Sunday, February 15, 2009


About a year ago, a caller to Mark Levin's show said that torture was beneath us because "We weren't brought up like that." Levin promptly hung up and disparaged the caller. Now I learn (h/t Atrios) that torture and brutalization were SOP at Guantanamo because former guards are now speaking out.

Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear
The Associated Press

Saturday, February 14, 2009

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo's first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement — the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business.
Or as Neely put it in an interview with The Associated Press this week, "The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong."

Scott Horton of Harper's summarizes Neely's testimony:
First, ...Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison.

Second, there is a good deal of discussion of displays of contempt for Islam by the camp authorities, and also specific documentation of mistreatment of the Qu’ran.

Third, the Nelly account shows that health professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisoners—suggesting a systematic collapse of professional ethics driven by the Pentagon itself.

You can find more testimony about Guantanamo here.

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