June 12, 2005

Time Magazine Goes Inside A Gitmo Interrogation

Time Magazine has acquired a secret interrogation log from Guantanamo Bay's Camp X-ray, one that tracks the investigation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani. The diary shows the range of methods used in his interrogation, and Time Magazine certainly plays this angle to the hilt in its press release:

The log reads like a night watchman’s diary. It is a sometimes shocking and often mundane hour-by-hour, even minute-by-minute account of a campaign to extract information. The log records every time al-Qahtani eats, sleeps, exercises or goes to the bathroom and every time he complies with or refuses his interrogators’ requests. The detainee’s physical condition is frequently checked by medical corpsmen—sometimes as often as three times a day—which indicates either spectacular concern about al-Qahtani’s health or persistent worry about just how much stress he can take.

Or, more likely, Qahtani's self-declared hunger strikes and resultant dehydration created the need for frequent checks by the corpsmen. As the text continues to explain, Qahtani would refuse water in an attempt to discontinue his interrogations. The allegedly abusive Gitmo interrogators would respond by providing Qahtani immediate medical attention, including an IV on at least one occasion, to restore his hydration.

Of course, this was not the only effort made by Gitmo personnel. The Time report includes mention of the terrible, inhumane methods often alleged by the righteous at Amnesty International and other self-appointed watchdogs of the American military. Readers will be excited to learn of these horror-provoking techniques that Time reveals in its exclusive:

* Standing for prolonged periods (perhaps best referred to as the Disneyland treatment)

* Shaving of facial hair

* Solitary confinement

* Pouring water on his head

* Poking a finger into his chest

* Removal of some clothing

* Puppet shows -- no, I'm not kidding

* Being in the same room as attractive women

Worst of all, the one method on which Human Rights Watch could nail the US military, is the playing of music by Christina Aguilera as a punishment for non-cooperation. Other than Michael Bolton, which I believe would be an explicit Geneva Convention violation, it's hard to imagine a crueler torture.

Seriously, though, is this the worst Time could dig up? This treatment hardly qualifies as anything except mundane for intelligence work -- and this suspect has to have been potentially the highest-value detainee held at Gitmo. If the guards had been tempted to turn the screws on anyone, it would have been Qahtani. Instead, they harassed him and annoyed him, but other than the Aguilera music, no one could possibly claim that Qahtani had been tortured based on this oversensationalized report of his treatment.

Perhaps the final Time article has revelations not included in this press release. If this is all they've got, perhaps the get-Gitmo hysteria will finally go away. (via INDC Journal, who adds a worthy visual)

UPDATE: Oh, Time forgot to mention one more technique that CNN reports in its review of Time's material. In the interest of fair play to those who believe we're torturing people at Gitmo, here's the passage:

The interrogation techniques included refusing al-Qahtani a bathroom break and forcing him to urinate in his pants.

Here come the hysterics in the Senate to the rescue of terrorist detainees:

"It's not appropriate," said Sen. Chuck Hagel on CNN's "Late Edition." "It's not at all within the standards of who we are as a civilized people, what our laws are.

"If in fact we are treating prisoners this way, it's not only wrong, it's dangerous and very dumb and very shortsighted," the Nebraska Republican said.

"This is not how you win the people of the world over to our side, especially the Muslim world."

For one thing, that's why the report was classified SECRET ORCON; it wasn't meant to wind up in Time Magazine. For another, we're not interested in winning over the Muslim world if it means we don't interrogate terrorists in order to prevent the deaths of American civilians. What kind of stupid statement is that? Chuck Hagel needs to reassess his priorities, especially if he plans on running for President as rumored. If he hasn't got the stomach for protecting the country, then he shouldn't even fill his Senate seat, let alone become commander in chief of our military.

The Gitmo hysteria has gone on long enough. Someone throw cold water on Hagel and take him out to Lower Manhattan to remind him what we're trying to prevent.

UPDATE II: Now this would be torture.


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