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The Long Arm of Torture

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney addresses the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference 2007 in Washington March 12, 2007. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES) – RTR1NDZQ

The Bush torture regime was based on the idea that no one would care what we did to terrorists. Mohammed al-Qahtani was the likely 20th hijacker on 9/11 and no one really cared about him. But if we have international standards of behavior at all, torturing people into insanity is no good way to do anything, not to mention that whatever information the Bush torturers got out of the guy was obviously so compromised as to be worthless. And now it is 21 years later:

The Biden administration on Monday repatriated to Saudi Arabia for mental health care a prisoner who had been tortured so badly by U.S. interrogators that he was ruled ineligible for trial as the suspected would-be 20th hijacker in the Sept. 11 attacks.

The prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani, in his 40s, is the second to be transferred from the wartime prison under the administration.

A government panel recommended recently that Mr. Qahtani, who had spent 20 years at Guantánamo Bay, be released after a Navy doctor advised that he was too impaired to pose a future threat — particularly if he was sent to inpatient mental care. The doctor last year upheld an independent psychiatrist’s finding that Mr. Qahtani suffered from schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder, and could not receive adequate care at the U.S. military prison.

His long-serving lawyer, Shayana Kadidal of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said the transfer was long overdue.

“For 14 years I’ve sat across from Mohammed as he talks to nonexistent people in the room and makes eye contact with the walls — something that’s been a constant part of his life since his teens,” Mr. Kadidal said. “It’s an extraordinary relief that the next time the voices in his head tell him to swallow a mouthful of broken glass, he’ll be in a psychiatric facility, not a prison.”

I’m sure Cheney and Rummy and Wolfowitz got a good laugh out of hearing what was happening to this guy.

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