Abu Ghraib torture victims
only wanted to become cheerleaders
His testimony comes days after complaints by the FBI that
interrogations they had observed at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay were
extreme and involved serious physical abuses such as male rape, strangulation,
beatings and the placing of lit cigarettes into detainees ears. According
to FBI agent Fox Mulder, one case, a detainee was wrapped in an Israeli
flag and bombarded with loud music in an attempt to soften his resistance
Washington . . . . Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib
prison who were stripped naked and stacked in human pyramids on top of
each other only wanted to be performing cheerleaders. This revelation follows
today's statement by the defence attorney for a guard accused of the abuse
that "cheerleaders from all over America make pyramids every day - is that
torture?". He compared pictures of naked Iraqi prisoners in a human pyramid
to cheerleaders at US sports events, who form pyramids "all over America".
The accused, Specialist Charles Garner, said that he had
not abused the detainees but had only wished to fulfill their lifelong
wish to be football cheerleaders. "It is the dream of all Iraqis to dress
up in short skirts, shake pom-poms, practice high-kicks and be American
football cheerleaders. All we wanted to do was to make their wishes come
"Unfortunately, we couldn't find any cheerleader uniforms
or poms-poms for them to wear - which is why they're all naked," Garner
Garner expressed disappointment that his very genuine
attempt at introducing American culture and sports to the Iraqi people
had been construed by some irresponsible parties to be acts of abuse and
When asked why prisoners were stripped naked and made
to crawl on the floor on a leash, Garner's defence attorney said tethers
were "a valid tool" when dealing not only with prisoners, but also with
children. "You've probably been at a mall or airport and seen children
on tethers; they're not being abused," he argued. "In Texas we'd lasso
them and drag them out of there."
Garner said he himself kept his own three children - aged
between six and nine - tied up in a leash all day, in a kennel he'd specially
built for them and his pet terrier in his backyard garden. "You don't see
my kids whining that they're being tortured," said Garner, who also faces
four separate counts of child abuse and animal cruelty.
Oak Harbor High School Wildcats (above) demonstrating
the pyramid that inspired Abu Ghraib (below)
"Worst of all, the music they played was by Ozzy Osborne.
Can you imagine a more painful, humiliating form of torture?"
Mulder described such practices as "non-FBI policy treatment."
In a related development, the soon-to-be appointed US
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales clarified his earlier statements that
interrogation practices only amounted to torture if it involved "physical
pain … equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical
injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."
"Torture is therefore legally defined as practices involving
excruciating and agonising pain," Gonzales stressed. "Mind-numbing pain
is not torture. Severe chronic pain is not torture. Sharp stabbing pain
is not torture"
"Under the Justice Department's definition of torture,
high-voltage electrocution may therefore amount to torture, but not, say,
inserting objects into anal orifices or making them crawl around on a leash
or piling naked people into human pyramids," Gonzales explained.
"That's just our boys in Iraq having a good time," he
For a printable
version of this article in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, CLICK
||A dispatch by our Embedded
Satirist in Cambridge, Sabri Zain.
f you think I was making up some of the quotes from Garner above, take
a look at his real testimony.