Monday, December 19, 2005

"Dark Prison" Revealed in Kabul

The leftist group Human Rights Watch, headquartered in New York City, released reports of a prison in Kabul, Afghanistan in which they allege prisoners were "tortured". The prison itself closed last year and inmates - all terror suspects - were transferred elsewhere. (LA Times: Report Cites Torture in U.S. Prison).

According to the group's report, "They were chained to walls, deprived of food and drinking water, and kept in total darkness with loud rap, heavy metal music, or other sounds blared for weeks. Some detainees said they were shackled in a manner that made it impossible to lie down or sleep." I hope they have more than that to report, because I'm still waiting to hear about the torture.

Everything that group listed so far falls under the category of typical interrogation techniques employed by intelligence agencies world-wide. I realize that Human Rights Watch would prefer that we feed these terrorists cake and ask them nicely if they planned to bomb the US, but my preference is that we allow the CIA to do whatever is necessary to extract information from these scum.

What amazes me is that sleep deprivation has suddenly emerged in the group's definition of "torture". That method of interrogation, which is highly effective, is used by law enforcement agencies throughout the US as a matter of routine. To eliminate sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique would effectively handcuff every investigative agency we have.

The loud music claim is also rather amusing. While the parents of most teenagers growing up in the '60s and '70s may have been inclined to agree with Human Rights Watch on this one, the fact is that blaring loud music is another common interrogation technique and has nothing to do with torture. As you may recall, the US military used a very similar technique when rousting Manuel Noriega from the Nunciature of the Vatican Embassy in Panama where he had taken refuge. The only protest at the time was from the Vatican since its diplomats were also losing sleep.

It's important to remember that the people we are interrogating are enemies of the US and are intent of committing acts of terror against American interests both here and abroad. Any information extracted from them is information useful in protecting American citizens. To extract that information, it is necessary to break down the will of the terrorists being interrogated. The goal in this case is not to build a criminal case against them but rather to determine what terror attacks are planned and to prevent those attacks from taking place.

It is rather disgusting that we criticise the CIA on the one hand for failing to prevent the attacks in New York, yet we criticise their subsequent interrogation techniques on the other. A handcuffed CIA is ineffective. We need intelligence agencies free to employ effective interrogation techniques when dealing with suspected terrorists. To prevent them from using the most effective techniques for breaking down prisoners is foolish and counter-productive. Their job is to extract information. Let them do their job.


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