With each passing day, Dick Cheney’s use of fear and deception to justify the old administration’s use of torture comes unraveled a bit further. I have already documented that just about everyone that has been on the receiving end of waterboarding deems that it is torture and now the old administration’s chief military mouthpiece, General David Petraeus, admits it as well.
In a recent interview Petraeus admits that he believes that not only did the US violate the Geneva Conventions with their torture program, the “doomsday” scenario they used to defend the harsh practices was BS as well because the standard Army interrogation techniques were generally enough.
The head of the US Central Command, General David Petraeus, said Friday that the US had violated the Geneva Conventions in a stunning admission from President Bush’s onetime top general in Iraq that the US may have violated international law.
Asked about a “ticking time bomb” scenario — which is often employed by torture’s defenders — Petraeus said that interrogation methods approved for use in the Army Field Manual were generally sufficient.
“There might be an exception and that would require extraordinary but very rapid approval to deal with but for the vast majority of the cases our experience… is that the techniques that are in the Army Field Manual that lays out how we treat detainees, how we interrogate them, those techniques work, that’s our experience in this business,” he said.
He also acknowledged that the US prison at Guantanamo Bay has inflamed anti-US hostility.
Oh and about that cookie. It seems that one of the interrogation techniques employed by the US that worked involved the use of a sugar free cookie.
Abu Jandal had been in a Yemeni prison for nearly a year when Ali Soufan of the FBI and Robert McFadden of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service arrived to interrogate him in the week after 9/11. Although there was already evidence that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, American authorities needed conclusive proof, not least to satisfy skeptics like Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, whose support was essential for any action against the terrorist organization. U.S. intelligence agencies also needed a better understanding of al-Qaeda’s structure and leadership. Abu Jandal was the perfect source: the Yemeni who grew up in Saudi Arabia had been bin Laden’s chief bodyguard, trusted not only to protect him but also to put a bullet in his head rather than let him be captured. (See pictures of do-it-yourself waterboarding attempts.)
Abu Jandal’s guards were so intimidated by him, they wore masks to hide their identities and begged visitors not to refer to them by name in his presence. He had no intention of cooperating with the Americans; at their first meetings, he refused even to look at them and ranted about the evils of the West. Far from confirming al-Qaeda’s involvement in 9/11, he insisted the attacks had been orchestrated by Israel’s Mossad. While Abu Jandal was venting his spleen, Soufan noticed that he didn’t touch any of the cookies that had been served with tea: “He was a diabetic and couldn’t eat anything with sugar in it.” At their next meeting, the Americans brought him some sugar-free cookies, a gesture that took the edge off Abu Jandal’s angry demeanor. “We had showed him respect, and we had done this nice thing for him,” Soufan recalls. “So he started talking to us instead of giving us lectures.”
I don’t think we’ll be seeing this on Cheney’s list of approved techniques anytime soon, no pain involved.