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June 24, 2005

When You Look into the Abyss...

Body and Soul writes:

Body and Soul: "Tactics reminiscent of Saddam":

Can you tell... which group of torturers is on our side? From today's New York Times:

He was having a lunch of lettuce and cucumbers in the kitchen of his home in the small desert village of Rabot with his mother and brother. An Opel sedan pulled up. Two men in masks carrying machine guns got out, seized him, and, leaving his mother sobbing, put him in the trunk of their car.The drove to the house here. They taped his face, put cotton in his ears, and began to beat him.

The men tended to talk in whispers, he said, telling him five times a day, in low voices in his ear, to pray, and offering him sand, instead of water, to wash himself. Just once, he asked if he could see his mother, and one of them said to him, 'You won't leave until you are dead.'Mr. Fathil did not know there were other hostages. He found out only after the captors left and he was able to remove the tape from his eyes.

The routine in the house was regular. Because of the windows, it was always dark inside. Mr. Fathil said he was fed once a day, and allowed to use a bathroom as necessary in the back of the house.

Marks from beatings criss-crossed his back, and deep pocks, apparently from electric shock burns, were gouged in his skin.The shocks, he said, felt 'like my soul is being ripped out of my body.' But when he would start to scream, and his body would pull up from the shock, they would begin to beat him, he said.

From the Los Angeles Times:

There are beatings, punching, electric shocks to the body, including sensitive areas, hanging prisoners upside down and beating them and dragging them on the ground

[T]hey lashed him with cables, broke his nose and promised to soak their uniforms with his blood.

'I stayed there with 19 other people in a very small room with no windows,' said Guheithi, who added that he was often blindfolded and beaten.

The New York Times, in the first piece, writes about the 'torture houses' of Iraqi insurgents. The LAT fronts a mirror image article on how Iraq's police and security forces are beating and torturing the majority, perhaps as much as 60%, of its prisoners. The security units' tactics, the LAT notes, are similar to those used by Saddam Hussein's secret intelligence squads, which is not surprising since, according to Saad Sultan, the head of a board overseeing the treatment of prisoners at Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, most of the police officers 'come from a culture of torture' that they imbibed while working for Saddam."...

Posted by DeLong at June 24, 2005 12:07 PM