American interrogation methods in the war on terror
This chapter is based on my work as an investigative reporter who has specialized in the coverage of criminal justice, intelligence and human rights for many years. In October 2003, I visited the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where I interviewed guards, doctors and other ofﬁcials, including Major-General Geoffrey Miller, then Guantánamo’s commandant. I followed this up with further interviews with intelligence ofﬁcials in America and with a study of formerly classiﬁed memoranda on interrogation from the White House, Defense Department and Justice Department. These were published by the administration in May 2004, in the wake of the disclosure of the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Iraq.1 Finally, I was able to conduct long interviews with four British Guantánamo detainees who were released in March 2004 – Shaﬁq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Tarek Dergoul. This chapter argues that, since 2001, during the so-called ‘Global War on Terror’, US interrogators have used a variety of coercive techniques which had previously been abandoned by most democratic societies. These techniques, it suggests, contravene both the international law of war and the laws and Constitution of the USA. However, they have not produced (to use Major-General Miller’s phrase) ‘enormously valuable intelligence’. In practical terms, they can be considered to have been a failure.