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    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Sleeping Bag Torture (Graphic)

    Stardate 4342.5
    MSNBC - Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was being stubborn with his American captors, and a series of intense beatings and creative interrogation tactics were not enough to break his will. On the morning of Nov. 26, 2003, a U.S. Army interrogator and a military guard grabbed a green sleeping bag, stuffed Mowhoush inside, wrapped him in an electrical cord, laid him on the floor and began to go to work. Again.
    It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.
    The sleeping bag was the idea of a soldier who remembered how his older brother used to force him into one, and how scared and vulnerable it made him feel. Senior officers in charge of the facility near the Syrian border believed that such "claustrophobic techniques" were approved ways to gain information from detainees, part of what military regulations refer to as a "fear up" tactic, according to military court documents.
    The circumstances that led up to Mowhoush's death paint a vivid example of how the pressure to produce intelligence for anti-terrorism efforts and the war in Iraq led U.S. military interrogators to improvise and develop abusive measures, not just at Abu Ghraib but in detention centers elsewhere in Iraq, in Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mowhoush's ordeal in Qaim, over 16 days in November 2003, also reflects U.S. government secrecy surrounding some abuse cases and gives a glimpse into a covert CIA unit that was set up to foment rebellion before the war and took part in some interrogations during the insurgency.
    The sleeping-bag interrogation and beatings were taking place in Qaim about the same time that soldiers at Abu Ghraib, outside Baghdad, were using dogs to intimidate detainees, putting women's underwear on their heads, forcing them to strip in front of female soldiers and attaching at least one to a leash. It was a time when U.S. interrogators were coming up with their own tactics to get detainees to talk, many of which they considered logical interpretations of broad-brush categories in the Army Field Manual, with labels such as "fear up" or "pride and ego down" or "futility."
    Wow. Not saying they don't need to gather intelligence but come off it. Some of this stuff is simply getting ridiculous, and really goes to show the values some Westerners put on other ethnic and religious groups. When a US soldier that was beaten at Gitmo posing as a detainee suffered brain damage, the Army denied pretty much everything and in fact, he was relieved from duty. The funny thing that didn't sit right with me though, was what this soldier said...

    "What happened to me is something that should never have happened to an American soldier."
    Well, wake up. It is happening to countless numbers of the "suspected" insurgents and other detainees every day. I don't think it should happen to anyone, and maybe I am taking his statement out of context, but I believe that many of the soldiers and especially the higher up officers and Administration simply don't think of the Iraqi and Afghani people as being on the same level as themselves. Oh, and before people start jumping up and down saying "but look what Saddam did?" and "those guys are beheading our people", remember... We are supposed to be the good guys. The civilised West, bringing freedom and all things "good" to them. Our example is how we win them over, and frankly, our example has been pathetic at best.

    And the big guys like Rumsfeld either deny or pass the buck when it comes to accountability. It is very easy to say "classified" or "isolated incidents" in a press interview... Guess what? not so isolated any more are they?

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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