The Report of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment
The Constitution Project
“I would be strapped to a special bed, which could be rotated to a vertical posi-
tion. A cloth would be placed over my face. Cold water from a bottle that had
been kept in a fridge was then poured onto the cloth by one of the guards so
that I could not breathe. … Injuries to my ankles and wrists also occurred during
the waterboarding as I struggled in the panic of not being able to breathe.”
KSM also described frequent beatings, stress positions, and being doused with cold water from a
hose in his cell.
He closed his ICRC interview by asserting:
During the harshest part of my interrogation, I gave a lot of false information in
order to satisfy what I thought the interrogators wanted to hear in order to make
the ill-treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their methods were stupid
and counterproductive. I’m sure the false information … wasted a lot of their
time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.
The CIA IG report identifies several other episodes of detainee mistreatment, which most
likely occurred in Poland. Around the end of December 2002 (after al-Nashiri had been
transferred to Poland), a CIA debriefer used an unloaded handgun to “frighten Al-Nashiri into
On what was probably the same day, the same debriefer “entered
the detainee’s cell and revved [a power drill] while the detainee stood naked and hooded.”
another incident, the debriefer threatened to produce al-Nashiri’s mother and family members,
reportedly so that al-Nashiri would “infer, for psychological reasons … [that his interrogation
could include] sexually abusing female relatives” in front of him.
CIA officials say that both
the debriefer and the CIA official in charge of the prison were disciplined for these incidents.
Al-Nashiri also told the ICRC that he was “threatened with sodomy” and the arrest and rape
of his family.
On at least one occasion, al-Nashiri was forced into a “strappado” position,
being “lifted off the floor by his arms while his arms were bound behind his back with a
According to court papers, Abu Zubaydah and Walid bin Attash also reported further
mistreatment in Poland.
A source close to the Polish investigation told Task Force staff that
“there is a scenario that I can accept, that [a detainee] was tortured by CIA people only in a
closed room, and the Poles were outside and they did not know — but what the Poles did know
is that he was held illegally.”
In September 2010, the Open Society Justice Initiative filed an
application before the European Court of Human Rights to open a suit against Poland for the
mistreatment of al-Nashiri while in Polish territory.
Legal action for mistreatment has also
been taken in Poland on behalf of Abu Zubaydah.
The Polish government conducted an internal investigation when news reports surfaced naming
Poland as a potential CIA black site, and concluded in November 2005 that there was no
evidence of secret detention facilities in Poland.
During Foreign Minister Stefan Meller’s visit
to Washington in 2005, the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked to keep “in close contact”
to coordinate their public stance on Poland’s involvement in the rendition program.
Prime Minister Miller and former President Aleksander Kwasniewski were kept apprised of the
CIA facility, Miller continuously denied the existence of the prison, saying that “democratic
countries have a whole range of other instruments which can be used very effectively in
situations when they are under threat.”
But things changed in March 2008 when the new Prime Minister Donald Tusk issued an
order to the appellate prosecutor’s office in Warsaw, launching an official inquiry into the