Friday, June 15, 2007

verschärfte Vernehmung and George W. Bush

Not much gives me chills in these waning days of Cheney/Bush rule. All the outrage seems to have been spilled. What more can be said? This, though, gave me chills (via DeLong)

Scott Horton, writing in a Harper's blog ...

"Defending Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" by Scott Horton (Harper's Magazine)

Before there were “enhanced interrogation techniques,” there was verschärfte Vernehmung, (which means “enhanced interrogation techniques”) developed by the Gestapo and the Sicherheitsdienst in 1937 and subject to a series of stringent rules. Now, as we have seen previously, there were extremely important differences between the Gestapo’s interrogation rules and those approved by the Bush Administration. That’s right—the Bush Administration rules are generally more severe, and include a number of practices that the Gestapo expressly forbade...

and here Horton quotes Sullivan:

... In cross-examination BEST was shown a document which stated that the commander of the security police and SD was authorized to use verschärfte Vernehmung in Kracow. He said it was his impression that this type of interrogation was adopted in order to discover the underground movements in Poland, which had come into being at that time. Describing the use of verschärfte Vernehmung in Denmark, the witness HOFFMANN reiterated that third degree methods were based on a legal decree which authorized them. Disciplinary action was always taken against those concerned with excesses. In general, third degree was applied only when the saving of German lives required it. In this connection he instanced the use of such methods in order to find the whereabouts of arms and explosives belonging to the underground movement. The GESTAPO in general believed that other methods of interrogation, such as playing off political factions against each other, were much more effective than third degree methods. Verschärfte Vernehmung had to be approved by his head office and approximately 20 were allowed for Copenhagen (see reference to the case of Colonel TIMROTH).

and Horton concludes ...

... what was the sentence the Norwegian war crimes court deemed appropriate for those convicted of the use of verschärfte Vernehmung? Death.

This is why CIA interrogators needed Bush's legal shelters. They expect that with it they, Cheney, and Bush will all escape unscathed. They're probably right.


One day, this may be seen as a very dark time. A darker time than those who live in it now realize. We've grown accustomed to it, but our children and grandchildren may see things differently (and yes, in part I protest here in hopes it will lessen their scorn).

One day Bush, Cheney, and many others may find it difficult to fly places. There may be many nations they cannot visit with confidence. One day, they may even find a future American government is no longer willing to shelter them ...

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