Impunity for Gitmo torturer

U.S. Army Reserve officer John Leso took part in what even the Pentagon called "torture" but will not be rebuked

Published January 22, 2014 5:00PM (EST)

U.S. Army Reserve officer John Leso took part in some of the most brutal interrogations to take place in Guantánamo Bay's grim 12-year history. Leso was among the interrogators of Mohammed al-Qahtani. Even the Pentagon deemed his treatment "torture."

Nonetheless America’s professional association of psychologists has declined to censure or rebuke Leso. "We cannot proceed with formal charges in this matter. Consequently the complaint against Dr Leso has been closed,” a letter obtained from the organization by the APA read.

Via the Guardian:

With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

... During an interrogation on 27 November 2002, the log records a direct intervention by Leso: “Control puts detainee in swivel chair at MAJ L’s [Leso's codename] suggestion to keep him awake and stop him from fixing his eyes on one spot in booth.”

The APA’s move concludes a years-long effort within the organization to get the association to condemn members who took part in torture. Those who argued for censuring Leso said that the organization has opened the door to future wartime violations of its central do-no-harm ethos.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Apa Gitmo Guantanamo Bay Interrogation John Leso Mohammed Al-qahtani Torture