Prosecutions Now! Please Read My New Article for Al-Jazeera About the Release of the Senate Torture Report

10.12.14

A screenshot of Andy Worthington's Al-Jazeera article about the CIA torture program, published on December 10, 2014.Dear friends and supporters,

I hope you have time to read my new article for Al-Jazeera English, “Punishment, not apology after CIA torture report” looking at yesterday’s release of the 500-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,700-page report into the CIA’s “Detention and Interrogation Program,” which took five years to complete, and cost $40m; or, in other words, the release of the summary of the Committee’s report about the Bush administration’s torture program, as run by the CIA.

In the article, I run through the history of the secretive program and how knowledge of it became public, from 2004 onwards (and including a mention of the report on secret detention for the UN in 2010, on which I was the lead writer and researcher), and I also look at a few of the genuinely shocking stories that emerge from the executive summary, some of which are shocking even for those of us who have spent years — in my case nearly nine years — researching and writing about the torture program.

I remain worried, however, that the Committee’s important work will be swept under the carpet, and that no one will be held accountable — by which I don’t just mean CIA officials, and James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the former SERE psychologists who designed the program (and earned $81m as a result!), as much as those who gave them their orders in the first place; namely, President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and the various lawyers around them — David Addington, William J. Haynes II, John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales, for example — who did so much to initiate the torture program and to attempt to justify it.

If you have the time to read my article — and if you like it — then please feel free to share it. I have been looking at the US torture program in its various forms — in the “black sites,” in proxy sites, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at Guantánamo — for nearly nine years, and I remain as concerned as I have all along that those who initiated and approved the torture program be held accountable; otherwise, the poison of torture will continue to infect US society as a whole — and as Article 2.2 of the UN Convention Against Torture states:

No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

That part of the Torture Convention could almost have been written to refer specifically to the 9/11 attacks, and the hideous response of the Bush administration, so thoroughly documented in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. However, it was written in the 1980s, and ratified by the US — and now there must be accountability for those who claimed, wrongly, that the trauma of 9/11 was an excuse for torture to become official US policy, as it was while the CIA torture program existed — and, it should be noted, from February 7, 2002, when George W. Bush issued a memo depriving the prisoners at Guantánamo of their Geneva Convention rights, until June 29, 2006, when the Supreme Court reminded the Bush administration, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that all prisoners seized in wartime — without any exceptions — are protected from torture and ill-treatment by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

Note: See here for the page on Sen. Feinstein’s website that links to the executive summary of the torture report, plus other documents.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

39 Responses

  1. ribeekah says...

    Torture is in the DNA of the United States. There is no ifs, buts or maybes. The US never had credibility to wage a global “War on Terror” given its treatment of its black population for centuries. It can only be by divine intervention that these forces have collided at this time, viz: the indiscriminate killings of black youths and the release of the “Torture Report”. I heard Senator Feinstein saying “Never Again” as justification for release of a heavily redacted report. Those were the words uttered after the Nuremberg Commission on torture. Those who engaged in torture must be held accountable. There can be no if, buts or maybes. That’s the only “NEVER AGAIN” that the world can understand at this point. For the US to continue waging war on the people of the world is for the US to behave as a renegade in the world community of nations. It does not matter how the US seek to justify these wars. The US is an uncivilized nation and seeks to justify problems of the world in th 21st century through uncivilized means

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ribeekah. Good to hear from you, and yes, only prosecutions will send the correct message.

  3. paul siemering says...

    hey Andy
    the world owes you a big “thank you Andy” today for all you’ve done. The awards ceremony will not happen yet, but sooner or later…

    anyway my hometown paper headlined today that the cia “detained” 119 people in their secret prisons, and of these 39 were tortured. i believe those numbers should be multiplied by at least a hundred, but of course it’s hard to get solid numbers.
    anyway whatever happens next, thanks again

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Paul. Great to hear from you – and thanks for the kind words.
    Now on to accountability!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    After I posted the original article on Facebook, Jan Strain wrote:

    We, in the US, can no longer even lie to ourselves about being exceptional (though a clear 50% of us still delude ourselves with the falsehood that torture was justified)…we are no more or less than that which is done in our name.

    The only way out of being a war criminal state is to hold war criminals accountable and assure war crimes are never, ever, done in our name, again.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. I wholeheartedly agree, my friend.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    You nailed it , Andy. The only way for the US to rebuild its reputation and standing is to be accountable and that means prosecution of those who were responsible for the war crimes committed in our name. We can no longer even lie to ourselves about being a “bright and shining city on the hill” or the “path to Democracy” – We are that which is done in our name…..

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. Great comments!

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    When Ann Alexander shared it, she wrote:

    An excellent report by Andy who has kept us informed over many years – a decade I think – on the horrific torture of Muslims detained by the CIA. So none of this has came as a surprise to me yet it is as if it is news.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ann. I’m glad to see it has 1600+ likes so far!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    Andy, thank you for this article. You are one of the most accurate journalists covering these issues. I am truly shocked by the level of cruelty that this report reveals.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Toia, for the kind and supportive words. It is indeed profoundly shocking, isn’t it? I can’t really get over the “rectal feeding.” What were these sadists thinking?

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Toia Tutta Jung wrote:

    That´s the exact word for it, Andy – anyone capable of doing these horrible things is a sadist.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Meena B Sharma wrote:

    Made my soul shudder when I read this Andy:
    “”At least five CIA detainees were subjected to ‘rectal rehydration’ or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity. The CIA placed detainees in ice water ‘baths’. The CIA led several detainees to believe they would never be allowed to leave CIA custody alive, suggesting to one detainee that he would only leave in a coffin-shaped box. One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because ‘we can never let the world know what I have done to you’. CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families – to include threats to harm the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to ‘cut [a detainee’s] mother’s throat’.”

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, absolutely horrible, Meena. Chills the soul.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Rabab Ghazoul wrote:

    Horrors. Upon horrors. I want to live in a world where no human can bring themselves to act, let alone even think in this way towards another human. It is up to people – it’s up to us – to change this. Please read Andy Worthington’s article.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing, Rabab. Yes, we all have to keep working hard to make the world a better place.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    When Michael Bentley shared the article, he wrote:

    My friend Andy Worthington’s article for Al Jazeera. Obama should have set the prosecution ball rolling from the moment he first took office. The fact that he didn’t, and that torture still continues (not to mention the fact that he’s made war against about seven countries), makes him a pretty sick joke of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Very well put, Michael. Thank you.

  20. Kevin Hester says...

    We cannot expect any justice. To expect it is to be in denial of the fact that the Western world is run by psychopathic fascists including my Zionist P.M. John Key in NZ. We have let the fascists take control as we face the perfect storm of capitalism in crisis and the unraveling of the biosphere due to anthropogenic climate change. There are only bad times coming, live in the now and have every laugh and smile you can muster.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Over 2400 likes for the article on Al-Jazeera. Glad to see it getting a good audience!

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Kevin. I agree about the psychopaths, but I still think it’s worth looking at how we can reclaim our world.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    When Jacquelyne Taylor shared this, she wrote:

    Andy Worthington has been keeping any of us in the wider world awake, aware and committed to the full disclosure of the ongoing infamy of the two U.S administrations of Bush and Obama for a long time.
    Kudos to him..
    The latter is still running a torture programme as far as I am concerned even as they deny it to our faces internationally.
    They need to be prosecuted or all our leaders are accessories after the fact..

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jacquelyne. Good to hear from you.

  25. arcticredriver says...

    Let me add my thanks Andy to those above!

    The National Journal published a list of individuals who had been tortured without authorization.

    The list includes a number of individuals you have addressed in your earlier articles. I took their list and tried to figure out the identity of some of these men, and I figure a couple of the individuals whose location they said was unknown were still in Guantanamo.
    individuals the Senate Report said were tortured without authorization

    Shockingly, the CIA captured, and tortured, additional individuals, beyond those we already knew about, who were innocent victims of mistaken identity. Others seem to have been captured, and tortured, not for anything they were known to have done, but because they had acquaintances the CIA was suspicious of. I think we need to remember that the suspicious acquaintances of the men the CIA tortured may very well have been men innocent of any meaningful tie to terrorism.

    I don’t know if you saw — there was a human rights worker, known for calling for the prosecution of those behind US torture, who has now retreated to the position where he is calling on President Obama to PARDON those who tortured, or who ordered torture.

    He gave up, thinks further efforts to prosecute would be a waste of time. He argued “If Obama pardons the perpetrators, at least it is on record that they committed a crime.”

    I am not ready to give up on calling for the prosecution of those who tortured or ordered torture.

  26. arcticredriver says...

    Andy, can I comment on one the quotes you made from the report?

    “By March 2006 the programme was operating in only one country. The CIA last used its enhanced interrogation techniques on November 8, 2007. The CIA did not hold any detainees after April 2008.”

    First, when George W. Bush authorized the transfer of KSM, and thirteen other CIA captives to military custody at Guantanamo on September 6, 2006, he was widely described as having ordered the closure of the CIA’s torture sites.

    Bush, and practically everyone who served under him, has such a large streak of dishonesty, that the public has to examine and re-examine everything they say, for deception. Bush didn’t actually say he ordered the closure of the CIA’s torture sites. Bush said that he ordered those sites to be emptied.

    Emptying the sites is very different from closing them. Emptying the sites left them available to house newly captured victims. Given the Bush administration’s long history of deceit it is quite possible, likely even, that this emptying was not complete. It is possible, likely even, that other captives the CIA wanted to keep were merely temporarily transferred. They may have been flown to JSOC’s parallel archipelago of torture sites. Or the CIA may have made cosmetic change of operational command, of some of the CIA sites, on a temporary basis, to their rivals at JSOC.

    As I read between the lines there seems to have been a great rivalry between the CIA’s paramilitary wing, versus the intelligence wing of the Pentagon’s JSOC, its Joint Special Operations Command. Billions of dollars as secret “black” funds were at stake as these two agencies fought over who would fly missile armed drones, who would capture suspects, who would hold them, who would interrogate them.

    If the CIA finally stopped holding captives in its secret prisons in 2008 that may merely have meant that JSOC won the battle, and got the authority to run all the secret torture prisons.

    If the CIA continue to operate secret prisons until 2008 it exposes Bush as a big deceiver, since he implied to the public, and allowed it to believe he shut down the secret sites on 2006-09-06.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    My friend Jason Leopold on MSNBC last night starting about 8:31 of video concerning the Vice News piece he produced on James Mitchell …the “psychologist” who assisted in developing the CIA’s torture program (reverse engineering SERE to torture prisoners of war) and was involved in waterboarding Abu Zubayda and KSM. If one has not seen The Architect via VICE News, it is a well done piece – major kudos to all involved. If one does not understand the back story, I suggest checking out Jason’s great coverage over the past number of years, Andy Worthington’s extensive work on Guantanamo, Jeffrey Kaye’s work on Guantanamo (there are others but so far, these are my “best” go to guys), getting a copy of the executive summary of the SSIC’s “Torture Report” (heavily redacted as it is..about 17% is blackout) and take a trot over to UC Davis’ Guantanamo Testimonials Project, IRC’s report from 2004 to 2007 on prisoner abuse at Gitmo; HRW’s reports of CIA torture and abuse; John Kiriakou – now in prison – prosecuted and incarcerated under Obama for whistleblowing (you know, the president who keeps talking about protecting whistleblowers..that transparent and accountable president) on the CIA’s torture program…
    Sorry – – my insulted soul burns over the hubris of idiots allowed to be inhumane for inhumanity’s sale. That has been happening for decades…centuries at the behest of idiots elected to office in this “nation of laws” and has culminated in some of the most obscene horrors visited on other – Guantanamo…the flagship of US exceptionalism and stupidity
    See: http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/will-dick-cheney-be-prosecuted-for-cia-torture–370220611654
    and the Vice video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmNUi0itl-8

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. I’d like to put together my own timeline of torture via my articles, but I don’t have the time right now!

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Jan Strain wrote:

    Andy, you are a very, very busy person – your time is spent on the front lines of humanity standing for dignity, purpose, compassion and understanding. Thats a 10-day a week job…all 30 hours each day…

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jan. You just made my day!

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver. Great to hear from you. Thanks for posting the list put together by the National Journal – of 18 rather than 17 prisoners, it should be noted. Interesting. Here it is, cross-posted, with a few comments of my own [IN BRACKETS]:

    Name: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
    Current location: Guantánamo Bay.
    Reason for detainment: Mastermind of 9/11 terrorist attacks.
    Treatment received: One of the U.S. government’s most-wanted men, Mohammed endured a more rigorous schedule of torture than any other detainee on this list. In total, interrogators waterboarded him 183 times, including five times in one 25-hour period. He was also subjected to more than a week of sleep deprivation at once. Read a more extensive account of his long, brutal interrogation here.

    Name: Rafiq Bashir al-Hami
    Current location: Transferred to Slovakia in 2010.
    Reason for detainment: Thought by the Defense Department to have “likely links to European al-Qaida and North African Extremist Network facilitators.”
    Treatment received: Was “subjected to 72 hours of sleep deprivation between his arrival at the detention site pseudonymed COBALT and his October 2002 interrogation,” according to the Senate’s report.

    Name: Tawfiq Nasir Awad al-Bihandi [YES, THAT’S TAWFIQ AL-BIHANI, ISN 893]
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: Was “subjected to 72 hours of sleep deprivation between his arrival at detention site Cobalt and his October 2002, interrogation.”

    Name: Hikmat Nafi Shaukat
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Suspected of being involved with al-Qaida and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear efforts. Though it was determined that his involvement was “limited to personal relationships with former neighbors,” he remained in the CIA’s custody.
    Treatment received: A “regimen of limited sleep deprivation.”

    Name: Lufti al-Arabi al-Gharisi [HELD IN BAGRAM – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lufti_Al-Arabi_Al-Gharisi}
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “Underwent at least two 48-hour sessions of sleep deprivation in October 2002.”

    Name: Muhammad Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani (aka Abu Badr)
    Current location: Guantánamo Bay.
    Reason for detainment: An “admitted al-Qaida facilitator,” according to a Defense Department memorandum, who worked directly for KSM. He “provided support” to multiple terrorist plots in the Middle East and “possibly” in the U.S.
    Treatment received: “Subjected to forced standing, attention grasps, and cold temperatures without blankets in November 2002.”

    Name: Gul Rahman
    Status: Deceased.
    Reason for detainment: A “suspected militant,” per a 2010 report by the Associated Press.
    Treatment received: Cited by the Senate report as the only detainee who died from the CIA’s interrogation, Rahman was subjected to “’48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower, and rough treatment'” during his time at the Cobalt detention site. One night in November 2002, he was “shackled to the wall of his cell,” resting on the bare concrete floor. Wearing only a sweatshirt and naked from the waist down, he was found dead—likely of hypothermia—the next day. Other factors in his death included “dehydration, lack of food, and immobility due to ‘short chaining.'”

    Name: Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri
    Current location: Guantánamo Bay.
    Reason for detainment: Suspected mastermind of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. Thought to have spearheaded al-Qaida operations in the Persian Gulf.
    Treatment received: Subjected to waterboarding at least three times, al-Nashiri also received threats about his family. Interrogators implied that “his mother would be brought before him and sexually abused” and that they could “bring [his] family in here.”

    Other psychological interrogation was used as well. After blindfolding him, an interrogator “placed a pistol near al-Nashiri’s head and operated a cordless drill near al-Nashiri’s body.” Improvised stress positions “caused cuts and bruises,” and one medical officer feared the positions would dislocate al-Nashiri’s shoulders. In a “short-lived hunger strike,” the CIA kept him alive by “force feeding him rectally” in a forward-facing position “with head lower than torso.”

    In 2005, a CIA psychologist deemed al-Nashiri to be on the “verge of a breakdown.”

    Name: Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
    Current location: Guantánamo Bay.
    Reason for detainment: Thought to be a key operative of 9/11.
    Treatment received: After interrogators found al-Shibh “‘cowering in the corner, shivering’ when the light in his cell burned out,” they began to use that weakness against him. To “heighten his sense of fear,” they shackled al-Shibh’s hands and feet while he stood “‘with hands over his head, naked, in total darkness.'”

    A key feature of al-Shibh’s proposed interrogation plan was “sensory dislocation.” That included “exposing him to loud noise in a white room with white lights.” To wear him down before he had a chance to cooperate, the plan directed that al-Shibh “be shackled nude with his arms overhead in a cold room before any discussion with interrogators or any assessment of his level of cooperation.” The questioning would begin after his “‘initial resistance level [had] been diminished by the conditions.'” The plan also stated that other enhanced-interrogation techniques be used “appropriate to [bin al-Shibh’s] level of resistance,” including “attention grasp, walling, the facial hold, the facial slap … the abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation beyond 72 hours, and the water board.”

    Though al-Shibh “was previously a relatively high-functioning individual,” these techniques brought on an “onset of psychological problems,” according to CIA assessments. His anxiety and social isolation for as long as two and a half years led to “visions, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm.” A CIA psychologist suggested that “‘significant alterations” be made to his detention environment “to prevent further and more serious psychological disturbance.” When he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay, he was put on “anti-psychotic medications.”

    Name: Asadallah (aka Muhammad Umar ‘Abd al-Rahman)
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “Interrogators used water dousing, nudity, and cramped confinement on Asadallah without having sought or received authorization from CIA Headquarters … the application of ‘bathing’ in the case of Asadallah was done punitively and was used as an interrogation technique.”

    Asadallah was also “left in the standing sleep -deprivation position despite a sprained ankle. Later, when Asadallah was placed in stress positions on his knees, he complained of discomfort and asked to sit. Asadallah was told he could not sit unless he answered questions truthfully.” Asadallah “was also placed in a ‘small isolation box’ for 30 minutes, without authorization and without discussion of how the technique would affect his ankle.”

    Name: Mustafa al-Hawsawi
    Current location: Guantánamo Bay.
    Reason for detainment: Thought to be a key organizer and financier of 9/11.
    Treatment received: CIA records indicate that after al-Hawsawi was subjected to rectal feeding and rehydration, he was “later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure, and symptomatic rectal prolapse.”

    He was also subjected to water dousing without approval from CIA headquarters. “Water was poured on al-Hawsawi while he was lying on the floor in a prone position, which, in the opinion of at least one CIA interrogator quoted in the report, ‘can easily approximate waterboarding.'”

    At one point, al-Hawsawi had an unspecified medical emergency. “After failing to gain assistance from the Department of Defense, the CIA was forced to seek assistance from three third-party countries in providing medical care to al-Hawsawi and four other CIA detainees with acute ailments.”

    Name: Abu Khalid
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: Khalid was subjected to sleep deprivation without authorization from CIA headquarters, despite such authorization being required under CIA guidelines because of how long he had been in detention before the method’s use.

    Name: Laid Ben Dohman Saidi (aka Abu Hudhaifa) [SEE HIS STORY HERE – http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/07/world/africa/07algeria.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0%5D
    Current location: Released from CIA custody.
    Reason for detainment: “He was released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be.”
    Treatment received: “Abu Hudhaifa was subjected to baths in which ice water was used, standing sleep deprivation for 66 hours that was discontinued due to a swollen leg attributed to prolonged standing, nudity, and dietary manipulation.”

    Name: Abd al-Karim (aka Al-Shara’iya) [Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 on the CIA’s use of waterboarding and similar water torture against detainees, directly contradicting the CIA’s claim that it had waterboarded only three detainees. As noted in footnote 623 of the summary, Human Rights Watch reported in 2012 that detainee Mohammed Shoroeiya (who also went by the names Abd al-Karim or al-Shara’iya) provided detailed and credible testimony that he was waterboarded repeatedly during interrogations at a CIA detention site in Afghanistan. The summary corroborates that Shoroeiya was rendered into CIA hands in 2003 and notes that CIA documents include a photograph of a wooden waterboarding device surrounded by water buckets at the detention site where Shoroeiya was held. The summary also notes that in an interview, the CIA was unable to explain the presence of the waterboarding device at that site. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/10/us-senate-report-slams-cia-torture-lies%5D
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “In April 2003, CIA detainees Abu Hazim and Abd al-Karim each broke a foot while trying to escape capture and were placed in casts,” the report finds. Despite requests that interrogators “forego [sic] cramped confinement, stress positions, walling, and vertical shackling” due to injury, “Abd al-Karim was nonetheless subjected to two 45-minute sessions of cramped confinement, repeated walling, and a stress position that involved placing his ‘head on [the] wall, bent at waist, shuffled backwards to a safe, yet uncomfortable position.’ As part of sleep deprivation, he was also ‘walked for 15 minutes every half-hour through the night and into the morning.’ A few days later, medical personnel found that, even given the best prognosis, Abd al-Karim ‘would have arthritis and limitation of motion for the rest of his life.’ ”

    Name: Abu Hazim [Human Rights Watch also reported on the case of Khalid al-Sharif (who also went by the name of “Abu Hazim”), who described being subjected to a form of water torture very similar to waterboarding while in CIA detention in Afghanistan. The summary describes, at pages 107-108, the testimony of a CIA linguist who in 2003 apparently reported this abuse to the CIA inspector general, who in turn referred it in 2004 to the US Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia as a possible criminal violation. It is unclear what, if anything, happened to the referral, but the inspector general’s report dismissed the linguist’s allegation by concluding there was no corroborating evidence. Sharif, like several other CIA detainees, has pointed out that no US official ever sought to interview him about the abuse he endured while in CIA custody. http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/10/us-senate-report-slams-cia-torture-lies%5D
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “In the interrogation of Abu Hazim, a waste bucket was removed from his cell for punishment. According to a CIA cable, Abu Hazim ‘requested a bucket in which he could relieve himself, but was told all rewards must be earned.'” Along with Abd al-Karim, Hazim sustained a foot injury during his capture. He “was subjected to walling, despite CIA Headquarters having not approved its use.” Hazim was also “water doused in a way that approximated waterboarding.”

    Name: Sayyid Ibrahim
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “CIA cables indicate that Sayyid Ibrahim was subjected to sleep deprivation from January 27, 2004, to January 30, 2004, which exceeded the 48 hours approved by CIA Headquarters.”

    Name: Abu Yasir al-Jaza’iri [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Yasir_Al_Jaza’iri]
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Linked to al-Qaida operations in Pakistan.
    Treatment received: Subjected to water dousing at the Cobalt detention site.

    Name: Suleiman Abdullah
    Current location: Unknown.
    Reason for detainment: Unknown.
    Treatment received: “Interrogators requested approvals to use the CIA’s enhanced-interrogation techniques on Suleiman Abdullah, including water dousing. CIA Headquarters then approved other techniques, but not water dousing … Suleiman Abdullah was nonetheless subjected to water dousing.”

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Great analysis, arcticredriver. Yes, Bush lied, and yes, that makes him untrustworthy. I like your comment, “Emptying the sites is very different from closing them.”

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Over 5700 likes for my Al-Jazeera article! I’m very pleased.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Jacquelyne Taylor wrote, in response to 24, above:

    I am always ‘watching and processing’ Andy even when I may ‘appear’ to be silent on some issues
    .. Many things ‘witnessed’ can never be forgotten by anyone with any vestige of genuine humanity or compassion..

    Thank-you for all the work you do and hope you get to have another well deserved breather this Christmas..
    PS you must come to NZ if you can..
    Met Jeremy Scahill in person when he came to Auckland this year, another inspiring hero who tells the truth about the depravity of the politcal military industrial system we are seeing become a dreadful norm for some..as forewarned..

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Jacquelyne. Would love to make it to NZ one day!

  36. arcticredriver says...

    Andy, can I make another comment, on the Geneva Conventions? You wrote:

    … when George W. Bush issued a memo depriving the prisoners at Guantánamo of their Geneva Convention rights, until June 29, 2006, when the Supreme Court reminded the Bush administration, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, that all prisoners seized in wartime — without any exceptions — are protected from torture and ill-treatment by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.

    All prisoners are to be treated as POWs, according to Common Article 3, of the Geneva Conventions, the article that immediately precedes articles 4 and 5 of the third Geneva Convention, that set out the criteria as to whom should be considered a lawful combatant, entitled to the protections of POW status. Articles 4 and 5 state criteria under which the United States could determine, through a “competent tribunal”, that a prisoner wasn’t a lawful combatant.

    As you have noted, many times, torture proponents wrongly argued that Bush had the authority to pre-emptively strip all captives apprehended in the Afghan war of POW status. They acted as if stripping them of POW status meant the USA then had no international legal obligations not to torture those men and boys.

    But they forgot the Fourth Geneva Convention, which adds a new definition to the mix — the “Protected Person”. The Third Geneva Convention, the one that protects POWs, is the well-known one, as we know it from WW2 movies.

    WW2 proved how flawed it was — as it said nothing about protecting civilians from the risk of having their city flattened, or being rounded up and being sent to death camps.

    The Fourth Geneva Convention’s definition of the “Protected Person” extends key similar protections to anyone in a war zone as those protections extended to a POW. Where a POW is protected from prosecution for hostile acts committed on the battlefield, is protected from torture, humiliation, and starvation, the protected person is protected from torture, humiliation and starvation.

    What this means is that, even if the USA had convened “competent tribunals” to determine the captives status, or, even if we accepted the questionable premise that the Presiding Officers of the Military Commissions had the same authority as a Geneva Convention Competent Tribunal to strip the captives of POW status, they can’t be stripped of “Protected Person” status. And Protected Person status should have protected them from torture, humiliation and “dietary manipulation”.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, exactly, arcticredriver. Very well put indeed. It’s worth checking out Douglas Feith in “Torture Team” trying to persuade Philippe Sands that there were prisoners who had no protections at all – to Sands’ incredulity. It was like Feith writing his own prosecution. One day, hopefully!

  38. Murphy Pendleton says...

    Asadullah is actually free. He was sent to Bagram, then extradited to Egypt, and freed in 2010. He may have been the fourth detainee to have been waterboarded.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20140703113334/http://www.smh.com.au/world/jihadist-believes-bin-laden-inspired-arab-spring-confidence-20110909-1k1z9.html

    I am surprised Mustafa Setmariam Nasser is not on the CIA detainee list. He was clearly extradited to Syria and Al-Qaeda has confirmed he’s still in custody. Hassan Ghul’s death in a drone strike in Pakistan in 2012 suggests that the majority of the CIA detainees were sent to their home countries.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Murphy, and thanks for that information. I have been so involved in WE Stand With Shaker, the campaign for Shaker Aamer, that I haven’t had the time to do what I otherwise would have wanted to do, which is to go through the summary of the Senate report and try and work out what happened to everybody named.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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