The Senate's CIA Torture Report

The Senate's CIA Torture Report
“For the purposes of this Convention, torture means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind...” - UN Convention Against Torture

On December 9, 2014, the Senate released a report revealing many up-until-now unknown details about the torture of prisoners of war following the attack on September 11, 2001. The report reveals much about the way the CIA handled the power that was given to them - and it’s not pretty.

For starters, their interrogation program was highly mismanaged and not overseen by proper officials. Interrogators were incompetent and held hardly any accountability for what they did. Secondly, the CIA misled government officials and the media about the effectiveness of their interrogation techniques. For years people believed that this CIA program had helped “catch bad guys” and was a good thing. Thirdly, a large group of the prisoners that the CIA held didn’t even meet their own standards for people to interrogate; they were holding people for no reason.

Most importantly, however, were the interrogation techniques that were actually used, and they were plainly and simply torture.

Waterboarding was a technique used throughout the years that this program was still in force. The victim would lie down on a wooden board and a piece of cloth would be placed over his face. Then water would be poured over his face. It would make him feel as though he were drowning, and at times, victims nearly did drown from the procedure. Aside from drowning, terror, convulsions, and vomiting were common side effects that victims endured from this vile act.

But the torture didn’t stop there. Prisoners were deprived of sleep, sometimes for up to 180 hours in a row, sometimes being forced to stand the entire time. They were kept mostly in complete darkness, except for when CIA interrogators wanted to disorient and confuse them with bright lights and loud noises. There were times when prisoners were forced to take off their clothes and do without. Prisoners were dragged up and down corridors, being beaten along the way. Another particularly abhorrent technique was to force prisoners to stand on their broken and injured limbs for long periods of time, causing them excruciating pain.

Not only were prisoners treated cruelly, their families were openly threatened as an interrogation technique. Interrogators threatened to sexually abuse the women in the men’s lives and to kill their children.

It’s clear that what the CIA did blatantly disregarded the human rights of these prisoners. It’s disgusting that they, in their lust to seek out information, forgot that they were dealing with people just like them, with lives and families. One can only hope that after a human rights disaster of this magnitude that something like this will never happen again.

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