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Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

27 June 2005

Detainee 063

Ok, I am reading the latest Time magazine with it’s article “Inside the Interrogation of Detainee 063”. This is really interesting in many ways. This document they have facinates me. Speaking as an interrogator I can’t see it being written though. You would have to have a scribe doing nothing but following the detainee around all day to record this stuff. I can’t imagine that they had/have so many interrogators and so much time there at Guantanamo to do a document like this. I wrote detailed interrogation notes but they were nothing like this. And I was usually writing for as long as I was interrogating just for the notes, then more time for the other reports I have had to write.
In certain areas the interrogators seem very good. (I love the approach mentioned on the first page of the article where they say Allah saved the detainee for the purpose of telling the world about the plan and bin Laden. That is a brilliant idea and I like the way they used it and am greatly impressed.) In other areas they confuse me. For example the article reoports that one day (Dec 6) they had a break through and the detainee begins to talk. They reward him. Then the next day they go back to a hard approach losing all the benefits they had gained the day before. Foolishness. (Or maybe two sets of interrogators who aren’t communicating with each other. Which is also foolishness.)
Another example of this is when the detainee has to go to the bathroom and starts answering questions to get to go. He answers the questions, admits to being in Al-Qaeda, working for bin Laden, all things he had never admited to before (at least according to the article). Then the interrogators make him wet his pants because they are unhappy with one of his answers. Now I wasn’t there, I haven’t read the whole document but this is not the way to work. If you promise a guy something in exchange for answers you should give it to him. Rewards get better results than humiliation. This is especdially strange since according to the article he was alone when he flew into Orlando. So what was the point of not giving the detainee the oportunity to go to the latrine???

Now let us address the so called severe methods used in the interrogation. Methods that I am sure some would call torture. Being forced to sit in a metal chair and not being able to move is a valid thing, I have done similar things. Having a dog in the booth is in my opinion a distraction. It is usefull at times but not as a usual thing. A dog barking at you is not torture. It is intimidation and there is nothing in the Laws of Land Warfare against intimidating people. “Invasion of Space by a Female” (nice descriptive name for the approach) is an interesting technique. I never tried it but female interrogators do it just by being in the room with some of these guys. It can be humiliating bu tit is not torture. There is nothing in the Laws of Land Warfare against humiliating a subject. In fact the approach Pride and Ego Down is humiliation pure and simple. Nothing wrong with it at all. They used approaches that I wouldn’t have used primarily because I feel that they are pretty useless. (hanging pictures around his neck, making him bark like a dog, etc.) But I can’t say they were wrong because I not there. Different things work with different people. Prehaps if I was there working his case I would feel differently about those techniques.

The detainee in question is obviously very well trained and dedicated to what he does. Guys like that are very hard because they have prepared themselves. They expect to get tortured and anything less almost confuses them. It takes a L O N G time to break them. They play the game very well as can be readily seen in the article where the detainee talks about having information to give but not giving it, taunts the interrogators that if they used the right method they could get something, and similar actions. I’ve dealt with that before. It is important for the interrogator’s supervisors to keep an eye on guys in this situation because frustration can lead to stupid behaivioir.

It was a very interesting article.

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