Sunday, May 22, 2005

Karzai "Shocked" by Reports of Abuse

Here's another brief but vital glimpse of the real story -- things in the Middle East are not going well for our so-called commander-in-chief, and Iraq isn't the only problem spot. Even the puppet installed in Afghanistan now wants to see the backs of the Americans. No only that, but he wants to see their activites restricted, too.

Afghan president wants more control over U.S. forces
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is expected to push for more control over U.S. forces in his country when he meets U.S. President George W. Bush.

Karzai took off for Washington late Saturday after telling reporters he was upset by a report Friday in the New York Times that prisoners had been abused while in U.S. military custody in Afghanistan.

"It has shocked me thoroughly and we condemn it," he said.
What has he been reading that this was a shock? It this the first time Hamid Karzai has got a whiff of the story about prisoners being "abused while in U.S. military custody in Afghanistan? That's a good one!

Oh, no matter. This time it's the New York Times' fault. Last week the villains were at Newsweek. The so-called "liberal media" strikes again! Every time somebody tells the truth it sparks a week of national outrage. What have we become?

But notice how even the CBC is spinning the Newsweek story in a very misleading way...
Last week, violent anti-U.S. protests followed reports – later retracted – that American guards at Guantanamo Bay had desecrated the Qur'an.
... um ... Newsweek retracted their statement that this desecration would be mentioned in a pentagon report; no serious reporter can doubt that such desecration happened... but the CBC is being very friendly to the White House here, and in mentioning but failing to link to a vital document ...
Now a 2,000-page confidential report detailing extensive abuse of Afghan prisoners kept at the Bagram airbase near Kabul has been cited in the Times.

The investigation into the deaths of two inmates in 2002 revealed other sustained cruelties such as prolonged beatings and chainings of prisoners to walls.

The U.S. military, responding to the allegations, defended its treatment of detainees, saying it would not tolerate maltreatment.
No, of course it wouldn't tolerate maltreatment. Wink, Wink. Nudge, Nudge.

Now for the link that the CBC didn't bother providing. It's an important article in the New York Times headlined: In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates' Deaths:
Even as the young Afghan man was dying before them, his American jailers continued to torment him.

The prisoner, a slight, 22-year-old taxi driver known only as Dilawar, was hauled from his cell at the detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, at around 2 a.m. to answer questions about a rocket attack on an American base. When he arrived in the interrogation room, an interpreter who was present said, his legs were bouncing uncontrollably in the plastic chair and his hands were numb. He had been chained by the wrists to the top of his cell for much of the previous four days.

Mr. Dilawar asked for a drink of water, and one of the two interrogators, Specialist Joshua R. Claus, 21, picked up a large plastic bottle. But first he punched a hole in the bottom, the interpreter said, so as the prisoner fumbled weakly with the cap, the water poured out over his orange prison scrubs. The soldier then grabbed the bottle back and began squirting the water forcefully into Mr. Dilawar's face.

"Come on, drink!" the interpreter said Specialist Claus had shouted, as the prisoner gagged on the spray. "Drink!"

At the interrogators' behest, a guard tried to force the young man to his knees. But his legs, which had been pummeled by guards for several days, could no longer bend. An interrogator told Mr. Dilawar that he could see a doctor after they finished with him. When he was finally sent back to his cell, though, the guards were instructed only to chain the prisoner back to the ceiling.

"Leave him up," one of the guards quoted Specialist Claus as saying.

Several hours passed before an emergency room doctor finally saw Mr. Dilawar. By then he was dead, his body beginning to stiffen. It would be many months before Army investigators learned a final horrific detail: Most of the interrogators had believed Mr. Dilawar was an innocent man who simply drove his taxi past the American base at the wrong time.


Like a narrative counterpart to the digital images from Abu Ghraib, the Bagram file depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment, which has resulted in criminal charges against seven soldiers, went well beyond the two deaths.

In some instances, testimony shows, it was directed or carried out by interrogators to extract information. In others, it was punishment meted out by military police guards. Sometimes, the torment seems to have been driven by little more than boredom or cruelty, or both.
Read the entire NY Times article here if you think you can handle it.

It's no wonder Mr. Karzai is upset. But "shocked"?? Is he really that naive?