By Elaine Magliaro
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)–who made the news last week after claiming that Eric Garner was responsible for his own death because he was obese and had asthma and a heart condition–is back making headlines again. Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed reported today that King claimed that the 525-page Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention techniques “does not detail torture, but instead just procedures which create what King described as ‘tremendous discomfort.’”
Today, King spoke with both local radio and NewsMaxTV’s America’s Forum. He was quoted as saying “it would be a crime if we didn’t take these actions and that those who support the release of the Senate’s scathing report have an attitude of ‘hate America first,’ ‘self-loathing,’ and ‘self-hatred.’”
King told W-CBS in New York, “I don’t believe these are torture at all. For instance waterboarding, there were medical personnel present during the whole time. It creates tremendous discomfort there’s no doubt about it. It creates tremendous fear, but the fact is there was no lasting damage to these people and we got information from them, which is very helpful.”
The Republican from New York continued, “We’re not talking about anyone being burned or stabbed or cut or anything like that. We’re talking about people being made to stand in awkward in positions, have water put into their nose and into their mouth. Nobody suffered any lasting injuries from this.”
Rep. King claims that no detainees were tortured. I’m sure he read about the forms of “enhanced interrogation” techniques that detainees were subjected to in the torture report.
Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads.
Prisoners were subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”. The report highlights one prisoner later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and “symptomatic rectal prolapse”.
…One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit on a bare concrete floor without pants.
A detention site known as COBALT was described as a “dungeon.” According to The Guardian, detainees at COBALT were “kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket to use for human waste.” The report said it was so cold there that it likely contributed to the death of one detainee. It was reported that prisoners “were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time.”
About five CIA officers would engage in what is described as a “rough takedown”. A detainee would be shouted at, have his clothes cut off, be secured with tape, hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.
Here’s how the Senate report detailed the “most aggressive interrogation phase” of Abu Zubaydah’s detention:
“Security personnel entered the cell, shackled and hooded Abu Zubaydah, and removed his towel (Abu Zubaydah was then naked). Without asking any questions, the interrogators placed a rolled towel around his neck as a collar, and backed him up into the cell wall (an interrogator later acknowledged the collar was used to slam Abu Zubaydah against a concrete wall). The interrogators then removed the hood, performed an attention grab, and had Abu Zubaydah watch while a large confinement box was brought into the cell and laid on the floor.” A cable states ‘Abu Zubaydah was unhooded and the large confinement box was carried into the interrogation room and paced [sic] on the floor so as to appear as a coffin.’”
Zubaydah spent 266 hours in the large “coffin-sized” confinement box and 29 hours in a smaller confinement box, which measured 21 inches wide, 2.5 feet deep, and 2.5 feet high.
Right you, are Rep. King! None of these “enhanced interrogation” techniques I wrote above or included in the Senate report amounted to torture. It’s a good thing we have people like you in Congress to clear things up for us and set the record straight.
Here Are The Most Horrific Details From The Senate Torture Report (Huffington Post)