Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Story of a Torturer

Via, Scott Horton, the story of a torturer:

He arrived in Iraq in January 2004 and was stationed at Abu Ghraib, landing there ten days after Specialist Joseph Darby delivered the now infamous photographs of prisoner abuse to army investigators. "When we got there we didn't know what had happened, but the army knew, and they were making sure that things were cleaned up at Abu Ghraib."

"We were working for this chief warrant officer who just wanted to go as far as he could. He handed us a piece of paper called an IROE—interrogation rules of engagement. It listed the things that the Pentagon said were OK to use during interrogations, but it was also sort of an open-ended document—it encouraged the interrogator to be creative.

The warrant officer secured a shipping container that became the unit's interrogation booth. Stress positions became standard operating procedure. They included standing for long periods; kneeling on concrete, gravel, or plywood; and crawling across gravel. "Another one we'd use was where they would have their back against the wall and their knees bent at right angles. We used to do that as an exercise in basic training and it gets real painful after a few minutes, but we'd make the prisoners do that for a long time.

Lagouranis says the MPs were "willing and enthusiastic participants in all this stuff. A lot of the guys that we worked with were former prison guards or they were reservists who were prison guards in their civilian life. They loved it. They totally wanted to be involved in interrogations. It actually was a problem sometimes. I remember I would be standing guard at three in the morning outside of the shipping container with a prisoner inside and people would come by and they would know what was going on because they could hear the music and maybe see the lights. And they'd want to join in. So I'd have four sergeants standing around me, and I'm a specialist, and they want to go and fuck the guy up, and I would have to control these guys who outrank me and outnumber me and they have weapons and I don't—because I'm guarding a prisoner I don't have a weapon. It got really hairy sometimes and I couldn't call for help because there was nobody around. I remember at one point the MPs came over from the facility and they were banging on the shipping container, one guy got on top and he was jumping up and down, they were throwing rocks at it, they were going inside and yelling at the guy. And I was like, 'How do I control this situation?'"
There's more, and I strongly recommend that everyone read this article in full. This former soldier confirms the worst about America's torture policies. The guidelines for how to torture came down from on high, from the Pentagon (and presumably from the White House.) Torture was widespread in the CIA and the military. Torture was ubiquitous, and practiced not by Appalachian hill-billies like that idiot D'Souza seems to believe, but by regular soldiers, men and women we sent over there who were then ordered and encouraged by their superiors to abuse prisoners in ineffective, cartoonish and absurd ways that garnered little to no useful information, and reveals more about us than the tortured ever said under duress. What we have done in Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, Bagrab and in secret prisons around the world, has damaged our moral crediblity as a nation almost beyond repair. If we cannot fix this, if the people who approved these techniques remain in power, then we do not deserve the mantle of the world's freest and most powerful country.

1 comment:

adam said...

Jesus Christ.