Torturers R Us

Torturers R Us

by digby

Wow, does this ever make me proud to be a Democrat:

One of the appealing factors for a Jerry Cannon congressional campaign was his perceived squeaky clean record as a member of the military and the Kalkaska County Sheriff. He told Politico last year that "I don't have a record that people can attack," which was a big reason national Democrats took such an interest in him. However, the Democratic nominee in the 1st Congressional District, who is facing U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Crystal Falls) in one of the state's most competitive congressional races, may not be exactly devoid of controversy.

Cannon's name was wrapped into at least one civil suit regarding inhuman treatment at Guantánamo Bay's Camp Delta when he was the head of the detention detail from July 2003 to August 2004. According to a Washington Post article from 2004, FBI agents and officials witnessed the use of growling dogs to intimidate detainees at Guantanamo Bay. In another instance from August 2004 at Camp Delta, a detainee is said to have been wrapped in an Israeli flag and bombarded with loud music in an attempt to soften his resistance to interrogation. The New York Times reported in October 2004 that uncooperative prisoners at Camp Delta were told to "strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endorse strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air conditioning was turned up."

Cannon was named as a defendant in four different detainee lawsuits and named specifically in the closing arguments in the case of Mohammad Jawad by Major David J.R. Frakt. "It is my recommendation that charges be preferred against MG Cannon under the MCMJ for cruelty, maltreatment and abuse, dereliction of duty and violation of a lawful order at the earliest opportunity," Frakt said. "He completely and utterly failed to prevent the flagrant abuse of a detained under his protection. It is high time that someone in a position of authority be held accountable, and not just the guards who were carrying out orders this time." Jawad ended up staying in Gitmo until 2009 before a district court judge ordered his release back to Afghanistan after being found not guilty of the charges leveled against him.

To show that Cannon was aware of the tactics used at Camp Delta, America Rising referenced a Human Rights First article about how detainees were moved around eight times a day or every three hours with the goal of keeping detainees "off balance." Apparently, Cannon and military leadership were aware of the "frequent flyer program," designed to deprive inmates of sleep, and no one questioned the program's legality. During an interview with Roll Call a year ago, Cannon said the Red Cross checked off on its detention operation during their biannual inspections. "It was a great mission," he said. "I don't see that ever being an issue, that someone, if they really understand the entire circumstances, would think that could be a liability."

However, the New York Times reported on Nov. 30, 2004 that the Red Cross found techniques "tantamount to torture" after its June 2004 visit. The prolonged exposure to the cold and loud music was designed to break the will of the detainees. "The construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture," read the Red Cross report. Cannon never had formal charges filed against him for anything he did or didn't do at Camp Delta.

The Republicans are unctuously declaring that they are shocked, simply shocked by such behavior of course, which is ridiculous.

Cannon was also deputy commander of "detainee operations" in Iraq and had this to say when the US turned over it's prisons to the Iraqis:
Maj. Gen. Jerry Cannon, the deputy commander for detainee operations, said that the U.S. military would continue to train its Iraqi counterparts on international standards for human rights and that it is prepared to look at cases of alleged abuse. "We've given detainees world-class care," Cannon said Thursday, adding that it would take time for Iraqis to offer the same standard of care as American-run facilities. "If you want to be in custody, you'd probably want to be in our custody," he added.

This fine fellow was recruited by the DCCC.