Torture at the Highest Level

In The Green Light, Vanity Fair reports on how torture starts at the top. (I have to say that I’m no Vanity Fair fan since they published their anti-Mumia dribble several years ago, plus their parade of sexist covers.)

From The Green Light:

Starting in late 2002 a detainee bearing the number 063 was tortured over a period of more than seven weeks. In his story lies the answer to a crucial question: How was the decision made to let the U.S. military start using coercive interrogations at Guantánamo?

The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a “trickle up” explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration—by some of the most senior personal advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense… This is the story of how the torture at Guantánamo began, and how it spread.

The senior managing attorney of the Guantánamo project at the Center for Constitutional Rights writes on the Torture Memo, the Vanity Fair piece and the documents that still remain hidden:

[W]e know that many other specific memos exist but have yet to be declassified or leaked to the public:

  • a 2001 directive to CIA authorizing it to set up overseas detention facilities;
  • an August 2002 authorizing CIA to use specific interrogation methods (including waterboarding);
  • a memo of October 23, 2001, arguing that the Posse Comitatus Act, which places restrictions on the use of the armed forces to quell unrest within the United States, cannot bind the President in efforts to “prevent and deter terrorism” domestically, and arguing that the Fourth Amendment generally does not place restrictions on such presidential military activities domestically (keep in mind the NSA is a branch of the Department of Defense, and protections against indiscriminate warrantless wiretapping derive from the Fourth Amendment.

One woman protesting torture in her neighborhood and how you can too.

Read letters to the New York Times from readers who react to the Torture Memo.

Psychologists and torture:

Check out this website for psychologists who withhold dues to protest the APA’s policy that “promotes the participation of psychologists in interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and other military and CIA facilities where suspected terrorists are detained without due process.”

The American Psychological Association (APA): “seeks critical incidents/vignettes concerning the casebook/commentary on psychological ethics and national security. The goal of the casebook/commentary is to provide ethical guidance to psychologists advising or consulting to national security-related interrogations.”

Read some of the the submissions from the Coalition for an Ethical APA. One scenario submitted:

In 2003, the CIA acknowledged that it had kidnapped two children of a suspected terrorist, ages 7 and 9, and held them at a CIA ‘black site.’ Before their father was captured, the children were interrogated so that the CIA might discover from them their father’s whereabouts. After their father was captured, the detained children were held as hostages to pressure their father into giving up information.

By one account, the two children were pressured into giving up information by having insects put on their legs to scare them. [Testimony of Ali Khan, father of Guantánamo prisoner Majid Khan, submitted to the Combatant Status Review Tribunal at Guantánamo in March 2007.]

CIA interrogators stated at the time that, “We have child psychologists on hand at all times and they are given the best of care.”

Is it ethical for a child psychologist to offer care in such a circumstance?
Is it ethical for a child psychologist to permit his or her treatment of these children to be the basis of a propaganda statement for the U.S. government? For instance, how can it be said that children who have been kidnapped and are being held as hostages, away from home and family, in order to facilitate the interrogation of their father, be considered are held under “the best of care”?
Is it ethical for the child psychologist to allow the dissemination of such a statement to legitimize the governmental use of children for coercive purposes?


April 9, 2008 - Posted by | Torture News, Yoo Torture Memo | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Torture at the Highest Level (scroll down) […]

    Pingback by Psychologists, Redacted Documents and Torture « warprompts | May 6, 2008

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