We take you now inside one of Saddam's most notorious prisons, 18 miles west of Baghdad, and it's hard to imagine a grimmer place. US soldiers are searching what remains of one of the biggest and most elaborate prisons in the world. Saddam Hussein never cut corners when it came to punishment.
Abu Ghraib once held tens of thousands of human souls -- criminals, political enemies, and those who just happened to get in the way. A year-old Iranian boy visiting his grandmother near Basra in was swept up in an Iraqi invasion. He was still here 15 years later. And they brought us polluted water to drink, so we all had diarrhea.
The members of the Baath party were always watching the others. There were always security members at my plays and sometimes they the plays were not allowed,' said [Aziz Abdul] Sahib. Sahib said he had been selling his writings at a public market once a week 'just so I could eat. Yehiye Ahmed, 17, grew up nearby. The prison guards were his neighbors; the inmates' screams were the soundtrack of his young life.
I could hear everything from my house or when we played soccer behind the prison,' says Yehiye, a quiet boy, with large, haunted brown eyes and a body that suggests malnourishment. When they got tired, the guards would switch with other guards,' he recalls. Last week, he wandered through the looted prison and stood behind the red bars of his former cell for the first time in over 10 years. I never believed a person could be subjected to such treatment by another human being,' Mekhedi says.
If our work was disliked by Saddam or eldest son Uday, then we would be placed in jail. Anwar Abdul Razak, remembers when a surgeon kissed him on each cheek, said he was sorry and cut his ears off. Razak, then 21 years old, had been swept up during one of Saddam Hussein's periodic crackdowns on deserters from the Army. Razak says he was innocently on leave at the time, but no matter; he had been seized by some Baath Party members who earned bounties for catching Army deserters. At Basra Hospital, Razak's ears were sliced off without painkillers.
He said he was thrown into jail with men, all with bloody stumps where their ears had been. One doctor who refused was shot. Today, Dr. Jinan al-Sabagh, an administrator at Basra Teaching Hospital, insists that the victims numbered only '70 or 80,' but he'd prefer not to talk about it. He says the ear-chopping stopped before his own surgery rotation came up.
I vowed I would never do it. I said I am a surgeon, not a butcher He is Muhammad Muslim Muhammad and he said he began digging graves here when he was 14 to fulfill his military service. There were never fewer than nine bodies to bury. During one especially bad time in , he said, the numbers rose.
One day he buried 18 people. He said he had never told anyone the details of his job. He said he'd remarked that if talks with the United Nations did not work, force would be used against Saddam. The police came the same day and asked why I spoke against Saddam,' said Saboowalla. He said the police testified that he had advocated 'shooting and killing Saddam. He refused to talk about how he was treated in jail. But his younger brother Hani came to a cemetery here today, like dozens of other Iraqis, not with the name of his dead brother but with a number.
Satter's number was A cousin, Sagur, arrested at the same time, was These numbers were what was left of people convicted as enemies of Saddam Hussein and then made to disappear. Their graves were not dignified with names but with numbers painted on metal plates. The plates spread like rusty weeds, covering more and more feet of desert every year Mr. Hussein held power. These were people executed - most by hanging in the fearsome Abu Ghraib prison a mile away - merely because the government considered them a threat.
Many were Shiite Muslims more active in their religion than the Sunni-dominated government felt it could tolerate. Missing eyes, ears, toenails and tongues mark those who fell into the hands of Mr. Hussein's powerful security services. They had been beaten with a metal cable. Then the guards threw salt water at them, so the scars would stay for life.
Witnesses say they were dumped in the middle of the night, without the dignity of a coffin, often mixed with the bones of another. Until this week, their whereabouts were unknown. But now, armed with shovels and mysterious scraps of paper, families are finally coming to reclaim their own. These people may have been just nameless, faceless victims to the regime, but if so, the question arises why would the regime have taken so much time to bury each one individually, and then mark each grave with a number? The answer: The regime didn't keep track.
The cemetery's caretaker did. There must be thousands of people in this book. Thousands of names. Under penalty of death, this man stole Saddam Hussein's execution list and kept note of the bodies that came his way. It is an act of courage that may finally bring some peace to families with homecomings so long overdue. Hussein's rule. His speech is slurred because he is missing part of his tongue. Black-hooded paramilitary troops, the Fedayeen Saddam, run by Mr. Hussein's eldest son, Uday, pulled it out of his mouth with pliers last month, he said, and sliced it off with a box cutter.
They made his family and dozens of his neighbors watch. Salman was blindfolded and bundled into a van. Residents of his neighborhood say the van arrived in the afternoon with an escort of seven trucks carrying more than a hundred black-uniformed fedayeen wearing black masks that only showed their eyes. They rounded up neighbors for what was billed as a rally; Mr. Salman's mother was ordered to bring a picture of Mr. Two men held Mr. Salman's arms and head steady, and pointed a gun to his temple.
Another man with a video camera recorded the scene. It was too quick to be painful but there was a lot of blood. When he awoke, the right side of his head was wrapped in bandages. It was Sept. Ghanem said. I felt oppressed. I hated Saddam with all of my heart, but I didn't know what to do.
Many, like Mr. Ghanem, had inflamed wounds. Others were less fortunate. Ghanem described a medieval scene in which delirious and dying inmates lay on the prison's dirt floor screaming from pain. Two of his friends died from infections. Ghanem's weeping mother. Hussein, said his trouble began when the eldest of his seven sons became old enough to join the Baath Party, but did not.
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He is quick to pop out his glass eye for a visitor - and to tell of how he lost the real one to torture. I was afraid of what Uday would do to me and my family. I would sit and cry when I was by myself. I want to play soccer for myself, and for the Iraqi people, not for Uday. A common thread runs through all their narratives. After losing a competition, players and their retinue were taken to the Olympic Committee building, where they were harangued before being transferred to a prison, usually Radwaniya.
They often had their heads shaved as a mark of shame and spent the first days in prison without food. Many said they were whipped on their backs, legs and arms by thick metal cables that hung from a wall in the prison and were named after snakes. And if they were offered jobs playing abroad, Uday Hussein demanded a cut of the contract if they wanted exit visas to leave Iraq.
One reporter, who said he preferred not to give his name because he was still afraid of 'Uday's men,' told AFP that such violence was widespread in the dark years of Saddam's year rule. They blindfolded me and then tortured me with electricity. Officials believe they are the remains of victims of Saddam's repression of ethnic minorities, including Iraqi Kurds. Tens of thousands of Kurdish men disappeared under Saddam and were killed, according to human rights groups. When he returned to his work with the police campaign to put down Shia opponents and rebels, he witnessed more savagery.
I saw Captain Abbass, one of our men, beating a man on the floor. I recognised him as a Shia religious student. He beat the man in the head and I noticed and pointed out to the captain that the student was already dead. He just said that he wanted to punish him more and that his hand was the "hand of god". Some people would be left here for days upside down and would just die of fatigue and thirst. The Iraqi footballers had flunked a crucial penalty, and they dreaded what Uday Saddam Hussein had in store for them after the final whistle.
The psychological pressure on the players was enormous, especially when it came to penalties. People told us that they were killed here,' said Ali Khaled Shefeq, 40, a chemical engineer, digging at the grave with a spade. He said relatives suspect the men were killed around April 2. What can we say? God bless them. Until now, we didn't believe Saddam Hussein is gone, that it's over. We pray he will never come back again. A cry went up from the crowd as one of the decomposed bodies was unearthed. Munther then moved in for a closer look.
This is my brother, he did nothing wrong. In Kadhimiya, a primarily Shiite neighbourhood in Baghdad, 25 people were discovered in an underground prison, he said. But the prisoners were smart and built ramps to climb on top of. That's why they didn't drown. He had no idea how many people were killed in that prison but he said it must have been thousands. In one corner of that prison outside the walls of an inner secure area we found relatives grieving over an open grave where they had found a number of bodies.
Bodies who have had their hands tied behind their backs - they had been shot in the head. As such they were suspected of being American spies. They were shot in the dying days of the regime even though those who shot them must have known that the end was up. We put it in front of Uday's office. He asked us to bring his head. But my hands didn't shake. I was always very careful. I knew a small mistake would be the end of me. For the better part of a decade, he recalled, he assassinated opposition figures, broke the backs of those accused of lying to the government and chopped off tongues, fingers, hands and once even a head.
We had to do it,' he explained. If we got orders to punish him, we would go and do it. If Uday said to cut off his tongue, we would do it. Or his hands or fingers or his head. We would do it. And that made it all the more filled with terror, because slowly, prisoners would come up, tell you that they had been held here, that they had been tortured. You look at the walls, and see graffiti written by the prisoners here. And it's heartbreaking, really. Allah, help me. Or, you know, today I'm alive, but tomorrow I'll be underground. You see Iraqi families wandering around trying to find news of relatives, and finding nothing.
I was about to leave when a group of agitated Iraqis came up and said, come with me. I have something to show you. It's an execution ground. There are still some bodies there. So I said, ok. Let's go take a look. And indeed, we drove to a very remote part of the prison. It was like a makeshift execution ground.
You know, somebody had just hurriedly set some guys up there and shot them. They had been half-buried in the ground. He was accused of being a resistance fighter opposed to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Then he was loaded onto a truck with scores of other Kuwaitis. That was the last anyone here [Kuwait] saw of him.
Today, Mr. Attar would be 38 years old and would have spent one-third of his life in an Iraqi prison. I hope that all of them are still alive,' says Abdul Hamid al-Attar, Jamal's father. I am not that much optimistic. If Hussein did this to his own people, the Kuwaitis received worse, family members say. Now we have changed. We say we must know if they are dead or alive. They [the corpses] are all political. Ten to 15 bodies would arrive at a time from the Abu Ghraib prison and we would bury them here.
The last corpse interred was number Sometimes a soldier would come through and they were all shot. I could distinguish them by their uniforms. This grave belongs to a woman. She was hanged. There are another five cemeteries in Baghdad with secret gravesites so in this city alone there are about 6, political corpses.
Mourned furtively down through the years by parents and siblings, spouses and children. But hope lives on, however atrophied and threadbare. It is this hopeful longing for miracles that brings Iraqis, in their pleading numbers, to every portal, hatchway and unsealed vent hole, in search of loved ones. But across town, at another portal to the subterranean maze, a morsel of information has floated to the surface. It's a piece of paper, part of a security file. It reads: 'Ali Shankat. Executed criminal. Accused of writing about Saddam Hussein. In one sits a plate of half-eaten food, biscuits and rice, still resting on a green plastic tray.
At the end of a hallway lies a pile of bindings and blindfolds. There are shackles in one room, long cables in another. On another floor there is a small operating room, where some former prisoners said doctors harvested the organs of those who did not survive. Inside one are six aluminum trays, each the length of a body. Everyone here knows someone who was tortured, and many victims see a bleak future without a measure of justice exacted on the torturers.
The death sentence was prescribed for a large variety of offenses including usurpation of public money, corruption, insulting the presidency, and treason -- loosely defined. Law became whimsical and contingent on the will of the party and president. Even foreign investments were dependent on the good will of the ruling elite, often tapping into a network of businessmen sanctioned and protected by a Saddam family clique.
In most cases, the prisoners said, bribes were paid, women were offered, but the prisoner remained in jail. Masawi said. Anwar Abdul Al Razaq got sick. Zuhair H. Jawa Kubba had American dollars in his pocket. Jawad Abdul Al Naby smuggled some sheep. Because these things happened, these men were beaten with steel rods, had electrodes placed on their genitals, were hung from their arms until their shoulders were dislocated, were suspended by their ankles over the stone floor of a cell while their torturers whipped them with electric cables and pulverized their knuckles with wooden clubs.
Jinan Al Sabagh, a surgeon at Basra's Teaching Hospital, remembers the day in when the Baath Party came to the hospital with groups of men who were said to be deserters. The doctors were told to slice off the men's ears. One doctor here refused and they said if you didn't do it we will do the same to you.
He did it. Haid Ahmed holds up a photograph of his brother, Moayed, an agriculture student who disappeared in June, We were too scared even to try. This is just a possibility. But any place I hear there is a prison, I go there. I have been to four prisons already. I am going to keep looking because my father and mother have asked me to.
We have talked about him every day since he was taken. His life inside prison is now longer than his life outside. In my heart, I think he is alive, but only God knows. We don't know if one day the regime will come back. Those who did this to me are still around, We just don't know their faces. They just took off their uniforms and went home. They are still out there and we are still afraid.
Guards would splash buckets of water through a small gap in the bottom of the door to put an inch or two of water on the floor so that he could not sleep. They gave him tea and a piece of bread for breakfast. Rice and a piece of bread for lunch. He went to the bathroom in his room, on the floor. Whole families, including infants and toddlers, were held in this prison.
This was a form of mercy, this keeping the families together. I was naked," he recalls, and now is when he searches with his eyes for that spot. To cushion his words: They used clamps to connect electrical wire to his genitals and then they sent a current running through him. Just stop this! I shook until I passed out. When they feared he would die, they gave him a week off. Then back to the shocking. Always they beat him, sometimes on his back, sometimes on his legs and arms, often on the soles of his feet until they bled.
The pattern continued for six months. Guarded by armed colleagues, he used to tie up and blindfold the accused. One of his men held the detainee's head in a firm grip. Another forced open the mouth. Gripping the tongue with pliers, he would slice it up with the knife, tossing severed pieces into the street. By then it was too late. There was always a lot of blood. Some offenders passed out. Others screamed in pain.
They would then be given basic medical assistance in an ambulance which would always come with us on such punishment runs. Then they would be thrown in jail. Some months ago he got into a fight in a market in northern Baghdad and was overheard insulting Saddam as the 'son of a dog'. A policeman tried to arrest him, but Adnan fled. They were thrown in jail and tortured with electric shocks. He was jailed and then, on March 5, turned over to the specialists of Ali's punishment squad. Adnan was taken back to his father's home in north Baghdad, where his entire family was ordered to gather outside the local coffee house.
I tried to pay for his release. I lost all my savings, handing everything I had to corrupt security officers who promised to help but only took my money. There was nothing I could do. I had to watch in silence as they took a knife to my son's tongue. Had I said a word we would all have been killed. These are the tortures they describe, and more: a prisoner forced to sit on a heated metal stove, electric shocks applied to genitals, a small blade used to slash a prisoner's back.
Even doctors became torturers; they cut off army deserters' ears. Servants of the system fell victim to it, too: police officers and prison guards arrested, tortured, then sent back to work. Torture was considered so routine that many former prisoners shrugged at first when asked about it. Beating people here is something regular,' said Maithem Naji. He has been missing his brother since as well, when the year-old was taken from their home at 4 a.
His uncle is also missing, and his cousin was executed in Altogether, he has six relatives who were arrested and whose whereabouts are unknown. Some were lined up and machine- gunned before being covered with sand. Others were just buried alive. Saddam had a programme of telling villagers Kurds they were being relocated south. We would take trucks that would normally hold 12 to 15 people and put in with no water or ventilation.
Many would die on the way. Survivors were driven to Al Anbar or Tharthar and buried alive in vast holes dug in the ground. I saw thousands of people. They were taken to Baghdad and tortured with electrified wire, Ghassan said. I have never heard anything like that before or since. On the left was the yellow holding pen where prisoners fought to sleep next to the open pits that served as latrines, suffering the stench for a few inches more space. Hussein's Sunni-dominated secular government.
Saadoun said. He was tortured while hanging upside down by his feet and pistol-whipped so hard he has lost some of his memory. During torture sessions, his fingernails were yanked off his fingers. He described his cell as 'a big hole with lots of insects and worms. The Iraqis who appear each morning calling out names and dates of arrest are hoping that their missing brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles will be resurrected along with the past.
They throng the gates from dawn to dusk, holding up photos of their vanished loved ones and holding desperately onto hope. He lives in a walled-compound on Maarifa Street. His name appears in the book as a local teacher. His son Adnan is there, also: No. Whereabouts unknown. Much of his family and friends gathered today to hear him speak. They all brought faded pictures or names scribbled on scrap paper of sons and brothers who have disappeared.
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They need look no further than the book. Albadri said. Not to know. Never to see his body. You cannot imagine. This is how we lived. They got out and began to beat me and accuse me of being a saboteur. Then they shot me in the leg. They took me to the police station and kept me for three nights, saying they would kill me. Then yesterday they just disappeared. And at 7am this morning Monday an American Marine came and let me out of my cell.
I feel very lucky. I was very afraid and hid in a hole. It was mostly men. There were about eight children and ten women. They Ba'ath Party forces took them off the bus and led them over to the hole in groups. They sat or knelt and then they began to shoot them from very close, many shots. Some were just pushed in and then covered up with earth.
There was no escape, it was done very quickly. But if the British Army want me to show them I will dig up the bodies myself, because I know they are there. I can never forget. Eleven hands in all, raised in the stagnant air inside the low mud-brick house of Sheik Kathem Al Wafi, signalling the death toll here.
In the end, they lost tools, spare parts and important records to gangs ransacking the oil complex. But they saved the new red fire engine; a quick-thinking operations manager drove it home. On the payroll as a mechanic was a Baath Party official whose real job was to ensure loyalty to the Iraqi dictator. Our hands were tied like this. First the left hand and then the foot. Then a black hood on my head, then they applied electricity. He said he was arrested in the central city of Karbala on March 10, He returned to the facility in Baghdad this weekend, he said, to help rescue any Iraqis who still might be imprisoned there.
The man was removed from the bottle only after it filled up with his blood, the soldier said. He said the man later died. He then revealed dozens of Polaroid pictures of beaten and dead Iraqis from the directorate's files. Several soldiers who tried to enter the underground prison through a manhole said they found the area flooded and doors locked. Kanan Alwan, 41, who worked in the facility's administrative office, said the intelligence officers of the facility programmed the prison's computers, which control the water flow, so that the water level would exceed the height of the prison doors.
But the innocents who probably did nothing wrong have been condemned to death. I was arrested later. I had a letter from a Kuwaiti prisoner of war'. They tortured me with electricity. They made me sit on hot metal plates. They used to drink and laugh as they tortured me. According to Hassoun's account, the woman, a young law professor, was taken into custody for refusing to join the Baath Party. She was transferred from a Baghdad prison to a series of prisons in the north before ending up at the Baghdad security directorate. One of her torturers there was a former student who kicked her and administered electric shocks before killing a year-old boy who was also a prisoner.
During one torture session, she passed out and was taken to the adjoining Security Hospital and subsequently to the nearby al-Kindi Hospital. She was threatened with execution if she spoke of her torture to doctors or nurses. When a doctor asked her if she had been tortured, she responded with silence. After being refused permission to represent herself, she was convicted and given a life sentence. She was ultimately released during one of Hussein's amnesty declarations and later told her story to Hassoun.
Her current whereabouts are unclear. And how he was kept blindfolded, never quite sure where he was, where they were taking him, what would hit him next. Amid twisted wire, bricks and unexploded rocket-propelled grenades, Rasan hunts for traces of his cousin Kasem, missing for 12 years since Saddam Hussein's agents paid him a visit when he was a student. His mother cries every time she thinks of him,' explained Rasan, 25, a muscular ex-soldier who on Sunday patiently picked through documents and files that litter the crumbled torture chamber, blitzed by U.
Other searchers were lifting trapdoors and banging pipes and marble tiles trying to find the underground cells reputed to hold hundreds of political prisoners under the ominous headquarters building The low point of every day was the daily torture session; the high point, gruel in a bowl, the prisoners' only meal. Even that was denied her if "I made some mistake. The sexual humiliation may have been even worse than the pain, but that was serious. It was not clear what caused it. Earlier, Iraqi civilians had been digging feverishly, saying they believed relatives were trapped in underground dungeons used by Saddam Hussein's feared security apparatus.
There was no sign of what happened to the inmates and no indication of what their crimes were. But the punishment seems to have been severe. There is also evidence of crude torture. Electric cords snake through a tiny window in one cell, the frayed ends dangling from an anchor in the ceiling. Similar sets of wires trail into other concrete rooms. At least a half-dozen gas masks were scattered near the prison's entrance and inside one of the wire-enclosed walkways of the white cinder-block prison.
There were also several spent auto-injectors of atropine, a powerful drug that is administered as an antidote to nerve gas. Until this week, every neighborhood had a Baath official who kept tabs on the area, ran a network of informants and recruited members into the party, say Iraqis. It wasn't difficult to figure out who they were: They had the best cars and the nicest houses and they had money to throw around. A wrong word or chance comment within earshot of an informant often was enough to earn an interrogation or worse, according to residents of southern Iraq.
In the 24 hour time period covered by a series, about a half of those interrogated abusively will yield information. The significant rise in success is attributed to the actions of Bauer and US interrogators operating alone, without supervision or accountability. The constant use of mutilation, beatings and electric shocks by both American and terrorist orchestrators presents torture as a constant condition across the ideological spectrum.
After the failure to get Burnet to talk using humane methods, the White House is identified as the next terrorist target and attacked; leaving the audience in no doubt that coercive interrogation should have been continued. It ignores that pain is considered a poor technique that generates false confessions and what the interrogators want to hear. Interrogations are more successful when they employ non-coercive techniques, such as attempts to build rapport.
This is based upon keeping a prisoner comfortable and gaining their trust, whilst also requiring a substantial amount of evidence to corroborate detainee testimony. The ticking bomb scenario is a hypothetical construct, influential because it requires the viewer not to imagine what they would do in that situation, but what they would be willing to allow others to do on their behalf. In prioritizing the illusory ticking bomb scenario, and the physically coercive forms of un-sanctioned torture it justifies, the larger impact of American state-sponsored torture is never alluded to in 24 , most pertinently that coercive interrogation actively undermined foreign policy initiatives in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Moreover, the legacy of US prisoner abuse is justified and accepted when understood through the actions of Jack Bauer in a hypothetical ticking bomb situation. To become persuasive, significant history is omitted through this discourse. Who benefits from the torture myth presented in 24? US torture is accepted by audiences as contextually justified. More than this, however, Jack Bauer became a symbol of American patriotism and icon in American politics with key political figures endorsing him and his actions.
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On an individual level the torture discourse also advances the right-wing politics of the series creators. It would work on me! The US soldiers themselves are considered another beneficiary of the torture discourse, as under situational pressure they turn to the torture myth for information. Here the myth clarifies torture in the minds of servicemen, and although they may not go out and replicate the precise method, they consume the myths about the effectiveness of physical methods and the immediacy that ticking bombs generate for result.
Finally, the American public itself as the primary myth consumer can be understood to benefit from the torture myth. In conclusion this Chapter represents the first systematic attempt to discern the specific nature of torture on The discourse analysis of 24 promotes the myth that:.
How this myth has been consumed is considered next in a review of US public opinion on the acceptability and justification of torture, and its impact on US military practitioner action. This chapter reviews the findings of American public opinion data to identify the influence of the myth and to suggest how televised messages influence beliefs and values. The data analysis, findings and reliability of results are considered. The full data sets are in Appendix 3 and 4. The survey framework is modeled upon a previous study by Gronke and Rejali that charted US public opinion on torture from to Specific details of this enlargement are shown in Table 4.
New public opinion polls were located reputably through the Roper Center of Public Opinion Research and represent the opinions of more than , Americans over the 11 years surveyed. Stating that torture could be justified in one situation does not mean that it should be used. Therefore respondents are not asked their views on the effectiveness of torture; rather this is presumed in their answering of the question.
American public opinion on torture is being gauged through the questions asked. The polls analyzed are reliable to the extent that they draw on representative samples of US registered voters and are conducted by reputable polling organisations. Gronke and Rejali concluded that the American public opposed torture throughout both Bush Administrations, noting paradoxically that this switched in the first year of the Obama Administration as a small majority came to favor the use of torture to fight terrorism. However, this masks the trends in the data that the wider analysis of US public opinion reveals.
A rising long-term trend in support for torture can be seen when used to counter terrorism, evidencing a 10 percentage-point increase in support for the practice throughout the survey period. Every polling organization surveyed substantiated this general trend with the overall results of the extended survey displayed in Chart 2.
Thus one can infer that over time a higher percentage of the American public came to view interrogational torture as an effective method of counterterrorism.
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Identified as confusing and insignificant by Gronke and Rejali in the final year of their study, this has continued and widened since. In comparison with their findings, this survey reveals that in the subsequent three years support for torture has risen on average by 2. Yearly averages in the support and opposition of torture and difference in percentage points is presented in Table 5. Regarding the method dataset, polls present American public opinion on the applicability of seventeen coercive interrogation techniques, thirteen of which were officially approved for military use.
Further, equally coercive psychological techniques such as forced nakedness and sleep deprivation retain majority support throughout the survey period. As the public was questioned on some techniques that only exist in fiction electric shocks this indicates a societal misunderstanding of the types of interrogational techniques used on detainees and their potential impact. Support for torture is dependent upon the type of questions asked, specific wording and methodological differences between polling organizations.
Such rise in support attributed to the elimination of moral considerations through justifiability questions. There is therefore a misperception within the American public about exactly what constitutes torture and specifically who carries it out. The polls themselves are indicative of the changing debate on torture in American society. Overall this rise in US public support for torture can be attributed to many factors. Gronke and Rejali argue that it has become a bi-partisan symbol representing hawkishness on national security issues.
In an exclusive YouGov poll commissioned by Amy Zegart, attitudes towards torture and terrorism were for the first time measured against frequent and infrequent viewers of intelligence-themed film and television, finding that frequent watchers of this genre were significantly more likely to approve the torture of terrorists. Although a one-off poll, these findings statistically correlate frequent intelligence-themed television watchers with support for torture.
However, the precise causation of this link will never be ascertained; regular fans of spy genres could naturally be more radical in their beliefs, and therefore predisposed to this genre because of views they already have. Shown from January , this coincides with the first time average US public support for torture surpasses that of its opposition see highlighted row Table 6.
During this season 24 received its highest Neilson ratings with the show averaging Table 6: 24 and American Public Opinion . Chart 3 presents the intersection between US public opinion on torture and the popularity, viewing figures and the frequency of torture narratives within each series of This indicates that public support for torture increases at the expense of opposition to it; more respondents directly switch from opposing to supporting torture.
This chapter demonstrates areas of convergence between 24 and US public opinion, results showing a significant upward trend in majority support for torture since ; whether or not 24 played a specific role in this cultural shift, this trend cannot be overlooked. A complex and contradictory phenomena, error is inevitable in all public opinion polls, as the perfect sample and worded question is non-existent.
Although tracking change in attitudes over time, public opinion cannot assess causation; it is impossible to determine if popular culture is the real cause of difference. Further reliability problems arise from conducting polls over time through longitudinal surveys during which meanings and methodologies change.
Cross-sectional opinion of years olds — the most popular demographic of 24 audiences — might have enabled a correlation between viewing and opinion but data was not uniformly available to be of statistical significance. Despite this, results from public opinion polls have high external validity and their results can be generalised across the population under real world conditions. The work of former military interrogators is not readily available in large quantities, the primary sources selected providing qualitative information of relevance to the study.
Autobiographies are those publications based on solider interviews, wider investigative studies across the chain of command, and primary accounts from military interrogators. The work of Gourevitch and Morris and Philips are examples of the first category, their work based on the experiences of the nd Military Police Brigade and Tank Battalion in their tours of Iraq. There are no published biographies of former or serving Guantanamo interrogators. The autobiographies detail the extent to which soldiers were unprepared and ill-trained for detainee operations.
The nd Brigade were combat Military Police MPs , heavily armoured to run patrols and go on raids, but not schooled in the Geneva Conventions. Lack of training was exacerbated by the absence of guidance handed down the military chain of command relating to detainee operations. To produce results, soldiers were influenced by other civilian and security contractors and the CIA as well as each other and past training. This was combined with the pressure from central command to produce results about the Iraqi counter insurgency.
Abu Ghraib was under constant mortaring, as well as being endemically short staffed. Watching over the detainees in jail was grating for many soldiers who increasingly came to resent and mistreat them. As such, those who did feel uncomfortable with the abuse had no channel for reporting it and were not supported by the chain of command. That was it, case closed. The lack of training and official guidelines combined with authoritative pressure and lack of support led soldiers to rely on outside influences to achieve results.
Soldiers traded ideas about what they had heard and done elsewhere, relying on hearsay about the supposed success of the tactics used. They were presented to us. It is in this context and political space that popular misperceptions about torture and interrogation, as shown on television and in popular culture, became convincing. Described below are specific examples that show how popular culture, especially 24 , directly influenced practitioner actions and attitudes in real-life situations.
Harsh interrogation and detainee abuse took place long before memos on torture were vetted and approved by the Secretary of Defense and Attorney General. Army Interrogator Tony Lagouranis and his colleagues, in the absence of guidance, watched TV to try and understand what sort of pressure helped make suspects talk. Torin Nelson, a veteran interrogator who served at both Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, witnessed a similar phenomenon. With many inexperienced interrogators, Nelson noticed that they did not have the time to complete any of the paperwork and preparation necessary for a successful interrogation.
Former officials in the chain of command have also speculated about what led their troops to torture. The influence of Jack Bauer had also spread to the new generation of leading military recruits. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, Dean at West Point Military Academy has argued that 24 alone had undermined military discipline at West Point and the core of its teaching that torture is illegal. She further points to the endemic shortage of translators in the US intelligence community which is never portrayed on the show.
Moreover, only half of the respondents said they would report a member of their unit for seriously injuring or killing an enemy combatant. This is despite varying levels of military training, recent history and the knowledge that detainee abuse is detrimental to the professional soldier. Although military officials may not have been totally convinced of the role of popular culture, the interview with Dianne Beaver establishes 24 as a core inspiration for proposed techniques.
Thus 24 and popular cultural influences pervade all levels of the US military and all angles of the detainee abuse debate. The lack of instruction and confusing directives resulted in soldiers on the ground turning to popular culture to gain results; whereas, at the top, officials are using fiction to influence the extent to which detainees can legally be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
In conclusion, the situational context on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq was multi-faceted and popular culture is one influence of many that led soldiers to abuse. Indeed, many soldiers may have adhered to the fictional references on torture and interrogation subconsciously prior to authorisation. At the same time, not all soldiers tortured or think it justified, and therefore popular culture cannot be a variable in all cases.
Human Rights Organizations, despite hearing of such cases, cannot confirm any instances in which abuse was explicitly influenced by fictional torture. To do this, a theoretical approach informed by semiotics and post-structuralism drove a research method that was qualitative in the construction of a discourse on torture and supported qualitatively by the use of military biographies and quantitatively in the use of longitudinal opinion poll results. Five research objectives were established and the findings against these objectives are brought together in this chapter to inform the fifth objective, to formulate recommendations for future research.
What role should television entertainment play in a time of war? Its role in discourse and myth formation was identified as an under researched area of social science that this research has sought to address. A post-structuralist view would be that programmes like 24 confer a social reality on events, presenting interrogational torture as a natural condition, distinguishing it from what has been forgotten in history and legitimising present courses of action. For the Bush Administrations in particular, it could be argued that the role played by programmes like 24 has been to align public opinion behind legal and military actions that had already been permitted, even though at the time they were permitted, US public opinion was more opposed to torture than supportive of it.
It has done this by keeping interrogational torture in the public conscience, something that would otherwise not have happened if American public opinion was only shaped by news events. For the military, it acted to inspire responses to the need for information and filled in the gaps for those on the ground subject to situational pressures.
But the greatest limitation of the research is the inability to prove a causal link between the two. The same could be said of creating a causal link between entertainment and the actions of the military, although again there is strong circumstantial evidence linking the two. It is therefore likely that there is a strong and compelling link between public opinion, practitioner action and televised interrogational torture as entertainment as one amongst a number of influences. Research with the aim of establishing a causal link between public opinion on interrogational torture and popular television entertainment is the obvious recommendation for further research.
This could be achieved in a number of ways, either by inclusion of opinion poll questions about television viewing preferences in the same polls about torture, or through focus group interviews or ethnographic observation.
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Broadening the research to other popular programmes would also demonstrate whether there are similar torture narratives, obvious candidates for study would include Homeland and The Americans. In terms of military actions on the ground, it is likely that with the passage of time more accounts will surface in biographical terms or be declassified, providing more grounds to identify possible further links between 24 and practitioner action.
Rather than eliciting disquiet from its audience, 24 and Jack Bauer ask us to except the illegal actions they take under pressure to be the right and necessary ones. Such acceptance of torture, and those willing to employ it, has directly impacted the actions of soldiers and greatly influenced the wider public. If a combination of methods are used, which is the most successful?
What does the orchestrator say, and what does this reveal about their view of these methods? Right or wrong? I am now going to read out to you some of the rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and I want You to tell me whether You think that this right is being fully respected, partially respected or not respected in [your country]…No one shall be subjected to Torture.
Would you be willing — or not willing — to have the US government do each of the following, if the government thought it was necessary to combat terrorism? How about … torture known terrorists if they know details about future terrorist attacks in the US? Could you envision a scenario in the war against terrorism in which you would support any actions taken by the US or not? Torture of suspects held in the US or abroad?
Do you support or oppose allowing the government to use any means necessary, including physical torture, to obtain information from prisoners that would protect the United States from a future terrorist attack? Please tell me if you support or oppose the federal government doing each of the following: Physically torturing people suspected of terrorism in an attempt to gain information from them?
In order to combat international terrorism, please say whether you favor or oppose each of the following measures: Using torture to extract information from suspected terrorists. Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes justified, rarely be justified or never be justified? Do you think and believe that we can fight terrorism without sometimes using torture against suspected terrorists?
Would you be willing — or not willing — to have the US United States government torture suspected terrorists if they may know details about future terrorist attacks against the US? How do you feel about the use of torture against suspected terrorists to obtain information about terrorism activities? Can that often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified or never be justified? Do you regard the use of torture against people suspected of terrorism as an acceptable or unacceptable part of the US campaign against terrorism?
Most countries have agreed in rules that prohibit torturing prisoners. Which position is closer to yours? Please tell me if you would favor or oppose the government doing each of the following as a way to prevent terrorist attacks in the United States: Allow the use of torture against people who are suspected of being terrorists. Do you think it is sometimes justified to use torture to get information from a suspected terrorist, or is torture never justified?
Do you favor or oppose allowing the CIA Central Intelligence Agency , in extreme circumstances, to use enhanced interrogation techniques, even torture to obtain information from prisoners that might protect the United States from terrorist attacks? Obama has said that under his administration the United States will not use torture as part of the U. Do you support this position not to use torture, or do you think there are cases in which the United States should consider torture against terrorism suspects?
How comfortable do you feel about the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information? Do you think this can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified or never be justified? Based on what you know of what you have read, do you think the use of harsh interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects was justified or not justified?
Based on what you have read or heard, would you say harsh interrogation of detainees was justified or not justified? For each statement please tell me if you completely agree with it, mostly agree, mostly disagree or completely disagree with it… Using torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can never be justified. Are you Ok with using enhanced interrogation techniques or some forms of torture on suspected terrorists if they might have information that helps keep America safe?
Do you support or oppose allowing the CIA Central Intelligence Agency to use enhanced interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, to try and obtain information from terrorist suspects? Here is a list of possible interrogation techniques that can be used on prisoners. Do you think it is right or wrong for the U. Forcing prisoners to remain naked and chained in uncomfortable positions in cold rooms for several hours. Having female interrogators make physical contact with Muslim men during religious observances that prohibit such contact.
Strapping prisoners on boards and forcing their heads underwater until they think they are drowning. Now I would like to read you a list of interrogation techniques that were considered by the Bush Administration and CIA when questioning detainees. For each of the following, would you please tell me if you consider each technique to be justified or not justified for the United States to use when trying to get information that could prevent future terrorist attacks.
Making detainees remain naked during interrogation by interviewers of the same gender, as long as there is no threat of sexual abuse. Waterboarding, where a detainee is strapped to a flat board, his face covered with a hood and cloth, and pouring water on the cloth in a way that simulates the feeling of being drowned. Diet alteration, where detainees are given only high-protein fluids, with a minimum of calories per day. Sleep deprivation, where detainees are not allowed to fall asleep for a maximum of hours, or seven and a half days.
Walling, where a detainee is pushed into a flexible, false wall so his shoulder blades hit the wall causing it to make a loud noise. NOT Striking a detainee on the stomach with the back of an open hand, provided the interrogator is within 18 inches and moves only from the elbow to the hand to strike the suspect.
Requiring detainees to stand four to five feet from a wall and support themselves with their fingers touching the wall and not moving their feet or hands. Keeping detainees in cramped confinement, in a space only large enough to stand and sit for up to 18 hours, or a space only large enough to sit in for up to two hours. Water dousing, where cold water above 40 degrees Fahrenheit is poured on detainees from a container or hose without a nozzle, but stopping short of hypothermia. Please select whether you would favor or oppose using each of the following methods as a way of trying to get the prisoner to reveal the information he may have.
Do you think the U. Allow, not allow, no opinion. Jon Cassar. See Appendix 4 General Attitude Dataset for individual results. See Zegart, A. Dunne, M. Smith eds. Leavers orig. He contended that a meaning is made through a signifier what is physically seen and a signified the mental connotations associated with that object collectively embodied in a sign. See Storey, J. Lotringer eds.
Foucault live: collected interviews , , New York, Semiotext pg. Burchill, A. Linklater, R. Devetak, J. Donnelly, T. Nardin, A. Paterson, C. True eds. Allen eds. Channels of Discourse, Reassembled , London, Routledge, pg. Hammond eds. Crigler eds.