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May 24, 2004

America held hostage (or the NYT Abu Ghraib Watch):  Day 24

NYT front page image 24May04 The indefatigable Douglas Jehl is back on the case today, with an assist from David Rohde in Afghanistan.    For a moment there, I thought the Times might have thrown in the towel on Abu Ghraib, after yesterday's partial climbdown where the final edition had no AG story on the first page.    But I underestimated those doughty Timesmen, who are nothing if not persistent in the face of adversity.    (The adversity in this case being the lack of new news on this "scandal".)

Anyway, Jehl et al. wrote this morning about the role played by Company A, 519th Military Intelligence Battalion in the harsh treatment of suspected Taliban or Al Queda prisoners in Afghanistan.    In fact, two prisoners died while in custody, and the Army is investigating their deaths as possible homocides. 

Interestingly, the article interviews two men whe were arrested with one of the men who died while in custody.    While they mention being hooded, beaten, and deprived of sleep while being held near the Bagram airbase, the only thing that really upset them was being seen naked by American women: 

The two men said that at Bagram they were forced to strip naked in the presence of female soldiers when receiving prison clothes, undergoing medical exams and taking showers. They said female soldiers were never present when they were naked in Guantánamo Bay.

Both men said appearing naked in front of women was deeply humiliating for Afghan men, who live in a conservative Islamic culture. "The other things don't matter," Parkhudin said, referring to the kicking and sleep deprivation. "But we are angry about this."

May 24, 2004 at 09:45 AM | Permalink

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