The new animation by Mark Fiore “Knuckle’s Sandwich” has just been posted to the Internet.
Here it is.
Its subject is United States government sponsored torture in Guantanamo Bay camp (see also here) and elsewhere.
See also here.
Torture in Padilla case: here.
British prisoners in Guantanamo: here.
The Unending Torture of Omar Khadr*
He was a child of jihad, a teenage soldier in bin Laden’s army. Captured
on the battlefield when he was only fifteen, he has been held at
Guantanamo Bay for the past four years — subjected to unspeakable abuse
sanctioned by the president himself
by Jeff Tietz
Rolling Stone magazine
Life in the Jalalabad compound was spare. Bin Laden forbade ice and
electricity. He wanted people to know how to live with nothing.
Abdurahman later described him as a regular guy who liked volleyball and
horse racing. “He had financial issues, issues with his kids,”
Abdurahman said. “‘The kids aren’t listening. The kids aren’t doing this
and that.'” Bin Laden’s children drank Coke whenever they could, despite
his ban on American products. To get them to memorize the Koran, bin
Laden promised to buy them horses.
In 1998, when Al Qaeda members suicide-bombed the American embassies in
Kenya and Tanzania, killing 220 people and wounding 4,000, everyone in
the Jalalabad compound celebrated. A lot of free juice was handed out.
People joked that they should carry out more operations — they’d get
free juice all the time. The celebration ended when the Americans
retaliated with cruise missiles, destroying buildings and killing and
wounding a dozen people. For Omar, the attack reinforced, as nothing
else had, his belief that the enemy was real. Omar was fourteen on
September 11th. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
created an uproar of rejoicing in the camps, but everyone knew that
serious American reprisals were imminent, and the compounds were
abandoned. Abdurahman, who had become deeply disillusioned with Al
Qaeda’s killing of civilians, defected to Kabul, where he was taken
prisoner by the Northern Alliance and handed over to the CIA. According
to the U.S. government, Omar followed his father into the mountains,
where they soon began fighting for Al Qaeda.
Whatever his indoctrination at that moment, Omar would still have been
recognizable to the people who had known him as a boy in Toronto. “Omar
is our mother and our father, our sister and our brother,” Ahmed wrote
in a letter to Zaynab. “He does everything for us. He cooks our meals
and does our laundry. Sometimes, I ask your mother: Are you sure he’s
ours? He’s too good to be ours.”
A few months after Omar Khadr arrived at Guantanamo Bay, he was awakened
by a guard around midnight. “Get up,” the guard said. “You have a
reservation.” “Reservation” is the commonly used term at Gitmo for
In the interrogation room, Omar’s interviewer grew displeased with his
level of cooperation. He summoned several MPs, who chained Omar tightly
to an eye bolt in the center of the floor. Omar’s hands and feet were
shackled together; the eye bolt held him at the point where his hands
and feet met. Fetally positioned, he was left alone for half an hour.
Upon their return, the MPs uncuffed Omar’s arms, pulled them behind his
back and recuffed them to his legs, straining them badly at their
sockets. At the junction of his arms and legs he was again bolted to the
floor and left alone. The degree of pain a human body experiences in
this particular “stress position” can quickly lead to delirium, and
ultimately to unconsciousness. Before that happened, the MPs returned,
forced Omar onto his knees, and cuffed his wrists and ankles together
behind his back. This made his body into a kind of bow, his torso convex
and rigid, right at the limit of its flexibility. The force of his
cuffed wrists straining upward against his cuffed ankles drove his
kneecaps into the concrete floor. The guards left.
An hour or two later they came back, checked the tautness of his chains
and pushed him over on his stomach. Transfixed in his bonds, Omar
toppled like a figurine. Again they left. Many hours had passed since
Omar had been taken from his cell. He urinated on himself and on the
floor. The MPs returned, mocked him for a while and then poured pine-oil
solvent all over his body. Without altering his chains, they began
dragging him by his feet through the mixture of urine and pine oil.
Because his body had been so tightened, the new motion racked it. The
MPs swung him around and around, the piss and solvent washing up into
his face. The idea was to use him as a human mop. When the MPs felt
they’d successfully pretended to soak up the liquid with his body, they
uncuffed him and carried him back to his cell. He was not allowed a
change of clothes for two days.
The design of Omar Khadr’s life at Guantanamo Bay apparently began as a
theory in the minds of Air Force researchers. After the Korean War, the
Air Force created a program called SERE — Survival, Evasion, Resistance
and Escape — to help captured pilots resist interrogation. SERE’s
founders wanted to know what kind of torture was most destructive to the
human psyche so that they could train pilots to withstand it. In
experiments, they held subjects in dummy POW camps and had them starved,
stripped naked and partially drowned. Administrators carefully noted the
subjects’ reactions, often measuring the levels of stress hormones in
The most effective form of torture turned out to have two components.
The first is pain and harm delivered in unpredictable, sometimes
illusory environments — an absolute denial of physical comfort and
spatial-temporal orientation. The second is a removal of the inner
comfort of identity — achieved by artfully humiliating people and
coercing them to commit offenses against their own religion, dignity and
morality, until they become unrecognizable to and ashamed of themselves.
SERE scientists came up with a variety of stress-torture techniques:
sleep deprivation, sexual mortification, religious desecration, hooding,
waterboarding. In SERE theory, the techniques are be used in concert and
continuously — coercive interrogation should become a life experience.
This is Guantanamo Bay: To be held there is, per se, to be tortured.
Behavioral scientists reportedly manage every aspect of detainees’
lives. In one case, a psychologist told guards to limit a detainee to
seven squares of toilet paper a day.
While he was at Guantanamo, Omar was beaten in the head, nearly
suffocated, threatened with having his clothes taken indefinitely and,
as at Bagram, lunged at by attack dogs while wearing a bag over his
head. “Your life is in my hands,” an intelligence officer told him
during an interrogation in the spring of 2003. During the questioning,
Omar gave an answer the interrogator did not like. He spat in Omar’s
face, tore out some of his hair and threatened to send him to Israel,
Egypt, Jordan or Syria — places where they tortured people without
constraints: very slowly, analytically removing body parts. The
Egyptians, the interrogator told Omar, would hand him to Askri raqm tisa
— Soldier Number Nine. Soldier Number Nine, the interrogator explained,
was a guard who specialized in raping prisoners.
Omar’s chair was removed. Because his hands and ankles were shackled, he
fell to the floor. His interrogator told him to get up. Standing up was
hard, because he could not use his hands. When he did, his interrogator
told him to sit down again. When he sat, the interrogator told him to
stand again. He refused. The interrogator called two guards into the
room, who grabbed Omar by the neck and arms, lifted him into the air and
dropped him onto the floor. The interrogator told them to do it again —
and again and again and again. Then he said he was locking Omar’s case
file in a safe: Omar would spend the rest of his life in a cell at
Several weeks later, a man who claimed to be Afghan interrogated Omar.
He wore an American flag on his uniform pants. He said his name was
Izmarai — “lion” — and he spoke in Farsi and occasionally in Pashto
and English. Izmarai said a new prison was under construction in
Afghanistan for uncooperative Guantanamo detainees. “In Afghanistan,”
Izmarai said, “they like small boys.” He pulled out a photograph of Omar
and wrote on it, in Pashto, “This detainee must be transferred to
Omar was taken from his chair and short-shackled to an eye bolt in the
floor, his hands behind his knees. He was left that way for six hours.
On March 31st, 2003, Omar’s security level was downgraded to “Level
Four, with isolation.” Everything in his cell was taken, and he spent a
month without human contact in a windowless box kept at the approximate
temperature of a refrigerator.
When he was not being tortured or held in isolation, Omar spent
virtually every waking minute of his captivity at Guantanamo alone in
his cell, first in a facility called Camp Delta and then in one called
Camp V. His left eye, the one injured at Ab Khail, had gone blind and
was immobile. Except for a Koran, there was nothing in Omar’s cells to
occupy his mind. During his first year and a half at Guantanamo, he was
permitted to exercise only twice a week for fifteen minutes, in a cage
slightly larger than his own. Conversation between cells was possible,
but prisoners had become so unstable and fearful of one another that
they tended not to say much; there were no friendships. Omar tried to
talk to his guards, about anything, but they were unresponsive. They
often covered their nameplates with tape before entering detention
As Guantanamo was imposing heavy stagnation on Omar, it was also
instilling in him an abiding sense of vulnerability and disequilibrium.
The call to prayer was usually played five times a day, but sometimes it
changed, or stopped. Exercise could come at any time of the day or
night. If the guards woke you at 3:30 a.m. and you didn’t present
yourself quickly enough to please them, you didn’t get to exercise. The
timing and character of interrogations followed no pattern. Sometimes
prisoners were woken up and moved from cell to cell for half the night
for no apparent reason. This tactic was so common it became known among
guards as “the frequent-flier program.”
This article goes on for EIGHT more pages at:
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