Is the Bush Administration slipping hallucinogenics into TPMuckraker's water?
...or is this lunacy all-natural?
By Moe Lane Posted in National Security — Comments (25) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
We have here a breathless sort of title: Is U.S. Government [sic] Using LSD for Interrogations?
In a new court filing on behalf of alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla, his lawyers allege that government interrogators forced him to take LSD, Gerstein reported.
"Additionally, Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations," he quotes the filing.
There's a long answer and a short answer to that question-title. Short answer: Umm, no.
Longer answer past the fold.
I should be kinder. Rood admits in the next paragraph:
Now, There are some important details that aren't explained: Padilla's lawyers don't say what effects the prisoner reported to make them conclude it was LSD or PCP, nor do they report how many times such a drug or drugs were administered. And as any self-respecting child of the D.A.R.E era knows, LSD and PCP typically produce wildly different behavior (neither of which is particularly helpful if you're trying to get information out of someone).
...then again, he then goes right off into the happy land where anything may be believed of the Bush Administration, the CIA, the United States Navy or anybody else ever gifted with the title 'Them', so perhaps I shouldn't be kinder, either.
Let me explain, for those who are currently getting over a bout of BDS themselves: you do not give a prisoner PCP, particularly when it comes to interrogations. This is one of those little rules in life, like "Do not randomly skin and wear other people's pets" or "Chainsaws are for yard work, not dentistry" or "Don't hit a man in the head with your bare fist unless you're naked and your feet are nailed to the floor*." Let the National Institute on Drug Abuse explain why:
PCP is addictive—its repeated abuse can lead to craving and compulsive PCP-seeking behavior. First introduced as a street drug in the 1960s, PCP quickly gained a reputation as a drug that could cause bad reactions and was not worth the risk. After abusing PCP once, many people will not knowingly abuse it again. Others attribute their continued abuse to feelings of strength, power, invulnerability, and a numbing effect on the mind.
Many PCP abusers are brought to emergency rooms because of PCP overdose or because of the drug's unpleasant psychological effects. In a hospital or detention setting, these people often become violent or suicidal and are very dangerous to themselves and others. They should be kept in a calm setting and not be left alone.
At low to moderate doses, physiological effects of PCP include a slight increase in breathing rate and a pronounced rise in blood pressure and pulse rate. Breathing becomes shallow, and flushing and profuse sweating occur. Generalized numbness of the extremities and loss of muscular coordination also may occur.
At high doses of PCP, blood pressure, pulse rate, and respiration drop. This may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, flicking up and down of the eyes, drooling, loss of balance, and dizziness. High doses of PCP can also cause seizures, coma, and death (though death more often results from accidental injury or suicide during PCP intoxication). High doses can cause symptoms that mimic schizophrenia, such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disordered thinking, a sensation of distance from one's environment, and catatonia. Speech is often sparse and garbled.
[Bolded parts are those sections that make PCP/angel dust particularly unsuitable for a truth serum.]
In other words, this is not a 'truth serum'; this is a 'pick up the chair and smash people with it serum'. Trust me, the Navy knows the difference. As for LSD, the same source:
The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken; the user's personality, mood, and expectations; and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.
Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The user’s sense of time and self changes. Sensations may seem to "cross over," giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.
Users refer to their experience with LSD as a "trip" and to acute adverse reactions as a "bad trip." These experiences are long; typically they begin to clear after about 12 hours.
Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death, and despair while using LSD. Some fatal accidents have occurred during states of LSD intoxication.
On the surface, more reasonable an interrogation drug, yes? Good for putting somebody off balance, as it were. Except that it's a bloody hallucinogen, which means that you can't actually rely on any information that you get from the person once he's off-balance. Also note that, like PCP, LSD handily mucks up a polygraph and visual cues. Hard to measure sweat and heart rate if the subject varies wildly on it from second to second. Not to mention how its hard to do an interrogation when the room is suddenly full of what look like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the table...
It's a Hunter S. Thompson reference.
OK, I'm aware that this sort of thing is all too credible to those of us - excuse me; those of you - who hold the belief that the Bush Administration is the sum total of human evil in the universe. I'm pretty sure that the folks who 'merely' equate American counterterrorist interrogation techniques with, say, pre-liberation Iraqi rape/murder rooms are equally credulous when it comes to this sort of thing. Your privilege, folks. But stuff like the TPMuckraker article is just silly, and unless you've got funny brain chemistry, it's preventable silliness. Get a grip.
I mean, come on. Angel dust? Angel dust? That just makes you look dumb.
*SM Stirling's rule of thumb, and it's a darned good one.