Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ongoing Spanish Investigation Painting Devastating Picture US Brutality

The investigation focuses in particular on a squad whose standard procedure is to crush even minimal resistance or uncooperativeness by Guantanamo prisoners with a maximum degree of violence. “The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force,” Scahill writes, “but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force.”

Released prisoners, their lawyers, and former guards have all previously told their parts of the story, but as Scahill draws the pieces together, the extent of the deliberate burtality and dehumanization becomes agonizingly apparent.

The IRF teams’ official guidelines indicate that they should use only the minimum amount of force necessary on unruly detainees and should never use force as a method of punishment. However, witnesses tell a very different story. Michael Ratner, the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, describes the IRF as “Black Shirts” and Clive Stafford Smith, who has represented 50 Guantanamo prisoners, calls them simply “goons.”

It appears that the teams were even directed to create pretexts for brutality where none existed in order to make sure that all the prisoners were fully intimidated.

According to legal expert Scott Horton, the extrajudicial actions of these teams — which include beating prisoners, using attack dogs, rubbing pepper spray directly in their eyes, and leaving them hog-tied and in excruciating pain for hours — were “fully approved” by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in consultation with the Justice Department.

All actions by the teams are supposed to be documented and videotaped, but it is not clear to what degree this was actually done or whether any tapes still exist. However, Stafford Smith does say that “there is photographic evidence.”

Full Scahill article here-- which should be read in its nauseating entirety.

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