Saturday, April 15, 2006

Report says Rumsfeld allowed Guantanamo abuse:

U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld allowed an "abusive and degrading" interrogation of an al Qaeda detainee in 2002, the online magazine Salon reported on Friday, citing an Army document.


Rumsfeld spoke regularly to Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, a key figure in the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Guantanamo, during the interrogation of Mohammed al-Kahtani, a Saudi suspected to have been an intended September 11 hijacker, the Salon report said.

Kahtani received "degrading and abusive" treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved, Salon said, quoting the 391-page report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Over 54 days in late 2002, soldiers forced Kahtani to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, accused him of being a homosexual, forced him to wear women's underwear and made him perform "dog tricks" on a leash, the Salon report said.

Salon cited Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, an Army investigator, as saying in a sworn statement to the inspector general that "The secretary of defense is personally involved in the interrogation of one person."

Schmidt is quoted as saying under oath that he concluded Rumsfeld did not specifically order the interrogation methods used on Kahtani, but that his approval of broad policies permitted abuses to take place.

The Salon article referenced is on-line here; non-subscribers can sit through a brief advertisement to read the full article. A brief quote:

On Dec. 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved 16 harsher interrogation strategies for use against Kahtani, including the use of forced nudity, stress positions and the removal of religious items. In public statements, however, Rumsfeld has maintained that none of the policies at Guantánamo led to "inhumane" treatment of detainees.

Oh, and the administration's response to all this? The document obtained under the FOIA is a "lie" and "fiction".

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