News & Politics

"Secret" Red Cross Report Confirms More Torture at CIA Black Sites

Prisoners described being put in dog collars, having their heads slammed against walls, and forced inside "coffin-like" boxes.

A front page story in today's Washington Postreveals that a "secret report" by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the CIA's "black sites" has confirmed that the Bush administration used gross interrogation methods in its overseas prisons that "constituted torture" and violated the Geneva Conventions.
With the exception of five copies of the report that were passed on to the CIA and the White House in 2007, the findings were kept secret by the Red Cross "to preserve the humanitarian group's strict policy of neutrality in conflicts."
But journalist Mark Danner obtained excerpts of the report and has published them in the new edition of the New York Review of Books.
"Often using the detainee's own words," writes the Post, "the report offers a harrowing view of conditions at the secret prisons, where prisoners were told they were being taken 'to the verge of death and back,' according to one excerpt. During interrogations, the captives were routinely beaten, doused with cold water and slammed head-first into walls. Between sessions, they were stripped of clothing, bombarded with loud music, exposed to cold temperatures, and deprived of sleep and solid food for days on end. Some detainees described being forced to stand for days, with their arms shackled above them, wearing only diapers."

"On a daily basis … a collar was looped around my neck and then used to slam me against the walls of the interrogation room," the report quotes detainee Tawfiq bin Attash, also known as Walid Muhammad bin Attash, as saying. Later, he said, he was wrapped in a plastic sheet while cold water was "poured onto my body with buckets." He added: "I would be wrapped inside the sheet with cold water for several minutes. Then I would be taken for interrogation."
Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet's Rights and Liberties and War on Iraq Special Coverage.
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