As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Blow Me Down

The Abu Ghraib "bad apples" story actually wasn't true!

Interrogators at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, forced a stubborn detainee to wear women's underwear on his head, confronted him with snarling military working dogs and attached a leash to his chains, according to a newly released military investigation that shows the tactics were employed there months before military police used them on detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

The techniques, approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for use in interrogating Mohamed Qahtani -- the alleged "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- were used at Guantanamo Bay in late 2002 as part of a special interrogation plan aimed at breaking down the silent detainee.

Military investigators who briefed the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday on the three-month probe, called the tactics "creative" and "aggressive" but said they did not cross the line into torture.

The report's findings are the strongest indication yet that the abusive practices seen in photographs at Abu Ghraib were not the invention of a small group of thrill-seeking military police officers. The report shows that they were used on Qahtani several months before the United States invaded Iraq.

It's not about the relative merits of these techniques (I don't think they give you anything in terms of helping you obtain intelligence) or whether or not they're humane or if they saved lives or if they make us look like Nazis or anything like that. The point is that the day the Abu Ghraib photos were released, every member of this Administration blamed it on low-level privates who were running a Wild West show on the night shift, a "few bad apples" who had nothing to do with Administration policy regarding torture. I never understood where they got the hoods from if that were the case, or the leashes, or the electrodes for detainees' nipples, or the waterboards, etc., etc.

But now we have more proof that these techniques were policy. It was blindingly clear to anyone who was paying attention, but I hope this wakes up a few more people.