Collaborating health professionals assessed the ability of detainees to endure severe pain; they calibrated the level of pain caused by certain techniques; they assessed the effects of sleep deprivation; and they determined the advisability and effectiveness of using simultaneous combinations of torture techniques. Their professional judgment was used to escalate the torture.
The most morally damning revelation in the Seton Hall report is the depraved purpose for which torture was used; namely, to find out “just how far the human body could be pushed in pain and terror before organ failure or death.”
“The criticized torture tactics, known as Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, were not utilized for the purpose of obtaining reliable information. Instead, the “results” the Executive Branch was searching for was something more sinister. The government sought information on the most effective ways to torture a human physically, information on the most damaging ways to break a man psychologically, and insight as to just how far the human body could be pushed in pain and terror before organ failure or death.”
“When detainees underwent torture, medics monitored their vital signs to ensure that there was no organ failure or death. The policy implemented at the camp was that if the detainee’s pulse dropped below 40 beats per minute, the interrogation had to stop until his pulse was raised to 41 beats per minute. Medics would also draw blood to determine how close each detainee was to kidney failure from the interrogations. The DoD encouraged the use of psychological interrogation tactics in addition to physical abuse.”
“Intelligence also toyed with detainees’ health through the use of Mefloquine, an anti-malarial medication, at doses known to induce anxiety, paranoia and other mental harm. The FBI reported numerous interrogation techniques exploiting psychological weaknesses and preying on the detainees’ Muslim faith. These interrogation methods would be seemingly stopped by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld in early 2003, only to be renamed and repackaged by the Working Group and made available by the Secretary of Defense shortly thereafter in the spring of 2003.”
“GTMO existed as a place where “Intel” could push nearly all of the boundaries of torture without fear of liability. It placed the intelligence mission at the forefront, demoting any interests of the detention mission. In doing so, the laboratory was formed, paving the way for a multitude of psychological experiments against detainees who were admittedly not “the worst of the worst,” but were in fact merely “low-level enemy combatants.”
GTMO operated as a Battle Lab, a world where experimentation […] served to generate data with which to counsel and train interrogators at military facilities across the globe… With GTMO serving as the command center for worldwide interrogation coordination, the laboratory could utilize the results of the torture testing in training future interrogators in different theaters of war. After multiple Senate investigations and the declassification of many documents, the world can now see that GTMO was no simple POW detention center, but has instead operated as America’s Battle Laboratory.” (Guantanamo, America’s Battle Lab, 2015. Abstract)
Reading the Seton Hall report, one comes to the indisputable realization that Mitchell and Jessen, the two psychologists, monsters though they are in their own right, who made a huge fortune selling torture to the CIA; are not the principal rogues in this highly structured, multi-pronged collaborative morally depraved travesty that has left an indelible stain on America’s reputation.
“The progress and status of GTMO and worldwide interrogation operations managed by JTF-170 were reported in person to either the SECDEF [Secretary of Defense] or the President himself each week, as ordered by the President… The JTF-GTMO Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) SOP also indicates:“be aware that activities and actions are often directed by or reported to the highest levels of the government.” (America’s Battle Lab, p.10)