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Seton Hall report depicts CIA detainee in graphic drawings of torture

The drawings show the detainee crouched and handcuffed in a small box; naked and strapped to a table as water pours over his covered face; shackled as an interrogator slams his head into a wall.

The graphic self-portraits, drawn in captivity by a Guantanamo Bay detainee, provide a new and harrowing account of the CIA’s torture program during a dark chapter in the U.S. war on terror. They were published for the first time this week in a report, called “How America Tortures,” by the Seton Hall University School of Law’s Center for Policy and Research.

“I don’t recall how long I stayed in the standing position, but I know that I passed out while … my hands were tight to the upper bars. I felt they became paralyzed or severed. They were blue or green. The chains had left some traces of blood,” said Abu Zubaydah, the detainee, in a description of a torture tactic called “wall standing.”

Just days after the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush authorized the CIA to begin covertly detaining people it suspected of being terrorists. The Department of Justice provided a set of memos to outline what interrogation techniques were allowed and offered a legal defense for their use.

The Seton Hall report offers details of those tactics and how they were applied, drawing on statements from detainees, CIA cables and government documents. The torture used on detainees was even worse than what was officially allowed, the authors wrote.

Abu Zubaydah “was subjected to treatment so egregious that the CIA sought and received official governmental assurances that their prisoner would ‘remain in isolation and incommunicado for the remainder of his life,’” Mark Denbeaux, the center’s director and a co-counsel for Abu Zubaydah’s defense,said in a news release.