source: Raw Story
by David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Videos suggest detainees were routinely subjected to emotional assaults
A former US soldier in Iraq has come forward with video of his fellow soldiers subjecting Iraqi detainees to what he describes as “mental, emotional, degrading” abuse.
US Army Specialist Ethan McCord was a member of Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry, the same unit that was involved in a 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad shown in a leaked video released last April by WikiLeaks.
“I started to ‘acquire’ these videos and some pictures once I realized that what we are doing in Iraq is wrong,” McCord wrote on Wednesday in a blog entry at MichaelMoore.com. “These videos are of detainee abuse. Not the type of abuse that’s physical, but the mental, emotional, degrading type.”
In the three brief clips, soldiers are shown harassing a handcuffed and blindfolded detainee in a variety of ways. In one, a soldier repeatedly orders a detainee to hold his hands up and then put them down again — a sequence which McCord says went on for 45 minutes.
Another shows a soldier asking a terrified detainee, “Are you militia” and telling him he is “going to go to prison for that,” until being ordered to “stop talking to the detainees.” In the third, a soldier sings loudly and mockingly into the ear of a man who was detained for having an AK-47 in his home.
The use of deliberate humiliation as a means of softening up detainees prior to questioning became particularly notorious in connection with the Abu Ghraib scandal and was examined in detail in Errol Morris’s critically-acclaimed 2008 documentary Standard Operating Procedure.
“The MPs speak frankly, if not always lucidly, about conditions at the prison and the vague orders from higher-ups that allowed them to believe what they were doing was somehow OK,” Slate’s Dana Stevens wrote of the film. “They saw themselves as ‘softening up’ detainees for the real questioning that would take place later behind closed doors.”
“My two cents worth of opinion,” Morris told an interviewer, “is that this is not just a war of humiliation but a war of sexual humiliation at its core, and the entire foreign policy. I wouldn’t even think it’s fair to say that America has a foreign policy in the years since 9/11, but if it has had a foreign policy, the foreign policy is, show them whose [sic] boss, humiliate them like they have humiliated us.”
Although the harassment shown in McCord’s clips does not rise to the same level of sexual abuse as was present at Abu Ghraib, it appears to be similarly designed to “show them who’s boss” and break down the detainees’ will to resist.