In Multipolarity

By Matt Apuzzo, Sheri Fink and James Risen, published in The New York Times, Oct 9, 2016

Beatings, sleep deprivation, menacing and other brutal tactics have led to persistent mental health problems among detainees held in secret C.I.A. prisons and at Guantánamo.

Black' CIA prison sites where post-Sept 11, 2001 torture was inflicted on detainees (New York Times image)

Black’ CIA prison sites where post-Sept 11, 2001 torture was inflicted on detainees (New York Times image)

Before the United States permitted a terrifying way of interrogating prisoners, government lawyers and intelligence officials assured themselves of one crucial outcome. They knew that the methods inflicted on terrorism suspects would be painful, shocking and far beyond what the country had ever accepted. But none of it, they concluded, would cause long lasting psychological harm.

Fifteen years later, it is clear they were wrong.

Today in Slovakia, Hussein al-Marfadi describes permanent headaches and disturbed sleep, plagued by memories of dogs inside a blackened jail. In Kazakhstan, Lutfi bin Ali is haunted by nightmares of suffocating at the bottom of a well. In Libya, the radio from a passing car spurs rage in Majid Mokhtar Sasy al-Maghrebi, reminding him of the C.I.A. prison where earsplitting music was just one assault to his senses.

And then there is the despair of men who say they are no longer themselves. “I am living this kind of depression,” said Younous Chekkouri, a Moroccan, who fears going outside because he sees faces in crowds as Guantánamo Bay guards. “I’m not normal anymore.”

After enduring agonizing treatment in secret C.I.A. prisons around the world or coercive practices at the military detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, dozens of detainees developed persistent mental health problems, according to previously undisclosed medical records, government documents and interviews with former prisoners and military and civilian doctors. Some emerged with the same symptoms as American prisoners of war who were brutalized decades earlier by some of the world’s cruelest regimes…

Full article at the NYT weblink above.

Related reports on the New York Times:

Outside psychologists shielded U.S. torture pogram, report finds, July 10, 2015

Pentagon curbs use of psychologists with Guantánamo detainees, Dec 31, 2015

Pentagon wants psychologists to end self-ban on interrogation role Jan 24, 2016

Detainees describe C.I.A. torture in declassified transcripts, June 15, 2016

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