By: E&P Staff
Following closely on the heels of the Newsweek retraction of its item on Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, The New York Times in a front-page report today revealed that a U.S. Army investigation has uncovered horrific details of the 2002 deaths of two Afghan men in American custody.
But reporter Tim Golden went beyond that, also stating that a nearly 2,000-page confidential file obtained by the paper ?depicts young, poorly trained soldiers in repeated incidents of abuse. The harsh treatment … went well beyond the two deaths.”
The file, Golden wrote, ?includes ample testimony that harsh treatment by some interrogators was routine and that guards could strike shackled detainees with virtual impunity.? Senior officers frequently toured the detention center, with several admitting they had seen prisoners chained up for punishment.
The file also details sworn statements from soldiers about a woman interrogator who stepped on one prisoner’s neck and kicked another in the genitals. Other reported abuses include a prisoner forced to pick plastic bottle tops out of a drum mixed with excrement and water.
Today?s piece was described as the first of two articles on this subject.
The Times obtained a copy of the 2,000-page confidential report of the Army’s investigation into the deaths — which took place at a detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan, in December 2002 — ?from a person involved in the investigation who was critical of the methods used at Bagram and the military’s response to the deaths,” the paper said.
According to the report, one of the two men — known to the Army only as Dilawar — died after being chained by his wrists to the ceiling of his cell for four days. The piece ends, dramatically, with the comment from a U.S. Army sergeant named Yonushonis, that before Dilawar’s death ?most of us were convinced that the detainee was innocent.?
Before his death, however, he was interrogated repeatedly, and his legs were beaten so badly that a coroner later said they “had basically been pulpified,” the Times reported.
Seven soldiers have been charged so far in the death of Dilawar and investigators have recommended that up to 27 face charges; as many as 15 of those have also been linked to another death.