The CIA has released 50 new documents relating to post-9/11 torture and rendition practices.
On Tuesday the Central Intelligence Agency released 50 new documents which add even more detail to the disturbing use of torture, humiliation, and rendition. The documents depict brutal torture and paint a clear picture of CIA officials desperately working to suppress evidence of their actions. The documents were released in response to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and Vice.
“A newly released CIA inspector general report about the death of detainee Gul Rahman concluded that he was singled out for especially harsh torture because of “pressure” to “break him,” the ACLU writes. Rahman was captured in October 2002 in Islamabad, Pakistan for suspicion of connection to Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, an insurgent group headed by Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and allied with al-Qaida. The CIA interrogators sought to “break” Rahman because he was uncooperative with his torturers, threw food, water bottles, and buckets full of feces at guards. The Associated Press describes his conditions according to the documents:
Rahman was shackled using the “short chain” method. His hands were chained together. His feet were chained together. Then, a short chain was used to shackle his hands to his feet.
“This position forced Rahman, who was naked below the waist to sit on a cold concrete floor and prevented him from standing up,” according to the declassified CIA inspector general’s report about his death.
Rahman was founded dead the next day. According to the report, “a palm-sized pool of dried blood was present in and around the mouth and nose of subject. Rahman was observed still shackled and slumped over in the seated position.” The cause of his death would later be reported as “undetermined;” however, the clinical conclusion found that he died of hypothermia. No one has been charged in death of Gul Rahman.
Documents also reveal that he was held nude or in a diaper for the majority of his detention. When diapers were unavailable the guards made “a handcrafted diaper secured by duct tape.” The tactic was enforced “solely for humiliation.” The guards also provided him with minimal food and sleep. “When they decided he wasn’t sufficiently “broken,” CIA personnel brutalized, starved, and froze him to death — and then lied about it,” the ACLU wrote.
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The ACLU also learned that CIA psychologist Bruce Jessen told officials that Rahman was “resistant” and called for more intense forms of torture. Jessen and his cohorts claimed that Rahman had a “sophisticated level of resistance training.” The ACLU represents Mr. Rahman’s family in suing Jensen and James Mitchell. Both men are former U.S. military psychologists who are seen as the “architects” of the CIA’s torture program. The lawsuit accuses Jessen and Mitchell of operating a “joint criminal enterprise” and seeks compensatory damages of at least $75,000.
The documents make it clear that the practice of waterboarding was employed much more often than CIA officials and U.S. lawmakers would like the public to believe. The CIA’s logical brilliance included assumptions that prisoners who did not provide information must be withholding. Therefore, the less information a prisoner provided the more he would be tortured because “analysts are reluctant to agree that a detainee is not employing resistance techniques.”
The documents also contain newly disclosed sections that CIA officials were cautious about sending CIA detainees who had been tortured “to detention facilities where they would be available to the ICRC [the International Committee for the Red Cross].” The officials worried that prisoners would have an opportunity to tell the world about the torture. This fear led officials to request the attorney general give an advance guarantee not to prosecute any agents for their treatment of prisoners.
In a transcript of a military hearing, prisoner Abu Zubaydah describes the waterboarding treatment he was forced to endure. “They shackle me completely, even my head; I can’t do anything. Like this, and they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water.” Zubaydah said that right before he felt like he would die interrogators stood the board back up and he told them, “If you want to kill me, kill me.”
It seems that the perpetrators of these crimes and their submissive order followers will likely not see prosecution anytime soon. In May, the D.C. Circuit court affirmed a federal judge’s decision to keep the Senate report on CIA torture classified. At the same time the CIA inspector general’s office claims they accidentally deleted their copy of the full report. As new details emerge it becomes crystal clear how low the United States military and intelligence officials are willing to go to pursue “justice.” It’s more important than ever to remind the free hearts and mind of this world the truth about torture, especially in light of presidential candidates who would like to continue the practices.
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Derrick is available for interviews.
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