The 480-page report will be the first public accounting of the CIA's alleged use of torture on suspected 9/11 terrorists held in secret places.
The 480-page report will be the first public accounting of the CIA's alleged use of torture on suspected 9/11 terrorists held in secret places. (Representational Picture)Reuters

Water dousing till detainees turned 'blue', threats of sexual assaults on family members and days of sleep deprivation were some of the techniques the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) used rampantly in the post 9/11 crackdown on terror suspects, according to a Senate report.

The report released on CIA's torture techniques on terror detainees post 9/11 has highlighted the deplorable forms of interrogation that went unnoticed by the Department of Justice and the public.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which studied the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques for five years, found that it was not effective in acquiring intelligence. In fact, it led to fabrication of information by detainees that resulted in "faulty intelligence."

Seven of the 39 CIA detainees known to have been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence while in custody, the summary report said.

The committee found that the interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than what the CIA represented to policymakers and others.

"Brutal" Interrogation Techniques

Waterboarding led to 'Near Drownings': This is one of the best-known and most-criticised interrogation techniques; it creates a simulation of drowning for the detainee.

The detainee is strapped to a board in a slanted position and his face is covered with a cloth. Cold water is poured over the cloth that leads to a feeling of drowning, causing acute mental and physical stress.

The report said that the waterboarding technique was physically harmful, inducing convulsions and vomiting. Abu Zubaydah, the CIA's first detainee, was left "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth."

Internal CIA records describe the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad as evolving into a "series of near drownings."

Mohammed, thought to be the mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was waterboarded 183 times in a single month.

Sleep Deprivation Despite Swellings, Hallucinations: Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads.

The committee found that despite several detainees experiencing disturbing hallucinations due to sleep deprivation, the CIA continued with the procedure.

The CIA's medical personnel treated at least one detainee for swelling in order to allow the continued use of standing sleep deprivation, the report said.

Rectal Rehydration: This is a painful procedure of inserting fluids into the body through rectal feeding, and it was performed on CIA detainees without documented medical necessity.

Mental Torture Through Threats of Death, Assault on Families: The CIA resorted to threats and comments to cause detainees to break down, usually with death threats and even assault on family members.

The agency led several detainees to believe they will never be allowed to leave its custody alive and had threatened at least one detainee that he would only "leave in a coffin-shaped box." 

One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, because "we can never let the world know what I have done to you."

CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families— including threats to harm the children of a detainee, threat to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee, and a threat to "cut [a detainee's] mother's throat."

Inhuman Confinement: CIA officers referred to the COBALT detention facility itself as a form of "enhanced interrogation technique." Detainees at the facility were "kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste," the report said.

Some of the detainees were also put in cramped containers in which they could neither stand nor sit for prolonged hours.

Rough Takedown: This procedure was frequently followed at the COBALT detention centre. About five CIA officers would scream at a detainee, drag him outside his cell, cut his clothes off and secure him with Mylar tape. The detainee would then be hooded and dragged up and down on a long corridor while being slapped and punched.

Water Dousing: Interrogators used the water dousing technique in various ways, the committee found. Detainees were often held down naked on a tarp on the floor, with the tarp pulled up around them to form a makeshift tub, while cold or refrigerated water was poured on them. Others were hosed down repeatedly while they were shackled naked, in the standing sleep deprivation position. These same detainees were subsequently placed in rooms with temperatures ranging from 59 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Read the Full Report here.

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