Fine line between torture of enemy combatants and American citizens


Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of leaking a massive trove of classified material to WikiLeaks, has been imprisoned since May 2010. The treatment to which he has been subjected, including protracted isolation, systematic humiliations and routinised sleep deprivation, got more extreme last week when the commander of the brig at Quantico, Virginia, imposed on him a regime of forced nakedness at night and during an inspection of his cell every morning until his clothing is returned.

These types of abusive tactics were authorised by the Bush administration for use on foreign detainees captured in the war on terror, on the theory that causing “debilitation, disorientation and dread” would produce “learned helplessness” and make them more susceptible and responsive to interrogators’ questioning.

Reports about Manning’s treatment indicate that the Pentagon has continued to utilise reverse-engineered SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, extraction) techniques that were developed during the Cold War to train US soldiers in case they were captured and tortured by regimes that do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions…

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1 Comment

  1. The line is easy — torture is illegal. Combatant or citizen.

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