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Testimony of a Psychologist in the BSCT for Mohammed Jawad

[The October 27, 2008 issue of Newsweek carries an article that mentions a court transcript for Mohammed Jawad. This transcript contains an assessment by a psychologist that belonged to the Behavioral Science Consultation Team (or BSCT, read "biscuit") for Mr. Jawad]. The full assessment penned by the psychologist after the interrogation [of Mr. Jawad] is redacted from the court filing. But NEWSWEEK discovered through two independent sources familiar with the report (who could not be named discussing sensitive material) that the psychologist not only eased interrogators' worries, but also encouraged them to continue to dial up the emotional pressure on Jawad: "He appears to be rather frightened, and it looks as if he could break easily if he were isolated from his support network and made to rely solely on the interrogator," according to an excerpt of the report read to NEWSWEEK. The psychologist recommended that Jawad be moved to a section of the prison where he would be the only Pashto speaker, and be moved again if he somehow began to socialize in his new block. The psychologist also suggested that interrogators emphasize to Jawad that his family appeared to have forgotten him: "Make him as uncomfortable as possible. Work him as hard as possible."

The psychologist's name can be gleaned from a court witness list, but multiple e-mails sent by NEWSWEEK asking for a reaction went unanswered. The court filing goes on to say that two weeks after the start of his isolation, Jawad gave his interrogators a detailed account of the events surrounding the grenade attack (that did not implicate himself). But his mental condition deteriorated further and in late December 2003 he tried to commit suicide. "If the goal was to break him, the psychologist succeeded," says Maj. David Frakt, Jawad's military defense attorney. The chief of prosecution in the Guantánamo trials, Col. Larry Morris, declined to comment. A Pentagon spokesman said, "Our policy is, and always has been, to treat detainees humanely."

 

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