The Mix

Did Guantanamo interrogators inhale?

Military investigators are saying that the prison commander at Guantanamo Bay "abused and degraded" prisoners but didn't torture them. That's like saying Bill Clinton smoked pot, but didn't inhale.
According to the head of the Army's Southern Command, no one violated any U.S. policy when interrogators at Guantanamo Bay told one inmate that his mother and sisters were whores, forced him to wear a bra, forced him to wear a thong on his head, told him he was homosexual and said that other prisoners knew it. They also forced him to dance with a male interrogator, and subjected him to strip searches with no security value, threatened him with dogs, forced him to stand naked in front of women and forced him onto a leash, to act like a dog.

Other substantiated abuse included binding a prisoner's head with duct tape to stop him chanting verses from the Koran; depriving prisoners of sleep; chaining detainees to the floor in the fetal position and denying them food and water; allowing female interrogators to perform a lap dance on a detainee; and smearing one prisoner with fake menstrual blood.

Whether you want to call that torture or degrading abuse, my question is how sick do you have to be to come up with this stuff? Who details the degregation, who justifies its morality, and who says, "Hey, that's a great idea"?

And how does any of this have anything to do with the rule of law? Everything I've learned about evidence, trials, and juries has no home at Guantantamo Bay. Even the Army's own investigators found that interrogators violated the Geneva Conventions on torture at least three times.

If I was, say, the head of the Southern Command for the whole U.S. Army, this might keep me up at night. At the very least, I might think a slight slap on the wrist, in the form of a written reprimand (just a piece of paper! It wouldn't even hurt!) of Army Major General Geoffery Miller, the General in command, might be warrented. But I guess that's why Bantz J. Craddock is head of the U.S. Southern Command (whatever that is), and not me. So while Miller won't get so much as a finger wagged at him, detainees who have never been proven guilty of single thing will likely have nightmares for the rest of their lives. But, hey, at least they weren't tortured.
Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.
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