Monday, February 16, 2009

Details from Rush Limbaugh's "Club Gitmo" if you have the courage to read them...

... in the testimony of Specialist Four Brandon Neely, a young MP at Gitmo.

It runs to 15,000 words, including his background material.

I have worked with many young men like SP4 Neely. While I am sure, as with any emotional testimony from memory, there will be details that are somewhat off, the whole thing has the ring of absolute personal truth.

You need to read this document. Today.

An excerpt:

Did you witness sexual abuse?

The in-processing changed a bit, especially once Delta block was finished. The detainees were still taken off the bus and placed in the holding pin, but instead of walking way to the back of the camp, directly across the holding area was an open spot of the camp where a big tent was put up. And this became the new in-processing area. Now, when they were taken out of the holding area, the escort team would take them to this tent where they would go through the same in-processing, except now there was a doctor who would check their rectum area (we were told the rectal exam was to check for any kind of weapons that could be hidden there; we were told that, in Afghanistan, a grenade had been found in the rectum of a detainee).

So an escorting MP would pull the detainee's pants down and the doctor would instruct the detainee to lean over the table. Then, with a surgical glove on his hand, the doctor shoved his finger in the rectum of the detainee. Both times I witnessed this I never once saw any kind of lubrication used; they did not use the lube that was on the table to perform this. This exam was not done in any gentle manner whatsoever. It seemed to me that the doctor just reached back and shoved his finger as hard as he could in the rectum of the detainee. I witnessed this twice with my own eyes (at this time I was working blocks more). But I heard it talked about many times from other soldiers.

Even when I was not witness to these exams, but was still within earshot of the tent they were performed in, I could hear the detainees scream and cry out during the exam. I even remember one detainee coming out of the tent after this looking like he was in tears. I know through talking with other people who witnessed this that the doctor would make little smart comments before he did the exam like "this won't hurt; it will only take a minute," in a very sarcastic manner. And that sometimes the doctor would even be laughing.

Particularly compelling at the very end is this comment from a Gitmo guard:

Since we started this interview President Barack Obama has said the detention facility in Guantanmo Bay will be closed within a year. That's great, but what are WE as the United States of America, the people who kidnapped and tortured these people going to do for them? Just send them home like nothing happened? In the USA if you are sentenced to prison and later on you are found not to be guilty through DNA or what not you are given compensation. Are we going to give compensation to these individuals that were so wrongfully held for so many years? We should. We started this mess and it's time we attempt to help this people move on with their lives. The sad part of this all is the people who are responsible. Former President George Bush and Former Vice President Dick Cheney will never be held accountable for the decisions they made. It's the detainees and the guards like myself that will have to live every day with what they went through, saw, and did while there.

SP4 Neely's interview is part of the Guantanamo Testimonials Project at the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas.

The existence of this site and this project makes the point I was trying to make with Dana about a week ago: getting to the truth is too important a mission to be entrusted to the government.


Anonymous said...

This breaks my heart. How could we have allowed such barbaric acts? How do you ever right such a wrong?

People need to go to jail. NOW!

Can our government handle this correctly? If not, we the people should do everything in our power to make them.

Hube said...

Sorry Steve, but although I'm fortunate enough to get lube when I get a prostate exam, it's far from comfortable. The first few times I had 'em *I* had tears in my eyes. And guess what? I wasn't a terrorist or wannabe terrorist that may have had a predilection to hide things in my anus.

I'm sure you can find real instances of mistreatment that have occurred during the last 8 years. This one doesn't even get a wince from me. Sorry.

Oh, and pandora? Maybe you oughta send in your last comment to our new C-in-C. 'Cause he didn't get the message -- he's continuing virtually all of Bush's programs with regards to the War on Terror.

Steven H. Newton said...

Did you read the rest of the interview? Apparently not.

Moreover, having spent 21 years in military medical, I can assure you that this kind of conduct by physicians would be considered criminally actionable.

Hube said...

Steve: No, I only read what you posted here as I was in haste. Is there more to the rectal exam story? If so, I'll read up on it later. If the excerpt is pretty much all there is, my comments stand.

I find it difficult to feel empathy for al Qaeda types regarding this situation, especially when inmates in our very own prisons are subject to much more brutal treatment and humiliation on a daily basis ... and they may have been convicted for something a LOT less egregious.

Hube said...

Steve. I read through the article. My comments remain. I find little that is objectionable, especially in time of war. Having female guards escort prisoners, having leg shackles on them, occasional loud music...I heard all about these back when. I'm not impressed nor upset.

What you posted earlier about detainees in Afghanistan getting the shit beat out of them and/or killed as a result -- that's quite a different story.

And once again, contrast how the Gitmo detainees are (were) treated with our own US prison population.

Hube said...

(BTW, I had the interview open when I wrote my second comment .... I didn't scan the article in just six-seven minutes...)

Steven H. Newton said...

Then we're going to have to disagree on what constitutes acceptable conduct.

I do not choose to allow my enemy's conduct to become the measuring stick by which I will judge my own.

I speak as someone who has worked with MPs, including detention and prison settings. Such conduct as SP4 Neely records is not legal under military standards, nor does it meet the standard of being necessary for good order or the safety of those concerned.

I don't give a shit about females taking prisoners to the showers, either, but I also don't agree that systematic humiliation and petty violence are acceptable from US miltiary personnel at any time.

Maybe Christianity has sapped my moral fiber. I don't think so (try breaking into my house at night to find out). But I cannot ignore the injunctions about how we are to treat those in our power.

No, I'm not naive--I've probably spent as much time researching Islamic fundamentalism as anybody you will run across. There are two ways to lose an intergenerational conflict with Islam:

1) Militarily

2) Morally

I think #2 is worse, all things considered.

Hube said...

Steve: Obviously I respect your opinions on just about any issue. I do here, too.

First, I don't see any evidence of systematic (and constant) humiliation and petty violence. Instances, yes. Warranted? Some yes, some not. Personally, if an MP is hit, spit on or whatever, I've little problem with the guard smacking his face or pushing him to the ground. As I said, it happens in our own prisons.

That said, I hardly think that makes our enemies' actions our own measuring stick. Indeed, it's still FAR from such. Just look at the overall conditions of Gitmo. Cripes, it's magnitudes better than our own prisons in many respects.

I'm not asking you or anyone to "ignore the injunctions about how we are to treat those in our power." I also don't think pushing back at the radical Islamists (if they come at us) as we have is going to make them any more or any less radical than they already are.

If anything, as you constantly (and rightly) note here, getting away from our interventionist military policy in the mid-east (and everywhere else) would be a good step in the right direction. But I think that would "deradicalize" the radical Islamists only by a scant amount. Unfortunately.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Newton, again I am able to find hope for the future of libertarianism in America at this blog, and for this I thank-you. The LP National's almost complete silence about the Bush Administration's unconstitutional, inhumane, and obscene theft of All Humans' Natural Rights under false predicates of national security, has caused me to believe that it has become an abomination to libertarianism. Liberty is far more than a right to possess and amass physical property.

Hube, you are very wrong about what has been done, and do a great disservice to America with your mirthful spinning of humans, detained under the colour of authority imparted by the American flag, with a claim that it is analogous to a ham-fisted exam by a proctologist. This defames the Dreamtime America. Scot Horton (NY human rights attorney, not the staff member) describes it succintly:

"...the Nelly account shows that health professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisoners—suggesting a systematic collapse of professional ethics driven by the Pentagon itself. He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized Bush Administration tactic–the importance of which became apparent to me when I participated in some Capitol Hill negotiations with White House representatives relating to legislation creating criminal law accountability for contractors. The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgement that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes."

Scot Horton, "Former Gitmo Guard Tells All", Harpers Magazine, February 15, 2009

"Rape by instrumentality" is forced sodomy with a foreign object, or as it is better known amongst BuShilling equivocators of liberty: "Compassionate Conservatism".

Our Natural rights are not derived from The Constitution, they are preexistent and preeminent to it. They are universal rights, and as such, are not bounded by National borders or citizenry. The Constitution is instead a framework that binds our leviathan's legitimate acts, and forces it to jump through proper procedural hoops before it can rightfully strip any human of life, liberty and/or property.

The moment that these detainees were held as "unlawful combatants", the government was holding these humans as criminal actors, not protected under the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, and at that instant, The Constitution limits the rightful actions of our state. The US Constitution, 13th Amendment, Section 1; textually affirms that Guantanamo Bay is a place that exists without these Constitutional restraints:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Any place in the universe that a human can, by presidential fiat alone, be determined to be an "unlawful combatant" is clearly a place subject to the government's jurisdiction. Due Process of Law applies.

This is my country, and I have served the nation militarily in a foreign theatre of war. I am not one to take my oaths freely sworn lightly, and still clearly remember my promise made a long time ago, to Defend the Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic, and this I will never concede. How far down this dark nightmarish road do you desire to continue?