The release of 525 pages of the Senate Intelligence Committee's "Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program" (aka the Torture Report) turned the stomachs of many Americans, with its descriptions of human rights abuses, beatings, starvation, kidnapping, and other horrors - all done to people floating in a quasi-POW status. Though released in 2015, there are many instances of CIA torture throughout American history as well. Which American torture conspiracies are the most shocking?
The CIA conspiring to torture people - or at the very least, conspiring to flout human rights conventions - is nothing new. Conflicts since the dawn of the Cold War have been studded with CIA-taught torture techniques, murders, extraditions, and illegal tactics. And the CIA is almost certainly still doing it, under a name and directive that won't be known for years.These CIA torture conspiracies and government torture plots and little-known facts have shocked US citizens over the years. Upvote the most appalling, shocking, and despicable cases of CIA torture below, and be warned, a few are truly nauseating.
The CIA needed somewhere to take all those quasi-combatants it was intent on torturing, hence the need for black sites. These are secret prisons with no real legal definition, usually located in far-flung countries and away from prying eyes. For quite some time, the US wouldn’t acknowledge black sites were even a thing, only admitting to their existence in a 2006 speech by President Bush – because information on them had leaked to the Washington Post.At least 50 sites have been reported in over two dozen countries, along with several dozen more in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some on military and civilian ships. Torture, beatings, waterboarding, and sleep deprivation are all alleged to have taken place at these black sites – and that’s only what’s publicly known.
Stress and Duress
The torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib were so numerous that they spawned a rhyming nickname: “stress and duress.” There were 72 different methods in the stress and duress “matrix,” all of which were illegally used on Iraqis who may not have done anyhing wrong. While US officials first claimed that stress and duress wasn’t actually torture, and therefore, not specifically against the Geneva Convention, those subjected to it would probably disagree.Among the tactics in the stress and duress manual are the use of bright lights or blaring noise, putting blackout hoods on heads for 24 hour periods, exposure to extreme heat and cold, binding in stress positions, stripping, humiliation, and sleep deprivation. All of this was approved at some level by American military personnel and used on people whose status as combatants was unproven, at best.
Latin American Torture Manuals
One of the great scandals of the 1980s was the “torture manuals” fiasco, in which the Baltimore Sun uncovered nearly two decades of CIA handbooks specifically used to teach coercive information gathering methods to Latin American paramilitaries. Among the tactics taught by these manuals, first called KUBARK, then the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual, were electric shocks, truth serum, fear, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement.Among the most prolific US-taught torturers was Honduras’s Battalion 316, which the CIA played a major role in establishing, training, equipping, and financing. Close to 200 Honduran students were tortured, killed, or disappeared by this paramilitary unit before it was closed down by the US.
The CIA’s infamous MKULTRA experiment ran for 20 years, and involved citizens unknowingly being dosed with mind-altering LSD. While the goal of the study was to advance US intelligence and special operations capabilities in mind control, brainwashing, and resisting torture, it failed miserably, producing no actionable results.What’s worse is that it violated every ethical code in any medical book anywhere. At one point half a dozen unknowing subjects were given LSD for 77 days straight, and several deaths are directly attributable to the program.