Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Torture: Joint Staff, DoJ, and CIA engaged in another disinformation campaign over SERE

The American Joint Staff is engaged in another disinformation campaign. The current ruse is to muddy the waters over why prisoners were treated poorly.

The current ruse is to suggest that SERE is the basis for this ethical lapse. We judge this argument is without foundation and part of a larger effort to defend policy makers who directed, and were aware of, war crimes.

Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape [SERE] got mentioned in the New York Times.

Torture: How SERE is used as an excuse

According to the NYT via TPM, the SERE program is used to train US soldiers how to effectively resist torture. However, the problem with Guantanamo and GITMO is that the SERE tactics were turned on their head.

One small problem with this argument: It presupposes one thing, which is contrary to how the US trains combat soldiers.

The flawed argument goes like this:

A. The US needs to train soldiers how to resist interrogation
B. The enemy might use torture
C. If we use torture on our own soldiers during training they will be ready
D. Once we confirm that SERE methods work on our own, we can use them on anyone
E. A program like SERE that trains troops to resist can be applied to break down the enemy
F. There is nothing wrong with SERE, therefore there is nothing wrong with using SERE on the enemy, and we've only done to the enemy what we do to our own troops.

A is true
B may be true
C is false in that it is not proven we use torture on our own troops
D has a false premise in that it does not follow that SERE methods include torture [See C]; therefore it does not follow that torture can be used on the enemy
E is not supported in that the SERE program does not include physical torture [See "C]; rather, the training program to be "flipped" has to be enhanced
F is not supported. The issue is how one defines "what goes on during SERE". If torture is actually done, then this violates the laws of war and would ask that Americans treat other Americans in SERE in violation of human rights. This is not plausible.

The issue is "what is SERE" and "what was actually applied".

Based on the NYT and the above analysis, it does not follow that SERE methods were used at Abu Ghraib or GITMO. Rather, using the above analysis, it is more likely that what happened was SERE as a concept was the starting point, and then actual interrogation methods were used which expanded to include torture.

* * *

This document shows how the non-sense arguments are organized for public consumption.

This outlines the DoD disinformation is used to muddy the waters over the CIA torture camps in Eastern European.

* * *

Let's consider the Geneva Conventions, laws of armed conflict, and UN Charter on humane treaties: These are rules which govern how people will be treated.

Also, we're asked to believe that the SERE program inflicts torture on our own troops for training; if this is the case, then why have we not heard of any complaints about the SERE program?

The answer is that the reason we have no complaints about SERE is not because it is secret, but because, self-evidently, there have been no abuses of human rights.

Thus, we conclude that the SERE program is a false comparison to gauge whether or not the US troops have then "flipped" these techniques onto the enemy.

* * *

Based on the above analysis, we conclude that the arguments about SERE are part of a disinformation campaign by the Joint Staff, CIA, and other defendants in the DoJ system who may be indirectly linked with the CIA.

We judge that the purpose of mentioning SERE is not to explain what happened; but to create the illusion that a classified program exists, and includes the same techniques imposed on the detainees.

We find this argument unsupportable given the above analysis and the details provided in the NYT.

Rather, what is more likely is that the SERE concept is something that is well within the bounds of human rights, and at most would merely simulate programs.

Given the lack of Congressional investigations into SERE-related human rights violations, we judge the above analysis to favor the conclusion of: SERE is a red herring to justify what did or did not happen at Abu Ghraib.

* * *

We judge that the SERE program is a fairly benign program. Based on the NYT Article and the above analysis, we conclude that the SERE program as implemented in the United States falls within the bound of ethical and humane treatment.

The issue before us is to explore how a SERE program could be expanded.

It is likely that the mention of the SERE program at this juncture has nothing to do with explaining what did or didn't happen in Guantanamo or GITMO; but is part of a larger effort to misinform the public about what did or didn't happen.

Bluntly, it appears as though SERE is being mentioned not as an explanation, but as an excuse. It is not credible to believe that personnel in the SERE program have made the leap from benign, human training to something complicated to include physical human rights violations.

* * *

The HASC, SASC, and Joint Intelligence Committee have a credibility problem. Either

A. We are to believe that the SERE program is benign program, but has expanded to include torture in violation of the laws of war; or

B. We are asked to believe that American soldiers are physically assaulted in violation of their human rights by their fellow soldiers during training.

Either option is not a plausible justification for what did or didn't happen at Guantnamo.

* * *

Let us suppose that the SERE program was the framework to oversee the detention center in Guantanamo. We have to understand why the apparent "lack of complaints about human rights violations from US soldiers in SERE training" would not prompt Congressional investigations; but at the same time the Red Cross would not report the misconduct.

We judge that the Joint Staff and DoD have jointly agreed to muddy the waters with the illusions about SERE. The issue is not whether SERE is or is not a real program; the issue is what would explain the rationale to violate human rights.

One cannot go from a SERE program which is apparently benign, to something complicated. This would ask that the trainers would confine their actions to one set of rules to train US troops; while at the same time, the trainers would ignore these standards and move to broader abuses.

This has no merit.

Rather, what is more likely is that the interrogation methods used at Ft. Huachuca and the School of the Americas was used.

* * *

We judge the mention of SERE as a red herring. The real issue is how the lessons of the laws of war which were supposed to be injected into Ft Huachuca and School of the Americas were thrown aside and then introduced into Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.

We judge that the driving force behind this transition had nothing to do with either SERE or the DoD training, but with the commanders and policy makers who wanted to use other methods.

These are war crimes. The status of the detainees is irrelevant. The US signed treaties to conduct their affairs in a manner consistent with human rights.

It is our view that the war crimes are in violation of the UN Charter. No amount of hand waving by the US court of appeals over "whether the Geneva Conventions do or do not apply" is relevant given the US Treaty obligations to humanely treat people under the UN Charter.

* * *

These are serious matters. It is of concern when there are illusory defenses about SERE posited to justify what happened. These arguments have no merit.

The larger issue to be explored is what will be the catalyst for the UN General Assembly to review the US treatment and bring this up for a vote.

The UN General Assembly, not the Security Council, can take a vote on whether the US should be sanctioned for human rights violations and/or waging unlawful war.

These are matters of war crimes. IT remains clear that the US criminal justice system is not willing to tackle this problem.

If the weather cooperates, perhaps the UN General Assembly will demand the Congressional leadership appear to explain themselves: Where were they, what did they know, what were they told, what were their duties, did they fail to stop people from violating the UN Charter, and is the US no longer a nation in good standing before the United Nations.

The issue of war crimes is not isolated to military personnel. Rather, it is more broadly applied to all people, civilians and military.

The US has signed treaties. The US is under the UN Charter. The UN is against inhuman treatment. The issue of what the status of the detainees is irrelevant: They remain human beings and are to be afforded respect as people.

The US needs to realize that the world no longer trusts the United States. The current stories about SERE are just that: Stories to avoid accountability.

But this does not address the fundamental issue: Why is the US treating people in a manner that is contrary to the UN Charter on Human Rights?

The Americans have no answer, just excuses. For that, they deserve to be sanctioned by the UN General Assembly.