Pentagon admits it filmed terrorist interrogations

March 13th, 2008 - 2:22 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, March 13 (DPA) The Pentagon acknowledged that it has filmed some interrogations of terrorist suspects from Iraq to Guantanamo Bay, and has started reviewing them, The New York Times reported. One of 50 tapes that had been reviewed so far showed what a military spokesman described as forcible taping of the mouth of a suspect, the Times report said, quoting named Pentagon officials, late Wednesday.

The acknowledgement represented the first time the Defence Department revealed that it had videotaped some of the sessions, the Times wrote.

Over the past years, the FBI has documented observed incidents of worrying and harsh practices by military interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay military prison where hundreds of terrorist suspects are held. The documents became public under freedom of information laws in the US.

According to the Times, the one case of rough treatment showed terrorism suspect Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar arrested in December 2001 in Illinois, being manhandled by his questioners, who put duct tape on his mouth to silence his singing and loud chanting during the interrogation.

Charges have never been brought against al-Marri.

The US military has questioned an estimated tens of thousands of prisoners around the world since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Times wrote, but it was unclear how many of the cases were taped.

Incidents like those at Abu Ghraib, where Iraqi prisoners in a US military prison were forced into and photographed in humiliating situations, contributed to the erosion of the US reputation in the international community.

The revelation about the Defence Department tapes comes as US President George W. Bush and Congress engage in a tug-of-war over whether new military rules that forbid harsh interrogation techniques should also apply to the CIA.

In intense debate since December, the White House has refused to rule out the possibility that the CIA may use water boarding, which simulates drowning, and other techniques. Bush vetoed a law Saturday that would have banned torture-like techniques for the CIA.

CIA director Michael Hayden has admitted to Congress that the agency used the technique to get information from three top Al Qaeda operatives, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sep 11, 2001 terrorist attacks who was captured in Pakistan in 2003.

The CIA has also revealed that it had videotaped some of the harsh interrogations, then destroyed the videotapes.

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