Retired judge Susan Crawford, who was responsible for overseeing the Guantanamo tribunals, admitted in an interview published today that the United States tortured detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani.
“This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive,” Crawford said, saying the medical impact was what ultimately led to her refusing to refer to case for prosecution.
The White House declined to comment on the particulars of the charge, but stood behind their previous claims that “it has never been the policy of this president or this administration to torture.”
Yet the Pentagon knew about the problems with Qahtani’s mistreatment at least as early as 2005. They even investigated, concluding that “most” of the techniques used were “legally permissible.” The list of things done to him ranges from run of the mill American tactics, like denying sleep and using an air conditioner to make his room too cold to live in, to the downright bizarre decisions to force him to wear a bra during interrogations and for some strange reason requiring him to dance with his male interrogator. The techniques were authorized by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to “break his will.” The investigations do not make it clear if Rumsfeld was directly involved in any of the dancing or other “tactics.”
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