January 18, 2015 11:00 am -

[su_right_ad]Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantanamo detainee since 2002, writes of his detention and the torture that took place, published in The Guardian, with parts redacted by the U.S. government.

I started to recite the Koran quietly, for prayer was forbidden. Once ________ said, “Why don’t you pray? Go ahead and pray!” I was like, How friendly! But as soon as I started to pray, ____ started to make fun of my religion, and so I settled for praying in my heart so I didn’t give ____ the opportunity to commit blasphemy. Making fun of somebody else’s religion is one of the most barbaric acts. President Bush described his holy war against the so-called terrorism as a war between the civilized and barbaric world. But his government committed more barbaric acts than the terrorists themselves. I can name tons of war crimes that Bush’s government is involved in.

He describes some of the techniques used to torture.

[su_thin_right_skyscraper_ad]______ turned the air conditioner all the way down to bring me to freezing. This method had been practiced in the camp at least since August 2002. I had seen people who were exposed to the frozen room day after day; by then, the list was long. The consequences of the cold room are devastating, such as ______tism, but they show up only at a later age because it takes time until they work their way through the bones. The torture squad was so well trained that they were performing almost perfect crimes, avoiding leaving any obvious evidence. Nothing was left to chance. They hit in predefined places. They practiced horrible methods, the aftermath of which would only manifest later. The interrogators turned the A/C all the way down trying to reach 0°, but obviously air conditioners are not designed to kill, so in the well insulated room the A/C fought its way to 49°F, which, if you are interested in math like me, is 9.4°C—in other words, very, very cold, especially for some- body who had to stay in it more than twelve hours, had no underwear and just a very thin uniform, and who comes from a hot country. Somebody from Saudi Arabia cannot take as much cold as somebody from Sweden; and vice versa, when it comes to hot weather. Interrogators took these factors in con- sideration and used them effectively…

He brought ice-cold water and soaked me all over my body, with my clothes still on me. It was so awful; I kept shaking like a Parkinson’s patient. Technically I wasn’t able to talk anymore. The guy was stupid: he was literally executing me but in a slow way. _______ gestured to him to stop pouring water on me. Another detainee had told me a “good” interrogator suggested he eat in order to reduce the pain, but I refused to eat anything; I couldn’t open my mouth anyway.

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D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

13 responses to Gitmo Inmate: ‘The Torture Squad Was…Performing Almost Perfect Crimes’

  1. Carla Akins January 18th, 2015 at 11:13 am

    At one time, we thought the Japanese internment camps were the worst we had done in recent history.

    • burqa January 18th, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      They were.
      They not only employed methods like this, they were far worse.
      They would select American prisoners for Japanese officers to behead, just to keep in practice. Tying a prisoner to a tree and using them for bayonet practice was common. The Japanese also carried out some pretty gruesome medical experiments on American POWs.
      At home I have a personal account by an American named Ed Dyess who somehow survived the Bataan Death March.
      The death rates at Japanese POW camps was quite high. I don’t have the stats here, but I recall them being over 30% and in some cases well over 50%.
      While we have done horrible things to prisoners taken since 9/11, there is no comparison with the savagery visited upon Americans held prisoner by the Japanese, North Koreans and North Vietnamese.

      Obviously, this in no way excuses what we did, but is stated for perspective.
      I am furious, horrified and disgusted by what we did.

      The treatment of Americans held by the Nazis and the British on their infamous prison ships during our Revolution far surpassed anything we did after 9-11, too.

      • rg9rts January 18th, 2015 at 3:34 pm

        What we did to ourselves was unrivaled …Andersonville

        • burqa January 18th, 2015 at 6:07 pm

          I have been researching the topic for quite some time. Occasionally I have to stop because of the nightmares.
          Sorry, Andersonville, bad as it was, had a long ways to go to reach the levels of mistreatment by the British, Japanese, North Koreans and Vietnamese.
          The evil of Andersonville was primarily starvation, as I recall (and it’s been a while since I read up on it). This was a feature of all of them, but the others included a level and amount of sadistic mistreatment unseen at Andersonville.
          Recently I’ve been exploring archives of letters and documents from the 18th century. One of my ancestors fought in a Continental Line regiment from Virginia. In 1778 he was detailed to a regiment sent to South Carolina that was defeated and most of them taken prisoner and put on one of those infamous prison hulks. Over 70% of the prisoners died. Fortunately my ancestor was not captured and survived the war.
          The casualty rate at Andersonville was high, due to starvation. This was not because they had food and refused it, but because that was the way the war was fought by the Union. The reason Sherman was able to launch his march to the sea and why Grant was able to operate as he did was because they adopted a new strategy of not being dependent on supply lines but to steal all the food they could get ahold of. They also stole all the livestock and chickens for many miles around wherever they went. When Sheridan went into the Shenandoah Valley, he ordered everything to be destroyed so “…they have nothing left but their eyes to weep with.” It was a war against civilians and famine was considered a weapon of war by Grant. This is a major reason why there was so little food at Andersonville.
          As I recall, the commandant at Andersonville was hanged.

    • rg9rts January 18th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

      Lying about carpet bombing wasn’t too shabby…nor the Gulf of Tonkin incident as an excuse to use all kinds of army stuff

  2. Suzanne McFly January 18th, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    We have become the people we once demonized for not creating an open, lawful society.

    • fahvel January 18th, 2015 at 1:30 pm

      the usa, wallowing in its exceptionalism, has been doing bad stuff for a long long time.

    • rg9rts January 18th, 2015 at 3:29 pm

      And the gopee wants to close it more so while putting in a police state.

  3. burqa January 18th, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    These methods were imported from studies of the “hidden touch” techniques used by the North Koreans to extract false confessions from downed American fliers. Mitchell and Jessen came across them when they worked for the JPRA, which administers the SERE program for the military.
    When the JPRA caught wind of the intentions of using these techniques on prisoners, they told the Bush administration they were ineffective.
    They are contrary to principles established during the American Revolution. They are illegal and inhumane.
    We should also be aware of who Slahi is.
    He is a Mauritanian al Qaeda operative. Slahi recruited some of the 9-11 hijackers for the 9-11 attacks. The following is from pages 165-166 of the 9-11 Commission Report:
    “The available evidence indicates that in 1999, Atta, Binalshibh, Shehhi, and Jarrah decided to fight in Chechnya against the Russians. According to Binalshibh, a chance meeting on a train in Germany caused the group to travel to Afghanistan instead. An individual named Khalid al Masri approached Binalshibh and Shehhi (because they were Arabs with beards, Binalshibh thinks) and struck up a conversation about jihad in Chechnya. When they later called Masri and expressed interest in going to Chechnya, he told them to contact Abu Musab in Duisburg, Germany. Abu Musab turned out to be Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a significant al Qaeda operative who, even then, was well
    known to U.S. and German intelligence, though neither government apparently knew he was operating in Germany in late 1999. When telephoned by Binalshibh and Shehhi, Slahi reportedly invited these promising recruits to come see him in Duisburg.
    Binalshibh, Shehhi, and Jarrah made the trip. When they arrived, Slahi [166] explained that it was difficult to get in Chechnya at that time because many travelers were being detained in Georgia. He recommended they go to Afghanistan instead, where they could train for jihad before traveling onward to Chechnya. Slahi
    instructed them to obtain Pakistani visas and then return to him for further directions on how to reach Afghanistan. Although Atta did not attend the meeting, he joined in the plan with the other three. After obtaining the necessary visas, they received Slahi’s final instructions on how to travel to Karachi and then Quetta, where they were to contact someone named Umar al Masri at the Taliban office.”

  4. rg9rts January 18th, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Looks like those millions paid to those 2 psychologists to teach torture paid off…

  5. KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker January 18th, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    We’re not the nation we think we are.

  6. cecilia January 18th, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    that bastard, cheney, must be so proud

  7. Bunya January 19th, 2015 at 12:01 am

    Regardless of how heinous this man’s crimes were, the treatment inflicted on him in our name was unacceptable. What happened to this country? Other countries used to love and respect us because we were above torture. Now we’ve become just another sadistic entity.