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Raping Them Over There So We Don’t Have To Rape Them Here

tortured-iraqi.JPGRemember when George W. Bush and his minions boasted that Saddam’s ‘rape rooms’ were shut down?

As Christy has already pointed out, they weren’t shut down, they just changed hands.

Here’s some testimony about what US uniformed military personnel were doing to Iraqis at Abu Ghraib back in 2003 (for photos that back up a good bit of it, go here and here). This will be old news to those of you who’ve been following Seymour Hersh’s stories over the past few years in The New Yorker, but I think in light of Hersh’s latest story, we could do with a little reminder:

TRANSLATION OF STATEMENT PROVIDED BY Kasim Mehaddi HILAS, Detainee #151108, 1300/18 JAN 04:

“In the name of God, I swear to God that everything I witnessed everything I am talking about. I am not saying this to gain any material thing, and I was not pressured to do this by any forces. First, I am going to talk only about what happened to me in Abu Ghraib Jail. I will not talk about what happened when I was in jail before, because they did not ask me about that, but it was very bad.

1. They stripped me of all my clothes, even my underwear. They gave me woman’s underwear, that was rose color with flowers in it and they put the bag over my face. One of them whispered in my ear, “today I am going to fuck you”, and he said this in Arabic. Whoever was with me experienced the same thing. That’s what the American soldiers did, and they had a translator with them, named Abu Hamid and a female soldier, who’s skin was olive colored and this was on October 3 or 4, 2003 around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. When they took me to the cell, the translator Abu Hamid came with an American soldier and his rank was sergeant (I believe). And he called told me “faggot” because I was wearing the woman’s underwear, and my answer was “no”. Then he told me “why are you wearing this underwear”, then I told them “because you make me wear it”. The transfer from Camp B to the Isolation was full of beatings, but the bags were over our heads, so we couldn’t see their faces. And they forced me to wear this underwear all the time, for 51 days. And most of the days I was wearing nothing else.

2. I faced more harsh punishment from Grainer. He cuffed my hands with irons behind my back to the metal of the the window, to the point my feet were off the ground and I was hanging there, for about 5 hours just because I asked about the time, because I wanted to pray. [PW notes: Observant Muslims pray several times a day, facing Mecca.] And then they took all my clothes and he took the female underwear and he put it over my head. After he released me from the window, he tied me to my bed until before dawn. He took me to the shower room. After he took me to the shower room, he brought me to my room again. He prohibited me from eating food that night, even though I was fasting that day. [PW notes: During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight hours and eat only at night.] Grainer and the other two soldiers were taking pictures of every thing they did to me. I don’t know if they took a picture of me because they beat me so bad I lost consciousness after an hour or so.

3. They didn’t give us food for a whole day and a night, while we were fasting for Ramadan. And the food was only one package of emergency food.

Now I am talking about what I saw:

1. They brought three prisoners completely naked and they tied them together with cuffs and they stuck one to another. I saw the American soldiers hitting them with a football and they were taking pictures. I saw Grainer punching one of the prisoners right in his face very hard when he refused to take off his underwear and I heard them begging for help. And also the American soldiers to do like homosexuals (fucking). And there was one of the American soldiers they called Sergeant (black skin) there was 7 to 8 soldiers there also. Also female soldiers were taking pictures and that was in the first day of Ramadan. And they repeated the same thing the second day of Ramadan. And they were ordering them to crawl together while they were cuffed together naked.

2. I saw [name redacted] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name redacted], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass. I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door. And the female soldier was taking pictures. [Name redacted], I think he is [ethnicity/nationality redacted] because of his accent, and he was not skinny or short, and he acted like a homosexual (gay). And that was in cell #23 as best as I remember.

3. In the cell that is almost under it, on the North side, and I was right across from it on the other side. They put the sheets again on the doors. Grainer and his helper they cuffed one prisoner in Room #1, named [name redacted], he was Iraqi citizen. They tied him to the bed and they were inserted the phosphoric light in his ass and he was yelling for God’s help. [Name redacted] used to get hit and punished a lot because I heard him screaming and they prohibited us from standing near the door when they do it. That was Ramadan, around 12 midnight approximately when I saw them putting the stick in his ass. The female soldier was taking pictures.

4. I saw more than once men standing on a water bucket that was upside down and they were totally naked. And carrying chairs over their heads standing under the fan of the hallway behind the wooden partition and also in the shower.

Not one night for all the time I was I there passed without me seeing, hearing or feeling what was happening to me

And I am repeating the oath/I swear on Allah almighty on the truth of what I said. Allah is my witness.”

TRANSLATED BY: VERIFIED BY:
[signature] [signature]
Mr. Johnson ISHO Mr. Abdelilah ALAZADI
Translator, Category II Translator, Category II

Titan Corporation Titan Corporation

Assigned to:
Prisoner Interview/Interrogation Team (PIT)(CID)(FWD)
10th Military Police Battalion (CID)(ABN)(FWD)
3rd Military Police Group (CID), USACIDC
Abu Ghraib Prison Complex (ABPC)
Abu Ghraib, Iraq APO AE 09335

And this wasn’t just done by a few “bad apples”, as Bush’s Pentagon people proclaimed, but was tolerated and sanctioned and directed at the highest levels of the military:

Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba said that he felt mocked and shunned by top Pentagon officials, including then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, after filing an exhaustive report on the now-notorious Abu Ghraib abuse that sparked international outrage and led to an overhaul of the U.S. interrogation and detention policies. Taguba’s report examining the 800th Military Police Brigade put in plain terms what had been documented in shocking photographs.

In interviews with New Yorker reporter Seymour M. Hersh, Taguba said that he was ordered to limit his investigation to low-ranking soldiers who were photographed with the detainees and the soldiers’ unit, but that it was always his sense that the abuse was ordered at higher levels. Taguba was quoted as saying that he thinks top commanders in Iraq had extensive knowledge of the aggressive interrogation techniques that mirrored those used on high-value detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and that the military police “were literally being exploited by the military interrogators.”

Taguba also said that Rumsfeld misled Congress when he testified in May 2004 about the abuse investigation, minimizing how much he knew about the incidents. Taguba said that he met with Rumsfeld and top aides the day before the testimony.

To emphasize the point, here’s a snippet from Hersh’s article:

“From what I knew, troops just don’t take it upon themselves to initiate what they did without any form of knowledge of the higher-ups,” Taguba told me. His orders were clear, however: he was to investigate only the military police at Abu Ghraib, and not those above them in the chain of command. “These M.P. troops were not that creative,” he said. “Somebody was giving them guidance, but I was legally prevented from further investigation into higher authority. I was limited to a box.”

Oh, yes: And most of the folks Bush’s buddies brought in to run the Pentagon are nice good hyper-moral Evangelical Christians, just like Monica Goodling and her friends over in the Bush Justice Department. Wonderful.

Oh, but surely the prisoners that got this treatment were the lowest of the low, right? This wasn’t done to innocent people, right? Don’t be so sure about that: At the time that the US torturers were having a ball raping and beating people and taking pictures of it all, it turns out that between 70% to 90% of all the prisoners in Iraq were arrested ‘by mistake’. And guess what? Torture is not only useless as an interrogation tool, it produces bogus information as its victims wind up saying whatever they think the torturers want to hear. So there isn’t even a utilitarian justification for this. Unless scaring and angering the people whose ‘hearts and minds’ you’re trying to win is your goal — then it works wonderfully, as a tool for creating enemies.

As for the photograph from Abu Ghraib that graces this post of mine: That’s about the most mild image I could find that still brought home the truth of what Taguba and Hersh are talking about. Most of the others are worse. Much, much, much worse.

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