by Damozel | An Army private who served at Guantanamo Bay --- previously deterred by fear of retaliation -- is speaking out about his experiences there. (Harper's) Scott Horton quotes the AP interview:
Non-liberal Andrew Sullivan points out the reason why it's so important to consider the source.
Neely's gone into quite a lot of detail.
But just looking at that list I quoted from Horton's article? That's a lot of wrong things right there.
Let's go through the list of things he saw and did that were wrong a little more systematically.
- the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb
- sexual abuse by medical personnel
- torture by other medical personnel
- brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution
- torturous shackling, positional torture
- interference with religious practices and beliefs
- verbal abuse
- restriction of recreation
- an isolation regime...put in place for child-detainees.
Yes, yes, I know. The United States under George W. Bush has not and would never, ever engage in "torture." George W. Bush would never, ever countenance torture unless it was absolutely necessary. It's all in how you define "torture."
Oh, but there's more.
Want another example? This one comes via NION and illustrates what happened to Gitmo prisoners who called a female MP a bitch.
The IRF team, along with the camp OIC, approached the detainee's cage and told him to stop yelling and lay down so he could be restrained. The detainee just stood there, staring at them. The IRF team lined up in position to enter the cage. The OIC unlocked the lock on the cage door and, when this was done, the detainee turned around, went to his knees and placed his hands on the top of his head. The lock was taken off and the cage door was opened. The Number One Man on the IRF team tossed his shield to the side and, with a quick run towards the detainee, hopped in the air and came down on the back of the detainee with his knee (the Number One guy on the IRF team was no small guy). This caused the detainee to fall to the cement floor of the cage with the Number One Man on top of him. Then the whole IRF team was on top of him hitting, punching, and kicking him. It seemed like a long time, but in reality it lasted 15-20 seconds.
While the IRF team was still on top of the detainee someone yelled for the female MP that was called a bitch. She entered the cage and she punched the detainee a couple times in the head and then left the cage. Everyone in the cage stood up and the detainee laid there cuffed-up but motionless and unresponsive. Next thing I saw were medics coming from the medical house with a stretcher. They left the block with the detainee on the stretcher; they took him to a waiting military ambulance and was transported to the main hospital. The IRF team would ride along with the detainee. I went back to work not fully knowing what was wrong or what happened to the detainee.
Later that night, after we had been off for a while, the IRF team came back from the hospital. They would go on and talk about how they hit and punched the detainee and how they held him down so the female MP could hit him a couple times. They went on to talk about the ambulance ride saying no one spoke and it was a very silent ride. One of them even stated the detainee went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance.
Neely further observed:
Also: how disturbing is Neely's confirmation that medical professionals did their bit to enhance the detainees' interrogation?
So disturbing. Horton sums it up:
Horton and those present were curious about why Bush & Co. didn't want accountability for rape by instrumentality.
I ought to be beyond being shocked by anything that happened under Bush/Cheney and yet I go on being shocked, every time.
A US military investigation, carried out by Major General Antonio Taguba, uncovered evidence of war crimes against the inmates, including: breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick (Harper's).
So what do we want to do about it? Joe Conason argues that we should pardon the perpetrators because, let's face it, it would be the politically prudent approach. After all, he argues, we have "more urgent" issues to address.
Jane Hamsher thinks otherwise.
Can we stop casting this as vengeance? Can we stop painting people who believe that something terrible was lost during the last eight years, something moral and decent and good at the core of the American soul, as little more than "angry" and "vindictive?" And can we stop assuming that there is something magnanimous about a "bipartisanship" that exists only when both sides agree to walk into the next room and pretend that the pile of wreckage we leave behind, the one that nobody wants to look, isn't still on fire?...
We don't live in a box, and this isn't all about making ourselves feel good. We inflicted a lot of pain on the world, and they are looking to see how we deal with it. We owe them, and ourselves, more than a "group hug."
Amen to that.
For heart-shattering excerpts from Pvt Neely's report, as well as information about Neely himself, see NION here.
Makes you really wonder about extraordinary rendition and why the Bush administration thought it was needed if this is how the prisoners at Guantanamo were being treated.
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