[Ppnews] Red Cross Report claims CIA used 'torture'

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Mar 16 19:19:09 EDT 2009

TWO Article follow

Report claims CIA used 'torture'
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

CIA interrogation techniques used on al-Qaeda 
suspects "constituted torture", according to a 
leaked report by the international Red Cross.

The findings were based on testimonies by 14 
so-called "high-value" detainees who were held in secret CIA prisons.

They were interviewed after being transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006.

President George W Bush denied torture had 
happened and President Barack Obama has banned US 
agents from carrying out such practices.

The International Committee of the Red Cross 
(ICRC) has an international role in monitoring 
standards for prisoners and trying to ensure 
compliance by governments with the Geneva Conventions.

It was denied access to the prisoners until their transfer to Guantanamo Bay.

“ I was told that they would not allow me to die 
but that I would be brought to the 'verge of death and back again' ”
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Among those interviewed by the ICRC was the 
alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid 
Sheikh Mohammed, who said he was told he would be 
"brought to the verge of death and back".

The ICRC report was obtained by Mark Danner, a US 
writer, whose account is in the New York Review of Books.

The report was not intended for publication but, 
as is the procedure in such cases, was given in 
confidence to the US government.

"For the first time the words are those of the 
detainees themselves," Mark Danner says in a podcast attached to his story.

'Breaking point'

The report's table of contents lists the methods 
the prisoners told the ICRC they had endured.

Taken overall they constitute an attempt to break 
a prisoner down through sensory deprivation and 
beatings, none of which is supposed to leave 
physical damage that can be traced.

The accounts indicate that a combination of methods was used on each prisoner.

The methods listed included: Suffocation by water 
or waterboarding; prolonged stress standing; 
beating by use of a collar; confinement in a box; 
prolonged nudity; sleep deprivation and 
subjection to noise and cold water; and denial of solid food.

"They never used the word 'torture'... only to 
'hard time'," Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is quoted as saying.

"I was never threatened with death, in fact I was 
told that they would not allow me to die, but 
that I would be brought to the 'verge of death and back again'."

He said he underwent waterboarding five times: "A 
cloth would be placed over my face, cold water 
from a bottle kept in a fridge was then poured 
onto the cloth by one of the guards so I could not breathe."

He said a clip was put on his finger to monitor 
his pulse "so they could take me to the breaking point".

'Minimise physical damage'

Another prisoner Abu Zubaydah was apparently the 
first to be subjected to this "alternative set of procedures".

He said: "I was told... that I was one of the 
first to receive those interrogation techniques, so no rules applied."

In his case, there was a variation apparently not used subsequently.

Waterboarding Beatings Sleep deprivation 
Prolonged stress standing Prolonged nudity 
Confinement in a box Denial of solid food Source: ICRC Report
He said he was put into a tall box and later into 
a smaller one in which he had to crouch, causing 
a wound on his leg to start bleeding.

He also had a towel tied round his neck with 
which his interrogators would slam him against a 
wall, which had plywood attached to it.

Mr Danner surmised this was to minimise the physical damage caused to him.

With other prisoners this towel became a plastic 
collar used with the same effect.


President Bush acknowledged that, as he put it, 
an "alternative set of procedures" had been used 
on some prisoners but he denied this meant they 
had been tortured, which is outlawed by an international convention.

"The United States does not torture," President 
Bush said in September 2006. That was after the 
techniques described had been used.

The Bush administration developed a legal 
protection, under which the definition of torture 
was narrowed to exclude the methods described.

Mr Danner says the ICRC report now presents a 
"clear contradiction" of that position and that 
"this contradiction needs to be worked out".

Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the US's 
Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed that 
former officials be given immunity in return for evidence.

Human rights groups want accountability.

President Obama has spoken of "looking forwards". 
He has also banned the use of the techniques by 
all US agencies, including the Central 
Intelligence Agency (CIA), which had been given 
special dispensation by the Bush administration.

The ICRC has said that it regrets the publication 
of the information attributed to its report.


There has been a counter attack by former Vice 
President Dick Cheney, who once said that the use 
of waterboarding had been, for him, a "no-brainer".

He accused President Obama of "making choices 
that, in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk 
to the American people of another attack".

Some have questioned the value of the 
intelligence gained from harsh techniques.

Mr Cheney said: "I think those programmes were 
absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of 
being able to collect the intelligence that let 
us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks 
against the United States after 9/11."

<mailto:Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET at bbc.co.uk>Paul.Reynolds-INTERNET at bbc.co.uk
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/03/16 16:17:41 GMT



16 Mar 2009 01:38 pm

Compare And Contrast

 From the 
Cross's summary of Bush-Cheney torture techniques:

1. Main Elements of the CIA Detention Program
1.1 Arrest and Transfer
1.2 Continuous Solitary Confinement and Incommunicado Detention
1.3 Other Methods of Ill-treatment
1.3.1 Suffocation by water
1.3.2 Prolonged Stress Standing
1.3.3 Beatings by use of a collar
1.3.4 Beating and kicking
1.3.5 Confinement in a box
1.3.6 Prolonged nudity
1.3.7 Sleep deprivation and use of loud music
1.3.8 Exposure to cold temperature/cold water
1.3.9 Prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles
1.3.10 Threats
1.3.11 Forced shaving
1.3.12 Deprivation/restricted provision of solid food
1.4 Further elements of the detention regime...

The Gestapo's list of torture techniques that fit 
into their 
interrogation program" - a torture regime 
designed to avoid too-obvious or incriminating physical scars:


Bush and Cheney were, in fact, more brutal in 
their "enhanced interrogation" than the Gestapo 
was. And note that I am not engaging in the 
slightest hyperbole here. I'm not saying that the 
US is Nazi Germany in any way. I am saying that 
the torture program used by Bush and Cheney 
follows exactly the specific methods used by the 
Gestapo. This is not in any historical dispute, 
although the irony of using the exact same phrase 
for the exact same methods is one reason the Bushies dropped the term.

We also have a very specific legal precedent. 
When the US captured officials who had done to 
prisoners exactly what the last president did, 
the US prosecuted them, found them guilty and 
them. The price Cheney pays is a fawning interview on CNN.

That's who we are. That's what we've become.

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