Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Newly released documents give more information on CIA torture techniques

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has released 50 documents giving details of its brutal interrogation and torture techniques used on terror suspects after 9/11.

The documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The CIA used interrogation techniques that President Obama has called "torture" but the CIA refers to either as "expanded interrogation" or "enhanced interrogation techniques." Under "Description of Pressures" are discussed facial slaps, use of diapers, "insects" and "mock burial." Under insects there is the suggestion to use the threat of stinging insects being placed within a confined box with suspects but non-stinging insects would be released. In the "mock burial" the suspect was placed in a cramped confinement box resembling a coffin but the box had hidden air holes to prevent suffocation.
One much redacted communique sent on August 12, 2002, warned employees about using speculative language as to the legality of their activities or making judgement calls about their legality. One CIA official wrote in an email that the interrogation program was a train wreck waiting to happen and he was getting off the train before the crash. A Senate torture investigation in 2014 had made much of the information public earlier.
One document shows that even President Bush showed concern about the processes. A memo dated June 7, 2006, said that Porter Goss then director of the CIA said that Bush "was concerned about the image of a detainee chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper and forced to go to the bathroom on themselves". While CIA officers and others acting on behalf of the CIA were warned only to use permissible techniques that included waterboarding and forcing detainees to wear adult diapers for purposes of "humiliation".
The documents also confirm the torture of German citizen Khalid Al-Masri who was mistakenly abducted in Macedonia and then rendered to Afghanistan where he was detained for over four months. He was held even after it had been determined he was innocent. He had been tortured during his internment. Before the Senate torture report, the CIA had denied that the US had any role in the affair. The CIA flew El-Masri out of Afghanistan and released him at night on a desolate road in Albania. Albanian guards found him. They believed he might be a terrorist because of his unkempt condition. He was returned to Germany. El-Masri was so disoriented he thought that the release was a ruse and he would be executed. Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director said:"These newly declassified records add new detail to the public record of the CIA's torture program and underscore the cruelty of the methods the agency used in its secret, overseas black sites,"
One portion of the documents deal with Gul Rahman who died from hypothermia at a secret CIA prison in 2002. The family of Rahman is now suing CIA-contracted psychologists James Mitchell and John Jesse who helped design the torture program. The Wikipedia entry on Rahman says: Gul Rahman (died 20 November 2002) was a suspected Afghan militant and torture victim. He died in a secret CIA prison, or black site, located in northern Kabul, Afghanistan and known as the Salt Pit.[1][2] He had been captured October 29, 2002.[3][4]His name was kept secret by the United States for more than seven years although his death was announced. In 2010 the Associated Press reported that before his death he was left half-stripped and chained against a concrete wall on a night when the temperature was close to freezing.[3] The United States government did not notify his family (wife and four daughters) of his death, according to the report.[3]
Another report shows that Zubaydah Abu Zubaydah who was waterboarded 83 times was probably willing to cooperate with his captors according to medical personnel who were involved. Zubaydah said he made up fake terrorist plots in an attempt to make the torture stop. As noted in the Wikipedia entry on Zubaydah he was subject to other torture than waterboarding and lost an eye while in custody:During the time in CIA custody Zubaydah was extensively interrogated; he was water-boarded 83 times[2] and subjected to numerous other torture techniques including forced nudity, sleep deprivation, confinement in small dark boxes, deprivation of solid food, stress positions, and physical assaults. While in CIA custody, Zubaydah lost his left eye.[3] Videotapes of some of Zubaydah's interrogations are amongst those destroyed by the CIA in 2005.[4][5][6][7]
Zubaydah was arrested in 2002 and is still being held in Guantanamo. CIA interrogators apparently apologized to him as they found out he was not a senior figure in Al-Qaeda as they thought but probably a minor "fixer" whose role was to arrange transportation to training camps for militants in Pakistan.
At a military hearing in Guantanamo Zubaydah said that the interrogators said that they were sorry they made a big mistake. He said that during custody he was beaten, prevented from using the bathroom for up to 36 hours. He testified: “They didn’t care that I almost died from these injuries. Doctors told me that I nearly died four times.” His case is mentioned in the accompanying video. Tapes of interrogation videos have been destroyed.

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