Thursday, April 24, 2008

A partial history of our torturous ways

American Torture: The Documents

Below is a comprehensive list of declassified documents that chart America's involvement in torture from the early Cold War onward. Each file can be downloaded and viewed freely. Please be aware some of these files are not only graphic in nature, but are also fairly long and thus may take some time to download over slower internet connections. Also, if you are having trouble viewing any of the documents, they are all save as standard Abode .pdf documents, and can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Cold War Documents

  • Communist Control Techniques
    Declassified study into Russian and Chinese interrogation techniques penned by Cornell University's Harold Wolff and colleague Lawrence Hinkle Jr for the CIA's Technical Services Division.
    (April 2, 1956 | 118 pages |
  • The Interrogation of Suspects Under Arrest
    Declassified article from the CIA journal, Studies In Intelligence. Written by 'Don Compos', this article can be read as an early blueprint for the interrogation system employed by the CIA and US armed forces in the war on terror -- a regime engineered to elicit debility, dependence and dread.
    (1956 | 11 pages |
  • KUBARK, Counterintelligence Interrogation (Excerpt)
    Declassified interrogation training manual for CIA officers (Coercive Techniques section). An expanded version of the Compos article, reflecting a collage of Soviet and Chinese techniques and more than a decade of behavioural science research.
    (1963 | 24 page excerpt |
  • KUBARK, Counterintelligence Interrogation (Full)
    Declassified interrogation training manual for CIA officers (Full Version). The complete guide to breaking down resistant suspects.
    (1963 | 131 pages |
  • Testing of Behavior-Influencing Drugs on Unsuspecting Subjects Within The USA
    This report, prepared for Congress by the Rockefeller Commission, introduced the American public to the horrors of MKULTRA - the CIA's Cold War mind control initiative.
    (1975 | 3 page excerpt |
  • Testing and Use of Chemical / Biological Agents by the Intelligence Community
    This report, prepared for Congress by the Church Committee, greatly expanded on the findings of the Rockefeller Commission.
    (1977 | 38 page excerpt |
  • Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual (Excerpt)
    Declassified CIA interrogation training manual intended for Latin American officers written after a Honduran training session in early 1983 (Coercive Techniques Section). Hand-edited changes made by the agency in the mid-1980s did little to conceal the true lessons, and intent, of the original document.
    (1983 | 16 page excerpt |
  • Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual (Full)
    Full version of the declassified training manual. This handbook, along with the Compos article and 1963 KUBARK manual, provide a clear picture into the 'alternative set of techniques' used by the CIA today.
    (1983 | 124 pages |
  • Manejo de Fuente (Handling of Sources)
    One of seven declassified Army training manuals for Latin American officers that were later ordered destroyed. This manual reflects lessons drawn from the US Army's 'Project X' and contains many passages similar to 1983 Human Resource Exploitation Manual.
    (1987 | 117 pages |
  • USSOUTHCOM CI Training
    Declassified Pentagon memorandum detailing the origins of Spanish-language training manuals.
    (1991 | 3 pages |
  • Improper Material in Spanish Language Intelligence Training Manuals
    Declassified memorandum detailing a Pentagon investigation into seven Spanish training manuals, tracing their origins back to 'Project X'.
    (1992 | 6 pages |

Torture Memos

  • Application of Treaties and Laws to al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees
    Memorandum for the Pentagon by the Office of Legal Counsel's John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty discussing rationales for circumventing the Geneva Conventions and the War Crimes Act.
    (January 9, 2002 | 43 pages |
  • Decision re-application of the Geneva Convention
    Memorandum for George Bush from Alberto Gonzales, then Chief Legal Counsel to the President, highlighting various rationales for circumventing Geneva and War Crimes Act.
    (January 25, 2002 | 4 pages |
  • Memorandum for President on Applicability of the Geneva Convention
    Memorandum for Bush from then Secretary of State Colin Powell outlining a counter-arguement to the determination Geneva does not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban suspects.
    (January 26, 2002 | 5 pages |
  • Ashcroft Letter to Bush
    Letter penned by then Attorney General John Ashcroft to Bush in support of Gonzales' determination to void Geneva and War Crimes Act applicability.
    (February 1, 2002 | 2 pages |
  • Comments on Your Paper on the Geneva Convention
    Memorandum from William H. Taft in support of Powell's position that Geneva and War Crimes Act should apply to al Qaeda and Taliban detainees.
    (February 2, 2002 | 2 pages |
  • Status of Legal Discussions re: Application of Geneva Convention
    Outlines the official positions of CIA and Pentagon lawyers on Geneva applicability towards the Taliban and al Qaeda. Reveals that the CIA sought to 'circumscribe' a policy of humane detainee treatment 'so as to limit its application to the CIA'.
    (undated | 3 pages |
  • Status of Taliban Forces Under Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention
    Memo by Jay S. Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, providing further rational on why Geneva and War Crimes Act should not apply and why Article 5 tribunals - as required by the Third Geneva Convention to determine the status of captured combatants - is not necessary.
    (February 7, 2002 | 8 pages |
  • Humane Treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees
    Directive by Bush stating that Geneva (and WCA) do not apply to al Qaeda and Taliban. Rather, detainees held by the Department of Defense are to be treated 'consistent with military necessity'.
    (February 7, 2002 | 2 pages |
  • Interrogation Methods to be Used
    Letter from John Yoo to Alberto Gonzales outlining why the International Criminal Court and the UN Convention Against Torture should not limit US conduct 'even if certain interrogation methods being contemplated amounted to torture'.
    (August 1, 2002 | 6 pages |
  • Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 USC 2340-2340A
    Infamous memo from Jay S. Bybee to Alberto Gonzales stating that for an act to constitute torture it must produce pain equal to 'organ failure' or 'death'.
    (August 1, 2002 | 50 pages |

Gitmo Documents

  • Possible Habeas Jurisdiction over Aliens Held in Guantanamo Bay
    Memo by John Yoo and Patrick F. Philbin describing why the Naval base at Guantanamo Bay would be an ideal location to keep detainees outside the reach of US courts.
    (December 28, 2002 | 9 pages |
  • Declaration of Donald D Woolfolk
    Woolfolk, then Acting Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, explains in a deposition the importance of 'dependency and trust' for successful exploitation of detainees.
    (June 13, 2002 | 3 pages |
  • Counter-Resistance Techniques Pentagon Approval
    Memos documenting the approval of an array of coercive interrogation techniques drawn from military Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) schools. The series ends with a hand-written comment by Donald Rumsfeld expressing dissatisfaction with the four-hour time limit on forced standing.
    (November 27, 2002 | 14 pages |
  • Effectiveness of the Use of Certain Category II Counter-Resistance Strategies
    Heavily redacted memo justifying the use of various SERE 'counter-resistance' interrogation techniques at Guantanamo.
    (date redacted | 4 pages |
  • Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT) Standard Operating Procedures
    Three sets of BSCT operating procedures. Although heavily redacted, the unethical nature of the BSCT mission is still discernible from these documents.
    (November 11, 2002 | 18 pages |
  • JTF GMTO "SERE" Interrogation SOP
    Heavily redacted memo discussing the implementation of a 'SERE interrogation' program at Guantanamo.
    (December 17, 2002 | 2 pages |
  • GTMO Matters
    Declassified email discussing the implementation of a 'SERE model of interrogation' at Guantanamo.
    (December 17, 2002 | 1 pages |
  • Summarized Witness Statement
    Statement detailing the arrival of 'SERE instructors to teach their techniques to the interrogators' at Guantanamo in late 2002.
    (March 29, 2005 | 2 pages |
  • Detainee Interviews (Abusive Interrogation Issues)
    Declassified FBI memo discussing the bureau's 'continued objections to the use of coercive SERE techniques to interrogate prisoners'.
    (May 6, 2004 | 1 page |
  • Fwd: Impersonating FBI at GTMO
    Declassified FBI email criticizing Pentagon's continued use of 'torture techniques' at Guantanamo.
    (December 5, 2003 | 1 page |
  • Suspected Mistreatment of Detainees
    Declassified FBI letter to Major General Donald Ryder describing various coercive SERE methods used at Gunatanamo by Pentagon interrogators.
    (July 14, 2004 | 3 pages |
  • Re: GTMO
    Declassified FBI email describing additional SERE interrogation methods used at Guantanamo.
    (August 2, 2004 | 1 page |
  • Interrogation Log Detainee 063
    Incredible minute by minute account of the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani (Detainee 063). Describes an array of coercive SERE techniques.
    (November 22, 2002 | 83 pages |

Iraq Documents

  • Interrogation 'Wish List' Request and Responses
    Email sent to Army interrogators soliciting ideas for new coercive interrogation techniques. Electrocution and various SERE techniques are suggested.
    (August 14, 2003 | 6 pages |
  • CJTF-7 Interrogation and Counter-Resistance Policy
    Three seperate directives issued by Commander Ricardo S. Sanchez within a four-week period authorizing a range of coercive SERE techniques for use on Geneva protected detainees.
    (September 10, 2003 | 3 pages |
  • Assessment of DoD Counter-Terrorism Interrogation and Detention Operations
    Report by Major General Geoffrey Miller recommending various ways to increase the flow of 'actionable intelligence' from Iraqi captives in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, including implementation of BSCTs and charging military police with 'setting conditions' for interrogation.
    (September, 2003 | 13 pages |
  • Regarding Our Conversation
    Declassified email to Pentagon investigators outlining the techniques Military Training Teams brought to Abu Ghraib in October 2003.
    (June 21, 2004 | 1 page |
  • Report of the ICRC on the Treatment...of POW and Other Protected Persons
    Leaked Red Cross report on conditions at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere in late 2003. First report to outline torture documented in the Abu Ghraib photos.
    (February, 2004 | 24 pages |
  • Translation of Statement Provided by Shalan Said Al Sharoni
    Deposition of an Abu Ghraib torture victim. Reflects usage of approved SERE techniques and medical complicity in torture at the prison.
    (January 17, 2004 | 2 pages |
  • Sworn Statement of Ameen Sa'eed Al Shiekh
    Another deposition of an Abu Ghraib torture victim. Reflects usage of approved SERE techniques as authorized by Sanchez and outlined by Mobile Training Teams.
    (January 16, 2004 | 3 pages |
  • CID Investigation into Abuse at Camp Nama, Iraq by Task Force 6-26
    Includes statement of Nama torture victim and the final report of Pentagon officials charged with investigating the allegations. Investigation was stymied on many fronts, including Task Force members' involvement in a top secret Pentagon 'Special Access Program' (SAP).
    (August 5, 2004 | 8 pages |
  • Autopsy Examination Report
    Autopsy of Iraqi Major General Abed Hamed Mowhoush, murdered by US interrogators in Al Qaim, Iraq.
    (December 18, 2003 | 8 pages |
  • Rebuttal to General Letter of Reprimand
    Letter penned by Army interrogator Lewis E. Welshofer, charged with murdering Mowhoush, defending the use of deadly SERE techniques.
    (February 11, 2004 | 3 pages |
Original article posted here.

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