Monday, November 28, 2005

Bill Moyers Interview

Concerning administration pressure on the "liberal" PBS series NOW.

UPDATE: Here's another reason Bush's goons want PBS spayed - because they report interview primary sources about our policy of torture. Some excerpts:

What was happening, for example?

Well hypothermia was a widespread technique. I haven't heard a lot of people talking about that, and I never saw anything in writing prohibiting it or making it illegal. But almost everyone was using it when they had a chance, when the weather permitted. Or some people, the Navy SEALs, for instance, were using just ice water to lower the body temperature of the prisoner. They would take his rectal temperature to make sure he didn't die; they would keep him hovering on hypothermia. That was a pretty common technique.

A lot of other, you know, not as common techniques, and certainly not sanctioned, was just beating people or burning them. Not within the prisons, usually. But when the units would go out into people's homes and do these raids, they would just stay in the house and torture them. Because after the scandal, they couldn't trust that, you know, the interrogators were going to do "as good a job," in their words, as they wanted to.

. . .

Talk to me about the "culture of abuse." How quickly would it ramp up? How bad would it get?

Well, I never saw too much with the interrogators who were actually professional interrogators that they were doing much more than what I described to you: the dogs, the stress positions, the hypothermia. Which ended up not really causing severe bodily harm, anyway, to the prisoner. The worst stuff I saw was from the detaining units who would torture people in their homes. They were using things like burns. They would smash people's feet with the back of an axe-head. They would break bones, ribs, you know. That was serious stuff.

. . .

When you take an environment like Abu Ghraib -- regular mortar attacks, lot of emotionality about that, … you've got a massive population and very few people to guard them or debrief them. It's like the recipe for bad stuff.

It is, because you really do feel like you're outside of normal society, you know? Your family, your friends, they're not there to see what's going on. And everybody is sort of participating in this I don't know what -- psychosis, or for want of a better word, this delusion about what you're doing there. And what becomes OK as you look around gets broken down, you know?

And I mean, I felt it myself. I remember being in that shipping container in Mosul. You know, I'd been with a guy all night long. And you just feel so isolated, and morally isolated, that you felt like you could do whatever you want to this guy, and maybe you even want to. But then in the daylight when I would talk to the other soldiers or see other prisoners, that was unacceptable to me. …

We weren't concerned with intel anymore; we just wanted confessions from people. So some of these people that we had in there, they weren't even being accused of anything that we could have gotten intel out of. They had been accused of petty criminal acts or something like that, so why are we even doing that? It's not our jobs. …

And I saw that over and over again. And some of the worst cases that I saw of abuse coming out of the Force Recon Marines in North Babel -- I was writing reports about this, abuse reports and sending it up through the Marine chain of command. And I know that nobody ever investigated these things because I had taken pictures of the wounds. I had organized the medical reports that the Corpsmen had put down, and taken sworn statements from the prisoners.

Nobody ever came to look at that stuff; no one ever came to talk to me about it. I just felt like I was sending these abuse reports to nowhere. And no one was investigating them, or they had no way to investigate them, or maybe no desire.

. . .

[So it wasn't just a few bad apples doing things?]

No, not at all. I remember when we had that shipping container in Mosul. We were sort of close to the street, and of course with the loud music, the lights, the sometimes yelling, it would attract people and they wanted to participate in it. And it was very hard because sometimes it was in the middle of the night and I'd be the only person out there. So I was afraid to leave to go get help, to chase these guys off. But they might outrank me, there might be more of them than of me. …

I think it's systemic. And I say that because for instance, if you set up a prison like Abu Ghraib where you have maybe 10,000 Iraqi prisons there, and you have 18-year-old guards guarding them, you know that you're going to have abuse taking place. I mean, if you don't know that, you're an idiot. And that goes all the way up the chain of command. And so they did not create oversight. The Pentagon should have been on this and making sure that abuse wasn't happening.

And there are ways to be effective. I saw good, clean detention facilities and I saw detention facilities that were out of control. And it all came from the leadership. It wasn't because they got lucky and got good privates in there; that wasn't it.

2 Thoughts:

Blogger Doug said...

This article is proof of PBS' obvious liberal bias.

Monday, November 28, 2005 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger Demotiki said...

Doug,

They do have a "liberal bias." Their relentless focus on "truth" rather than "talking points" shows that they are have no respect for "ballanced journalism." There is no objective truth. Don't you understand that. Truth is what the puppet-masters in the Republican party say it is. Can't you just be a good German like 35% of the American public?

Demo

Monday, November 28, 2005 1:08:00 PM  

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