According to the Washington Post, a Bush administration official has admitted that a Guantanamo detainee was actually tortured.
"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in an interview. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture."
Qahtani is alleged to be 9/11's 20th hijacker. He was denied entry to the US by a suspicious customs inspector at the Orlando airport in August of 2001. Mohammed Atta, the murderer who piloted one of the planes into the World Trade Center, was at the airport that day to meet him. Qahtani was later captured in Afghanistan by US forces and has been a guest at the Guantanamo facility since January of 2003.
So--electrodes to his nether regions? Bamboo shoots under his fingernails? A little light flogging with the knout?
No. Qahtani "was forced to wear a woman's bra and had a thong placed on his head during the course of his interrogation" and "was told that his mother and sister were whores."
Wait--is this torture, or was he pledging a fraternity?
Okay, okay--I'm just an insensitive boob. And anyways, now that Obama is in charge we won't be having any more of these torture shenanigans, right?
As I mentioned in a previous post, the policy of rendition predates the Bush administration. This policy of course brought howls of protest, and Obama promised to end the practice.
So, when questioned by the Senate as part of his confirmation process to head the CIA, Leon Panetta clarified that the US will still hand over foreign detainees for questioning, but only "with assurances they will not be tortured" (according to the AP).
You know, pinky swear. And no crossing fingers.
But apparently, that assurance was ALREADY part of US policy. Some former prisoners picked up during the war on terror alleged that they were nevertheless vitims of torture. When Panetta was asked about those allegations, he responded "I am not aware of the validity of those claims."
So, exactly what will be different with Obama's administration about this whole rendition thing?
"I will seek the same kind of assurances that they will not be treated inhumanely," Panetta said (emphasis added).
Hope and, umm, change?
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