[Re-posted and updated because it matters.]


The torture techniques deployed against anyone George W. Bush unilaterally labeled an enemy combatant drove some of them insane:

A U.S. military officer warned Pentagon officials that an American detainee was being driven nearly insane by months of punishing isolation and sensory deprivation in a U.S. military brig, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to The Associated Press...

They were deprived of natural light for months and for years were forbidden even minor distractions such as a soccer ball or a dictionary.

"I will continue to do what I can to help this individual maintain his sanity, but in my opinion we're working with borrowed time," an unidentified Navy brig official wrote of prisoner Yaser Esam Hamdi in 2002. "I would like to have some form of an incentive program in place to reward him for his continued good behavior, but more so, to keep him from whacking out on me."

This was not even in Gitmo. It was in a military brig in Norfolk, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina, where the torture occurred on American soil and even against an American citizen, Jose Padilla. Many decent people in the armed forces resisted Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld, but they couldn't stop them:

An officer was still raising alarms about Hamdi's mental state after 14 months of jail with no contact with lawyers, his family or even other prisoners. "I told him the last thing that I wanted to have happen was to send him anywhere from here as a 'basket case,' of use to no one, to include himself," the officer wrote in an e-mail to undisclosed government officials in June 2003. "I fear the rubber band is nearing its breaking point here and not totally confident I can keep his head in the game much longer."

These people we made insane are the people we were trying to get intelligence from! You think insane people give us reliable information? Now recall the consequences of this torture with respect to Jose Padilla:

"During questioning, he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body," Mr. Patel said. "The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel."...

Now recall what we found out about Qahtani:

At the end of months of sleep deprivation and other forms of torture, Qahtani, according to an FBI letter, "was evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non existent people, reporting hearing voices, crouching in a cell covered with a sheet for hours on end)."

The established legal definition of torture is the infliction of "severe mental or physical" "pain or suffering" to gain intelligence. If you do believe these individuals have been subjected to severe mental pain and suffering, then George W. Bush is a war criminal.

(Photo: an official photograph showing the lengths to which Padilla's guards went to maintain his total sensory deprivation. The goggles and earmuffs block out all sound and light, and he is manacled hand and foot, while being taken to have a tooth fixed. He is no security threat, but he is treated like an animal.)

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