See Inside The Declassified C.I.A. Torture Manual From The Cold War

Published July 13, 2017
Updated December 28, 2018
Interrogation Introduction
Morality Cia Torture
Legality Of Torture
Exerting Control
See Inside The Declassified C.I.A. Torture Manual From The Cold War
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The C.I.A. has a long history of violating human rights and generally doing just about whatever they want in order to achieve their goals. And one of the most egregious examples of the C.I.A.'s disregard for human rights comes in the form of 1963's KUBARK handbook.

This manual explains how to carry out what the C.I.A. euphemistically refers to as "counterintelligence interrogation," but would more accurately be described as torture.

In service of carrying out these interrogations, the C.I.A. details exactly what methods of physical and mental torture can be used to coerce information or confessions out of unwilling prisoners.

After compiling these methods in the original handbook and then updating them in a similar handbook in 1983, the C.I.A. then disseminated these two manuals to Western-aligned dictators in South America throughout the 1980s, to use however they pleased. The C.I.A. also worked directly with many of these dictatorships, training their "interrogators" and bringing their techniques to America's Cold War allies around the globe.

Even after the Cold War, despite efforts by the Department of Defense to soften some of the handbooks' language, the tactics outlined in this handbook inspired many of the torture methods used by Americans at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay during the War on Terror.

Above, you'll find some of the most interesting excerpts from this infamous document.


For more information on covert U.S. intelligence operations, read about the FBI's COINTELPRO, which targeted American political organizations in the 1950s and 1960s. Then, read up on the four most sinister CIA programs ever conducted.

author
Gabe Paoletti
author
Gabe Paoletti is a New York City-based writer and a former Editorial Intern at All That's Interesting. He holds a Bachelor's in English from Fordham University.
editor
John Kuroski
editor
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Paoletti, Gabe. "See Inside The Declassified C.I.A. Torture Manual From The Cold War." AllThatsInteresting.com, July 13, 2017, https://allthatsinteresting.com/cia-torture-kubark. Accessed May 27, 2024.