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View Diary: Rumsfeld's Revenge: Army Field Manual to Allow Torture (217 comments)

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  •  Please read this comment (12+ / 0-)

    Perhaps I didn't do a good enough job giving all the evidence for sensory deprivation in this diary. I'd note, however, the article has a long interchange with Gen. Kimmons exactly on this question.

    "Separation" is a euphemism for "isolation" or "solitary confinement", which itself is a form of social sensory deprivation. I did not go into it in this diary, but did in a former one, but there are also provisions for the use of goggles and earmuffs to be used on prisoners. The AFM is so concerned about the reaction of prisoners to the latter that medical personnel must be nearby if that technique is to be used.

    Please see the fuller discussion in the diary, How the U.S. Army's Field Manual Codified Torture -- and Still Does.

    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

    by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:29:47 PM PST

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    •  I used to work for Kimmons. He's not going to... (6+ / 0-)

      support torture.  I respect your work, but you'rein the weeds here.  "Social" sensory deprivation is not sensory deprivation in any real sense, and I believe you know that.  Virtually all prison systems use isolation, both for safety and for punishment reasons.  Isolation, in an interrogation sense, is used to get the detainee to welcome the social interaction with the interrogator, the only interaction allowed.  It is a useful and effective technique.  

      As a side story, I was involved in the interrogations of Osman Atto, Hassan Alawi, and Omar Salad, the three Somalis made famous (well, Osman anyway) in Blackhawk Down.  They were kept in solitary confinement for three months in an isolated place and their only human interaction was with the interrogators.  When we arrived, we were eventually treated as old friends, a welcome and needed change in their routine.  It was helpful, and gained their cooperation, mostly truthful.

      To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

      by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 02:48:30 PM PST

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      •  Just because a technique works (5+ / 0-)

        does not make it legal. Here is what government researcher and then-professor in clinical psychiatry, Laurence Hinkle said about "isolation" in a study published in the early 1960s ("The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function") (emphasis added):

        Classically, isolation has been used as a means of "making a man talk," simply because it is so often associated with a deterioration of thinking and behavior and is accompanied by an intense need for companionship and for talk. From the interrogator's viewpoint it has seemed to be the ideal way of "breaking down" a prisoner, because, to the unsophisticated, it seems to create precisely the state that the interrogator desires ... However, the effect of isolation upon the brain function of the prisoner is much like that which occurs if he is beaten, starved or deprived of sleep.

        I note that you say nothing here of the use of sleep deprivation or sensory deprivation, which as Kimmons admitted in at the DoD briefing, is allowed as part of the AFM.

        You are certainly entitled to your view, and I thank you for revealing the source of your possible bias. The source of my own has to do with working with torture survivors and also studying the history of torture. I presented on the history of government sponsored research into sensory deprivation and its effects at the APA convention in 2007.

        Btw, you are wrong about social sensory deprivation. Isolation is a form of sensory deprivation and is described by such in the technical literature, see Chapter 1, "Introduction and Historical Background," by Peter Suedfeld, and other assorted material in Zubek, ed., Sensory Deprivation: Fifteen Years of Research, Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1969

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:27:13 PM PST

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        •  I guess the devil is in the details. (4+ / 0-)

          I think that sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, and isolation can be used in support of torture.  I think all sleep deprivation and isolation can be legitimately used in support of interrogation.  

          I've done tons of interrogations, mostly battlefield tactical interrogations, but a little booth work as well.  I'm a rapport guy, certainly in the booth and for long term stuff, but have seen the value of "the shock of capture" used in a tactical environment.  

          On the larger points, I think we agree.  I support the fight against the radical groups who seek to destroy us, but I think the metric for victory is effect on recruitment.  More recruits, they win; less, we win.  Abu G, Gitmo, any talk of permissible torture....all represent huge recruitment victories for people we don't want to win.  

          Sometimes I think Obama gets it, others I'm not so sure.  I support prosecution of the Bush administration because successful prosecution will represent a huge win in our fight against recruitment.  

          To avoid starting dumb wars, punish the dumb people who vote for them.

          by joesig on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:59:11 PM PST

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          •  Since I work (8+ / 0-)

            with patients who were innocent but suffered due to torture (not by U.S., but foreign interrorators/torturers), I can't agree it's all about efficacy and recruitment.

            But I do hear you, and the issue of producing or radicalizing new "terrorists" was the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about Abu Ghraib. I thought, shit, another entire generation, and many will now die for this. If this country had any morals, it would try Rumsfeld and the others responsible, publicly, and put them in prison for life. (I am against the death penalty.) That might have an effect on the "street" in the Middle East, the only way to counter the ongoing effects of massive U.S. prisoner abuse and torture under Bush.

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 04:09:18 PM PST

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    •  We're worried about "a form of social sensory... (1+ / 0-)
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      ...deprivation" now?

      Next, it'll be considered torture if we put an Xbox in their cell and don't hook it up to the Internet.

      "If Obama is the nominee, we are doomed." -Rush Limbaugh
      "Always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama." -Olbermann

      by Troutnut on Sun Jan 25, 2009 at 03:18:55 PM PST

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