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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/13/09

ICRC's Damning ExposÚ of US Torture

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Exposure to Cold Temperature and Cold Water

During their initial months, they were kept naked in extremely cold cells and interrogation rooms. Requests for clothing and blankets were denied. Cold water dousing was also used - with buckets or by a hose-pipe while they were in a stress standing position with their arms shackled above their heads for prolonged periods.

Prolonged Use of Handcuffs and Shackles

Detainees reported they were used continuously for long periods, even inside their cells, and in one case for six months.

Threats

Alleged by nine of the 14, they were against them and their families. They threatened waterboarding, electric shock, infection with HIV/AIDS, sodomy, arrest and rape of his family, torture to the point of death, and "no rules applied" interrogations.

Forced Head and Beard Shaving

Alleged by two of the 14, it was done abusively, and according to one, made to look undignified.

Deprivation/Restricted Provision of Solid Food

Alleged by eight of the 14, they got none for up to a month. After that, it was restricted, limited, and given as an incentive for cooperation. Items included rice and potatoes or bread and gravy.

Further Elements of Detention

Done to increase its harshness, they included continuous solitary confinement, incommunicado detention, no contact with family or third parties, and other above-listed elements. In combination, it made conditions intolerable.

Basic items were denied, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, towels, showers, toilets, toilet paper, clothes, underwear, blankets, and for up to three months mattresses. Things then provided depended on cooperation, but were removed to apply more pressure or for no reason at all. In addition, their prayer schedule and Korans were restricted or denied.

Conditions of Later Stage Detention

To some degree, they improved, depending again on cooperation. Also, after the initial interrogation stages, they got clean clothes on a weekly basis, solid food one to three times a day but of poor quality and in limited amounts. Some got English or their native language books and magazines.

After about eight months of detention, they got in-cell toilet facilities, washbasins, and showers weekly or more often. After several months to up to two and a half years, they could move from their cells to closed indoor areas to use exercise machines. Cell temperatures were also at proper temperatures, and in their final detention period prior to being transferred to Guantanamo, some could watch a weekly film and/or use a portable DVD. Although an improvement from earlier months, they still endured harsh confinement.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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