US officials at a notorious CIA detention site in Afghanistan used a detainee as a living prop to teach interrogators torture techniques, newly declassified documents reveal, bouncing the man’s head off a wall until he was left with permanent brain damage.
The shocking report, which dates back to 2008 but was unsealed Thursday, details the repeated torture of Ammar al-Baluchi, a current Guantanamo Bay captive and suspect in the 9/11 attacks, at the former CIA ‘black site’ Cobalt, north of Kabul.
Interrogators at the site, known both as Cobalt and ‘the Salt Pit,’ went beyond the CIA’s guidelines in torturing Baluchi, the documents reveal, testing techniques and their effectiveness without the agency’s approval.
Baluchi is one of five set to face military tribunal for his alleged part in the 9/11 plot, a case that’s been stuck in pre-trial proceedings for more than a decade due to a legal dispute over legal admissibility of testimony gathered from the defendants after they were tortured.
The redacted report from the CIA inspector’s general details some of the torture wreaked on Baluchi, 44, who, according to the documents, was taken out of Pakistani custody to the site in 2003 ‘extra-legally,’ due to his being under Pakistani jurisdiction at the time and not an immediate terrorist threat.
Baluchi, a Kuwaiti citizen, was then brought to ‘Cobalt’ – a secret torture den referred to by detainees as ‘the dark prison’ or ‘the darkness, a previous 2012 CIA report revealed.
Reports of the site, where prisoners would routinely become so broken that they would voluntarily climb onto waterboards and complaints over hypothermia concerns were rampant, unsealed documents have revealed, first surfaced in 2005.
The recently unsealed report, declassified as part of a court filing by Baluchi’s lawyers to get him an independent medical examination, described how for years interrogators at the site used Baluchi’s body as a living doll for unapproved torture techniques that left the still imprisoned man brain-damaged.