(No More Cocktails) -- Five defendants at Gitmo have been given copies of DiFi's 500-plus page report on EITs to review in their cells, while a US military prosecutor predicted the findings will make the trial more transparent.
The lead defendant and suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was waterboarded 183 times though as learned last night on the Kelly File, the report counts each time water was poured, even though a session was actually the length of time he was on the board. KSM and the others were were also subjected to sleep deprivation, beatings, and being chained naked in their cells.
Army Brigadier General Mark Martins, the chief prosecutor, acknowledged that last week's release of the torture report gives the defense the advantage of seeing their long-running complaints about interrogations at CIA detention sites officially documented.
General Martins said it "increases the likelihood that more of the processes [in the case] will be open to the public and assures the accused will be able see and consult with defence counsel about certain information not previously available to them".
As frustrations mount about the delays in the military tribunal system, General Martins insisted the case will move forward. Although they are far from reaching a trial date, he said the prosecution team is committed "for however long this takes".
Some of the defendants, if not all, will probably try to use their EITs as a reason for leniency to spare their lives in the death penalty case, hoping to win some sympathy from a military jury. That campaign has already begun with James Connell, the lead attorney for defendant Dammar Baluchi, who the CIA claims gave useful information after being subjected to torture.
"The CIA and its defenders are using Mr al Baluchi as a scapegoat for its illegal and reprehensible use of torture", Mr Connell said. "The United States spent incredible amounts of money, energy, and American credibility, and now the CIA is pointing at Mr al Baluchi to justify its massive torture infrastructure."
James Mitchell, a former US Air Force psychologist, spoke to VICE before being on the Kelly File lat night and defended the practices, saying that valuable intelligence was obtained. On The Kelly File, he said he was proud of the work he did because it saved lives.
"Yes, I waterboarded KSM," Dr Mitchell told VICE News, referring to Mohammed. "I was part of a larger team that waterboarded a small number of detainees," Dr Mitchell said in the interview posted on Monday.
Dr Mitchell and his former Air Force colleague, psychologist Bruce Jessen, were contracted by the CIA to devise "enhanced interrogation techniques" for al-Queda suspects captured after the September 11 attacks and held in secret prisons. They also played a crucial role in running and evaluating the interrogations despite having no previous experience as interrogators.
Dr Mitchell acknowledged "there were some abuses" at the "black sites" where prisoners were held. But he insisted he and Dr Jessen were among the unidentified interrogators referred to in the report who raised concerns when unauthorized techniques were used.
He said the waterboarding of Mohammed, which the report said occurred 183 times, was actually "83 pours [of water] that lasted between one to 10 seconds" each. The Senate report said the sessions evolved into a "series of near drownings."