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Document a Day: "If You Think This Is Tough..."

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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June 11, 2010

These four pages of handwritten notes from May 28 of an unknown year confirm that Mohammed al Qahtani’s brutal interrogation in Guantánamo — which we discussed yesterday — was no isolated incident. The notes state that Guantánamo’s Camp X-Ray “was used for harsh treatment,” that al Qahtani “ended up in the hospital” as a result of his interrogation at Camp X-Ray, and that al Qahtani was not alone: “Prisoners other than #63 [al Qahtani] went through [a] similar IP,” or interrogation protocol.

After describing the use of Camp X-Ray for harsh interrogations, the notes contain this chilling and unattributed quote: “if you think this is tough — you should see what’s happening in Afghanistan.”

The document also hints at one of the larger narratives underlying the military’s use of torture and abuse: the FBI vigorously objected to the military’s abusive techniques, stating that they are ineffective and “get out of control without strict guidelines.” Those objections, and the decision of the FBI as a whole to prohibit its agents from participating in abusive interrogations, are documented in great detail in this May 2008 report (part 1, 2, 3, 4) by the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General.


To read more about and see documentary evidence of the Bush administration’s torture program, go to

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