Forum: A Muslim’s reaction to torture reports — tactics are just wrong

Source: New Haven Register

By Sohail Z. Husain

Halloween was over a month ago — a day to revel over ghoulish characters and hideous images. And now we are supposed to be in a season of merry.

These days, though, it seems like scenes reminiscent of Halloween continue to haunt us. The latest dread is the report released last Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee about the CIA’s use of torture on over 100 al-Qaida suspects.

What was released to the public has been notoriously dubbed the “CIA Torture Report.” It is an abbreviated version of a large series of fact finding notes that chronicle a five-year, post-911 period (from 2002 to 2007) of brutal interrogations of prisoners in secretive cells, called “black site prisons,” that were installed and operated by the CIA in countries outside the U.S.

Make no mistake. The accounts are chilling. They include torture tactics such as 130-plus hours of sleep deprivation often in the standing position, chaining prisoners to a ceiling for long periods so that they were forced to defecate on themselves, placing them in ice water baths and other hypothermia-inducing conditions, waterboarding, long confinement in isolation in coffin-sized boxes, beatings while naked, forced pumping of liquids and food contents into the rectum, and other ghastly acts that were meant to coerce prisoners into revealing intelligence information. At least one of the prisoners died from the torture. About one in five suspects were later found to have been mistakenly apprehended. The larger segment of the report (just under 90 percent of it) is classified, and there are speculations of a host of undocumented events or even destroyed files. Do we know just the tip of the iceberg? Will we ever know the depth of the atrocities?

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