Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past
coco fusco on Sat, 15 May 2004 13:32:57 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past

Escavating the historical links betwen " human
exploitation" and the militaristic underpinnings of
the "Post-Human" ...


Cold War U.S. Interrogation Manuals Counseled
"Coercive Techniques"
Cheney Informed of "Objectionable" Interrogation
Guides in 1992
"Inconsistent with U.S. Government Policy"
National Security Archive Posts CIA Training Manuals
from 60s, 80s, and
Investigative memos on earlier controversy on human
rights abuses


Washington D.C. May 12, 2004:  CIA interrogation
manuals written in the 
1960s and 1980s described "coercive techniques" such
as those used to 
mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq,
according to the 
declassified documents posted today by the National
Security Archive. The 
Archive also posted a secret 1992 report written for
then Secretary of 
Defense Richard Cheney warning that U.S. Army
intelligence manuals that 
incorporated the earlier work of the CIA for training
Latin American 
military officers in interrogation and
counterintelligence techniques 
contained "offensive and objectionable material" that
"undermines U.S. 
credibility, and could result in significant

The two CIA manuals, "Human Resource Exploitation
Training Manual-1983" 
and "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation-July
1963," were 
originally obtained under the Freedom of Information
Act by the Baltimore Sun 
in 1997. The KUBARK manual includes a detailed section
on "The Coercive 
Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant
Sources," with concrete 
assessments on employing "Threats and Fear," "Pain,"
and "Debility." 
The language of the 1983 "Exploitation" manual drew
heavily on the 
language of the earlier manual, as well as on Army
Intelligence field manuals 
from the mid 1960s generated by "Project X"--a
military effort to 
create training guides drawn from counterinsurgency
experience in Vietnam.

Recommendations on prisoner interrogation included the
threat of 
violence and deprivation and noted that no threat
should be made unless the 
questioner "has approval to carry out the threat." The
interrogator "is 
able to manipulate the subject's environment," the
1983 manual states, 
"to create unpleasant or intolerable situation, to
disrupt patterns of 
time, space, and sensory perception."

After Congress began investigating reports of Central
atrocities in the mid 1980s, particularly in Honduras,
the CIA's "Human 
Resource Exploitation" manual was hand edited to alter
passages that appeared 
to advocate coercion and stress techniques to be used
on prisoners. CIA 
officials attached a new prologue page on the manual
stating: "The use 
of force, mental torture, threats, insults or exposure
to inhumane 
treatment of any kind as an aid to interrogation is
prohibited by law, both 
international and domestic; it is neither authorized
condoned"--making it clear that authorities were well
aware these abusive practices 
were illegal and immoral, even as they continued then
and now.

Indeed, similar material had already been incorporated
into seven 
Spanish-language training guides. More than a thousand
copies of these 
manuals were distributed for use in countries such as
El Salvador, 
Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru, and at the School of the
Americas between 1987 and 
1991. An inquiry was triggered in mid 1991 when the
Southern Command 
evaluated the manuals for use in expanding military
support programs in 

In March 1992 Cheney received an investigative report
on "Improper 
Material in Spanish-Language Intelligence Training
Manuals." Classified 
SECRET, the report noted that five of the seven
manuals "contained 
language and statements in violation of legal,
regulatory or policy 
prohibitions" and recommended they be recalled. The
memo is stamped: "SECDEF HAS 

The Archive also posted a declassified memorandum of
conversation with 
a Southern Command officer, Major Victor Tise, who was
responsible for 
assembling the Latin American manuals at School of the
Americas for 
counterintelligence training in 1982. Tise stated that
the manuals had 
been forwarded to DOD headquarters for clearance "and
came back approved 
but UNCHANGED." (Emphasis in original)

Follow the link below to view the documents:


Do you Yahoo!?
SBC Yahoo! - Internet access at a great low price.

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} bbs.thing.net and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nettime {AT} bbs.thing.net