A report released today by Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee has revealed how extreme were the enhanced interrogation techniques by the CIA. Dubbed the #torturereport by many on social media, the interrogation program drew outrage and condemnation across party lines.
The report states that at least one detainee died in an unheated cell. Another tried to chew off his arm from the elbow as well as cutting several veins in his arms and legs. Many suffered hallucinations, paranoia and showed other forms of psychosis.
It concluded that the techniques used by the CIA were largely ineffective at providing useful information, Bloomberg reports. Below are the experiences of some of the detainees.
Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in 2002, was initially cooperative with interrogators. He identified Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, for example.
As he recovered from wounds suffered in his capture, however, the interrogation techniques grew harsher. Officials believed he was withholding information about pending attacks.
Zubaydah was shackled naked during interrogations and was forced to stay awake. He spent 47 days in isolation without being asked any questions. After that he was subjected to waterboarding, which prompted him to vomit and caused his body to convulse in involuntary spasms.
He spent a total of 11 days and two hours in a box the size of a coffin and 29 hours in a box that was even smaller, at 21 inches wide, 2 1/2 feet deep and 2 1/2 feet high. Daily cables from the site where he was interrogated said Zubaydah frequently cried, begged, pleaded and whimpered, the report said.
The CIA later concluded Zubaydah didn’t know about any pending attacks.
Another detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was suspected of being involved in the bombing of the USS Cole and the 1998 East Africa U.S. embassy bombings, was subjected to four periods of enhanced interrogation techniques, including on three occasions being subjected to a method of simulated drowning known as waterboarding.
On-site interrogators said al-Nashiri was compliant, but officers at CIA headquarters disputed that contention and sought to continue his interrogations, according to the report.
The report said interrogators used unauthorized techniques against al-Nashiri, including forcing him to stand with his hand over his head for 2 1/2 days. A CIA officer placed a pistol near al-Nashiri’s head while he was blindfolded. He was also given a forced bath with a stiff brush.
Muhammad Rahim, described as an al-Qaeda facilitator who was thought to have information about Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts, was subjected to “eight extensive sleep deprivation sessions” after his capture in 2007, according to the report.
Rahim was usually shackled in a standing position, wearing a diaper and a pair of shorts, the report said. His diet was almost entirely limited to water and liquid Ensure meals.
Other detainees were subjected to “rough takedowns” where they were dragged naked down long corridors while being slapped and punched by CIA officers.
One detainee was left handcuffed by his wrists to an overhead bar for 22 hours over two consecutive days, the report said.
At one detention site known as Cobalt, detainees were held naked in tubs as interrogators poured cold water on them, according to the report.
“Others were hosed down repeatedly while they were shackled naked, in the standing sleep-deprivation position,” the report said.
Majid Khan, who the CIA thought had knowledge of a plan to attack gas stations, was one of at least five detainees subjected to rectal feeding. He was fed a pureed mix of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins.
He tried to chew into his arm at the elbow, attempted to cut his wrist on two occasions and tried to cut a vein in his foot, according to the report.
“Multiple psychologists identified the lack of human contact experienced by detainees as a cause of psychiatric problems,” the report said.
Numerous CIA interrogators and other CIA personnel associated with the program had either suspected or documented personal and professional problems that raised questions about their judgment and CIA employment, according to the report.