US Senate report expected to detail use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques

by Lewis Brown

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the current chair of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, is expected to make public on Tuesday a 480-page summary of the classified report into CIA actions post-September 11th.

The report is believed to examine the “enhanced” interrogation techniques used by the clandestine agency at secret locations around the world, such as sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces and waterboarding.

The use of these methods was highlighted in Andrew Tyrie MP & Anthony Peto QC’s Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet “Neither Just Nor Secure” in January 2013.

Tyrie & Peto wrote:

“As part of its new strategy to combat terrorism, the US established in early 2002 a detention camp at Guantánamo Bay to hold individuals captured in combat in Afghanistan with suspected links to al Qaeda or the Taliban. Since its opening, the detention facility has been embroiled in controversy and litigation, amidst allegations of torture by US forces, enforced disappearance and illegal detention, as well as debate over the applicability of international law to detainees. The limited access granted to the international community has made it difficult to investigate the full extent of maltreatment of prisoners and hold to account those responsible. The UN, however, was able to gather specific evidence of the force feeding of hunger strikers through nasal tubes, prolonged solitary confinement and exposure to extreme temperatures, noise and light. Confirmed reports of inmates suffering mental breakdowns and committing suicide brought further criticism upon the US Government.15

“The counter-terrorism strategy of the US also included the employment of the policy of extraordinary rendition – that is, the international transfer of an individual without the legal protection afforded by extradition laws, treaties and due process, as part of its “war on terror.”

“This has involved the transfer of individuals for interrogation in countries known to use torture. The US has also acknowledged the existence and use of its own secret detention centres run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), where many suspects – in particular, those identified as “high-value detainees” – were held, mistreated and interrogated. The former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied any US involvement in torture, but this statement was later exposed as untrue when the CIA admitted subjecting several terrorist suspects to “waterboarding”, a practice generally regarded as torture.

“The secrecy of these operations made it difficult to monitorcompliance with acceptable standards. Critics have also pointed to the unchecked authority of the US executive branch in its policy towards enemy combatants, both domestically and abroad. For example, detainees were, for a long time, denied any meaningful opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of their detention. The US Supreme Court decision of Boumediene v Bush in 2008 rectified this, holding that Guantánamo detainees have a constitutional right to file petitions for habeas corpus in US federal courts.

“Successive US administrations have admitted the use of rendition, although they deny the deliberate use of torture or deployment of “torture by proxy.”  They have since acknowledged, on the other hand, the use of “enhanced interrogation,” which includes prolonged sleep deprivation, forced stress positions, exposure to extreme heat and cold, and “waterboarding,” in which a person is strapped to a bench with his mouth and nose covered and water poured over his face to create the sensation of drowning.”

The report was named 2013 Publication of the Year by the Prospect Think Tank Awards, you can read it here.

Date Added: Tuesday 9th December 2014