Monday, March 16, 2009
In December of 2006 officials with the Red Cross were permitted by the Bush administration to interview several high-value detainees, including Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, about their treatment in captivity, provided the report was kept secret and turned over only to government officials. Of course it didn't take long for elements of the report to leak to the public, including allegations of torture. For the first time though Mark Danner, writing for the New York Review of Books, publishes excerpts of interviews with some of those detainees, in which the detainees recount torture at the hands of CIA personnel at unknown "black sites." That these various detainees were tortured is not news; accounts of their treatment at the hands of American interrogators have leaked in one form or another over a period of several years now. Nonetheless it's informative to read the accounts of torture in the detainees' own words. Of course defenders of torture will claim that the detainees lied about their treatment, but there's a very simple way to confirm their stories; release the various logs that were kept regarding their treatment, as well as the communications that took place between senior administration officials in Washington and CIA personnel at the black sites (communications which Danner makes clear took place.) With more revelations like these, it seems more and more likely that a "truth commission" aimed at getting to the bottom of what was done in the "war on terror" will be launched, if fitfully.