They included waterboarding, designed to induce extreme panic in the victim who believes he is about to drown.
The release by the U.S. Justice Department of a series of memoranda concerning the harsh interrogation techniques used to assist the questioning of Abu Zubaydah, the thirty-one year old al-Qaida zealot considered to be an exceptionally dangerous terrorist, the number three in the organization who had planned the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, and had played a part in a dozen other atrocities.
Zubaydah was seized in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March 2002 and taken by the process known as ‘extraordinary rendition’ to a CIA facility outside the United States. However, as Zubaydah proved intransigent, the CIA opened a dialogue with the Department of Justice to seek advice about the methods proposed for him.
They included sensory, food and sleep deprivation, confinement in small spaces, the imposition of stress position to create muscle fatigue, and the final resort of waterboarding, the technique designed to induce extreme fear and panic in the victim who believes he is about to drown.
The details of each of ten different methods are disclosed in the DoJ memoranda classified as secret, together with some interesting statistics, such as the fact that in recent years more than 26,000 American servicemen had experienced waterboarding during escape and evasion training, but none had suffered any long-term physical or mental harm.
These documents have been released by the new U.S. attorney-general, Eric Holder, against the advice of many intelligence professionals, including General Mike Hayden, the recently retired CIA director.
Now that this information is in the public domain terrorists around the globe will be aware of the treatment they once might have faced if captured. Now they know they will be read their rights and offered a cigarette and a lawyer.