'20th Hijacker' Recants, Alleges Torture at Guantanamo

Mohammad al-Qahtani was touted by the U.S. as being a top-notch informant. Imprisoned at Guantanamo, the U.S. said he was the planned 20th hijacker (of course, the U.S. also believed at one time that Zacarias Moussaoui was the planned 20th...and at another time that Ramzi Binalshibh was the 20th hijacker.)

Now, al-Qhatani is retracting his former statements. He says they were obtained through torture. Time Magazine has published the full 83 pages (pdf) of his interrogation.

After spending more than 30 hours talking with him through an interpreter, [his lawyer] told TIME that al-Qahtani today appears to be a broken man, fearful and at times disoriented -- someone who has "painfully described how he could not endure the months of isolation, torture and abuse, during which he was nearly killed, before making false statements to please his interrogators."

Will the detainees who claim they were tortured ever have their claims heard in a court of law? Perhaps not, thanks to Sen. Lindsay Graham and Carl Levin's amendment to McCain's torture amendment...which I warned about here and here.

Here are some of the things they did to al-Qahtani--according to reports by interrogators and others:

In the log, U.S. interrogators describe how they ratcheted up techniques on their captive during 50 days starting in November 2002 to extract a confession - by using sleep deprivation, leaving him strapped to an intravenous drip without bathroom breaks and having him strip naked....A special Guantanamo investigator, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, subsequently told Congress that al-Qahtani was also forced to wear a woman's bra, dance with a male guard, "perform dog tricks'' and was smeared with fake menstrual blood to lower his self-esteem - techniques the general described as "degrading and abusive'' but not inhumane.

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    McCain is a phony. The acid test was when the shameful amendment to McCain's bill authored by Sen. Lindsay Graham (as you rightly warned about) which you passed, thus limiting the right to habeas corpus, banning civil suit to be compensated for or to stop torture, and for the 1st time legalizing the use of statements made under torture to prosecute the tortured. McCain decided to take credit for passing an anti-torture bill instead of screaming bloody murder, exposing this sickening travesty and filibustering his gutted bill. The result was not anti-torture but Congressional sanctioned shielding of and impunity for torture.