Force drift

Force drift: The observed tendency among interrogators who rely on force to employ techniques of increasing intensity, resulting from the misguided belief that if some force is good then more force is better. Left unchecked, the force applied to an uncooperative prisoner tends to escalate and could reach the level of torture.

That's the view of Alberto J. Moro, who as general counsel of the U.S. Navy wrote a 22-page memorandum documenting his futile effort to warn higher-ups at the Pentagon about potentially criminal abuses of detainees at Guantanamo and other military prisons.

The story is told in Jean Mayer's superb piece "The Memo" published in the February 27, 2006, issue of the New Yorker and now available online. Moro's declassified memo is here (PDF document, 3.3 Megs) and makes compelling reading.

On December 2, 2002, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a list of interrogation techniques that include the use of stress positions, hooding, isolation, deprivation of light and auditory stimuli, physical contact, waterboarding (simulated drowning), the use of "detainee-individual phobias" such as the fear of dogs, and dressing detainees in female underwear.

Moro warned that the absence of clear boundaries for prohibited treatment was likely to lead to abuse. Authorized methods used excessively or in combination can easily rise to the level of torture. At the very least, they constitute cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, which are prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and U.S. law. Indeed, there have been numerous documented cases of beatings and at least 98 deaths among detainees.

Rumsfeld did little to curb the potential for abuse, seeming instead to give a green light to interrogators in a handwritten notation on the December 2 memo that said, "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?"

Moro argues that Rumsfeld's note could be interpreted "as a coded message, a written wink-and-a-nod to interrogators to the effect that they should not feel bound by the limits set in this memo."

To date, nobody above the lowest front-line personnel has been held accountable for the promulgation and implementation of this policy.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A google search of the term "force drift" returns this blog entry as the top hit.

I would encourage all here to see the documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side", which explicitly mentions force drift and its implications in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo.

To me, the concept increasingly applies to our paramilitarized police force, as witnessed by increased use of weapons of compliance and torture (like Tasers) for ever-smaller infractions (like failing to sign a traffic citation), or in situations where an officer is at no risk (like being Tasered while handcuffed in the back seat of a police car).

Is force drift allowed as part of a fascist shift, or is the concept simply misunderstood?

Blogger Force said...

Hey, we just finished a feature film dealing with this phenomena titled "The Torturer a.k.a. Force Drift"

WEBSITE: http://thetorturer.com


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