Back to News & Commentary

Lest We Forget...

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
Share This Page
May 1, 2007

…that Guantanamo isn’t the only gravity well out there. This week’s (bi-week’s) New Republic has this piece (sub. req’d) on the even more secretive military prison at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan, which, given the worldwide flashlight on Gitmo, has been somewhat lost in the shuffle. Yet, the allegations of torture, detainee mistreatment and all around problematic behavior are just as troubling, if not more so, than those at Gitmo.Essential color from the story:

From the start, the processing of prisoners entailed some grisly practices. When Captain Carolyn Wood assumed control of the prison in the summer of 2002–she ran it until taking over Abu Ghraib a year later–interrogation tactics came to include beatings, anal violation with sharp objects, blows to the genitals, and “peroneal” strikes (an incapacitating blow to the leg with a baton, a knee, or a shin). We know about these tactics because an internal Army investigation into two prisoner deaths was obtained by The New York Times. These detainees–a 22-year-old taxi driver and the brother of a Taliban commander–were found dead and hanging from the wrists by shackles. A coroner’s report said the two men died after being subjected to dozens of peroneal strikes. According to the coroner’s report, the “pulpified” legs of one of the corpses looked as if they had “been run over by a bus.”During these early years, one of the most notorious figures at the prison was Private First Class Damien M. Corsetti, known in turns as the “King of Torture” and “Monster.” Corsetti tattooed an Italian translation of the latter moniker across his stomach. In the end, a military tribunal cleared Corsetti of all charges.