How the US developed its
torture "tough" interrogation techniques.
Both army leaders and military psychologists say that psychologists help to make interrogations "safe, legal and effective." But last fall, a psychologist named Jean Maria Arrigo came to see me with a disturbing claim about the American Psychological Association, her profession's 148,000-member trade group. Arrigo had sat on a specially convened A.P.A. task force that, in July 2005, had ruled that psychologists could assist in military interrogations, despite angry objections from many in the profession. The task force also determined that, in cases where international human-rights law conflicts with U.S. law, psychologists could defer to the much looser U.S. standards—what Arrigo called the "Rumsfeld definition" of humane treatment.
Lured by false promises and driven by desperation, thousands of Chinese and Filipina women pay high fees for jobs in garment factories on the Pacific island of Saipan—which despite being a U.S. territory is exempt from federal minimum wage and certain immigration laws. The clothing they sew, bearing the "Made in the USA" label, is shipped duty- and quota-free to the U.S. for sale by The Gap, J. Crew, Polo, and other retailers.
The detainee was Ziad Sabah Jasim, and he tested positive for recent exposure to gunpowder. Back at JSS Thrasher a second man, Mustafa Subhi Jassam, had been detained and had also come up positive for explosives. The Iraqi captain conducted his interrogation behind closed doors, interrupted only once by American soldiers who recorded the suspects’ retinas and fingerprints with their new high-tech biometric scanner. The Americans used to just take down detainees’ names and photograph them, which Ziad and Mustafa had surely experienced before. This new contraption seemed to make them even more nervous.
The next day, Ziad and Mustafa were blindfolded, handcuffed, and put under guard on a cot outside the JSS. Ziad, the heavier of the two, was rocking back and forth. He looked as though he was in pain. Mustafa hunched next to him, with bright red lash marks clearly visible at the top of his back. Through an interpreter, I asked an Iraqi what had happened. “He has sensitive skin,” the Iraqi soldier said through a mischievous smile, “and he got a rash.” I lifted Mustafa’s jacket to get a better look. I’m no doctor, but it seemed pretty clear: Mustafa was allergic to being whipped by electric cables. When I tried to photograph Mustafa’s welts, the Iraqi soldier grew angry and stepped in front of my camera
Singing Tesla Coil
I really want one.
The recently publicized terrorist plot to blow up John F. Kennedy International Airport, like so many of the terrorist plots over the past few years, is a study in alarmism and incompetence: on the part of the terrorists, our government and the press.
Terrorism is a real threat, and one that needs to be addressed by appropriate means. But allowing ourselves to be terrorized by wannabe terrorists and unrealistic plots -- and worse, allowing our essential freedoms to be lost by using them as an excuse -- is wrong.
Following one of these abortive terror misadventures, the administration invariably jumps on the news to trumpet whatever ineffective "security" measure they're trying to push, whether it be national ID cards, wholesale National Security Agency eavesdropping or massive data mining. Never mind that in all these cases, what caught the bad guys was old-fashioned police work -- the kind of thing you'd see in decades-old spy movies.
Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program...
That left decisions over al Hurra's content in the hands of its reporters and producers, who are, according to Blaya, hastily-hired Arabic-speaking journalists with insufficient understanding of Western journalistic practices or the network's pro-Western mission...
The station's gaffes have included broadcasting in December 2006 a 68-minute call to arms against Israelis by a senior figure of the terrorist group Hezbollah; deferential coverage of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial conference; and a factually flawed piece on a splinter group of Orthodox Jews who oppose the state of Israel.
The doctors found a catastrophe far greater than they could have imagined: Overnight, something had killed nearly 1,800 people. Plus more than 3,000 cattle and countless wild animals, birds and insects—in short every living creature for miles around.
The official death toll was recorded as 1,746 people, but that was only an estimate, because the survivors had already begun to bury victims in mass graves, and many terrified survivors had fled corpse-filled villages and were hiding in the forest. Whatever it was that killed so many people seemed to have disappeared without a trace just as quickly as it had come.