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5 Things You Need to Know: The CIA’s Horrific Torture of Majid Khan


5 Things You Need to Know: The CIA’s Horrific Torture of Majid Khan

By Kimie Matsuo and Zak Newman, (Amnesty International)

We learned earlier this week of even more shocking, horrific details in the case of one detainee who fell victim to the CIA’s torture program. Majid Khan, who has been held at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for almost nine years, is one of the 119 men whose case is mentioned in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s landmark report on CIA torture. But this week’s news, coming from declassified statements from Khan himself, includes revelations of grotesque and abhorrent treatment never publicly reported by the Senate committee.

Here’s what you need to know:

Who is Majid Khan?

  • Majid Khan is a Pakistani national who suffered enforced disappearance at the hands of Pakistani and U.S. authorities in March 2003 during a raid on his family’s home. He was subjected to secret detention for more than three years, during which time his relatives were denied any news about his whereabouts or health. Khan was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006 along with 13 other supposed “high value” detainees after President Bush’s formal acknowledgement of the CIA’s torture program.

What have we learned about Khan’s treatment during his secret detention?

  • It’s deplorable. Khan suffered a wide array of torture methods. He was subjected to sleep deprivation, likely long periods of solitary confinement, and forced rectal feedings and rehydration. On multiple occasions, Khan attempted suicide by trying to cut his wrists or other sensitive areas.

Sadly, we already knew all this from the Senate report released last December. We learned Tuesday that the treatment may have gone far beyond that barbarism. He was, according to just-declassified statements he made as part of his military commission proceedings, hung from poles, naked for hours on end. Guards reportedly touched his genitals.

Although Khan was not one of the detainees for whom CIA officials have said interrogators were authorized to waterboard, according to his statements, that didn’t stop his interrogators. Waterboarding techniques were used on him on at least several occasions. Guards even held his head under ice water on various occasions, and hung his naked body from a pole while guards hurled ice water and blew fans on him.

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  • Mohamed

    Hello Loonwatch the San Bernardino shooting was 2 weeks ago and the
    story is completely dead now. I have lately been thoroughly reading up
    on the incident and notice too many things not adding up.

    1.) The initial reports from witnesses were the shooters were three tall muscular white men in military apparel.

    It just doesn’t make sense to me why a center for people with
    developmental disabilities was the target and one of the victims of the
    shooting was muslim that Syed knew.

    3.) Of the interviews that
    they have of people that knew Syed described him to be an individual
    with forward ambition that was studying to get his masters and recently
    brought a new born baby into this world. Absolutely no one seen any
    signs that he would ever do this.

    4.) Of the most weirdest and
    chilling things I have seen come from this story was watching an
    interview with Anderson Cooper talking to one of the victims families,
    its weird enough for him to just ask how do you feel with the fact your
    mom is dead, but more so than that it was the girls response being
    completely unfazed by the whole thing even smiling throughout the entire

    We shouldn’t allow the media to just dictate the
    narrative, as people if we don’t require honest and critical journalism
    and discussion why should they give it.

    So I highly urge
    Loonwatch to take the initiative to thoroughly look at the story
    themselves and urge the readers of this site to message muslim and non
    muslim writers and media figures to come back and look at this story to
    ask the hard questions that need to be asked.

  • Rajano

    Again you are making a generalization. Prejudice of any variety is by definition lumping a large group of people together based upon an unimportant characteristic and making pre-judgment about them. That is what racism is. That is what religious bigotry is. And that is what judging people based upon their nationality is. And you are wrong anyway about discussion of racism following the Charleston shooting. Mississippi House Speaker Gunn is calling for a change of the Mississippi flag. The Governor of South Carolina is calling for the removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the Capitol grounds. People are not afraid to speak about race relations. These politicians are being FORCED to act because of the will of the people. Politicians are the problem, not the average American.

  • Rajano

    Nur, with great respect, even most democracies are not true democracies. Politics is a dirty game of power. Money is one form of power and in so called “democracies” it is the most important form. Once elected these creatures called politicians don’t care what the people who voted form them want – they only care what their campaign contributors want. The main question they have regarding the common people who have not contributed large sums of cash is simply this “How far can we push the people before they all out revolt.”

  • Rajano

    I live in the United States and our country has been taken over by the Military-Industrial Complex. Eisenhower warned people about this in a famous speech. Eisenhower had a unique perspective having been both a high ranking military officer and a politician (President) he saw the system from both sides. Too bad not enough people listened. The only way out of this is to help support the peace movement. I donate to whenever I have some money left over after paying my bills. It is only if the politicians see a large peace movement will we have a chance of reclaiming our once free country.

  • Rajano

    This comment reminds me of some comments made to an earlier news story. “Oh, I have done nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide, I don’t care about being surveyed.” is an argument that seems to be ignored whenever it is the government that is the one being spied upon.

  • Yausari

    Well… hang in there

  • Mohamed

    Aslam Aleikom I understand its out of frustration and many of us feeling pain especially those of us directly affected by this, but we still must rise above it and showcase what this deen teaches, stepping forward to solve these issues and to convey the message to the people. I know we would like others to see and hear our pain, but we need to listen and dialogue with these people so they understand.

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