The al-Qaeda playbook encourages imprisoned jihadists to accuse their captors of torture, but this is probably not what they had in mind. “Terror Suspect Claims Torture by Americans, Not Enough Entertainment at Guantanamo Bay,” from Fox News:
WASHINGTON “” An accused enemy combatant held at Guantanamo Bay told a military hearing he was physically as well as mentally tortured there by having to read a newsletter full of ‘crap,’ being forced to use unscented deodorant and shampoo and having to play sports with a ball that would not bounce.
Majid Khan of Pakistan denied any connection to Al Qaeda and said he was tortured and his family hounded by U.S. authorities, according to a redacted transcript released Tuesday by the Pentagon.
Khan told an April 15 hearing called to determine whether he was rightly classified as an “enemy combatant” that he also had his baby pictures taken from him, that cleaners left marks on his cell walls and that detainees have no DVD players or other entertainment.
At one point, Khan said he wrote on his walls, “stop torturing me, I need my mails, newspaper and my lawyer.”
Khan was captured in Pakistan in 2003. The military says he has provided support to Al Qaeda and has expressed a desire to assassinate Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharaff. U.S. government authorities have said that Khan was also involved in plots to
blow up American gas stations and poison U.S. reservoirs. The April 15 hearing is the first step in possible war crimes charges against him.
In a lengthy written statement, Khan said the CIA and the Defense Department tortured him after his capture in Pakistan as well as when he was transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
“I swear to God this place in some sense worst than CIA jails. I am being mentally torture here,” said Khan in a statement read by his personal representative about his time in Guantanamo. “There is extensive torture even for the smallest of
Chunks of the transcript were removed, including what appears to be additional discussion of torture, including during his detention by the CIA.
“The redaction of Majid Khan’s testimony regarding his treatment in the CIA secret program strengthens the view that the administration has something to hide,” said Priti Patel, an assistant attorney at Human Rights First. “Covering up abuses in this way
is a strategy guaranteed to backfire.”
The transcript, however, includes detailed descriptions of what Khan said was abuse at Guantanamo. He said he has been unable to see his daughter, was denied communal recreation for 11 weeks, went four weeks without sunlight and fresh air, was deprived of
basic or comfort items for three weeks, had his beard shaved twice and was forced to wear a protective suicide prevention smock.
And he complained that he was only given cheap unscented soap and shampoo, and that in the recreation room there is “no weight lifting machine, no toilet, no sink, [no] hoops, and even balls them self have little air in them; they hardly bounce.”
“They know my weaknesses “” what drive me crazy and what doesn’t,” he said.
Khan, who grew up in Maryland and is the only U.S. resident among 15 detainees the government considers most dangerous, also described suicide attempts where he “chewed my artery which goes through my elbow.” And he said he went on hunger strikes to pressure
authorities to either charge him or send him back to Pakistan.
The article goes on to describe interrogation tactics, most of which have been discussed in the media before, and don’t begin to approach the manner in which al-Qaeda is known to treat its captives.
U.S. intelligence also says Khan’s cousin and uncle, who were both members of Al Qaeda, introduced Khan to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, who in a similar hearing at Guantanamo Bay depicted himself as Al Qaeda’s most
Together, the government says, Kahn and Mohammed plotted terrorist attacks in the United States. Khan also is said to have helped pick possible operatives, including Iyman Faris, an Ohio truck driver who is now serving 20 years in prison for supporting terrorism. Faris was studying how to destroy New York City suspension bridges.
Late last month the Pentagon announced that a 15th high-value detainee “” Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, captured late last year and formerly held by the CIA “” had arrived at Guantanamo. He has not yet had his hearing.