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Feb 3, 2009

Interrogation, Torture, and Rendition

The Necessity of Torture
02/02/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Shannon Love
About the use of threats in interrogation from WWII to the present.
[edited] Obama has decided to keep rendition and the torture it implies as part of U.S. covert operations. Threatening to torture spies and illegal combatants is a necessary tool.

The US Army in WWII interrogated uniformed German soldiers i.e. legal combatants completely covered by the Geneva convention. The History Channel reported about the most successful technique. Many of the interrogators were Jews who escaped Germany and Eastern Europe in the 30’s and who spoke many languages in genuine accents. The Russian speaking members dressed in Soviet uniforms and told the German captives that they would be turned over to the Russians unless they talked. The Germans knew full well that death by torture awaited them at the hands of the Russians, and talked.

The American interrogators were bluffing. If a German didn’t talk they just transferred him so he couldn’t give the game away. Without the horror of Stalin’s Soviet Union hanging over their heads, the Germans had no reason to speak. The information that the Americans extracted form the German soldiers saved Allied lives.

The “Extraordinary Rendition” Program
02/02/09 - ChicagoBoyz by Lexington Green

An interview with Michael Scheuer of the CIA. He helped to develop the system of renditions the CIA used for terrorists, first developed in 1995 under President Clinton.

A rendition is capturing a terrorist, then sending him to his home country or a third country for imprisonment. The legal rules followed are surprising.

[edited] Scheuer:First, we wanted to identify the members and contacts of al-Qaida and put them in jail. Those in fact who had either taken part in an attack on the United States or who were possibly planning an attack. Second, papers and electronics were to be confiscated.

It is being claimed in the media that we had apprehended and hauled off people on the basis of some suspicions, in order to interrogate them. But that isn't right.

If it was possible to interrogate, we considered that icing on the cake. We just wanted the man and his documents. We knew from experience that aggressive interrogations bordering on torture don't work

President Clinton, his security advisor Sandy Berger, and his terrorism advisor Richard Clarke tasked the CIA in Fall 1995 with destroying al-Qaida. We asked the President: What should we do with the people we’ve apprehended? Clinton: That’s your concern. The CIA objected: We aren’t prison guards. We were again told that we should solve the problem somehow. So we developed a procedure, and I was a member of this task force. We concentrated on al-Qaida members who were wanted in their home countries or who had been convicted there in absentia.

We had to present a huge amount of incriminating evidence to a group of lawyers before arresting anyone. There were lawyers everywhere. In the CIA, in the Justice Department, in the National Security Council.

We developed our list of targets under their supervision. Then we had to catch the person in a country that was prepared to cooperate with us. Finally, the person had to come from a country that was prepared to take him back. A terribly cumbersome process for a very limited group of targets.

ZEIT: Why did countries want to cooperate with you on their own territory? Couldn’t they have dealt with it themselves?

Scheuer: They believed that only America was threatened, and that they would themselves only become targets of terror if they arrested suspects publicly.

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