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Hullabaloo


Sunday, February 15, 2009

 
Breaking Down The Sense Of Impenetrability

by digby


The torture debate has often been pretty sickening over the years. But there has been one common technique described over and over again that was particularly revolting --- and which I wrote about in the past: This excerpt is from Jane Meyers book:

"A former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the 'takeout' of prisoners as a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location. A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories during the takeout of detainees, likened the treatment to 'sodomy.' He said, 'It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability. The interrogation became a process not just of getting information but of utterly subordinating the detainee through humiliation.' The former C.I.A. officer confirmed that the agency frequently photographed the prisoners naked, 'because it’s demoralizing."


There were also forced enemas, as reported by the New York Times back in 2005:

None of the approved techniques, however, covered some of what people have now said occurred. Mr. Kahtani was, for example, forcibly given an enema, officials said, which was used because it was uncomfortable and degrading.

Pentagon spokesmen said the procedure was medically necessary because Mr. Kahtani was dehydrated after an especially difficult interrogation session. Another official, told of the use of the enema, said, however, "I bet they said he was dehydrated," adding that that was the justification whenever an enema was used as a coercive technique, as it had been on several detainees.


There was also this, which as far as I know was never part of the criminal complaint against any of the guards:

A US military investigation, carried out by Major General Antonio Taguba, uncovered evidence of war crimes against the inmates, including: breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick.



There have been many similar reports of sodomy and other sexual abusecollected by the Center for Constitutional Rights, which have routinely been dismissed as some kind of slick propaganda training by Al Qaeda. Now we have a former Guantanamo prison guard also validating the charges --- and implicating medical personnel (which is another sick aspect of this that we've discussed at length, but still don't know the extent of.) Scott Horton reports:

[T]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. He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized Bush Administration tactic–the importance of which became apparent to me when I participated in some Capitol Hill negotiations with White House representatives relating to legislation creating criminal law accountability for contractors. The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgment that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes. While these techniques have long been known, the role of health care professionals in implementing them is shocking.



The medical personnel involvement is sick and after all the stuff about force feeding and using prisoners' psychological profiles for interrogation purposes, I guess I'm not as surprised as Horton is. But the fact that the white house consciously and knowingly used anal rape to control, interrogate and punish prisoners and went to some length to protect those who were doing it from scrutiny, still has the power to stun me.

Are we really just going to let this stuff go? Really?


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