Sunday, March 19, 2006

How Many More?

We've already learned many of the disgusting details of torture perpetrated by Americans in Guantanamo, the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. Now we learn about a special interrogation facility in Baghdad called Camp Nama. Eric Schmitt and Carolyn Marshall write in today's New York Times,

As the Iraqi insurgency intensified in early 2004, an elite Special Operations forces unit converted one of Saddam Hussein's former military bases near Baghdad into a top-secret detention center. There, American soldiers made one of the former Iraqi government's torture chambers into their own interrogation cell. They named it the Black Room.

In the windowless, jet-black garage-size room, some soldiers beat prisoners with rifle butts, yelled and spit in their faces and, in a nearby area, used detainees for target practice in a game of jailer paintball. Their intention was to extract information to help hunt down Iraq's most-wanted terrorist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, according to Defense Department personnel who served with the unit or were briefed on its operations.

How many more stories like this one are out there waiting to be discovered? Or consider this question from Marty Lederman, former Attorney Advisor in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel: "How many stories such as this must be published before the rest of the world justifiably views the U.S. as one of the world's principal purveyors of torture and inhumane treatment?"