McClatchy - Report: Abusive tactics used in effort to find Iraq-al Qaida link
The Bush administration put relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.
Such information would've provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush's main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. No evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and Saddam's regime.
The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush's quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.
Spencer Ackerman: Senate Armed Services Document Outlines How Pentagon Used Torture Resistance Training in Interrogations
A wealth of new details emerged Tuesday about how techniques designed to help captured U.S. troops resist torture formed the basis for the post-9/11 interrogation policies of the Bush-era Pentagon.
Instructors of those techniques proved to be eager in 2002 and 2003 to disseminate them to an emerging crop of inexperienced military interrogators facing the prospect of wresting information out of new captives. “I believe our niche lies in the fact that we can provide the ability to exploit personnel based on how our enemies have done this type of thing over the last five decades,” said Joseph Witsch, an instructor for the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), a component of U.S. Joint Forces Command that oversees the so-called Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Evasion (SERE) program for U.S. special forces, during a 2002 training session for U.S. military interrogators, according to a newly released report.
Emptywheel: Did Cheney Order Up Abu Zubaydah’s 83rd Waterboarding?
Moon of Alabama: The Sadism Report