Thursday, May 09, 2013

Help For Heroes

From an LRB piece on the killing of Baha Mousa and the botched British Army investigations into it, a statement by a former detainee about his treatment after being arrested by British forces in November 2006.

[The soldiers who arrested him] beat him severely, slammed him against a wall and forced him into a stress position in which they stood on his knees and back. His 11-month-old son’s arm was stamped on and broken, and his father had to urinate on himself. The soldiers removed business documents, computers, mobile telephones, licensed guns and 40 million Iraqi dinars … At the [Brigade Processing Facility] the Claimant was initially hooded and earmuffed, then goggled. He was interrogated aggressively, struck with a stick and threatened with Guantánamo. In between sessions he was forced into a stress position in the cold for 30 hours and stoned and beaten. He was twice taken to medics, but not to the toilet, so he urinated on himself … [On arrival at a second detention facility] he was goggled and earmuffed, forced to undress in public and examined by a medic while naked. A female saw him nude. He spent 36 days in solitary confinement in a tiny freezing cell with restricted bedding, food and water. Soldiers beat him, prevented him sleeping by banging his door and shouting insults, restricted his privacy in toileting and showering and twice had sexual intercourse in front of him. Pornographic movies were played loudly and pornographic magazines left in sight. Soldiers exposed themselves, groped each other and masturbated in front of him … Humiliations continued at Camp B with poor conditions, beatings, food deprivation, threats, intimate searches and intimidation with dogs … He was released in November 2007 having had no explanation for his detention. His property was never returned.

Remember that next time someone assumes that British soldiers have some special entitlement to praise and support.