Monday, July 24, 2006

"Geneva's A Town In Switzerland"

الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية: جنودٌ يتحدثون عن الإساءة إلى محتجزين في العراق
السلطات تسمح باستخدام الوسائل المسيئة وتتجاهل شكاوى الجنود

هذه الروايات تدحض ادعاءات الحكومة الأمريكية بأن التعذيب والإساءات في العراق لم
تكن بإيعازٍ من السلطات بل هي حالاتٌ استثنائية. فعلى العكس من ذلك، كانت تلك
الممارسات موضع تغاضٍ، وتستخدم على نطاق واسع.

جون سيفتون، الباحثٌ الرئيسي لقسم الإرهاب ومكافحة الإرهاب

نسخة للطباعة

"He wouldn’t say anything, and they kept screaming at him and screaming at him. And they picked him up and threw him against the wall—and it’s a concrete wall. They threw him up against the wall, they punched him in the neck, punched him in the stomach—you know, gut shot—they threw him down. [At one point,] they actually threw him outside—they had two guys [other detainees] outside watching—threw him outside the building, just threw him outside like that. And then they picked him up, dragged him back, pulling him by the hair and stuff. . . . They hold his arms like this [out behind his back] and then beat him down—enough so they could break it, to give you a little bit of the pain. Same with the kneecaps: kicked him in the kneecaps, you know, really hard, with those boots—combat boots.

They were [usually] very conscious of trying not to leave marks [on the body] most of the time, but with that guy—they really didn’t [i.e., they made no effort to avoid leaving bruises and cuts]. . . . [Later,] they took some of the sani-wipes from the MRE pack [Meals Ready to Eat], you know, clean his face off and stuff like that, but the next day, he was pretty bruised. "


The detainee was beaten and interrogated for about two hours, Nick said. “He was there for a long time, a long time.” Later on, Nick said, the interrogators told guards and other soldiers that the detainee had inflicted the damage on himself: “They blamed it on him—a ‘falling-down-the-stairs’ deal or whatever.”

As it turned out, the detainee who was beaten was Iranian: Nick said he was a middle aged man, probably in his late 40s, and said he was probably a small-time businessman or smuggler who brought electronics to and from Syria and through Kurdish areas in Iran and Iraq. The fact that the man didn’t speak Arabic apparently made the interrogators beat him more severely

The guy didn’t speak Arabic at all; he spoke Farsi. And there was nobody who spoke Farsi on the post and he just kept getting the crap beat out of him because they thought that he was being silent when he only spoke Farsi.

Nick said that one of the Special Forces soldiers on the base—who was not trained as an interrogator or part of a military intelligence unit—was responsible:

The guy who was doing most of the roughing up in that case, I’m pretty sure that he was one of the SF [Special Forces] guys that just rotated through, and was just helping out in the interrogation. But they really thought this guy had a bunch of information, and he never opened his mouth except to scream incoherently, when he was getting hit.


As described earlier, Nick and MPs he worked with were under orders to keep newly arrived detainees awake and standing in the metal container. But Nick ordered the enlisted soldiers working under him not to hit detainees:

[I told them:] this is what I expect, this is how I do things. I don’t care what the other guys do, the rules are “don’t bring a camera,” so don’t bring a camera, you don’t hit the guys. I try to tell them to treat them the way you wanna be treated and stuff like that. . . Geneva Conventions, that’s what I do—I remind them of Geneva Conventions—this is what we do, this is what we don’t do to prisoners.

Nick said that neither he nor any of his troops had training in detention operations, or Geneva Conventions standards on treatment of detainees:

Geneva Conventions—I mean, a lot of people’s knowledge—99 percent of people’s knowledge extends to “hey, there’s a Geneva Conventions Category one in the back of my ID card,” [referring to the classification written on soldiers identification cards]. Or: “Geneva’s a town in Switzerland.” For a lot of people, you know, that’s what it extends to. I knew a little bit more, you know, as far as that goes: Those are rules governing warfare and stuff like that. But I didn’t know a lot of specific information or anything like that. I looked up specific information based on the treatment of POWs, detainees, etc. etc. That’s what I was looking for. And right now, I couldn’t quote you much. . . .

That’s pretty much how it went. That’s the prevailing thought [process] and it was mentioned that, “Oh, that’s an antiquated set of rules.”

“You can’t get information out of people these days without breaking them”—that kind of thing. That was the prevalent attitude. That was voiced by the E6. That was the quote: “You cannot get information out of them without breaking that stuff.”

From Nick’s perspective, the interrogators did not appear professional. He believed that much of the abuse stemmed from racist attitudes toward detainees. Many of the guards and interrogators called Iraqi’s “Hajis,” and would often mock or taunt them. Nick also said he didn’t believe that abusive interrogation tactics worked:

"No Blood, No Foul" Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq - Human Rights Watch [WEB]

"No Blood, No Foul" Soldiers’ Accounts of Detainee Abuse in Iraq - Human Rights Watch [PDF]


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