Monday, August 13, 2007

Despite warnings, officials used 43 months of severe isolation to force Jose Padilla to tell all he knew about Al Qaeda

They wanted to break his will. He was a US citizen, and he had a right against forced self-incrimination. That's a constitutional guarantee, right? Not once President Bush declared him an enemy combatant. Poof! Gone.

After a month of questioning by the FBI in New York under the rules of the criminal justice system, he still wouldn't talk about his alleged involvement in a plot to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the US. So they shipped him off to North Carolina and kept him in isolation. How isolated? He was the only only detainee in the entire security wing of the prison.

The purpose...was to eliminate the possibility of human contact. No voices in the hallway. No conversations with other prisoners. No tapping out messages on the walls. No ability to maintain a sense of human connection, a sense of place or time.

In essence, experts say, the US government was trying to break Padilla's silence by plunging him into a mental twilight zone.
His stay at Hotel Nutball didn't exactly reek of creature comforts:
...Padilla's cell measured nine feet by seven feet. The windows were covered over. There was a toilet and sink. The steel bunk was missing its mattress.

He had no pillow. No sheet. No clock. No calendar. No radio. No television. No telephone calls. No visitors. Even Padilla's lawyer was prevented from seeing him for nearly two years.

For significant periods of time the Muslim convert was denied any reading material, including the Koran. The mirror on the wall was confiscated. Meals were slid through a slot in the door. The light in his cell was always on.

And this is how they treat someone who hasn't been convicted yet. It's enough to make a guy feel...tortured.

Extreme isolation, in concert with other coercive techniques, can literally drive a person insane, these experts say. And that makes it a potential instrument of torture, they add.
This technique wasn't supposed to be used for longer than 30 days. At least, not without Rummy's approval.
By April 2003, Padilla had already spent 10 months in isolation at the brig. Ultimately, he was housed in the same cell, alone in his wing, for three years and seven months, according to court documents.
"We don't do torture." --President Bush, August 9, 2007


At 9:21 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

I already know the answer to this, but I need to ask it very loudly anyway:


At 10:32 PM, Blogger Ashen Shard said...

Because most Americans are more interested in watching Oprah (or the like) and having happy happy feel good thoughts than having to address, or even acknowledge, the fascist garbage of this administration.

At 10:49 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...


At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, that isolation cell sounds like a good place to stick Bush for the last 17 months of his term. He's managed to isolate this country from the rest of the world, now it's payback time.

At 7:00 AM, Blogger ohdave said...

From Jane Mayer's piece in the New Yorker (discussed at length at my place) which all citizens should read:

Steve Kleinman, a reserve Air Force colonel and an experienced interrogator who has known Mitchell professionally for years, said that “learned helplessness was his whole paradigm.” Mitchell, he said, “draws a diagram showing what he says is the whole cycle. It starts with isolation. Then they eliminate the prisoners’ ability to forecast the future—when their next meal is, when they can go to the bathroom. It creates dread and dependency. It was the K.G.B. model. But the K.G.B. used it to get people who had turned against the state to confess falsely. The K.G.B. wasn’t after intelligence.”

As the C.I.A. captured and interrogated other Al Qaeda figures, it established a protocol of psychological coercion. The program tied together many strands of the agency’s secret history of Cold War-era experiments in behavioral science. (In June, the C.I.A. declassified long-held secret documents known as the Family Jewels, which shed light on C.I.A. drug experiments on rats and monkeys, and on the infamous case of Frank R. Olson, an agency employee who leaped to his death from a hotel window in 1953, nine days after he was unwittingly drugged with LSD.) The C.I.A.’s most useful research focussed on the surprisingly powerful effects of psychological manipulations, such as extreme sensory deprivation. According to Alfred McCoy, a history professor at the University of Wisconsin, in Madison, who has written a history of the C.I.A.’s experiments in coercing subjects, the agency learned that “if subjects are confined without light, odors, sound, or any fixed references of time and place, very deep breakdowns can be provoked.”

At 12:44 PM, Blogger GottaLaff said...

As always, OhDave nails it. Go to his site for more:

At 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be numerous revelations, not yet covered by mainstream media outlets.

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