It's torture

It's torture
CIA torture of Al-Qaeda suspects was far more brutal than acknowledged, did not produce useful intelligence and was so poorly managed it lost track of detainees, a scathing US Senate report revealed Tuesday.

Sleep deprivation, beatings, shackling and waterboarding - a grim litany of the cruel methods used by the Bush-era Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to interrogate Al-Qaeda terror suspects was exposed on Tuesday. The shocking report released by the US Senate found that the techniques employed by the CIA were "far more brutal" than the spy agency had previously admitted to, AFP reported. Here are some of the starkest examples:


At least five prisoners were forced to ingest food or water through their rectums.

One detainee, Majid Khan, went on a 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 Guantanamo Bay, The Telegraph reported.


This involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, or more than a week, usually standing or in stress positions, sometimes with their hands shackled above their heads, chained to the ceiling.

Abu Zubaydah, CIA's first high-value Al-Qaeda detainee, was kept in an all-white room that was lit 24 hours a day. Or he was kept awake by non-stop questioning.

At least five detainees suffered "disturbing hallucinations", but in at least two cases, the CIA continued with the interrogation method.


This was used at the Cobalt facility, a secret CIA detention site.

About five CIA agents would scream at a detainee, drag him outside his cell, cut his clothes off and wrap him in duct tape. He would then be hooded and dragged up and down a dirt hallway while being slapped and punched.

Afghan militant Gul Rahman, who died while at the Cobalt site, was found, after his death, covered in bruises and abrasions on his shoulders, pelvis, arms, legs and face.


Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003.

The report describes how the simulated drownings caused prisoners to vomit, convulse and pass out.


Over 20 days, Abu Zubaydah spent 266 hours (11 days, 2 hours) in a large coffin-size box, and 29 hours in an even smaller one during his interrogation at what was dubbed Detention Site Green.

In the Cobalt facility, prisoners were kept in complete darkness, often shackled with their hands above their heads and mainly nude.

Prisoners were subjected to loud music - including the "Rawhide" theme from the Blues Brothers movie - and white noise to try to break their spirits.

They were given a bucket as a toilet.

In 2002, a prisoner who had been partially nude and chained to a concrete floor died of suspected hypothermia.


CIA officers regularly threatened the detainees.

At least three detainees were told the CIA would hurt their families, including their children.

There was a threat to sexually abuse the mother of one, while another was told his mother's throat would be cut.

The methods were supposed to ensure prisoners developed a sense of "learned helplessness".

This article was first published on December 11, 2014.
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