CIA Torture Techniques “Extreme”

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Damning Report Reveals Ineffective and Brutal Use of Torture

A milestone report detailing the full extent of the CIA’s interrogation techniques and detention programmes following the September 11 terror attacks has led to the UN, human rights activists and legal experts to call for the prosecution of US officials responsible for the CIA torture programme by the Obama administration.

The report, a 500-page document published by the Senate committee of its investigation into the detention and interrogation programmed conducted by the CIA during the Bush administration’s “war on terror”, reveals the extent to which torture is used in CIA-run secret prisons across the world. The report revealed that the agency had misled the White House, the Justice Department, Congress as well as the public about its torture programme, and the the senate intelligence committee found that the CIA’s use of torture was more brutal than had been previously exposed but was also ineffective, a matter concerning which the CIA had repeatedly lied.

The report details the use of “rectal rehydration” and “rectal feeding” of detainees, one incident in which an prisoner’s “lunch tray” containing pasta with sauce, hummus as well as nuts and raisins, “was ‘pureed; and rectally infused”. One detainee, who had undergone a rectal examination conducted with “excessive force”, was later diagnosed with rectal prolapse, anal fissures and chronic haemorrhoids. Sleep deprivation was also conducted on detainees for almost a week and investigators also documented death threats made to detainees as well as threats made to the families of the detainees. The committee charged that CIA interrogators had threatened detainees that they would hurt detainees’ children and “sexually assault” or cut their “mother’s throat”.

The committee found that at least one prisoner had suffered hypothermia and died as a result after having been held for several hours in a stress position on cold concrete. It was also revealed that torture techniques were used on 17 individuals without approval from CIA headquarters and that, of the 119 estimated detainees imprisoned by the CIA, at least 26 were “wrongfully held”.

It was said that some CIA officers had been reduced “to the point of tears” having witnessed the treatment of one detainee.

In his response to the report, President Barack Obama said that though the US owed a “profound debt” to the CIA, he accepted that some techniques the agency had made use of were “contrary to our values”.

“These harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners. That is why I will continue to use my authority as president to make sure we never resort to those methods again.”

The CIA has made claims that the methods of torture used had resulted in intelligence being provided which had led to the prevention of further terrorist attacks and, as a result, had saved lived. The Senate’s report found the CIA’s claims to be completely unfounded and investigators had failed to find a single case supporting their claim.

The report found that, if information was provided at all by detainees who underwent torture, it was either fabricated or had been previously revealed through traditional, non-violent techniques of interrogation.

The report’s publication has led to the CIA’s ineffective and extreme interrogation techniques in their detention programmes receiving swift international condemnation.

In a statement, Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W Hawkins, said:

“Under the UN convention against torture, no exceptional circumstances whatsoever can be invoked to justify torture, and all those responsible for authorising or carrying out torture or other ill-treatment must be fully investigated.”

Ben Emmerson, the United Nations rapporteur for counter-terrorism, said:

“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

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