Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Everything He Does Is Magic 

Leashes and lightsticks? Puh-leeeeze, darlings. This fall, "respect and dignity" are the new anal rape! From the New York Times:
American interrogators working in Iraq have obtained as much as 50 percent more high-value intelligence since a series of coercive practices like hooding, stripping and sleep deprivation were banned, a senior American official said Monday.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the American commander in charge of detentions and interrogations, said that the number of "high-value" intelligence reports drawn from interrogations of Iraqi prisoners had increased by more than half on a monthly basis since January . . . .

General Miller, the former commandant of the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, attributed the greater success at intelligence gathering to a system that encourages the establishment of a "rapport" between interrogator and detainee and bestows "respect and dignity" on the person being interrogated.
Unfortunately, attacks on American troops have escalated in number, reaching an average of 87 a day in August -- the highest figure since the war began. Which means either: A) the new intelligence is of dubious value, or B) we maybe shoulda tried the respect-and-dignity thing a little sooner.

UPDATE (with a major link-sniffing assist from Digby): The general is truly a magician! Shall we review the reason he came to Iraq in the first place?
At that moment, in fact, [Gen. Boykin] was at the center of the secret operation to "Gitmo-ize" Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. He had flown to Guantánamo (known as "Gitmo") in Cuba, where he met with the commandant of Camp X-Ray, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, ordering him to extend his methods to the Iraq prison system, orders that had come from Rumsfeld. (Sid Blumenthal in Salon)

The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources . . . .

[A former British special forces officer] said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands . . . .

The US commander in charge of military jails in Iraq, Major General Geoffrey Miller, has confirmed that a battery of 50-odd special "coercive techniques" can be used against enemy detainees. The general, who previously ran the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, said his main role was to extract as much intelligence as possible. (The Observer)

General Karpinski, who was in charge of all the detention centers in Iraq, claims that she was deliberately sidestepped by military intelligence officers who won control over Abu Ghraib despite her objections. She says the abuses began after the Pentagon sent the former commander of Guantanamo Bay, General Geoff Miller, to Abu Ghraib in late August last year.

Miller's mission came shortly after the horrific suicide bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad. He was encouraged by Rumsfeld's senior intelligence aide, Stephen Cambone, to ensure there was "a flow of intelligence" from detainees picked up in Iraq . . . .

It was at this time the worst of the Abu Ghraib abuses began. (Sydney Herald)

[A] point came at which you could notice things changing. That appeared to be after General Miller around the end of 2002. That is when short-shackling started, loud music playing in interrogation, shaving beards and hair, putting people in cells naked, taking away people's "comfort" items, the introduction of levels, moving some people every two hours depriving them of sleep, the use of A/C air . . . . We didn't hear anybody talking about being sexually humiliated or subjected to sexual provocation before General Miller came. After that we did. (The Observer)
And how did the general land this coveted gig? He spoke quite glowingly -- albeit euphemistically -- of his own qualifications in a January 2004 interview with Vanity Fair shortly before the first stories of detainee torture surfaced in the American press:
According to General Miller, Gitmo's importance is growing with amazing rapidity: "Last month we gained six times as much intelligence as we did in January 2003. I'm talking about high-value intelligence here, distributed round the world." He makes no secret of how this increase has been achieved: the introduction of a "rewards and penalties" system, through which detainees can get a more comfortable life in return for their testimony.
Splendid! So the former artillery officer is such a wizard at interrogation that he can achieve a sixfold gain in the flow of intelligence by introducing the use of torture, and a 50% increase over that by banning it again!

Well done, sir! If only we had more like you.

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