[Marxism] Gitmo criminals: Yoo at Berkeley, Waxman at Columbia
daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Mon Jun 16 03:56:21 MDT 2008
A Kinder, Gentler Torture
by H. Candace Gorman
May 27, 2008
While staying at his in-law's village in Afghanistan in December 2001, Abdul
Hamid Al-Ghizzawi, my client at Guantánamo, knew little of Bush and Cheney.
Later, when vigilante thugs turned him over to the Northern Alliance for an
American bounty, Al-Ghizzawi knew nothing of Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto
Gonzales, Jay Bybee, John Yoo or Matthew Waxman — the man who would become
Al-Ghizzawi's personal war criminal and who is now a professor at Columbia
So, it was understandable that when Al-Ghizzawi heard American troops were
coming, he tried to get himself turned over to them. As Al-Ghizzawi later
told me, he thought he would be safe with the Americans "and have rights"
and be treated "with respect." Al-Ghizzawi convinced the Americans to take
him when they learned he spoke English. That was all the troops knew about
him. Ignorance of who he was or why he was there, however, proved no
impediment to torture.
In the early years, "the Americans treated me very brutally and
disrespectfully, worse than the Northern Alliance … and the Northern
Alliance was very bad," Al-Ghizzawi recounted to me. "But now the torture is
much different. Now the torture is my life every day in this prison, alone
without my family, dying, with no rights and no charges."
His American jailers spared Al-Ghizzawi the very worst of the worst in the
long list of torture techniques now in use. He was not murdered or
waterboarded. He did not have a razor blade taken to his penis, nor was he
hung from the ceiling by his arms. One might describe Al-Ghizzawi's torture
as a kinder, gentler torture.
In American custody, Al-Ghizzawi was *only* beaten with chains; bound to
chairs in excruciating positions for endless hours; threatened with death
and with rape; stripped and subjected to body-cavity searches by non-medical
personnel while men — and women — laughed and took pictures.
Among many other brutalities and indignities, Al-Ghizzawi was also posed
naked with other prisoners; terrorized with dogs; forced to kneel on stones
in the searing heat; left to stand or crouch for extended periods; deprived
of sleep; subjected to extreme cold without clothes or covering; denied
medical attention; and kept in isolation for years.
Again, as I said: a kinder, gentler torture.
Now, of course, Al-Ghizzawi knows all about Bush and his enabling minions.
He knows that lawyers invented legal theories to justify the inhumane and
indefensible treatment he received. He knows the role that lawyers such as
Bybee, Yoo and Matthew Waxman played.
At the end of 2004, Waxman, then assistant secretary of defense for detainee
affairs, who is currently trying to reinvent himself as one of the good
guys, learned that Al-Ghizzawi and others were found not to be "enemy
combatants" (EC) or threats to the United States by the military's own
combatant status review tribunals (CSRTs). Waxman set into motion a
"do-over" CSRT, to make sure that Al-Ghizzawi's suffering continue, lest
Waxman and the Bush administration suffer the embarrassment of being exposed
for holding numerous innocent men for years for no reason.
Note this declassified portion of an e-mail chain between Waxman and others:
"Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the CSRT process or the
work done by [Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy
Combatants]. This does not justify making a change in and or (sic) itself
but is a filter by which to look … . By properly classifying them as EC,
then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in [G]TMO and
(2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled
transfer in status."
Every time I visit, Al-Ghizzawi asks me, "What happened to America?" I try
to explain the unexplainable. I tell him that the American government now
believes that torture is permissible; that we can hold people forever
without charge; keep people in isolation for years; bar communications with
family members; force-feed those who want to die and refuse to provide
medical treatment for those who want to live. I explain that the American
people, whose nation once stood as a beacon of human rights, neither care
about this nor want to hear about it.
I also assure him that I am collecting the names of those responsible.
Attorney Seth Farber contributed to this article.
*H. Candace Gorman* is a civil rights attorney in Chicago. She blogs
regularly about legal issues surrounding Guantanamo detainees at The
Guantanamo Blog. <http://gtmoblog.blogspot.com/>
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