‘All of these guys belong in prison’: Guantanamo CIA Torture Described in Vivid Detail by Psychologist

One of the psychologists paid tens of millions of dollars by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to oversee the interrogation of prisoners in the so-called War on Terror provided new details on Monday about the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee at CIA “black site” in Thailand.

The New York Times reports James E. Mitchell told a military judge during a pretrial hearing at Guantánamo that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri—a Saudi national facing possible execution for allegedly masterminding the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen—broke quickly under torture and became so obedient that he would crawl into a cramped confinement box before guards ordered him to do so.

Initially, guards had to force al-Nashiri into the box. But according to Mitchell, the prisoner “liked being in the box” and would “get in and close it himself.”

Annie W. Morgan, a former Air Force defense attorney who is a member of al-Nashiri’s legal team, told the Times that when she heard Mitchell’s testimony,

“I got the image of crate-training a dog and became nauseous.”

“That was the goal of the program, to create a sense of learned helplessness and to become completely dependent upon and submissive to his captors,” she added, referencing a tactic taught in U.S. torture programs and documents dating back to the 1950s.

Gail Helt, a former CIA analyst who advocates Guantánamo’s closure, tweeted, “Imagine the hell Mr. Nashiri experienced outside of that box that made him prefer being inside it.”

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CIA Files Confirm Guantanamo Bay Torture Program’s MKULTRA Roots

In March the CIA declassified a 2008 CIA Inspector General report on the agency’s treatment of 9/11 suspect Ammar al-Baluchi at overseas ‘black sites’ and Guantanamo Bay. The report was released as a result of legal submissions and its shocking contents offer an unprecedentedly candid snapshot of the brutal physical and psychological torment to which he and hundreds of others were subjected by the agency over many years, under its global torture program.

The nephew of purported 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Baluchi was arrested in Pakistan in April 2003. He was accused of serving as a “key lieutenant” within al-Qaeda and its chief “bagman,” having provided pivotal financial and logistical support to the 9/11 hijackers. U.S. officials declared his capture would offer crucial information on the plot, prevent future attacks by the terrorist group, and potentially even lead to the apprehension of Osama bin Laden. Despite years of incarceration, interrogation and torture, none of this proved to be true.

Quoting contemporary cables, the Inspector General’s report tracks Baluchi’s induction at the “Salt Pit,” a CIA black site in Afghanistan, in detail. New arrivals were physically examined, their beards and heads shaved, and then put through a “non-enhanced” psychological assessment to determine their “willingness to cooperate without enhanced techniques…displace their expectations and begin the conditioning of subjects.”

The cable’s nameless author stated that, depending on his “resistance level,” staff did not intend to employ enhanced techniques against Baluchi “unless directed by headquarters.”

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Biden to set free ’20th hijacker’ from 9/11

The Biden administration is working on plans to release the suspected 20th hijacker involved in the 9/11 terror attack, that assault on America during which terrorists, mostly from Saudi Arabia, crashed four hijacked jets into New York and Washington buildings, killing almost 3,000 innocent people.

The New York Times reports Mohammed al-Qahtani never was put on trial because he was “brutally interrogated by the U.S. military” at Guantanamo Bay’s prison for terrorists.

He survived the 9/11 carnage because he was denied entry to the U.S. at the time of the attack, and so couldn’t be among those who boarded the four jets and crashed them.

The Times described al-Qahtani as “mentally ill” and security officials long have considered him too dangerous to release.

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Trial Of Sept. 11 Defendants At Guantánamo Delayed Until August 2021

The setbacks keep piling up in the long-delayed 9/11 case in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

A new U.S military court judge has canceled all hearings in the case until next year and delayed the start of the trial of the five defendants charged in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks until at least August 2021.

Jury selection had been scheduled to begin in January 2021, but the new judge — Col. Stephen F. Keane, who began overseeing the case in September — said a delay is necessary due to pandemic travel restrictions and his need to familiarize himself with the case.

Many Guantánamo attorneys say even the revised start date isn’t realistic, given that legal proceedings there have been at a virtual standstill since February, when the coronavirus began limiting access to the island.

“I do not expect that the trial will begin in August of 2021 because there’s just too much ground to cover between now and then,” said James Connell, lead attorney for Guantánamo prisoner Ammar al-Baluchi, who is accused of funding the 9/11 hijackers.

Tuesday’s delay order by Judge Keane, the fourth judge to oversee the 9/11 case, is the latest stumbling block at Guantánamo’s problem-plagued military court and prison, which NPR found has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $6 billion since 2002.

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