Tuesday, December 9, 2014 10:42 pm
The US Senate on Tuesday released the most thorough public report on the brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA after September 11 on suspected members of Al-Qaeda.
Prisoners were beaten, slapped and forced into coffin sized containers. One was threatened with a power drill and with a handgun in a Russian Roulette style intimidation.
Rectal feeding and rehydration was used as a “means of behavior control” with no medical need.
The 500-page report, a partially-redacted summary of a 6,000-page classified version, is a detailed accounting of the intelligence body’s secret interrogation program.
– Interrogation methods –
The treatment by the CIA interrogators of their detainees was harsh, varied and at times went beyond techniques that had already been officially acknowledged.
Many alleged abuses began straight away, in spite of prisoners’ declared intentions to cooperate with their captors.
The report found detainees were forced to stand in stress positions until they collapsed, even those with broken bones or missing legs.
One hundred and nineteen individuals were found to have been detained by the CIA, and at least 26 were wrongfully held, the report said
At least 39 detainees were subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” many without CIA Headquarters approval.
One who was held nude and chained to a concrete floor died from hypothermia in a CIA detention facility that was supervised by a junior officer with “no relevant experience.”
Detainees were also subject to sleep deprivation of up to 180 hours and to nudity in combination with forceful interrogation techniques.
The report gave a detailed accounting of the pain induced by the oft-criticized waterboarding interrogation method where water is poured on an inverted detainee’s face.
“The waterboarding technique was physically harmful, inducing convulsions and vomiting,” the report said.
A detainee became “completely unresponsive” during his waterboarding. Internal CIA records described them as a “series of near drownings.”
The report mentions one detainee was threatened with a hand gun and power drill.
– CIA secret prisons –
High-value detainees were taken to black sites around the world to be interrogated before being transferred to the Guantanamo Bay military prison in in Cuba.
Sites are also believed to have been run in Lithuania as well as Thailand and Afghanistan.
Information identifying individual black sites have been censored out of the unclassified version of the torture report.
But the report includes a cable from CIA headquarters concerning the establishment of a “Detention Site Black” in a country whose name was censored.
The report does mention an official’s acknowledgement of the CIA’s “lack of experience” in running detention facilities.
And it points out that two psychologists who had never conducted interrogations were brought in by the CIA to question detainees.
– Dates of the program –
The CIA detention and interrogation program was authorized in secret during the George W. Bush administration in 2002 following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
This came a few months after Bush signed a memorandum asking the CIA to hunt, capture and interrogate the senior Al-Qaeda members around the world.
In 2002, rumors surfaced of torture of detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan and rights organizations and officials began questioning the fate of a number of secret detainees.
In 2005, US media reported secret CIA flights to transport high-value detainees to black sites around the world. Many countries, particularly in Europe, allowed the CIA to use their airspace.
In December 2005, Congress voted to stop treatment of detainees that is cruel or degrading.
By 2007 the debate over torture swelled; investigations were launched and the CIA acknowledged it had destroyed interrogation tapes, sparking a public furor.
In January 2009, President Barack Obama that his administration would not use torture on prisoners, officially abolishing the program and two months later the Senate launched its investigation.