CIA Documents Expose the Failed Torture Methods Used on Guantanamo’s Most Famous Detainee

Zubaydah is the first post-9/11 detainee to be waterboarded, and this is his first session. He coughs and vomits. The waterboarding lasts for over two hours, but he still insists he does not have any additional information beyond that which he already provided to the FBI. He is then put into the larger confinement box, where he spends the rest of the evening. The interrogation process resumes in the morning: more slapping, zero new information, and more time in the smaller box.

The records also highlight the methods of psychologist James Mitchell, a top architect of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.” Though Mitchell had previously worked as an Air Force psychologist, the Senate “Torture Report” noted that he had no prior experience as an interrogator. Mitchell’s private contracting company had received over $80 million from the CIA by the time their contract was terminated in 2009. The contract was terminated because, as the CIA Inspector General put it, there was no reason to believe Mitchell’s interrogation techniques were effective or even safe.

AlterNet contacted interrogation expert Mark Fallon, an international security consultant who spent over 30 years as a special agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and author of a new book detailing how the intelligence community enacted the torture program under the Bush administration. Fallon said prolonged sleep deprivation constitutes torture under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. Regarding its efficacy, Fallen stated that sleep deprivation “is counterproductive, if the aim is obtaining accurate and reliable information. The effects on a person’s cognitive capabilities is diminished and memory is corrupted.”

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