Guantanamo degradation revealed

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The Independent US

The investigation report, delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee, found that techniques used at Guantanamo which had drawn complaints from FBI agents at the centre, did not constitute torture. And Major-General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the prison in 2002 and 2003, who later went to Iraq to oversee detainee operations, escaped reprimand because his superiors ruled that prisoner interrogations during his tenure at Guantanamo did not breach US laws and regulations.

But the similarities between the treatment of at least one prisoner at Guantanamo Bay and what happened more than a year later in Iraq, proved "these techniques were not invented in the backwoods of West Virginia", said one human rights official here, referring to the low-ranking reservists who have borne the brunt of the punishment for Abu Ghraib.

The report said Mohamed al-Qahtani, a detainee accused of being the missing "20th hijacker" of 9/11, gave no information under standard interrogation, so his questioners forced him to stand naked in front of women, made him wear a bra and told him he was homosexual and that other prisoners knew it. They threatened him with dogs put a leash on him and forced him to act like a dog. Such techniques, and even more degrading variants, were used at Abu Ghraib prison.

The Pentagon officials said the methods, temporarily approved by the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, but later banned, were "creative" and "aggressive" but did not amount to torture. Some Republican senators questioned the need for the investigation, the latest of half a dozen into alleged abuse of detainees. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said: "We've nothing to be ashamed of."