“Letter From Loretto”

“Letter From Loretto” from John Kiriakou, Federal Prisoner for Informing Americans about CIA torture program.

Greetings from the Federal Correctional Institution at Loretto, Pennsylvania. I arrived here on February 28, 2013 to serve a 30 month sentence for violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. At least that’s what the government wants people to believe. In truth, this is my punishment for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program and for telling the public that torture was official US government policy. But that’s a different story. The purpose of this letter is to tell you about prison life.

At my formal sentencing hearing in January, the judge, the prosecutors, and my attorneys all agreed that I would serve my sentence in Loretto’s Federal Work Camp. When I arrived, however, much to my surprise, the Corrections Officer (CO, or “hack”) who processed me said that the Justice DepartmentBureau of Prisons had deemed me a “threat to the public safety” and so I would do serve the entire sentence in the actual prison, rather than the camp.

Processing took about an hour and included fingerprinting, a mug shot (my third after FBI and the Marshals), my fourth DNA sample, and a quite comprehensive strip search. I was given a pair of baggy brown pants, two brown shirts, two pairs of underwear, two pairs of socks, and a pair of cheap sandals. My own clothes were boxed and mailed to my wife. The CO then led me to a steel bunk in “Central Unit” and walked away. I didn’t know what to do, so I took a nap.

My cell is more like a cubicle made out of a concrete block. Built to hold four men, mine holds six. Most others hold eight. My cell-mates include two Dominicans serving 24- and 20-year sentences for drugs, a Mexican serving 15 years for drugs, a Puerto Rican serving 7 1/2 years 7 1/2 years for drug conspiracy, and the former auditor of Cuyahoga County, Ohio who’s doing [unintelligible] years a long sentence for corruption. They’re all decent guys and we actually enjoy each other’s company.

The prison population is much like you might expect. Loretto has 1,369 prisoners. (I never call myself an “inmate.” I’m a prisoner). About 50% are black, 30% are Hispanic and 20% are white. Of the white prisoners, most are pedophiles with personal stories that would make you sick to your stomach. The rest of the white prisoners are here for drugs, except for a dozen or so who ran Ponzi schemes. Of the 1,369 prisoners, 40 have college degrees and 6 of us have master’s degrees. The GED program is robust. (But when I volunteered to teach a class, my “counsellor” shouted, “Dammit, Kiriakou! If I wanted you to teach a fucking class, I’d ask you to teach a fucking class!”) I’m a janitor in the chapel. I make $5.25 a month.

The cafeteria, or “chow hall” was the most difficult experience of my first few days. Where should I sit? On my first day, two Aryans, completely covered in tattoos, walked up to me and asked, “Are you a pedophile?” Nope, I said. “Are you a fag?” Nope. “Do you have good paper?” I didn’t know what this meant. It turned out that I had to get a copy of my formal sentencing documents to prove that I wasn’t a child molester. I did that, and was welcomed by the Aryans, who aren’t really Aryans but more accurately self-important hillbillies.

The cafeteria is very formally divided. There is a table for the Aryans whites with good paper, a section of a table for the Native Americans, a section of a table for people belonging to a certain Italian-American stereotypical “subculture,” two tables for the Muslims, four tables for the pedophiles, and all the remaining tables for the blacks and hispanics. We don’t all eat at the same time, but each table is more-or-less reserved as I described.

Violence hasn’t been much of a problem since I arrived. There have been maybe a half-dozen fights, almost always over what television show to watch. The choices are pretty much set in stone between ESPN, MTV, VH1, BET and Univision. I haven’t watched TV since I got here. It’s just not worth the trouble. Otherwise, violence isn’t a problem. Most of the guys in here have worked their way down to a low-security prison from a medium or a maximum, and they don’t want to go back.

I’ve also had some luck in this regard. My reputation preceded me, and a rumor got started that I was a CIA hit man. The Aryans whispered that I was a “Muslim hunter,” but the Muslims, on the strength of my Arabic language skills and a well-timed statement of support from Louis Farrakhan have lauded me as a champion of Muslim human rights. Meanwhile the Italians have taken a liking to me because I’m patriotic, as they are, and I have a visceral dislike of the FBI, which they do as well. I have good relations with the blacks because I’ve helped several of them write commutation appeals or letters to judges and I don’t charge anything for it. And the Hispanics respect me because my cellmates, who represent a myriad of Latin drug gangs, have told them to. So far, so good.

The only thing close to a problem that I’ve had has been from the CO’s. When I first arrived, after about four days, I heard an announcement that I was told to dread: “Kiriakou – report to the lieutenant’s office immediately.” Very quickly, I gave my wife’s phone number to a friend and asked him to call her if for some reason I was sent to the SHU (Special Housing Unit) more commonly known as the hole, or solitary confinement. I hadn’t done anything wrong, but this kind of thing happens all the time.

When I got to the lieutenant’s office, I was ushered into the office of SIS, the Special Investigative Service. This is the prison version of every police department’s Internal Affairs Division detective bureau. I saw on a desk a copy of my book, the Reluctant Spy, as well as DVD copies of all the documentaries I’ve been in. The CO showed me a picture of an Arab. “Do you know this guy,” he asked me. I responded that I had met him a day earlier, but our conversation was limited to “nice to meet you.” Well, the CO said, this was the uncle of the Times Square bomber, and after we had met, he called a number in Pakistan, reported the meeting, and was told to kill me. I told the CO that I could kill the guy with my thumb. He’s about 5’4″ and 125 pounds compared to my 6’1″ and 250 pounds. The CO said they were looking to ship him out, so I should stay away from him. But the more I thought about it, the more this made no sense. Why would the uncle of the Times Square bomber be in a low-security prison? He should be in a maximum. So I asked my Muslim friends to check him out. It turns out that he’s an Iraqi Kurd from Buffalo, NY. He was the imam of a mosque there, which also happened to be the mosque where the “Lackawana 7” worshipped. (The Lackawana 7 were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism.) The FBI pressured him to testify against his parishioners. He refused and got five years for obstruction of justice. The ACLU and several religious freedom groups have rallied to his defense. He had nothing to do with terrorism.

In the meantime, SIS told him that I had made a call to Washington after we met, and that I had been instructed to kill him! We both laughed at the hamhandedness by which the SIS tried to get us to attack each other. If we had, we would have spent the rest of our sentences in the [unintelligible] SHU – solitary. Instead, we’re friendly, we exchange greetings in Arabic and English, and we chat.

The only other problem I’ve had with the CO’s was about two weeks after I arrived. I get a great deal of mail here in prison (and I answer every letter I get.) Monday through Friday, prisoners gather in front of the unit CO’s office for mail call. One female CO butchers my name every time she says it. So when she does mail call, I hear “Kirkakow, Kiriloo, Teriyaki” and a million other variations. One day after mail call I passed her in the hall. She stopped me and said, “are you the motherfucker whose name I can’t pronounce?” I responded, “Ki-ri-AH-koo.” She said, “How about if I just call you Fuckface?” I just walked away and a friend I was walking with said, “Classy.” I said to him, “White trash is more like it.” An hour later, four CO’s descended on both of our cells, trashing all of our worldly possessions in my first “shake-down.” Lesson learned: CO’s can treat us like subhumans but we have to show them faux respect even when it’s not earned.

I’ll write about CO’s more next time. If you’d like to drop me a line, I can be reached at: John Kiriakou, 79637-083, PO Box 1000, FCI Loretto, Loretto PA 15940.

Best regards from Loretto,


Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?


Bush and Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?

For Immediate Release: Nov. 3, 2011

Who: Ralph Nader; Center for Study of Responsive Law
When: Friday, November 18, 2011 at 12:30 p.m.
What: Bush/Obama: War Crimes or Lawful Wars?
Where: 1530 P St NW, Washington, DC – Carnegie Institution building
Contact: Katherine Raymond, 202-387-8030, kraymond@csrl.org

(Washington, D.C.) – On Friday, November 18, Ralph Nader and the Center for Study of Responsive Law will host a public debate on the subject: Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama’s actions: war crimes or lawful wars?

Debaters arguing for the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

Bruce Fein is an attorney and constitutional scholar, and has consulted foreign nations on matters ranging from constitutional revision to telecommunications and cable regulation, and human rights. He appears regularly on national and international television, cable, and radio programs as an expert in foreign affairs, terrorism, national security, and has testified over 200 times before Congressional committees. .

Lt. Colonel Tony Shaffer is a highly experienced U.S. Army intelligence officer, and is nationally known as a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for intelligence collection and policy, terrorism, data mining, situational awareness and adaptive/disruptive technologies. He is also a senior advisor to multiple organizations on terrorism and counterinsurgency issues and a member of the US Nuclear Strategy Forum.

Debaters arguing against the proposition that Bush and Obama engaged in war crimes

David B. Rivkin is a member of Baker & Hostetler Law Firm’s litigation, international and environmental groups and co-chairs the firm’s appellate and major motions team. He served in the White House Counsel’s office and the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Prior to embarking on a legal career, Mr. Rivkin worked as a defense and foreign policy analyst, focusing on Soviet affairs, arms control, naval strategy and NATO-related issues, and served as a defense consultant to numerous government agencies and Washington think tanks.

Lee Casey a partner at Baker & Hostetler, focuses on federal environmental, constitutional and international law and Alien Tort Statute issues. He served in the Department of Justice under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also advises clients on compliance issues under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), U.S. trade sanctions regimes, and federal ethics requirements. Mr. Casey’s practice includes federal, district and appellate court litigation, as well as matters before federal agencies. From 2004 through 2007 he served as a member of the United Nations Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues. He also is a nationally recognized legal commentator.

Stuart S. Taylor is a lawyer, author and freelance journalist focusing on legal and policy issues, a “National Journal” contributing editor, and a Brookings Institution nonresident fellow. He has written many columns on this issue and has co-authored a piece titled “Looking Forward, Not Backward: Refining American Interrogation Law” through the Brookings Institution.

The event is free and open to the public. Please join us and invite your colleagues and friends to attend.The Debating Taboos series brings public attention and analyses to “taboo” topics. This is the third debate in the series.

A complimentary light lunch will follow the event.

Second Court allows another Rumsfeld torture case to go forward.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has rendered a ruling in Rumsfeld’s attempt to dismiss the case based on immunity. The court has rejected the argument and nobody should be surprised that torture apologist David Rivkin is firing back by insulting the judges themselves. “Having judges second-guess the decisions made by the armed forces halfway around the world is no way to wage a war. It saps the effectiveness of the military, puts American soldiers at risk, and shackles federal officials who have a constitutional duty to protect America.”

U.S. Circuit Judge David Hamilton wrote the opinion.

Second, we agree with the district court that Secretary Rumsfeld is not entitled to qualified immunity on the pleadings. The law was clearly established in 2006 that the treatment plaintiffs have alleged was unconstitutional. No reasonable public official could have believed otherwise.

The plaintiff in this case is filed as John Doe. John Doe was sent to Iraq in as an Arabic-English interpreter with a marine corp’s intel unit in December 2004. In less than a year he was arrested without charge and thrown in solitary confinement blindfolded and handcuffed. He was in solitary for 72 hours then transported to Camp Cropper before being tortured some more. He was released 9 months later. He filed suit in 2008.

The court decision comes on the heels of a ruling by Federal Court in the case of Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel. Vance and Ertel are suing for torture committed upon them when they worked for Shield Group Security, U.S. hired contractor.

A report from RussiaToday

Another report worth watching

Rumsfeld is accused of approving torture methods that included sleep deprivation, walling, extended standing, and other violations of Army Field Manual, domestic law, and foreign treaties regarding the treatment of prisoners. The expressed outrage by officials days into the Iraq war about the treatment of captured chopper pilots shows they had a low bar for tolerance in abuse of American prisoners of war but no compunction for the abuses we know happened. Repeatedly, they’ve used the ‘bad apples’ spin.

These suits work to destroy the bad apples narrative. Attorney Mike Kanovitz said, the court had to choose between “protecting the most fundamental rights of American citizens in the difficult context of a war or leaving those rights solely in the hands of politicians and the military. It was not an easy choice for the Court to make, but it was the brave and right choice.”

The state department hasn’t responded but torture apologist and broken message maker David Rivkin resumed his same old attacks and claimed the decision would be overturned.

We’ll keep you posted on Donald Rumsfeld and his torture apologist attorney, David Rivkin.

HRW: Obama broke law not prosecuting Bush & Cheney

Human Rights Watch has stated its position on the Obama Administration’s lack of justice in the cases of Richard Bruce Cheney and George Walker Bush for war crimes and authorizing war crimes

Despite New Denials by Rumsfeld, Evidence Shows US Military Used Waterboarding-Style Torture

Friday 5 August 2011
by: Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout | Report

Former United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC. Rumsfeld has recently denied knowledge of any waterboarding by US military personnel taking place at Guantanamo Bay. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

In the controversy over whether torture, especially waterboarding, was used to gather information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Sean Hannity recently that “no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the US military. In fact, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, period.”

In his memoir, “Known and Unknown,” Rumsfeld maintained, “To my knowledge, no US military personnel involved in interrogations waterboarded any detainees,not at Guantanamo or anywhere else in the world.” But as we shall see, Rumsfeld was either lying outright, or artfully twisting the truth.

Others have insisted as well that the military never waterboarded anyone. Law and national security writer Benjamin Wittes wrote in The New Republic last year that “the military, unlike the CIA, never waterboarded anybody.” Harper’s columnist Scott Horton also noted last year, “There is no documentation yet of waterboarding at Gitmo, but the case book is far from closed on that score, too.”

Yet, though not widely reported and scattered among various articles and reports on detainee treatment by the military, including first-person accounts, there are a number of stories of forced water choking or drowning, both at Guantanamo and other US military sites.

In little-known testimony in May 2008 before Congress, former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz testified he endured a form of simulated drowning. In his testimony before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kurnaz said that under US military captivity at Khadahar, Afghanistan, prior to his transfer to Guantanamo, his head was “dunked under water to simulate drowning.”

Asked by Republican Congressman Rohrabacher if he hadn’t then been waterboarded, Kurnaz responded, “No, it’s not waterboarding. It’s called ‘water treatment.’ There was a bucket of water.”

ROHRABACHER: Was a cloth put over your face and you were put on a board?

KURNAZ: There was a bucket of water. And they stick my head in it and at the same time, punch me into my stomach.

Rohrabacher reportedly commented, “The CIA is claiming that only three people have been waterboarded. And this may be a loophole that they’re suggesting that’s not ‘waterboarding.'”

According to a report on Kurnaz’s testimony at the time by The Christian Science Monitor, Pentagon spokesman Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon replied to the torture charges: “The abuses Mr. Kurnaz alleges are not only unsubstantiated and implausible, they are simply outlandish.”

Whether implausible or not, waterboarding was one of a number of “counter-resistance techniques” requested for use at Guantanamo by Maj. Gen. Mike Dunleavy, commander of Task Force 170. In an October 2002 memo from Dunleavy’s intelligence chief requesting use of a number of techniques, including sensory deprivation, isolation, stress positions, forced nudity and death threats, there was also a proposal for “Use of a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation.”

In a follow-up memo approving most, but not all of the requested techniques, Department of Defense (DoD) general counsel William J. Haynes II said of the “wet towel” and other so-called “aggressive” “Category III” techniques, “While all Category III techniques may be legally available, we believe that, as a matter of policy, a blanket approval of Category III techniques is not warranted at this time.” (Emphasis added.)

Water Torture at Guantanamo

Evidence regarding waterboarding or other forms of water torture by suffocation or choking at Guantanamo has been reported, but this article is the first collection of the various reports in one place.

Last April, a report by two doctors who were allowed to examine “medical records and relevant case files … of nine individuals for evidence of torture and ill treatment,” found at least one case of “near asphyxiation from water (i.e., hose forced into the detainee’s mouth)” and another case where a detainee’s head was forced into a toilet.

The report, by doctors Vincent Iacopino and Stephen N. Xenakis, was published at PLoS Medicine. Dr. Xenakis is also a retired brigadier general in the Army, who has worked as a medical consultant on a number of Guantanamo legal cases.

Additionally, accusations of military waterboarding turned up in a Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) report on “FBI Involvement in and Observations of Detainee Interrogations” that was released at almost the same time as Kurnaz’s testimony (May 2008). The IG noted that the chief of the FBI’s Military Liaison and Detainee Unit at Guantanamo told DoD Assistant Attorney General Dave Nahmias, “one of the planned or actual techniques used on [purported 9/11 would-be hijacker, Mohammed] Al Qahtani was simulated drowning.”

In fact, the military admits the use of pouring water over al Qahtani’s head, as is discussed below.

At another point in the report, the IG describes one FBI agent who “once heard a discussion at GTMO when someone mentioned using water as an interrogation tool and someone else in the group said, ‘Yeah, I’ve seen that.'” According to the IG report, no FBI agent actually reported seeing waterboarding or water torture him or herself.

Whether or not waterboarding was observed by FBI agents at Guantanamo, we know from the minutes of a “Counter-resistance Strategy meeting” at Guantanamo on October 22, 2002, that waterboarding (called the “wet towel” technique) was discussed (see Tab 7 at link). The meeting included legal officials from the CIA, DIA, the Guantanamo intelligence chief, as well as members of the Guantanamo Behavioral Science Consulting Team (BSCT).

At one point, Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo asked whether SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) employed “the ‘wet towel’ technique.” Jonathan Fredman, then chief counsel to the CIA’s counter-terrorism center, replied:

“If a well-trained individual is used to perform [sic] this technique it can feel like you’re drowning. The lymphatic system will react as if you’re suffocating, but your body will not cease to function. It is very effective to identify phobias and use them (ie, insects, snakes, claustrophobia). The level of resistance is directly related to person’s experience.”

At this point, a BSCT psychiatrist noted, “Whether or not significant stress occurs lies in the eye of the beholder. The burden of proof is the big issue.” Fredman replied, “These techniques need involvement from interrogators, psych, medical, legal, etc.”

Fredman continued “The CIA makes the call internally on most of the types of techniques found in the BSCT paper and this discussion.” In a reference to the approvals for waterboarding and other techniques given the CIA by Office of Legal Counsel memos a few months before, he added, “Significantly harsh techniques are approved through the DOJ.” There was no indication in the minutes from the meeting that waterboarding was not allowed for Defense Department use.

Waterboarding of Mohammed al Qahtani

Mohammed al Qahtani was a Saudi Arabian citizen brought to Guantanamo in early 2002. Ostensibly believed to be a part of the 9/11 plot, when interrogators became frustrated at their inability to get information out of him, or force his compliance, they turned to methods of interrogation that the Guantanamo Convening Authority Susan Crawford would later herself conclude amounted to torture.

By November 2002, al Qahtani had become the “first subject of a Special Interrogation Plan,” which relied heavily on the military’s SERE torture school techniques, including isolation, stress positions, sexual humiliation and apparently, a form of waterboarding. SERE was created to provide US military personnel with training to resist torture.

Even years before Crawford’s admission, DoD’s Schmidt-Furlow report, looking at early allegations of detainee abuse, concluded that “the creative, aggressive and persistent interrogation of the subject of the first Special Interrogation Plan [al Qahtani] resulted in the cumulative effect being degrading and abusive treatment.” No one has ever been charged for such crimes committed against this or any other Guantanamo detainee.

The Schmidt-Furlow report details the use of water torture on al Qahtani, an aspect of his torture that has been little reported:

On seventeen occasions, between 13 Dec 02 and 14 Jan 03, interrogators, during interrogations, poured water over the subject of the first Special Interrogation Plan head….

There is evidence that the subject of the first Special Interrogation Plan regularly had water poured on his head. The interrogation logs indicate that this was done as a control measure only.

Time Magazine published al Qahtani’s interrogation logs in 2005. The use of water to drench al Qahtani’s head does not appear to be a “control measure” when it is discussed in the logs themselves.

On December 23, 2002, a log selection describes how interrogators hung pictures of swimsuit models around al Qahtani’s neck. Then the lead interrogator “pulled pictures of swimsuit models off detainee and told him the test of his ability to answer questions would begin. Detainee refused to answer and finally stated that he would after [the] lead [interrogator] poured water over detainees [sic] head and was told he would be subjected to this treatment day after day. Detainee was told to think about his decision to answer questions.”

The day before, when al Qahtani had refused to look at “fitness photos,” saying it was against his religion, interrogators had “poured a 24 oz bottle of water over detainee’s head.” The log notes dryly, “Detainee then began to look at photos.”

In their investigation of detainee abuse, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) noted in a 2008 report that the Navy limited waterboard demonstrations to two pints (32 oz.) of water. A January 13, 2003, memo, described in the SASC report, underreported how much water was poured over Qahtani, saying that “up to eight ounces of water” was poured over Qahtani’s head as a “method of asserting control” when Khatani exhibited ”undesired behavior.”

The SASC report also said that the interrogation plan for another Guantanamo detainee, Mohamadou Walid Slahi, included the practice of pouring water over Slahi’s head to “enforce control” and “keep [him] awake.”

Three More Guantanamo Detainees Report Suffocation by Drowning

Besides Kurnaz and al Qahtani, at least three other detainees have reported being tortured at Guantanamo by application of water meant to cause suffocation, choking or the sensation of drowning.

A 2009 article by Jeremy Scahill outlined the torture and abuse endured by former Guantanamo detainee and British resident Omar Deghayes. Scahill mentions two incidents where the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF, sometimes called the Emergency Reaction Force, or ERF) used forms of water torture on Deghayes. In one case, the detainee was shackled, his head put into a toilet. The IRF team “pressed his face into the water. They repeatedly flushed it.”

The IRF or ERF team also came into Deghayes cell on another occasion and conducted a simulated or partial drowning.

The ERF team came into the cell with a water hose under very high pressure. [Deghayes] was totally shackled and they would hold his head fixed still. They would force water up his nose until he was suffocating and would scream for them to stop. This was done with medical staff present and they would join in.

According to Scahill, the IRF team conducted this form of waterboarding three times on Deghayes. Note that the presence of medical staff is consistent with the use of medical personnel under CIA descriptions of how they conducted waterboarding.

Another example of water torture involving Guantanamo guards appears in a document related to the case of Djamel Ameziane, an Algerian Berber who has been held at Guantanamo for over eight years, despite the fact he never received military or terrorist training, nor fought against the US. According to 2008 legal filing for Ameziane by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR):

In another violent incident, guards entered his cell and forced him to the floor, kneeing him in the back and ribs and slamming his head against the floor, turning it left and right. The bashing dislocated Mr. Ameziane’s jaw, from which he still suffers. In the same episode, guards sprayed cayenne pepper all over his body and then hosed him down with water to accentuate the effect of the pepper spray and make his skin burn. They then held his head back and placed a water hose between his nose and mouth, running it for several minutes over his face and suffocating him, an operation they repeated several times. Mr. Ameziane writes, “I had the impression that my head was sinking in water. I still have psychological injuries, up to this day. Simply thinking of it gives me the chills.” [Emphasis added.]

In March 2008, six Guantanamo detainees filed suit against Bosnia and Herzegovina in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for failure “for many years to take any steps to negotiate and secure the men’s release from Guantanamo.” One of the men, Mustafa Ait Idr, who had been rendered to Guantanamo and “taken from his pregnant wife in violation of a Bosnian court order to free him,” also reported use of water torture in a manner remarkably similar to that of Ameziane.

A CCR report on “Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba” said that on one occasion prison guards demanded to search Idr’s cell. Idr cooperated, but they came in, sprayed him in the face with a chemical irritant and put him into restraints.

According to the CCR report, “Guards then slammed him head first into the cell floor, lowered him, face-first into the toilet and flushed the toilet – submerging his head. He was then carried outside and thrown onto the crushed stones that surround the cells. While he was down on the ground, his assailants stuffed a hose in his mouth and forced water down his throat.” As a result, Idr’s face was paralyzed for several months.

Other threats to use waterboarding on DoD prisoners, or to rendition detainees for water torture, are also on record. According to journalist Robert Windrem in a 2009 story at The Daily Beast, then Vice President Dick Cheney requested the waterboarding of Muhammed Khudayr al-Dulaymi, the head of the M-14 section of Mukhabarat. According to the article, the official in charge of interrogations of Iraqi officials at the time, Charles Duelfer, declined the request.

According to the SASC detainee report, the lead agency for SERE, Joint Forces Personnel Agency, constructed a CONOP (Concept of Operations) plan for use at a Special Mission Unit Task Force interrogation center in Iraq. The CONOP recommended use of the “water board.” Military legal figures reportedly objected to that and other techniques, but it is not known whether Special Forces in Iraq used waterboarding or other water torture techniques and the SASC report does not enlighten us on that point.

In another case, former Italian resident and Guantanamo detainee, Tunisian-born Saleh Sassi, reported that in late 2002, Tunisian agents came to Guantanamo and interrogated him. They “left no doubt about what awaited ex-Guantanamo inmates back in Tunisia: ‘water torture in the barrel’ and other horrors.” Sassi was released and sent to Albania in 2010.

Finally, the DOJ IG report on FBI interrogations referenced earlier describes how an Abu Ghraib prisoner, Saleh Muklef Saleh, was restrained and had cold water poured over him on more than one occasion. One time, according to Saleh’s own testimony, “They gave me one or two bottles of water and they asked me to drink it while I was hungry and they forced me to drink it and I did and I felt vomiting, then they ordered me to drink again and they were looking at me and laughing” (pp. 279-280).

Back in 2008, during the Congressional meeting where Murat Kurnaz testified to the use of water torture upon him, Democratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee commented, “It seems that we have a new definition … If you were wedded to the language of waterboarding, now we have new language called ‘water treatment,’ which may bear on being torture as well.”

To date, there has been no investigation that specifically has looked at the use of types of water torture, including waterboarding or water treatment, on detainees. The military’s current Army Field Manual on interrogation forbids the use of “waterboarding.” It is the only “prohibited action” term that is described with quotation marks around it.

A Human Rights Watch report issued on July 12 called for President Barack Obama “to order a criminal investigation into allegations of detainee abuse authorized by former President George W. Bush and other senior officials.”

Countdown-New details on Bush torture

Case against Donald Rumsfeld moves forward. Torture program extends far beyond black sites or Abu Ghraib.

Terror suspects spill more ‘high value’ intelligence

July 24, 2003, 10:54PM
Terror suspects spill more ‘high value’ intelligence
Detainees are offered rewards in exchange for information

Associated Press GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — Terrorist suspects have become more compliant and are offering many more important intelligence tips, said the U.S. Army general who commands the prison where preparations are under way for military tribunals.

Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller said that three-fourths of the 660 or so detainees have confessed to some involvement in terrorism. Many have turned on former friends and colleagues, he added.

Miller said detainees are giving up information in “incentive-based interrogations.” Rewards include more recreation time, extra food rations to keep in their cells, or a move to the prison’s medium-security facility.

“We have a large number of detainees who have been very cooperative describing their actions, either terrorist actions or in support of terrorism — more than 75 percent” of them, Miller said in an interview Wednesday.

Some tips have led to more arrests, others revealed terrorist recruiting techniques, he said.

“In February we were able to get 35 `high value’ — the highest value — intelligence (pieces). … In June we had more than 225,” Miller said.

The prisoners’ statements, which Miller said have been verbal, could be used as evidence before the secret tribunals, unlike in the United States.

The prison’s location at this U.S. naval base at the eastern end of Cuba puts the detainees out of the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and constitutional protections, a situation that has been criticized by human rights groups as a violation of the detainees’ rights.

The prisoners are all suspected of ties to the al-Qaida terrorist network or Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.