Sunday, February 20, 2005
Abu Ghraib on the Hudson
[T]errorism suspects - none of whom were ultimately charged with anything related to terrorism - alleged in sworn affidavits and in interviews with Justice Department officials that correction officers:
o Humiliated them by making fun of - and sometimes painfully squeezing - their genitals.
o Deprived them of regular sleep for weeks or months.
o Shackled their hands and feet before smashing them repeatedly face-first into concrete walls.
o Forced them in winter to stand outdoors at dawn while dressed in light cotton prison garb and no shoes, sometimes for hours.
The problem here is this is not a story out of Guantanamo Bay or Iraq or Afghanistan, but took place in New York City. From New York Daily News: Brooklyn's Abu Ghraib
On the ninth floor of the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in Sunset Park, terrorism suspects swept off the streets after the Sept. 11 attacks were repeatedly stripped naked and frequently were physically abused, the Justice Department's inspector general has found.
The Justice Department's inspector general has substantiated some of the prisoners' allegations - and some incidents were captured on videotape. But the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any federal correction officer at MDC.
Inspector General Glenn Fine, whose staff reviewed 380 MDC videotapes, reported in 2003 that "These tapes substantiated many of the detainees' allegations." Furthermore, the officers were not just a few bad apples but "a significant percentage of those who had regular contact with the detainees," Fine wrote last March.
The Justice Department currently is reconsidering its rejection of a News Freedom of Information request for the tapes, after the paper filed an appeal.
Along with my natural disgust to read what these people were subjected to, one thought that is foremost in my mind is: All this seems to have taken place immediately after Sept 11, 2001. This would be before the White House had established its "torture policy". I will have to look more into the dates. But on its surface, it seems the US government may have been using torture before it had even offically decided torture was ok.
Needless to say, lawsuits have been filed against the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Let me close with one more quote from the article:
Oded Ellner - one of five Israeli Jewish terrorist suspects - said he sought medical help after MDC's allegedly meager, often spoiled meals left him with severe dysentery symptoms. The doctor came with five guards and a camera, he said. She then ordered him to strip and shift his backside into a small space in the cell door so she could conduct a rectal exam from outside the cell.
"I'm a human being, not an animal!" Ellner said he shouted. "I have a right to an exam." The guards, he said, "just laughed," and all walked away.
Note the use of a female doctor asking him to expose his rectum.