chapter  3
29 Pages

The Rise of the Torture-Intelligence Nexus

WithVian Bakir

In terms of the Bush Administrations torture-for-intelligence program initially set forth in various memoranda issued in 2002, detainees were stripped, hung from ceilings, beaten, threatened and attacked by dogs, sexually abused, subjected to hot and cold temperatures, deprived of food and sleep, waterboarded, and held in isolation for months. Torture as an instrument of the State to punish or extract information from individuals or to establish guilt has a long history that, in the West, can be traced to Roman criminal law and ancient Greece. As McCoy observes, since the start of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has propagated torture particularly psychological torture as a clandestine part of American foreign policy. The White House needed cooperation from the military and intelligence bureaucracies in order to execute its plans to check al-Qaeda by extracting intelligence about its future operations. Thus, the ends-justify-the-means arguments for torture are questionable the intelligence yields are unprovable and disputed.