Gitmo: How do you want to be raped today?

HT: 3Quarks.

FORMER GITMO GUARD TELLS ALL

Scott Horton in Harper’s:

ScreenHunter_04 Feb. 18 09.49Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong, he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.

Neelys comprehensive account runs to roughly 15,000 words. It was compiled by law students at the University of California at Davis and can be accessed here. Three things struck me in reading through the account.

First, Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. militarys traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety, and, as any person familiar with the vast psychological literature in the area (think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, for instance) would have anticipated produced abuses. . . . 

Second, there is a good deal of discussion of displays of contempt for Islam by the camp authorities, and also specific documentation of mistreatment of the Quran. . . .

Third, the Nelly account shows that health professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisonerssuggesting 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 tacticthe 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 acknowledgement 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.

Our Government was complicit in all this.  It was defending civilisation after all.

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melaleuca
melaleuca
12 years ago

I have a premonition and it is this: In a day or two a god-bothering blogger will waddle onto this thread and chastise us all for making an odious mockery of George W Bush (PBUH).

But on a more serious note …

Before George W Bush turned Gitmo into a torture camp, Clinton happily outsourced torture to countries like Egypt. Apparently Obama has reinstated the old Clinton outsourcing policy. Since the types of torture known to be used in places like Egypt are significantly worse than what we now know was done in Gitmo, I think we have to conclude that the Obama administration will be at least as morally repugnant as the Bush Junior administration.

Depressing isn’t it.

NPOV
NPOV
12 years ago

Mela, not that it excuses it, but surely it would fair to guess that somewhat fewer prisoners were sent to Egypt etc. under extraordinary rendition policy than the number that have been held and most likely torturerd in Gitmo the last 8 years?
Also, do you have evidence that Obama is restoring such policy? This article suggests otherwise…

Nanustalker
Nanustalker
12 years ago

Smells of someone after compo’ from the new touchy-feely Administration. I wouldn’t be taken in by this.

melaleuca
melaleuca
12 years ago

NPOV, I was thinking of stories like this: http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-rendition1-2009feb01,0,7548176,full.story

But maybe I’ve judged Obama too soon.

Paul Frijters
Paul Frijters(@paul-frijters)
12 years ago

Nick,

always heartwarming to see people like you publicly objecting to these misdeeds supposedly done for our benefit. I of course wholly agree with the post.

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[…] recent revelations by an Army Private, Brandon Neely, who served as a prison guard at Guantanamo (h/t Club Troppo).

fox
fox
12 years ago

Our government knew, or should have known, and did nothing to try to bring an end to it.

What is more worrying to me is that our government (in our name etc.) not only kept quiet about it anything it knew but also actively and constantly lied to us about what it knew.

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[…] Gitmo: How do you want to be raped today?, by Nicholas Gruen, Wednesday, February 18, 2009. […]