George Bush and Dick Cheney are continuing to insist we haven’t committed torture. But that’s now been contradicted by the Bush administration official whose job is to decide whether to bring Guantanamo detainees to trial.
“We tortured [Mohammed al-] Qahtani,” the convening authority of military commissions, Susan Crawford, told the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” (for prosecution).
Al-Qahtani is a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the 9/11 attacks.
According to the Post, the techniques used included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, which left al-Qahtani in a “life-threatening condition.”
Crawford told Woodward:
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. It was that medical impact that pushed me over the edge (to call it torture).
The Post adds:
[Crawford] is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.