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Tags: cia | torture | al-Qaida suspects | waterboarding

Report: CIA Tortured Suspects 'Until the Point of Death'

By    |   Monday, 08 September 2014 07:21 AM EDT

The CIA tortured top al-Qaida suspects "until the point of death" by drowning them in water-filled baths, the British Daily Telegraph reported.

According to a high-ranking security source, in the years following 9/11 terror attacks, the practice was so risky that a doctor was always on hand to make sure "they did not go too far."

"They weren't just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth. They were holding them under water until the point of death," the source said. "This was real torture."

The tactic went beyond the controversial waterboarding technique which simulates drowning by covering a subject's nose and mouth with a water-saturated cloth for "no more than 20 seconds" before being removed. A stream of water is then directed at the upper lip to prolong a sense of suffocation.

The source told the Telegraph that the bath technique was used on at least two suspects, including the alleged mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held at Guantanamo Bay. The alleged bomber of USS Cole, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, was also named.

The revelation comes as the Senate prepares to release a damning report documenting the agency's interrogation techniques in the aftermath of 9/11. The 6,300-page report is expected to reveal that the agency repeatedly misled Congress and the Justice Department about its treatment of detainees and its claims about the effectiveness of certain interrogation tactics.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been battling the White House over its intention to redact as much as 480 pages of the report, without which, she said, "obscure key facts that support the report's findings and conclusions."  

The report is nonetheless expected to be published in the coming weeks, and a second Telegraph source predicted the findings would "deeply shock" the public.

In 2004, a CIA report admitted that Mohammed had been "waterboarded" 183 times, while a senior aide to Osama bin Laden, Abu Zubaydah, had received the treatment 83 times. Details of how the interrogations were conducted, however, have never been revealed, according to the Telegraph.

The report also admitted that waterboarding was carried out in a "manner different" from the guidelines set out by the U.S. military.

In November 2005, the CIA destroyed at least 92 video tapes of its waterboarding and interrogation tactics of senior al-Qaida operatives, inhibiting the ability for investigators to determine the extent to which the agency deviated from approved practices.

A third source told the Telegraph that the practices were significantly more severe than what is commonly understood.

"They got medieval on his ass, and far more so than people realize," the source, said to be familiar with the still-classified accounts of the torture, told the newspaper, referring to the treatment of Mohammed and Nashiri.

"Given the lengths that Bush-era CIA officials went to cover up the truth, including destroying videotapes depicting waterboarding of prisoners, it comes as no surprise that the torture was more brutal than previously revealed," Amrit Singh, an attorney with the Open Society Justice Initiative, told the Telegraph.

"It is, however, something that the American public has a right to know about, and an obligation to reckon with, and these revelations only underscore the urgent need for release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report."

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The CIA tortured top al-Qaida suspects "until the point of death" by drowning them in water-filled baths, the British Daily Telegraph reported.
cia, torture, al-Qaida suspects, waterboarding
Monday, 08 September 2014 07:21 AM
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