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Donald Rumsfeld godkjente personlig at Al Qaida-medlemmet Mohammed al-Kahtani ble forhørt på Guantanamo i desember 2002 med de samme metoder som senere ble brukt i Abu Ghraib. Det viser en internrapport Salon.com har fått fatt i.

Al-Kahtani var så viktig at Rumsfeld engasjerte seg personlig i avhøret. Han var i ukentlig kontakt med sjefen for Guantanamo-leiren, general Goeffrey Miller.

On Dec. 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved 16 harsher interrogation strategies for use against Kahtani, including the use of forced nudity, stress positions and the removal of religious items.
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Mohammed al-Kahtani suffered from what Army investigators have called «degrading and abusive» treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved. Kahtani was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women’s underwear and to perform «dog tricks» on a leash. He received 18-to-20-hour interrogations during 48 of 54 days.

Little more than two years later, during an investigation into the mistreatment of prisoners at Guantánamo, Rumsfeld expressed puzzlement at the notion that his policies had caused the abuse. «He was going, ‘My God, you know, did I authorize putting a bra and underwear on this guy’s head?'» recalled Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, an investigator who interviewed Rumsfeld twice in early 2005.

I midten av januar 2003 ringte Rumsfeld sjefen for Southern Command og ba om at avhøret av al-Kahtani ble sjekket. Men Miller ba om at metodene ble brukt en stund til og Rumsfeld godtok det. Noen dager senere ga han likevel ordre om at de ble stanset. Advokater hadde uttrykt bekymring for at de grenset til tortur.

Nonetheless, several days later Rumsfeld revoked the harsher interrogation methods, apparently responding to military lawyers who had raised concerns that they may constitute cruel and unusual punishment or torture.

Metodene ble ikke godkjent senere. Men general Miller ledet en delegasjon til Irak i august 2003 for å se på fangebehandlingen, og mange mener Miller var den som introduserte Abu Ghraib-mishandlingen. Han tok med seg metodene han hadde utviklet på Guantanamo. Internrapporten anbefaler at Miller stilles til ansvar, men overordnede ignorerte rådet.

At the direction of Pentagon officials, Miller led a mission to Iraq in August 2003 to review detainee operations at Abu Ghraib — a visit that critics say precipitated the abuse of prisoners there.

What Rumsfeld knewInterviews with high-ranking military officials shed new light on the role Rumsfeld played in the harsh treatment of a Guantánamo detainee.

By Michael Scherer and Mark Benjamin