From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Thursday, May 13, 2004

It's amazing what happens when you find a cure for cranial-rectal shunt...

Belle Waring of Crooked Timber has a post on this story from the NY Times (free registration required). The story explores the fact that the Abu Ghraib abuses were not isolated to Iraq, as reports now indicate the same treatments being used in Afghanistan. Some of the more notable mentions:

A former Afghan police colonel gave a graphic account in an interview this week of being subjected to beating, kicking, sleep deprivation, taunts and sexual abuse during about 40 days he spent in American custody in Afghanistan last summer. He also said he had been repeatedly photographed, often while naked.


His account could not be independently verified, but members of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission accompanied a reporter during the interview and said his story matched the one given to them last fall, shortly after his release and long before the abuse at the Abu Ghraib near Baghdad came to light.

With the Abu Ghraib abuses now being seen under light of day, it's not going to matter much in the court of public opinion whether these allegations are true or not. The current administration has long ago sold out our worldwide credibility in the name of folly and misadventure in Iraq that will at this point have no payoff at all on any level.

It doesn't help matters when the powers that be insist on having their heads in the sand or other orfices when dealing with allegations:

It (a statement from the US Embassy in Kabul) quoted the American ambassador in Kabul, Zalmay Khalilzad, as saying, "To the best of our knowledge this is the first time anyone in the military chain of command or the United States Embassy has heard of this alleged mistreatment."

But a member of the human rights commission said members had mentioned details of Mr. Siddiqui's case, apparently the first complaint of sexual abuse from a detainee in Afghanistan, to American military officials here last year.

Belle has a comment that says it all in response to one really nice jewel of wisdom from one of the COs dealing with the allegations:

Mr. Siddiqui [a former Afghan police colonel detained by US forces for 22 days] said he was stripped naked and photographed in each of the three places he was held. Sometimes, as in Bagram, it appeared to be part of a detailed identification procedure.

There he was photographed full length, naked, from the front, back and two sides, he said. Something was inserted into his rectum during that procedure, he said, but he does not know what it was or why it was done. “I was feeling very bad,” he said.
General Barno [commander of US forces in Afghanistan] said that this may have been to search for hidden items, but that the practice of strip searches and fully naked identification photographs was being reviewed and changed. “We’re concerned as well about the cultural impact of doing that,” he said.

Oh, you are, are you? How thoughtful. “Fully naked identification photographs”? Is that so we can spot the terrorists when a big group of naked Afghanis come running towards us? “I remember him, strawberry birthmark on the right buttock, dresses left. Take him out, boys.” WTF? WTF!!?? What the hell is happening to my country?

I'm asking myself the same question every day I read the news Belle. Right there with you.