The Blackout Box: One of CIA’s Torturing Tools

Ilsa Z.

The Dark and Painful Way Adopted by the CIA to Break Out its Prisoners

For years, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has fulfilled its role as the first line of defense for the United States of America. It has adopted various ways to protect the country from threats. The agency goes beyond our imaginations when it comes to capturing criminals and breaking them to an extent where they spill out every confidential information they have.

The information the CIA provides is vital for America, as many policies are based on it. However, the agency is believed to have adopted a painful way to release the information from the prisoners.

The Enhanced Interrogation

The CIA legally carried out cruel and painful techniques on its prisoners under the permission of former president George W Bush. However, when Barack Obama held office as the president of America in 2009, he banned such techniques calling them a “dark and painful chapter.” These techniques included sleep deprivation, waterboarding (drowning experience), sexual threats, physical torture, and subjection to unbearable temperatures.

The enhanced interrogations started after 11th September 2001, when America was attacked. After the attacks finished, the CIA began its extraordinary rendition program. This program meant that the detainees would be transferred to the foreign government to face due interrogations. Interrogations, in the case of the CIA, were merely torturous procedures.

The Blackout Box

Among other brutal ways adopted by the CIA interrogators, the blackout box was the most terrifying. About three feet long on each side, the blackout box was the worst nightmare for anyone. Some boxes were narrower, about 2 feet wide, including handcuffs on the top. The detainees were captured in the box until they spilled out the required information.

The Unbearable Torture

The sufferers who were put into the box felt suffocated to death. Their bodies would break due to painful positions, called ‘cramped confinement’ by the CIA, and their hands were tied in handcuffs. Exhaling out carbon dioxide made the small inside of the box toxic. The detainees could not move and were deficient in air and oxygen. In addition, the interrogators would pin thin objects into the box from small holes in the box walls.

According to BBC, the former executive director of the CIA, Buzzy Krongard, admitted to BBC that the box tortured the detainees. A reporter Hilary Andersson tried what being inside the blackout box felt like. The video which was recorded showed apparent torture. Disturbing voices were played outside the box. Claustrophobia, fear, and suffocation took over the reporter just after 10 minutes of being inside the box. Some sources also say that the interrogators would put cockroaches inside the box to increase the torture.

Stories of Libyan Detainees

When Libyan detainees came under the control of the CIA in America, they suffered horrible torture at the hands of the agency. A detainee named Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed al-Shoroeiya shared his story of being inside the blackout box. He said he remained in the box for three days, naked, in an inhuman body position, and with tied-up hands. After three days, he found himself drowned in his own urine and defecation waste.

Although the interrogation program was to protect America against terrorists, it broke every law supporting fundamental human rights. The activists describe the program as an ultimate form of torture. Some people who suffered agony in the blackout box were proven innocent later. But the incident totally changed their lives. They were haunted by nightmares for the rest of their lives.

Even if the blackout box was useful for revealing vital information or catching the terrorists, it was still an illegal way to do so. Such punishments were common in medieval times, but today, the world has developed, becoming more aware of fundamental human rights. Hence, the interrogation program carried out by the CIA should be condemned by the authorities.

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