Torture has nothing to do with interrogation. It's simple, crude, immoral... and it doesn't work; US SPY'S VERDICT ON CIA'S SHAMEFUL CONFESSION; EXCLUSIVE.
When CIA agent Glenn Carle was told by his bosses to do "whatever was necessary" to get information from a top al-Qaeda suspect in the aftermath of 9/11, he knew what they meant.
They were talking about "enhanced interrogation techniques" - espionage code for torture.
Carle, who had been with the CIA for 18 years at that point and had already worked in counter-terrorism, was shocked.
"We don't do that sort of thing," he responded, only to be told: "We do now."
On Tuesday a report by the US Senate revealed the full horror of the CIA interrogation and detention programme launched after the September 11 terror attacks.
This involved using "extraordinary rendition" to send suspects for questioning in countries where they had no legal protection or rights under American law.
The Senate's report revealed that the use of torture in secret CIA prisons across the world was even more extreme than anyone had previously thought. The techniques involved included waterboarding, severe sleep deprivation, confinement in a box, mock executions and beatings.
Some detainees were subjected to "rectal feeding". One had his lunch tray, which contained hummus, pasta, nuts and raisins, "pureed and rectally infused".
At least one prisoner died from hypothermia after being held almost naked in a stress position on cold concrete for hours.
Damningly, the report concluded that the agency's use of torture didn't work because the information obtained was regularly made up by prisoners just to end their ordeal.
In a rare public statement two days after the report was published, CIA Director John Brennan defended the agency's post-9/11 methods.
"Our reviews indicate that the detention and interrogation programme produced useful intelligence that helped the United States thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives," he said.
"But we have not concluded that it was the use of enhanced interrogation techniques within that programme that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees who were subjected to them.
"The cause-and-effect relationship between the use of these techniques and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is, in my view, unknowable."
Carle disagrees. He supports the Senate report's conclusion that the treatment of detainees was both brutal and ineffective and says that - contrary to widespread belief - such techniques played no part in the work of the CIA before 9/11.
Glenn Carle began his working life as a management trainee for a large bank after leaving university in the mid-1980s. But he quickly grew bored and left after a few months to find a more challenging job.
He was recruited by the CIA and after more than a year's gruelling training, including mock interrogations at a secret base in rural Virginia, he became a clandestine services officer - a spy.
Even now, seven years after retiring, he is cagey about the precise details of his work. "My job was to convince people to spy for the US," he says simply. "I broke laws. I lied every day about almost everything - to my family, my friends, my colleagues, to everyone around me.
"I almost never was who I said I was, or did what I claimed to be doing.
"I exploited people's deepest hopes, won their deepest trust, so that they provided me with what my government wanted."
Carle claims there's little difference between being a spy and "being the guy who tries to win the girl".
"You look into the person's eyes and try to understand their hopes, fears and ambitions," he explains.
"Once you've found out what motivates them you use that to get them to do what you want. It's a very manipulative job."
His first overseas posting was to Costa Rica in the 1980s mission to secretly arm the Contra rebels of Nicaragua.
In the four years before the 2001 attack on the twin towers he was head of the agency's Afghanistan team, working out of the United Nations.
But it was not until a year after 9/11 that he saw at first hand how the stakes had been raised in the war on terror. He was sent abroad to interrogate what was known as a "high-value target" or HVT.
The man, code-named Captus, had been abducted from the streets of Dubai and taken to one of the CIA's black sites - secret foreign prisons where suspects could be interrogated.
He was believed to be a high-ranking al-Qaeda terrorist who could lead American agents to the organisation's leader, Osama Bin Laden.
"This was the kind of opportunity that every officer hoped for," says Carle. "It was certainly the biggest challenge of my career."
He had lost friends in the 9/11 attack and was desperate to be part of the fight to prevent any further atrocities. But from the outset he was deeply unhappy about the methods he was encouraged to use.
"I was really focused and motivated to go and get the information my government wantted, he says. But I recoiiled at the guidance I was being given to use enhaanced interrogation techniques. To me, it was counter to everything we were trying to protect and defend."
Knowing the suspect was being detained in another country, he also feared officers from that country might be more willing to use such methods.
"I asked what I should do if I saw something happen that I consider unacceptable and was told that I should just walk out of the room, then I wouldn't have seen anything or been party to it," he recalls. "I decided from the outset I wouldn't do anything physical.
"The challenge to me was to follow my orders to interrogate this guy but to act with integrity and according to the laws of my country. To me, the job of an interrogator was to build a human relationship with the detainee, create a rapport. I wanted to get inside his head and convince and lead him to co-operate."
" As his interrogation prhtttps progressed, he quickly realised Captus wasn't as high up as his bosses had thought. But when he told them that, they just presumed the suspect was lying and pressured Carle to use stronger techniques.
Frustrated with the way it was going, they flew Captus to a CIA compound just outside Kabul, known as the Hotel California. Here wtoH psychological methods of "dislocating" detainees were the norm. These included using loud noises, extremes of temperature, sleep deprivation, stripping, hooding and isolation. But when Carle arrived there to continue the interrogation, he found Captus had suffered physical abuse too.
The first time he saw him there in a freezing-cold 10 x 61/2 ft cell with a heavy steel door, he looked terrible. When Captus described what had happened to him, Carle apologised but the details of what he was told remain a secret.
Carle wrote about it for his book The Interrogator, but the CIA redacted those and other passages before they would allow publication. While Carle continued with the interrogation he still refused to buckle to pressure and be party to anything physical.
"The whole thing had become sordid. Everything we were doing to this man was wrong," he says. "This was nothing to do with the America I'd grown up trying to protect and defend."
In December 2002, three months after he'd first met Captus, Carle was moved on. Before he left Afghanistan he wrote cables urging his bosses to free the prisoner and denouncing the methods used at the Hotel California. His station chief did not even send them back to the US.
Carle retired from the CIA in 2007 after 23 years. He wrote his book a few years later to shed light on actions he felt corroded the principles the CIA was sworn to protect and the US defines itself as embodying.
He feels it's vital that the details of the Senate report have come out.
"No country is perfect. The only way to learn from our mistakes is to throw light on the things that happen in the shadows," he says. "We need to say, 'We did this, we were wrong and we will make sure it doesn't happen again.' "
Carle still believes that intelligence services play a vital role in national security. He's proud to have been a CIA officer and says that, despite what was happening around him, he always served his country with honour and integrity.
"I'm not hostile to the agency, but I do oppose torture," he says. "Physical coercion - torture - has nothing to do with a useful interrogation. It is simple, crude and immoral. It does not work.
"Torture is more a projection of an individual's or a state's arrogant, selfabsorbed sense of power, and sometimes a symptom of fear, than a meaningful tool to extract good information."
The Interrogator: An Education is published by Nation Books.
"Everything we were doing to this man was sordid and wrong GLENN CARLE ON THE TORTURE OF A SUSPECT
Hooded and bound prisoner set upon by guard dog
ON THE RECORD Glenn Carle and his CIA book
Detainee shackled through bars
Man told he'd be electrocuted if he fell off box
Tortured prisoner feels as if he is drowning
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|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Dec 13, 2014|
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