Some of Former CIA Detainee Majid Khan’s Memories of Torture Are Declassified
The Center for Constitutional Rights has released new details about the torture of Majid Khan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay who was captured by the United States in March 2003. Khan was held in secret detention at CIA black sites until 2006 when he was transferred to Guantanamo.
According to declassified notes, his doctors were some of his “worst torturers.” Khan pleaded for a physician to help him. The physician responded by sending Khan back to an interrogation room to be hung from a metal bar, where he remained for 24 hours.
Khan had already experienced this torture. He was interrogated afterward and emasculated by guards as they “forced” him “to write his own ‘confession’ while being filmed naked if he wanted some rest.” Afterward, he was “numb” and unable to move for several days.
In May and July 2003, Khan was waterboarded.
“Guards and interrogators brought him into a bathroom with a tub,” according to CCR. “The tub was filled with water and ice.”
“Shackled and hooded, they placed Khan feet-first into the freezing water and ice. They lowered his entire body into the water and held him down, face-up in the water. An interrogator forced Khan’s head under the water until he thought he would drown.”
An interrogator then pulled Khan’s head out of the water and demanded he answer his questions. He forced his head back into the ice bath. Khan also had water and ice poured on his mouth and nose when his head was not being held under water.
Guards repeatedly beat and threatened to beat Khan with tools. In one instance, a hammer was pulled out and shown to Khan. The guard threatened to bash Khan’s head in with the hammer. Sometimes the men who threatened him smelled of alcohol.
Khan was sexually assaulted and had his “private parts” touched while he was hanging naked from the ceiling. He was subject to rectal feeding, which was included in the Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture.
While at a black site, Khan was hung by his hands “from a wooden beam for three days.” He was “naked and shackled” and given water but not food. This torture also sought to destroy his masculinity.
Most of 2003 was spent in “total darkness.” He had a bucket to use as a toilet. He was given no toilet paper. He had a sleeping mat but no light. And from 2004 to 2006, he was kept in conditions of solitary confinement.
Up until January 30, the government claimed in military commissions proceedings and other settings that it controlled the thoughts and memories of prisoners. Any statements from detainees about torture experienced in CIA custody was classified. Prisoners were kept in solitary confinement to prevent them from sharing “classified information” about their experiences with fellow prisoners.
The release of the summary of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the CIA’s use of torture in December 2014 changed the policy. Some personal recollections of torture were no longer to be considered classified.
CCR, which has represented Khan, submitted notes about some of Khan’s recollections of his experience in secret detention.
“Majid Khan’s personal experiences, notes of which were cleared by the government for release, confirm that the CIA has repeatedly and continuously lied about the torture program,” CCR declared in a released statement. “As layers of secrecy have been peeled away throughout the Obama administration, we see more and more evidence of CIA savagery and treachery. There must be greater transparency and accountability for what happened in the CIA torture program.”
The organization called for CIA director John Brennan to be fired. They demanded the full Senate report on CIA torture be released and that an internal CIA report, the “Panetta Review,” be released. They urged the Justice Department to reopen criminal investigations into the CIA torture program.
In the Senate report, horrific treatment was described. Khan was subject to sleep deprivation and stripped and shackled nude. This took place before he was even questioned by an interrogator.
Khan had his “lunch tray,” which consisted of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins, “pureed” and rectally fed to him. A feeding tube was forced into Khan’s body to make him feel helpless and help interrogators exert control over him.
Inserting feeding tubes into the rectums of prisoners was never a “medical procedure” approved nor was it ever authorized as an “enhanced interrogation technique.”
“This is a form of sexual assault masquerading as medical treatment,” Dr. Vincent Iacopino of the Physicians for Human Rights declared. “In the absence of medical necessity, it is clear that the only purpose behind this humiliating and invasive procedure [was] to inflict physical and mental pain.”
Khan was charged with various offenses by the Guantanamo military commission on February 13, 2012, and pled guilty to charges on February 29 that same year. He was scheduled to be sentenced in 2016.