The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay …
The report of the June visit said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantánamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions.” Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly “more refined and repressive” than learned about on previous visits.
“The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture,” the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to “some beatings.” The report did not say how many of the detainees were subjected to such treatment.
“Some beatings” and psychological torture. Proud of your government?
For the record, the Pentagon denies everything—despite having been told by the White House in the torture memos that anything which wasn't intended to leave permanent damage was probably OK. And despite testimony by guards admitting that they engaged in at least mild torture (“harsh and coercive treatment”) for 14-hour sessions.
When some administration memorandums about coercive treatment or torture were disclosed, the White House said they were only advisory.
Last month, military guards, intelligence agents and others described in interviews with The Times a range of procedures that they said were highly abusive occurring over a long period, as well as rewards for prisoners who cooperated with interrogators. The people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility, said that one regular procedure was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels.
Some accounts of techniques at Guantánamo have been easy to dismiss because they seemed so implausible. The most striking of the accusations, which have come mainly from a group of detainees released to their native Britain, has been that the military used prostitutes who made coarse comments and come-ons to taunt some prisoners who are Muslims.
But the Red Cross report hints strongly at an explanation of some of those accusations by stating that there were frequent complaints by prisoners in 2003 that some of the female interrogators baited their subjects with sexual overtures.