[Marxism] New Yorker article on the murder of an Iraqi prisoner
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 7 08:18:40 MST 2005
This is titled:
A DEADLY INTERROGATION
Can the C.I.A. legally kill a prisoner?
by JANE MAYER
It is first-rate investigative journalism, on a par with what Seymour Hersh
has written for this magazine which started off as a gung-ho supporter of
the war in Iraq. There are obviously a number of high-profile prowar
supporters there, including George Packer whose opposition to the war is
based simply on the fact that it is not going well. And Jeffrey Goldberg,
who wrote the same kind of bullshit as Judith Miller.
Manadel al-Jamadi arrived at Abu Ghraib naked from the waist down,
according to an eyewitness, Jason Kenner, an M.P. with the 372nd Military
Police Company. In a statement to C.I.A. investigators, Kenner recalled
that Jamadi had been stripped of his pants, underpants, socks, and shoes,
arriving in only a purple T-shirt and a purple jacket, and with a green
plastic sandbag completely covering his head. Nevertheless, Kenner told
C.I.A. investigators, the prisoner did not appear to be in distress. He
was walking fine, and his speech was normal. The plastic flex cuffs on
Jamadis wrists were so tight, however, that Kenner had trouble cutting
them off when they were replaced with steel handcuffs and Jamadis hands
were secured behind his back.
Staff Sergeant Mark Nagy, a reservist in the 372nd Military Police Company,
was also on duty at Abu Ghraib when Jamadi arrived. According to the
classified internal documents, he told C.I.A. investigators that Jamadi
seemed lucid, noting that he was talking during intake. Nagy said that
Jamadi was not combative when he was placed in a holding cell, and that
he responded to commands. In Nagys opinion, there was no need to get
physical with him.
Kenner told the investigators that, minutes after Jamadi was placed in
the holding cell, an interrogatorlater identified as Swannerbegan
yelling at him, trying to find where some weapons were. Kenner said that
he could see Jamadi through the open door of the holding cell, in a seated
position like a scared child. The yelling went on, he said, for five or
ten minutes. At some point, Kenner said, Swanner and his translator
removed the prisoners jacket and shirt, leaving him naked. He added that
he saw no injuries or bruises. Soon afterward, the M.P.s were told by
Swanner and the translator to take the prisoner to Tier One, the agencys
interrogation wing. The M.P.s dressed Jamadi in a standard-issue orange
jumpsuit, keeping the sandbag over his head, and walked him to the shower
room there for interrogation. Kenner said that Jamadi put up no resistance.
On the way, Nagy noticed that Jamadi was groaning and breathing heavily,
as if he was out of breath. Walter Diaz, the M.P. who had been on guard
duty at the prison, told C.I.A. investigators that Jamadi showed no
distress or complaints on the way to the shower room. But he told me that
he, too, noticed that Jamadi was having breathing problems. An autopsy
showed that Jamadi had six fractured ribs; it is unclear when they were
broken. The C.I.A. officials in charge of Jamadi did not give him even a
cursory medical exam, although the Geneva Conventions require that
prisoners receive medical attention.
Jamadi was basically a ghost prisoner, a former investigator on the
case, who declined to be named, told me. He wasnt checked into the
facility. People like this, they just bring em in, and use the facility
for interrogations. The lower-ranking enlisted guys there just followed the
orders from O.G.A. There was no booking process.
According to Kenners testimony, when the group reached the shower room
Swanner told the M.P.s that he did not want the prisoner to sit and he
wanted him shackled to the wall. (No explanation for this decision is
recorded.) There was a barred window on one wall. Kenner and Nagy, using a
pair of leg shackles, attached Jamadis arms, which had been placed behind
his back, to the bars on the window.
The Associated Press quoted an expert who described the position in which
Jamadi died as a form of torture known as Palestinian hanging, in which a
prisoner whose hands are secured behind his back is suspended by his arms.
(The technique has allegedly been used in the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict.) The M.P.s sworn accounts to investigators suggest that, at
least at first, Jamadi was able to stand up, without pain: autopsy records
show that he was five feet ten, and, as Diaz explained to me, the window
was about five feet off the ground. The accounts concur that, while Jamadi
was able to stand without discomfort, he couldnt kneel or sit without
hanging painfully from his arms. Once he was secured, the M.P.s left him
alone in the room with Swanner and the translator.
Less than an hour later, Diaz said, he was walking past the shower room
when Swanner came out and asked for help, reportedly saying, This guy
doesnt want to coöperate. According to the NPR report, one of the C.I.A.
men told investigators that he called for medical help, but there is no
available record of a doctor having been summoned. When Diaz entered the
shower room, he said, he was surprised to see that Jamadis knees had
buckled, and that he was almost kneeling. Swanner, he said, wanted the
soldiers to reposition Jamadi, so that he would have to stand more erectly.
Diaz called for additional help from two other soldiers in his company,
Sergeant Jeffery Frost and Dennis Stevanus. But after they had succeeded in
making Jamadi stand for a moment, as requested, by hitching his handcuffs
higher up the window, Jamadi collapsed again. Diaz told me, At first I
was, like, This guys drunk. He just dropped down to where his hands
were, like, coming out of his handcuffs. He looked weird. I was thinking,
Hes got to be hurting. All of his weight was on his hands and wristsit
looked like he was about to mess up his sockets.
Swanner, whom Diaz described as a kind of shabby-looking, overweight white
guy, who was wearing black clothing, was apparently less concerned. He
was saying, Hes just playing dead, Diaz recalled. He thought he was
faking. He wasnt worried at all. While Jamadi hung from his arms, Diaz
told me, Swanner just kept talking and talking at him. But there was no
Frost told C.I.A. investigators that the interrogator had said that Jamadi
was just playing possum. But, as Frost lifted Jamadi upright by his
jumpsuit, noticing that it was digging into his crotch, he thought, This
prisoner is pretty good at playing possum. When Jamadis body went slack
again, Frost recalled commenting that he had never seen anyones arms
positioned like that, and he was surprised they didnt just pop out of
Diaz, sensing that something was wrong, lifted Jamadis hood. His face was
badly bruised. Diaz placed a finger in front of Jamadis open eyes, which
didnt move or blink, and deduced that he was dead. When the men lowered
Jamadi to the floor, Frost told investigators, blood came gushing out of
his nose and mouth, as if a faucet had been turned on.
More information about the Marxism