This Is What US Torturers Do

“‘On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee [sic] chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. When I asked the (military police) what was going on I was told that interrogators from the day prior had ordered this treatment and the detainee [sic] was not to be moved. On another occasion, the (air conditioner) had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee [sic] was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night.’

“That description was taken directly from an email written by an FBI agent on August 2, 2004, and sent to officials at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC, describing the torture of one detainee [sic] as witnessed by the agent while he or she was stationed at Guantanamo.

“After reading those horrific details, would you take at face value the information this detainee [sic], who may have been a teenager, an elderly man or a person who suffered from mental problems, gave up to his interrogator?”

The above segment of Jason Leopold’s article on TruthOut certainly helps me to see why the “confessions” under torture of some of the prisoners at Guantanamo, which you can read about here and here, as well as the false statements made by some prisoners about others were made.


A guard house at Delta Camp, a part of the prison facility at the US Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, July 23, 2008. (Photo: Fred R. Conrad / The New York Times)

I would be naive to believe that such practices have stopped.  How will I know that, as the executives of two US regimes have declared, “America doesn’t torture”?  I will know that it is over when there is official recognition that the US has practiced torture, when those responsible are held responsible in courts of law which assure that their rights are protected, something not offered to the prisoners at Guantanamo and other US torture sites around the world and in US domestic prisons.  When the US is ready to take responsibility for these unspeakable practices, then I may be able to believe they are over.

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