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You are here News Human Rights Despite New Denials by Rumsfeld, Evidence Shows US Military Used Waterboarding-Style Torture

Despite New Denials by Rumsfeld, Evidence Shows US Military Used Waterboarding-Style Torture

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US used waterboarding at GuantanamoIn the controversy over whether torture, especially waterboarding, was used to gather information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News' Sean Hannity recently that "no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo by the US military. In fact, no one was waterboarded at Guantanamo, period."

In his memoir, "Known and Unknown," Rumsfeld maintained, "To my knowledge, no US military personnel involved in interrogations waterboarded any detainees, not at  Guantanamo or anywhere else in the world." But as we shall see, Rumsfeld was either lying outright, or artfully twisting the truth.

Others have insisted as well that the military never waterboarded anyone. Law and national security writer Benjamin Wittes wrote in The New Republic last year that "the military, unlike the CIA, never waterboarded anybody." Harper's columnist Scott Horton also noted last year, "There is no documentation yet of waterboarding at Gitmo, but the case book is far from closed on that score, too."

Yet, though not widely reported and scattered among various articles and reports on detainee treatment by the military, including first-person accounts, there are a number of stories of forced water choking or drowning, both at Guantanamo and other US military sites.

In little-known testimony in May 2008 before Congress, former Guantanamo detainee Murat Kurnaz testified he endured a form of simulated drowning. In his testimony before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kurnaz said that under US military captivity at Khadahar, Afghanistan, prior to his transfer to Guantanamo, his head was "dunked under water to simulate drowning."

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