Secret Red Cross Report Released on Abuse of Detainees
A February, 2007 Red Cross report on the treatment of the 14 high-value detainees held in secret CIA prisons before being transferred to Guantanamo has been released. It's available here (pdf). The report in encrypted so I can't cut and paste excerpts, but the Washington Post has this description of its findings.
Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, according a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Health personnel offered supervision and even assistance as suspected al-Qaeda captives were deprived of food, exposed to temperature extremes and subjected to waterboarding, the relief agency found in a 2007 report, a copy of which was posted on a magazine Web site tonight. The report quoted one medical official as telling a detainee: "I look after your body only because we need you for information."
In addition to widely reported methods such as waterboarding, the report alleges that several of the detainees were forced to stand for days in painful positions with their arms shackled overhead. One detainee reported being shackled in this manner for "two to three months, seven days of prolonged stress standing followed by two days of being able to sit or lie down."
In addition to the coercive methods -- which the ICRC said "amounted to torture" and a violation of U.S. and international treaty obligations -- the report says detainees were routinely threatened with further violence against themselves and their families. Nine of the 14 detainees said they were threatened with "electric shocks, infection with HIV, sodomy of the detainee and . . . being brought close to death," the report said.
I recommend reading the actual report. And our prior post on the advance leaks of it by Mark Danner. Danner is the author of the new book, Torture and Truth.
Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, officials of the United States ... from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo in Cuba to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, have been torturing prisoners," writes Mark Danner. "This is a simple truth, well known but not yet publicly admitted in Washington."
The torture was essentially given institutional approval by the U.S. government, through memoranda from the President's White House counsel, among others, opining that the Geneva Conventions need not apply to prisoners. In Iraq, at least three different interrogation policies were used. Many soldiers and outside organizations were aware of these torture sessions.
Torture and Truth includes documents outlining acceptable interrogation techniques and reports revealing prisoner abuse and torture — including a memo signed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld concerning "Interrogation Techniques," the reports by Major General Antonio M. Taguba, and the report by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
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