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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hicks subjected to most extreme CIA torture, expert says

The Federal Government: "He is fine except for a sore back"

An expert in CIA interrogation techniques says the Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks has been subjected to the most extreme torture in the agency's history.

American academic, Professor Alfred McCoy, has been studying CIA interrogation techniques for 50 years.

Professor McCoy says Guantanamo Bay is an ad hoc laboratory used to perfect CIA psychological torture methods.

He has told ABC TV's Lateline program that Hicks was subjected to 244 days of sensory disorientation, was left in a dark cell and denied sunlight and his only contact was a weekly visit by the military chaplain.

"David Hicks has suffered untold psychological damage that will take a great deal of care, a great deal of treatment, and probably the rest of his life to move beyond," he said.

"Confinement at Guantanamo constitutes torture. The question is, what kind of torture? It is psychological torture. Not the conventional, physical, brutal torture, but a distinctively American form of torture - psychological torture."

The suicides of three inmates has prompted renewed concern for Hicks's welfare.

The Federal Government says he is fine except for a sore back, but Professor McCoy says Hicks shows all the signs of someone who has been subjected to psychological torture.

In 1972, Professor McCoy, from the University of Wisconsin, wrote The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, which is now regarded as a seminal work on the CIA's complicity in Asian drug trafficking.

His latest book is A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror, which examines the CIA's development of psychological torture over the past 50 years.

In an article in the latest edition of the Monthly magazine, he turns his attention to the treatment of Hicks in Guantanamo Bay.


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