Torture may be useless in finding the truth, but it is very useful in creating “actionable intelligence”. Several sources, such as Craig Murray and numerous victim testimonies, suggest that torture was used to coerce testimony against pro-democracy activists and other dissidents. In Truthout Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye published the hand written notes of Dr Bruce Jessen who was one of the architects of the US military programme of detainee torture. Fallaciously it is said that he and a colleague “reverse engineered” special forces resistance training – reverse engineering occurs when someone trained in “resistance” applies the sorts of coercion used on them to enemies (tending to be far more brutal than their colleagues were to them, naturally). This “reverse engineering” is actually the point of “resistance” training – you can’t actually teach resistance, but equally you can’t just open up a school for torturers and this sort of training is very rare (most torturers have to either invent their own techniques or learn on the job as a form of apprentiship). Jessen didn’t reverse engineer anything, he designed “resistance training” and he designed a torture programme – two very similar jobs. What is more, the Kaye and Leopold article (and Jessen’s own notes) reveal that gathering intelligence was never the purpose – the programme was designed to break people down and subjugate them in order to create compliant collaborator agents. In these instances false testimony against political dissidents is the least that the US could obtain, and one might wonder what other purposes the US might envisage for collaborators.
One last point must be made: US torture techniques are not derived from nor inspired by Soviet or Chinese torture. The US is quite the innovator in torture itself (often developning techniques in police cells and prisons). Where inspired by elsewhere it is more likely to adapt from UK and French torture styles and techniques. Also, with the notorious MK Ultra, the US had a formal torture programme long before Jessens came along (even if MK Ultra wasn’t solely about torture). You see, that is what you really have to get your head around. Most societies that torture (a substantial minority do) hide the fact. It is a dirty secret done in back rooms. The US is unique in the level to which it advertises and formalises its torture. It is also extremely prolific and has an unbroken evolution extending through its involvement in counter-insurgencies which began with the Indian Wars, moved to Cuba and the Phillippines, Latin America, South East Asia, and so on, with other instances, until the present day. Yes, they do hand prisoners over to others for torture, but they only do that to create a broader sense of deniability. They are more than capable of perpetrating their own torture.
In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.
Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.
Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.
While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply…
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