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G M
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« Reply #150 on: August 29, 2009, 07:05:59 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/28/AR2009082803874_pf.html

How a Detainee Became An Asset
Sept. 11 Plotter Cooperated After Waterboarding

By Peter Finn, Joby Warrick and Julie Tate
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, August 29, 2009



After enduring the CIA's harshest interrogation methods and spending more than a year in the agency's secret prisons, Khalid Sheik Mohammed stood before U.S. intelligence officers in a makeshift lecture hall, leading what they called "terrorist tutorials."

In 2005 and 2006, the bearded, pudgy man who calls himself the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks discussed a wide variety of subjects, including Greek philosophy and al-Qaeda dogma. In one instance, he scolded a listener for poor note-taking and his inability to recall details of an earlier lecture.

Speaking in English, Mohammed "seemed to relish the opportunity, sometimes for hours on end, to discuss the inner workings of al-Qaeda and the group's plans, ideology and operatives," said one of two sources who described the sessions, speaking on the condition of anonymity because much information about detainee confinement remains classified. "He'd even use a chalkboard at times."

These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its "preeminent source" on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

"KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete," according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA's then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general's report and other documents released this week indicate.

Over a few weeks, he was subjected to an escalating series of coercive methods, culminating in 7 1/2 days of sleep deprivation, while diapered and shackled, and 183 instances of waterboarding. After the month-long torment, he was never waterboarded again.

"What do you think changed KSM's mind?" one former senior intelligence official said this week after being asked about the effect of waterboarding. "Of course it began with that."

Mohammed, in statements to the International Committee of the Red Cross, said some of the information he provided was untrue.

"During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I'm sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time," he said.

Critics say waterboarding and other harsh methods are unacceptable regardless of their results, and those with detailed knowledge of the CIA's program say the existing assessments offer no scientific basis to draw conclusions about effectiveness.

"Democratic societies don't use torture under any circumstances. It is illegal and immoral," said Tom Parker, policy director for counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International. "This is a fool's argument in any event. There is no way to prove or disprove the counterfactual."

John L. Helgerson, the former CIA inspector general who investigated the agency's detention and interrogation program, said his work did not put him in "a position to reach definitive conclusions about the effectiveness of particular interrogation methods."

"Certain of the techniques seemed to have little effect, whereas waterboarding and sleep deprivation were the two most powerful techniques and elicited a lot of information," he said in an interview. "But we didn't have the time or resources to do a careful, systematic analysis of the use of particular techniques with particular individuals and independently confirm the quality of the information that came out."

After his capture, Mohammed first told his captors what he calculated they already knew.

"KSM almost immediately following his capture in March 2003 elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow airport," according to a document released by the CIA on Monday that summarizes the intelligence provided by Mohammed. The agency thinks he assumed that Ramzi Binalshibh, a Sept. 11 conspirator captured in September 2002, had already divulged the plan.

One former U.S. official with detailed knowledge of how the interrogations were carried out said Mohammed, like several other detainees, seemed to have decided that it was okay to stop resisting after he had endured a certain amount of pressure.

"Once the harsher techniques were used on [detainees], they could be viewed as having done their duty to Islam or their cause, and their religious principles would ask no more of them," said the former official, who requested anonymity because the events are still classified. "After that point, they became compliant. Obviously, there was also an interest in being able to later say, 'I was tortured into cooperating.' "

Mohammed provided the CIA with an autobiographical statement, describing a rebellious childhood, his decision to join the Muslim Brotherhood as a teenager, and his time in the United States as a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, from where he graduated in 1986 with a degree in mechanical engineering.

"KSM's limited and negative experience in the United States -- which included a brief jail stay because of unpaid bills -- almost certainly helped propel him on his path to becoming a terrorist," according to the intelligence summary. "He stated that his contact with Americans, while minimal, confirmed his view that the United States was a debauched and racist country."

Mohammed provided $1,000 to Ramzi Yousef, a nephew, to help him carry out the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. In 1994, he worked in the Philippines with Yousef, now serving a life sentence at the federal "supermax" prison in Colorado, on a failed plot to down 12 U.S. commercial aircraft over the Pacific.

Mohammed told interrogators it was in the Philippines that he first considered using planes as missiles to strike the United States. He took the idea to Osama bin Laden, who "at first demurred but changed his mind in late 1999," according to the summary.

Mohammed described plans to strike targets in Saudi Arabia, East Asia and the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks, including using a network of Pakistanis "to target gas stations, railroad tracks, and the Brooklyn bridge in New York." Cross-referencing material from different detainees, and leveraging information from one to extract more detail from another, the CIA and FBI went on to round up operatives both in the United States and abroad.

"Detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of 70 individuals -- many of who we had never heard of before -- that al-Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations," according to the CIA summary.

Mohammed told interrogators that after the Sept. 11 attacks, his "overriding priority" was to strike the United States, but that he "realized that a follow-on attack would be difficult because of security measures." Most of the plots, as a result, were "opportunistic and limited," according to the summary.

One former agency official recalled that Mohammed was once asked to write a summary of his knowledge about al-Qaeda's efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The terrorist group had explored buying either an intact nuclear weapon or key components such as enriched uranium, although there is no evidence of significant progress on that front.

"He wrote us an essay" on al-Qaeda's nuclear ambitions, the official said. "Not all of it was accurate, but it was quite extensive."

Mohammed was an unparalleled source in deciphering al-Qaeda's strategic doctrine, key operatives and likely targets, the summary said, including describing in "considerable detail the traits and profiles" that al-Qaeda sought in Western operatives and how the terrorist organization might conduct surveillance in the United States.

Mohammed was moved to the U.S. military facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September 2006, and his loquaciousness is now largely confined to occasional appearances before a military commission. Back in his 86-square-foot cell at the secret Camp 7 at Guantanamo, he spends most of his waking hours in prayer, according to a source familiar with his confinement who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But Mohammed has not abandoned his intellectual pursuits. He requested a Bible for study in his cell, according to the source, in order to better understand his enemy.

Staff writer Walter Pincus contributed to this report.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #151 on: September 06, 2009, 09:12:56 AM »

Ahmadinejad's Imam: Islam Allows Raping, Torturing Prisoners
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133214
by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz
Follow Israel news on  and .


(IsraelNN.com) A highly influential Shi'a religious leader, with whom Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly consults, apparently told followers last month that coercion by means of rape, torture and drugs is acceptable against all opponents of the Islamic regime.
The gathered crowd heard from Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad.
 
Warning: The imam's question-and-answer session, partially reproduced here, contains disturbing descriptions of the sanctioned brutality.

In the wake of a series of publications worldwide regarding the rape and torture of dissident prisoners in Iran's jails, supporters of Ahmadinejad gathered with him in Jamkaran, a popular pilgrimage site for Shi'ite Muslims on the outskirts of Qom, on August 11, 2009. According to Iranian pro-democracy sources, the gathered crowd heard from Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad himself regarding the issue.

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (ITIC), an independent Israeli intelligence analysis organization, Mesbah-Yazdi is considered Ahmadinejad's personal spiritual guide. A radical totalitarian even in Iranian terms, he holds messianic views, supports increasing Islamization, calls for violent suppression of domestic political opponents, and, according to the ITIC, "declared that obeying a president supported by the Supreme Leader was tantamount to obeying God."

At the Jamkaran gathering, Mesbah-Yazdi and Ahmadinejad answered questions about the rape and torture charges. The following text is from a transcript alleged by Iranian dissidents to be a series of questions and answers exchanged between the ayatollah and some of his supporters.

Asked if a confession obtained "by applying psychological, emotional and physical pressure" was "valid and considered credible according to Islam," Mesbah-Yazdi replied: "Getting a confession from any person who is against the Velayat-e Faqih ("Guardianship of the Islamic Jurists", or the regime of Iran's mullahs) is permissible under any condition." The ayatollah gave the identical answer when asked about confessions obtained through drugging the prisoner with opiates or addictive substances.

"Can an interrogator rape the prisoner in order to obtain a confession?" was the follow-up question posed to the Islamic cleric.

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The necessary precaution is for the interrogator to perform a ritual washing first and say prayers while raping the prisoner. If the prisoner is female, it is permissible to rape through the vagina or anus. It is better not to have a witness present. If it is a male prisoner, then it's acceptable for someone else to watch while the rape is committed."

This reply, and reports of the rape of teen male prisoners in Iranian jails, may have prompted the following question: "Is the rape of men and young boys considered sodomy?"
One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners.

Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi: "No, because it is not consensual. Of course, if the prisoner is aroused and enjoys the rape, then caution must be taken not to repeat the rape."

A related issue, in the eyes of the questioners, was the rape of virgin female prisoners. In this instance, Mesbah-Yazdi went beyond the permissibility issue and described the Allah-sanctioned rewards accorded the rapist-in-the-name-of-Islam:

"If the judgment for the [female] prisoner is execution, then rape before execution brings the interrogator a spiritual reward equivalent to making the mandated Haj pilgrimage [to Mecca], but if there is no execution decreed, then the reward would be equivalent to making a pilgrimage to [the Shi'ite holy city of] Karbala."

One aspect of these permitted rapes troubled certain questioners: "What if the female prisoner gets pregnant? Is the child considered illegitimate?"

Mesbah-Yazdi answered: "The child borne to any weakling [a denigrating term for women - ed.] who is against the Supreme Leader is considered illegitimate, be it a result of rape by her interrogator or through intercourse with her husband, according to the written word in the Koran. However, if the child is raised by the jailer, then the child is considered a legitimate Shi'a Muslim." 
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #152 on: September 06, 2009, 09:21:02 AM »

second post of the morning:

By ALI H. SOUFAN
Published: September 5, 2009
PUBLIC bravado aside, the defenders of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are fast running out of classified documents to hide behind. The three that were released recently by the C.I.A. — the 2004 report by the inspector general and two memos from 2004 and 2005 on intelligence gained from detainees — fail to show that the techniques stopped even a single imminent threat of terrorism.


Times Topics: C.I.A. InterrogationsThe inspector general’s report distinguishes between intelligence gained from regular interrogation and from the harsher methods, which culminate in waterboarding. While the former produces useful intelligence, according to the report, the latter “is a more subjective process and not without concern.” And the information in the two memos reinforces this differentiation.

They show that substantial intelligence was gained from pocket litter (materials found on detainees when they were captured), from playing detainees against one another and from detainees freely giving up information that they assumed their questioners already knew. A computer seized in March 2003 from a Qaeda operative for example, listed names of Qaeda members and money they were to receive.

Soon after Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in 2003, according to the 2005 memo, he “elaborated on his plan to crash commercial airlines into Heathrow Airport.” The memo speculates that he may have assumed that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a fellow member of Al Qaeda who had been captured in 2002, had already divulged the plan. The same motivation — the assumption that another detainee had already talked — is offered to explain why Mr. Mohammed provided details about the Hambali-Southeast Asia Qaeda network.

Mr. Mohammed must have likewise assumed that his interrogators already had the details about Al Qaeda’s organizational structure that he gave them. When I testified in the trial of Salim Hamdan, who had been Osama bin Laden’s personal driver, I provided many unclassified details about Al Qaeda’s structure and operations, none of which came from Mr. Mohammed.

Some of the information that is cited in the memos — the revelation that Mr. Mohammed had been the mastermind of 9/11, for example, and the uncovering of Jose Padilla, the so-called dirty bomber — was gained from another terrorism suspect, Abu Zubaydah, by “informed interrogation,” conducted by an F.B.I. colleague and me. The arrest of Walid bin Attash, one of Osama bin Laden’s most trusted messengers, which was also cited in the 2005 C.I.A. memo, was thanks to a quick-witted foreign law enforcement officer, and had nothing to do with harsh interrogation of anyone. The examples go on and on.

A third top suspected terrorist who was subjected to enhanced interrogation, in 2002, was Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the man charged with plotting the 2000 bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole. I was the lead agent on a team that worked with the Yemenis to thwart a series of plots by Mr. Nashiri’s operatives in the Arabian Peninsula — including planned attacks on Western embassies. In 2004, we helped prosecute 15 of these operatives in a Yemeni court. Not a single piece of evidence that helped us apprehend or convict them came from Mr. Nashiri.

It is surprising, as the eighth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, that none of Al Qaeda’s top leadership is in our custody. One damaging consequence of the harsh interrogation program was that the expert interrogators whose skills were deemed unnecessary to the new methods were forced out.

Mr. Mohammed knew the location of most, if not all, of the members of Al Qaeda’s leadership council, and possibly of every covert cell around the world. One can only imagine who else we could have captured, or what attacks we might have disrupted, if Mr. Mohammed had been questioned by the experts who knew the most about him.

A lack of knowledge perhaps explains why so many false claims have been made about the program’s alleged successes. Many officials in Washington reading the reports didn’t know enough about Al Qaeda to know what information was already known and whether the detainees were telling all they knew. The inspector general’s report states that many operatives thought their superiors were inaccurately judging that detainees were withholding information. Such assessments, the operatives said, were “not always supported by an objective evaluation” but were “too heavily based, instead, on presumptions.” I can personally testify to this.

Supporters of the enhanced interrogation techniques have jumped from claim to claim about their usefulness. They have asserted, for example, that harsh treatment led Mr. Mohammed to reveal the plot to attack the Library Tower in Los Angeles. But that plot was thwarted in 2002, and Mr. Mohammed was not arrested until 2003. Recently, interviews with unnamed sources led The Washington Post to report that harsh techniques turned Mr. Mohammed into an intelligence “asset.”

This latest claim will come as news to Mr. Mohammed’s prosecutors, to his fellow detainees (whom he instructed, at his arraignment, not to cooperate with the United States) and indeed to Mr. Mohammed himself. He told the International Committee of the Red Cross that “I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear.”

The inspector general’s report was written precisely because many of the C.I.A. operatives complained about what they were being ordered to do. The inspector general then conducted an internal audit of the entire program. In his report, he questions the effectiveness of the harsh techniques that were authorized. And he slams the use of “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques.” This is probably why the enhanced interrogation program was shelved in 2005.

Meanwhile, the professionals in the field are relieved that an ineffective, unreliable, unnecessary and destructive program — one that may have given Al Qaeda a second wind and damaged our country’s reputation — is finished.

Ali H. Soufan was an F.B.I. special agent from 1997 to 2005.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #153 on: November 24, 2009, 02:29:10 PM »

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,576646,00.html

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And for their trouble, three of the SEALs, members of the Navy's elite commando unit, are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers.

Matthew McCabe, a Special Operations Petty Officer Second Class (SO-2), is facing three charges: dereliction of performance of duty for willfully failing to safeguard a detainee, making a false official statement, and assault.

Petty Officer Jonathan Keefe, SO-2, is facing charges of dereliction of performance of duty and making a false official statement.

Petty Officer Julio Huertas, SO-1, faces those same charges and an additional charge of impediment of an investigation.The three SEALs will be arraigned separately on Dec. 7.

Another three SEALs — two officers and an enlisted sailor — have been identified by investigators as witnesses but have not been charged.

FoxNews.com obtained the official handwritten statement from one of the three witnesses given on Sept. 3, hours after Abed was captured and still being held at the SEAL base at Camp Baharia. He was later taken to a cell in the U.S.-operated Green Zone in Baghdad.

The SEAL told investigators he had showered after the mission, gone to the kitchen and then decided to look in on the detainee.

"I gave the detainee a glance over and then left," the SEAL wrote. "I did not notice anything wrong with the detainee and he appeared in good health."

Lt. Col. Holly Silkman, spokeswoman for the special operations component of U.S. Central Command, confirmed Tuesday to FoxNews.com that three SEALs have been charged in connection with the capture of a detainee. She said their court martial is scheduled for January.

United States Central Command declined to discuss the detainee, but a legal source told FoxNews.com that the detainee was turned over to Iraqi authorities, to whom he made the abuse complaints. He was then returned to American custody. The SEAL leader reported the charge up the chain of command, and an investigation ensued.

The source said intelligence briefings provided to the SEALs stated that "Objective Amber" planned the 2004 Fallujah ambush, and "they had been tracking this guy for some time."

The Fallujah atrocity came to symbolize the brutality of the enemy in Iraq and the degree to which a homegrown insurgency was extending its grip over Iraq.

The four Blackwater agents were transporting supplies for a catering company when they were ambushed and killed by gunfire and grenades. Insurgents burned the bodies and dragged them through the city. They hanged two of the bodies on a bridge over the Euphrates River for the world press to photograph.

Intelligence sources identified Abed as the ringleader, but he had evaded capture until September.

The military is sensitive to charges of detainee abuse highlighted in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The Navy charged four SEALs with abuse in 2004 in connection with detainee treatment.
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The Tao
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« Reply #154 on: January 13, 2011, 01:51:27 PM »

I believe that so long as we are honest and open about what we (as a country) are doing, that are behaviour and motives are beyond question, and that our enemies know our policies in regard to torture and interrogation, the ends justify the means.

My two cents.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #155 on: January 13, 2011, 04:33:35 PM »

Brownie points for finding a thread 14 months old  grin

I would note that we do have treaty obligations in this regard, and fully support that notion that torture is not what we are about.    There may be exceptions to the rule, but we have best be very thoughtful and very careful before going down that road.

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G M
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« Reply #156 on: January 13, 2011, 05:46:31 PM »

There is a difference between torture and enhanced interrogation.
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JDN
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« Reply #157 on: January 14, 2011, 09:23:09 AM »

There is a difference between torture and enhanced interrogation.

 huh  The only difference is that is that "enhanced interrogation" is PC for "torture" right?

The first use of the term "enhanced interrogation" appears to have been a 1937 memo by Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller coining the phrase "Verschärfte Vernehmung," German for "enhanced interrogation".

Let's ask the prisoner's of Gestapo Chief Muller how they feel about "enhanced interrogation".

I too like to think this is not what we are about.  Torture is wrong.  If there are exceptions to the rule, I agree, we need to be very careful before going down that slippery road.  But if we do it, let's just call it torture and don't beat around the bush. 



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G M
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« Reply #158 on: January 14, 2011, 10:09:39 AM »

Waterboarding or stress positions or loud music are not torture. To call this torture makes the word meaningless.
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G M
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« Reply #159 on: January 14, 2011, 10:20:04 AM »

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=23220

Waterboarding: A SERE-ing Experience for Tens of Thousands of US Military Personnel
by Cdr. Frank 'Spig' Wead
11/05/2007



[Editor’s Note: Because of Sens. Schumer and Feinstein’s decision to vote for him. the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey to the post of Attorney General is no longer in danger. Judge Mukasey’s nomination was threatened because of his refusal to describe the harsh interrogation technique of water-boarding as torture. Still, Democrats and some Republicans continue to demand that water-boarding should be statutorily defined to be torture and thus outlawed. We believe this would be a terrible mistake.

Water-boarding, like many other interrogation techniques, could be torture in the hands of a sadist. But -- as the following article demonstrates -- it can be an effective interrogation technique and an essential tool of training, as it has been for US Navy and Air Force pilots.

“Spig” Wead is the pseudonym of a retired Naval aviator who served in the post-Vietnam era.]


“Train like you Fight, Fight like you Train” is the motto of the world’s most elite pilots, the US Navy’s. Based on lessons learned from survivors of the brutal North Korean and North Vietnam torture of US military prisoners of war, the Department of Defense ordered all branches of the services to implement comprehensive Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs. Every member of Congress should be extremely well versed on the military S.E.R.E. programs since they have had direct oversight and funding of these programs for over 40 years. Viewing the most recent Congressional hearing, one must assume that they are ignorant of or intentionally misrepresent the very programs that they fund and support.

My personal experience with S.E.R.E. training came as a junior pilot flying the F-14A “Tomcat” at NAS Miramar, California. The US Navy S.E.R.E. program requires all Aircrew Members and members of Special Operation Teams (SOF) to undergo both classroom and field experience in these vital techniques. Classroom and field training was accomplished by a cadre of highly trained and disciplined personnel, many of whom had been held as POW’s and tortured by the North Vietnamese.

What actually happens in S.E.R.E. in the field? Classes of 40 or more “students” are put through beach and water (swimming) survival techniques, similar to the TV show “Survivor” but without the rewards challenges. The class is then moved to a remote location to survive and evade prior to entering the US Navy run POW camp. The operation of the evasion complex is based on the trainee being briefed on the enemy position and the location of friendly forces. The object, “to make like a bush”, be patient and deliberate and use all your new taught skills to evade a large contingent of simulated enemy combatants in uniform. They speak like the enemy, act like the enemy, and most importantly train you on how to react to the enemy. While they fire AK-47’s over your head, and search for the ugly “American War Criminals” (thanks Jane), you spend agonizing hours crawling and hiding in an attempt to reach safety. As in real life, few if any make it to safety when behind enemy lines.

When captured you are brought to an initial holding facility. Hands and feet bound and hooded you are thrown into a barbed wire holding cell. As a former football player and wrestler I felt confident that I had that “John Wayne” attitude, Name, Rank and Serial Number….nothing more. Life and the Navy were about to teach this million dollar trained, blond headed, college, Fly Boy a new and most important lesson.

When brought into the first “interrogation”, hooded and hands bound, I was asked the basic questions, no problems...then I was asked a question -- the first among many not permitted under the Geneva Convention. Congress, the media and some of the public have forgotten a very basic and important tenant of the Geneva Convention. Terrorists, insurgents, IED Specialists, Suicide Bombers and all those not wearing a uniform in war are not in any form protected by the Geneva Convention. I did not answer the interrogators’ questions: then the fun and games began.

Carefully using a technique of grabbing your shirt at the pockets and wrapping his fists so that his knuckles pressed into the muscles of my breast plate, the instructor flung me across the room karate style and into a corrugated wall. No more questions; around and around the room I flew, a dance which while blind folded and hooded made me feel like “Raggedy Andy” in a tug of war with two bullying kids. Following the first interrogation we were loaded into trucks, bound and hooded, head to who knows were...for the first time real fear starts to set in and you look for inner strength in your heart, training and comrades.

Arriving at the POW Camp I was kept hooded and placed in a small box, 2 feet wide, 3 feet long and maybe 3 feet high. I was left the fetal position, sitting on my butt, stripped nearly naked (just week old BVD’s) and left sealed with your defecation can inside your box. Heat, cold, isolation, no communications, and constant noise, music, propaganda, coupled with verbal abuse by your captors is the norm, 24/7. Every twenty minutes or so the guards come by your box and rattle it, sneaking up and demanding to hear your War Criminal Number (thanks again, Jane, for the classification). No more name, rank or serial number, they want some real answers to real security questions. You agonize in your isolation as your hear other members of your group being pulled out for more “personal one on one interrogation”. Then it’s your turn. Pulled from your box you are again brought in for questioning. If unhappy with your answers or no answers, the “Raggedy Andy” dance began again with vigor in the cold night air.

Then it was time for the dreaded waterboard. What I didn’t know then, but I do now, is that as in all interrogations, both for real world hostile terrorists (non-uniformed combatants) and in S.E.R.E. a highly trained group of doctors, psychologists, interrogators, and strap-in and strap-out rescue teams are always present. My first experience on the “waterboard” was to be laying on my back, on a board with my body at a 30 degree slope, feet in the air, head down, face-up. The straps are all-confining, with the only movement of your body that of the ability to move your head. Slowly water is poured in your face, up your nose, and some in your mouth. The questions from interrogators and amounts of water increase with each unsuccessful response. Soon they have your complete attention as you begin to believe you are going to drown.

Scared, alone, cold and in total lack of control, you learn to “cooperate” to the best of your ability to protect your life. For each person that level of cooperation or resistance is different. You must be tested and trained to know how to respond in the real combat world. Escape was the key to freedom and reward.

Those students escaping would be rewarded with a meal (apple, and PB&J sandwich) was what we had been told by our instructors. On my next journey to interrogation I saw an opportunity to escape. I fled into the woods, naked and cold, and hid. My captors came searching with AK-47’s blazing, and calls to “kill the American War Criminal” in broken English. After an hour of successfully evading, the voices called out in perfect English. “O.K., problem’s over…you escaped, come in for your sandwich.” When I stood up and revealed my position I was met by a crowd of angry enemy guards, “stupid American Criminal”! Back to the Waterboard I went.

This time we went right to the water hose in the face, and a wet towel held tightly on my forehead so that I could not move my head. I had embarrassed my captors and they would now show me that they had total control. The most agonizing and frightful moments are when the wet towel is placed over your nose and mouth and the water hose is placed directly over your mouth. Holding your breath, bucking at the straps, straining to remain conscious, you believe with all your heart that, that, you are going to die.

S.E.R.E. training is not pleasant, but it is critical to properly prepare our most endangered combat forces for the reality of enemy capture. Was I “tortured” by the US military? No. Was I trained in an effort to protect my life and the lives of other American fighting men? Yes! Freedom is not Free, nor does it come without sacrifice. Every good American understands this basic principle of our country and prays for the young men and women who have sacrificed and are out on the front lines protecting us today.

Now, let’s see Congress: Maybe forty or so students per week, let’s say 100 minimum per month, 1,200 per year for over twenty or thirty years? It could be as many as 40,000 students trained in S.E.R.E. and “tortured” at the direction of, and under the watchful eye of the Congressional Majorities on both sides of the aisle. Be careful that the 40,000 of us who you have “tortured” don’t come after you today with tort claims. I heard it pays about $3 million per claim.

Congress, you need to get the politics out of the war zone and focus on your job. Gaining information in non-lethal interrogations against non-uniformed terrorists is what is protecting our country today. If you had done your job the past twenty years perhaps one of my favorite wingmen in the F-14A would be alive today.

Lt Tom “Stout” McGuinness of the VF-21 “Freelancers” went through S.E.R.E. training during my tenure. But when it came down to the crisis moment, his “interrogators” did not give him the waterboard. They merely went into the cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11, slashed Tom’s throat, and flew the first aircraft into the North Tower of World Trade Center on 9/11.

Congress, let me ask you a very simple question about your leadership and your sworn responsibility. It is a yes or no question, and you have a personal choice to make.

Would you endorse the use of a waterboard interrogation technique against a terrorist like Mohamed Atta al Sayed, the leader of the highjacking of American Airlines Flight 11 or not. The answer for me is simple: “turn on the hose.” If you answer anything else, then God help America because Tom died in vain.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2011, 10:54:55 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
JDN
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« Reply #160 on: January 14, 2011, 11:01:37 AM »

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=23220

Would you endorse the use of a waterboard interrogation technique against a terrorist like Mohamed Atta al Sayed, the leader of the highjacking of American Airlines Flight 11 or not. The answer for me is simple: “turn on the hose.”

Perhaps I agree, I don't know.   But, then I would call it "torture".  I wouldn't beat around the busy and call it "enhanced interrogation". 

S.E.R.E. training, while superb I am sure, is only that; "training".  It reminds me of the hazing that went on when I was in college.  The psychological effects, the degree, etc. are entirely different if your buddies are doing doing the "enhanced interrogation" versus the the enemy who may kill you and/or continue to torture you.

I've watched combatants at Dog Brother Gatherings get bloodied and bruised; afterwords, they shake hands and hug.  Cathartic.  Yet if they were attacked by a gang with sticks down a dark alley, the psychological fear would be quite different.

I bet if you asked Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller's prisoner's if he tortured them, they would say yes.

In fact, the United States had prosecuted Japanese military officials after World War II and American soldiers after the Vietnam War for waterboarding and as recently as 1983.

The British government has determined the techniques would be classified as torture, and dismissed President Bush's claim to the contrary in his memoirs.

Nearly the entire western world, our friends, called it torture.  And you can say, "Who cares what they say" and "it was necessary" but then I'm sure those are the exact words Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller used.  I'ld like to think we are better than Gestapo Chief Heinrich Muller. 

I'm not necessarily saying don't do it.  Just be very careful if an exception is called for.  Torture is a dangerous path in a free democracy.

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G M
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« Reply #161 on: January 14, 2011, 11:23:16 AM »

SERE training is brutal and traumatic. The concept is to innoculate the trainees for what they might face in the future. Right now, Obama is subcontracting torture out to foreign countries like Egypt, where setting pubic hair on fire is a common method to start off the questioning.

I tend to use as a rule, if we do it to our troops, it isn't torture, if it's something we wouldn't do because it's too brutal for our troops, then it's torture.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #162 on: January 14, 2011, 11:30:18 AM »

GM notes that we are "subcontracting torture out to foreign countries".  This is true.   Does this really absolve us of responsibility?
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G M
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« Reply #163 on: January 14, 2011, 11:37:19 AM »

No, It doesn't. I recall reading about FBI agents picking up a jihadist from the Egyptians, who had him tied to a spit and were rotating him over a fire. IIRC, this was during the Clinton administration. I'm not bothered by this, though I don't want us doing it. Unfortunately, Egypt doesn't save these methods for just really bad people.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #164 on: January 14, 2011, 11:56:46 AM »

Which is precisely one of the reasons such a path is so dangerous.

In that we agree that farming it out does not absolve us of responsibility, then , , , are we torturers?
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G M
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« Reply #165 on: January 14, 2011, 12:17:57 PM »

Yes.
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G M
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« Reply #166 on: January 14, 2011, 12:24:27 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Man

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ccp
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« Reply #167 on: January 14, 2011, 04:41:42 PM »

No one will ever forget that picture.  I just google around to find out who he was.  Apparantly most suspect it was this man.  His family reportedly cannot look at the picture.  I find it tear jerking and I didn't even know him:

http://www.americanmemorials.com/memorial/tribute.asp?idMemorial=2137&idContributor=12959
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #168 on: July 20, 2011, 11:35:58 AM »

STRATFOR’s Vice President of Intelligence Fred Burton explains how to gather intelligence from videos by analyzing four tapes from Mexican cartel interrogations.


Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Videos are a very powerful intelligence tool for us at STRATFOR as well as for the intelligence community. In this week’s Above the Tearline, we’re going to break down four recent Mexican cartel interrogation statements with an eye towards their nonverbal cues and body language.

The first cartel individual we’re going to look at is El Mamito. Your first impression when you look at this videotape is the very high quality of the Mexican backdrop. As you can see, there’s a psychological ramification here that the Mexican government is trying to convey with the high value targets standing in front of the SSP (Secretariat of Public Security) logos and insignias. As you run the tape a little bit, you will notice that El Mamito appears to be in pretty decent shape, although it appears that he hasn’t slept. He’s making very good eye contact with the interviewer.

The next cartel high value target we’re going to look at is El Chango, same backdrop. As you’re looking at his eye movements, he’s showing signs of deception with the shifty eyes towards the left. One of the most interesting parts here is you will notice that the Mexican authorities are utilizing a female interrogator in this case. There’s probably a method to their madness with that course of action. It’s not unusual for the debriefing team ahead of time to think about the best person to ask questions. This very well may be on the part of the Mexican authorities in an effort to disarm the suspect to some degree or to throw him off balance.

The third suspect is El Huache, and he’s an individual that is linked towards human trafficking killings, and your first impressions as you compare and contrast him with the others is that he has the body language and demeanor, in my assessment, of a stone cold killer. As you look at him, you notice his eyes. As you take a look at his body language, he has that attitude you can see that’s conveying across the videotape. Notice the furrow on his brow. He’s making really good eye contact with the interviewer. It appears to me that in all probability, he’s handcuffed. You also notice the swallowing motion there before he asked certain questions, and as you can see, he is conveying, even in the videotape, this air of cockiness, in my assessment.

Lastly, we’re going to take a look at La Barbie. He’s an interesting individual. This is an American that went over to the cartel sides from Laredo. We have discussed him in the past in many of the major news networks as well as on our website, for those of you who would like more information about La Barbie. As we transition into this, keep in mind the previous suspect interviews. Take into account the general nervousness of La Barbie right from the beginning as we transition in. And then you will also notice that the Mexicans are utilizing a female interrogator. La Barbie was known as a ladies’ man, so there might be some degree of psychological reason for the use of the female. As you look at La Barbie, notice that he makes no attempt to establish or maintain good eye contact. He’s looking around. He’s giving off tremendous behavioral signals that indicate a high degree of nervousness. And notice him looking down and to the left. This is a survivor. This is an individual that traveled in the highest levels of the narco world. At one point in this you’ll see that he lifts his handcuffed hands up and actually wipes the sweat off his brow.

From an investigator’s perspective, as you compare and contrast these four videos, what you will notice are some similarities as well as some behavioral indications that indicate that perhaps the suspect is not being as truthful as he could be. The U.S. doesn’t like to release these kinds of videotapes before prosecution. In fact, the Department of Justice and the FBI do not typically videotape suspect debriefings. The Mexicans are clearly utilizing this videotape for a couple different reasons. The first is the psychological aspect of getting this out into the media, hoping that other cartel bosses will see this. Second, remember they are disseminating these videos for domestic consumption inside of Mexico, as well as to show the U.S. that there is a return on their investment based upon all the counter-narcotics aid that we have given the country.

The Above the Tearline aspect in this video is the extraordinary value of videotape as it pertains to intelligence assessments. Videotape is a tremendous value in your ability to go back to evaluate statements and to develop your follow-up questions. The other aspect from the suspect’s perspective is they’re going to be thinking about the ramifications of this videotape. For example, if they rat off one of their bosses, they’re thinking about “What happens to me when I get inside a Mexican prison?” You have the ability to closely examine videotape with an eye towards truthful statements versus signs of deception, as well as nervous behavior. It’s important to realize that in these kinds of custodial situations, the government in many ways holds all the cards, so the suspect that you’re watching is thinking of a thousand different things at the time, primarily geared toward survival.

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G M
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« Reply #169 on: July 20, 2011, 11:41:53 AM »

"The next cartel high value target we’re going to look at is El Chango, same backdrop. As you’re looking at his eye movements, he’s showing signs of deception with the shifty eyes towards the left. "

That comes from "Neuro-linguistic Programming" which was trendy in LE interrogation circles for a while, but has not been scientificly validated.
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