Bush Administration Official Admits Detainee Was Tortured

For the first time, a Bush Administration official has admitted a Guantanamo detainee was tortured.

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.


From her statement:

Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani's health led to her conclusion. "The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge" to call it torture, she said.

Qahtani was brought to Guantanamo in 2002.

His interrogation took place over 50 days from November 2002 to January 2003, though he was held in isolation until April 2003.

"For 160 days his only contact was with the interrogators," said Crawford, who personally reviewed Qahtani's interrogation records and other military documents. "Forty-eight of 54 consecutive days of 18-to-20-hour interrogations. Standing naked in front of a female agent. Subject to strip searches. And insults to his mother and sister."

At one point he was threatened with a military working dog named Zeus, according to a military report. Qahtani "was forced to wear a woman's bra and had a thong placed on his head during the course of his interrogation" and "was told that his mother and sister were whores." With a leash tied to his chains, he was led around the room "and forced to perform a series of dog tricks," the report shows.

On two occasions, the interrogations resulted in Qahtani's hospitalization.

What happens to him now? Crawford says Qahtani is dangerous.

That, she said, is a decision that President-elect Barack Obama will have to make.

< Jackson, Jr. Criticizes Burris For Allowing "Racialization" Of IL Senate Seat Controversy | In 2006, Newsweek Reported Torture Does Not Work >
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    Cheney already admitted waterboarding (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 07:49:08 AM EST
    This is not the first time an administraton official admitted to torture. Unless you defining deviancy down as Addington, Yoo et al did.  Waterboarding is torture.

    From the White House's website (Note Cheney implicates Bush)

    So much of the debate on the war on terror, particularly as Democrats have encapsulated in Congress, is focused on the legality of the tactics. Could you talk a little bit behind the scenes of some of the discussions that might have focused on the morality and the ethics of the tactics, and whether those things weighed into the discussions that went into --

    THE VICE PRESIDENT: What kind -- which tactics?

    Q Oh, anything from rendition to waterboarding to --

    Q Sleep deprivation.

    Q -- to deprivation, tactics that were used at Gitmo. Is there any -- I'm sure -- were there discussions that also focused just on American values and whether those can be preserved in the course of trying to protect the country from terror attacks?


    I signed off on it; others did, as well, too. I wasn't the ultimate authority, obviously. As the Vice President, I don't run anything. But I was in the loop. I thought that it was absolutely the right thing to do.

    Here is another administration official admitting to torture

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The CIA used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding on three suspects captured after the September 11 attacks, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday.

    Too early to read this sh*t... (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 08:03:41 AM EST
    nearly lost my banana breakfast.

    And the icing on the cake...we can't try and convict any of the dudes who were tortured, no matter how heinous their alleged crimes.  I hope the intel gained at such a high cost to our souls was worth letting potentially dangerous terrorists loose...because we have to let 'em loose if they were tortured, our laws and ideals demand nothing less.

    I expect the tortured told the torturer (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Molly Bloom on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 08:05:26 AM EST
    whatever the torturer wanted to hear.

    That's what I'd do... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kdog on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 08:07:13 AM EST
    all the while plotting to shank the torturer at the first opportunity.

    Exactly right (none / 0) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 09:52:38 AM EST
    They can't be convicted of anything.  They'll have to be killed, kept in prison forever, or set free.

    if they and their friends/families (5.00 / 5) (#5)
    by cpinva on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 08:28:54 AM EST
    weren't terrorists before, they most likely are by now.

    of course, the administration claims that 1,000's of lives were saved, and countless acts of terrorism prevented, by virtue of using these methods.

    they can't tell you any specifics, just trust them.

    Shorter version and prevailing (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Anne on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 09:34:25 AM EST
    attitude: Yeah, we tortured - so what?

    And don't forget the Dick Cheney sneer.

    It's troubling, I think, that the underlying message from the boyz at Newsweek (soon to be duplicated around the Village, I bet), is that Obama would be insane to remove torture as a tool from the national security arsenal, that doing so just highlights his naiveté, and will send the world the message that we are vulnerable-with-a-capital-V.

    Is Obama strong enough to stand firm on the no-torture position, or are we doomed to get equivocation and parsing and smokescreens to hide the truth that, well, maybe we might actually need to so we have to leave it up to the "experts" to make that call?  Experts like Brennan and Kappes - people the Senate Dems, at least, are very comfortable with.

    Ugh.  I just don't get the best feeling about the whole thing; hope I'm wrong.

    The speech I would love to hear from Obama (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by ruffian on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 12:26:22 PM EST
    or anyone else for that matter, would weave together the concept of how the "land of the free and home of the brave"  means that we have to be brave enough to treat all people in accordance with human rights and according to our own laws, even if that means setting them free from Gitmo, and possibly risking attacks.  Freedom does not come without risks.  We have to be smart enough to prevent attacks in other, legal, ways. The founding fathers knew well that the bill of rights carried certain risks, and they turned away from totalitarianism.

    Otherwise, all we are defending is our property, not our freedom.


    Apparently all a chickensh*t (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jondee on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 05:02:54 PM EST
    has to do be a hero these days is to torment someone whose previously been rendered completely defenseless, all the while proclaiming that they're doing it for the good of all.

    exactly whats wrong with liberals (1.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ready made victims on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 04:55:26 PM EST
    this shows the absolute delirium of the liberal mind.. Set them free, sure while we are at it why not empty all our prisons! all we really need to do is just get everyone to sing "we are the world" right? Remember while you are sitting around typing this utter tripe,real patriots are doing very real and dangerous work to keep your completely worthless asses safe. Keep living in your theoretical world while true heros keep you from dying in the real one.

    You think maybe Cheney (none / 0) (#11)
    by weltec2 on Wed Jan 14, 2009 at 11:12:21 PM EST
    is trying to force Bush to issue a blanket pardon for all crimes committed while in office?