Shocking details about the CIA's torture program emerged after the U.S. agency, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACUL), was forced to release classified documents.
The classified documents reveal new information regarding Gul Rahman, a prisoner who froze to death at a secret CIA prison in 2002, and the case of mistaken identity of Khaled El-Masri, a German national who was wrongfully detained and tortured for over four months in 2004 by water-boarding him 83 times in one month.
According to Vice News and ACUL reports, the CIA indulged in regular beatings, forced rectal feeding, water-boarding, sensory and sleep deprivation and mock executions. The documents also shed light on the case of Abu Zubaydah, who was mistaken for a top Al Qaeda agent and was wrongfully detained and tortured at CIA black-site.
Zubaydah said he made up fake terrorist plots in order to stop the abuse. The account from medical personnel who helped with the first waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah deals a major blow to the CIA's insistence it gained crucial information through torture.
The ACLU now represents El-Masri in a pending case against the U.S. before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its also representing Rahman's family who is suing CIA-contracted psychologists James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, who helped design the U.S. torture program.
Through declassification it was revealed that President George Bush was unhappy with the agency's techniques to obtain information. A 2006 memo on the document says: "The president was concerned about the image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper and forced to go to the bathroom on themselves."
Dror Ladin, attorney with the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, who helped win the release of these documents, addressed this revelation during an interview with Democracy Now.
“JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the information about the pangs of conscience of President Bush? DROR LADIN: You know, it’s hard to credit that, but on the other hand, I think a lot of people think of torture in a more abstract way rather than thinking of a detainee chained to the ceiling in a diaper. And so, I think that, you know, the president or anyone else, when ultimately confronted with the brutality of it, has to really think again, you know, "Is this who we are? Is this—even imagining that it was, you know, effective"—which we know it wasn’t—"is this who we are?"”