Former Gitmo Guard's Tell-All

Scott Horton in Harper's writes about former Guantanamo prison guard Brandon Neely's "tell-all" about his experience. Neely was a guard during the first year of Gitmo. Bottom line: Neely says "“The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong.”

You can read Neely's 15,000 word version (put together by law students at the University of California) here.

Horton says three things stood out to him: [More...]

Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. military’s traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety....

Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison.

Second, Horton writes, there was mistreatment of the Qu'ran, as Newsweek reported years ago (more on that here and here):

Not only was the Newsweek report accurate in its essence, it actually understated the gravity and scope of the problem. Moreover, it is clear that the Pentagon Public Affairs office was fully aware, even as it went on the attack against Newsweek, that its claims were false and the weekly’s reporting was accurate.

Third, Horton says:

[H]ealth professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisoners—suggesting a systematic collapse of professional ethics driven by the Pentagon itself. He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners.

In other words, rape by instrumentality was okay under Bush and health care professionals participated.

Horton concludes with a reminder of how little we still know about what went on at Guantanamo.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Only the little guys will be held accountable.. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by fly on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 11:59:49 AM EST
    none of the real terrorists in our government will ever be held into account..and then the same cast of characters will be recycled again and again to recyle their terrorism on more people's around the world ..is there any wonder my co-workers were killed on 9/11?????

    I have no wonder at all!
    Look Obama sent Kissinger to the middle east and that criminal should have been in prison many many years ago!..actually in my youth..and those days are long past.
    Now Obama is recyling the crooks and criminals!
    I'll repeat as often as nessesary..we do not have two parties any longer..there is one party with a huge money pot in the middle, the crooks surround us, at every turn!

    "real terrorists" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Andreas on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 01:06:43 PM EST
    The Democratic Party and the Obama administration are the main instruments to protect those war criminals.

    The "real terrorists" will be held into account when the Socialist Equality Party gets enough support.


    The More We Know (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by john horse on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 12:18:29 PM EST
    the more we need to hold accountable those who are responsible, starting with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

    Neely should be commended for having the courage to come forward and telling us what was really going on at Guantanamo.  As Neely's interviewer points out, good people will do evil things when placed in an evil environment or when ordered to do so by people in authority.  As Neely's testimony demonstrates this takes a toll on those who did the evil things as well as those who were abused.  

    Sometimes I think those who want this swept under the rug are like those people in A Few Good Men who "can't handle the truth".  

    This is (none / 0) (#4)
    by lentinel on Mon Feb 16, 2009 at 06:14:48 PM EST
    is the stuff of the Third Reich.

    Watch MSNBC (none / 0) (#5)
    by 1980Ford on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 12:39:34 AM EST
    Like "Convicted" or the show about jails.

    "Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued."

    This is SOP.

    Inmate paralyzed (none / 0) (#6)
    by 1980Ford on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 10:13:25 AM EST
    Inmate paralyzed in Taser incident sues L.A. County Sheriff's Department

    Note they say the only error was tasering him while he stood on a top bunk.