In what should not be surprising news, report has found CIA’s harsher interrogation techniques worryingly ineffective. To elaborate, I am talking about torture here, whose use was banned in USA in 2008. Basically, four years CIA has been not only conducting severe human rights violations, but also severe violations of US law.
Report points out obvious: torture is not effective in gaining reliable intelligence, and is counterproductive in the long run.
Why it is not reliable? Reason is that person being tortured will have one of three basic responses, all of which can be detrimental to torturer: first, person may become defiant and not tell anything; second, person may lie so as to get at least some measure of revenge; third, person may break.
While person that has been broken by torture may tell the truth, it is still more likely they will simply lie in order to make torture stop, if even for a moment.
It is even more detrimental in long term: during Iraq occupations, soldiers have often observed that, if they caught and tortured someone not harboring any ill will towards the occupational forces, that quickly changed. Abu Ghraib prison has become seed-plot for resistance fighters, while tactics used by US and Iraqi troops in hunting potentional Taliban fighters have increased number of Taliban even more.
In fact, when torture has been used on people who have previously cooperated, in effort to either get more information or confirm information already given, it has failed. It also has a long history of failure, hailling from Middle Ages at the very least.
If person can be made to talk with normal methods, they will; if it doesn’t work, torture won’t work either. 90% of intelligence comes from spying, collaborators and similar sources, and even in case of remaining 10%, Colonel Stuart Herrington said that 9 out of 10 people can be persuaded to talk without the stress methods at all.
In fact, FBI documents from US naval base of Guantanamo Bay show that a prisoner who has been tortured by military intelligence has started cooperating with FBI, but would be uncooperative whenever military personnel were nearby.
Use of torture can be seen as a sign of institutional and moral decay of the side using it, and it in itself accelerates that decay by helping to turn country into the police state.