How often will new revelations about the sick U.S. torture policies come to light in , I wonder.
Sometime after Mohamed al-Kahtani was imprisoned at Guantánamo around , military officials believed they had a prize on their hands — someone who was perhaps intended to have been a hijacker in the plot.
But his interrogation was not yielding much, so they decided in to try a new tactic. Mr. Kahtani, a Saudi, was given a tranquilizer, put in sensory deprivation garb with blackened goggles, and hustled aboard a plane that was supposedly taking him to the Middle East.
After hours in the air, the plane landed back at the United States naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was not returned to the regular prison compound but put in an isolation cell in the base’s brig. There, he was subjected to harsh interrogation procedures that he was encouraged to believe were being conducted by Egyptian national security operatives.
The account of Mr. Kahtani’s treatment given to The New York Times recently by military intelligence officials and interrogators is the latest of several developments that have severely damaged the military’s longstanding public version of how the detention and interrogation center at Guantánamo operated.
Interviews with former intelligence officers and interrogators provided new details and confirmed earlier accounts of inmates being shackled for hours and left to soil themselves while exposed to blaring music or the insistent meowing of a cat-food commercial. In addition, some may have been forcibly given enemas as punishment.
While all the detainees were threatened with harsh tactics if they did not cooperate, about one in six were eventually subjected to those procedures, one former interrogator estimated. The interrogator said that when new interrogators arrived they were told they had great flexibility in extracting information from detainees because the Geneva Conventions did not apply at the base.
Military officials have gone to great lengths to portray Guantánamo as a largely humane facility for several hundred prisoners, where the harshest sanctioned punishments consisted of isolation or taking away items like blankets, toothpaste, dessert or reading material. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, who was the commander of the Guantánamo operation , regularly told visiting members of Congress and journalists that the approach was designed to build trust between the detainee and his questioner.
“We are detaining these enemy combatants in a humane manner,” General Miller told reporters in . “Should our men or women be held in similar circumstances, I would hope they would be treated in this manner.”
His successor, Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood, told reporters in that he was “satisfied that the detainees here have not been abused, they’ve not been mistreated, they’ve not been tortured in any way.”
Journalists who were permitted to view an interview session from behind a glass wall during General Hood’s tenure were shown an interrogator and detainee sharing a milkshake and fries from the base’s McDonald’s and appearing to chat amiably. It became apparent to reporters comparing notes in , however, that the tableau of the interrogator and prisoner sharing a McDonald’s meal was presented to at least three sets of journalists.
It goes on… finally ending with this paragraph:
It is unclear whether the Justice Department’s new, broader definition of torture, posted on the department’s Web site late , would have affected operations at Guantánamo.