured in Jordan (he ended up in Syria instead). It seems the people in charge of protecting the innocent, have become the people to most fear.

  3. Philosophers, psychologists, doctors, writers could have observed in our camps more than in anywhere else, all the versatility and in full details the specific process of narrowing of man’s mental and intellectual horizon, decline of a man to the level of an animal and his process of dying alive.

    Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago

    How long will it take for someone to fully expose the American Archipelago, the Empire’s worldwide network of prisions, handily out of reach of American law and mostly beyond the American collective conscience? And will anyone care?

  4. Eh, we don’t care, we haven’t cared for the past six years what we * are doing in the name of “national security.” No more different than how many Germans looked the other way (or worse, participated) in Nazism. I am ashamed not only of the American government. I am ashamed of America itself.

    But, that being said, the US government has been doing this for more than the past six years. The only difference is now its just a little more obvious what we are doing. But hardly anyone is flinching.

    This is not my country. And I don’t mean not just my government. I have no idea who these people are around me. Oh yes, there is a propaganda machine out there (and I don’t just mean Faux– I mean the entire MSM) but people still have a choice. They’ve made their choice. Torture, cruelty & inhumaness is something we Americans condone. History will judge us guilty for this just as it has judged the Germans of the thirties & forties (not JUST the Nazi government).

    * Note: Yes, WE, including myself– because we are the ones ultimately responsible for allowing this to continue, all of us, not just the government– remember we DO have a say in all this (Bush’s questionable election notwithstanding– and there are still the Senate & House).

  5. This was a favorite technique of the East German Stasi also. They didn’t go much for the pull-your-fingernails-out forms of torture, preferring instead to lock people up in solitary confinement for 12 months or so. Much less messy, and you get the same result.

  6. Padilla is an experiment — on him, to observe the effects of different forms of torture — on us, to see if we’ll put up with the deformation of our country. It seems to have been quite successful.

  7. Pingback: Torture and its examination « Later On

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  11. Poor little Taliban wannabe, he deserves a break, send him to Gitmo for 4 years to make up for his solitary confinement…

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe says
    forgive terrorists

    let them out of prison
    to resume their killing

    absurd thought –
    God of the Universe loves
    terrorists in prison

    treat them like kings in cages
    great food and Al Jazeera

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