"Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please." (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What the ...? 

This story is truly bizarre. It is impossible to divine who are the bad guys, and who are the good guys (if there even are any good guys):
A U.S. inquiry into alleged abuse at Guantanamo uncovered a climate of deep distrust between military police and interrogators, who were accused during the probe of giving terror suspects personal information about their guards.

The MPs suspected interrogators gave their names and Social Security numbers to prisoners in exchange for intelligence, according to the investigation, which recommended that a senior interrogator be relieved of duty for "failure to know his enemy."

The interrogator "sees himself as a hero for the detainees, and against the MPs, on a crusade in the battle of the MPs against the detainees," one investigator wrote in the report on the inquiry that The Associated Press obtained under a Freedom of Information lawsuit.

The report recommended military authorities look further into the disclosure of MP information to detainees. Guantanamo officials didn't respond to repeated questions about the investigation, including whether the interrogator - a military officer - was relieved of duty or whether the prison camp instituted any reforms in response to the findings.

The investigation began in March 2004, when the same interrogator claimed military police had abused detainees at the high-security camp in eastern Cuba, where the United States holds about 500 men captured in its war on terror.

The interrogator claimed that guards mistreated a suspected al-Qaida member by not allowing him to use the bathroom immediately after a five-hour interrogation and that at other times withheld food and turned the temperature down on a cell to 52 degrees as punishment.

An investigating officer, however, found no evidence of abuse by the guards.

The investigator faulted the interrogator instead - recommending he be relieved of his duties for reasons that included a "failure to know his enemy," the "unfounded" allegations against the guards and "the noted possibility that he suffers from Reverse Stockholm Syndrome."

Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages develop a bond with their captors. The most often-cited example is the heiress Patty Hearst who helped rob banks with the radicals who kidnapped her in 1974.

The MPs said in sworn statements that they suspected interrogators may have been trading the names and Social Security numbers of guards to get intelligence in return.

"I believe that some of the interrogators would do whatever it takes to gather that, including giving out some MP's personal information," said a guard from the 258th Military Police company who said he was concerned because some detainees had a "deep hatred" for him.

So, either the MPs or the interrogators - or, perhaps, both - are guilty of very serious crimes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say from the face of this article who ought to be facing prison here. While it is true that investigators have ratified the MPs' version of events, it appears (but is not entirely clear) that the investigators represented the DoD and so may have been institutionally inclined to side with the soldiers against the interrogators (who may or may not have been from the military). In any case, it is clear that there is much we have yet to learn about this story.




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