Thursday, July 28, 2005

So I cheered up....

And sure enough, it got worse:

DENVER (AP) - A National Guardsman testifying at a hearing for U.S. soldiers accused of killing an Iraq general said he saw classified U.S. personnel beat prisoners with a sledgehammer handle and mock the general's death, according to a transcript.

The transcript, obtained by The Denver Post, includes an exchange during the hearing that suggests the CIA was involved.

Sgt. 1st Class Gerold Pratt of the Utah National Guard said he saw unidentified U.S. personnel use the 15-inch wooden handle to hit prisoners.

``They'd ask you a question, and if they didn't like it, they'd hit you,'' he said, according to the transcript obtained this week by the Post under a court order. Pratt testified at the hearing in March.

The hearing will determine whether three soldiers from Fort Carson will stand trial for the death of Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush during an interrogation in 2003.

The soldiers have denied wrongdoing and say commanders sanctioned their actions.

No, really, a lot worse:

FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) - The use of dogs during interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was recommended by the commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention center during a visit in 2003, the former warden of Abu Ghraib said.

``We understood that he was sent over by the secretary of defense,'' Maj. David Dinenna testified Wednesday during a hearing for two Army dog handlers accused of prisoner abuse.

Dinenna also testified that teams of trainers were sent to Abu Ghraib from Guantanamo Bay to try to incorporate certain interrogation techniques in Iraq.

The defense maintains the use of unmuzzled dogs to intimidate Abu Ghraib inmates was sanctioned high up in the chain of command and was not just a game played by two rogue soldiers, as the government claims.

``They did what they were instructed to do,'' defense attorney Harvey J. Volzer said.

Prosecutors say the two soldiers used their dogs in a competition to frighten prisoners into urinating on themselves in December 2003 and January 2004.
And it all depends on what the meaning of "is," is. Apparently:

AMERICA AGAIN parsed the treatment of prisoners from 9/11 and Iraq. A military investigation of alleged abuses at Guantanamo Bay found that, yes, some prisoners were physically and mentally roughed up under techniques approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The most notable detainee was Mohamed Qahtani, the alleged ''20th hijacker" of 9/11.

Yes, the military admits, Qahtani was led around on a dog leash and forced to do dog tricks. Yes, he was forced to stand naked in front of female soldiers, wear a bra, and wear a woman's thong panties on his head. Yes, he was forced to dance with a male interrogator. Yes, he was told he was a homosexual and that his mother and sister were whores. Yes, some other prisoners were treated in a similar manner.

Yes, the military admits that this was ''abusive and degrading."

But, no, the military said it was not torture. Lieutenant General Randall Schmidt told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday that, overall, ''detention and interrogation operations were safe, secure, and humane."

If you need me, I'll be reading about the Desert Fathers. Suddenly 4th century Egypt looks very inviting.

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