a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Look pretty similar to me

Posted by Thomas Nephew on June 23rd, 2005

At the first interrogation, they asked me what kind of organization I belonged to, and where its meetings took place. They were not able to get anything out of me. At that point they ripped some of my clothing off of me, laid me on a block (like the ones on which wood is sawed): two held me, and two others beat me with rubber clubs. When I lost consciousness, they would bring me to by kicking me or throwing a bucket of cold water on me. They didn’t get anything out of me. My legs were shaking when I returned to the cell, my whole body was black and blue.” *

In a written statement XXXXXXXX claims, “They tortured me and cuffed me in an act called the scorpion, and pouring cold water on me. They tortured me from the morning until the morning of the next day, and when I fell down from the severing torture I fell on the barbed wires, and then they dragged me from my feet and I was wounded and, and they punched me on my stomach.” *

In 1943, “Masuy,” a Belgian who ran Gestapo black market operations in France, made choking his signature technique. Masuy’s henchmen held the victim’s head under water while Masuy offered cognac and questioned the victim. Masuy maintained at his trial in 1947 that choking was “more humane” than plucking nails.” *

In the case of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a high-level detainee who is believed to have helped plan the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, C.I.A. interrogators used graduated levels of force, including a technique known as “water boarding,” in which a prisoner is strapped down, forcibly pushed under water and made to believe he might drown. *

“In 1935, the Soviet authorities also passed a notorious law making children as young as twelve liable to be charged as adults. Afterward, … children of “enemies” suspected of collaborating with their parents, found their way into juvenile prison… […] Some younger prisoners were also interrogated like adults. … Kmiecik was kept standing or sitting on a backless stool for hours on end, fed salty soup, and denied water. Among other things, his questioners wanted to know “How much did Mr. Churchill pay you for providing information.” Kmiecik did not know who Churchill was, and asked to have the question explained.” *

He [a 16 year old boy] was very afraid, very alone. He had the thinnest little arms I’ve ever seen. His whole body was trembling. His wrists were so thin that we couldn’t even get handcuffs on him. As soon as I saw him for the first time and was escorting him, I felt sorry for him. The interrogation specialists poured water over him and put him in a car. They drove through the night with him, and at that time it was very, very cold. After that they smeared him with mud and showed him to his father who was also in jail. They were trying all these other interrogation methods on him. But he wouldn’t talk. The interrogation specialists told me, after the father saw his son in this state, his heart broke. He cried, and promised to tell them everything they wanted to know. […]

Suhaib also reports of a sick 15 year old boy. They made him run up and down the corridor with heavy canisters of water. So long, that he collapsed from exhaustion, said Suhaib. Then they brought his captured father. With a hood over his head. The boy collapsed from shock again.*

Stress positions include Japanese kneeling positions, Soviet “sitting” positions and the Israeli shabeh techniques. But the American form draws on the oldest technique of all, forced standing (called the planton in Latin America and the stoika in the Soviet Union). The hooded man in the famous photo from Abu Ghraib was kept standing on a box for a whole evening. Like water torture, forced standing leaves no marks.

By the 1920s, forced standing was a routine police torture in America. In 1931, the National Commission on Lawless Enforcement of the Law found numerous American police departments using forced standing to coerce confessions. In the 1930s, Joseph Stalin’s NKVD used forced standing to coerce seemingly voluntary confessions for show trials. […]

…The Gestapo routinely used it as a punishment in concentration camps, sometimes creating tiny, narrow cells where prisoners had to stand all night.” *

However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours? D. R. [Donald Rumsfeld] *

Gestapo interrogation methods included: repeated near drownings of a prisoner in a bathtub filled with ice-cold water; electric shocks by attaching wires to hands, feet, ears and genitalia; crushing a man’s testicles in a special vice; securing a prisoner’s wrists behind his back then hanging him by the arms causing shoulder dislocation; beatings with rubber nightsticks and cow-hide whips; and burning flesh with matches or a soldering iron.” *

XXXXXXXX came into the Sacramento Field Office and provided the following: XXXXXXXX observed numerous physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees conducted in XXXXXXXX Iraq. He described that such abuses included strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations. XXXXXXXX was providing this information to the FBI based on his knowledge that XXXXXXXX were engaged in a cover-up of these abuses. He stated these cover-up efforts included XXXXXXXX… *

* RECORD OF WITNESS TESTIMONY no. 117, recorded in Malmö, 13 January 1946. Voices From Ravensbruck, Polish Documentary Institute, Lund University Library.
* Subject: RE BOC E-mail, Priority, XXXXXXXX 06/29/2004, US Army CID request to interview FBI SA’s re detainee abuse allegation, obtained by ACLU FOIA action, published to Internet on 12/15/2004. “XXXXXXXX” means something was redacted.
* Of human bondage. Darius Rejali,, June 18, 2004.
* Harsh C.I.A. Methods Cited in Top Qaeda Interrogations, by James Risen, David Johnston and Neil A Lewis. New York Times, May 13, 2004.
* Gulag: A History, pp. 328-329 (paperback edition). Anne Applebaum. 2003, Random House, Inc. New York.
* German TV SWR interviews, July 4, 2004, with U.S. Army Sergeant Samuel Provance and Iraqi TV reporter Suhaib Badr-Addin Al-Baz, translated in this blog.
* Rejali, ibid.
* Counter-Resistance Techniques Action Memo, 11/27/2002, by DoD General Counsel William J. Haynes, II. Handwritten comment by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
* The Gestapo Is Born. The History Place, 2001.
* URGENT REPORT, Sacramento Division, FBI, 6/25/2004, obtained by ACLU FOIA action, published to Internet on 12/15/2004. “XXXXXXXX” means something was redacted.

One Response to “Look pretty similar to me”

  1. » Blog Archive » Obama and Durbin’s "mistake" Says:

    […] advocacy is meaningless or mistaken. Durbin’s wasn’t; his comparisons were apt, even eerily precise. It’s true that much of what passes for political debate is more heat than light. But I think […]

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