By Stephanie Tran
Torture tends to take place in the shadows.
Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Hearing Ammar al Baluchi’s story, or the lack thereof, the ways in which the US has tried to cover their use of torture becomes evident.
Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.
|“The result of over classification is that my memories are classified, my thoughts are classified, my pain and suffering is classified, my post torture (post trauma) symptoms are classified.”
– Ammar al Baluchi
In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated “black sites”. Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture such as water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; and beatings that have brought him a painful traumatic brain injury.
Ammar was transferred to prison at Guantánamo Bay in 2006, where he still is today. He continues to suffer with symptoms including the inability to sleep along with severe physical and psychological pain as a result from his torture and brain injury – all brought upon him at the hands of US authorities. He has yet to receive treatment or rehabilitation.
Unfortunately for Ammar al Baluchi and other individuals who have been tortured in the CIA secret detention programme, the US has actively shrouded their extensive use of torture. Ammar and other detainees’ experienced have been classified as Top Secret. As a result, their recollections of years of torture cannot be shared to the public until authorities declassify them.This leaves Ammar unable to share the things he felt, saw, and experienced. The tortured are essentially silenced by their torturers, leaving the authorities unaccountable for the suffering and pain they inflicted upon detainees, including the trauma that torture survivors are now forced to bear.
Yet bizarrely, despite the CIA holding Ammar’s experiences of torture top secret, classified information was provided by the CIA to the filmmakers of the Hollywood film Zero Dark Thirty. The classified information provided to the filmmakers was never provided to Ammar’s lawyers. It is a sad irony that the world can watch Hollywood’s depiction of Ammar experiences of torture under the CIA’s filter, but Ammar himself remains forbidden from sharing his story to the world.
Ammar al Baluchi’s trial has yet to begin. Please take action now to help torture survivors like Ammar receive justice.
Write to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis now.
* Call on him to ensure that Ammar al Baluchi receives a proper diagnosis as well as medical and psychosocial treatment for his brain injury.
* Urge him to drop the capital charges put against Ammar.
* Call on him to guarantee Ammar’s right to a fair trial and to exclude “confessions” and other evidence obtained through torture and other ill-treatment.
Address your messages to
Secretary of Defense
1000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1000
Please send a copy to
Ms Elizabeth Moore Aubin
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy for the USA
PO Box 866, Station B
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5T1
Fax: (613) 688-3082
Let Ammar know he isn’t alone. Send him a letter or drawing. Here’s some inspiration:
Address your solidarity letters to:
Ammar al Baluchi
P.O. Box 141
Cabin John, MD