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Thursday, August 22, 2002

GTMO detainee: Broken shoulder

Today, a detainee at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, will be questioned by FBI and NCIS. His response recorded will eventually be made available due to NGO's Freedom of Information Act request (page 3883).
When [censored] was turned over to US authorities, he was beaten by the US military forces. [censored] was turned over to US authorities [censored]. He was taken by helicopter to an unknown location where he was beaten. While his eyes were covered, he was kicked in the stomach and back by several individuals. He noted American English accents.

After being moved to an unknown facility in Bagram, his head was placed against the cement floor and his head was kicked. As a result of other beatings in Bagram, [censored] received a broken shoulder. During one evening [censored] was left outside of the facility where he was being held. The ground was wet and it was snowing. He was wearing only pants and a ragged shirt. As a result of being out in the cold, he became unconscious. The guards stated in English that [censored] was a "big one". Two men had pistols while another had a machine gun. These individuals wore US uniforms, but wore coverings over their faces. They wore desert style camouflage uniforms. They look like the uniforms of the US guards here in Cuba, but are tan and brown. The uniforms had the US flag sewn on their arms.

When he was moved to Kandahar, he was not beaten as frequently and severely. Periodically, [censored] was kicked and pushed. He was dragged three times to interrogations. On one occasion during prayer time, a soldier placed his foot on [censored] head and sat on his head. [censored] stated that the soldiers wore tan and brown camouflage uniforms, with US flags on their arms.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Memo, Bybee: a narrow definition of torture

Jay S. Bybee, Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, sends a memo to Alberto R. Gonzales, Counsel to the President entitled "Standards of Conduct for Interrogation under 18 U.S.C. Sections 2340-2340A". In it, he concludes that
Section 2340A proscribes acts inflicting, and that are specifically intended to inflict, severe pain or suffering, whether mental or physical. Those acts must be of an extreme nature to rise to the level of torture within the meaning of Section 2340A and the Convention. We further conclude that certain acts may be cruel, inhuman, or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall with Section 2340A's proscription against torture.
It will later be claimed that Michael Chertoff had a hand in writing this memo, however White House officials will deny this.

Many have written about this memo and found that it provides legal justification for torture. Notable is the letter sent by Congressperson Frank R. Wolf on 21 June, 2004 to Mr. Glenn Fine, Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Justice (pdf of letter). In an unusual move for a Republican, Wolf expresses moral misgivings about the memo

... I am deeply concerned that this memorandum provides legal justification for the U.S. government to commit cruel, inhumane and degrading acts - including torture - on prisoners in U.S. custody.

... The thought of the United States condoning torture is abhorrent. Not only is it inhumane, it jeopardizes the security of U.S. forces and our allies in places such as Iraq and around the globe. The security of civilian contractors and humanitarian aid workers also is threatened.