Monday, May 23, 2005

Detainee treatment in Afghanistan

I read this article on the plane last night, and it quite literally nauseated me:

Four days before, on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Id al-Fitr, Dilawar set out from his tiny village of Yakubi in a prized new possession, a used Toyota sedan that his family bought for him a few weeks earlier to drive as a taxi.

After picking up three passengers, he passed a base used by American troops, Camp Salerno, which had been the target of a rocket attack that morning. Militiamen loyal to the guerrilla commander guarding the base, Jan Baz Khan, stopped the Toyota at a checkpoint.

Dilawar and his passengers were detained and turned over to American soldiers at the base as suspects in the attack. The three passengers were eventually flown to Guantánamo.

Dilawar was sent to Bagram and soon labeled "noncompliant." One of the guards, Specialist Corey Jones, said the prisoner spat in his face and started kicking him. Jones responded, he said, with a couple of knee strikes to the leg of the shackled man.

"He screamed out, 'Allah! Allah! Allah!' and my first reaction was that he was crying out to his god," Jones said to investigators. "Everybody heard him cry out and thought it was funny."

"It became a kind of running joke, and people kept showing up to give this detainee a common peroneal strike just to hear him scream out 'Allah,"' he said. "It went on over a 24-hour period, and I would think that it was over 100 strikes."

By the time Dilawar was brought in for his final interrogation in the first hours of Dec. 10, he appeared exhausted and was babbling that his wife had died. He also told the interrogators that he had been beaten by the guards.

When Dilawar was unable to kneel, said the interpreter, Ali Baryalai, the interrogators pulled him to his feet and pushed him against the wall.

"It looked to me like Dilawar was trying to cooperate, but he couldn't physically perform the tasks," Baryalai said.

Soon afterward he was dead.

The findings of Dilawar's autopsy were succinct. He had had some coronary artery disease, the medical examiner reported, but what killed him was the same sort of "blunt force trauma to the lower extremities" that had led to Habibullah's death.

One of the coroners later translated the assessment at a pre-trial hearing for Brand, saying the tissue in the young man's legs "had basically been pulpified."

"I've seen similar injuries in an individual run over by a bus," the coroner, Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Rouse, added.

"Pulpified"? I didn't even know that was a word, and honestly, it sickened me for my country. This guy was an innocent taxi driver, for God's sake.

Can anyone sane not regard this as torture? And you think it's the Newsweek article that's causing the anti-U.S. rioting?

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