Sexual Violence: The US’s “Psychological” Weapon Against Terrorism

In the days following September 11, the United States was still reeling from the attacks on the World Trade Center. Almost everyone was terrified of another attack. In hopes of obtaining intelligence, the Bush administration developed methods of torture to “break” prisoners of the so-called war on terror. These men would be stripped of their humanity, beaten and waterboarded. Less well known is the fact that they were also systematically sexually humiliated and sexually assaulted.

The decision to use these techniques in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and other secret locations would forever change the face of the United States. It would open the door to the use of multiple forms of torture that would cause prisoners physical, psychological… and sexual trauma.

The Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF) was created by the Department of Defense to investigate detainees in the War on Terror. Mark Fallon, the CITF’s deputy commander, was in Guantanamo to gather enough information on the detainees to try them.

Zero Impunity met with Fallon — 27 years as a NCIS Special Agent followed by 2 years as a senior executive in the Dept. of Homeland Security — on October 19, 2016. Fallon, a retiree with laughing eyes, is still haunted by the time he spent at Guantanamo. He was one of only a handful of high-ranking officials with whom Zero Impunity met. Zero Impunity also met with Alberto Mora, former General Counsel of the Navy, who also tried to sound the alarm, as well as Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer at the Department of Defense, who was blacklisted after he criticized brutal interrogation methods in 2003. who tried to sound the alarm about what was happening in Guantanamo, to denounce these “shameful and deplorable” acts.

Fallon is known for his extensive experience as an interrogator while serving as a special agent. This man of austere appearance spent years blending into criminal networks, disguising himself at times as a drug dealer, an elephant poacher and an arms trafficker. Fallon began investigating Al Qaeda in the 1990s, so it was logical for the American authorities to call on him when they decided to set up an intelligence service on the prisoners detained in Guantanamo.

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