The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have come under attack in the wake of a 6,300-page Senate report that documented the agency’s use of “black sites” and brutal interrogation techniques.
One U.S. interrogator, speaking to Al Jazeera on the condition of anonymity, explained the “enhanced interrogation” program as being “the Stanford Prison Experiment writ large.”
That interrogator was referring to the controversial 1971 experiment that effectively turned college students into brutal prison guards.
The interrogator told Al Jazeera:
“Interrogators were being pressured — You have to get info from these people. There was no consideration that the person we were interrogating may not know. That was always seen as a resistance technique. ‘They [the detainees] must be lying!’ There was pressure on us from above to produce what they wanted. Not a single person I worked with knew how to conduct an interrogation or [had] ever conducted an interrogation.”
The best example of the extremes that “enhanced interrogation” reached was the case of Abu Zubaida, who was described by the CIA as a senior al Qaeda operative although now is only regarded to have been a mid-level facilitator.
Zubaida, according to Al Jazeera’s sources, was reportedly kept awake for over 11 days straight after which he was strapped naked to a chair, doused with cold water, and interrogated. Zubaida was also allegedly stuffed into pet carry crates, shackled by his wrists to the ceiling of his cell, and subjected to endless loops of loud music.
The CIA allegedly defended torture in internal memos by stating that al Qaeda operatives were resistant to standard interrogation techniques.
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