This is a series of diaries written about torture written from the perspective of the one enduring it, with as many first hand accounts as I can find.
This is a continuation of the re-start of the series, which I first published here about two years ago.
Here is the link of the restart of the series:
Here is the link to the second diary in the restart of the series :
Here is the link for the third diary in the series:
Here is the link for the fourth diary:
Here is the link for the fifth diary:
Here is the link for the sixth diary in the series:
Here is the link for the seventh diary in the series:
Here is the link for the eighth diary in the series:
Here is the link for the ninth diary in the series:
Here is the link for the tenth diary in the series:
Ordinarily, I will publishing at 7:30pm EST. I apologize for being late tonight and for not publishing last night; I got home unexpectedly late last night, too late to write and edit. I will fix the links as soon as I have published. I will be publishing the series for a total of 40 days, and perhaps continue after that as well.
Today, I will share the story of Jose Padilla, an American citizen born in New York, and some of what he has suffered. Please put yourself in his shoes while you read it. He is an American citizen, as most of you are.
Jose Padilla, was born in New York, and moved to Chicago. He joined a gang during his youth, and converted to Islam.
On May 8th, 2002, he was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, detained as material witness, and was declared to be an "enemy combatant", by President George W. Bush on June 9th, 2002. (It is announced that he is part of a plot to construct and detonate a "dirty bomb", a crime he was not charged with, when the charges were eventually filed.)
March 3, 2004: Lawyers for Padilla meet with him for the first time since his incarceration at a naval brig in June 2002.
On November 22, 2005, CNN's front page broke the news that Padilla had been indicted on charges he "conspired to murder, kidnap and maim people overseas."
On January 3, 2006, the United States Supreme Court granted a Bush administration request to transfer Padilla from military to civilian custody. Padilla was transferred to a federal prison in Miami from the Navy brig in Charleston while the Supreme Court decided whether to accept his appeal of the government's authority to keep citizens it designates "enemy combatants" in open-ended military confinement without benefit of trial.
On April 3, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court declined, with three justices dissenting from denial of certiorari, to hear Padilla's appeal from the 4th Circuit Court's decision that the President had the power to designate him and detain him as an "enemy combatant" without charges and with disregard to habeas corpus.
A mental competency hearing occurred on February 22, 2007.
August 16th, 2007 - Jose is convicted on all charges related to conspiracy.
January 22, 2008 - Jose is sentenced to 17 years, 4 months.
"Only after such time as Padilla has perceived that help is not on the way can the United States reasonably expect to obtain all possible intelligence information from Padilla," explained Vice Adm. Lowell Jacoby in an affidavit to an inquiring federal judge.
Some of you may have seen the video that was released several years ago of Jose's trip to the dentist. For this trip, he was manacled both hand foot and belly chain, had blacked-out googles put over his eyes, and ear muffs over his ears, to deprive of his senses. The trip was a total of approximately 100 feet.
Padilla's Brief details the treatment to which he was subjected:
In an effort to gain Mr. Padilla’s "dependency and trust," he was tortured for nearly the entire three years and eight months of his unlawful detention. The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and, ultimately, the loss of will to live. The base ingredient in Mr. Padilla’s torture was stark isolation for a substantial portion of his captivity.
For nearly two years – from June 9, 2002 until March 2, 2004, when the Department of Defense permitted Mr. Padilla to have contact with his lawyers – Mr. Padilla was in complete isolation. Even after he was permitted contact with counsel, his conditions of confinement remained essentially the same.
He was kept in a unit comprising sixteen individual cells, eight on the upper level and eight on the lower level, where Mr. Padilla’s cell was located. No other cells in the unit were occupied. His cell was electronically monitored twenty-four hours a day, eliminating the need for a guard to patrol his unit. His only contact with another person was when a guard would deliver and retrieve trays of food and when the government desired to interrogate him.
His isolation, furthermore, was aggravated by the efforts of his captors to maintain complete sensory deprivation. His tiny cell – nine feet by seven feet – had no view to the outside world. The door to his cell had a window, however, it was covered by a magnetic sticker, depriving Mr. Padilla of even a view into the hallway and adjacent common areas of his unit. He was not given a clock or a watch and for most of the time of his captivity, he was unaware whether it was day or night, or what time of year or day it was.
In addition to his extreme isolation, Mr. Padilla was also viciously deprived of sleep. This sleep deprivation was achieved in a variety of ways. For a substantial period of his captivity, Mr. Padilla’s cell contained only a steel bunk with no mattress. The pain and discomfort of sleeping on a cold, steel bunk made it impossible for him to sleep. Mr. Padilla was not given a mattress until the tail end of his captivity. . . .
Other times, his captors would bang the walls and cell bars creating loud startling noises. These disruptions would occur throughout the night and cease only in the morning, when Mr. Padilla’s interrogations would begin. Efforts to manipulate Mr. Padilla and break his will also took the form of the denial of the few benefits he possessed in his cell. . . .
Mr. Padilla’s dehumanization at the hands of his captors also took more sinister forms. Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time. Mr. Padilla was denied even the smallest, and most personal shreds of human dignity by being deprived of showering for weeks at a time, yet having to endure forced grooming at the whim of his captors.
A substantial quantum of torture endured by Mr. Padilla came at the hands of his interrogators. In an effort to disorient Mr. Padilla, his captors would deceive him about his location and who his interrogators actually were. Mr. Padilla was threatened with being forcibly removed from the United States to another country, including U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was threatened his fate would be even worse than in the Naval Brig.
He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds. He was also threatened with imminent execution. He was hooded and forced to stand in stress positions for long durations of time. He was forced to endure exceedingly long interrogation sessions, without adequate sleep, wherein he would be confronted with false information, scenarios, and documents to further disorient him. Often he had to endure multiple interrogators who would scream, shake, and otherwise assault Mr. Padilla.
Additionally, Mr. Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations.
Throughout most of the time Mr. Padilla was held captive in the Naval Brig he had no contact with the outside world. In March 2004, one year and eight months after arriving in the Naval Brig, Mr. Padilla was permitted his first contact with his attorneys. Even thereafter, although Mr. Padilla had access to counsel, and thereby some contact with the outside world, those visits were extremely limited and restricted. . . .
The deprivations, physical abuse, and other forms of inhumane treatment visited upon Mr. Padilla caused serious medical problems that were not adequately addressed. Apart from the psychological damage done to Mr. Padilla, there were numerous health problems brought on by the conditions of his captivity. Mr. Padilla frequently experienced cardiothoracic difficulties while sleeping, or attempting to fall asleep, including a heavy pressure on his chest and an inability to breath or move his body.
In one incident Mr. Padilla felt a burning sensation pulsing through his chest. He requested medical care but was given no relief. Toward the end of his captivity, Mr. Padilla experienced swelling and pressure in his chest and arms. He was administered an electrocardiogram, and given medication. . . . .
The cause of some of the medical problems experienced by Mr. Padilla is obvious. Being cramped in a tiny cell with little or no opportunity for recreation and enduring stress positions and shackling for hours caused great pain and discomfort. It is unclear, though, whether Mr. Padilla’s cardiothoracic problems were a symptom of the stress he endured in captivity, or a side effect from one of the drugs involuntarily induced into Mr. Padilla’s system in the Naval Brig. In either event, the strategically applied measures suffered by Mr. Padilla at the hands of the government caused him both physical and psychological pain and agony.
It is worth noting that throughout his captivity, none of the restrictive and inhumane conditions visited upon Mr. Padilla were brought on by his behavior or by any actions on his part. There were no incidents of Mr. Padilla violating any regulation of the Naval Brig or taking any aggressive action towards any of his captors. Mr. Padilla has always been peaceful and compliant with his captors. He was, and remains to the time of this filing, docile and resigned – a model detainee.
Mr. Padilla also wants to make clear that the deprivation described above did abate somewhat once counsel began negotiating with the officials of the Naval Brig for the improvements of his conditions. Toward the end of Mr. Padilla’s captivity in the Naval Brig he was provided reading materials and some other more humane treatment. However, despite some improvement in Mr. Padilla’s living conditions, the interrogations and torture continued even after the visits with counsel commenced.
In sum, many of the conditions Mr. Padilla experienced were inhumane and caused him great physical and psychological pain and anguish. Other deprivations experienced by Mr. Padilla, taken in isolation, are merely cruel and some, merely petty. However, it is important to recognize that all of the deprivations and assaults recounted above were employed in concert in a calculated manner to cause him maximum anguish.
It is also extremely important to note that the torturous acts visited upon Mr. Padilla were done over the course almost the entire three years and seven months of his captivity in the Naval Brig. For most of one thousand three hundred and seven days, Mr. Padilla was tortured by the United States government without cause or justification. Mr. Padilla’s treatment at the hands of the United States government is shocking to even the most hardened conscience, and such outrageous conduct on the part of the government divests it of jurisdiction, under the Due Process clause of the Fifth Amendment, to prosecute Mr. Padilla in the instant matter.
From the affidavit of Andrew Patel, one of Jose's lawyers:
In his affidavit, Mr. Patel (another attorney) said, "I was told by members of the brig staff that Mr. Padilla’s temperament was so docile and inactive that his behavior was like that of ‘a piece of furniture.’ "
But, Mr. Patel said in his affidavit, his client is nonetheless mistrustful.
"Mr. Padilla remains unsure if I and the other attorneys working on his case are actually his attorneys or another component of the government’s interrogation scheme," Mr. Patel said....
He is especially reluctant to discuss what happened in the brig, fearful that he will be returned there some day, Mr. Patel said in his affidavit.
"During questioning, he often exhibits facial tics, unusual eye movements and contortions of his body," Mr. Patel said. "The contortions are particularly poignant since he is usually manacled and bound by a belly chain when he has meetings with counsel."
Excerpts from a Psychiatric Evaluation done of Jose, by Dr. Angela Hegarty
At other times he expressed with absolute certainty that were he to speak about what happened to him at the brig, he would be taken back there. He told me on several occasions that even if he wins his freedom in this case, he will be taken back to the brig. He expressed feelings of intense helplessness. He described how he had begged to have his conditions improved to no avail. He reflected repeatedly on the futility of any help or intervention to aid him. He was certain that nobody could help him, that he could not be rescued from his current situation. He expressed a certainty that his family would be harmed. He told me he had told "them" - his interrogators -everything he possibly could but it had made no difference.
The defendant was willing to say yes or no to a list of interrogation techniques from media reports concerning what had been conceded by the government. He denied being sexually assaulted or humiliated. He denied being water-boarded with uncharacteristic intensity and insistence. He acknowledged being kept in the dark or with the lights on for very long periods of time, being shackled and left alone for long periods of time, of being kept in a cold environment for long periods of time and above all of being certain he would die in the brig or never get out. He described periods of sleep deprivation - of lying in a cell restrained without a mattress with the lights on and how every five minutes a door would slam. He recalled asking for medication for pain and being told by staff they were not authorized to give him anything. He described an incident during which he felt intense pressure on his chest "like 200lbs" and was convinced he was going to die right then. He told his first attorney, Mr. Patel about it - of note, he did not inform staff, in part because he did not expect to be helped by them, and presumably because he rarely interacted with them given that he was monitored electronically thus obviating the need for visual inspection by an actual human being at regular intervals as is normally the case. When he spoke about this, he sounded fearful.
Repeatedly, in the course of our interviews, obviously painful recollections of being taken out of the cell to a "recreation" cage at the brig intruded. The defendant recalled how he begged them not to take him out and put him in the cage. He would not say what went on in the cage or why it upset him so. The defendant made it clear to me that he had not told me everything that had been done to him in the brig and that he would not do so.
The defendant told me that he had no way of keeping track of time while in the brig. (He was the sole occupant on the lower level of the brig). There were long periods of darkness and long periods of bright lights. There were no clocks or calendars. He had no access of any kind to the outside world. He recalled being delighted with the view from his small window in Miami. He was unable to put events in chronological order for me. He was clear that early on, for what seemed like months, there was a "terrible time". He could not be more specific than he had already been with me, he told me. Then things got better. He recalled conversations or thoughts that if John Kerry got elected things might change for him and related changes in his conditions to this possibility. He acknowledged that there were long periods for which he seemed to have no memory. He spoke about his feelings of great distress even at the thought of watching the tapes of his own interrogation. He is unable to watch the tapes. At the suggestion that he might, he becomes visibly terrified. At other times he changes the subject.
Based on these data, it is my opinion, within a reasonable degree of medical and psychiatric certainty, that well beyond the preponderance of the evidence reveal that the defendant does not appreciate the nature of the proceedings against him and is unable to either assist counsel in his own defense or to represent himself.
The defendant meets full diagnostic criteria for a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM 4 TR):
3. The defendant makes persistent efforts to avoid stimuli associated with the trauma and demonstrates a general numbing of responsiveness including efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings and conversations associated with the trauma - he refuses to watch the video of his interrogation, he refuses to answer questions pertaining to aspects of the evidence against him related to the trauma. He has large memory gaps related to his detention he is unable to place events in chronological order or say how long different situations persisted. He fails to recall important aspects of the trauma. There is evidence of markedly diminished interest in significant activities he feels detached not only from the man he was and the life he had, but from others as well. There is a restricted range of affect. The defendant periodically concludes that no matter what, win or loose, he will be going back to the brig, where he will die - and as such, has a sense of a foreshortened future.
4. There is clear evidence of increased arousal as indicated by the defendant's exaggerated startle response, his periodic hypervigilance, and his difficulties concentrating.
In addition to the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, the defendant also demonstrates the kind of disorientation, confused thinking, paranoid ideation and inability to trust others outside the closed environment characteristic of individuals who have been isolated for a long time. Had this man not been detained and interrogated for such a long time, there would be serious question as to whether he is psychotic. His reasoning is clearly impaired and paranoid tendencies are evident throughout the interviews. These features account in part for the finding of schizoid tendencies on the MCMI-3
Excerpts from another psychological evaluation, by Dr. Patricia A. Zapf,
The results from the neuropsychological screening instruments appear to indicate that Mr. Padilla may be suffering from some form of brain injury. He certainly appears to have impairment of concentration and attention, as evidenced by testing as well as his presentation during interview. There is a body of literature that describes the relation between PTSD and cognitive problems such that PTSD is related to impairments in concentration, memory, and learning and the impairments are proportional to the duration and severity of the trauma. Mr. Padilla was held in isolation and subjected to extended periods of interrogation for upwards of 3 years and currently resides in a situation that closely mimics the circumstances of his detention at the Brig (although I assume Mr. Padilla is no longer being tortured, he is being held in solitary confinement with multiple restrictions being placed on his liberty). Given this as well as the results of neuropsychological screening and my observations during interview, it is my recommendation mat Mr. Padilla undergo a more comprehensive assessment of his neuropsychological functioning.
In summary, Mr. Padilla is a 36-year-old Hispanic male who appears to be in a fragile psychological state and who meets criteria for a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In addition, he appears to have some cognitive deficits such as impairment in memory, concentration, and attention that may or may not be related to the PTSD.
The question is: what do you want to happen to you if the government thinks you committed a crime? Do you want them to be able to hold you without communication to the outside world, without a lawyer, for a year and a half? Should anyone be treated this way ?
Standing for justice and accountability,