A Few More Bad Apples


A Freedom of Information Act request from the ACLU has led to the release of a series of FBI documents with yet more depressing details about the abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay. The LA Times and The New York Times both have lead stories today on the whole ugly, depressing business. Documents indicate that, in addition to being, you know, morally repugnant, the harsh tactics described weren't particularly good at eliciting information. Some choice bits:

[A]n agent from the Washington field office reported that an Abu Ghraib detainee was "cuffed" and placed into a position the military called "The Scorpion" hold. Then, according to what the prisoner told the FBI, he was doused with cold water, dropped onto barbed wire, dragged by his feet and punched in the stomach.

[Another] was reportedly spat upon and then beaten when he attempted to roll onto his stomach to protect himself. At one point, soldiers apparently were "beating him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor," knocking him unconscious.

Another agent reported this past August that while in Cuba he often saw detainees chained hand and foot in a fetal position on the floor "with no chair, food or water."

"Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left for 18-24 hours or more," the agent wrote.

[An email by the] "On Scene Commander—Baghdad," contains ten explicit mentions of an "Executive Order" that the author said mandated US military personnel to engage in extraordinary interrogation tactics.

FBI agents were apparently nonplussed that military interrogators would often attempt to pass as FBI, in what at least one agent regarded as a ploy to dodge accountability. It's increasingly clear (if it wasn't already quite clear) that this sort of treatment was systematic, not restricted to a few grunts playing fraternity pranks.