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New CIA Torture Documents Released

New documents have been released by the CIA, detailing torture techniques the agency used against terrorism related detainees after September 11, 2001.

The documents include a collection of 50 internal guidelines about how to 'interrogate' suspects, including sleep deprivation, the withholding of food, and waterboarding. The release is the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA ) request by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and adds to the 2014 senate investigation.

Although the US role in 'enhanced interrogation' has long been known, there are a number of new revelations. In one section doctors expressed their conclusion that locking detainees in cells just big enough for their body wasn't a "particularly effective" technique for eliciting information. One document from 2004 suggests telling these boxed prisoners that guards were placing stinging insects in there with them, though they were to use harmless bugs instead - a cruel psychological trick.

A report also concluded that detainee Abu Zubaydah would likely have been more cooperative if he wasn't held in such conditions. The Saudi citizen who is still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, was told the coffin sized box would be his final resting place and spent 11 days unable to move like a factory farmed animal. The 45 year old has yet to be convicted of any crime.

Some of his 2007 testimony was also featured in the request, and he describes in his own words the torture he faced at various black sites. "They shackle me completely, even my head; I can't do anything. Like this, and they put one cloth in my mouth and they put water, water, water."

Zubaydah is estimated to have been waterboarded over 80 times, and faced sleep and food deprivation, among other forms of torture.

Torture began almost immediately after the Afghan invasion. We were told Saudi Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group had planned the 9/11 attacks from a cave fortress in the region's mountains, and were being protected by the native Taliban. Thus we had to send in the troops to catch Bin Laden and wipe out any of his supporters. As history has shown us however, he was never found in Afghanistan and of the 220 people captured and shipped off to be tortured at Guantanamo Bay, only 3 have been convicted of a crime without those convictions being overturned - one of whom (a Canadian) was just 15 years old when he was scooped up.

Often rather than having any solid intelligence that those they were capturing were members of Al Qaeda or had harboured Al Qaeda, US forces took the word of any villager or Pakistan official, who had to choose between honesty or a nice fat cash reward from uncle Sam. There are many horror stories of the US bounty program resulting in innocent people being sold to Guantanamo.

Out of the remaining inmates, only 5 people including Khalid Sheik Mohammad are even remotely close to a 9/11 related trial. He was waterboarded 183 times, his children were used as blackmail, and he subsequently made confessions to masterminding no less than 31 different plots. Back in the 80s the US Army recognized that excessive force leads to poor results, and wrote as such in Field Manual 34-52. "The use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear," such as being the mastermind of 31 different plots!

Emails included in the new release show one CIA officer thought the torture program was a "train wreck waiting to happen," and he intended to "get the hell off the train." Unfortunately the train and its consequences are still ongoing.

ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer had the following to say about the documents in a statement:

"These newly declassified records add new detail to the public record of the CIA's torture program and underscore the cruelty of the methods the agency used in its secret, overseas black sites."

A CIA rep was unsurprisingly indifferent:

"The events of 9/11 will be forever seared into the memories of all Americans who bore witness to the single greatest tragedy to befall our homeland in recent history...The documents released today reflect differing views formed roughly a decade ago within CIA about the Agency's performance prior to 9/11."

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