Black Holes and Mock Burial

The other day, I posted on black holes in Bagram and Somalia. This important story, describes the plight of Tanzanian fisherman Suleiman Abdallah, who was kidnapped and sold for bounty in Mogadishu then rendered to three different American prisons, ultimately to Bagram, before he was freed five years later.

In addition to the portraying yet another innocent disappeared into our prison system, the story provides a few important details.

In fact, Suleiman was thousands of kilometers from his familiar Indian Ocean reefs, in an underground prison in central Afghanistan.

“It was pitch black, with constant noise and not enough food,” he recalled. His American interrogators would pour freezing cold water on him and beat him, saying, “We know you are a sea man, but here we have more water than out there in the sea. It never stops raining here.” Suleiman also describes being hung from the ceiling in the “strappado position,” slung in chains so that his toes just touched the floor. He also says American interrogators would take the ablution jug (used by Muslims for ritual cleansing before prayer), and stick its long spout up his rectum.

[snip]

The litany of abuses described by Suleiman included severe beatings, prolonged solitary confinement, forced nakedness and humiliation, sexual assault, being locked naked in a coffin and forced to lie on a wet mat, naked and handcuffed, and then rolled up like a corpse. It was extremely tough. There were times when both of us clinicians, and the patient, broke down in tears.” [my emphasis]

While Clare Gutteridge doesn’t say it, the underground prison in Afghanistan sounds like the Salt Pit (Cage Prisoners says it was a different prison, but that he was then transferred to the Salt Pit). He was transferred to the relatively better Bagram in mid-2003.

In any case, that means the prisons in Afghanistan were using dousing after it may have contributed to Gul Rahman’s death the previous year, and after the CIA IG investigation into torture started.

Then there’s the mock burial–the only treatment John Yoo ever deemed torture. While Abdallah’s torturers might call the coffin “small box confinement,” between that and the funeral shroud, the intent of the treatment seems fairly clear.

And remember: top Bush officials had reason to know this treatment would elicit false confessions. It sounds like CIA and FBI interrogators learned fairly early on Abdallah was not who they had thought he was (they originally believed he had a role in the 1998 Embassy bombings).

Were we using the methods that even John Yoo found to be illegal to invent some justification for kidnapping Abdallah?

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9 Responses to Black Holes and Mock Burial

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @cristianafarias I honestly see it as a 2-4 hr deal tops. But give some leeway, and day day and half at the most. Anything over that is nuts
3mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @neilkli @yeselson Listen, the entire process is controlled by the DA; you seem to think it is about witnesses. It's not.
7mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @neilkli @yeselson No, not when attending prosecutors are vouching for Wilson+ripping apart all negative witnesses+refusing to rec charge.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @neilkli @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Intentionally trying to confuse GJ and take apart any element that wasn't pro Wilson.
24mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Exactly. That is a two day gig with either a 2nd degree or voluntary mans. indictment returned.
25mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @neilkli @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley there are NEVER 20 witnesses on GJ case like this. 3-4 max inc. 1 investigator + 1 coroner
27mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley That said, real charge is prob. voluntary manslaughter. It was NOT an accident; was intent to shoot
28mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Anything other than a protected cop and this would have been charged as 2nd degree.
29mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Actually in any other case, prosecutor overcharges to allow for plea negotiation headroom.
30mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @yeselson @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Add a day. Anything over two days on a single gun, single shooter is bizarre.
30mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Even any other single gun, single shooter homicide like this would take about 3hrs or less inc. deliberations
34mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @conradhackett @seanpaulkelley Ahem. With due respect, the average grand jury presentation lasts less than an hour. #ComeOnMan
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