Interrogation methods used by the United States on prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have increasingly become the center of world attention and criticism.
In several documents disclosed at a Senate Armed Services Committee last month, one in particular revealed that the United States military "training chart" for interrogation of prisoners held at Guantanamo was copied verbatim from the Chinese. The only change made to the chart was to drop its original title.
The 1957 article from which the chart was copied was headed "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War" and was written by Alfred D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the US Air Force, who died in 2003,
Biderman interviewed US prisoners returning from North Korea, some of whom were filmed by their Chinese interrogators confessing to germ warfare and other atrocities.
The orchestrated confessions led to allegations the US prisoners were "brainwashed", and prompted the US military to revamp its training to give its personnel a taste of the harsh methods to inoculate them against quick capitulation if captured, the paper said.
In 2002, the training program, known as SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, became a source of interrogation methods for the CIA and the US military. In what critics describe as a remarkable case of historical amnesia, the officials who drew on the SERE program appear to have been unaware it was created as a result of concerns about false confessions by US prisoners.
Democrat senator Carl Levin, of Michigan, chairman of the armed services committee, told the paper after reviewing the 1957 article that "every American would be shocked" by the origin of the interrogation chart.
"What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions," Senator Levin said.
"People say we need intelligence, and we do. But we don't need false intelligence."