Posted by Liliana Segura, AlterNet
Prisoners described being put in dog collars, having their heads slammed against walls, and forced inside "coffin-like" boxes.
A front page story in today's Washington Post reveals that a "secret report" by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the CIA's "black sites" has confirmed that the Bush administration used gross interrogation methods in its overseas prisons that "constituted torture" and violated the Geneva Conventions.
With the exception of five copies of the report that were passed on to the CIA and the White House in 2007, the findings were kept secret by the Red Cross "to preserve the humanitarian group's strict policy of neutrality in conflicts."
But journalist Mark Danner obtained excerpts of the report and has published them in the new edition of the New York Review of Books.
The report draws from Red Cross interviews in 2006 with 14 prisoners held in isolation at foreign CIA prisons, men who "gave remarkably uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding, or simulating drowning."
"Often using the detainee's own words," writes the Post, "the report offers a harrowing view of conditions at the secret prisons, where prisoners were told they were being taken 'to the verge of death and back,' according to one excerpt. During interrogations, the captives were routinely beaten, doused with cold water and slammed head-first into walls. Between sessions, they were stripped of clothing, bombarded with loud music, exposed to cold temperatures, and deprived of sleep and solid food for days on end. Some detainees described being forced to stand for days, with their arms shackled above them, wearing only diapers."
"On a daily basis … a collar was looped around my neck and then used to slam me against the walls of the interrogation room," the report quotes detainee Tawfiq bin Attash, also known as Walid Muhammad bin Attash, as saying. Later, he said, he was wrapped in a plastic sheet while cold water was "poured onto my body with buckets." He added: "I would be wrapped inside the sheet with cold water for several minutes. Then I would be taken for interrogation."
The report also contains descriptions of the prisoner Abu Zubaida, whose torture has been previously documented.
"Abu Zubaida said interrogators wrapped a towel around his neck and slammed him into a plywood wall mounted in his cell. He was also repeatedly slapped in the face, he said. After the beatings, he was placed in coffinlike wooden boxes in which he was forced to crouch, with no light and a restricted air supply, he said."
"The stress on my legs held in this position meant my wounds both in my leg and stomach became very painful," he told the ICRC.
After he was removed from a small box, he said, he was strapped to what looked like a hospital bed and waterboarded. "A black cloth was then placed over my face and the interrogators used a mineral bottle to pour water on the cloth so that I could not breathe," Abu Zubaida said.
After breaks to allow him to recover, the waterboarding continued.
The Washington Post has more.