"Americans tortured Iraqi to death"

cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 11:44 am
It's very interesting that people like Sofia thinks that the 37 deaths resulted only from universally utilized "sensory deprivation."
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 11:48 am
perception wrote:
Everyone is lying scum except ---of course the RCMP.

and the bushlickers, right ? :wink:
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 11:57 am
Michael Moore's Candid Camera
May 23, 2004

"But why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and
how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or
what do you suppose? Or, I mean, it's, it's not relevant.
So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like
that? And watch him suffer."
- Barbara Bush on "Good Morning America,"
March 18, 2003

SHE needn't have worried. Her son wasn't suffering. In one
of the several pieces of startling video exhibited for the
first time in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," we catch a
candid glimpse of President Bush some 36 hours after his
mother's breakfast TV interview - minutes before he makes
his own prime-time TV address to take the nation to war in
Iraq. He is sitting at his desk in the Oval Office. A
makeup woman is doing his face. And Mr. Bush is having a
high old time. He darts his eyes about and grins, as if he
were playing a peek-a-boo game with someone just
off-camera. He could be a teenager goofing with his buds to
relieve the passing tedium of a haircut.

"In your wildest dreams you couldn't imagine Franklin
Roosevelt behaving this way 30 seconds before declaring
war, with grave decisions and their consequences at stake,"
said Mr. Moore in an interview before his new documentary's
premiere at Cannes last Monday. "But that may be giving him
credit for thinking that the decisions were grave." As we
spoke, the consequences of those decisions kept coming. The
premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" took place as news spread of
the assassination of a widely admired post-Saddam Iraqi
leader, Ezzedine Salim, blown up by a suicide bomber just a
hundred yards from the entrance to America's "safe"
headquarters, the Green Zone, in Baghdad.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" will arrive soon enough at your local
cineplex - there's lots of money to be made - so discount
much of the squabbling en route. Disney hasn't succeeded in
censoring Mr. Moore so much as in enhancing his stature as
a master provocateur and self-promoter. And the White
House, which likewise hasn't a prayer of stopping this
film, may yet fan the p.r. flames. "It's so outrageously
false, it's not even worth comment," was last week's
blustery opening salvo by Dan Bartlett, the White House
communications director. New York's Daily News reported
that Republican officials might even try to use the Federal
Election Commission to shut the film down. That would be
the best thing to happen to Michael Moore since Charlton
Heston granted him an interview.

Whatever you think of Mr. Moore, there's no question he's
detonating dynamite here. From a variety of sources -
foreign journalists and broadcasters (like Britain's
Channel Four), freelancers and sympathetic American TV
workers who slipped him illicit video - he supplies
war-time pictures that have been largely shielded from our
view. Instead of recycling images of the planes hitting the
World Trade Center on 9/11 once again, Mr. Moore can revel
in extended new close-ups of the president continuing to
read "My Pet Goat" to elementary school students in Florida
for nearly seven long minutes after learning of the attack.
Just when Abu Ghraib and the savage beheading of Nicholas
Berg make us think we've seen it all, here is yet another
major escalation in the nation-jolting images that have
become the battleground for the war about the war.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is not the movie Moore watchers, fans or
foes, were expecting. (If it were, the foes would find it
easier to ignore.) When he first announced this project
last year after his boorish Oscar-night diatribe against
Mr. Bush, he described it as an exposé of the connections
between the Bush and bin Laden dynasties. But that story
has been so strenuously told elsewhere - most notably in
Craig Unger's best seller, "House of Bush, House of Saud" -
that it's no longer news. Mr. Moore settles for a brisk
recap in the first of his film's two hours. And,
predictably, he stirs it into an over-the-top, at times
tendentious replay of a Bush hater's greatest hits:
Katherine Harris, the Supreme Court, Harken Energy, AWOL in
Alabama, the Carlyle Group, Halliburton, the lazy Crawford
vacation of August 2001, the Patriot Act. But then the
movie veers off in another direction entirely. Mr. Moore
takes the same hairpin turn the country has over the past
14 months and crash-lands into the gripping story that is
unfolding in real time right now.

Wasn't it just weeks ago that we were debating whether we
should see the coffins of the American dead and whether Ted
Koppel should read their names on "Nightline"? In
"Fahrenheit 9/11," we see the actual dying, of American
troops and Iraqi civilians alike, with all the ripped flesh
and spilled guts that the violence of war entails. (If
Steven Spielberg can simulate World War II carnage in
"Saving Private Ryan," it's hard to argue that Mr. Moore
should shy away from the reality in a present-day war.) We
also see some of the 4,000-plus American casualties: those
troops hidden away in clinics at Walter Reed and at
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital in Fort Campbell, Ky.,
where they try to cope with nerve damage and multiple
severed limbs. They are not silent. They talk about their
pain and their morphine, and they talk about betrayal. "I
was a Republican for quite a few years," one soldier says
with an almost innocent air of bafflement, "and for some
reason they conduct business in a very dishonest way."

Of course, Mr. Moore is being selective in what he chooses
to include in his movie; he's a polemicist, not a
journalist. But he implicitly raises the issue that much of
what we've seen elsewhere during this war, often under the
label of "news," has been just as subjectively edited.
Perhaps the most damning sequence in "Fahrenheit 9/11" is
the one showing American troops as they ridicule hooded
detainees in a holding pen near Samara, Iraq, in December
2003. A male soldier touches the erection of a prisoner
lying on a stretcher underneath a blanket, an intimation of
the sexual humiliations that were happening at Abu Ghraib
at that same time. Besides adding further corroboration to
Seymour Hersh's report that the top command has sanctioned
a culture of abuse not confined to a single prison or a
single company or seven guards, this video raises another
question: why didn't we see any of this on American TV
before "60 Minutes II"?

Don Van Natta Jr. of The New York Times reported in March
2003 that we were using hooding and other inhumane
techniques at C.I.A. interrogation centers in Afghanistan
and elsewhere. CNN reported on Jan. 20, after the Army
quietly announced its criminal investigation into prison
abuses, that "U.S. soldiers reportedly posed for
photographs with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners." And
there the matter stood for months, even though, as we know
now, soldiers' relatives with knowledge of these incidents
were repeatedly trying to alert Congress and news
organizations to the full panorama of the story.

Mr. Moore says he obtained his video from an independent
foreign journalist embedded with the Americans. "We've had
this footage in our possession for two months," he says. "I
saw it before any of the Abu Ghraib news broke. I think
it's pretty embarrassing that a guy like me with a high
school education and with no training in journalism can do
this. What the hell is going on here? It's pathetic."

We already know that politicians in denial will dismiss the
abuse sequence in Mr. Moore's film as mere partisanship.
Someone will surely echo Senator James Inhofe's Abu Ghraib
complaint that "humanitarian do-gooders" looking for human
rights violations are maligning "our troops, our heroes" as
they continue to fight and die. But Senator Inhofe and his
colleagues might ask how much they are honoring soldiers
who are overextended, undermanned and bereft of a coherent
plan in Iraq. Last weekend The Los Angeles Times reported
that for the first time three Army divisions, more than a
third of its combat troops, are so depleted of equipment
and skills that they are classified "unfit to fight." In
contrast to Washington's neglect, much of "Fahrenheit 9/11"
turns out to be a patriotic celebration of the heroic
American troops who have been fighting and dying under
these and other deplorable conditions since President
Bush's declaration of war.

In particular, the movie's second hour is carried by the
wrenching story of Lila Lipscomb, a flag-waving,
self-described "conservative Democrat" from Mr. Moore's
hometown of Flint, Mich., whose son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen,
was killed in Iraq. We watch Mrs. Lipscomb, who by her own
account "always hated" antiwar protesters, come undone with
grief and rage. As her extended family gathers around her
in the living room, she clutches her son's last letter home
and reads it aloud, her shaking voice and hand contrasting
with his precise handwriting on lined notebook paper. A
good son, Sergeant Pedersen thanks his mother for sending
"the bible and books and candy," but not before writing of
the president: "He got us out here for nothing whatsoever.
I am so furious right now, Mama."

By this point, Mr. Moore's jokes, some of them sub-par
retreads of Jon Stewart's riffs about the coalition of the
willing, have vanished from "Fahrenheit 9/11." So, pretty
much, has Michael Moore himself. He told me that Harvey
Weinstein of Miramax had wanted him to insert more of
himself into the film - "you're the star they're coming to
see" - but for once he exercised self-control, getting out
of the way of a story that is bigger than he is. "It
doesn't need me running around with my exclamation points,"
he said. He can't resist underlining one moral at the end,
but by then the audience, crushed by the needlessness of
Mrs. Lipscomb's loss, is ready to listen. Speaking of
America's volunteer army, Mr. Moore concludes: "They serve
so that we don't have to. They offer to give up their lives
so that we can be free. It is, remarkably, their gift to
us. And all they ask for in return is that we never send
them into harm's way unless it is absolutely necessary.
Will they ever trust us again?"

"Fahrenheit 9/11" doesn't push any Vietnam analogies, but
you may find one in a montage at the start, in which a
number of administration luminaries (Cheney, Rice,
Ashcroft, Powell) in addition to the president are seen
being made up for TV appearances. It's reminiscent of
Richard Avedon's photographic portrait of the Mission
Council, the American diplomats and military figures
running the war in Saigon in 1971. But at least those
subjects were dignified. In Mr. Moore's candid-camera
portraits, a particularly unappetizing spectacle is
provided by Paul Wolfowitz, the architect of both the
administration's Iraqi fixation and its doctrine of
"preventive" war. We watch him stick his comb in his mouth
until it is wet with spit, after which he runs it through
his hair. This is not the image we usually see of the
deputy defense secretary, who has been ritualistically
presented in the press as the most refined of intellectuals
- a guy with, as Barbara Bush would have it, a beautiful

Like Mrs. Bush, Mr. Wolfowitz hasn't let that mind be
overly sullied by body bags and such - to the point where
he underestimated the number of American deaths in Iraq by
more than 200 in public last month. No one would ever
accuse Michael Moore of having a beautiful mind. Subtleties
and fine distinctions are not his thing. That matters very
little, it turns out, when you have a story this ugly and
this powerful to tell.


Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 12:19 pm
The Passion of the Bush
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:10 pm
"[..] a captain at the prison said the highest-ranking U.S. military officer in Iraq was present during some "interrogations and/or allegations of the prisoner abuse," according to a recording of a military hearing obtained by The Washington Post."

Story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5039808/
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:20 pm
What's in a Word? Torture
May 23, 2004


As Orwell pointed out most effectively, governments control
language as well as people. Since the Abu Ghraib prison
scandal broke, our government, from the highest officials
in Washington to Army prison guards in Baghdad, have used
every euphemism they can think of to avoid the word that
clearly characterizes what some of our soldiers and
civilian contractors have been doing: torture.

"What has been charged so far is abuse, which I believe
technically is different from torture," said Secretary of
Defense Donald Rumsfeld. "I'm not going to address the
`torture' word." And nobody else seems to want to address
it either. Rather, we are told, military police officers at
Abu Ghraib were encouraged to treat the prisoners so as to
create "favorable conditions" for interrogations. What does
this mean? Give the prisoners English lessons? New clothes?
Come on. In any bureaucracy, orders or clearance to do
something beyond the law always comes in code. For those in
senior positions, deniability is vital.

Some years ago, I heard a man who had narrowly escaped the
death squads in El Salvador explain how deniability worked
there. "The military will call a meeting of commanders," he
said. "They will say, `You know, this man David X is
getting to be a threat to us.' Then the commanders, when
they have their meetings with their own officers, they'll
say, `You know, today we heard of this man who's making a
lot of trouble for us.' Then when those officers meet with
the sergeants, his name will be floated again. And you can
assume David X will soon be dead."

Shortly afterward I interviewed a general who had some of
the most notorious Salvadoran death squads under his
command. Death squads? Orders for executions? Of course
not! He showed me a loose-leaf notebook, carefully listing
complaints of human rights abuses with a chart showing how
each case had been investigated.

Pentagon officials doubtless have their own versions of
that general's loose-leaf notebook to show to human rights
investigators. Obviously, no coded orders, suggestions or
hints given to the Abu Ghraib prison guards will appear in
them. And, no, these were not orders for deaths - but they
were for actions similarly beyond the law. What the paper
trail will have, however, are the euphemisms for what was
actually done:

• "Sleep management." This apparently benign term - doctors
use it in discussing insomnia - disguises a form of torture
that has long been popular because it requires no special
equipment and leaves no marks on the body. Widely used in
the Middle Ages on suspected witches by inquisitors, it was
called the tormentum insomniae. Hundreds of years later, in
the interrogation rooms of Stalin's secret police, it was
known as the "conveyor belt," because relays of
interrogators would question a prisoner, day and night,
until he or she signed the desired statement and named
enough co-conspirators.

After being kept awake for a hundred hours or so, almost
anybody will confess to almost anything, from flying
through the night sky on a broomstick to being a capitalist
spy. Soviet prisoners of the 1930's had to sign each page
of their interrogation record. In the files that have been
released from archives in recent years, you can sometimes
see how a prisoner's signature, clear and firm on the first
day, gradually turns into an indecipherable scrawl as the
sleepless nights roll by.

•"Water-boarding." This, as we now know, does not involve
water skis, but holding prisoners under water for long
enough that they think they are drowning. Again,
interrogators favor it because after the prisoner has
coughed the water out of his lungs, it leaves no
identifiable marks. Reports by human rights groups on
countries including Brazil, Ethiopia and El Salvador have
noted the prevalence of "simulated drowning" or "near

•"Stress positions." What is a stress position? Mike Xego,
a former political prisoner in South Africa, once
demonstrated one for me. He bent down and clasped his hands
in front of him as if they were handcuffed, and then, using
a rolled-up newspaper, showed me how apartheid-era police
officers would pin his elbows behind his knees with a
stick, forcing him into a permanent crouch. "You'd be
passed from one hand to another. Kicked. Tipped over," he
explained. "The blood stops moving. You scream and scream
and scream until there is no voice."

This begs an obvious question: when the Abu Ghraib
detainees were in "stress positions," were they then
kicked, tipped over, rolled around like soccer balls? We do
not yet know, but chances are that if the guards were told
to create "favorable conditions" for interrogation, the
prisoners were not lectured politely about the benefits of
human rights and the rule of law that the United States is
supposedly bringing to Iraq.

Granted, the torture of prisoners under Saddam Hussein was
incomparably more widespread and often ended in death. The
same is true in dozens of other regimes around the world.
But torture is torture. It permanently scars the victim
even when there are no visible marks on the body, and it
leaves other scars on the lives of those who perform it and
on the life of the nation that allowed and encouraged it.
Those scars will be with us for a long time.

Adam Hochschild is the author of "King Leopold's Ghost" and
the forthcoming "Bury the Chains," a history of the British
antislavery movement.


Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:22 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
It's very interesting that people like Sofia thinks that the 37 deaths resulted only from universally utilized "sensory deprivation."

CI, you yourself said it was a useful technique, and the prisoners deserved it.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:28 pm
Show me where and when.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:29 pm
BTW what are you smoking?
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 01:46 pm
Sofia wrote:
cicerone imposter wrote:
It's very interesting that people like Sofia thinks that the 37 deaths resulted only from universally utilized "sensory deprivation."

CI, you yourself said it was a useful technique, and the prisoners deserved it.

Tell you what, ci. You find the source to back up the nutty accusation you made against me quoted above, and I will answer to what I said about you.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 02:49 pm
Everybody who thinks sofia is a nincompoop raise your hands.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 02:52 pm
Sofia is no nincompoop. But her tilting with dlowan and CI lately have been an aberration IMHO. I'm sure Sofia will revert to her old self come Monday
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 03:22 pm
If CI and dlowan stop making up statements and trying to attribute them to me, or imaginary Sofia-like people, I shall surely settle back in to my warm, happy tub of calmness and brotherly love.

Nobody would put up with that.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 03:33 pm
sofia's quote, "We know isolation, food restrictions, nudity, cold blasts of water...happen when an army is desperate to get information about impending attacks... If you know, or strongly suspect, a detainee has information that can save innocent life--how far do you go to get that information? I think its a pertinent question." No it's not. Do you realize how many Arab-Americans were detained in the US becaues they are Arabs? They lost all their civil rights in this country; no contact with the outside, no attorneys to represent them, nor anybody in this country to help them. When you start off wrong, nothing that follows is right; even when people think it might save lives. That goes ditto with prisoners in those camps in Iraq; they were not charged with any wrongdoing.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 03:50 pm
In my opinion. . .

I think anybody who thinks interrogation of the enemy will ever be or should be pleasant are living in a dream world. Some sleep deprivation, making the person feel vulnerable and/or uncomfortable, psychological pummeling, etc. has been used by civil and military law enforcement forever.

Any processes or procedures that inflict severe physical pain or can cause undue physical or mental harm should be and are forbidden. Anyone inflicting such on nonaggressive prisoners should be charged, convicted, and severe sentences should be appropriately delivered.

It is a given, however, that anybody even remotely connected with such illegal incidents will be tried immediately via the press who will also do their damndest to implicate everybody but Santa Claus in the scandal.

It is a given that many who know they will receive mushy, feel good, indignant, and outraged sympathy (or money) by stating the terrible mistreatment they receive are going to exaggerate or make up accounts of terrible mistreatment.

It's also a given that a certain percentage of people are going to believe or pretend they believe what the prisoner says about being mistreated. Media types will print it as presumed fact in the newspapers or report it on the nightly news.

And it is a given the terrorists as well as political opportunists are going to make sure that something that good stay on the front pages of the newspapers for weeks on end while mostly ignoring any positive events that have occurred.

And the terrorists will be emboldened and encouraged and all our troops on the ground in the war zone are at greater risk.

While genuine mistreatment of prisoners should never be condoned or go unpunished, there are constructive and destructive ways to handle the situation, especially when we have troops on the ground. It's time now for everybody to step back and let the courts do their job.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 04:07 pm
What I said in the quote was factual. I didn't make a moral judgement about it--but asked about opinions of what practices were acceptable under what conditions.

You act as though I approve torture, or something.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 05:02 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
It's very interesting that people like Sofia thinks that the 37 deaths resulted only from universally utilized "sensory deprivation."

This is beneath you, CI.
I strenuously object.
0 Replies
cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 05:05 pm
Where's the judge when you need one?
0 Replies
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 05:12 pm
You know very well that I don't think anyone died of sensory deprivation.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Sun 23 May, 2004 05:47 pm
Never said you did. But the problem with unsupervised hazing of prisoners, no matter in what kind of environment, gets out of control. That's been proven by experiments at Stanford and Yale universities. The problem with any form of torture to extract information has never been proven to be reliable. Many of the victims were not charged with any subversive activity nor any crimes. They were innocent. That's the problem. Not that mild form of torture is even allowed.
0 Replies

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