A top interrogation expert at Guantanamo Bay has launched a fierce attack on President Trump’s bid to bring back torture for suspected terrorists.
In an explosive new memoir, Mark Fallon, a retired veteran of the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service, says some interrogation techniques at the infamous detention camp on Cuba were little more than ‘war crimes’.
Mr Fallon was vehemently opposed to the use of mind-bending techniques developed by the CIA under the George W. Bush administration and used at Guantanamo and other ‘black sites’ around the world.
He says torture didn’t work and had made the world less safe since 9/11.
A US Army MP holds down the head of a detainee so he is not identified as the detainee is taken inside one of four Joint Interrogation Facilities at Campa X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay
His book, Unjustifiable Means, identifies officials who advocated the torture, while shining new light on secret internal deliberations.
Mr Fallon claims the Pentagon has attempted to obstruct its publication by taking months to review the manuscripts for unauthorised information.
But the book is finally scheduled to be published later this month, with Mr Fallon set to become an important critic of President Trump’s promise to bring back practices such as waterboarding and ‘load up’ Guantanamo with ‘bad dudes’.
Mr Fallon claims such tactics were ‘illegal, immoral, ineffective and unconstitutional’ and in the early 2000s took his concerns to senior officials including the US Navy’s top lawyer, Alberto Mora, who successfully forced then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld to stop the abuse. However, it was secretly reauthorised in 2003.
Mark Fallon's book is finally scheduled to be published later this month, where he is set to become an important critic of President Trump’s promise to bring back practices such as waterboarding and ‘load up’ Guantanamo with ‘bad dudes’
In the book, Mr Fallon writes: ‘The torturers and their apologists have made a concerted effort to rewrite history and shape the perception of the American public with dubious claims of heroic actions, but there’s nothing heroic about abusing a defenceless human being. Those who committed such acts will have to live with the shame of what they did and the knowledge that their actions undoubtedly cost lives.
‘I was on the inside, in the arena, engaged in an almost daily battle to fulfil my orders not only to bring terrorists to justice but also to treat detainees humanely.
The US Department of Defence of detainees in orange jumpsuits sitting in a holding area at Camp X-Ray at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay
‘I had a duty and did my job, and in the end I couldn’t stop what I could see so clearly happening around me. That’s my failure. But I tried.’
Mr Fallon’s role was to help lead the investigation into the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and track down terror suspects for prosecution in Guantanamo’s new military courts.
Mr Fallon and his team refused to participate in the torture, which he claimed produced ‘useless information and sent investigators ‘down a rabbit hole’ chasing false leads.
He believes it also handed America’s enemies abroad a propaganda tool, aided terrorist recruitment and weakened national security.
Mr Fallon claims that building a rapport with detainees yields infinitely more usable intelligence than ‘beating the s*** out of them – or f*****g with their minds’.
He writes: ‘But tough guys were in charge, the ones with more teeth than ass, and too many of the tough guys hunkered behind their desks in Washington couldn’t get enough of them or their dismal, unproven “science” – with sadly predictable results. Torture ended up making us less safe as a country, not more so.’
By 2009, the CIA and military had reformed their interrogation practices. But the worry now is that such torture camps have a new advocate in Trump.
The President has claimed that torture ‘absolutely works’ and the US should ‘fight fire with fire’.