THE VIETNAM WAR.
Con Son Prison in South Vietnam was located far out in the South China Sea. It was the largest South Vietnamese prison for 9,600 non-combatants. Throughout the war, United States officials claimed the cages did not exist. Frank E. Walton, Director of the United States Public Safety Program Vietnam said about Con Son Prison: “This place is more like a Boy Scout Recreational Camp.” (Edward S. Herman, Atrocities In Vietnam)
The prisoners at Con Son were incarcerated in tiger cages were deep, dank concrete pits, four by nine feet; each held three to five prisoners. Steel grates covered the top of each pit. Prisoners lay shackled to the concrete floors where they were beaten by guards. A bucket of lime was kept above the prisoners’ cages, and guards occasionally would throw it onto them as a form of sanitary torture. After months of internment, prisoners would lose the use of their legs, develop tuberculosis, gangrenous feet, and life threatening dysentery. (Edward S. Herman, Atrocities In Vietnam)
THE VIETNAM TRAINING MANUAL. On January 28, 1997, the CIA declassified documents that confirmed the agency had taught mental torture and coercion techniques to at least five Latin American security forces in the early 1980s. The documents also alleged to have “repudiated” such training in 1985. (One Wold News Service, W.E.Gutman, June 1997)
The CIA also declassified a Vietnam-era training manual called “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation -- July 1963.” The manual taught torture, allowing agents to be free to use coercion during interrogation. Approval from headquarters was required if the interrogation is to include bodily harm or “if medical, chemical or electrical methods or materials are to be used to induce acquiescence.” (Gary Cohn, Ginger Thompson, and Mark Matthews, The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1997)
KUBARK included a list of interrogation techniques, including threats, fear, “debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis (use of drugs), and induced regression.” It described the effectiveness of arresting suspects early in the morning, keeping prisoners blindfolded, and taking away their clothes. (Gary Cohn, Ginger Thompson, and Mark Matthews, The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1997)
A passage on preparing for an interrogation read: “If a new safehouse is to be used as the interrogation site, it should be studied carefully to be sure that the total environment can be manipulated as desired. For example, the electric current should be known in advance, so that transformers or other modifying devices will be on hand if needed.” (Gary Cohn, Ginger Thompson, and Mark Matthews, The Baltimore Sun, January 27, 1997)
The CIA also administered hallucinogenic drugs while interrogating some of the suspects. In one experiment, three prisoners were given an anesthetic and their skulls were opened. Doctors placed electrodes in different parts of their brains and were observed by CIA psychiatrists who hoped that they would attack one another. The experiment failed; the electrodes were removed and used for subsequent tests; and the prisoners were shot and their bodies were burned.
Operation Phoenix. In the mid-1960s, the CIA developed the Phoenix Program under agents Shackley and Clines, who had been operating in Laos to destabilize that government in the 1960s. CIA chief William Colby admitted that between 1968 and 1971 the United States with the aid of the South Vietnam government killed 20,587 suspects who were believed to have cooperated with the National Liberation Front (NLF) and Viet Cong. The South Vietnamese government credited the Phoenix Program with killing 40,994 suspects.
According to the official United States report, the intelligence-military-police (US-GVN) stated that they had succeeded in "neutralizing" some "84,000 Viet Cong infrastructure" with 21,000 killed. Local officials decided to kill 80 percent of the suspects, but American advisers convinced them to publicly state that only 50 percent had been killed. A United States intelligence adviser stated that when he arrived in the Mekong Delta, he was given a list of 200 names of people to be killed. When he left six months later, 260 had been killed. However, none of the suspects, whom he had named, was on that list.
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