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Notorious Bagram Interrogator to Testify Tomorrow for Khadr

GUANTANAMO BAY — As Omar Khadr’s defense team rushes to present as much of its case as possible this week before a court-mandated government psychological exam of the 23-year-old detainee and both teams of lawyers need to fly off the island, it plans on calling ex-Army Spc. Damien Corsetti to testify on Khadr’s behalf tomorrow. Who’s Corsetti? Someone who was colloquially known at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan as “Monster” and the “King of Torture.”

Corsetti, who has the word “Monster” tattooed on his stomach in Italian, was ultimately acquitted before a court martial in 2006 of several charges, including the abuse of a Bagram detainee named Ahmed al-Dharbi. But he has confessed publicly to participating in the abuse of numerous detainees. “I firmly believe it was torture and unfortunately I took part in it,” he told Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star in January 2009. In 2007, Corsetti attended the Washington, D.C., premiere of a film, “Taxi to the Dark Side,” about torture at Bagram and elsewhere (I was at the screening), and emotionally expressed remorse for his role in it.

Kobie Flowers and Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, two of Khadr’s attorneys, said Corsetti would testify tomorrow by video conference at 9 a.m. when the hearing resumes. Neither would preview Corsetti’s testimony. “I think he’s going to fill in a lot of the gaps, a lot of your questions,” Flowers told reporters at the conclusion of court this afternoon. “It will be interesting to see how much of the gaps and the blanks he will be allowed to fill in. I do know that the prosecution does not want to see him take the stand.”

That clarifies that “Interrogator #1″ — who will testify to personally threatening Khadr at Bagram – isn’t Corsetti, it bears mentioning. Interrogator #1 is still scheduled to testify later this week, also through video conference.

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