A Chicago attorney who represented one of the terror suspects accused of helping to orchestrate the September 11th attacks of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, says he has known about the CIA’s harsh and often inhumane interrogation techniques for years.
“Not surprised at all,” said attorney Thomas Durkinm who represented Ramzi Bin al-Shibh. “It’s astonishing to read the depth of it however; it’s deeper than even I thought.”
Al-Shibh stands accused of being a key facilitator in the September 11 attacks, and a new report from the CIA says he was tortured for information.
“We knew at the arraignment of June 2008 that torture had taken place,” said Durkin.
A heavily redacted 525-page summary of the 6,700-page report (see: pages 101-107) that was released Tuesday details some of the techniques used on terror suspects.
The White House admitted there was poor oversight of the interrogations of terror suspects. The CIA still maintains today that the interrogation techniques provided a tactical understanding of the enemy. And Republicans on the intelligence committee insist the harsh interrogation techniques produced results and describe the majority report as flawed.
The report details how detainees were held in secret overseas facilities known as black sights. There, the prisoners were subject to brutal interrogation techniques including: waterboarding, days of sleep deprivation, and being threatened with mock executions.
“It’s shameful. It’s disgraceful and it should have never occurred,” Durkin said.
According to the report Bin al-Shibh was subject to advanced interrogation techniques “not approved by CIA headquarters.” He was kept in total darkness to heighten his sense of fear and put in isolation for 2 ½ years.
He also was subject to “near constant interrogations…sensory deprivation, a liquid diet and sleep deprivation.” The report states this included “shaving bin al-Shibh’s head and face, exposing him to loud noise in a white room with white lights, keeping him “ unclothed and subject to uncomfortably cool temperatures” and shackling him “hand and foot with arms outstretched over his head.”
Al-shibh was subject to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques for 34 days. In the end he was found “not in a position to know details about Al-Qaida’s plans for future attacks.” Yet CIA headquarters recommended the continued use of interrogation techniques on him.
In 2006 Bin al-Shibh and other detainees were transferred to a prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – where the torture reportedly continued.
Durkin visited his client at Guantanamo eight times, he said.
“Anybody who has been to Guantanamo should be shocked and disgusted," he said. "Guantanamo has been the worst experience I’ve ever had in my 40 years of practicing law. It’s a disgrace.”
Ramzi bin Al-Shibh remains at Guantanamo – where he has been for more than eight years. According to the report he has psychological problems that include paranoia, visions, insomnia and he attempts to hurt himself. This is a direct result of the torture and isolation he has endured.
“How Guantanamo can be open one day after this report, is beyond me," Durkin said. "If nothing else there should be a public outcry to close Guantanamo tonight. It’s absurb that we would continue the charade that we need to keep Guantanamo going after this craziness.”