Ten Questions: #5

Last month, when the United States had its human rights record reviewed by the United Nations in Geneva, U.S. State Department legal advisor Harold Koh assured the world that all alleged abuses of detainees in the custody of the U.S. military “have been thoroughly investigated and appropriate corrective action has been taken,” and that Special Prosecutor John Durham is actively investigating allegations of torture by the CIA and other civilian agencies.

Drawing largely from material we have covered so far in the The Torture Report, I have come up with a list of 10 follow-up questions that the press and public at large—indeed, all of us—should be asking the Obama administration about the status of U.S. compliance with its domestic and international commitments on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment. Today we ask question #5.

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in 2007 that the treatment of Abu Zubaydah at the CIA black site in Thailand and the use of many of the same “enhanced interrogation techniques” on 13 other “high value detainees” in secret CIA prisons included torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, both prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture. Zubaydah's account to the Red Cross of his ordeal matches the August 1, 2002 Office of Legal Counsel memos authorizing his torture exactly, and videotapes of his interrogation showed that it proceeded precisely as directed and approved from Washington.

Is Special Prosecutor John Durham investigating the torture of Abu Zubaydah? Does his investigation reach both to the interrogation team, led by Dr. James Mitchell, who designed the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and to the senior Bush administration officials who approved and monitored Abu Zubaydah's torture?



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