LONDON (TIP): America’s closest allies – Britain has strongly condemned the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) use of brutality and deception to interrogate “terror suspects” post-9/11 attacks as made public by a Senate Intelligence Committee report. US president Barack Obama’s close friend – British prime minister David Cameron reacted strongly against the report in which committee chair Dianne Feinstein said the techniques used by the CIA were “far more brutal than people were led to believe”. Cameron said, “Let’s be clear: torture is wrong. Torture is always wrong.

Those of us who want to see a safer, more secure world, who want to see this extremism defeated, we won’t succeed if we lose our moral authority, if we lose the things that make our systems work and our countries successful. So we should be very clear about that.” Cameron added: “Now, obviously after 9/11 there were things that happened that were wrong, and we should be clear about the fact that they were wrong. In Britain we have had the Gibson Inquiry, and that inquiry has now produced a series of questions that the Intelligence and Security Committee will look at.

But I’m satisfied that our system is dealing with all of these issues, and I as Prime Minister have issued guidance to all of our agents and others working around the world about how they have to handle these issues in future. So I’m confident this issue has been dealt with from the British perspective, and I think I can reassure the public about that. But overall, we should be clear: torture is wrong.” Britain also expressed concern over the harsh CIA interrogation tactics which included threats and torture as detainees were forced to stay awake for over a week at a time, while several detainees suffered from “hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia and attempts at selfharm and self-mutilation”.

The report revealed that two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA contracted with two psychologists to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations. The psychologists’ prior experience was at the US Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school. Neither psychologist had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qaida, a background in counterterrorism or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise.

On the CIA’s behalf, the contract psychologists developed theories of interrogation based on “learned helplessness” and developed the list of enhanced techniques that was approved for use against Abu Zubaydah and subsequent CIA detainees. The psychologists personally conducted interrogations of some of the CIA’s most significant detainees using these techniques. In 2005, the psychologists formed a company specifically for the purpose of conducting their work with the CIA. Shortly thereafter, the CIA outsourced virtually all aspects of the program. In 2006, the value of the CIA’s base contract with the company formed by the psychologists with all options exercised was in excess of $180 million; the contractors received $81 million prior to the contract’s termination in 2009. To produce the report, the Committee spent five years reading and analyzing more than 6.3 million pages of CIA documents.

The review produced a more than 6,000 page review that was condensed into a 525-page summary the committee released on Tuesday. A glimpse of techniques details how the CIA employed sleep deprivation to wear down victims: keeping them awake for 180 hours usually standing or in stress positions. Other techniques included rectal rehydration, ice water baths and threatening detainees with threats to harm detainees’ families, including threats to “sexually abuse the mother of a detainee”. The Committee however concluded that the use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation.

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