Judge Orders Release of Unlawfully Held Uighur Prisoners

by matttbastard

Well, it’s about goddamn time:

In a dramatic setback for the Bush administration, a federal judge ordered the U.S. government Tuesday to immediately transfer to the U.S. and release 17 Chinese-born Muslims detained for seven years at Guantanamo.

Reading his decision from the bench, Judge Ricardo Urbina declared the continued detention of the group from the ethnic Uighur minority to be “unlawful” and ordered the government to transfer the detainees to the U.S. by Friday.

The decision marked the first time a court has ordered the release of Guantanamo detainees into the U.S.

[…]

Dozens of members of a Uighur-American organization attending the hearing reacted to his words with applause.

“The American system has given us justice,” said Rebia Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress.

While I am relieved that the Uighur prisoners have finally been released, I have little confidence that the Bush admin will, for once, heed Judge Urbina’s warning “not to attempt to circumvent [the Uighur’s] release once they arrive in the U.S. by detaining them on immigration holds.” Using the past 8 long years as a benchmark, it seems the one thing you can always count on from the Bush/Cheney White House is a demonstrative, at times spiteful, contempt for the rule of law. According to a Bloomberg News report on the ruling, the Bush admin claimed “it has wartime authority to hold the men indefinitely even if they aren’t enemy combatants [emph. mine].”

Indeed, as noted by Matt Corley of Think Progress, “NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams reports that the Bush administration doesn’t want the detainees coming to the U.S. because “that sets a legal precedent.””

Williams:

[T]his is a big deal because for the first time in the six plus years that Guantanamo Bay has been a detainee center for enemy combatants picked up overseas a federal judge has ordered that some of them should be released and released into the U.S., a step that the Justice Department and the Bush administration have continually opposed.

[…]

And you know, that does raise a larger question about Guantanamo Bay because as the U.S. tries to get other countries around the world to accept some of the detainees that the U.S. itself believes should no longer be held there. Many of those countries are saying, “hey, you set up Guantanamo Bay, you, you know, you should take some of them too.” So this is a very key issue in the history of Guantanamo Bay.

According to Bloomberg News, there are “an estimated 225 detainees still at Guantanamo Bay,” none of whom, it’s safe to say, the Bush admin would want seeking sanctuary in the US (and, potentially, speaking to US media outlets about what happened to them during their Gitmo tenure.)  I find it hard to imagine we’ll see a humble concession to this court-ordered check on executive authority, based on, as skdadl puts it, “the continuing perversity of the Bush administration in its insistence before the courts that the president’s political decisions about justice trump the powers of the judiciary”.  Still, one can’t help but hope that, finally, some small inkling of justice has been achieved for these 17 victims of imperial hubris and willful indifference.

Related: Background on the illegally detained Uighur prisoners from Hilzoy, The Washington Post (h/t skdadl), Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch, David Bario, and Justin Rood, who cites a Justice Department report (PDF) that claims “U.S. military personnel at Guantanamo Bay allegedly softened up [the] detainees at the request of Chinese intelligence officials who had come to the island facility to interrogate the men — or they allowed the Chinese to dole out the treatment themselves”.  The Center for Constitutional Rights has more on foreign interrogators at Guantanamo.

Also see this recent HRW report on remaining Guantanamo prisoners, Locked up Alone: Detention Conditions and Mental Health at Guantanamo.

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Hamdan Gets 5.5 Years (Plus Time Served)

by matttbastard

Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald reports from beautiful, sunny Guantanamo Bay:

In a stunning rebuke, a six-member U.S. military jury Thursday ignored a Pentagon prosecutor’s plea for a 30 years-plus term and ordered Osama bin Laden’s driver to 66 months in prison.

With credit for time served given by the judge, that means Salim Hamdan, 40, of Yemen will be sent back to the general detainee population of Camp Delta by January, and eligible to return home.

[…]

In court, Hamdan’s longest-serving defense attorney, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Swift, clasped the more diminutive Yemeni in a bearhug and both men openly wept.

Afterwards, Swift vowed that lawyers would work to send Hamdan home to his wife and two daughters by January. Lawyers were prepared to go straight to federal court with a habeas corpus petition, he said, were the U.S. to seek to continue to hold the driver after the sentence were done.

”What happened — despite the system — is justice,” said Swift.

[…]

After the jury’s verdict, the judge turned to the convicted terrorist and said:

“I wish you godspeed, Mr. Hamdan. I hope the day comes when you return to your wife and your daughters and your country.”

”God willing,” the man in traditional Yemeni robe and head scarf replied in Arabic, interrupting.

The judge continued: “And I hope that you are able to be a father, and a provider, and a husband in the best sense of the word.”

Then the detainee said it again: “Inshallah.”

Allred replied in Arabic. “Inshallah.”

Touching. I’m sure the LGF set is already calling for the head of ‘Judge Dhimmi.’ But, despite the Spielberg-esque conclusion to the first U.S. military tribunal since WWII, happy endings aren’t necessarily in the script, as noted by the Washington Post:

It is unclear what will happen to Hamdan after he finishes serving his remaining time, because military prosecutors and military commissions officials have argued they have the ability to hold enemy combatants indefinitely, until the end of hostilities in the so-called war on terror.

Warren Richey of the CS Monitor quotes Linda Malone, director of the Human Rights and National Security Law Program at William and Mary Law School:

“The overriding problem is that the Bush administration has said that [Hamdan] will be held until the war on terror is over, regardless of what sentence he gets,” Professor Malone says. “It is almost Kafkaesque that regardless of what the sentence might be and whatever credit he is given [for his prior detention], they are saying they are going to hold him until the war ends – and everyone knows that is virtually limitless.

I truly hope any future habeas corpus petition proves successful. But to call this outcome “justice”? With all due respect, Lt. Cmdr. Swift, that word doesn’t mean what it used to mean.

Updated: Next on the ‘worst of the worst’ list: Bin Laden’s personal stylist *cough*.

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Hamdan Guilty of ‘Material Support’, Acquitted of More Serious Conspiracy Charges

by matttbastard

Hey, it only took seven years, but justice has finally been perverted served:

Salim Hamdan was found guilty of providing material support for terrorism at a Guantanamo military commission today, but acquitted of the more serious charge of conspiracy to commit terrorist attacks and murder American soldiers. So let me get this straight: After seven years and numerous court challenges including two Supreme Court rulings, the Bush administration finally stumbled its way to its first conviction in a military commission for a crime that is routinely handled in federal courts. Is this is the best they can do?

Hamdan was Osama bin Laden’s driver, not Osama bin Laden. He never denied that he was bin Laden’s driver. It would have been an open and shut case of material support for terrorism in federal court. Hamdan could have been securely locked away years ago, but the Bush administration chose to pursue the risky path of an untested military commissions system.

Now, come on. I was under the impression Hamdan was a bloodthirsty terrorist (the worst of the worst!!1one) hell-bent on destroying the pillars of Western civilization. His conviction means the world is now a safer place, right?

The worst aspect of this whole episode is that the Bush administration has completely devalued the concept of a war criminal. War crimes should be reserved for the most serious offenses and war crimes trials are extraordinary. Charles Taylor is a war criminal. Radovan Karazdic is a war criminal. Salim Hamdan is a chauffer. He is clearly guilty of the crime of material support for terrorism. But now he has been elevated to the status of warrior, legitimizing al Qaeda terrorists’ belief that they are waging a holy war against the United States and our allies.

Well. I’m comfortable declaring this little long term experiment in post-9/11 homeland insecurity an unqualified success. Heck of a motherfucking job.

Related: Statement on the Hamdan decision from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

In response to the hand-picked military jury’s decision in the Military Commission against Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative, issued the following statement:

“Hamdan’s trial violated two of the most fundamental criminal justice principles accepted by all developed nations: the prohibition on the use of coerced evidence and the prohibition on retroactive criminal laws.

The trial will not create finality – the decision to keep these cases out of the ordinary criminal courts will produce years of appeals over novel legal issues raised by the untested military commissions system. Even after those appeals are finished, the process will never be seen as legitimate by the world. This case was the first trial run of the commissions system, and the decision proves nothing except that the system itself should be scrapped. Terrorism-related crimes should be tried in the time-tested domestic criminal justice system, a system whose rules have been designed over the centuries with one goal: to seek out the truth.

CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last six years – sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first attorney to meet with a former CIA “ghost detainee” there. CCR has been responsible for organizing and coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country in order to represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the option of legal representation. CCR represented the detainees with co-counsel in the most recent argument before the Supreme Court. For more information or to read the amicus brief filed by CCR in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, click here.

and the ACLU:

After a trial filled with overwhelming constitutional and procedural flaws, a jury of military officers today found Salim Hamdan guilty of providing material support for terrorism. The American Civil Liberties Union has been at Guantánamo Bay observing the Hamdan proceedings, which lacked the fundamental legal safeguards found in traditional U.S. courts or military courts governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero:

“Any verdict resulting from such a flawed system is a betrayal of American values. The rules for the Guantánamo military commissions are so flawed that justice could never be served. From start to finish, this has been a monumental debacle of American justice. The judgment against Hamdan undoubtedly will be challenged in legitimate courts, but there is no appeal from the judgment of future generations. This system was devised to permit the prosecution of alleged wrongdoing by detainees, while continuing to cover up the wrongdoing by government interrogators. Trials that are shrouded in secrecy and tainted by coercion are the very antithesis of American justice.”

The following can be attributed to ACLU National Security Project staff attorney Ben Wizner, who observed the trial:

“In the strange world of Guantánamo justice, even if Hamdan had been acquitted on all charges, he would have been detained indefinitely. Nowhere else in the U.S. justice system can someone be held for life regardless of whether he is convicted or acquitted of a crime. Today’s outcome represents nothing more than an illusion of justice. It is time to shut down these commissions and put an end to this shameful chapter in American history.”

As part of its John Adams Project, a partnership with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the ACLU is sponsoring expert civilian counsel to assist the under-resourced military defense counsel of some Guantánamo detainees.

More information on the John Adams Project is available online at: www.aclu.org/johnadams

(both statements h/t FDL).

Also see this trip down memory lane from Think Progress: “[t]oday marks seven years since the day President Bush received a President’s Daily Brief entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” (See the memo here.)”

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On Kangaroo Courts and Dry Runs: Hamdan is Ready For His Close-Up

by matttbastard

Tomorrow marks an historic occasion: the first military commission trial of a so-called ‘enemy combatant’ in the War on Terror is scheduled to take place at beautiful, sunny Guantanamo. And Osama Bin Laden’s chauffeur–a prime example of “the worst of the worst”, IMO–is the lucky duck who’s been given the opportunity to see post-9/11 justice in action:

When Salim Ahmed Hamdan, accused of ferrying weapons for al-Qaeda, enters courtroom 01-A in a former aircraft operations center, he will face court proceedings unlike any the United States has seen in decades. They will unfold before a military commission — the first since the end of World War II — with a jury of uniformed officers and rules that give great deference to the prosecution. Evidence obtained from “cruel” and “inhuman” interrogation methods is admissible in certain circumstances, as is hearsay evidence.

Unlike a civilian trial, even if the defendant is acquitted of conspiracy and material support of terrorism charges, he probably will not be released. Hamdan has been designated an “enemy combatant” by the military, a status that prosecutors said would be unchanged by an acquittal even if international pressure mounts for his release.

According to Wikipedia,

Kangaroo courts are judicial proceedings that deny due process in the name of expediency. Such rights include the right to summon witnesses, the right of cross-examination, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right not to be tried on secret evidence, the right to control one’s own defense, the right to exclude evidence that is improperly obtained, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible (e.g. hearsay), the right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of partiality or conflict of interest, and the right of appeal. The outcome of a trial by “kangaroo court” is essentially determined in advance, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either by going through the motions of manipulated procedure or by allowing no defense at all.

Ok, so if “justice” (such a September 10th concept, that) isn’t the end result that is being sought by going the military commission route, then why waste precious time (and taxpayer dollars)?

[T]he proceedings are…something of a dry run, a way to test the long-delayed military system on an alleged low-level al-Qaeda foot soldier so it is primed for the self-confessed terrorist leaders to come. In line behind Hamdan at Guantanamo is Khalid Sheik Mohammed, self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and other accused planners.

“It’s the first contested war crimes trial since World War II, so it’s important,” Col. Lawrence Morris, the military commissions’ chief prosecutor, said recently. “You’re looking at it primarily and appropriately as bringing Mr. Hamdan to justice, but we’re also well aware that . . . it provides the first opportunity to test and validate this mechanism.”

Ah, so, in essence, Mr. Hamdan is, in fact, a pioneer, blazing a trail for future generations to come! Well, that more-than-pertinent fact certainly kills any unpatriotic misgivings that whole predetermined outcome thing might engender. Huh–wonder how he feels about serving such a prominent role in world history?

“There is no such thing as justice here… . America tells the world about freedom and justice… . Give me a just court … give me my human rights.”

Geez, bloodthirsty America-hatin’ terrorists sure are a hard lot to please, eh?

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

“Constraint is Intolerable”

by matttbastard

Andrew Bacevich, reviewing Jane Mayer’s new book The Dark Side:

That fear should trump concern for due process and indeed justice qualifies as a recurring phenomenon in American history. In 1919, government-stoked paranoia about radicalism produced the Red Scare. After Pearl Harbor, hysteria mixed with racism led to the confinement of some 110,000 Japanese Americans in internment camps. The onset of the Cold War triggered another panic, anxieties about a new communist threat giving rise to McCarthyism. In this sense, the response evoked by 9/11 looks a bit like déjà vu all over again: Frightened Americans, more worried about their own safety than someone else’s civil liberties, allowed senior government officials to exploit a climate of fear.

Although Mayer does not dwell on this historical context, her account suggests implicitly that the present period differs in at least one crucial respect. Whereas the earlier departures from the rule of law represented momentary if egregious lapses in democratic practice, the abuses orchestrated from within the Bush administration suggest that democracy itself is fast becoming something of a sham. From Mayer, we learn that in George W. Bush’s Washington, the decisions that matter are made in secret by a handful of presidential appointees committed to the proposition that nothing should inhibit the exercise of executive power. The Congress, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, the “interagency process” — all of these constitute impediments that threaten to constrain the president. In a national security crisis, constraint is intolerable. Much the same applies to the media and, by extension, to the American people: The public’s right to know extends no further than whatever the White House wishes to make known.

h/t Laura Rozen

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In Which matttbastard Puts the Habeas Decision in a Partisan Context

by matttbastard

Ages of the majority:

Stevens 88
Ginsburg 75
Kennedy 71
Breyer 69
Souter 68

Ages of the minority:

Scalia 72
Thomas 60
Alito 58
Roberts 55

The LA Times:

Whoever is elected in November will probably have the chance to appoint at least one justice in the next presidential term. The court’s two most liberal justices are its oldest: John Paul Stevens turned 88 last month, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75.

McCain promised that, if elected, he would follow President Bush’s model in choosing Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

That could establish a large conservative majority on the court for years. With conservatives in full control, the court would probably overturn Roe vs. Wade and the national right to have an abortion. The justices also could give religion a greater role in government and the schools, and block the move toward same-sex marriage.

If elected, Obama would be hard-pressed to create a truly liberal court. But by replacing the aging liberal justices with liberals, he could preserve abortion rights and maintain a strict separation of church and state.

Related: Marcy Wheeler provides a detailed report on today’s Center for Constitutional Rights conference call on the Habeus decision:

  • The 40 to 60 people who have already been determined not to be enemy combatants will now have court assistance in finding a way and a place to be released. One of the key issues for these men is that they often come from countries like Syria where, if they were to return, they would be tortured. A number of them have petitioned to be released to third countries, in some cases where they have family. DOD has refused to consider this up until now. This ruling gives courts the ability to provide for relief to those being held even after they were determined not to be enemy combatants.
  • There are roughly 260 people at Gitmo who have not received a Combat Status Review. Over a hundred have already petitioned for Habeas, and a number of those have been stayed awaiting this ruling. Some of those stays require the petitioners to restart their petition within 10 days of the ruling, so you’re going to see them move into a Habeas process within the next two weeks.
  • Michael Ratner, the head of CCR, stated that he believes in many of these cases, the government will be unable to prove it has reason to detain these people–either because the evidence is tainted or because there is no evidence. So the government may be forced to release many of these men as well.
  • It’s unclear where and how these Habeas petitions will be heard–so it’s an open question whether detainees will be able to come to DC to present their case.
  • Carol Rosenberg, my favorite journalist covering the show trials, asked if the government will rush to charge detainees under the Military Commissions Act. Gutierrez responded that they’re really limited by whom they can charge; she put the number at around 60-80 people who they have enough evidence to charge.

More on Boumediene from skdadl @ pogge, SCOTUSBlog (round up here), Hilzoy, David Barron and Marty Lederman, who notes that there were two questions that the court did not answer, but, as Lederman goes on to explain, did provide hints as to where it was leaning:

1) Would habeas rights extend to alien detainees held in foreign locations other than Guantanamo (such as Bagram)?

and

2) What is the substantive standard for who may be indefinitely detained?

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“Prisoner 345” Freed From Guantanamo After Being Held For Over 6 Years

by matttbastard

Well it’s about goddamn time.

Flashback: More from Columbia Journalism Review on the shameful ordeal of journalist Sami al-Hajj, the man formerly known as Prisoner 345.

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On Jack Bauer and US Interrogation Policy

by matttbastard

I know this has already been revealed by Philippe Sands in the April May issue of Vanity Fair. However, after reading this excerpt from Sands’ upcoming book, Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty And The Compromise Of Law, I still can’t fathom the callous indifference of the sick fucking bastards who drew up the blueprints for US torture policy:

[Major General Michael E Dunlavey, former head of military interrogations at Guantánamo] told me that at the end of September a group of the most senior Washington lawyers visited Guantánamo, including David Addington, the vice president’s lawyer, Gonzales and Haynes. “They brought ideas with them which had been given from sources in DC.” When the new techniques were more or less finalised, Dunlavey needed them to be approved by Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, his staff judge advocate in Guantánamo. “We had talked and talked, brainstormed, then we drew up a list,” he said. The list was passed on to Diane Beaver.”

[…]

Beaver told me she arrived in Guantánamo in June 2002. In September that year there was a series of brainstorming meetings, some of which were led by Beaver, to gather possible new interrogation techniques. Ideas came from all over the place, she said. Discussion was wide-ranging. Beaver mentioned one source that I didn’t immediately follow up with her: “24 – Jack Bauer.”

It was only when I got home that I realised she was referring to the main character in Fox’s hugely popular TV series, 24. Bauer is a fictitious member of the Counter Terrorism Unit in LA who helped to prevent many terror attacks on the US; for him, torture and even killing are justifiable means to achieve the desired result. Just about every episode had a torture scene in which aggressive techniques of interrogations were used to obtain information.

Jack Bauer had many friends at Guantánamo Bay, Beaver said, “he gave people lots of ideas.” She believed the series contributed to an environment in which those at Guantánamo were encouraged to see themselves as being on the frontline – and to go further than they otherwise might.

Under Beaver’s guidance, a list of ideas slowly emerged. Potential techniques included taking the detainees out of their usual environment, so they didn’t know where they were or where they were going; the use of hoods and goggles; the use of sexual tension, which was “culturally taboo, disrespectful, humiliating and potentially unexpected”; creating psychological drama. Beaver recalled that smothering was thought to be particularly effective, and that Dunlavey, who’d been in Vietnam, was in favour because he knew it worked.

The younger men would get particularly agitated, excited even: “You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.” A wan smile crossed Beaver’s face. “And I said to myself, you know what, I don’t have a dick to get hard. I can stay detached.”

Beaver confirmed what Dunlavey had told me, that a delegation of senior lawyers came down to Guantánamo well before the list of techniques was sent up to Washington. They talked to the intelligence people, they even watched some interrogations. The message from the visitors was that they should do “whatever needed to be done”, meaning a green light from the very top – from the lawyers for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the CIA.

“Jack Bauer had many friends at Guantánamo Bay, Beaver said, “he gave people lots of ideas. “”

“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas.”

“[W]hatever needed to be done”.

International law and years of precedent, casually tossed under the post-9/11 bus by junior sadists (after being given the “green light from the very top”) obsessed with a fictional fucking TV show; words fail me.

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Quote of the Day: Redefining What’s Possible

by matttbastard

One of the great dangers of the Bush administration is that it will permanently alter our sense of what is possible or acceptable. You can see an analog of this when people say things like: Bush won’t be able to do X, or: he will have to do Y, where these statements do not refer to physical necessity or impossibility. (E.g., if memory serves, when the surge began, some Republicans said: if it doesn’t work, Bush will have to withdraw.) The sense in which people who say such things think that Bush “has to” or “can’t” do something or other is just that there are certain things we do not believe that any President would do, and others we think he must do. There are lines we assume he would never cross.

But this administration does not recognize the existence of any such lines. They do not “have to” withdraw just because none of their plans have worked, the army is breaking, and the war has next to no popular support. They would “have to” withdraw only if someone put a gun to their collective heads and forced them to. They do not “have to” obey the law or the Constitution: they will only if they are literally compelled to. Likewise, they do not “have to” respect even the most basic principles of decency and humanity, even when obligated to do so by US law and treaties we have signed, which are, according to the Constitution, the law of the land. Neither moral suasion nor legal obligation seem to matter to them. The only sense in which they “have to” do anything is the sense involving physical necessity.

[…]

The Bush administration threatens us with the catastrophe of losing our sense that there are things the government cannot do every time they do one of those things. I never, ever want to go along with their redefinition of what is possible, which is why I refuse to stop being outraged when something like this happens.

– Hilzoy, Approving Torture: Better Late Than Never?

Related: Scott Horton on “The Torture Team”; Philippe Sands examines “how the torture at Guantánamo began, and how it spread”; Philip Gourevitch and Errol Morris profile Sabrina Harman, “[t]he woman behind the camera at Abu Ghraib”; Jeremy Waldon reviews Cass Sunstein’s Worst Case Scenarios; and David Bromwich looks at “Euphemism and American Violence”.

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Before the Memos

by matttbastard

Flashback: On Murat Kurnaz:

Murat Kurnaz was picked up in Pakistan in December 2001, before then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales signed off on the torture memo. Kurnaz and hundreds of others were subjected to “illegal torture” (what a concept) before Bybee and Yoo drafted a memo that would protect the torturers from prosecution. The expanded legal definition of torture in their memo doesn’t provide cover for those agents who tortured Kurnaz immediately after he was detained.

“The beatings began as soon as I was turned over to the Americans,” Kurnaz said. Once in the Americans’ hands, he was transferred to a camp at Kandahar, in Afghanistan, where suspected terrorists were held in tents. His account of his torture at the hands of the Americans–in his book and in interviews–is clear-eyed and consistent. He has repeated it in testimony before a committee of the German parliament, where he was described as a “very credible witness.”

In the prison camp in Kandahar, Kurnaz said, he was hoisted on chains and was forced to hang by his hands while he was being interrogated. He was left hanging for “hours and days” after the interrogators left. An American physician in camouflage would come and check his vital signs to determine if he could withstand more enhanced interrogation.

The doctor’s house call must have failed Kurnaz’s neighbor in the next room. “They were hanging me and pulled me up higher than the other times. I could see the man in the other room. He was hanging, too. Maybe they lifted him higher that time, too, I don’t know. I had heard him moaning and breathing; this is the first time I saw him. He was dead. The color of his body was changed and I could see he was dead.”

Kurnaz said he was also subjected to waterboarding and electric shock. And that beatings were routine and constant. He theorizes that much of the torture was a result of the failure of the American soldiers and agents to capture any real terrorists in the initial sweeps. (He was told that he was sold to the Americans for $3,000 by Pakistani police, who identified him as a terrorist.) “They didn’t have any big fish. And they thought that by torture they could get one of us to say something. ‘I know Osama’ or something like that. Then they could say they had a big fish.”

Ah, the good old days, back when torture was still fucking illegal.

*blink*

Background: more on Kurnaz from Der Spiegel (and here) and CBS News (h/t Kevin Drum).

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