Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri: The torture victim the United States is desperate to gag

Andy Worthington writes: A millionaire Saudi businessman, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is accused of being the brains behind the terrorist attack on the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen in 2000, in which 17 U.S. soldiers died. He is also a victim of the notorious torture program initiated by the Bush administration after the 9/11 attacks. No less a source than the CIA Inspector General noted in a report in 2004 (PDF) on the “high-value detainee” interrogation program that while he was held in a secret facility in Thailand after his capture in the United Arab Emirates in the fall of 2002, he was hooded and restrained and threatened with a gun and a power drill to scare him into talking, even though the federal torture statute prohibits threatening prisoners with imminent death. Moreover, in February 2008, CIA director Michael Hayden admitted that al-Nashiri was one of three prisoners subjected to waterboarding, an ancient torture technique that involves controlled drowning.

In Poland, where al-Nashiri was moved after Thailand in December 2002, he has been recognized by a prosecutor investigating the CIA’s secret prison on Polish soil as a “victim.” But in the United States, since his transfer to Guantánamo in September 2006, he has been silenced, like the other 13 “high-value detainees” transferred with him, even though the Bush administration put him forward for a trial by military commission in July 2008 and the Obama administration followed suit in November 2009.

Prosecuting a man whose torture is public knowledge while trying to prevent him from mentioning his torture might seem like a lost cause, but the U.S. authorities have a long history of denying reality when it comes to the “war on terror.” [Continue reading…]

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