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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JimWhiteGNV RT @nomiprins: This just in - My FDL Book Salon for All the Presidents' Bankers Apr. 26 to be hosted by @WilliamKBlack! http://t.co/LXIX656
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JimWhiteGNV The catcher didn't.
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bmaz @dmataconis I mean, murder, assault, rape etc, absent a fed person victim are simply common law state crimes. Period.
29mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dmataconis Yep. Agree about Fed HC laws too. Unnecessary+just gives them path to bigfoot and steal jurisdiction from states where belongs.
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bmaz @dmataconis I just object to relative valuation of different victims. Is crime really worse because defendant shouted an epithet?
37mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dmataconis Exactly. To extent its relative, mental state already in play in elements of underlying crime.
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bmaz @dmataconis Note that the Supreme Court has heard my arguments+found hate crimes constitutional in their face. I am prob in minority here.
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bmaz @dmataconis Also fairly leery of the 1st Amnd/thought crime aspects. The crime is the thing; mental state already an element for culpability
50mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dmataconis Because are often separate crimes, not merely sent. considerations. And still the issue are some victims inherently worth more?
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emptywheel RT @ZaidJilani: @jaketapper @peterdaou Compared to West, Texas, there is definitely an imbalance
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emptywheel @SarahKnuckey Isn't an attack on KSA the same as an attack on the US?
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