Law, Politics

The title of this post is in quotes, because that is how it appears in the 1983 Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual put out by the CIA.

The manual was used in numerous Latin American countries as an instructional tool by CIA and Green Beret trainers between 1983 and 1987 and became the subject of executive session Senate Intelligence Committee hearings in 1988 because of human rights abuses committed by CIA-trained Honduran military units. The manual allocates considerable space to the subject of coercive questioning” and psychological and physical techniques. The original text stated that we will be discussing two types of techniques, coercive and non-coercive. While we do not stress the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them.” After Congress began investigating human rights violations by U.S.-trained Honduran intelligence officers, that passage was hand edited to read while we deplore the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them so that you may avoid them.” Although the manual advised methods of coercion similar to those used in the Abu Ghraib prison by U.S. forces, it also carried a prescient observation: The routine use of torture lowers the moral caliber of the organization that uses it and corrupts those that rely on it….”

I’ve transcribed a short section of the manual.

For centuries questioners” have employed various methods of inducing physical weakness: prolonged constraint; prolonged exertion; extremes of heat, cold, or moisture; and deprivation of food or sleep. [Illegible text inserted here.] The assumption [of those that use them is] that lowering the subject’s physiological resistance will lower his psychological capacity for resistance; however, there has been no scientific investigation of this assumption. Many psychologists consider the threat of inducing debility to be more effective than debility itself. Prolonged constraint or exertion, sustained deprivation of food or sleep, etc. often become patterns to which a subject adjusts by becoming apathetic and withdrawing into himself. In search of escape from the discomfort and tension. In this case debility would be counter productive.

More information here.