Why Did U.S. Interrogators ‘Soften Up’ the Uighurs for the Chinese Government?
While the Republicans in Congress are up in arms about the possibility that a handful of Uighurs will be released into the United States, it’s worth noting that these Chinese Muslims could have some disturbing stories to tell about their treatment at Guantanamo Bay.
Buried in a 2008 Justice Department inspector general report is the strange fact that the U.S. government — surely knowing that the Uighurs were dissidents who’ve been persecuted and tortured in China (which the State Department has acknowledged) — not only allowed Chinese government interrogators to question the Uighurs at Gitmo, when almost no one else outside the U.S. government had access to the place, but used repeated sleep deprivation and interruption to soften them up for those interrogations.
According to the 2008 IG report (pdf), in footnote 134:
While the Uighurs were detained at Camp X-Ray, some Chinese officials visited GTMO and were granted access to these detainees for interrogation purposes. The agent stated that he understood that the treatment of the Uighur detainees was either carried out by the Chinese interrogators or was carried out by U.S. military personnel at the behest of the Chinese interrogators. He said he also heard from the Uighur translator that other Uighur detainees experienced this same treatment.
It’s a question that’s come up at recent House Judiciary Committee hearings on Guantanamo, but so far no one’s answered it: why were U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay helping to “soften up” Chinese Uighur detainees on behalf of the Chinese government?