CIA used detainee as a living prop for torture training, gave him brain damage

The CIA illegally kept a man as a torture training prop at one of its secret prisons in Afghanistan in 2003. Trainee torturers "lined up to take turns at knocking his head against a plywood wall, leaving him with brain damage," reports The Guardian.

The technique of "walling" was approved by the "enhanced interrogation technique" guidelines sent by CIA headquarters. It involved placing the detainee's heels against a specially designed plywood wall "which had flexibility to it" and putting a rolled up towel around the detainee's neck.

"The interrogators would then grab the ends of the towel in front of and below the detainees face and shove [Baluchi] backwards into the wall, never letting go of the towel," the report said. One of the interrogators (identified only by a code) said the goal was to "bounce" the detainee off the wall. The report noted that Baluchi was "naked for the proceedings."

There was no time limit for the "walling" sessions but "typically a session did not last for more than two hours at a time." They went on for so long because Baluchi was being used as a teaching prop.

One former trainee told investigators "all the interrogation students lined up to 'wall' Ammar so that [the instructor] could certify them on their ability to use the technique."

A neuropsychologist conducted an MRI of Ammar al-Baluchi's head and found found "abnormalities indicating moderate to severe brain damage."