US: New documents shed light on CIA torture

17th Jun 2016
US: New documents shed light on CIA torture

By Kasim Ileri

 

WASHINGTON (AA): Details emerged Thursday of CIA torture techniques at overseas black site prisons, from newly declassified transcripts of detainees’ military hearings at the Guantanamo Bay Prison.

“They shackle me completely, even my head; I can’t do anything,” Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, a Saudi-born Palestinian also known as Abu Zubaida told the hearing in March 2007. “And they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water.”

Zubaida was captured by CIA in 2002 in Pakistan and was held at a CIA prison in Thailand until he was transferred to the Guantanamo prison in 2006.

“I tell him, ‘if you want to kill me, kill me,’” he said he told interrogators.

Accused of being a senior leader of al-Qaeda, Zubaida told the hearing that he was a rank-and-file member of the militant group who helped the fighters travel to training camps in Afghanistan.

Noting that when CIA agents realized they wrongly assessed Zibaida’s role, they apologized to him. “After that, all they said to me was, ‘Sorry, we made a big mistake.’”

He was also been beaten and severely injured while at the site in Thailand, he said.

“They didn’t care that I almost died from these injuries,” he said. “Doctors told me that I nearly died four times.”

He said he gave false information about al-Qaeda plots in order to stop the torture.

The U.S. disclosed the documents earlier this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and reported by The New York Times.

Particulars of CIA torture techniques were made public in a Senate report in December 2014 that was a 500-page summary of a document that ran 6,000 pages.

According to the Senate report Zubaida was the first detainee subjected to waterboarding and the notorious technique was performed 83 times on the detainee.

He is still being held at Guantanamo Bay prison.

Unlike the Senate report, which was based on government memorandums, the recent transcripts are first-hand accounts.

The hearings recorded testimonies from six other prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Mohammed presented himself as a “senior man” in al-Qaeda and admits to being an “enemy combatant” in the transcripts.

To avoid torture, he said he admitted that he knew people whose pictures agents showed him although he did not know them.

He said that after he was transferred to a CIA prison in a country whose name was redacted in the transcript, he was penetrated with a suppository.

“Every time I said I didn’t know they tortured me and dripped very cold water on my head when I was naked. They took me to another room and hung me from my hands and poured cold water on me while I was hung,” Mohammed said.

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday urging him to take action before the end of his time in office to hold personnel accountability for CIA abuses.

“The newly released documents underscore the brutality and illegality of the CIA program,” Laura Pitter, senior national security counsel at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement posted on the group’s website.

“President Obama’s failure to take concrete action to address these crimes will leave a stain on his legacy, undermine respect for the rule of law, and weaken U.S. effectiveness in advocating against torture globally,” she said.

 

[Photo: US Camp x-ray Muslim detainees.Photographer: Shane T McCoy..U.S Navy/Creative Commons]

 

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