Bush-Cheney’s Hidden Torture Abroad


America's record on torture appears to be even worse than we realized under Bush and Cheney:

Human Rights Watch has released a report claiming wider use by the United States of waterboarding than previously reported. The 156-page report, "Delivered Into Enemy Hands: U.S.-led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya" includes interviews with 14 Libyans, most part of the anti-Qaddafi Islamic fighting group, who claim they were detained by the United States in various locations including Afghanistan and Pakistan and then sent back to Libya around 2004. The prisoners described their abuse at the hands of their interrogators, and it matched descriptions of waterboarding.

Here's a taste of what the war criminal president and vice-president authorized:

Five Libyans described their captivity in U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan for between eight months and two years before they were rendered back to Libya. They described having been chained to walls naked—sometimes diapered—in pitch-dark, windowless cells for weeks or months at a time; being restrained in painful stress positions for long periods, being forced into cramped spaces; being beaten and slammed into walls; being kept inside for nearly five months without the right to bathe; being denied food; and being denied sleep by continuous, deafeningly loud Western music.

One former prisoner described having been waterboarded on repeated occasions during U.S. interrogations in Afghanistan. The report notes that the prisoner never used the phrase “waterboarding,” but described the procedure in detail: his captors put a hood over his head, strapped him onto a wooden board, “then they start with the water pouring. . . . They start to pour water to the point where you feel like you are suffocating.” He added: “[T]hey wouldn’t stop until they got some kind of answer from me.” He said a doctor was present during the waterboarding and that it happened so many times he could not keep count.

Notice the sentence: “[T]hey wouldn’t stop until they got some kind of answer from me.” The Thiessen defense of torture is that they did it to break down a human being's body and soul first and then asked questions after the prisoner had been mentally and psychologically broken. But this report suggests more classic torture: they kept it up until the right answers came out.

Ackerman further unpacks it. A blogger with Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) reviews the NYT's coverage of the report:

The Times does not completely avoid the T word. There is one reference to a "board being used in water torture" halfway through the piece.

(Image: A screenshot from the report)