At least five terrorist detainees were subjected to rectal feeding while being tortured by the CIA, according to the highly controversial Senate report released on Tuesday
Marwan al-Jabbur, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abu Zubaydah, underwent ‘rectal re-hydration’ while being detained as a method of behavioral control at CIA secret locations and Guantanamo Bay. Detainee Majid Khan was placed in a forward-facing position, with his head lower than torso, and had a pureed lunch of hummus, pasta with sauce, and raisins rectally infused.
Khan, who joined al Qaeda after graduating from high school outside Baltimore, Maryland, admitted to plotting to blow up gasoline tanks in the U.S.
In 2012, Khan struck a plea bargain and is serving 19 years in return for his full cooperation with authorities after pleading guilty to five war crimes including murder, attempted murder, and spying.
However, sentencing was delayed for four years, and if Khan fails to cooperate, he could receive up to 25 years, The Washington Post reported. He could be released around 2031, if he complies with authorities.
He is reportedly still at Guantanamo after being held at a secret ‘salt pit’ location in Kabul, Afghanistan for several years. Khan has had a number of suicide attempts and incidents of self-harm while being held by CIA, the Senate report stated.
The report stated that cables and records indicated that detainees had undergone the rectal methods of torture without it being medically necessary. Suspects Ramzi bin al-Sliibh, Khallad bin Attash and Adnan al-Libi were all threatened with the technique.
Rectal feeding is an enema administered with the intent of providing nutrition when normal feeding is not possible. It was a common practice in 19th-century medicine, but has since been replaced in modern healthcare by tube feeding and intravenous feeding.
CIA medical officers sent emails discussing rectal re-hydration as a ‘safe and effective’ method of rectal control.
One CIA officer described the process saying, “regarding the rectal tube, if you place it and open up the IV tubing, the flow will self-regulate, sloshing up the large intestines.”
He then added, “What I infer is that you get a tube up as far as you can, then open the IV wide. No need to squeeze the bag, let gravity do the work.” CIA leaders were aware of the excessive force used during two rectal exams on detainees at the detention site named, for the purpose of the report, as COBALT, but the reports did not appear to be investigated.
One of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, was later diagnosed with chronic hemorrhoids, an anal fissure and symptomatic rectal prolapse.
Along with the horrifying details of the rectal probes, the CIA tortured al-Qaeda suspects with water-boarding, threats to harm their children and sexually abuse their mothers, according to the Senate report. One suspect died of hypothermia while naked and chained to a floor at secret locations known as, ‘black sites’ or the Guantanamo military base in Cuba.
One interrogator told another detainee that he would never go to court, ‘because we can never let the world know what I have done to you’.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat chair of the intelligence committee which prepared the report, said on Capitol Hill that the torture was ‘a stain on our values and on our history’.