[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.
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
© BBC MMIX
16 Mar 2009 01:38 pm
Compare And Contrast
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
1.3.11 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
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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