GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, CUBA
Defense lawyers in the Sept. 11 case screened grisly scenes of torture from the Hollywood movie “Zero Dark Thirty” at the war court Thursday Feburary 18, 2016 in their bid to argue that the CIA gave filmmakers more access to evidence than lawyers in the death-penalty case.
The clips shown by attorneys for alleged 9/11 conspirator Ammar al Baluchi included a bruised and battered character named “Ammar” being put in a coffin-sized box, being doused with ice water in a mock waterboarding scene and being strung up by his arms, during rounds of CIA interrogation.
Miller presided over the U.S. military prison in Cuba from 2002 to 2004, shortly after then-President George W. Bush approved the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics, including waterboarding, hooding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, removal of clothing, and exposure to extreme heat or cold.
Former prisoners of the camp for years have urged international courts to subpoena Miller over his role in the torture and mistreatment of detainees during his time as Guantánamo commander.
The investigation against Miller began after two French citizens, Nizar Sassi and Mourad Benchellali, who were detained at Guantánamo from 2001 to 2004 and 2005 respectively, lodged a criminal complaint against Miller in a French court. The Paris Court of Appeals approved their request last April.
of them to Guantánamo Bay.46 He added that, “[t]he current transfers mean that there are now no terrorists in the CIA program. But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical—and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information.”
The CIA secretly held its detainees in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Thailand, and Guantánamo Bay.
President Bush has stated that about a hundred detainees were held under the CIA secret detention program, about a third of whom were questioned using “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
These techniques included abusive methods such as “walling” (quickly pulling the detainee forward and then thrusting him against a flexible false wall), “water
dousing,” “stress positions” (forcing the detainee to remain in body positions designed to induce physical discomfort), “wall standing” (forcing the detainee to remain standing with his arms outstretched in front of him so that his fingers touch a wall four to five feet away and support his entire body weight), “cramped confinement” in a box, “insult slaps,” (slapping the detainee on the face with fingers spread), “facial hold” (holding a detainee’s head temporarily immobile during interrogation with palms on either side of the face), “attention grasp” (grasping the detainee with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, and quickly drawing him toward the interrogator), forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and dietary manipulation.
President Bush stated that he authorized “waterboarding,” which was applied on
Michael Hayden, former CIA director, confirmed in congressional testimony in 2008 that these three detainees were Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, and Abu Zubyadah.
Used in its early incarnations during the Spanish Inquisition, waterboarding is described in U.S. government documents as a technique which involves “binding the detainee to a bench with his feet elevated above his head,” “immobilizing his head,” and “plac[ing] a cloth over his mouth and nose while pouring water onto the cloth in a controlled manner.
Airflow is restricted for 20 to 40 seconds and the technique produces the sensation of drowning and suffocation.”
The United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators for waterboarding U.S. prisoners during World War II.
Waterboarding and other torture methods applied on CIA detainees were specifically authorized by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in a series
of legal opinions.
A second August 1, 2002, memorandum, also signed by Bybee, authorized the CIA to use on its detainee Abu Zubaydah 10 specific interrogation methods, including waterboarding, placing him in a “cramped confinement box with an insect” in light of his apparent fear of insects, cramped confinement in a dark space to restrict his movement, walling, stress positions, wall standing, sleep deprivation, attention grasp, facial hold, and “facial slap (insult slap).”
On December 30, 2004, following public outcry over the first Bybee memo described
above which was leaked to the public earlier that year, the OLC issued a
replacement memorandum (the “December 30, 2004, memorandum”) that disavowed
torture and appeared on the surface to distance itself from the first Bybee
memorandum, but stated in a footnote that the conclusions of that memorandum
would not have been different under the standards of the December 30, 2004,
the application of the federal anti-torture statute to interrogation methods. The
memos authorized virtually all of the methods that had previously been authorized
by the second Bybee memo described above.
in advance of the enactment later that year of the Detainee Treatment Act, which
affirmed that the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment applied
to all detainees in U.S. custody, including foreigners held overseas.62
According to a report by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC),
which interviewed 14 “high value detainees” in September 2006 after they were
transferred from secret CIA detention to Guantánamo Bay, the detainees were subjected
to various forms of ill-treatment during their detention in secret locations,
including suffocation by water poured over a cloth placed over the nose and mouth,
prolonged stress positions such as standing naked with arms held extended and
chained above the head, beatings by use of a collar held around the detainee’s
neck and used to forcefully bang the head and body against a wall, beating and
kicking, confinement in a box, prolonged nudity, sleep deprivation, exposure to
cold temperature, prolonged shackling, threats of ill-treatment, forced shaving, and
deprivation/restricted provision of solid food for up to one month.