In response to the torture, Zubaydah told his interrogators that Al Qaeda was planning terrorist attacks against the Brooklyn Bridge, Statute of Liberty, shopping malls, banks, water systems, supermarkets, nuclear plants and apartment buildings. He said Al Qaeda was close to building a crude nuclear bomb. None of this was ever corroborated.
The Torture Statute punishes conduct, or conspiracy to engage in conduct, specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering. "Severe mental pain or suffering" means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from either the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering, or from the threat of imminent death.
It is undisputed that waterboarding constitutes torture, which is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is also outlawed by the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, a treaty the United States has ratified.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaking to the AIPAC conference in Washington D.C. on March 21, 2016.
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Despite his constitutional duty to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," President Barack Obama refuses to bring the Bush officials who tortured Zubaydah and others to justice.
Donald Trump has pledged to keep Guantanamo open and advocates a resumption of waterboarding. Indeed, he promised a Trump administration would "bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."
Hillary Clinton opposes waterboarding. She said torture is an "open recruitment poster for more terrorists," and "over the years, Guantanamo has inspired more terrorists than it has imprisoned."
Meanwhile, Zubaydah languishes at Guantanamo, with no hope of release.
Joseph Margulies, one of Zubaydah's lawyers, said his client is "the poster child for the torture program, and that's why they never want him to be heard from again."