Part two of the MSNBC series is just as damning as the first. Some snippets:
The agents of the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigation Task Force, working to build legal cases against suspected terrorists, said they objected to coercive tactics used by a separate team of intelligence interrogators soon after Guantanamo’s prison camp opened in early 2002. They ultimately carried their battle up to the office of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who approved the more aggressive techniques to be used on al-Qahtani and others.
Although they believed the abusive techniques were probably illegal, the Pentagon cops said their objection was practical. They argued that abusive interrogations were not likely to produce truthful information, either for preventing more al-Qaida attacks or prosecuting terrorists.
And they described their disappointment when military prosecutors told them not to worry about making a criminal case against al-Qahtani, the suspected “20th hijacker” of Sept. 11, because what had been done to him would prevent him from ever being put on trial.
They never intended to do anything with him. Torture and indefinite detainment were the plan, not an unforuntate consequence of heightened tensions. And what they did with our soldiers is even worse:
By this time, law enforcement interrogators said, they had seen signs of coercive or abusive techniques being tried by the young, mostly inexperienced, military intelligence personnel: a cinder block left in the interrogation box, apparently used to hold a detainee in a stress position, called short shackling; a detainee wrapped from head to toe in duct tape. These techniques were not in the interrogation bible, the Army Field Manual.
The al-Qahtani plan went much further. The law enforcement agents began to hear a new term, SERE, an acronym for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape. SERE training is provided to U.S. Special Forces and other military personnel to prepare them to withstand torture if they become prisoners of war. It includes mocking of their religious beliefs, sexual taunting, and a technique called water-boarding, which induces water through the nose to make a prisoner feel like he’s drowning.
Intelligence interrogators had the idea to “reverse-engineer” SERE, to use its techniques to pry information out of the suspected al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists. Pentagon e-mails seen by MSNBC.com show that at least a half dozen military intelligence personnel from Guantanamo, including at least one medical adviser, went to Fort Bragg, N.C., on Sept. 16-20, 2002, for SERE training. It was an experiment, apparently not unlike what the CIA had been trying on the few high-value detainees kept at secret locations.
Read the whole thing, if you can. I am furious.