Just in time for Alberto Gonzales’ confirmation hearings next month, a June Red Cross report charging the U.S. with torturing detainees in GITMO is published in the Times:
The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at Guantnamo Bay, Cuba.
The team of humanitarian workers, which included experienced medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at Guantnamo were participating in planning for interrogations, in what the report called “a flagrant violation of medical ethics.”
The report of the June visit said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantnamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions.” Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly “more refined and repressive” than learned about on previous visits.
“The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture,” the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to “some beatings.” The report did not say how many of the detainees were subjected to such treatment.
The conclusions by the inspection team, especially the findings involving alleged complicity in mistreatment by medical professionals, have provoked a stormy debate within the Red Cross committee. Some officials have argued that it should make its concerns public or at least aggressively confront the Bush administration.