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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

 
A few good torturers

by digby

Jeffrey Kaye points out yet another report about horrific acts of torture at Guantanamo --- and nobody cares:
The Senior Medical Officer (SMO) at Guantanamo who attended at least two of three high-profile “suicides” at Guantanamo nearly eight years ago concluded at the time that, contrary to the conclusions of a later government investigation, the detainees did not die by hanging but by “likely asphyxiation” from “obstruction” of the airway. Moreover this SMO found a prisoner he examined and pronounced dead had “cotton clothing material in [his] mouth and upper pharynx.” (See pgs. 5-7 of this PDF to view the SMO’s original findings.)

The finding is consistent with other accounts, and with the theory the three prisoners died from a torture procedure known as “dryboarding,” as researcher Almerindo Ojeda described in an 2011 story at Truthout.

Yet, unaccountably, the SMO was never formally interviewed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which had the Department of Defense mandate to investigate the supposed suicides. Furthermore, the SMO’s account was not included in the NCIS final report.

This new finding is one of a number of such discoveries detailed in a new investigatory report published last month by The Center for Policy and Research (CPR) at Seton Hall University School of Law.

Thus far, their report has been totally ignored by the press.
What is dry-boarding you ask?
Dry-boarding is a torture method that induces the first stages of death by asphyxiation. Unlike waterboarding, where water is poured on a wet cloth placed over a supine subject's airways, so their breathing slowly fills their lungs with water, dryboarding induces asphyxiation through stuffing the subject's airways with rags, then taping shut his mouth and nose. It is among techniques used by the United States during its war on terror: CIA and military agents under the Bush administration described this as among enhanced interrogation techniques. It has since legally been defined by US courts as torture.
I know that some of you movie buffs may recognize that "technique" as the one used against the unfortunate private in "A Few Good Men" who was accidentally killed when the brass ordered soldiers to "teach him a lesson."  It was called a "code red." (And ironically, that illegal act was supposed to have taken place a tGuantanamo before it was a prison camp.)

I always wondered if everyone took the same message from that film as the writer obviously intended. I thought it was very possible that people would think the kid deserved it because well ... he was a wimp and we need gladiators. (You know --- "you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall.") I'm reminded of those thoughts as I contemplate these methods being used in the Guantanamo prison camp --- and the fact that no one gives a damn. It doesn't look like there's going to be a Hollywood ending for this one.

You can download the full report at this link. Scott Horton also has written an article about this at Harper's but it's behind the subscription wall.

Kaye summarizes the whole thing this way:
Government authorities contend the three prisoners died in an act of simultaneous suicide by hanging, an act JTF Guantanamo Commander Harry Harris described only one day after the deaths as “asymmetrical warfare.” It is this version of what happened that has been accepted by a wide section of the press. Horton’s article surmises that the prisoners may have died at Guantanamo’s “Camp No,” also known as “Penny Lane,” thought to be a special CIA black site at Guantanamo used to coerce prisoners, including through torture, to turn informants for the U.S. government.

CPR’s report goes much farther than Horton’s article in documenting exactly how the government pulled this document — Exhibit 25 of the NCIS report — and replaced it with random pages from elsewhere in the group of documents gathered in the course of the investigation. Detailed in Appendix D of the report, the work is an impressive piece of forensic research.

This deliberate suppression of information contrary to the government’s story should be a matter of public outrage and congressional investigation, but the CPR report also shows how the Obama administration’s Justice Department deliberately misled congressional queries about the report in the wake of the 2010 Harpers report and earlier Seton Hall CPR investigation and report, “Death in Camp Delta” (PDF).
No. People are running around today shrieking about a standard prisoner exchange inspiring terrorists. This isn't even on the radar.

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