CIA Torture Victim Depicts What He Endured in Brutal Sketches for Legal Study

By Danny C. | DCPeriodical | 12/05/19 |

The New York Times has just released a number of sketches detailing the torture programs implemented by the George W. Bush administration, as drawn by Guantánamo Bay prisoner Abu Zubaydah.

One shows the prisoner nude and strapped to a crude gurney, his entire body clenched as he is waterboarded by an unseen interrogator. Another shows him with his wrists cuffed to bars so high above his head he is forced on to his tiptoes, with a long wound stitched on his left leg and a howl emerging from his open mouth. Yet another depicts a captor smacking his head against a wall.

NY Times.

Zubaydah sketched the depictions while in four years of captivity at the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention center.

In each illustration, Mr. Zubaydah — the first person to be subject to the interrogation program approved by President George W. Bush’s administration — portrays the particular techniques as he says they were used on him at a C.I.A. black site in Thailand in August 2002.

Zubaydah was arrested in Pakistan in 2002, quite wounded, under suspicion of being an al Qaeda leader involved with the planning of the 9/11 attacks.

The now widely known US torture programs — coded ‘enhanced integration’ by the Bush administration — were first created and okayed to be used on Zubaydah.

He was the first person known to be waterboarded by the C.I.A. — he endured it 83 times — and was the first person known to be crammed into a small confinement box as part of what the Seton Hall study called “a constantly rotating barrage” of methods meant to break what interrogators believed was his resistance.

Intelligence analysis since then shows that Zubaydah had no al Qaeda connections and had nothing to do with the planning of 9/11. He hasn’t ever been charged with a crime, nor do prosecutors ever plan on charging him with any.

He is held at the base’s most secretive prison, Camp 7, where he drew these sketches not as artwork, whose release from Guantánamo is now forbidden, but as legal material that was reviewed and cleared — with one redaction — for inclusion in [a report by his lawyer]. Other drawings he has done of himself during his imprisonment were published last year by ProPublica.

Because of WikiLeaks releasing classified US documents, the extent of how these inhuman torture programs came to fruition and what exactly took place became known to the public; as did the fact that several Democrats, including current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as well as Republicans knew and approved of the barbaric techniques.

No officials have been punished for their crimes as a result, and in a bitter twist of irony, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently being tortured by the UK government on behalf of the US as he awaits an extradition trial for releasing the documents.

The NY Times released sketches include waterboarding, stress positions, short shackling, walling, large confinement box, small confinement box, and sleep deprivation.

A word of warning, while the drawings are relatively crude, the reality they confront the observer with can be difficult to take. See them here.

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