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When he was first ordered to soften up detainees, "it didn't seem so weird," Ben says; nothing in the war zone was normal. "You don't think about what you're doing until later." He was asked to stand in on dozens of interrogations, to help intimidate the subject: one more body, one more gun. The small room was usually crowded with guards, military-intelligence officers, and ogas. They were told to wear T-shirts, not uniforms that would signal their rank. Under the single bulb, the interrogator would loom above a prisoner seated in a child-size chair. Sometimes the room suddenly went dark and strobe lights flashed on. Other times the soldiers would bang pots and pans in the detainee's face, blare loud music, blast air horns and sirens. The sounds were meant to disorient, but also to mask the screams. More than half the time, even if they were cooperative the detainees were beaten, kicked out of their chairs, punched in the windpipe or gut, pulled by the ears—blows that wouldn't leave lasting marks. Occasionally things got out of hand, but with their medical training, the military-intelligence officers could stitch up or bandage injuries, avoiding a call to the medics and an entry in the logbooks that the Red Cross could read.
The first time Ben saw a detainee get beaten, he took the lead interrogator aside afterward to ask, "Was this stuff really allowed? Didn't it violate the Geneva Conventions?"
"These aren't pows; they're detainees," he was told. "Those rules are antiquated and don't apply. You can't get any information without breaking that stuff." Ben asked other officers, but "it was basically like, 'Dude, you're actually worried about how we're treating them? They wouldn't afford you the same respect.'"
...Ben saw what anyone could: All prisoners—civilians and combatants—are protected against violence. There is no separate category for unlawful combatants. "Outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment" are prohibited. Abuses like those at the Tiger base were "grave breaches." War crimes.
In the summer of 2003, the interrogators threw a detainee against a concrete wall, punched him in the neck and gut, kicked him in the knees, threw him outside, and dragged him back in by his hair. For the entire two-hour ordeal, the prisoner wouldn't talk; Ben later found out he spoke Farsi and couldn't understand the interrogators' English and Arabic.
originally posted by: Bybyots
How did Barry Manilow not make it on to that list?
originally posted by: ketsuko
So I am torturing myself regularly ...