Saturday, November 27, 2021

Post 9/11 Torture: America’s Best Kept Secret

Washington. Twenty years after the 9/11 attacks, CIA torture is still classified as a “top secret” in the United States, the Guantanamo prison remains open and some of its former prisoners come to power in Afghanistan with the return of the Taliban. have returned.

In the absence of an official account of one of the darkest episodes in United States history, Efe has spoken with some of his characters: a senator who risked his career for a CIA investigation, a former FBI agent who Opposed torture and a lawyer who defended prisoners in Guantanamo.

Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein was the main originator of the 6,700-page report, the best source of information to date on the CIA’s secret prisons and abuses committed against alleged members of Al Qaeda under the government of George W. ) -2009).

“The CIA torture program was a terrible mistake. Not only did it contradict our values, but it did not serve to elicit valuable intelligence,” Feinstein told Efe.

secrets hidden in safes

Senators managed a 525-page summary made public in 2014, but the full version remains classified.

The report was recorded on disc, which was then placed in an envelope with the phrase “Top Secret” and placed in the safes of the CIA, the Pentagon, and the State and Justice Departments, where they are still waiting. A president declassified him.

Upon arrival at the White House, Barack Obama (2009–2017) banned the torture program, but declined to release the report for fear that it would spark anger against the US in many parts of the world.

Despite the risks, Feinstein believes the US should examine its conscience to prevent torture from happening again: “I still believe that the entire 6,700-page report should be declassified and I believe that one day it will happen. This is an important lesson we should never forget”.

US President Joe Biden has vowed to make 9/11-related documents public unless they endanger the nation’s security.

And that leaves little hope of the report going public, which is rumored to appear to name members of the Bush administration involved in the torture program.

a useless cruelty

A summary of the report, made public in 2014, had already revealed that CIA techniques were more brutal than political leaders’ and included simulated drowning known as “waterboarding”, bathing in frozen water, lack of sleep and access to food and hydration. was known as. Rectal.

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Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent, witnessed some of these abuses and assured Efe that the CIA’s power and violence was useless.

“It is not that torture did not work, there was a price for torture. It has damaged America’s reputation and moral reputation, it even cost lives,” Soufan said.

A Muslim and a Lebanese and American citizen, Soufan had another way of obtaining information when interrogating members of al Qaeda.

He used a kind of “poker game” in which he established a relationship with suspects by inviting them over for tea or discussing the Quran so that they could relax and be able to catch them in a lie, or reveal secrets to them. Be on your own.

One of those questioned by Soufan was Yemeni Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who was detained by the US in Guantanamo for allegedly being the driver of Osama bin Laden.

Guantinamo’s legacy

Hamdan was sentenced to five and a half years in prison by controversial commissions operating outside the civil and military justice systems; And one of the lawyers defending him was Andrea Prasso, the current deputy director at the Washington Office of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Prosan also represented ten Saudis at Guantanamo, and what he remembers most from that time is his despair over the difficulties in obtaining justice.

“You feel absolutely powerless as a lawyer when you represent those detained in Guantanamo. Others control their living conditions, others control their detention and as a lawyer. The things you can do in form are very little compared to their daily needs,” Prosson explained to Efe.

Biden has said he wants to shut down Guantanamo, but has taken a more low-key approach than Obama, who ran into intense opposition from Republicans in Congress.

What Obama did was transfer prisoners to third countries, and in 2014 he exchanged a US military man for five high-ranking officials from the Taliban regime, which ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Years later, he became part of five insurgent Taliban delegations that negotiated US withdrawal from Afghanistan and some are already holding positions of responsibility. For example, Mohamed Nabi Omari has been appointed governor of Khost province.

And it is that, although the history of CIA torture has yet to be written, the present – ​​and the uncertain future of Afghanistan – will prevent the United States from forgetting its dirty war on terrorism.


Nation World News Desk
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