Southern Religion

Interrogation at Guantanamo

Three of four prisoners died at Guantanamo Bay detention camp during or after interrogation on the night of June 9, 2006. Although they were officially declared “suicides.” And this was generally accepted until Joe Hickman, who was a sergeant and on duty at the time, stepped forward.

This we learn from Scott Horton’s Harper’s Magazine Jan. 18 account of events leading to the death of the three.

A fourth survived. He was, Horton wrote, “a forty-two-year-old Saudi Arabian named Shaker Aamer” who “is married to a British woman and was in the process of becoming a British subject when he was captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in 2001:

United States authorities insist that he carried a gun and served Osama bin Laden as an interpreter. Aamer denies this. At Guantánamo, Aamer’s fluency in English soon allowed him to play an important role in camp politics. According to both Aamer’s attorney and press accounts furnished by Army Colonel Michael Bumgarner, the Camp America commander, Aamer cooperated closely with Bumgarner in efforts to bring a 2005 hunger strike to an end. He persuaded several prisoners to break their strike for a while, but the settlement collapsed and soon afterward Aamer was sent to solitary confinement. Then, on the night of June 9, 2006, Aamer says he was the victim of an act of striking brutality.

Amer described it all to his lawyer, Zachary Katznelson, some weeks later. Katznelson “filed an affidavit with the federal district court in Washington, setting it out:”

On June 9th, 2006, [Aamer] was beaten for two and a half hours straight. Seven naval military police participated in his beating. Mr. Aamer stated he had refused to provide a retina scan and fingerprints. He reported to me that he was strapped to a chair, fully restrained at the head, arms and legs. The MPs inflicted so much pain, Mr. Aamer said he thought he was going to die. The MPs pressed on pressure points all over his body: his temples, just under his jawline, in the hollow beneath his ears. They choked him. They bent his nose repeatedly so hard to the side he thought it would break. They pinched his thighs and feet constantly. They gouged his eyes. They held his eyes open and shined a mag-lite in them for minutes on end, generating intense heat. They bent his fingers until he screamed. When he screamed, they cut off his airway, then put a mask on him so he could not cry out.

Horton goes on to explain:

The treatment Aamer describes is noteworthy because it produces excruciating pain without leaving lasting marks. Still, the fact that Aamer had his airway cut off and a mask put over his face “so he could not cry out” is an alarming fact. This is the same technique that appears to have been used on the three deceased prisoners.

The possibility of this kind of action is part of what Evangelicals for Human Rights and other people of faith called out against during the Bush administration. And have since asked to have thoroughly investigated. With good cause, it seems.

[H/T: The Daily Dish]

January 18, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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