A detainee currently held at the US military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba told his lawyers he was subject to forms of “enhanced interrogation techniques” beyond what was disclosed in a US Senate report last year.
Majid Khan, now a government cooperating witness, was captured in Pakistan and held in a CIA “black site” from 2003 to 2006. Khan said interrogators poured ice water on his genitals, twice videotaped him naked, and repeatedly touched his “private parts,” according to accounts recorded by his lawyers over the past seven years and now reported by Reuters.
Khan, 35, claimed interrogators — some smelling of alcohol — threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks, and leather belts.
The allegations represent the “first publicly released account from a high-value” Al-Qaeda detainee who was tortured following the attacks of September 11, 2001, according to Reuters.
Some abuses detailed by Khan match – while others go beyond – what was revealed last December in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of the roughly 6,000-page report on CIA practices.
Khan, a Pakistani citizen, went to high school in Maryland. He has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, material support, murder, and spying charges. He was sentenced to up to 19 years in prison after agreeing to be a government witness.
He has confessed to delivering $50,000 to Al-Qaeda operatives in Indonesia, which was used to conduct the bombing of a Marriott hotel in Jakarta in 2003. He also said he plotted with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, considered the 9/11 mastermind, to work as a “sleeper agent” for AQ in the United States, among other acts.
Khan described to his lawyers the grim atmosphere at the CIA “black site” detention facility he entered upon capture.
“I wished they had killed me,” Khan told his lawyers, according to Reuters.
“I lived in anxiety every moment of every single day about the fear and anticipation of the unknown,” he said.
“Sometimes, I was struggling and drowning under water, or driving a car and I could not stop.”
The worst torture endured, Khan said, occurred in May 2003, was when he was stripped naked and hung from a wooden beam for three days with water and no food. The only time he was taken down from the beam, Khan was shackled, had a hood put over his head, and was lowered into tub of ice water. An interrogator forced his head underwater while demanding answers to questions. Guards also poured water and ice into his nose and mouth.
Once he was returned to the beam, interrogators would toss ice water at him every two or three hours. A fan was directed at him during this time, he said, prohibiting him from sleep. After two days hanging from the beam, he began to hallucinate.
A similar interrogation session occurred in July 2003, as Khan was hooded and hung from a metal pole for several days. Ice water was repeatedly poured on his mouth, nose, and genitals. He was forced to sit naked on a wooden box while being videotaped, he said. He pleaded with a doctor to help him, but the doctor instructed guards to hang him back on the pole. A day later, he said he was videotaped writing a “confession” while naked.
Khan also detailed rectal feedings his lawyers have called rape. His “lunch tray” consisted of“hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused,” according to a CIA cable released after the Senate report.
The 480-page executive summary was only a fraction of the Senate report. The summary contained the committee’s conclusions concerning post-9/11 tactics deployed by the CIA under the administration of US President George W. Bush in an attempt to gain intelligence from suspected terrorists. The panel’s probe lent to “critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight” and showed that the CIA undermined “societal and constitutional values that we are very proud of,” according to committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein