"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 becausemany 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 Soufan
I have said from the beginning of the post 9/11 prisoner interrogation saga that seduction and trickery work a lot better than physical abuse and intimidation. How hard is that to understand? I remember saying that on the Newshour in response to a question about how to talk to the prisoner, Saddam Hussein. My friend, Amatzia Baram, was sitting next to me and went one step farther by insisting that the interrogators should be beautiful women. Now, that was creative!
The whole process of apprehending possible terrorists or terrorist supporters has been flawed from the beginning and largely run on the basis of Cheney's 1% solution. (One wonders where he got that—)
There are a substantial number of people held by the US who are very dangerous men, men who can not be safely released. The reason is clear. They are warriors in their cause and they will return to the fight. What to do with them in the context of evidence ruined by their early treatment as though they were prisoners of war (who were not designated as prisoners of war) is a huge problem. To think that these men could be held indefinitely without trial and without designating them as prisoners of war was a big mistake. They inevitably gained access to US federal courts and the cases against them then became sbject to US "rules of evidence," with Miranda warnings, access to counsel, right to confront their accusers, etc.
Even more egregious are the cases of the many detainees who appear to be merely the victims of circumstance. Brother in law hostility, young people running away from home (to Afghanistan of all places), Pakistani government desire to show cooperation with the US after 9/11 (often by handing over foreigners), futile searches for employment from places even poorer than Pakistan or Afghanistan, all these "paths" led to Bagram, Kandahar and Guantanamo. More than that I can not say.
Now there is a lengthy process of Habeas Corpus hearings underway in the federal courts to determine whether or not some of these people should ever have been held at Guantanamo by the United States, held for five or six years. Some of these hearings have been decided in favor of the prisoners, but the Justice and Defense departments are still holding prisoners whom they were ordered to release by the federal courts. They are still holding them under the same conditions as before the rulings that determinied that they should never have been imprisoned. Their justification is that they may yet appeal the courts' decisions.
Mr. Jefferson wrote that he feared for his country when he reflected that God is just. He meant Virginia, but the lesson is clear. pl