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Unlawful Torture Tactics Revealed in Afghanistan

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April 17, 2008

Late yesterday, the DOD released approximately 500 pages in response to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for records documenting the abuse of detainees in U.S. custody abroad.

The 311-page Criminal Investigation Command’s “Gardez” report confirms the use of Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) interrogation and torture techniques in the Gardez Detention Facility in Afghanistan. SERE was originally developed to train U.S. soldiers on how to cope with physical and psychological stress if they’re ever captured, abused and tortured by enemy forces. But Special Operations officers have adapted SERE training to use against prisoners held by U.S. forces. (For a great background on SERE, check out Scott Shane’s New York Times article.)

The Gardez report describes SERE tactics such as dousing detainees with cold water, and then making them stand outside in winter weather. One detainee, Jamal Naseer, died while in U.S. custody – his cause of death is still unknown. Other SERE tactics include beating and burning detainees. The documents also describe sodomy committed by prison guards.

You can read the mostly hand-written documents

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