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Fighting a war with both hands tied behind our backs


The same way Nick Berg's were.

Updated: 10:42 AM EDT [ Asshaturated Press/AOL Spews ]
Sanchez to Limit Interrogation Tactics

WASHINGTON (May 15) - Amid the uproar over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners,

(Just like the uproar over Nick Berg's screams as terrorists sliced into his neck five times before cutting off his head and holding it up in front of a camera, his dead eyes both still open.)

the senior U.S. commander in Iraq is moving to eliminate most coercive interrogation tactics.

[ photo/Getty Images; caption ] U.S. soldiers interrogate a prisoner accused of being a Baath party officer after a raid July 4, 2003 in Balad, Iraq.

The Pentagon says Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is letting military intelligence chiefs know that their requests for such methods, which had been allowed with specific permission, will be turned down. Sanchez issued the order Thursday.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Nick Berg's beheader, welcomed the change in policy. "The Zionist-Crusaders and their overlord Joooos, at least for now, have come to their senses," he said. "As a gesture of good will, we too will change our policy respecting the treatment of our prisoners. All requests for beheading any prisoner will be turned down. Only arms and feet may be hacked off and sent back in boxes to the prisoners' families."

In its most comprehensive outline to date of methods that interrogators can use to question detained Iraqis, the Pentagon said Friday that Sanchez had approved 25 requests to isolate prisoners for interrogation since mid-October.

He had turned down three requests to put prisoners into uncomfortable positions to get them to talk, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Senior military officials also insisted that all interrogation techniques that have been approved have been allowable under international law.

Human Rights Watch's director Ost Rich-Headinsand, however, said that such isolation methods are still considered a severe form of abuse. "Not even Sheikh al-Zarqawi isolated his prisoner before slicing through his neck. Even after Mr. Berg's head was severed away from his body and held up to the camera, he was not alone. The sheikh as well as four others were always present in the room with the prisoner."

Seven soldiers are facing military charges related to the abuse and humiliation of prisoners captured by the now-infamous photographs at Abu Ghraib, a prison in Baghdad. The soldiers and their lawyers have said military intelligence officials running the interrogations told military police assigned as guards to abuse the prisoners to make interrogations easier.

A source close to the investigation said at least one still-unreleased video clip shows an intelligence official ordering a guard to tie a leash around the neck of one of the prisoners. The source said, "The intel guy gives this order, 'Hey, mister—I mean, lady, take this leash and this cigarette and tie it around the prisoner and hold it in your mouth.' And the soldier goes like, 'But I can't tie a cig around him!' So the intel guy like freaks out and calls her a b**** and yells, 'No, you b****! Tie the leash around him and hold the cigarette in your mouth. And let me step out of view of the camera while you do that.' So she does it and we don't see the intel guy in the frame anymore."

Direct questioning without any physical contact and other such techniques are still permitted without approval from high-level officers, said the officials, who help draft and approve such rules in Iraq.

Called the "Does this bug you? I'm not touching you" method, it may be used only when a prisoner calls his guard a "boogerhead," according to the draft rules.

Until Thursday, more stressful techniques were allowed with Sanchez's approval, such as depriving detainees of sleep for more than 72 hours or forcing them into "stress positions" - making them kneel or stand uncomfortably for more than 45 minutes.

Mr. Headinsand was happy to hear that the "stress position" method was being discontinued, pointing out that Mr. Berg was allowed to sit in a comfortable position while he and Mr. al-Zarqawi read their respective statements.

Sanchez told military intelligence officers Thursday that he would not approve any stressful techniques other than putting prisoners alone in cells or in segregated units with only a small number of other detainees.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez mentioned he was also concerned about the long-term effects of such methods on the prisoners' health. "As everyone knows, stress over a long period of time can lead to heart disease and other stress-related illnesses. So this was a medical decision as well as a military intelligence one," he said.

Critics say the interrogation rules, first laid out in September after a visit to Iraq by the then-commander of the prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amounted to a green light for abuse. Pentagon officials heatedly deny that, saying prisoners always are treated under guidelines of the Geneva Conventions.

Mr. al-Zarqawi is still demanding the release of one video clip which apparently shows one detainee being escorted into the prison and his guard being given instructions on what to do with him. LUNews has obtained a copy of this video clip, and is releasing the following partial transcript taken from it:

UNIDENTIFIED SERGEANT: Sir! We just caught this bad guy who was shooting RPGs at out Brad. He had on him these IED [improvised explosive device] detonator caps, and maps showing the placement of at least three IEDs along our route. He also had this paper signed by that al-Zarqawi raghead promoting him to 'Chief Second Jihaadist, First Class' and giving him command of a local militant force. What should I do with the prisoner, sir!

UNIDENTIFIED LIEUTENANT: First off, Sergeant, we don't refer to our detainees or their leaders as 'ragheads.'


LIEUTENANT: Second of all, did you dust the caps and that paper for fingerprints to see if they actually were this prisoner's?

SERGEANT: Sir, no sir!

LIEUTENANT: In that case, Sergeant, hand the prisoner over to the intelligence officer standing over there next to that green light and he'll schedule him for an interrogation.

SERGEANT: Aye, aye, sir!

Mr. al-Zarqawi claims that the video clip clearly shows soldiers being given a green light to violate the guidelines of the Geneva Conventions. "It was never proven that my brother jihaadist was the owner of these devices. He could have just found them lying alongside the road and was on his way to turn them in to the local police. Instead, he was roughly treated and interrogated like a common criminal." The hooded militant refused to comment about the allegation that the prisoner had been firing RPGs at Coalition forces, but instead took umbrage at being called a "raghead" in the clip.

Mr. al-Zarqawi did welcome the news that detainees' heads were no longer being displayed on pikes outside the Abu Ghraib prison's gate, considering that form of interrogation "a little too much."

"That standard is being followed in Guantanamo and in Iraq," said Lawrence Di Rita, the chief spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

Some members of Congress and legal experts say some of the techniques discussed Friday violate the conventions, which are the core of the international laws of war.

(Demoshatic members and legal experts, AssPee. Moreover, those "international laws of war" aren't being followed at all by our enemy. You aren't suggesting that our side do so "unilaterally" now, are you?)

They cite a section of the Geneva Conventions that applies to all detainees in Iraq and which prohibits "physical or moral coercion" against prisoners, "in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties."

"After all," they continued, "Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda is a 'High Contracting Party' to the Conventions. See, that's his signature right there on the document. Can't you see his scribbled 'X' next to those drops of Mr. Berg's blood? I thought you could."

"It's obvious that some of the things we're talking about are coercion: putting people in stressful conditions, sleep deprivation for substantial periods of time, hooding," said lawyer and human rights expert [and former Justice Department lawyer under the Johnson Administration] Sidney S. Rosdeitcher. "Those things are plainly coercion."

Mr. Rosdeitcher added, "I'll admit, keeping up Mr. Berg all night with taunts about how he was going to get his head cut off the next morning could be construed, under certain articles of the Conventions, as a 'stressful condition.' However, at no time did his captors ever subject him to a hooding. That would've been plainly coercive."

The two military officials who briefed reporters anonymously included one who is a lawyer. Neither would answer questions about how the approved techniques comply with the Geneva Conventions.

They offered examples, contending that forcing a detainee to stand at attention is permissible unless he is required to do so for so long it becomes painful.

The two anonymous officials also put on a puppet show to demonstrate to reporters what could and could not be done to detainees.

One puppet, whom they called "Migby," was forcing another puppet to stand at attention. "Now, now, bad bad Akbar, you must stand at attention until I say otherwise," said Migby. Akbar, the other puppet, shifted back and forth for a while, then blurted out, "Oowie! This hurts!" Migby provided Akbar a small puppet chair and allowed the latter to sit in it for a while.

In another demonstration, Akbar had his hands tied together in front of him with little puppet rope. Migby approached Akbar with a menacing looking puppet stick and asked, "Are you going to talk?" When Akbar didn't respond, Migby hit the floor hard with his stick, causing Akbar to jump at the loud sound. "Talk!" Migby shouted. When Akbar didn't respond, Migby untied him and placed him behind the curtain. "You cannot come out until you're willing to talk," Migby scolded Akbar.

"There's an enormous amount of subjectivity in the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, and mostly what cannot be done," Di Rita said.

(No, there's an enormous amount of partisan maneuvering going on, to the great glee of America's enemies. Democrats and Fifth Column media flacks are trying to figure out how to use these very non-Berglike "abuses" to make our president look as bad as possible, demoralize our troops and tie their hands, and break the American people's resolve. The very same things our terrorist enemy is trying to do.)

Sanchez approved in September a modified set of interrogation rules after recommendations from Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who was then the commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison. He now runs the U.S. military's prisons in Iraq.

The military officials said Sanchez and other military officials scrubbed Miller's recommendations, changing them because Iraqi prisoners are subject to the Geneva Conventions while the Bush administration holds that Guantanamo detainees are not.

Face-concealing rags around one's head, and wearing Death 2 Jooooos tee-shirts, have been ruled by a United Nations panel to constitute "legitimate military uniforms" of a High Contracting Party.

Civilian contract interrogators hired by the military must follow the rules, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. It's unclear whether CIA operatives, who interrogated some prisoners at Abu Ghraib, must abide by the rules, too.

05-15-04 0907EDT

At least someone on our side may have only one hand tied behind his back. Unfortunately for anyone outside the Democrat Party and its cells embedded with our media, the terrorists aren't extending to us any such courtesy in this war.

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