9-11 Narco-Interrogation & Torture

From: Matthew Gaylor (freematt@coil.com)
Date: Fri Oct 26 2001 - 09:06:40 MDT

From: "Richard Glen Boire" <rgb@cognitiveliberty.org>
To: <freematt@coil.com>
Subject: 9-11 Narco-Interrogation & Torture
Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 10:19:01 -0700

Hi Matt -

Below is the CCLE response to information in the Washington Post
indicating that the FBI is considering using torture and
mind-altering drugs to get the 9-11 detainees to talk. Please forward
to your list. (Sources with URLS are given at the bottom.)

This press release can be accessed on the Internet at:

--Richard Glen Boire
Executive Director
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE)

October 25, 2001

Drugging or Torture of 9-11 Suspects Breaks Constitution, Law, and Treaties

Amidst reports that the FBI is considering the use of forced drugging
and even torture to make suspects in the September 11 attacks divulge
information, the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE) is
calling on the FBI and other government agencies involved in the
investigation to respect US and International law, which strictly
forbids such invasive and brutal police tactics.
The Washington Post reported on Sunday that in an effort to extract
information from the detainees, FBI and Justice Department
investigators are considering using drugs or pressure tactics, such
as those employed occasionally by Israeli interrogators, to extract
information. Another idea is extraditing the suspects to allied
countries where security services sometimes employ threats to family
members or resort to torture. (Walter Pincus, "Silence of 4 Terror
Probe Suspects Poses Dilemma", Washington Post, Sunday, October 21,
2001; Page A06)

"The use of torture or physical intimidation to force a suspect to
reveal information is a clear violation of US and International law"
says Attorney Richard Glen Boire, Executive Director of the Center
for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics. The Fifth Amendment to the US
Constitution guarantees that no person shall be compelled in any
criminal case to be a witness against himself, and protects all
people on US soil, whether citizens or not. Torturing a person in
order to extract a confession is inherently coercive and renders any
subsequent statements compelled, involuntary, unreliable, and wholly

Invoking the Fifth Amendment, some of the 9-11 detainees have
asserted their constitutional right to remain silent, refusing to
speak with investigators. It's deeply disturbing, says Boire, that
the act of asserting the constitutional right to remain silent is
what is provoking the authorities to consider resorting to torture
and drugging.

Numerous international conventions prohibit the use of torture as an
intelligence gathering technique. Article 5 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and article 7 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both provide that no one
shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.

Likewise the International Convention against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Convention
Against Torture), prohibits any act by which severe pain or
suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on
a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person
information or a confession.

The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics is particularly disturbed
by reports that FBI agents may try and skirt US and international
prohibitions on physical torture by instead interrogating the
suspects after forcefully administering them mind-altering drugs. The
Washington Post article quoted a former senior FBI official with a
background in counter terrorism who distinguished the forced use of
"truth serum" from beating a guy till he is senseless.
When the United States ratified the Convention Against Torture on
October 21, 1994, it expressly acknowledged that torture includes the
administration or application, or threatened administration or
application, of mind altering substances or other procedures
calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality.

The bar on torture and forced drugging under the Convention Against
Torture does not have a war time’ or suspected terrorist’ exemption,
comments Boire, adding that Article 2 of the Convention states "No
exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a
threat of war, internal political in stability or any other public
emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."

The prospect of US law enforcement agents interrogating a person
after injecting that person with a mind-altering drug is terrifying
and grossly unconstitutional, says Boire. Under the Fifth Amendment
there is no distinction between the use of physical force to obtain a
statement and the compelled administration of a mind-altering drug to
obtain a statement. Both techniques, notes Boire violate the firmly
embedded constitutional guarantee against coerced confessions in
which a suspect's will is overborne’ or the confession was not the
product of a rational intellect and a free will.

Condemning the use of drug-induced confessions, the US Supreme Court
has stated, "It is difficult to imagine a situation in which a
confession would be less the product of a free intellect, less
voluntary, than when brought about by a drug having the effect of a
"truth serum." (Townsend v. Sain (1963) 372 U.S. 293.) In another
case, the Supreme Court cautioned, "the blood of the accused is not
the only hallmark of an unconstitutional inquisition." (Blackburn v.
Alabama (1960) 361 U.S. 199, quoted in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384
U.S. 436.)
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics calls upon federal
authorities to respect the fundamental rights that are enshrined in
the US Constitution and in the international conventions protecting
human rights and prohibiting government-endorsed torture and mind
manipulation. Under no circumstances are US government agents
permitted to coerce statements through the use of physical
intimidation or the forceful administration of mind-altering drugs.
Use of such barbaric interrogation techniques is unlawful, says Boire
, violates the basic human right to physical and mental autonomy,
vitiates the presumption of innocence, and runs counter to the most
fundamental and cherished of American freedoms and constitutional

For More Information:
Ms. Zara Gelsey
CCLE, Director of Communications
Telephone & Fax: 530-750-7912
E-mail: zara@cognitiveliberty.org

This press release can be accessed on the Internet at:

Washington Post Article

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Convention Against Torture <http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/h_cat39.htm>

US ratification of Convention Against Torture

About the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE)
The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics is a nonpartisan, nonprofit
501(c)(3), law and policy center working in the public interest to
protect fundamental civil liberties. The Center seeks to foster
cognitive liberty – the basic human right to unrestrained independent
thinking, including the right to control one's own mental processes
and to experience the full spectrum of possible thought.

Subscribe to Freematt's Alerts: Pro-Individual Rights Issues
Send a blank message to: freematt@coil.com with the words subscribe FA
on the subject line. List is private and moderated (7-30 messages per week)
Matthew Gaylor, (614) 313-5722 ICQ: 106212065 Archived at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:16 MDT