New Documents Show Detainees Driven to Brink of Insanity

President Bush says the U.S. does not torture. That's not the truth according to new documents obtained by the Associated Press.

The 91 pages of new documents detail concerns raised by military officials over the treatment of Yasier Hamdi and Jose Padilla, both U.S. citizens, and Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident. The documents were provided by the U.S. Fleet Forces Command which is in charge of the military brigs in Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C where the three were held.

The officials said the conditions of confinement had driven the three to the brink of insanity.

"These documents are the first clear confirmation of what we've suspected all along, that the brig was run as a prison beyond the law. There was an effort to create a Gitmo inside the United States," Jonathan Hafetz of the ACLU's National Security Project in New York said, using the slang word for the U.S. naval facility in Cuba.


The men were interrogated by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, repeatedly denied access to attorneys and mail from home and contact with anyone other than guards and their interrogators. They were deprived of natural light for months and for years were forbidden even minor distractions such as a soccer ball or a dictionary.

"I will continue to do what I can to help this individual maintain his sanity, but in my opinion we're working with borrowed time," an unidentified Navy brig official wrote of prisoner Yaser Esam Hamdi in 2002. "I would like to have some form of an incentive program in place to reward him for his continued good behavior, but more so, to keep him from whacking out on me."

As to Hamdi:

Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, shipped to Guantanamo and then moved to the U.S. after his citizenship was discovered. He was held and interrogated for three years without charges. The Supreme Court in 2004 rejected the government's attempt to hold him indefinitely without charge. He was released to Saudi Arabia on the condition he give up his U.S. citizenship.

Al-Marri remains in custoday:

Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar, was a legal resident studying for a master's degree in Illinois when he was arrested in December 2001 by the FBI as a material witness to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was charged with credit card fraud in 2002. A month before his trial in 2003, President Bush declared him an enemy combatant and al-Marri was transferred to the consolidated naval brig in Charleston. There he was held in isolation for 16 months, denied shoes and socks for two years, and was not allowed any contact with his family for five years. He remains in the military brig but is appealing his detention to the Supreme Court.

Jose Padilla is now serving the criminal sentence imposed on him after his case was moved from the military system.

Padilla was arrested in 2002 under suspicion he was collaborating with al Qaeda to build a radioactive or "dirty" bomb. He was held as an enemy combatant for more than three years. He was held totally incommunicado for 21 months.

< John McCain: Imprisoned By His Own Mind | Michelle Obama Interview on LKL >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    America-hater (none / 0) (#1)
    by txpublicdefender on Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 08:42:19 PM EST
    Clearly, these military officials who wanted to coddle these terrorists hate America.

    We must destroy (none / 0) (#2)
    by litigatormom on Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 09:00:10 PM EST
    the Constitution to save it.

    NYT review of (none / 0) (#3)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 08, 2008 at 09:23:17 PM EST
    The Dark Side, by Jane Mayer (2008):

    Listening to the interview of the author on NPR was also enlightening.  Apparently U.S., before employing the torture techniques it acquired from others, already knew these techniques were useless.

    Raising Tommorow's Terrorists (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Thu Oct 09, 2008 at 09:40:44 AM EST
    Here at home.

    That's the only thing this accomplishes.