Disconnect

A piece of the puzzle that doesn’t quite fit: What happened to Spec. Sean Baker doesn’t seem to be on the list of Pentagon-approved interrogation techniques for Guantanamo.

Dana Priest reports on the list of 24 special interrogation techniques approved by the Pentagon for use at Guantanamo. They actually sound pretty tame. She also believes that the extreme legal positions taken in the infamous DoD torture memo were eventually rejected by the Pentago, though accepted by the CIA.

Priest is an ace reporter, and I tend to give her stories high credence.

But if she’s right about this one, then just what happened to Spec. Sean Baker? Does “fear up/harsh” mean choking prisoners and battering them to the point of permanent brain damage?

And who made the videotape of the training session disappear? Either there was a disconnect between decisions made at Fort Fumble and actual behavior at Guantanamo, or her DoD sources are misleading Dana Priest.

Update: A reader points out that Spec. Baker was playing the role of an “uncooperative detainee” in the sense of someone refusing prison discipline by refusing to leave his cell, rather than a subject under interrogation. What happened to him is still far from encouraging in its reflection of conditions at Abu Ghraib, but it’s less directly relevant to the question of torture than this post assumed.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com