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Friday, February 22, 2013

  • Torture at Guantánamo: Lt. Col. Stuart Couch on His Refusal to Prosecute Abused Prisoner

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    On Sept. 11, 2001, Marine Lt. Col. Stuart Couch’s friend died co-piloting the second plane to hit the World Trade Center. Soon after, Couch became one of the first military prosecutors assigned to the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay to prosecute men alleged to have carried out the terrorist plot. He ultimately would refuse to prosecute one detainee: Mohamedou Ould Slahi. "It became clear that what had been done to Slahi amounted to torture," Couch says. "Specifically, he had been subjected to a mock execution. He had sensory deprivation. He had environmental manipulation; that is, cell is too cold, or the cell is too hot. ... He was presented with a ruse that the United States had taken custody of his mother and his brother and that they were being brought to Guantánamo." Couch says he concluded Slahi’s treatment amounted to illegal torture. "I came to the conclusion we had knowingly set him up for mental suffering in order for him to provide information," Couch said. "We might very well have a significant problem with the body of evidence that we were able to present as to his guilt." [includes rush transcript]

  • "The Terror Courts": An Inside Look at Rough Justice, Torture at Guantánamo Bay

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    Wall Street Journal journalist Jess Bravin reports on the controversial military commissions at Guantánamo. Describing it as "the most important legal story in decades," Bravin uncovers how the Bush administration quickly drew up an alternative legal system to try men captured abroad after the Sept. 11 attacks. Soon evidence obtained by torture was being used to prosecute prisoners, but some military officers refused to take part. We speak to Jess Bravin, author of "The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay," and to Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, a former Guantánamo prosecutor featured in the book. [includes rush transcript]