Zero Dark Thirty — Torture Is the American Way?

by gcarle 0 Comments

(Article by Glenn Carle featured on the Huffington Post website)

Source:(https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/zero-dark-thirty-torture_b_2395939.html)

Zero Dark Thirty, Hollywood’s version of how we killed Osama bin Laden essentially says that torture works. Torture is disturbing, but tough, and American heroes do it.

Do not be misled. Pay attention: The men and women who hunted, found, and killed Osama bin Laden — and heroes they are — did not need to use torture. Torture is un-American. It is evil. We found bin Laden using painstaking intelligence work, not waterboards.

The shocking opening scenes and the underlying premise of Zero Dark Thirty, the latest fillip of the torture hagiography to afflict and pervert American society insidiously propagates the view that torture is necessary; tough men and women must make tough decisions, right? It becomes clear how deeply America’s moral frames of reference have deteriorated when we realize that it was Kathryn Bigelow, a Hollywood director and power, and not a known shill for the Neoconservatives, whose film presents torture as having been instrumental in finding Osama bin Laden, and that “enhanced interrogation” is Americans doing what Americans must do to protect home and hearth.

Bigelow’s views — like those of so many millions of Americans — seem to have been colored by the big lie about torture perpetrated by the Bush Administration, and now the Republican Party, for eight years and beyond: Americans must work on the “dark side, if you will” to protect ourselves. Torture is legal — because, well, because a political hack in the Justice Department, at the behest of the vice president, says so. So, therefore, it is acceptable. A message not-so-subliminally enhanced by the zeitgeist-shaping avatars of pop culture like the execrable 24, which shows tough-guy Jack Bauer saving us all every week by torturing people, and doing what needs to be done, damn the law and all hand-wringers. Even left-wing Hollywood now weaves it into our national consciousness as part of our imagined reality. Even Hollywood filmmakers.

Polls show that a majority of Americans under 35, who came of age hearing from our leaders that enhanced interrogation was necessary and right, believe it is acceptable for American officers to torture. The Republican Party openly advocates its use. No matter hundreds of years of legal and social effort to oppose torture, no matter the Constitution of the United States (“cruel and unusual punishments… shall not be inflicted,” Amendment VIII.)

No. Understand this, from someone who had some involvement in our “enhanced interrogation” program and who worked on terrorism issues for years (see my book, The Interrogator, which relates my involvement in the interrogation of a senior member of al-Qaeda.) I was there: Torture does not work; it makes it harder to evaluate what detainees say, and more suspect. It is unnecessary, it is counterproductive, it is illegal, and it is immoral. Torture besmirches the meaning of America. We become the evil we oppose when we engage in “enhanced interrogation” — in torture.

Do not be deluded by the subliminal messages of a false and harmful reality as you munch popcorn and squirm at the opening segment of Zero Dark Thirty. Precisely because of its power and the subtlety of its overall theme — intelligence work is painstaking and slow and often confusing, and dedicated civil servants must sometimes make impossible choices — Zero Dark Thirty contributes to an un-American message about torture, guised in the uniform of steely eyed, if sometimes ambiguous, heroism. John Wayne did not really storm the beaches of Normandy, although we all watched him do it. George Bush and Dick Cheney, however, really did avoid serving in uniform, although we all watched them send others to fight and argue that torture is legal and acceptable. And now, their message has made it into an otherwise subtle and perceptive film about the hunt for bin Laden. But one cannot sanction torture.

Hunting, finding, and killing bin Laden is one of the cathartic triumphs in the history of the CIA. Bin Laden needed to die. The tale deserves to be sung by bards and should be a source of pride for all Americans. This is another fact I lived during my CIA career: The CIA, the FBI, the U.S. military, and the U.S. government are relentless against our enemies. No one — no one — can kill Americans and get away with it. We will hunt you down, you will not escape and you will pay. American power and will are fearsome.

A former head of MI-6, Great Britain’s equivalent to the CIA, remarked to me once, “I always encourage myths about MI-6, and I thank the stars for James Bond. People tend to believe that British intelligence is all-powerful, and everywhere. When, of course,” here he smiled genteelly, “we are not so powerful, and we are very small.” The CIA, the U.S. government and especially American society, are powerful, and we should not be small. We do not need the insidious myth that torture works, or is necessary. In an otherwise laudable film, Zero Dark Thirty‘s opening scenes corrode our culture, just as “enhanced interrogation” has.

Career CIA Officer Says Agency Has Surpassed Torture Scandals

by gcarle 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Sixty-five years ago, U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed into law the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency, better known across the world simply as the CIA.

The mission of the CIA was to procure intelligence—both by overt and covert methods—and at the same time provide intelligence guidance, determine national intelligence objectives and correlate the intelligence material collected by all government agencies.

To learn more about the CIA and how the agency has carried out its missions for the past six and a half decades, host Rob Sachs spoke with Glenn Carle, a career CIA operations officer and author of what critics have called the greatest book ever written about the CIA, “The Interrogator: An Investigation.”

Click here to listen to the interview.

Source: The Voice of Russia

Interview with the Interrogator: Glenn Carle and David Leser

Interview with the Interrogator: Glenn Carle and David Leser

25 year CIA veteran Glenn Carle is in conversation here with David Leser at the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Carle spent 20 of those CIA years working undercover and from 1997 through to 2001 his focus was trying to detain or assassinate Osama bin Laden. In his autobiography, The Interrogator (an account heavily redacted by his employers!), he talks about the ethical and moral issues he struggled with in working through what constituted his real duty to his country. His book has been described as one of the best and most truthful accounts of life within the CIA.

Interestingly, he was a CIA operative who publically refused to condone the use of torture against Al Qaeda operatives.

Click here to watch the video.

Source: ABC

The lonely truth

The lonely truth

In a darkened room sits a man whom the American government says is a senior al Qaeda official. His interrogator, a long-serving CIA agent named Glenn Carle, thinks the man is far from a terrorist mastermind, but a bewildered halfwit. Carle’s handlers tell him the man’s silence proves he knows something, and insist “enhanced interrogation techniques” – many would say torture – will produce answers. Carle demurs, but is ignored, and his prisoner, while never entering a courtroom, will spend the next seven years in a secret jail far from American shores before his quiet release.

These are the bare facts of Carle’s book, The Interrogator, which in the year since its publication has destroyed his life. It has caused outrage everywhere except America, where it has been smothered by what he claims is an insidious whispering campaign by friends of former American vice- president Dick Cheney. “Every word,” he says, intensely. “Every f—–g word is true.”

They called his publisher, he says, asking them to pulp his book; they rang every major network to prevent him going on air. They are, he says several times, “vicious” and have perpetrated a stain on America’s national character.

And so Carle has begun to travel. He has been well received in Germany, Australia, Canada; he has come to New Zealand because the Star-Times wanted to interview him and he wanted to go hiking. Over lunch, he says: “They realised they could not keep me from every interview everywhere, so their strategy is to keep me from the major networks, then it doesn’t matter if I talk to some guy in Auckland, or some guy in Butte, Montana, for a radio station that reaches 500 shepherds, for ‘if we keep him off the major networks, then he does not exist’.”

For those who listen, he has an amazing tale of how the War on Terror warped America’s foreign policy and tested their laws and morals. Carle is bitter about the neocons, the new American right, who redefined what was acceptable, legally and morally, in these uncertain times. In particular, he despises George Bush’s deputy attorney-general, John Yoo, who wrote the “torture memo”, which permitted and claimed as legal such practices as sleep deprivation, binding in stress positions and waterboarding. Carle’s prisoner, in his book codenamed CAPTUS, was surely subject to some of these, despite no evidence ever being tabled to suggest he was not a low-level money-changer, rather than, as the CIA speculated, Osama bin Laden’s banker.

 

Click to read more: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/6996281/The-lonely-truth

Q&A Sydney Writers’ Festival

Q&A Sydney Writers’ Festival

Good evening and welcome to Q&A. I’m Tony Jones. Answering your question tonight former CIA agent Glenn Carle whose book The Interrogator has been heavily censored by his old employer; Australian writer, commentator and self-proclaimed demented mother Kathy Lette; Pulitzer Prize Winner, Jeffrey Eugenides, best known for the Virgin Suicides, Middlesex and The Marriage Plot; Russian journalist Masha Gessen, author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and the Foreign Editor of The Australian, Greg Sheridan. Please welcome our panel.


Click to view the panel’s video.

Preventing Torture: Interview with Natasha Mitchell of ABC

Preventing Torture: Interview with Natasha Mitchell of ABC

Earlier this month the Court of Appeals in the US threw out a lawsuit filed against the man who wrote the so-called Torture Memos, John Yoo. The torture memos posited that so-called enhance interrogation techniques like waterboarding and sleep deprivation might be legally permissible and, among other abuses, led to the infamous mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib by US military police personnel. How is it that our supposedly liberal democratic governments engage in torture? What does it say about our political culture that this is an acceptable way to fight terrorism?

Source and audio: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/preventing-torture/4015400

Torture causes long-term harm to more than just initial victims

by gcarle 0 Comments
Torture causes long-term harm to more than just initial victims

The following opinion article was featured in the Sydney Morning Herald on May 18, 2012 and was written by Glenn Carle and Danielle Celermajar.

Physical interrogation brutalises all involved and produces little of value.

The battle for public acceptance of “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation as part of the “new normal” for statecraft after September 11 hangs in the balance.

On the one hand a soon-to-be-released US Senate intelligence committee report on its three-year investigation into enhanced interrogation is expected to show little evidence it produced any of the much-touted counterterrorism breakthroughs.

On the other hand the former chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism centre Jose Rodriguez is releasing his conveniently timed book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives. Rodriguez alleges enhanced interrogation techniques not only work but were the source of many, if not most, of the signal counterterrorism successes in the ”global war on terror”.
Advertisement: Story continues below

So whom to believe? The Senate committee report or Rodriguez, whose book was ghost-written by a former speechwriter for Vice-President Dick Cheney, the neo-con architect of the enhanced interrogation measures?

Politics aside, answering certain questions can help decide the real merits of these techniques.

Firstly, is torture effective in getting valuable intelligence? And, secondly, what are its broader effects?

The answer to the first question is resolutely no. Four US officials have written about their firsthand interrogation experiences: two air force officers, Steve Kleinman and Matthew Alexander; an FBI officer, Ali Soufan; and a CIA officer and co-author of this article, Glenn Carle. None of us knew the others when writing our assessments of torture’s efficacy. But we all used almost identical words to state that torture does not produce reliable information, or greater quantities of information or “better” information than that obtained from non-coercive measures.

In fact, coercive measures make “information” obtained harder to evaluate and therefore suspect and problematic. The CIA rank and file know this, as almost all reports obtained from enhanced interrogation techniques were formally “recalled” for being obtained under duress, and therefore unreliable.

The second question – the broad effects of torture – is often overlooked while people focus on its ability to extract information. Examined closely, however, these effects are so disturbing that they undermine any supposed merit of enhanced interrogation.

Let’s start with victims of torture. From Algeria, Vietnam, Chile or the ”war on terror”, we know practices of torture are never confined to a few “high value targets” but spread through organisations. Torture becomes pervasive and routine, which means that large numbers of people will be tortured, with devastating, lifelong and often irreversible effects on their physical and psychological health.

The effects on torturers are harder to define and more ambiguous largely because, in the rare instances where they seek therapeutic help, they are unlikely to identify themselves.

Frantz Fanon, the great theorist of post-colonial liberation, reports on one torturer from the Algerian war who found himself savagely striking his baby and waking to torture his wife. In his recent book None of Us Were Like This Before, Josh Phillips documents among US veterans from Iraq the same type of atrocity-related trauma we have seen in the aftermath of other cases – toxic levels of guilt and related self-harm, including suicide.

At the very least, torture normalises violence, with deleterious consequences for the individuals involved and for society as a whole.

Much more is known about the effect of torture on organisations. Torture leads to de-skilling, narrow professionalism, fragmentation, devolution of authority to the most local level and the destruction of codes of respect and authority. The CIA’s own human resources and exploitation training manual warns “the routine use of torture lowers the moral calibre of the organisation that uses it and corrupts those that rely on it as the quick and easy way out”. It deadens or removes individual judgment, the very quality that intelligence agencies prize.

Internationally, it will be many years before the United States can convince foreign observers its acts correspond to its values when the facts are stark: the US states it opposes torture by any party, yet carries out torture itself. Empirical evidence shows the US has lost enormous support from individuals, groups and nations that now see it as perverted by the very evils it claims to oppose.

Finally, in a world where norms and practices, like finance and fashion, are transmitted across the globe, the sanctioned violation of the prohibition on torture by a state that holds itself as the ”light unto the nations” has a universally negative impact.

When the US not only tortures but announces that it in doing so it is doing right, it violates individuals and harms the fragile edifice of universal human rights that we have been building in the 64 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the US, torture is now calmly debated and defended by leading individuals and advocated by one of the two major political parties. Significant portions of the public now consider torture acceptable under certain conditions, while for others there are even fewer moral constraints on its use.

Americans were not so confused prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks. But many now have compromised their principles, not even recognising the extent to which they have incorporated values that the United States has opposed since the time of George Washington.

It is wishful thinking to believe that we can torture judiciously without coarsening and corrupting ourselves.

Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer is director of the University of Sydney’s Torture Prevention and Human Rights programs. Glenn Carle is a former CIA interrogator and author of The Interrogator: A CIA agent’s true story. The pair will appear in conversation at the Sydney Writers Festival today.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/torture-causes-longterm-harm-to-more-than-just-the-initial-victims-20120517-1ytjz.html#ixzz1vBFlgvj3

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/torture-causes-longterm-harm-to-more-than-just-the-initial-victims-20120517-1ytjz.html

Waleed Aly, Glenn Carle and Stella Rimington on the Conversation Hour

Waleed Aly, Glenn Carle and Stella Rimington on the Conversation Hour

Waleed Aly, a busy person and host of Radio National’s Drive program.

He’s also a part time lecturer at Monash University in the Global Terrorism Research Centre and perfect person to co-host today’s Conversation Hour.

Our guest today have has qualified access to information most of us will never see. They’ve worked within high level intelligence organisations on either side of the Atlantic. Organisations that are the subject of countless speculation, countless movie plots, conspiracy theories, covert operations, fiction and non-fiction books.

Glenn Carle has recently published his book The Interrogator.

He’s worked with the Central Intelligence Agency for 25 years and tells the “dark side” of the Bush Administration’s War on Terror.

Dame Stella Rimington is a spy fiction author. Her latest book is Rip Tide.

 

Click to hear the discussion.

Translate »