'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Putting Things in One Big Bag and Shaking is, After All, the American Way... 

So if Abu Ghraib is the bad cop, apparently Camp Bucca is the good cop. Knight Ridder reports that the US military is trying out an experimental new strategy at Bucca of replacing sleep deprivation, beatings, and sexual humiliation with painting classes, soccer, and needlepoint:

[Camp Bucca] is a closely monitored laboratory in which experiments in long-term detention are changing U.S. military doctrine on enemy prisoners of war. [...] While Abu Ghraib became famous for interrogation practices that skirted international law on prisoner treatment, Bucca is gaining a military-wide reputation for an innovative blending of prisoner-of-war doctrine with the "passive intelligence-gathering" used in many American maximum-security prisons.

[ ... ]

"Abu Ghraib gave a special meaning to what we're doing here, and we understand that this is going to change how the Army does detention operations," said Master Sgt. Jonathan Godwin, 39, the warden at Camp Bucca. "We're taking detainee operations and Army corrections, putting them in one big bag here and shaking it up to see what happens. This is all brand new."

Busload by busload, the military is emptying Abu Ghraib and shipping detainees south. At Bucca, now the military's largest detainee installation in the world, there are reading lessons and art classes - not sleep deprivation and stress positions. There are evening soccer games and special mealtimes for Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of daylight fasting. The detainees want to learn needlepoint, but "we're still trying to determine the security risks of that one," one military police officer said.

which is, you know, just terrific; however, I do find it a little bit interesting that a detainee just died at Bucca under mysterious circumstances. It must have been a freak needle-pointing accident.

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