March 16, 2018

A whole lot of you have been downloading the Torture Report. Good. Keep it comin’.


So, we announced this yesterday, and you might have read about it at HuffpostMetro, or The Hill.

We’ve decided to give away free e-books of our edition of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture, following Donald Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA Director. As was reported last month, Haspel appears in the report as the “chief of base” at a black site in Thailand. Here, she assumes oversight of the brutal torture of two men who will go on to become two of Guantanamo’s most famous prisoners: Palestinian-born Abu Zubaydah and Saudi citizen Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Our own Peter Clark writes of the torture to which Zubaydah was subjected:

In one episode, following more than a month of complete isolation, Zubaydah was beaten by interrogators and forced to watch as a coffin was prepared for him. After being unable to answer the interrogator’s questions, Zubaydah was slapped. He was then alternatively placed in the coffin and waterboarded.

…. Zubaydah provided no useful information. Nevertheless, he was “subjected to the waterboard ‘2–4 times a day … with multiple iterations of the watering cycle during each application.’” … In total, he was waterboarded eighty-three times, and beaten so badly that he lost an eye.

And here’s what he says about al-Nashiri:

“At DETENTION SITE GREEN, al-Nashiri was interrogated using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, including being subjected to the waterboard at least three times.”

Beyond waterboarding, those enhanced interrogation techniques included beating, binding the hands and feet in stress positions, hooding, blasting loud music, sleep deprivation, walling, and sexual humiliation. Al-Nashiri went on to be tortured for another two years at various facilities. When he went on hunger strike, he was force-fed through his anus.

The Torture Report records that “only the… chief of Base”—Haspel—“would be allowed to interrupt or stop an interrogation in process, and that the chief of Base would be the final decision-making authority as to whether the CIA’s interrogation techniques applied to Abu Zubaydah would be discontinued.”

When Haspel was appointed to her current position as the CIA’s deputy director, she met widespread resistance. One US senator called her “unsuitable” for that job. Now that she appears poised to advance to an even higher command, the Torture Report may prove crucial reading.

In 2014, we published the only section of the report that had been de-classified, although it was still heavily censored by the CIA — of which the report was highly critical.

“The Torture Report is one of the most important public documents of our lifetime,” our co-publisher, Dennis Johnson, has explained. “We felt that reading even this small part of the report was revealing — it is the ten percent of the iceberg that bespeaks the missing ninety percent. It will make the hair on the back of your head stand up and leave you wondering: What on earth could be so much worse than this that they won’t release it?”

The full committee report is 6,700 pages long.

As you may have heard, we went all-hands-on-deck to make a book of the report when it was released as a blurry PDF on a Friday afternoon in 2014 just before Christmas, getting print and digital editions out in an astonishing three weeks.

“One of our key goals was to make this a searchable digital book, which the government version really wasn’t,” Dennis says. “That took some grueling, round the clock work re-making the core document—including replicating the CIA’s innumerable black redactions—but lots of researchers and legal organizations such as the ACLU thanked us for that later, so we know this is a thing of meaning and import to circulate.”

The e-book will be free on our site in three formats through the end of the week. (If you think this is great, you may also be interested in our Pivotal Public Documents Bundle, by the way.) Download your copy now. Spread the word. And then read it.