Saturday, December 13, 2014

Torture report: CIA interrogations chief was involved in Latin American torture camps


Senior agent in torture programme was recommended for censure decades earlier for “inappropriate use of interrogation techniques”



US Army Sgt. Fernando Diaz blind folded has ice-cold water dumped over his head during a mock interrogation simulating water boarding at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa, Hawaii Photo: Alamy

By Peter Foster, Washington
7:00AM GMT 11 Dec 2014

The CIA officer tasked with interrogating the most important prisoners in America's secret detention programme allegedly abused captives during the agency's covert operations in Latin America in the 1980s, it has emerged.
The US Senate's three-year inquiry into the CIA's use of torture after September 11 reveals that a senior agent involved in the programme was recommended for censure decades earlier for “inappropriate use of interrogation techniques”.

The unnamed officer was appointed to head the CIA's "high value detainee" team in autumn 2002, shortly after the agency began waterboarding a prisoner at secret detention centre in Afghanistan.

Human rights groups said that the agent's promotion despite his track record of abusing prisoners was evidence that that the CIA did not hold its officers accountable for torture.

“We should all be afraid that many of these agents are still at the CIA and used in the same sorts of operations when they have already shown they cannot be trusted,” said Katherine Hawkins of OpenTheGovernment.org, a pro-transparency group.

According to the 480-page report, the CIA had engaged in torture during the Cold War, when Soviet defector Yuri Nosenko was detained for three years and subjected to the sensory deprivation and forced standing techniques that would later be used against al-Qaeda detainees.

During testimony to Congress in 1978 one former officer charged with investigating Nosenko’s torture described his treatment as an “abomination”.

The techniques used against Nosenko were taken from the CIA’s “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual” drawn up by the CIA in 1963, which served as the basis of the so-called 'torture manuals' that were provided by the CIA to at least seven Latin American countries in the 1980s.

According to the report, the agent who would become the CIA's chief of interrogations beginning in 2002 "was involved in training and conducted interrogations" in Latin America during that era. The report goes on to say that "the CIA inspector general later recommended that he be orally admonished for inappropriate use of interrogation techniques."