A few thoughts on last week's cover story in Time (I know, I know, I'm late on such things) regarding the Gitmo interrogation of Detainee 063, Mohammed al-Qahtani, the so-called 20th hijacker of 9-11.
From the magazine:
"Al-Qahtani's resilience under pressure in the fall of 2002 led top officials at Gitmo to petition Washington for more muscular 'counter resistance strategies.' On Dec. 2, Rumsfeld approved 16 of 19 stronger coercive methods. Now the interrogators could use stress strategies like standing for prolonged periods, isolation for as long as 30 days, removal of clothing, forced shaving of facial hair, playing on 'individual phobias' (such as dogs) and 'mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing.' ... The techniques Rumsfeld balked at included 'use of a wet towel or dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation.' "
Despite the unconscionable tales of torture to emerge from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, let's give credit where credit is due. In the case of Detainee 063, grumpy grandpa Donald Rumsfeld absolutely, unequivocally, positively did not sanction suffocation. By God, if we want someone to talk, we will do our very best not to kill them first.
Elsewhere, the article reveals that the interrogations of al-Qahtani intensified:
"The quizzing now starts at midnight, and when Detainee 063 dozes off, interrogators rouse him by dripping water on his head or playing Christina Aguilera music. According to the log, his handlers at one point perform a puppet show 'satirizing the detainee's involvement with al-Qaeda.' "
OK, first let's just get the obvious out of the way. When the U.S. military officially deems your music to be an implement of torture, it is time to re-examine your career. Of course, Gitmo might just be the break that Lindsay Lohan needs to jump-start her singing chops.
But what's up with the puppet show? Interrogators crouched behind a puppet stage and maneuvered hand puppets or marionettes (the log book is unclear here -- classified, no doubt) in hopes of wearing down the entertainment-starved prisoner?
Hell, we knew Lambchop could be the occasional smartass ... but torture?
We can only hope the Pentagon is saving Mortimer Snerd for the really scary fuckers ...
"Uh-huh ... an' yah call it thah Koran, huh? Well, yah don't say..."