One of the most important documents of the U.S. torture program has just become publicly available for the first time. This is the JTF GTMO “SERE” Interrogation Standard Operating Procedure, now posted on the website of the new documentary, Torturing Democracy. This document clearly specifies that the abusive interrogation techniques to be used at Guantamo [JTF GTMO] are based upon the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape [SERE] program. The document is notable for its documentation of the extent to which abuse was bureaucratically standardized for routine use.
Both Katherine Eban and Jane Mayer referred to and described the SERE SOP back in the summer of 2007. A bit of it was included in documents released by the Senate Armed Services Committee June 17, 2008. But the bulk of the text remained classified and unavailable until today. An FBI commentary on the SERE SOP has been available since February 2006 at least, in heavily redacted form which obscured the content, but not the existence of the SOP.
Here is the document. It is also available in pdf. [as this was a draft, the formatting was inconsistent. I have corrected some formatting. I have not corrected any typos. Obviously, despite my best efforts at accuracy, this text should be checked against the pdf before citing.]
“FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”
JTF GTMO SERE SOP
10 DECEMBER 2002
JTF GTMO “SERE” INTERROGATION STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE
Subj: GUIDELINES FOR EMPLOYING “SERE” TECHNIQUES DIRING DETAINEE INTERROGATIONS
Ref: (a) FASO DETACHMENT BRUNSWICK INS ‘RUCTION 3305.3D
1. Purpose. This SOP document promulgates procedures to be followed by I I P-GTMO personnel engaged in interrogation operations on detained persons. The premise behind this is that the interrogation tactics used at U.S. military SERE schools are appropriate for use in real-world interrogations. These tactics and techniques are used at SERE school to “break” SERE detainees. The same tactics and techniques can be used to break real detainees during interrogation operations.
The basis for this document is the SOP used at the U.S. Navy SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) school in Brunswick, Maine and is defined by reference (a).
Note that all tactics are strictly non-lethal.
STRICT COMPLIANCE WITH THE GUIDELINES LAID OUT IN THIS DOCUMENT IS MADATORY!
2. Training. All interrogators will undergo training by certified SERE instructors prior to being approved for use of any of the techniques described in this document.
3. Scope. Applicable to military and civilian interrogators assigned to JTF-GTMO, Cuba.
TED K. MOSS