Published on: Saturday, October 30, 2021

A Guantanamo Bay prisoner who went through the brutal U.S. government interrogation program after the 9/11 attacks described it openly for the first time Thursday, saying he was left terrified and hallucinating from techniques that the CIA long sought to keep secret (article available here).

Majid Khan, a former resident of a Baltimore suburb, detailed being waterboarded, physically and sexually abused, and suffering other forms of torment at a CIA “black site”, used by the US in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

It was the first time any of the so-called high value detainees held at the U.S. base in Cuba have been able to testify about what the U.S has euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation" but has been widely condemned as torture.

Khan spoke of being suspended naked from a ceiling beam for long periods, doused repeatedly with ice water to keep him awake for days. He described having his head held under water to the point of near drowning, only to have water poured into his nose and mouth when the interrogators let him up. He was beaten, given forced enemas, sexually assaulted and starved in overseas prisons whose locations were not disclosed.

The guilty plea included a charge of murder in violation of war for delivering $50,000 to an al-Qaida affiliate, which used the money to bomb a hotel. Under a plea deal, which the jurors were not told about, Khan's sentence by the jury will be reduced to no more than 11 years by the convening authority, and he will get credit for his time in custody since his February 2012 guilty plea. That means he should be released early next year, resettled in a third, as yet unknown country because he can't return to Pakistan, where he has citizenship.

Khan apologized for his actions and said he takes full responsibility. He said he now just wants to reunite with his wife and the daughter who was born while he was in captivity. He said he has forgiven his captors, and his torturers.

The U.S. holds 39 men at the detention center on Naval Station Guantanamo Bay.