New CIA Documents Reveal More Horrors of President Bush’s Torture Program

cia_2By Nadia Prupis

The CIA on Tuesday released dozens of documents detailing its torture and rendition program under the Bush administration, from the horrific treatment of detainees to the agency’s 2002 plan to ask the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) not to prosecute interrogators.

The heavily redacted trove of more than 50 documents was published in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the ACLU last year, which sought records referenced in the U.S. Senate’s damning report on the CIA’s program—commonly referred to as the torture report—released in December 2014.

“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,” Jameel Jaffer, ACLU deputy legal director, said Tuesday. “It bears emphasis that these records document grave crimes for which no senior official has been held accountable.”

Among the cases outlined in the documents is that of 34-year-old Gul Rahman, who was detained by the CIA in 2002 on suspicion of being an al Qaeda operative and who froze to death in one of the agency’s secret prisons in Afghanistan. During his captivity in November 2002, Rahman was beaten, doused with cold water, and left shackled in a cold cell, naked from the waist down.

The documents detail Rahman’s apparent resistance to the torture, including “[remaining] steadfast in outright denials” and “[complaining] about the violation of his human rights.”

Dror Ladin, a staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, said the details show that “Rahman was brutalized in part because his torturers decided that complaining about his torture was a form of resistance and he needed to be ‘broken.'”

The torture program’s architects, CIA-contracted psychologists James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, are currently facing a lawsuit from Rahman’s family.

Elsewhere in the files is a draft letter (pdf) prepared by a CIA official for then-Attorney General John Ashcroft that requested the DOJ agree in advance to shield officials involved in the torture program from legal action by federal prosecutors. The request concerned interrogators involved in the torture of “ghost prisoner” Abu Zubaydah, who was abducted in Pakistan and transferred to U.S. authorities in 2002 and has remained at the Guantánamo Bay military prison since 2006 without trial.

The letter reads:

Nonetheless, the interrogation team has now concluded…that the use of more aggressive methods is required to persuade Abu Zubaydah to provide critical information we need to safeguard the lives of innumerable innocent men, women, and children in the United States and abroad. These methods include certain activities that normally would appear to be prohibited [….] I respectfully request that you grant a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution.

Rights groups condemned the details found in the documents, which also included the CIA’s concerns that tortured detainees should be prevented from seeing representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for the rest of their lives.

“We’re seeing just how much Mitchell, Jessen, and their CIA co-conspirators knew that what they were doing was wrong and illegal. They talked about seeking a get-out-of-jail-free card for torturing people, and then discussed how to make sure their victims were silenced forever, even if they survived their torture,” Ladin said.

The documents also redacted nearly all mention of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services, which was ostensibly in charge of detainees’ care.

Physicians for Human Rights medical director Dr. Vincent Iacopino added,

We continue to be stunned by the CIA’s audacity in suppressing all details related to the role medical officials played in the agency’s brutal torture program….This wholesale redaction is part of the CIA’s pattern of concealing evidence of its crimes, and it suggests U.S. government officials are still trying to avoid any and all liability for torturing detainees.

Top image caption: “These records document grave crimes for which no senior official has been held accountable.” (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Nadia Prupis writes for CommonDreams.org, where this article first appeared.


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6 Comments on "New CIA Documents Reveal More Horrors of President Bush’s Torture Program"

  1. per sigurd hansen | June 16, 2016 at 3:51 am | Reply

    let the families of the victims and victims them self decide what punishment is due to these NWO serfs, i hope they get what they deserve from the top down.

  2. What a disgusting nation of psychopaths and sycophants we have become. The “good germans” had nothing on us.

    • ” The “good germans” had nothing on us” Agree. in reality, if one looks closer, they will find the U.S. was already proctoring the obscenities in science they “framed” Hitler for. From the mid 19th century forward, “Sewer Nation” has become as adept at “dodging the bullet” for their horrors upon the world as “The Synagogue” is. Look at the corporate “muscleman” known as the CIA. These scum have been attributed with more than 6,000,000 murders around the globe, (conservative estimates by apolitical int’l human rights organizations), add to this their more than 500 military actions in it’s rather short life span, +/- 800 combat ready military bases in over 100 nations making certain their corporate owners have a “captive audience” in foreign markets, banking, (Central Banks have infected all but 4 or 5 small nations thanks to the efforts/evil of Sewer Nation/idiot culture). This isn’t anything new. U.S. grant himself wore a mantle of self imposed guilt for his participation in the theft of territory by the U.S. from Mexico when they, (U.S.) literally forced Mexico into the war. they used the same treachery against the Philippines to gain it as a “serf nation” mostly to help their corporate masters avoid tariffs on sugar, (ACCURATE estimates of the number slaughtered run to +/- half a million souls). To paraphrase, it was the worst case he had seen of a stronger nation “bullying” a weaker one to attain it’s geopolitical goals.

      • Unfortunately, the U.S. government’s history of theft, genocide, and treachery–even against its own citizens–is long and sordid. The good news is that more people seem to be catching on to the lies. There may be some hope after all.

  3. Wow, Beautifully and accurately said. Thank you.

  4. And to think, all of this based on the phony 9-11.

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