Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Oh, the Humanity

By Neil A. Lewis, New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 - The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at Guantánamo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in Guantánamo..

Gestapo tactics such as fake come-ons!
...Some accounts of techniques at Guantánamo have been easy to dismiss because they seemed so implausible. The most striking of the accusations, which have come mainly from a group of detainees released to their native Britain, has been that the military used prostitutes who made coarse comments and come-ons to taunt some prisoners who are Muslims.

But the Red Cross report hints strongly at an explanation of some of those accusations by stating that there were frequent complaints by prisoners in 2003 that some of the female interrogators baited their subjects with sexual overtures.

Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who commanded the detention and intelligence operation at Guantánamo until April, when he took over prison operations in Iraq, said in an interview early this year about general interrogation procedures that the female interrogators had proved to be among the most effective. General Miller's observation matches common wisdom among experienced intelligence officers that women may be effective as interrogators when seen by their subjects as mothers or sisters. Sexual taunting does not, however, comport with what is often referred to as the "mother-sister syndrome."

But the Red Cross report said that complaints about the practice of sexual taunting stopped in the last year. Guantánamo officials have acknowledged that they have improved their techniques and that some earlier methods they tried proved to be ineffective, raising the possibility that the sexual taunting was an experiment that was abandoned.

Through an anonymous, unimpeachable source with ties to the Bush Administration, I have an audio clip of deliberate brutality and sexual taunting.

The Red Cross, in all seriousness, claims the following are "torture":

-Forcing people to hold uncomfortable positions
-Cooperation between interrogators and medical personnel
-Loud music
-Sexual taunting
-Unspecified release dates or detention status
-Having the air-conditioning cranked up
-Sending prisoners to interrogation in their underpants

The report of the June visit said investigators had found a system devised to break the will of the prisoners at Guantánamo, who now number about 550, and make them wholly dependent on their interrogators through "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions." Investigators said that the methods used were increasingly "more refined and repressive" than learned about on previous visits.

"The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the report said. It said that in addition to the exposure to loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold, detainees were subjected to "some beatings." The report did not say how many of the detainees were subjected to such treatment.

Maybe they should investigate Greyhound. I once took a LandCruiser from San Bernardino, CA to Ames, IA; I must report low temperatures, cramped positions, loud music, sexual taunting, uncertainty as to when I could leave, and a deliberate attempt to submerge my will to that of the guy up front in uniform.

Lewis makes one editorial error. It is not true that "the issue of whether torture at Guantánamo was condoned or encouraged has been a problem before for the Bush administration"; the political opponents of the President have not been able to demonstrate there was any torture in the first place.

If the Red Cross must find something to complain about or lose the appearance of legitimacy, hasn't the substance of legitimacy been sacrificed?


Chip Morgan said...

Great Blog!

Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com

Chip Morgan said...

I came across your blog by accident....then was intrigued! Chip http://www.focusedinterview.com