"The military trainers who came to Guantanamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of 'coercive management techniques' for possible use on prisoners, including 'sleep deprivation,' 'prolonged constraint,' and 'exposure'," The New York Times reported. "What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners. "The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence Agency." Writing for The Jamestown Foundation, Chris Zambelis said: "Radical Islamist discourse highlighting the scourge of authoritarianism in the Middle East takes on many forms. One subject in particular, however, receives a great deal of attention in militant literature, communiquÈs, and discussions on radical Islamist chat room forums: The practice of systematic torture by the ruling regimes, especially that which occurs in prisons. Brutal and humiliating forms of torture are common instruments of control and coercion by the security services in police states intent on rooting out all forms of dissent. Previously the domain of human rights activists, researchers investigating the many pathways toward radicalization in the Middle East are increasingly considering the impact of torture and other abuses at the hands of the state during periods of incarceration in an effort to better understand the psychology of the radicalization process. Many researchers see these kinds of experiences as formative in the path toward violent radicalization." The journalist Christopher Hitchens decided to find out by having it applied to himself whether "waterboarding," perhaps the most infamous of the American interrogation techniques used, should be described as a form of torture. His conclusion in an account that appeared in Vanity Fair: "if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture."
"Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm Mike Mullen, who was in Israel over the weekend, issued a strong warning today about the dangers of a military attack on Iran," ABC News reported. "At a Pentagon press conference, Mullen was asked, 'How concerned are you ... that Israel may undertake a unilateral strike against Iran by the end of the year?' "'My strong preference, here, is to handle all of this diplomatically with the other powers of governments, ours and many others, as opposed to any kind of strike occurring,' he answered. 'This is a very unstable part of the world. And I don't need it to be more unstable.'" AFP reported: "Any military attack on Iran would have a 'catastrophic' effect on the Middle East, a Russian foreign ministry official said Wednesday after reports that Israel might launch such an attack. "'All this is very dangerous. If force is used it will be catastrophic for the whole Middle East,' the official told journalists on condition of anonymity. "The official also said Iran was 'ready to look seriously at proposals' presented on June 14 by six world powers aimed at getting the Islamic republic to suspend uranium enrichment. He called Iran's attitude a 'positive signal'." Israeli commentator, Alex Fishman, said that it was the Bush administration itself that had been using the threat of an Israeli attack on Iran as a scare tactic. "The Americans and Europeans are engaged in secret talks with Tehran parallel to the sanctions. And when the time comes to pull out the weapon of military madness, what's more convenient than Israel? The message is clear: Give up your nuclear ambitions and you shall receive plenty of good things. Yet keep in mind that we are holding back those crazy Israelis, and we cannot keep on restraining them for long. "For Iran, Israel is an unpredictable, insane, and irresponsible country that possesses nuclear weapons, disregards international law, and does not hesitate to attack nuclear reactors. Therefore, the Israeli Air Force has become the threat hovering above Ahmadinejad's head. "Israel is also an excellent weapon vis-?-vis the Russians, Chinese, and others who are still hesitating on the Iranian question: The Israelis may end up bombing Iran and stirring up the entire fundamentalist world. If you don't help us solve the Iranian problem, we cannot restrain them for long, and then we shall all be in trouble. It is better to press the Iranians and make the Israelis give up on the military option, which they are not hiding." The indications from Iran have been that it does not regard the Israeli threat as credible. Even so, there have been new indications that a diplomatic stalemate might be resolved. For The Washington Post, Robin Wright reported: "Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tuesday that prospects for a military attack by either the United States or Israel on the Islamic republic before the end of the Bush administration are 'almost nil,' and he dismissed a recent Israeli military exercise and warnings from Washington as 'psychological warfare.' "'Even at the peak of the psychological warfare, we were saying that we don't believe that this war will happen,' Mottaki said. 'It's one thing to say whether such an act is plausible, which we wouldn't negate. What we negate is the chance that such a desire to go to war will be met,' in part because US public opinion is opposed to another war. "In a long interview with American journalists, Iran's top diplomat also indicated a readiness to negotiate a US-backed proposal to end the standoff over Iran's nuclear program. Iran is 'seriously and carefully examining' it, Mottaki said." CNN reported that Mr Mottaki: "said his government might consider [an] American idea of opening a US diplomatic outpost in Tehran - comments coming amid possible progress in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. "'Contacts between Iranians and the American people will be a useful step for better understanding of the two nations,' Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency... "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has approved studying the idea of putting US diplomats in an 'interests section' that would be hosted by a third party's embassy in Iran's capital. However, State Department officials note that the idea is very preliminary and not anywhere near fruition." The New York Times said: "Mr Mottaki's appearance at the Iranian [UN] Mission was notable more for what he did not say than for what he did. He repeatedly refused to reassert that Iran had a right to enrich uranium, and said that Iran would soon respond to a new package of incentives offered by the six world powers that have been negotiating to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions. "When asked whether it would be possible for Iran to begin talks with the six powers and then put the issue of negotiating a freeze in uranium enrichment, a key demand of the West, on the table, Mr Mottaki said: 'It is possible to write that the foreign minister did not make a comment on the question of enrichment. We saw potential for the beginning of a new round of talks'." In a commentary for The Christian Science Monitor, Shlomo Ben-Ami and Trita Parsi argued that: "Any serious effort to address the Iranian challenge must recognize the true nature of the conflict. There is nothing apocalyptic about the nuclear stand-off or the Israeli-Iranian rivalry. Rather, these are strategically driven conflicts that can be managed and even resolved through the appropriate level of diplomacy. "A give and take is needed between Iran and Israel in which Iran must end its support for violent groups and acknowledge Israel's legitimate security concerns. Israel and the US must accommodate an Iranian role commensurate with its geopolitical weight and use Iran's inclusion into regional political and economic structures to tame Iran's revolutionary impulses."