Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 

See, when we do it, it's not torture

Boy, I'm sure glad this was nothing more than a mild fraternity hazing prank and not something serious.
F.B.I. Memos Criticized Practices at Guantánamo

By NEIL A. LEWIS

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - Confidential memorandums from F.B.I. officials that were disclosed Monday show the bureau repeatedly criticized "aggressive interrogation practices" that its agents observed being used by military personnel at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

One document, obtained by The Associated Press, described a case in which an agent observed a female interrogator squeezing a male detainee's genitals and bending back his thumbs. Other memorandums were provided by the government in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The memorandums show that relations between agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and senior military officials at the detention facility in Cuba grew heated as agents at Guantánamo objected to the interrogation techniques, arguing that they were not effective. It is not clear whether the bureau raised ethical questions regarding the treatment of detainees.

An F.B.I. official whose name was edited from a memorandum dated May 10 wrote that a sharp exchange of views occurred at a meeting with Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, then the commander of the detention facility at Guantánamo, and Maj. Gen. Michael B. Dunleavey, who was in charge of the intelligence operation there.

"Both sides agreed that the bureau has its way of doing things and the D.O.D. has their marching orders from SecDef," using abbreviations for the Department of Defense and the secretary of defense. "Although the two techniques differed drastically, both generals believed they had a job to do."

The agent wrote in the memorandum to his superior that the information obtained by the military in certain cases was no different from what the bureau obtained "using simple investigative techniques."

The document obtained by The Associated Press is a letter written by a senior F.B.I. official to a military officer investigating abuses at Guantánamo and elsewhere. According to The A.P., the July 14 letter was written by Thomas Harrington, a bureau counterterrorism expert who led a team of investigators at Guantánamo, to Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder, the head of the Army's criminal investigative division. It said that F.B.I. agents observed "highly aggressive" interrogations at Guantánamo more than a year before the Abu Ghraib disclosures.

In addition to seeing a female interrogator grab the genitals of a handcuffed detainee and bend back his thumbs, the Harrington letter said, another agent saw a prisoner "gagged with duct tape that covered much of his head" because he would not stop chanting passages from the Koran. In a third incident, it said, agents saw a dog being used to intimidate a detainee. The incidents occurred in the fall of 2002, the letter said.

An Army spokesman confirmed the accuracy of the Associated Press report, as did F.B.I. officials. The spokesman, Maj. Hank McIntire, said the incidents described in the Harrington letter were under investigation.

Anthony Romero, the executive director of the A.C.L.U., said the documents demonstrated that despite Pentagon denials treatment amounting to torture was used over a long period at Guantánamo.
Cause, you know, fraternities have women grab genitals and gag pledges with duct tape and threaten them with dogs all the time, right? Cause that's what makes America's colleges great, dammit!
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