[Marxism] R2I, Problems Arise in the Hands of the Untrained Torturer

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sat May 8 01:18:16 MDT 2004


UK forces taught torture methods
David Leigh
Saturday May 8, 2004
The Guardian

The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an 
invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and 
degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated 
among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, 
according to British military sources.
The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to 
interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the 
Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, 
said: "It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq 
that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what 
they were doing."

He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these 
techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in 
Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands.

"There is a reservoir of knowledge about these interrogation techniques 
which is retained by former special forces soldiers who are being rehired as 
private contractors in Iraq. Contractors are bringing in their old friends".

Using sexual jibes and degradation, along with stripping naked, is one of 
the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan "prolong 
the shock of capture", he said.

Female guards were used to taunt male prisoners sexually and at British 
training sessions when female candidates were undergoing resistance training 
they would be subject to lesbian jibes.

"Most people just laugh that off during mock training exercises, but the 
whole experience is horrible. Two of my colleagues couldn't cope with the 
training at the time. One walked out saying 'I've had enough', and the other 
had a breakdown. It's exceedingly disturbing," said the former Special Boat 
Squadron officer, who asked that his identity be withheld for security 
reasons.

Many British and US special forces soldiers learn about the degradation 
techniques because they are subjected to them to help them resist if 
captured. They include soldiers from the SAS, SBS, most air pilots, 
paratroopers and members of pathfinder platoons.

A number of commercial firms which have been supplying interrogators to the 
US army in Iraq boast of hiring former US special forces soldiers, such as 
Navy Seals.

"The crucial difference from Iraq is that frontline soldiers who are made to 
experience R2I techniques themselves develop empathy. They realise the 
suffering they are causing. But people who haven't undergone this don't 
realise what they are doing to people. It's a shambles in Iraq".

The British former officer said the dissemination of R2I techniques inside 
Iraq was all the more dangerous because of the general mood among American 
troops.

"The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 
'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people 
responsible for 9/11".

When the interrogation techniques are used on British soldiers for training 
purposes, they are subject to a strict 48-hour time limit, and a supervisor 
and a psychologist are always present. It is recognised that in 
inexperienced hands, prisoners can be plunged into psychosis.

The spectrum of R2I techniques also includes keeping prisoners naked most of 
the time. This is what the Abu Ghraib photographs show, along with inmates 
being forced to crawl on a leash; forced to masturbate in front of a female 
soldier; mimic oral sex with other male prisoners; and form piles of naked, 
hooded men.

The full battery of methods includes hooding, sleep deprivation, time 
disorientation and depriving prisoners not only of dignity, but of 
fundamental human needs, such as warmth, water and food.

The US commander in charge of military jails in Iraq, Major General Geoffrey 
Miller, has confirmed that a battery of 50-odd special "coercive techniques" 
can be used against enemy detainees. The general, who previously ran the 
prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, said his main role was to extract as much 
intelligence as possible.

Interrogation experts at Abu Ghraib prison were there to help make the 
prison staff "more able to garner intelligence as rapidly as possible".

Sleep deprivation and stripping naked were techniques that could now only be 
authorised at general officer level, he said.

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