It was Kiley's job to convince them not to bail out on interrogations. It's an open question how much psychologists have contributed to the art of interrogation in the war on terror, but the APA provides a seal of legitimacy that the government values. If it joined the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Psychiatric Association by barring their members from joining the Guantanamo interrogations, it would further stigmatize the military's practices. So, armed with PowerPoint slides, Kiley argued for keeping psychologists on the offensive against "sworn enemies" of the country. "Psychology is an important weapons system," he explained. For the APA to draw up an explicit definition of abuse would be counterproductive. After all, "is four hours of sleep deprivation? How loud does a scream have to be? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"
Valtin, an expert commentator on torture at Daily Kos, supplements this look at Kiley by adding new information about abusive military interrogation techniques, including sleep deprivation, that fit with Kiley's views:
But why mention "four hours" in relation to sleep deprivation? Perhaps Army Surgeon General Kiley was thinking of the new Army interrogation manual, "Human Intelligence Collector Operations" most specifically, Appendix M -- Restricted Interrogation Technique -- Separation. As I wrote in a diary describing the new Army manual last October:
Briefly, it allows for complete separation, sometimes with forced wearing of goggles and earmuffs, for up to 30 days (after which approval for more must be sought). It allows for keeping sleep to four hours a day, for 30 straight days. It allows for the use of other concurrent techniques, including "futility," "incentive," and "fear up" (It does ban "hooding").
As Valtin noted in a commentary last fall in Daily Kos, Kiley's approach to downplaying abuses -- now known to those millions following the Walter Reed scandal -- was already quite evident:
Kiley was a very interesting choice for [the] APA [presentation]. As Army surgeon general, he is one of the main apologists for U.S. interrogation policy, especially as it concerns use of medical personnel. Here he is at a Defense Department briefing back in July 2005. He is defending the use of mental health personnel in Behavioral Science Consultation Teams at Guantanamo Bay and various prisons in Iraq. (For more on these BSCT teams, see Jane Mayer's New Yorker expose, "Deadly Interrogation" [and "The Experiment"]).
Here's Kiley's whitewash to the press:
Kiley: We interviewed 11 psychologists and psychiatrists who were serving in roles of what we now are teaming the BSCT teams. And the sense of their interviews was that they clearly understood that they were not health-care providers, that they were consultants to the interrogators. And every single one of them, to one extent or another, voiced a sense of responsibility to ensure the welfare of detainees during the interrogation process.
Question: Did you find any evidence to support or deny the allegations in the New England Journal that caregivers, not BSCT team members, but caregivers were sharing that type of either physical or psychological information in order to give interrogators a hint as to how they might get more out of people?