Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Friday, December 21, 2007


This is coolbert:

"the most valuable form of intelligence in this type of war [counter-terrorism] will be the hostile interrogation" - - Shlomo Gazit - - former Israeli commander of Aman [military intelligence].

The U.S. Congress is once again debating methods of "coercion" that are to be permissible in the fight against terrorism. Establishing guidelines and LAWS that must be followed by both civilian and military interrogators.

It seems that there are three forms of "coercion" that are felt to be controversial and "over-the-line". Methods and techniques as applied, specifically so, by CIA [?] operations officers when interrogating captured jihadists.

To include:

* Waterboarding. Used three times only [?] by CIA interrogators, and in all three occasions applied against what are called high-value targets.

* Extended periods of confinement in stressful postures. Shackled in such a way that the person being interrogated cannot stand, lie down, or sit. An extended period of time can be measured in DAYS.

* Nakedness. Stripping a man naked and keeping him so while questions are posed to him.

With regard to the latter, obviously a reaction to the Abu Ghraib incident. Photos, circulated world-wide of naked Iraqis did a lot of damage to the American image. WE WERE perceived as NOT the good guys in the white hats.

These methods and techniques of "coercion" are torture? NOT exactly as defined by the conventions on torture and the generally accepted definition of what has constituted torture in the past.

BUT, are seen be many in Congress as being deplorable and not to be tolerated.

More conventional and acceptable forms of interrogation are to be stressed when interrogating a captured jihadi! These are the various psychological techniques as taught to U.S. military interrogators.

To include [but not limited to]:

* "Mutt and Jeff". The good-cop, bad-cop routine. One interrogator the hard case, the other the "understanding" friend.

* The 201 file. "We already know almost everything about you. Let us just fill in a few blanks!!"

Several comments here.

1. The jihadi is already trained on how to resist psychological techniques of interrogation. Training is available via the various jihad schools. My instinctive, intuitive reaction is that a jihadi, when confronted by the psycho methods, will just sit there, smile, and remain mute. Forever!! Generally speaking, psychological methods will come to more or less naught with the jihadi.

[American interrogators had been told, that in case of a hot war with the Soviets, captured Soviet prisoners would give up the goods more or less immediately in 90 % of the cases!!!]

2. The specific instance of interrogating Abu Zubaida by waterboarding [by CIA operatives] has been mentioned with regard to the destroyed interrogations videos. The man [Abu Zubaida] WAS ABLE TO HOLD OUT FOR THIRTY FIVE SECONDS!! And that was that!! After that, the man sang like a canary!!??

[years ago now, a long-time CIA case officer who had spent decades working in Latin American countries recounted an incident where he applied psychological interrogation techniques [even to the extent of withholding cigarettes!!!] on a captured communist revolutionary for ninety six hours. The man did not utter a peep the whole time After thirty minutes with the local police, who employed their own "methods" the same revolutionary had spilled the beans and told all!! What was done was not mentioned, but it must have hurt!!]

[undoubtedly, some persons in Congress will agree that withholding cigarettes is a form of torture. Extreme pain, both physical and mental, is being inflicted on the victim!!]

3. Does Congress realize that passing a LAW outlawing certain interrogation techniques might actually render null and void current training methods used by the U.S. military during SERE qualification? During SERE training, certain select members of the U.S. military, Rangers, Special Forces [SF], combat pilots, are waterboarded, stripped, kept in confined stressful postures AS PART OF THE SERE QUALIFICATION PROCESS. I hope Congress addresses this and IS EVEN AWARE OF THE DIFFICULTY SUCH A LAW WILL POSE.

[it is reputed that CIA operations officers are also waterboarded as part of their training. The average person can withstand the sensation of drowning for about fifteen seconds max!!]

And, from the book, "Devil's Guard": [describing how a German prisoner post-World War Two was interrogated by the American counter-intellignece-corps [CIC]]

"kept chained to a hot radiator, naked of course, for ninety-six hours in such a manner that he could neither sit nor bed. At the end of the second day his ankles began to swell. At the end of the ordeal they were swollen to the size of grapefruits and he could not flex a muscle. During that ninety-six hours, he was given very spicy food and only one small cup of water per day. Installed twenty inches from his ears a pair of loudspeakers kept blaring distorted music without a break."

[and no bathroom breaks either. You crap and pee right where you are. Wallow in your own filth!]

Hostile interrogation! NOT torture as the term is normally understood? BUT, in a gray area that few want to cross!? Gets results, but at what cost?




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