Torture was used at Guantanamo, said Susan J. Crawford, the convening authority for the Guantanamo military commissions, in an interview with Bob Woodward of the Washington Post.
She referred to Mohammed al-Qahtani, a detainee (pictured at right) who was held because he allegedly intended to be a part of the 9/11 terror attacks.
“We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture,” Crawford told the Post.
“The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent… . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for. And coercive. Clearly coercive.”
Qahtani had to be hospitalized as a result of his interrogations.
“There’s no doubt in my mind he would’ve been on one of those planes had he gained access to the country in August 2001,” said Crawford. “He’s a very dangerous man.”
“I sympathize with the intelligence gatherers in those days after 9/11, not knowing what was coming next and trying to gain information to keep us safe. But there still has to be a line that we should not cross. And unfortunately what this has done, I think, has tainted everything going forward.”
What do you make of Crawford’s admission?
The whole issue of torture and the Guantanamo prison are front-and-center in the Obama transition because the president elect has said he plans to address them immediately upon taking office.
How do you feel about this set of highly controversial issues emerging now? About torture? About the prison facility?
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