The Other Guantanamo

The revolting pictures that have made headlines are not all there is to the alleged abuse by members of the 372nd at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Seymour Hersch has a full report in this week’s New Yorker, including this:

Two Iraqi faces that do appear in the photographs are those of dead men. There is the battered face of prisoner No. 153399, and the bloodied body of another prisoner, wrapped in cellophane and packed in ice. There is a photograph of an empty room, splattered with blood.

Further on, Hersch quotes an eyewitness, an M.P. named Matthew Wisdom:

I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another kneeling with its mouth open. I thought I should just get out of there. I didn’t think it was right . . . I saw SSG Frederick walking towards me, and he said, ‘Look what these animals do when you leave them alone for two seconds.’ I heard PFC England shout out, ‘He’s getting hard.’
Wisdom testified that he told his superiors what had happened, and assumed that ‘the issue was taken care of.’ He said, ‘I just didn’t want to be part of anything that looked criminal.’

Frederick, who had previously worked for the Virginia Department of Corrections, claimed that he himself had questioned the treatment he had seen but had been told that that was how things were done. You can read the full Hersch article here. You can also check out this article about civilian contractors for the firm CACI, who, astonishingly, may escape prosecution altogether. Elsewhere, Slate’s Timothy Noah examines Rumsfeld’s “instinct for bureaucratic self-protection,” which he says “is as finely honed as ever.”


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