The Salt PitOn Dec. 31, 2003, I took a bus from Germany to Macedonia. When we arrived, my nightmare began. Macedonian agents confiscated my passport and detained me for 23 days. I was not allowed to contact anyone, including my wife.At the end of that time, I was forced to record a video saying I had been treated well. Then I was handcuffed, blindfolded and taken to a building where I was severely beaten. My clothes were sliced from my body with a knife or scissors, and my underwear was forcibly removed. I was thrown to the floor, my hands pulled behind me, a boot placed on my back. I was humiliated.Eventually my blindfold was removed, and I saw men dressed in black, wearing black ski masks. I did not know their nationality. I was put in a diaper, a belt with chains to my wrists and ankles, earmuffs, eye pads, a blindfold and a hood. I was thrown into a plane, and my legs and arms were spread-eagled and secured to the floor. I felt two injections and became nearly unconscious. I felt the plane take off, land and take off. I learned later that I had been taken to Afghanistan.
Khaled El-Masri wrote this back in 2005, and I added it to my collection of posts about the US-run torture program:http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/torture/
In Afghanistan, he was interrogated in the Salt Pit
, a CIA-run 'black site'. We are now learning more about this place.There, I was beaten again and left in a small, dirty, cold concrete cell. I was extremely thirsty, but there was only a bottle of putrid water in the cell. I was refused fresh water.That first night I was taken to an interrogation room where I saw men dressed in the same black clothing and ski masks as before. They stripped and photographed me, and took blood and urine samples. I was returned to the cell, where I would remain in solitary confinement for more than four months.
He was interrogated, force-fed, lost 60 pounds. His requests to see a lawyer were ignored. Eventually he was blindfolded, handcuffed, chained to an airplane seat, and taken to Albania, where he was left in the mountains. Eventually he made it back to his home in Germany.
His crime? His name resembled that of the terror suspect Khalid al-Masri.
In 2006 as U.S. Federal District Judge dismissed a lawsuit he filed against the CIA, stating that a public trial would "present a grave risk of injury to national security." A Court of Appeals also dismissed the case, and in 2008 so did the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the newly released U.S. Senate report, a supervisor is quoted as saying the Salt Pit was "good for interrogations because it is the closest thing … to a dungeon."Guards and interrogators tiptoed through the darkness, carrying headlamps to count detainees packed into two dozen cells. Their lights illuminated prisoners hanging from overhead bars, next to buckets on the floor to catch their waste. One hung there for 17 days.Another detainee "looked like a dog that had been kenneled," wrote an interrogator. "When the doors to their cells were opened, they cowered," according to CIA documents quoted in the report.Indeed, reports of sleep and sensory deprivation; of nudity and unhealthful, unsanitary food; of cold showers and ice buckets; and of rough takedowns and mock executions never were reported to supervisors.http://www.latimes.com/world/afghanistan-pakistan/la-fg-torture-salt-pit-20141210-story.html
The moral? I don't have a moral. But it's curious: anyone in the US who cared has known the rough outlines of what we've been doing for at least 12 years. Read my torture blog! Yet now some people are acting surprised. Where were they back then?