Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA's prisons
In military terminology, a black site is a location at which an unacknowledgedblack project is conducted. Recently, the term has gained notoriety in describing secret prisons operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), generally outside of U.S. territory and legaljurisdiction. It can refer to the facilities that are controlled by the CIA and used by the U.S. government in its War on Terror to detain alleged unlawful enemy combatants.
U.S. President George W. Bush acknowledged the existence of secret prisons operated by the CIA during a speech on September 6, 2006. A claim that the black sites existed was made by The Washington Post in November 2005 and before this by human rights NGOs (non-governmental organizations).
Many European countries have officially denied they are hosting black sites to imprison suspects or cooperating in the U.S. extraordinary rendition program. After denying the fact for years, Poland confirmed in 2014 that it has hosted black sites. However, a European Union (EU) report adopted on February 14, 2007, by a majority of the European Parliament (382 MEPs voting in favor, 256 against and 74 abstaining) stated the CIA operated 1,245 flights and that it was not possible to contradict evidence or suggestions that secret detention centers were operated in Poland and Romania.
In January 2012, Poland's Prosecutor General's office initiated investigative proceedings against Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the former Polish intelligence chief. Siemiątkowski is charged with facilitating the alleged CIA detention operation in Poland, where foreign suspects may have been tortured in the context of the War on Terror. The possible involvement of Leszek Miller, Poland's Prime Minister in 2001-2004, is also considered.
Black sites operated by the U.S. government and its surrogates were first officially acknowledged by U.S. President George W. Bush in the fall of 2006. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported details of black site practices to the U.S. government in early 2007, and the contents of that report became public in March, 2009.
In January 2012, Poland's Prosecutor General's office initiated investigative proceedings against Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the former Polish intelligence chief. Siemiątkowski is charged with facilitating the alleged CIA detention operation in Poland, where foreign suspects may have been tortured in the context of the War on Terror. The alleged constitutional and international law trespasses took place when Leszek Miller, presently member of parliament and leader of the Democratic Left Alliance, was Prime Minister (2001–2004), and he may also be subjected to future legal action (a trial before the State Tribunal of the Republic of Poland).
The future robustness of the highly secret investigation, in progress since 2008, may however be in some doubt. According to the leading Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, soon after Siemiątkowski was charged by the prosecutors in Warsaw, the case was transferred and is now expected to be handled by a different prosecutorial team in Cracow. The United States authorities have refused to cooperate with the investigation and the turning over of the relevant documents to the prosecution by the unwilling Intelligence Agency was forced only after the statutory intervention of the First President of the Supreme Court of Poland.
Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri are said to have been held and subjected to physical punishments at the Stare Kiejkuty intelligence base in northeastern Poland.
Torture The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) inspected the camp in June 2004. In a confidential report issued in July 2004 and leaked to The New York Times in November 2004, Red Cross inspectors accused the U.S. military of using "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions" against prisoners. The inspectors concluded that "the construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture." The United States Government reportedly rejected the Red Cross findings at the time.
On 30 November 2004, The New York Times published excerpts from an internal memo leaked from the U.S. administration, referring to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC reports of several activities that, it said, were "tantamount to torture": exposure to loud noise or music, prolonged extreme temperatures, or beatings. It also reported that a Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT), also called 'Biscuit,' and military physicians communicated confidential medical information to the interrogation teams (weaknesses, phobias, etc.), resulting in the prisoners losing confidence in their medical care.
The ICRC's access to the base was conditioned, as is normal for ICRC humanitarian operations, on the confidentiality of their report. Following leaking of the U.S. memo, some in the ICRC wanted to make their report public or confront the U.S. administration. The newspaper said the administration and the Pentagon had seen the ICRC report in July 2004 but rejected its findings. The story was originally reported in several newspapers, including The Guardian, and the ICRC reacted to the article when the report was leaked in May.
According to a 21 June 2005, New York Times opinion article, on 29 July 2004, an FBI agent was quoted as saying, "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times, they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more." Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who headed the probe into FBI accounts of abuse of Guantánamo prisoners by Defense Department personnel, concluded the man (a Saudi, described as the "20th hijacker") was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" by "the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations." The techniques used were authorized by the Pentagon, he said.
Many of the released prisoners have complained of enduring beatings, sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint in uncomfortable positions, prolonged hooding, sexual and cultural humiliation, forced injections, and other physical and psychological mistreatment during their detention in Camp Delta.
In 2004 Spc. Sean Baker, a soldier posing as a prisoner during training exercises at the camp, was beaten so severely that he suffered abrain injury and seizures. In June 2004, The New York Times reported that of the nearly 600 detainees, not more than two dozen were closely linked to al-Qaeda and that only very limited information could have been received from questionings. In 2006 the only top terrorist is reportedly Mohammed al Qahtani from Saudi Arabia, who is believed to have planned to participate in the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Mohammed al-Qahtani, nicknamed the "20th hijacker of 9/11" was refused entry at Orlando, Florida Airport, which stopped him from his plan to take part in the 9/11 attacks. During his Guantánamo interrogations, he was given 3 1/2 bags IV fluid, then he was forbidden to use the toilet, forcing him to soil himself. Some accounts of the treatment he received are as follows: Water is poured over the detainee. Interrogations start at Midnight, and last 12 hours. When he falls asleep, he is woken up by American pop music and water. Female personnel tries to humiliate and upset him, which is successful. A military dog is used to intimidate him. The soldiers play the American anthem and force him to salute. They stick pictures of 9/11 victims to him. He is forced to bark like a dog and his beard and hair are shaved. He is stripped nude. Fake menstrual blood is smeared at him and he is forced to wear a women's bra. Some of the abuses were documented in 2005, when the Interrogation Log of al-Qathani "Detainee 063" was partially published.
The Washington Post, in an 8 May 2004 article, described a set of interrogation techniques approved for use in interrogating alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, characterized them as cruel and inhumane treatment illegal under the U.S. Constitution. On 15 June, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, commander at Abu Ghraib in Iraq during the prisoner abuse scandal, said she was told from the top to treat detainees like dogs "as it is done in Guantánamo [Camp Delta]." The former commander of Camp X-Ray, Geoffrey Miller, had led the inquiry into the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq during the Allied occupation. Ex-detainees of the Guantanamo Camp have made serious allegations, including alleging Geoffrey Miller's complicity in abuse at Camp X-Ray.
The book, Inside the Wire by Erik Saar and Viveca Novak, claims the abuse of prisoners. Saar, a former U.S. soldier at Guantánamo, repeated allegations that a female interrogator taunted prisoners sexually and in one instance wiped what seemed to be menstrual blood on the detainee. Other instances of beatings by the immediate reaction force (IRF) have been reported in the book.
In "Whose God Rules?" David McColgin, a defense attorney for Guantanamo detainees, recounts how a female government interrogator told Muslim detainees she was menstruating, "slipped her hand into her pants and pulled it out with a red liquid smeared on it meant to look like menstrual blood. The detainee screamed at the top of his lungs, began shaking, sobbing, and yanked his arms against his handcuffs. The interrogator explained to [the detainee] that he would now feel too dirty to pray and that she would have the guards turn off the water in his cell so he would not be able to wash the red substance off. 'What do you think your brothers will think of you in the morning when they see an American woman's menstrual blood on your face?' she said as she left the cell." These acts, as well as interrogators desecrating the Holy Quran, led the detainees to riots and mass suicide attempts.
The BBC published a leaked FBI email from December 2003, which said that the Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo had impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" on a detainee.
In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in June 2005, Dick Cheney defended the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo:
"There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want."
Main article: Periodic Report of the United States of America to the United Nations Committee Against Torture
The United States government, through the State Department, makes periodic reports to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. In October 2005, the report covered pretrial detention of suspects in the "War on Terrorism", including those held in Guantánamo Bay. This Periodic Report is significant as the first official response of the U.S. government to allegations that prisoners are mistreated in Guantánamo Bay. The report denies the allegations but describes in detail several instances of misconduct, which did not rise to the level of "substantial abuse," as well as the training and punishments given to the perpetrators.
Writing in the New York Times on 24 June 2012, former President Jimmy Carter criticized the methods used to obtain confessions: "...some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers. These facts cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government claims they occurred under the cover of "national security".
Detainees are shown to their new living quarters (image taken and released by the U.S. military)
A manual called "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure" (SOP), dated 28 February 2003, and designated "Unclassified//For Official Use Only", was published on Wikileaks. This is the main document for the operation of Guantánamo Bay, including the securing and treatment of detainees. The 238-page document includes procedures for identity cards and 'Muslim burial'. It is signed by Major General Geoffrey D. Miller. The document is the subject of an ongoing legal action by theAmerican Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has been trying to obtain it from the Department of Defense.
On 2 July 2008 the New York Times revealed that the U.S. military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 had based an entire interrogation class on a chart copied directly from a 1957 Air Force study of "Chinese Communist" interrogation methodology (commonly referred to as 'brainwashing') that the United States alleged were used during the Korean War to obtain confessions. The chart showed the effects of "coercive management techniques" for possible use on prisoners, including "sleep deprivation", "prolonged constraint" (also known as "stress positions"), and "exposure". The chart was copied from a 1957 article (entitled "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War") written by Albert D. Biderman, working as a sociologist for the Air Force. Mr. Biderman had interviewed American prisoners of war returning from Korea who had confessed (to the "communists") of having taken part in biological warfare or to involvement in other atrocities. Mr. Biderman's article sets out that the most common interrogation method used by the Chinese was to indirectly subject a prisoner to extended periods of what would initially be minor discomfort. As an example, prisoners would be required to stand for extended periods, sometimes in a cold environment. Prolonged standing and exposure to cold are an accepted technique used by the American military and the CIA to interrogate prisoners who the United States classifies as "unlawful combatants" (spies and saboteurs in wartime, "terrorists" in unconventional conflicts) although it is classified as torture under the Geneva Conventions. The chart reflects an "extreme model" created by Mr. Biderman to help in "understanding what occurred apart from the extent to which it was realized in actuality" (It should be noted that Mr. Biderman did not have a Ph.D. in Sociology (usually the minimum qualification required to carry out such work) and the underlying research was not subjected to peer-review). His chart sets out in summary bullet points the techniques allegedly used by the Chinese in Korea. The most extreme of which include "Semi-Starvation", "Exploitation of Wounds", and use of "Filthy, Infested Surroundings" to make the prisoner "Dependent on Interrogator", to weaken "Mental and Physical Ability to Resist", and to reduce the "Prisoner to 'Animal Level'". Mr. Biderman himself admits that he was working from a very small sample of American prisoners who claimed to have been mistreated, and of the handful who had reported prolonged mistreatment none had become the "ideal confessor" (the ultimate aim of the model).
It should be understood that only a few of the Air Force personnel who encountered efforts to elicit false confessions in Korea were subjected to really full dress, all-out attempts to make them behave in the manner I have sketched. The time between capture and repatriation for many was too short, and, presumably, the trained interrogators available to the Communists too few, to permit this. Of the few Air Force prisoners who did get the full treatment, none could be made to behave in complete accordance with the Chinese Communists' ideal of the "repentant criminal".
It is unclear from the article whether the "sketch" of techniques set out in the chart are supported by evidence from prisoner interviews or whether it simply presents "communist" methodology in idealized form in accordance with the conventions of the time. While the chart ostensibly presents the methodology of the "enemy", it has come to have actual application at home. In the military, the techniques outlined by the chart are commonly referred to as "Biderman's Principles" and within the intelligence community it has come to be known as "Biderman’s Chart of Coercion". The chart is also often used by anti-cult web sites to describe how religious cults control their members.
The article was motivated by the need for the United States to deal with prominent confessions of war crimes obtained by Chinese interrogators during the Korean War. It as alleged at the time that American prisoners of war who had confessed had been "brainwashed". The allegation was taken seriously by the American military and it led them to develop a training program to counter the use of harsh methods used by an enemy interrogator. Almost all U.S. military personnel now receive Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training, where they learn to resist interrogation. Central to this training program is the theoretical model of the "communist" interrogation methodology as presented by Mr. Biderman. In 2002, this training program was adopted as a source of interrogation techniques to be used in the newly declared "War on Terror".
When it was adopted for use at the Guantánamo detainment and interrogation facility the only change that was made to Biderman's Chart of Coercion was to change the title (originally called "Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance"). The training document instructing on the use of these "coercive" methods was made public at a United States Senate Armed Services Committee hearing (17 June 2008) investigating how such tactics came to be employed. Colonel Steven Kleinman who was head of a team of SERE trainers testified before the Senate committee that his team had been put under pressure to demonstrate the techniques on Iraqi prisoners and that they had been sent home after Kleinman had put a stop to it after observing that the techniques were intended to be used as a "form of punishment for those who wouldn't cooperate". Senator Carl Levin (chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee) was quoted after reviewing the evidence as saying:
What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions. People say we need intelligence, and we do. But we don't need false intelligence.
Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA's prisons
Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA's prisons Senate's 480 page report summary lays out in horrifying detail what happened to detainees in secret torture sites A detainee from Afghanistan is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at Camp XRay at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
10 Dec 2014 The Senate report into the CIA's secret torture programmes is clinical and unsparing. Over the course of a 480page summary, it lays out in horrifying detail what was done to detainees in secret torture sites around the world. Here are some of the starkest examples: Detainees were "rectally fed" At least five prisoners were forced to ingest food or water through their rectums. One detainee, Majid Khan, went on hunger strike and had a "food tray" of pureed hummus, pasta, nuts and raisins forced into his rectum. Khan apparently tried to kill himself by biting his own veins. In 2012, he pleaded guilty to terror charges in front of a military court at Guantánamo Bay.
CIAsprisons.2/4 Prisoner dies of suspected hypothermia In November 2002, the suspected Afghan militant Gul Rahman was being held at "the Salt Pit", a secret US prison in Afghanistan. Rahman was stripped naked below the waist, chained, and made to sit on a bare concrete floor. He was found dead the next day of suspected hypothermia. 26 of 119 prisoners were wrongfully held Among the people who were wrongly held was Nazar Ali, "an 'intellectually challenged' individual whose taped crying was used as leverage against his family member". Repeated waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003. The report describes how the the simulated drownings caused prisoners to vomit, convulse and pass out. Prisoners deprived of sleep for a week At least five prisoners began to suffer hallucinations because they were so badly deprived of sleep. Two of them were subjected to further sleep deprivation even after their hallucinations began. 20.6.2015. Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA's prisons Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11284139/Torturereport10examplesofthehorrorintheCIAsprisons.html 3/4 Russian Roulette An unnamed CIA operative subjected a detainee to a game of Russian Roulette, where a gun was pointed at the prisoner. Prisoner threatened with a drill Abd alRahim alNashiri, a Saudi citizen alleged to have been behind the bombing of the USS Cole, was flown to secret prisons around the world after his capture in 2002. A CIA agent held a pistol near his head and spun a drill at him in an effort to frighten him. Threatening to harm detainees' children and families CIA officers threatened at least three of their prisoners with harm to their families, including a warning that they would sexually abuse one detainee's mother. Playing loud music to give detainees a "sense of hopelessness" Prisoners were subjected to loud music including the "Rawhide" theme from the Blues Brothers movie and white noise to try to break their spirits. Prisoner handcuffed with his hands above his head for 22 hours at a time 20.6.2015. Torture report: 10 examples of the horror in the CIA's prisons Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11284139/Torturereport10examplesofthehorrorintheCIAsprisons.html 4/4 Redha alNajar, a former bodyguard to bin Laden, was handcuffed to a bar above his head and left to hang for 22 hours at a time to "break" his resistance. He was put in a nappy and refused access to the toilet.
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