This article contains graphic discussion of torture.
Detained in Guantanamo for decades, Abu Zubaydah’s art and diaries tell a grim story. Tortured and abused for years, with little chance of release, the Palestinian‘s work is a testimony to US brutality. Abu Zubaydah was tortured at black sites for years before ending up in Guantanamo.
His drawings detail abuse and torture at the hands of the CIA and FBI. Zubaydah mostly sketched these from memory and then sent them to his lawyer, professor Mark Denbeaux.
They form part of a new report titled American Torturers: FBI and CIA Abuses at Dark Sites and Guantanamo.
Denbeaux told the Guardian:
Abu Zubaydah is the poster child for America’s torture program
He was the first person to be tortured, having been approved by the Department of Justice based on facts that the CIA knew to be false. His drawings are the ultimate repudiation of the failure and abuses of torture.
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Advocacy organisation CAGE said that Abu Zubaydah was a key figure in the torture program of the US’s so-called War on Terror:
The detailed drawings depict the various torture methods used by the CIA against Abu Zubaydah and other detainees. Through his harrowing account, the complicity of the FBI in the torture and mistreatment of detainees is also revealed.
Abu Zubaydah is known to be the first detainee to have been experimented on by the CIA’s EITs which included humiliation slaps and punches to his body, waterboarding, direction of high pressure cold water on his genitals, and the 24 hour use of loudspeakers and cold air conditioning whilst he was shackled to his cell wall.
The US never charged Abu Zubaydah during his 21 years in a gulag. Ex-Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg said:
They call him the ‘forever prisoner’ because, despite facing no charge or trial in 21 years, they fear to release Abu Zubaydah not because of what he did but what was done to him.
And Begg pointed out this case has been the tipping point in the discourse around rendition and torture:
In truth, it will be forever be remembered that USA’s 21st century medieval torture programme was invented against a stateless Palestinian and it was his case that caused the United Nations to finally describe Guantanamo as a ‘crime against humanity‘.
Guantanamo has almost dropped out of the press these days. Yet this new report is a stark reminder. Because, for all the US rhetoric about freedom and the rule of law, it remains a nation at ease with savagery and torture.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons/Sgt Joseph Scozzarri, cropped to 770 x 403.
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