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Seton Hall Law Students Reveal That Generals Knew Guantanamo Detainees Were Tortured

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Friday, April 03, 2009

FBI Agents Repeatedly Reported on Inhumane Interrogation Techniques at GTMO Resulting in Unreliable and Counterproductive; Information

General Schmidt's Investigation Uncovered Numerous Abuses Which Were Omitted from Both His Report and His Congressional Testimony

Newark, NJ /PRAvenueNW/ -- Today Seton Hall Law delivered a report establishing that military officials at the highest levels were aware of the abusive interrogation techniques employed at the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay (GTMO), and misled Congress during testimony. In addition, FBI personnel reported that the information obtained from inhumane interrogations was unreliable.

Professor Mark Denbeaux, Director of the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research, commented on the findings: "Who knew about the torture at GTMO? Turns out they all did. It's not news that the interrogators were torturing and abusing detainees. We've got FBI reports attesting to this. But now we've discovered that the highest levels knew about the torture and abuse, and covered it up.

"Abu Ghraib was the flashpoint and provoked the FBI to formally hand its reports to the DOD, which in turn forced the DOD to respond with what became known as the Schmidt Report. Schmidt's investigation was essentially a whitewash, but, ironically, the abuse was so pervasive that his team turned up still more incidents. To conceal the problems documented by both the FBI and the military, the DOD published an incomplete, sanitized report, culminating in Schmidt testifying before Congress that there was no torture or abuse at GTMO.

"Five generals were either complicit in the abusive interrogation techniques or were central figures in their cover-up. They concealed these practices from Congress, to which they are ultimately accountable. They undermined our democracy, and undercut America's claim to the moral high ground in the fight against terror."

TORTURE: WHO KNEW: An Analysis of the FBI and Department of Defense Reactions to Harsh Interrogation Methods at Guantánamo, the Center's 13th Guantánamo Report is based, like all preceding Center reports, entirely upon the careful study of over 100,000 pages of the government's own documents, most of which were procured through Freedom of Information Act suits.

Among the report findings:

FBI field agents repeatedly reported detainee abuses during interrogation by DoD interrogators between 2002 and mid-2004:

FBI personnel stationed at GTMO submitted a series of unsolicited reports describing at least 118 improper interrogation techniques: physical harm to the genitals--to a degree punishable by life imprisonment as sexual assault under military law; forced viewings of homosexual pornography; denial of food and water; disorientation techniques such as sleep deprivation; and religious abuse such as forced "satanic baptisms."

FBI agents reported at least 20 times that these interrogation techniques produced unreliable intelligence, at least 8 times the methods were counterproductive, and at least 6 times the information extracted through the use of abusive techniques was likely to be inadmissible in court.

U.S. SOUTHCOM commander calls for investigation based on December 2004 FBI Report; General Schmidt presented his findings in June 2005:

In December 2004, General Bantz J. Craddock, then U.S Southern Command leader, commissioned Generals Furlowe and Schmidt to investigate an FBI report and publish a report in response.

Independent of the FBI findings, the Schmidt investigation uncovered 79 additional incidents of improper interrogation techniques which included 15 allegations of sexual abuse.

Once submitted to Congress, however, the Schmidt Report asserted that there is "no evidence" that "torture or inhumane treatment occurred at Guantánamo." General Schmidt then reiterated these misleading findings to Congress.

Joshua Denbeaux, senior research fellow and co-author of the report, commented, "Our military engaged in the same kinds of torture that revolt us when we hear of it taking place in other countries. The entire GTMO system was engineered to pervert our justice system, and when that didn't prove popular, to conceal it from the public and from Congress. It's disingenuous for our military leaders to act surprised that GTMO detainees were subjected to inhumane treatment tantamount to torture."

TORTURE: WHO KNEW. An Analysis of the FBI and Department of Defense Reactions to Harsh Interrogation Methods at Guantánamo, may be read at http://law.shu.edu/center_policyresearch/Guantanamo_Reports.htm.

Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey's only private law school, and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching, with a strong focus on clinical education. The Center for Policy and Research enables students to gain practical experience while engaging in research and analysis that promotes respect for the rights of individuals worldwide. The students examine primary sources pertaining to national security law and practices of the U.S. government, as well as the reliability of forensic evidence for criminal investigations and prosecution. Seton Hall Law is located in Newark, NJ and offers both day and evening degree programs. For more information, visit http://law.shu.edu.

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Seton Hall Law Students Reveal That Generals Knew Guantanamo Detainees Were Tortured