Seton Hall University

Law School’s Center for Policy & Research Releases Report on U.S. Torture  

Mark DenBeauxThe Center for Policy and Research at Seton Hall University School of Law has released a report, “American Torturers: FBI & CIA Abuses at Dark Sites and Guantanamo,” which includes first person accounts and drawings of the torture from Mr. Abu Zubaydah, the first victim of the so-called “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” authorized by the U.S. Government.

The accounts include details (and drawings) of forced nudity throughout the torture detention as well as sexual abuse, which included physical threats of rape, waterboarding, “walling” and something known as “the vortex,” an all-encompassing onslaught of intense torture methods lasting 24 hours per day and running sometimes for weeks or months. The accounts (and drawings) also detail threats of religious desecration involving vats of various bodily fluids.

The report notes that

Despite the efforts of the federal government, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, to conceal evidence of the actual operation of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” (“EITs”) it deployed on detainees in dark sites and at Guantanamo, a steady drumbeat of disclosures has provided an unparalleled view into this disgraceful episode in the nation’s history.

One of the most dramatic revelations has been the drawings by Detainee Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn aka Abu Zubaydah (hereinafter “Mr. Abu Zubaydah”), the first victim of such EITs. These drawings viscerally convey the brutal reality the CIA sought to hide with its calculated destruction of video recordings of torture conducted by its agents. These drawings also depict the kinds of torture – in which the FBI was also complicit -- inflicted on the artist and his fellow detainees. These tortures are, if possible, all the more disturbing as to Mr. Abu Zubaydah himself because even the torturers—CIA and FBI – now recognize that his was a case of mistaken identity. Nevertheless, he remains in detention – albeit uncharged – until this day.

"The government has done its best to destroy and conceal the video evidence of this torture and to silence its victims in various ways, including endless detention without charge," said Professor Mark P. Denbeaux, director of the Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy & Research. "In short, the government has done almost everything it can to suppress what these drawings all too explicitly reveal."

The report also notes that the drawings of Mr. Zubaydah

…dovetail with the recent accounts of Dr. James Mitchell, a chief architect of the torture regime, who both wrote a book on EITs and testified in hearings on Guantanamo. These sources, together with the report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, provide the most complete – and compelling – account to date of America’s torture program.

Professor Denbeaux said, “This Report is an amalgam of the work of many individuals but special credit must be accorded Mr. Abu Zubaydah’s artistic renderings of the mistreatment he and other detainees received.”

All 40 of Mr. Abu Zubaydah’s drawings and descriptions of torture are found in the report, “American Torturers: FBI & CIA Abuses at Dark Sites and Guantanamo,” and included in the Appendix. The report is posted and available for download at SSRN through this link.
The report itself was featured in media outlets around the globe, including The Guardian: “‘The forever prisoner’: Abu Zubaydah’s drawings expose the US’s depraved torture policy.”

Categories: Law , Nation and World

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