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Report Finds ‘No Justification’ for US Torture of Detainees

Tuesday, 16 Apr 2013 10:52 AM

By Melanie Batley

A review of America’s interrogation and detention programs put in place following the 9/11 terrorist attacks concludes there were unprecedented levels of torture and brutality, and that it was known at the highest reaches of government.

The 577-page review released Tuesday was conducted by an 11-member panel from the Constitution Project, a nonpartisan legal and research group. According to The New York Times, the two-year study is considered the most sweeping nongovernmental review of interrogation practices to date.

“It is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture,” the report on the review states. It adds that there had never been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety, and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”

The study, based on unclassified information, uncovered fresh details about interrogation practices at detention centers in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and at other secret prisons.

It also confirmed reports that prisoners were waterboarded, slammed into walls, chained in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped of clothing, and kept awake for days on end, the Times reported. Many of the practices were in violation of international laws.

According to the report, no evidence was found by the panel that interrogation methods were effective or produced valuable information that could not have been obtained using other means.

The panel concluded that the use of torture has “no justification” and “damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary, and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive.”

The report was also critical of both the Bush and Obama administrations for citing national security issues as a way to block lawsuits by former detainees.

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