Nine Years of Nudity in American Detention

It’s just like old times!

… the CIA interrogators also announced they planned to become Zubaydah’s “God.” They reportedly took his clothing as punishment, and reduced his human interaction to a single daily visit in which they would say simply, “You know what I want,” and then leave.

Jane Mayer, The Dark Side

In addition to degradation of the detainee, stripping can be used to demonstrate the omnipotence of the captor or to debilitate the detainee.

JTF-Gitmo SERE SOP, December 10, 2002

Establishing the baseline state is important to demonstrate to the HVD that he has no control over basic human needs. The baseline state also creates in the detainee a mindset in which he learns to perceive and value his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting. The use of conditioning techniques do not generally bring immediate results; rather, it is the cumulative effect of these techniques, used over time and in combination with other interrogation techniques and intelligence exploitation methods, which achieve interrogation objectives. These conditioning techniques require little to no physical interaction between the detainee and the interrogator. The specific interrogation techniques are:

a. Nudity. The HVD’s clothes are taken and he remains nude until the interrogators provide clothes to him.

CIA memo describing combined interrogation techniques, December 30, 2004

Nudity: This technique is used to cause psychological discomfort, particularly if a detainee, for cultural or other reasons, is especially modest. When the technique is employed, clothing can be rewarded as an instant reward for cooperation.

OLC “Techniques” memo, May 10, 2005, withdrawn by Barack Obama

Removal of clothing is different from naked.

Douglas Feith, Testimony before House Judiciary Committee, July 15, 2008

PFC Manning was inexplicably stripped of all clothing by the Quantico Brig. He remained in his cell, naked, for the next seven hours. At 5:00 a.m., the Brig sounded the wake-up call for the detainees. At this point, PFC Manning was forced to stand naked at the front of his cell.

Report from David Coombs on treatment of PFC Bradley Manning, March 3, 2011

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