(Page 3 of 3)

Torture was taught by CIA Declassified manual details the methods used in Honduras

Agency denials refuted

January 27, 1997|By GARY COHN, GINGER THOMPSON AND MARK MATTHEWS

Between 1984 and 1985, after congressional committees began questioning training techniques being used by the CIA in Latin America, "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual -- 1983" underwent substantial revision.

Passages were crossed out and written over by hand to warn that the methods they described were forbidden. However, in the copy obtained by The Sun, the original wording remained clearly visible beneath the handwritten changes.

Among the changes was this sentence in the section on coercion: "The use of most coercive techniques is improper and violates policy."

In another, the editor crossed out descriptions of solitary confinement experiments and wrote: "To use prolonged solitary confinement for the purpose of extracting information in questioning violates policy."

A third notation says that inducing unbearable stress "is a form of torture. Its use constitutes a serious impropriety and violates policy." And in place of a sentence that says "coercive techniques always require prior [headquarters] approval," an editor has written that they "constitute an impropriety and violate policy."

To an instruction that "heat, air and light" in an interrogation cell should be externally controlled is added "but not to the point of torture."

Disturbing questions

The 1983 interrogation manual was discussed at a closed hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 1988. Then-Sen. William S. Cohen said that the interrogation manual raised disturbing questions, even with the revisions. Cohen is now the secretary of defense.

"No. 1, I am not sure why, in 1983, it became necessary to have such a manual," Cohen said, according to a transcript declassified at The Sun's request. "But, No. 2, upon its discovery, why we only sought to revise it in a fashion which says, 'These are some of the techniques we think are abhorrent. We just want you to be aware of them so you'll avoid them.'

" There's a lot in this that troubles me in terms of whether you

are sending subliminal signals that say, 'This is improper, but, by the way, you ought to be aware of it.' "

KUBARK manual

A second document obtained by The Sun, the 1963 KUBARK manual, shows that, at least during the 1960s, agents were free to use coercion during interrogation, provided they obtained approval in advance.

It offers a list of interrogation techniques, including threats, fear, "debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis [use of drugs] and induced regression."

Like the 1983 manual, the KUBARK manual describes the effectiveness of arresting suspects early in the morning, keeping prisoners blindfolded and taking away their clothes.

"Usually his own clothes are taken away," the manual explains, ++ "because familiar clothing reinforces identity and thus the capacity for resistance."

The KUBARK manual also cautions against making empty threats, and advises interrogators against directly inflicting pain.

It contains one direct and one oblique reference to electrical shocks.

The introduction warns that approval from headquarters is required if the interrogation is to include bodily harm or "if medical, chemical or electrical methods or materials are to be used to induce acquiescence."

A passage on preparing for an interrogation contains this advice: "If a new safehouse is to be used as the interrogation site, it should be studied carefully to be sure that the total environment can be manipulated as desired. For example, the electric current should be known in advance, so that transformers or other modifying devices will be on hand if needed."

DTC An intelligence source told The Sun: "The CIA has acknowledged privately and informally in the past that this referred to the application of electric shocks to interrogation suspects."

While it remains unclear whether the KUBARK manual was used in Central America, the 1963 manual and the 1983 manual are similar in organization and descriptions of certain interrogation techniques and purposes.

The KUBARK manual is mentioned in a 1989 memorandum prepared by the staff of the Senate intelligence committee on the CIA's role in Honduras, and some members of the intelligence community during that period believe it was used in training the Hondurans. One said that some of the lessons from the manual were recorded almost verbatim in notes by CIA agents who sat in on the classes.

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Pub Date: 1/27/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.