Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Were Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Inspired By A Gestapo Directive?

If you want to have nightmares read Andrew Sullivan's post in the Atlantic Online entitled "Verschärfte Vernehmung." The term is German for "enhanced interrogation," "intensified interrogation" or "sharpened interrogation." It was coined by the Gestapo in 1937 to describe a series of techniques used to torture political and other prisoners without leaving embarrassing marks. The similarities between the "enhanced interrogation techniques" approved by Alberto Gonzales, and the "sharpened interrogation techniques" employed by the Nazis are simply surreal.

Sullivan says

The Nazis were adamant that their "enhanced interrogation techniques" would be carefully restricted and controlled, monitored by an elite professional staff, of the kind recommended by Charles Krauthammer, and strictly reserved for certain categories of prisoner. At least, that was the original plan.

Also: the use of hypothermia, authorized by Bush and Rumsfeld, was initially forbidden. 'Waterboarding" was forbidden too, unlike that authorized by Bush. As time went on, historians have found that all the bureaucratic restrictions were eventually broken or abridged. Once you start torturing, it has a life of its own. The "cold bath" technique - the same as that used by Bush against al-Qahtani in Guantanamo - was, according to professor Darius Rejali of Reed College, "pioneered by a member of the French Gestapo by the pseudonym Masuy about 1943. The Belgian resistance referred to it as the Paris method, and the Gestapo authorized its extension from France to at least two places late in the war, Norway and Czechoslovakia. That is where people report experiencing it."
Sullivan actually includes an English translation of the torture directive from Gestapo Chief Muller.

Like I said read the entire Sullivan post. It will give you nightmares. Better yet, wait tell morning to read Sullivan. I wish I had. Sweet dreams.