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Former Gitmo Prosecutor Breaks Silence About Torture

The campaign to close Gitmo and end military commissions heats up.
 
 
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Despite Bill O'Reilly's delusional rantings, there is no debate that the U.S. military tortured detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  Not when you have former Gitmo prosecutors like Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld coming forward to testify about the atrocities that occurred there. 

Col Vandeveld told the BBC this week about the Gitmo detainees who had been mistreated in order to secure confessions.  In one particularly brutal case, Col Vandeveld discovered "indisputable evidence" regarding the mistreatment of an Afghan named Mohammed Jawad, who had been accused of throwing a grenade at a U.S. military vehicle. 

According to the BBC, "After Jawad had tried to commit suicide by banging his head against a wall at Guantanamo, Col Vandeveld says that psychologists who assisted interrogators advised taking advantage of Mr Jawad's vulnerability by subjecting him to specialist interrogation techniques known as 'fear up'." Interrogators then subjected Jawad to the sleep deprivation technique known as the "frequent flyer" program, in which prisoners were moved from cell to cell every few hours until they confessed. 

The Pentagon, as you might expect, disputed Col Vandeveld's assertions and continues to push the mendacious claim that Bush's military commissions provide "full and fair trials to accused unlawful enemy combatants who are charged with a variety of war crimes."  And there lies the biggest obstacle once President-elect Obama takes office and closes Gitmo: What to do with the prisoners who still need to be brought to trial, assuming there remains probable cause to believe they've committed a crime?  

ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.