Patterico's Pontifications

10/4/2006

Patterico’s Exclusive Interview with a Man Who Has Spoken to the Terrorists at Guantánamo (Part Three: Hunger Strikes, Suicides and Suicide Attempts, and the Detainees’ Mental Health)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:03 am

[This is Part Three of my exclusive interview with "Stashiu," an Army nurse who worked at Guantánamo, and who spoke on a regular basis with detainees with psychological and/or behavioral problems. Part One can be accessed here. Part Two is available here.

Once again, these are his opinions and experiences, and are not meant to represent anything or anyone else, including the U.S. Army. Nearly everything has been officially released and those parts that are personal experience have been careful to respect operational security and confidentiality.

In today's entry, Stashiu talks about the hunger strikes at GTMO, and the suicide attempts -- both successful and unsuccessful. He gives insight into the mental health of the detainees.]

Anyone who has read about Guantánamo knows that detainees have often attempted suicide — and earlier this year, three of them succeeded.

Stashiu is able to shed considerable light on the issue of the detainees’ mental health. Based on his experience with the detainees, his opinion is that their suicides were likely an organized political act. Below, he explains the reasoning for his opinion.

Keeping Detainees Alive During Hunger Strikes

With his specialty in Psychiatric Nursing, Stashiu was involved in dealing with the detainees’ hunger strike:

Anyone identified as missing three consecutive meals was evaluated to ensure that it was a decision under their control. They were counseled as to the risks to their health and what the consequences of long-term malnutrition were (dumping syndrome, organ failure, death).

I helped write the SOP that was developed after the Forensic Psychiatrist visited. After that, the hunger strike was essentially under control as our guidance from command was essentially “you will not allow anyone to die from not eating.”

As unreasonable a goal as that may sound, we met it as humanely as anyone on Earth could have.

Feeding tubes were used, but reports have greatly exaggerated the conditions under which they were inserted:

The talk of ‘garden hoses inserted as feeding tubes without lubricant’ and such are all bunk. The Dobhoff tubes used were around the thickness of the little straw you’d get with your milk in elementary school, made of a rubbery material, and always inserted with lubrication.

Detainees Take Advantage of Concessions and Spread False Propaganda

I asked about the recent New York Times Magazine article about Guantánamo, which provided an in-depth look at the hunger strikes and suicide attempts. (I linked to and excerpted heavily from that article in this post.) The article, which was based on interviews with numerous people at Guantánamo, made several points, including these:

  • The Colonel in charge made numerous concessions to the terrorists in terms of living conditions.
  • Intelligence officials resisted the Colonel’s changes because they made interrogation more difficult, as the interrogators could not use promises of better living conditions as a carrot.
  • The suicide attempts and three successful suicides were an organized event designed to create worldwide sympathy for the detainees’ plight — and the detainees who committed suicide did so in part by taking advantage of the Colonel’s measures to improve living conditions.

Of the article, Stashiu said:

The article is amazingly accurate and even-handed. The things that COL Bumgarner tried were good-faith efforts to make the best of the situation. Many of the detainees also made good-faith efforts to improve things, but I believe that any concessions were hijacked by the extremists and used against everyone else’s efforts. For example, the lights being dimmed, extra bedding, etc… were all used to facilitate the successful suicides. But, before those changes had not been at least tried, the extremists escalated the rhetoric against us saying, “See? They will not do anything to make things better!”

As the article explains, there were competing objectives among the detainees. Simply, we were in a Catch-22. If concessions were made, one group would say that they could get even more by continuing to cause problems. If concessions weren’t made, the reasoning was that they just weren’t applying enough pressure. There is a hardcore group of AQ there that will try to turn everything they can to their advantage. They circulate untrue stories of torture, poisoned food, desecrated Korans, and many other things. This keeps the tensions high and then they find a way to light the match.

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

The article focused heavily on the considerable efforts of Colonel Bumgarner to humanize the camp in order to prevent disruptions. What did Stashiu think of Col. Bumgarner?

Colonel Bumgarner did a thankless job in the best way he could and I am proud to have worked with him. The only surprise in the article was that he used to be a quarterback because he’s built like a lineman. It’s only after you get to know the man that you realize how smart he is. Every day there was [a] new challenge as the AQ leaders probed for weaknesses. Without his efforts, many more of the detainees would have been dead by their own hands. Honestly, I was amazed that it took so long and that we kept everyone alive during our time there, sometimes by the skin of our teeth. . . . Some wouldn’t have survived but for the skill and dedication of the doctors who were determined to save them.

Working Hard to Prevent Detainee Deaths and Suicides

Was there a genuine effort to prevent suicides and deaths from hunger strikes?

“Not on my watch” was the biggest goal for most of us. Many of us felt that without major changes in policy the AQ leadership would eventually find a way. We just weren’t going to let it happen while we were there.

The rotation that replaced us was a fine group and would have done everything they could to protect the detainees. I believe the detainees just timed things to take advantage of the new rotation before they had learned all the tricks. The detainees tried when we came in and we had a very sharp learning curve. I believe that the timing of the attempted suicides, the attack on the guard force with the staged suicide [more on this below -- P], and the successful suicides [were] not an accident.

I believe that those men were ordered to die after months of planning. They knew when new personnel came in and waited until everything could come together. If the personnel rotation had happened a month or two later, I’m certain the suicides would have been a month or two later as well. It was one of the factors they waited for because our rotation was aware of most of their ruses.

A Clean Bill of Health

I noted that, according to the article, the three men who killed themselves had recently been given a psyche evaluation and came up with a clean bill of health. I asked Stashiu whether he had participated in their evaluations. He said:

The article mentions that all three were also hunger-strikers and we “teamed” everyone on hunger-strike (the psychiatrist, psychologist, myself, or one of my staff would talk to them directly… then we would all sit down together weekly to review each hunger-striker as a team.) The eval directly prior to their suicides would have been done after I left.

The Riot in Camp 4

In a prime example of the detainees taking advantage of concessions granted to them, there was a major riot just after Stashiu’s time at Guantánamo — in Camp 4, which is the open area for more compliant detainees. Guantánamo is like a prison facility with different levels of security: a more lenient setting for compliant inmates, and a more secure setting for the disruptive ones. Camp 4 was the lenient setting for the most cooperative detainees. There, they are free to congregate, and engage in recreational activities such as soccer.

The riot was described in this piece by James Taranto, which Stashiu confirmed was accurate, to the extent of his knowledge (again, he was not present for the riot). After some suicide attempts, the detention group commander ordered a shakedown of all the cells, looking for pills that the detainees could take to commit suicide. According to Taranto:

Early in the evening, the search reached Camp 4, the least restrictive of the detention areas. Unlike in the other camps, detainees in Camp 4 are not confined to individual cells but bunk communally and congregate in fenced yards. This is where the detainees live who are most compliant with camp rules. But on that day in May, their cooperation came to an end.

A guard noticed a detainee who appeared to be trying to hang himself. “The detainee had put a sheet in the ceiling around the lights and built what looked like a noose and was putting his head toward that noose,” Adm. Harris says. “The quick-reaction force rushed into that [cell] block to save the life of the individual they thought was trying to kill himself. When they got in there, the detainees had slickened the floor with feces, urine and soapy water,” making it hard for the guards to keep their footing.

“They proceeded to attack the guard force. . . . The attack was obviously planned. They managed to get a guard down on the ground. They attacked him with broken light fixtures, with fan blades and with [security] cameras that they had torn off to use as bludgeoning weapons. In that process the NCOIC [noncommissioned officer in charge] made the call–a gutsy call–to fire less-than-lethal rounds at the detainees. . . . All that took about three to five minutes. . . . The disturbance was quelled. No one was seriously injured, either the guards or the detainees.

Stashiu told me that it sounded like the guards had handled the incident “perfectly.” But it was a reminder that almost any detainee was capable of fanaticism and violence — even the ones in the low-security unit of Camp 4.

Few Terrorists Are Mentally Ill

The New York Times editorial board has claimed that the suicides occurred because the detainees were driven to despair by their conditions. I asked Stashiu to what extent the detainees’ feelings of depression were centered around the idea that they had no idea when (if ever) they’d get out. Did they talk about this? Did they complain about how they just wanted a trial, and that sort of thing?

Some did and it makes sense. There were detainees with situational depression that was authentic, just as you can see situational depression in prisons. We did not talk at length about this though, as I mentioned, there were some topics that just had no therapeutic benefit to them. This was one of them and we would redirect the conversation because we had no answers for them and expressing sympathy for their situation would not only have been inappropriate, it would have been seen as weakness and exploited.

However, Stashiu is clear that very few of these folks are truly mentally ill. As mentioned in a previous post, Stashiu told me that the majority of the detainees had been seen by Behavioral Health, and fewer were on “psychiatric service,” which meant that Stashiu and his staff regularly spoke to them and worked with them through their psychological and behavioral issues. But that didn’t mean that they were truly mentally ill. Rather, Stashiu confirmed reports previously published in the media that:

[t]he incidence of true mental illness was exactly the same as stateside correctional facilities, between 16 and 17 percent.

In phone conversations, I quizzed Stashiu about the “between 16 and 17 percent” number. In essence, he said that this number correlated roughly with Axis I of the DSM IV-TR, which (in rough layman’s terms) represents mental illnesses that are beyond the patient’s control. He said that roughly 80 percent of the detainees met the criteria for a psychological disorder under the DSM IV-TR, but the vast majority of those (perhaps 63 to 64 percent) fell within Axis II, which (again in rough layman’s terms) represents behavioral disorders that are controllable. If you have “antisocial personality disorder” or “narcissistic personality disorder” then you fall within Axis II. Your disorder may well be severe, but most laymen would recognize your problem as a learned reaction to environmental stimuli — in other words, something that you have control over.

Stashiu explained:

Of the detainees who had mental illness, almost all respond well to medications with only occasional admissions to the psychiatric facility. People with Axis II diagnoses are notoriously difficult to treat because medications are only minimally effective. These people must learn more adaptive coping skills and change is hard for most people.

Bottom line: maybe 16 to 17 percent of detainees are truly mentally ill. But about 80 percent of them have problems coping with the stresses of life.

I suppose people could debate whether these problems pre-existed Gitmo, or were caused by the conditions of their detention. I asked Stashiu for his opinion on this. He said that conditions at the facility mirror those at stateside facilities. In his opinion, the causes of these mental health problems are a mixture of factors, just as in the United States.

But one thing is certain: the terrorists are not like you and me. For example, you and I would not smash a woman’s face into a door and shatter her facial bones.

But more about that tomorrow . . .

Tomorrow: The guards’ treatment of the detainees — and the detainees’ treatment of the guards. Bonus: you’ll finally learn who has been abusing Korans at Gitmo.

118 Comments

  1. This was an interesting article in WSJ about GTMO War Inside the Wire

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:23 am

  2. Woops — I see you already linked to that article in the text above… ready, fire! aim. 8\

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:36 am

  3. I’m sickened that we take such extraordinary measures to prevent these barbarians from committing suicide.

    Another example of the femininsation of contemporary warfare.

    Comment by rab (fb89bf) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:06 am

  4. Why the HELL is this interview not being published in every major newspaper and broadcast on every TV and radio network? All we’ve been hearing since the Abu Gharib frat pranks is how cruel and inhumane American soldiers, sailors and airmen are. Here, we have an authentic perspective on how our government is dealing with POWs, and it’s completely lost in all the sound and fury of a media that is far more concerned with making the President look bad than it is in DOING ITS GODDAMN JOB.

    Comment by Sirius Familiaris (93f35d) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:21 am

  5. Fantastic series so far – thanks to you both.

    I would really like to hear more discussion on why it is so important to prevent these individuals from committing suicide. I guess I can understand from a policy/PR perspective that it wouldn’t look good to have people dying under our control and how the “not on my watch” ethic could be taken as a job performance challenge, but when I hear about Stashiu spending “hundreds” of hours rapport-building and counseling men who are intent both on killing innocent people and themselves, I really struggle to relate.

    Stashiu, do you personally believe it is the proper course of action in our ongoing struggle with Islamic extremists to actively prevent them from killing themselves? If so, how can that be squared with your other very stark comment about killing them personally if you ever so much as saw them outside of Gitmo?

    I guess I have just never understood the hangup that so many people seem to have about preventing suicide in general. Obviously, when it’s because someone is mentally ill or irrational we should do whatever we can, but there are plenty of cases where “better off dead” is unquestionably true. I get especially annoyed at the frantic efforts to keep death-row inmates from killing themselves so we have the “satisfaction” of killing them ourselves (and I support the death penalty!)

    Again, thanks for doing these interviews and for your service. Somehow I just wish your obvious talents and professionalism could have been deployed to better effect than keeping the worst of the worst of our enemies alive against their will.

    Comment by Andy (b2d0a0) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:27 am

  6. Andy, ANY suicide at Gitmo will be reported by the MSM as a failure by the Bush administration to do its job regardless of the measures in place to prevent it. That’s a bad thing because it gives aid and comfort to our enemy. Sirius, I agree completely. This guy could get a slot on O’Reilly or maybe Carlson if he wanted but you won’t see it on the Big 3 or the LAT and NYT. Agenda journalism, ain’t it grand?

    Comment by Bill Maron (ee2ae1) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:52 am

  7. On the contrary, gentlemen. If you see the update to part one, linked above, Stashiu has been contacted by the MSM. Also that article includes Stashiu’s reasons for seeking out Patterico as opposed to the talk show circuit.

    [Actually, See Dub, I sought out Stashiu, not the other way around. -- Patterico]

    Comment by See Dubya (8dfc9c) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:04 am

  8. 5. Andy

    There are a lot of factors the administration must consider and they gather a lot of information. Policy, as I mentioned earlier, is echelons above my pay grade (if unfamiliar with that term, it means the decision is made by my boss’s/boss’s/to about the 8th power boss.) I don’t have all the information available to the decision-makers and trust that they balance all the considerations to make the best decision they can. Remember, no matter what decision is made, the jihadis will work to turn it to their own advantage. Therefore, the decision must be made giving strong consideration to our core values as Americans.

    My personal opinion? I’m a nurse and take care of people. Even in the States, I sometimes have to help people that I really don’t like very much and who have done some pretty bad things. I do my best for them. If the decision-makers believe that working with detainees is what they need from me in the GWOT, I’m ok with that. I’ve also been a soldier for a long time, if they need that part of me… no problem. I guess that means I don’t have a personal opinion about this and that’s the honest truth (Can I say the Army didn’t issue me one? No, too much opinion in these posts, lol). There are too many factors that I don’t have knowledge of that render it impossible for me to make an informed choice.

    As to how I reconcile that with the statement about defending myself… I see no conceivable reason that I could “run into” a former detainee. Why? The chances of one ever being allowed into the U.S. is nearly nil (admittedly, not zero). But, the chances that one was allowed in the U.S. and “just happened” to be in the State, City, and close proximity to me is so small that it would be foolish to consider it. The only reasonable conclusion I could make would be that it was intentional. After specific threats to my family, I would take whatever steps I could to protect myself and them. Fortunately, I rarely go anywhere but work, and that ends soon. So, the chances of one showing up at my house? (‘Cause that’s pretty much where I’ll be.) Yes, I’m pretty sure if that happens, it’s no accident.

    Thanks very much for the comments and questions, I’m sure there will be plenty of discussion on this and I look forward to hearing what others say.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:23 am

  9. See Dubya,

    A slight correction sir… Patterico sought me out and made the request to talk because he recognized the interest people might have in this. I really could do without the attention, but Patterico asked if I would be willing to answer questions. Guess what my dumb answer was? ;)

    Thanks.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:29 am

  10. Stashiu, is it fair to say that these prisoners are a fair sampling of all Islamic extremists and that this sort of situation (a need for a perpetual prison system) will go on as long as we continue this clash of civilizations?

    In the Looming Tower, my understanding is there is such a lack of exposure to the West in most Islamic countries, and there is such despair, that we, in essense will have a never ending influx of extremists and that our “understanding” of them will be a moot point — until they open up.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Wilson (52bc25) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:37 am

  11. edit: Sorry, by open up, I mean move toward democracy a la Turkey.

    Comment by Wilson (52bc25) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:39 am

  12. Patterico’s Interview With A Former Army Nurse At Gitmo…

    Part three…….

    Trackback by The Political Pit Bull (64479c) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:40 am

  13. Remember, no matter what decision is made, the jihadis will work to turn it to their own advantage. Therefore, the decision must be made giving strong consideration to our core values as Americans.

    Very well said, Stashiu.

    Comment by Rick (c7fbdd) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:46 am

  14. Guantanamo Bay Watch: The Inside Story Part 3…

    In this image reviewed by the U.S. Military, an unidentified detainee is escorted by two military guards at Camp Delta, in this June 25, 2005 file photo, at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba.
    Patterico has part three of his series on Guantanamo Bay: …

    Trackback by FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog (baa0b4) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:50 am

  15. #10 & #11 Wilson

    Stashiu, is it fair to say that these prisoners are a fair sampling of all Islamic extremists and that this sort of situation (a need for a perpetual prison system) will go on as long as we continue this clash of civilizations?

    These are the only ones I’ve ever met or spoken with, so I really have no idea if they would be a fair sampling. The second part of your question is (again) a matter of administration policy echelons above me, so voicing a personal opinion would need to wait until I retire (I have an opinion this time, can you tell? lol). Right now, my personal opinion as regards to policies have to remain private. I fully support my Commander-in-Chief and the officers appointed over me. If I disagree with a policy, I have no fears about making that disagreement known to my chain… until the final decision is made. Then you try your best to make it successful, even if the decision went against you. Voicing a contrary opinion is frequently encouraged in the Army by good leaders so that the most effective choice can be made. At least I would have been listened to and my opinion considered. That’s enough for me.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:16 am

  16. …there is such a lack of exposure to the West in most Islamic countries, and there is such despair, that we, in essense will have a never ending influx of extremists and that our “understanding” of them will be a moot point…

    Pretty hard to avoid exposure to “the West” anywhere on this planet — witness the rooftop satellite dishes even in videos of mud-walled compounds in Afghanistan.

    As to despair, it’s my opinion that a lot of that is due to the “victomhood” mentality preached in mosques and madrassas over the general decline of Persian and Arabic civilizations due to the rise of the Greek and Roman empires, the defeat of North African Muslim cultures in Spain prior to the Catholic Inquisition period, and the “defeat of the caliphate” (ottoman empire) after WWI.

    People are capable of breaking out of despair through entrepeneurship and opportunity overcoming adversity — it’s the constant “victimhood” crap that keeps Palestinians from getting anywhere. Sure, it’s bad that their young men are unemployed, thus providing fertile ground for recruiting “holy warriors” and “martyrs.”

    Even celebrating their psychotic bombers as “martyrs” reinforces the victomhood view.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:23 am

  17. …Voicing a contrary opinion is frequently encouraged in the Army by good leaders…

    That’s good leadership anywhere.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:27 am

  18. [...] what they do. Read it all. Filed under Religion of Peace™, Wars and Rumors of Wars | | Trackback URI Leave aComment [...]

    Pingback by Pursuing Holiness » Blog Archive » They’re Not Mentally Ill… They’re Terrorists (bc33d8) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:29 am

  19. Hello Stashiu. You mentioned that hatred of the USA was one of the reasons the detainees joined al-Qaida, etc. In your discussions with them, did you find a common reason why they hated the USA, or was it a broad variety of reasons? I wonder if these “reasons” were not based in reality. Also, were you able to help them cope with depression as they faced indefinite incarceration? For example, did you use cognitive reframing? Thank you.

    Comment by Ace (527b47) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:43 am

  20. What I find most interesting are the remarks of the posters.. I have copied some of the more notable ones and placed my remarks in parentheses.. Stash maybe you would care to comment??

    I’m sickened that we take such extraordinary measures to prevent these barbarians from committing suicide. ( who cares if some are innocent??…kill all these barbarians!.)

    I guess I have just never understood the hangup that so many people seem to have about preventing suicide in general. ( especially when they are living like kings in an island resort!!).

    I mean move toward democracy a la Turkey. ( ya move toward like Turkey not like the US.. so they never had a trial and may be there on false charges???…its Bush spreading Democracy!!)

    All we’ve been hearing since the Abu Gharib frat pranks is how cruel and inhumane American soldiers, sailors and airmen are…. ( like tying electrical wires to someone’s penis and shoving pokers up someone rectum.. isn’t something that happens on every college campus! You liberals have no sense of fun!!)

    Here, we have an authentic perspective on how our government is dealing with POWs, and it’s completely lost in all the sound and fury of a media that is far more concerned with making the President look bad than it is in DOING ITS GODDAMN JOB. ( which is to cover for Bush’s lies..)

    Secret prisons, people arrested without charges, torture, heresay evidence, wars of aggression, fear mongering, attacks on political opponents..its all part of the Bush attempt to preserve our values! But perhaps I am just like Colin Powell and simply “morally confused!”

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:43 am

  21. #4 Why the HELL is this interview not being published in every major newspaper and broadcast on every TV and radio network?

    Because it doesn’t follow their template?

    Comment by Harry Arthur (5af33b) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:49 am

  22. in re: Bill Maron, Post #6

    LA Times Sunday Circulation: 1,392,672

    Bill O’Reilly’s Average Viewers: 2,490,000

    I’m not sure these numbers are on the mark, but they’re close.

    I think that it’s silly to complain that Stashiu could ONLY get a spot on the measly old O’Reilly factor with numbers like these.

    Comment by Leviticus (68eff1) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:56 am

  23. Stashiu:

    I’ve not joined those who thanked you for your service yet. The reason is that I have mixed feelings about your mission at GTMO, so let me just say:

    Thanks for your unquestionable integrity in service to our country and our to military personnel who need your professional services.

    If I disagree with a policy, I have no fears about making that disagreement known to my chain… until the final decision is made.

    Had it been me, I would likely have requested another assignment, but then one loses both effectiveness and opportunity to make a difference if they continue resisting once the decision is final.

    I salute you, sir.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:11 am

  24. …and our to military personnel…

    slight dyslexia there, read “…and to our military personnel…”

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:16 am

  25. I guess I’m just a nuance-challenged hayseed, but who gives a shit about the mental state of these creeps? Lock ‘em up and shove some gruel through the food slot three times a day. I wish the US gummint would get some balls, and stop caring what the press and the jihadist sympathizers think.

    Comment by CraigC (9cd021) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:20 am

  26. #19 Ace

    We didn’t discuss America-hating or al-Qaida, althought I would get comments sometimes. When that happened, I would redirect into a more therapeutically beneficial topic. By helping them focus more on here and now, instead of there and then, we could help develop coping strategies to reduce their stress while at GTMO. Anything else was counter-therapeutic.

    #20 Charlie

    Yes, I’ll comment. It takes all kinds. Feel free to take your BDS and snarky comments elsewhere. If you want to ask about others’ comments, ask Patterico, it’s his blog. I agreed to answer questions about the posts, not the posters. You want to comment on the administration? Fine, start your own blog or go to Kos. Highjacking threads is rude and shameless. I think you owe Patterico an apology, just sayin’

    Fair warning: Any more questions like that and the only response to that poster will be “Ignoring trollish behavior.”

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:24 am

  27. #23 Dubya

    I wanted to deploy so bad that when they called to say they had a tasking I immediately agreed. After a couple of seconds they asked, “Don’t you want to know where?” ;)

    Seriously, the job is going to need doing and I’ve taken a swing at anything that was requested of me. If they asked me right now to withdraw my retirement and deploy anywhere, I would consider it. Barring that, it’s time to rest my 80-year-old knees and do some work around the house. Thank you for the salute sir… right back at ya :)

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:43 am

  28. Terific series Patterico, thanx a lot. Re; commenter regarding comparison circulation of LA Times with O’Reilly. Nobody retains anything we see on TV unless accompanied by a gory picture or a tape of a naked Paris Hilton, and even then we are more thanb likely to be selective in our memory. The advantage of print is clear: there is an undisputable record of what was written. Your figures for the LA Times are incorrect. You have quoted the Sunday circulation. The daily circulation is 983,727 which represents less than 10% of the SoCal population; a figure so low I don’t know if the LAT is effective any more.

    Comment by Howard Veit (28df94) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:03 am

  29. [...] Part Three: Hunger strikes, suicides and suicide attempts, and mental illness. Detainees Take Advantage of Concessions and Spread False Propaganda [...]

    Pingback by Never Yet Melted » Interviews with a Guantánamo Staff Nurse (1dac5b) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:18 am

  30. Yeah, I saw the other figure (I also noted that it was the Sunday circulation by saying “LA Times Sunday Circulation”).

    Thanks for the daily figure. I think it further emphasizes my point that people but into conservative propaganda more often than they buy into liberal propaganda.

    In regards to your point about their being indisputable evidence when something is printed rather than when something is broadcasted, I think we’ve advanced to such a point that there is probably archival footage for most major networks (for legal purposes, maybe? I’m not sure)

    Also:

    Rush Limbaugh (daily listeners): 12,000,000

    CBS Evening News (approx. daily viewers):7,700,000

    NBC Evening News (approx. daily viewers): 8,200,000

    ABC Evening News (approx. daily viewers): 7,600,000

    FOX News (approx. daily viewers):8,400,000 (on cable, right?)

    Comment by Leviticus (3c2c59) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:27 am

  31. Stashiu3, thank you once again for taking the time to describe your experiences and share your insights with us. I have a couple of questions for you; tough ones, perhaps, but I would really like to learn your opinion.

    1) You describe a very humane approach to the psychological needs of the detainees at Guantánamo, yet Physicians for Human Rights concluded last year that “At least since 2002, the United States has been engaged in systematic psychological torture” of Guantánamo prisoners. Do you have any thoughts or comments on the apparent disparity between your account and PHR’s conclusions?

    2O) Also, do you have any thoughts on the European Parliament’s decision (by an overwhelming majority vote) this past June to join the many other nations and international organizations that have called for the US to close the Guantánamo prison?

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:47 am

  32. #31 Rick

    1) Apparently Physicians for Human Rights believed detainee accusations rather than their own eyes. But that’s their prerogative. I saw no evidence of anything like that. Unless you do count not getting a second cup of coffee with breakfast as torture (as defined by a detainee to me). If it was systematic, I’m pretty sure we would have been even busier and heard from detainees about it.

    2) Actually, I don’t have any thoughts that I would share. See above on policy issues.

    Very good questions and I’m sorry that I can’t address the second one.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:58 am

  33. Thanks, Stashiu3.

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 10:19 am

  34. [...] Can a terrorist “get to know” and sort of make friends with Americans and decide he doesn’t want to kill them? Patterico has a multi-parter, an interview with a fellow who has spent time among the prisoners of Gitmo and has gotten to know some of them well. Yeah, they still want him to die and his family, too, and they’re promising to kill him, but it’s nothing personal…just business. Read this fascinating and extensive interview, if you read nothing else today: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. Parts 4 and 5 to come. I suggest printing these out and giving them full attention. [...]

    Pingback by The Anchoress » A questionable turn about the ’sphere - UPDATED (1b383c) — 10/4/2006 @ 10:31 am

  35. Shashiu3, thank you for your response. I am a reporter and cover GTMO (I was there a couple of weeks ago, and met one of your colleagues at the medcenter — she goes by Dr. K, though your tours might not have overlapped). I’d appreciate it if you could email me at the address I posted with Patterico’s blog, in the “Leave a comment” section.

    Comment by Ace (527b47) — 10/4/2006 @ 10:39 am

  36. Stashiu3:
    Thanks for your service in helping protect us.

    Do you have any comment re the so-called Mora memo?

    http://www.newyorker.com/images/pdfs/moramemo.pdf

    I guess the allegations all took place before you were at Gitmo? Was there any disccusions that you had re the memo?

    Thanks.

    SMG

    Comment by SteveMG (dede6d) — 10/4/2006 @ 10:51 am

  37. I, too, appreciate Stashiu’s honest appraisal of the situation at GTMO inasmuch as the MSM no longer seems to focus on objectivity as I once thought it did.

    My question to Stashiu is somewhat off topic from his interview but relates to whether or not he would be willing to classify Charlie and his friend’s potential disorder? ;>)

    Comment by Good Captain (26d9f2) — 10/4/2006 @ 10:53 am

  38. Stashiu,

    This is fascinating to read and think about. The more I read, the more I appreciate your service in a tangible way. While I appreciate every military person serving our country, your service involves a particularly thankless and yet immeasurably important task. So thank you again.

    I would like to make 2 comments that I don’t expect you to respond to, followed by a question that I hope you will be able to answer.

    First, I agree with your comments about your duty as a nurse. As the parent of a chronically ill child, nurses have a special calling to minister to their patients, regardless of who the patient is and how the nurse feels about them. I also agree that it is or should be a basic American value to preserve all human life.

    Second, I sympathize with the fact that our military has to balance military objectives with PR problems imposed by the civilian government and the nature of democracy. I think the military deals with this amazingly well and it’s a big factor in the success of civilian controlled democracy.

    My question: It seems there is a conflict between the care-taking and intelligence-gathering functions at GTMO. If it were run solely as a correctional facility, it would still be a difficult task made somewhat easier by a clear objective. Alternatively, it might be easier if GTMO were run completely by the intelligence gatherers, adhereing to minimal Geneva Conventions requirements.

    My impression is that the interplay between these 2 functions causes problems but we put up with that conflict because we need the intelligence and we also want to help rehabilitate the detainees. Any thoughts?

    Comment by DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 11:23 am

  39. Do you have any comment re: the so-called Mora memo?…I guess the allegations all took place before you were at Gitmo? Was there any disccusions that you had re the memo?

    Thanks for the link, SMG: here’s a little summary of the memo by Alberto J. Mora’s, recently retired General Counsel of the U.S. Navy.

    From Wikipedia:
    …In December 2002, Mora received word from David Brant, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), that NCIS agents at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba had learned that detainees being held there were being subjected to “physical abuse and degrading treatment” by members of the Joint Task Force 170 (JTF-170), and that authorization for this treatment had come from “a ‘high level’ in Washington”. Mora reports that he was “disturbed” and felt he had to learn more.

    Mora described his reaction to learning of the authorization for coercive interrogation techniques in these words:


    To my mind, there’s no moral or practical distinction [between cruelty and torture]. If cruelty is no longer declared unlawful, but instead is applied as a matter of policy, it alters the fundamental relationship of man to government. It destroys the whole notion of individual rights. The Constitution recognizes that man has an inherent right, not bestowed by the state or laws, to personal dignity, including the right to be free of cruelty. It applies to all human beings, not just in America—even those designated as ‘unlawful enemy combatants.’ If you make this exception, the whole Constitution crumbles. It’s a transformative issue…Besides, my mother would have killed me if I hadn’t spoken up. No Hungarian after Communism, or Cuban after Castro, is not aware that human rights are incompatible with cruelty. The debate here isn’t only how to protect the country. It’s how to protect our values.

    Investigation of Joint Task Force techniques
    Mora and Brant met with Rear Admiral Michael Lohr, the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, and Dr. Michael Gelles, the Chief Psychologist of the NCIS, and learned more about the Guantanamo interrogation practices, and determined that they were “unlawful and unworthy of the military services”, and that they would investigate further.

    Mora obtained a copy of a request by the commander of JT-170, Major General Michael Dunlavey, to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for authorization to apply extraordinary interrogation techniques, including “stress positions, hooding, isolation, ‘deprivation of light and auditory stimuli’, and use of ‘detainee-individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress’”; a legal brief accompanying the request that supported the legality of such techniques, by the Senior Judge Advocate to JT-170, Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver; and an approval of the request by Rumsfeld. The legal brief held that “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment could be inflicted on the Guantanamo detainees with near impunity”.

    Mora found the brief to be “a wholly inadequate analysis of the law” and that the approved request was “fatally grounded on these serious failures of legal analysis” because it provided no bright line standard for what techniques would be prohibited; the techniques it approved “could produce effects reaching the level of torture”; and that “even if the techniques as applied did not reach the level of torture, they almost certainly would constitute ‘cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment’”, and either way would be unlawful.

    In the following weeks, Mora actively argued with a large number of the most senior lawyers and officials of the military and the Defense Department that the interrogation techniques that had been approved were unlawful. On January 15, 2003, he received word from his boss, Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes, that Rumsfeld would be suspending the authority for the extraordinary interrogation techniques later that day. Mora was “delighted” and “reported the news widely”.

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 11:55 am

  40. #21. The word they use is ‘narrative’. The MSM stopped being reporters long ago, they’ve been propagandists for decades. And the’re not on our side, which answers #4.

    Stashiu3, I add my thanks, for a difficult job done well.

    I also thank you for doing this interview, unmasking the lies of enemy propaganda is another necessary task of war.

    Comment by larry (336e87) — 10/4/2006 @ 12:00 pm

  41. [...] The latest post in Patterico’s excellent series is available for your perusal — and y’all should definitely get to perusin’. [...]

    Pingback by Cold Fury » Blog Archive » Journalism 101 continues (6f4592) — 10/4/2006 @ 12:26 pm

  42. To my mind, there’s no moral or practical distinction [between cruelty and torture]. If cruelty is no longer declared unlawful, but instead is applied as a matter of policy, it alters the fundamental relationship of man to government. It destroys the whole notion of individual rights. The Constitution recognizes that man has an inherent right, not bestowed by the state or laws, to personal dignity, including the right to be free of cruelty. It applies to all human beings, not just in America—even those designated as ‘unlawful enemy combatants.’ If you make this exception, the whole Constitution crumbles. It’s a transformative issue…Besides, my mother would have killed me if I hadn’t spoken up. No Hungarian after Communism, or Cuban after Castro, is not aware that human rights are incompatible with cruelty. The debate here isn’t only how to protect the country. It’s how to protect our values.

    Rick, perhaps you should read the memo itself rather than wikipedia, as the comment you supplied in bold as being Mora’s words do not occur in the memo at all.

    While wikipedia is useful, it should not be regarded as authoritative.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 12:53 pm

  43. Personally, I’m somewhat suspicious of the memo linked to above given the fact that it is hosted on The New Yorker site (definitely leftward) and the experience with the forged memos Rather was suckered by during the ’04 election.

    The New Yorker memo looks good but I’m no expert on military communications.

    WRT the content of the memo on the New Yorker site: like any good lawyer, it looks more like a CYA exercise on Mora’s part than anything else.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 12:59 pm

  44. Dubya kindly suggested:

    Rick, perhaps you should read the memo itself rather than wikipedia, as the comment you supplied in bold as being Mora’s words do not occur in the memo at all.

    Thank you, Dubya; I have read both.

    Neither Wikipedia nor I attributed that quote to the memo written by Mr. Mora; nonetheless, they were Mr Mora’s words.

    Mr Mora’s reaction to the allegations of abuse at Guantánamo as quoted above were captured in an interview by Ms. Jane Mayer that was published in February, 2006 in the New Yorker Magazine.

    Dubya also thoughtfully offered this advice:

    While wikipedia is useful, it should not be regarded as authoritative.

    Thank you, again; and if you have any evidence whatsoever that either the New Yorker Magazine or Wikipedia were inaccurate in their descriptions of what Mr Mora said, please feel free to share that information with us.

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 1:25 pm

  45. Stashi instead of commenting on Bush lets comment on your service. How does it feel to think that the entire world thinks what goes on at Gitmo is nothing but a national and international disgrace and you are a part of it.,..( so you claim,,,)

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:02 pm

  46. Stashiu,

    What is it with you medical folks? Every flippin’ one (and I have met plenty of Army and Navy medical folks) of you burns as strongly as the Infantry to GO. When I came back from OEF, the medical people I have worked with all get such a wistful look if they hadn’t gone yet.

    The Medical, Nurse and Medical Service branches sure have my unabashed admiration and wonder at their spirit. Good on ya for filling us in on what you done too.

    Comment by Major John (50c77e) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:10 pm

  47. Great post Rick!!! but of course you realize that to these folks the constitution is just what Bush said it was ” a goddamn piece of paper” and that shoving hot pokers up someones butt in the name of freedom is just fine and not torture at all,,hell frat kids do it all the time!!
    Years from now Stashi and company will be claiming they were “just following orders..”

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:11 pm

  48. Guantanamo Bay Live III…

    Patterico continues the interview:The article is amazingly accurate and even-handed. The
    things that COL Bumgarner tried were good-faith efforts to make the
    best of the situation. Many of the detainees also made good-faith
    efforts to improve……

    Trackback by Dawnsblood (95d97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:13 pm

  49. Ya Dubya smear Mora..you guys are good at that..

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:14 pm

  50. Charlie;

    Stashiu has been very gracious to share his experiences and thoughts with us, and even more so that he is willing to listen and respond to those of us who do may not agree with his views.

    It’s not much to ask that we at least partially return the favor by being polite and decent towards him.

    Rick

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:16 pm

  51. Sorry Rick but first I am very suspicious of Stashiu as being the genuine article and secondly I have nothing but disgust for the actions of this government..However since you ask I will refrain from venting my true disgust with his whole administration and its enablers and supporters.

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:22 pm

  52. Ya Dubya smear Mora..you guys are good at that..

    Saying he’s a good lawyer and produced a good piece of CYA is a smear?

    The only smear I see is everything you wrote.

    Tsk, what an attitude!

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:27 pm

  53. One more thing Rick.. I will stop because you asked but being polite or trying to reason with these people has gotten me no where. My experience is that they attack and attack and smear and have no desire to know the truth. Tell them the truth or question them and they will stop emailing you. No matter how hard I have tried and no matter how many facts I have given to them, it all comes down to faith..they have faith in Bush and hate anyone that disagrees facts be damned. I used to try to engage in discussion but after realizing that they will deny even the most obvious facts and seem to be oblivious to anything but loyalty to Bush and hatred for anyone that disagrees, I gave up trying to be polite or civil.. Bush is a liar and a fascist and those who cover his crimes are equally as guilty.. I am a Vietnam Era vet and to me Bush is a disgusting betrayal of all that this country stands for and proof positive that fascism is alive and well..

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:31 pm

  54. Thanks for these articles. I am new to the blogs and have my Brother to thank for giving me the link. In reading the first three parts I have a viseral reaction. So used to hearing the bash America press it feels right to read of the humanity we are showing at GTMO. And getting a personal grasp on the psychology of the AQ bunch in a factual noninflamatory manner has been a pleasure. While we need to retain our humanity and to some degree compassion, we also need to protect ourselves from this EVIL and, as indicated in the article, compassion is viewed as weakness. Sometimes it is necessary to be strong in our response.

    Comment by Steve C (cb6521) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:36 pm

  55. Responding to a few comments here:

    #5 Andy, besides the points Stashiu pointed out (he got his orders and followed them), he’s pointed out repeatedly that his job was not Intel but mental health. There is an entire Intel community there (at Gitmo) and if they have decided that a detainee should be kept alive for whatever reasons they might deem said detainee of further value, we (out here, not privvy to the orders at Gitmo) have to trust in our military to be doing whatever they can to defend our freedom – that’s why we’re in the WOT right?

    #23/24 – Dub, *LOL* I’m dyslexic so guess what? I read it right the first time and had to read your “correction” repeatedly to figure out what was wrong with the original. Too funny.

    #26 – Stashiu, I think you might have answered here my question posted to Part II of this series. I was wondering if the “universal hatred of America/the west” were what I’ve called a “fear of peace” (as though it would leave the Jihadists with no purpose or method to achieve a sense of accomplishment). Sounds from your answer here as though you deliberately avoided getting into conversations on that kind of topic, or that might have given you such an opinion. Is that right or did your Army-issue opinion (which you cannot yet share with us ;-) extend to this area, even though your professional ethics required you not to seek out specific conversations on it? By the way, very admirable professional ethics, sir. Kudos to you for maintaining your conversations in the best interests of your patients.

    Lastly, in response to too many comments to number – on the topic of the detainees’ alleged abuses or the allegations in MSM as to “torture.” First, define “torture,” would you? Really, I can’t stand paper cuts. If you threaten me with a paper cut, I’ll call it torture. If you give me a paper cut, I’ll cry inhumane torture. I’m only half joking here, guys. Torture–what it is and what it is not–is such a culturally specific thing, not to mention an artform (sort of like the art of war) that to just generally state the MSMspeak diatribe seems a little naive. And I’m pretty naive and gullible myself–even I know the US military is not conducting Mengele-like experiments. Puh-leese. Do you really believe this about your own military? About the country with a Constitution and five-arms lengths of Amendments that speak to human rights and dignities? Are you American? Have you read the Bill of Rights?

    On the flip side, I’ve recently seen some text (and photos) passed through milblogs and my good ol’ military buddies at Ringo’s Tavern on Baen’s Bar discussing incidens of the abuse of the guards by the detainees. Will the feces-throwing be in the next installment? Inquiring minds want to know :) I also want to know just exactly how a detainee can possibly break a porcelain sink or toilet or whatever the porcelain piece was before it was turned into a weapon with which to attack the guards. Everything I’ve seen to date makes me think the humanity and compassion of the entire US military presence at Gitmo is beyond reason. We’re being too nice, but thank you Stashiu for pointing out, it is part of what makes us Americans. We do have to stand by our core value system–even when the Bad Guys don’t fight fair.

    Again, thank you to both of you for the time and effort it is taking to compile and present this series to us. Your contribution has not gone unnoticed. And thank you Stashiu for your continued service, but think about retiring–a couple of decades plus is enough, no? Don’t you want your freedom back yet?

    -sry
    Sarah R. Yoffa
    http://sarahryoffa.blogspot.com/

    Comment by -sry (8d51ed) — 10/4/2006 @ 2:48 pm

  56. Dunno if this pt has been made before but it strikes me as important. Stashiu et al, I’d appreciate if you could comment:

    IIRC, suicide is forbidden by Islam. Suicide bombers are only ok because enough imams have designated suicide bombers as a kind of warrior battling and killing the infidel enemy. If these same bombers had instead wandered into the desert and blown themselves up cuz they were depressed or some such thing, then they’d be damned, not blessed.

    Well, doesn’t it all mean, presuming the guys who killed themselves were sincere in their belief in Islam, that their suicides had to have been overt acts of war? It would have been a mortal sin against their Islamic souls for them to have seen it any other way or to have done it for any other reason.

    Comment by ras (a646fc) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:19 pm

  57. *** Off Topic Alert ***

    Patterico,

    Please watch this short video about the justice system in San Fransisco by Police Officers Association President Gary Delagnes speaking on the media blaming the police for recent death of officer Nick Birco and questioning the officer’s own actions in his death. He also talks about the relationship between prosecutors, police, and judges.

    Indeed, he’s threatening to go after the judges involved politically. More info here.

    P.S. You should still consider putting in a captcha protected contact form for tips… I don’t think anything actually gets through your email spam filter.

    *** Back On Topic ***

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:29 pm

  58. #56 RAS:
    An interesting opinion piece in the WSJ regarding Iran’s nuclear ambition may answer part of your question:

    Even in the past it was clear that terrorists claiming to act in the name of Islam had no compunction in slaughtering large numbers of fellow Muslims. A notable example was the blowing up of the American embassies in East Africa in 1998, killing a few American diplomats and a much larger number of uninvolved local passersby, many of them Muslims. There were numerous other Muslim victims in the various terrorist attacks of the last 15 years.

    The phrase “Allah will know his own” is usually used to explain such apparently callous unconcern; it means that while infidel, i.e., non-Muslim, victims will go to a well-deserved punishment in hell, Muslims will be sent straight to heaven. According to this view, the bombers are in fact doing their Muslim victims a favor by giving them a quick pass to heaven and its delights — the rewards without the struggles of martyrdom. School textbooks tell young Iranians to be ready for a final global struggle against an evil enemy, named as the U.S., and to prepare themselves for the privileges of martyrdom.

    Although the ominous significance of August 22 didn’t play out, the article is still interesting WRT Islamic attitude towards death. The extremists worship Death. That worship (like any other extremist view) allows the “faithful” to explain away any seeming inconsistency or hypocracy between their beliefs and actions.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:39 pm

  59. Whoa, dude, close your HTML tag.

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:40 pm

  60. It seems WordPress must still have some kinks in it… sorry about the tag problem. 8\

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:42 pm

  61. still having problems — lets try this.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:44 pm

  62. no good — if this one doesn’t work, I guess I’ll need instructions. 8\

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:45 pm

  63. WTF? over

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:48 pm

  64. Don’t worry, Dubya. That happened to me once. Patterico will fix it when he gets off work.

    Comment by DRJ (8b9d41) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:51 pm

  65. I thought I used the link toggle after the words “opinion piece” — not sure what I did wrong.

    Again, sorry about the fumble.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 3:57 pm

  66. Don’t worry, Dubya, Patterico’s blog closed your open “a” tag at the end automatically of your comment. It’s all good now.

    Check out the link above (here) and tell me what you think of the police officer doing the speaking.

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:05 pm

  67. testing tags…

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:06 pm

  68. The tags are fine… what are you trying to do that you can’t do, Dubya?

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:07 pm

  69. I’m seeing the comment numbers screwed up after my post with the link… i.e., all subsequent posts look to me like they’re sub-lists of my comment #58.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:12 pm

  70. Dubya,

    The quoted piece in #58 is over-generalized vis a vis what I want to learn. I’m more interested in learning just *how* strong the Islamic prohibition is against suicide, and in more detail.

    If it’s as strong as I’ve heard (the twisted logic used to justify suicide bombers notwithstanding) then it really leaves little room for any conclusion about the GTMO suicides other than to confirm them as acts of war, something that, say, Charlie (see #20) and others who think as he does, might wish to consider, since it would mean that any Muslim attempting suicide for publicity value is, by definition, not “innocent.”

    Comment by ras (a646fc) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:16 pm

  71. Strange, mine looke fine, Dubya. Have you tried clearing your browser’s cache, temp internet files, cookies, etc., closing it and opening it again, and, if necessary, restarting your computer?

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:21 pm

  72. No, I see what you mean now, Dubya… in Internet Explorer 6 they’re all messed up. In Firefox 1.5.0.4 and Opera 9.00 they’re fine.

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:26 pm

  73. Testing.

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:27 pm

  74. Whatever you just did fixed the problem — I see your last comment as #59, but previous ones still look like part of my post #58.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 4:44 pm

  75. When Patterico gets back, he can go in at the end of your post and clean up the tags… because of the misnested “a” tag, the “blockquote” and “li” tags didn’t close properly. It doesn’t matter with HTML, but this is an XHTML page and IE isn’t smart enough to read the broken tag order.

    This will let the comment #s renumber properly.

    All he has to do is close those tags — a closing “blockquote” and “li” tag — at the end of your comment #58.

    Then he should also delete my 4:26 PM comment, because it had closing tags in it. And any of these other silly tag comments! :-P

    Comment by Christoph (9824e6) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:02 pm

  76. #36 SMG (and others)

    I never witnessed anything like that and none of that was claimed to me by anyone that wasn’t investigated. We were required to (and did) report anything that appeared unprofessional, keep reading Patterico and tomorrow (I think) you will have a better idea of what I mean.

    #38 DRJ

    Thanks for your comments and your question is pretty straightforward. We tried to stay out of the Intel business and never actively sought Intel. That was the guidance and it allowed us to concentrate on helping detainees better cope with stress.

    #45 Charlie

    Ignoring trollish behavior

    #55 Sarah

    Thanks and I wouldn’t try to define torture for the simple reason that a threat to do something can be more effective than actually doing it. If it’s known that we will never do a particular act, then a threat to do so is useless. Just my own reasoning on why an official definition is not in our interests.

    I am going to retire soon (unless they ask me to deploy again, then I’d have to think about it). But I’ve been free the whole time I’ve been in because it was by choice. I could have gotten out any time and could have retired sooner than this.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments, they are much appreciated.

    #56 ras

    I can’t dispute any of that, but wouldn’t consider myself authoritative. I would point out that it is against most religions to kill yourself, but I work with lots of Non-Muslims who want to, or have tried, to commit suicide. It was only my opinion in this particular situation. It’s not a proven fact as far as I am aware.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:08 pm

  77. Stashiu replied:

    I never witnessed anything like [the physical abuse and degrading treatment documented by retired General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, Alberto Mora]

    Of course, the allegations of “physical abuse and degrading treatment” that led to Mora’s investigation and ultimately to Rumsfeld’s reversal of the directive to employ practices that were, in Mora’s words, “unlawful and unworthy of the military services” all apparently preceded your deployment to Guantánamo.

    There’s no good reason to doubt the veracity of your claim that you didn’t witness such abuse, but there is strong evidence that it happened, nonetheless

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:32 pm

  78. Rick,

    Tomorrow’s entire post is devoted to the issue of detainee treatment.

    Perhaps your questions are better deferred until then.

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:36 pm

  79. Thanks, Patterico; I look forward to reading it.

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:42 pm

  80. …[the physical abuse and degrading treatment documented by retired General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, Alberto Mora]…

    I realize the stuff in brackets is your comment, Rick, but I read the Mora memo and it did not document actual incidents as you’ve implied.

    Rather Mora documented the timeline of his hearing about complaints and allegations and taking various actions as a result, including: investigating various other memos/directives, drafting objections to conclusions and legal reasoning in those other memos, drafting recommendations, calling meetings, instagating formation of working groups, delegating staff to working groups, etc.

    …practices that were, in Mora’s words, “unlawful and unworthy of the military services”

    That was Mora’s opinion: many others disagreed, groups were formed to draft policy, and ultimately policy was changed.

    Whether policy was changed because Mora’s opinion was legally correct or because the opinions of many others (especially in his memo, British and European opinions) would lead to political costs for the US and the Administration is debatable.

    Was changing the policy the right thing to do? I think that remains to be seen.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 5:55 pm

  81. My comments re: Mora memo are not a smear on Mora. As I mentioned earlier, he did a commendable job of ass-covering, both for the Naval General Consul office and likely for the Administration and US in general.

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:11 pm

  82. RAS:

    I agree that the GTMO suicides would have to be an act of war per your reasoning.

    That’s pretty twisted thinking on their part.

    I subscribe to Patton’s philosophy which is roughly: ” …you’re not here to die for your country, you’re here to make the other poor bastard die for his country!” 8)

    Comment by Dubya (c16726) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:33 pm

  83. Mora explicitly and unequivocably documented specific ‘techniques’ employed by the guards at Guantánamo as told to him by Dr Michael Gelles, the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) Chief Psychologist, David Brant, the NCIS director, and others. Mora viewed interrogation logs “evidencing some of this detainee mistreatment” and also read the directive demonstrating that Rumsfeld had approved the interrogation ‘techniques’ which Mora would later describe as “unlawful and unworthy of the military services.” Mora writes in the memo that he was told by investigating NCIS agents that these techniques were being used at Guantánamo, that these agents also corroborated the allegations with interrogation logs, and that the agents viewed these activities as illegal. A claim that these practices weren’t documented because neither Mora nor NCIS agents personally witnessed them is akin to arguing that Saddam Hussein’s use of torture wasn’t “documented” because it wasn’t personally witnessed by agents or soldiers of the CIA or US Army.

    Perhaps, as Patterico suggests, Stashiu’s fourth installment tomorrow will provide some additional insights. But for now, the implicit suggestion these “techniques” were never used even though there use was logged by interrogators and approval to use them was sought by JTF170 command and given by DOD just doesn’t seem particularly credible.

    [It doesn't seem particularly credible to me that you claim to know what's in tomorrow's installment, or that you Stashiu is denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time. -- P]

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 6:55 pm

  84. From a medical and a security standpoint, would it make things easier or harder if all detainees were in solitary confinement? Do you have to show special circumstances to put a detainee in solitary confinement (security threat, etc.), or is it a discretionary matter?

    Comment by drj (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:05 pm

  85. Hey Stashiu3 Youre a regular Mother Theresa arent you???

    [Charlie, stop being an ass.

    YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!

    Heh. -- P]

    Comment by Charlie (cc17e8) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:08 pm

  86. What level of education or literacy do most GTMO detainees have?

    Are there significant translation problems due to differing dialects or other issues? Do language differences make it easier for the detainees to develop codes so they can communicate?

    Do you know anything about how well-traveled the detainees are? If so, have they traveled throughout the world, only in the Middle East, or very little?

    What kind of extracurricular activities and exercises do detainees have access to, under what circumstances, and what activities seem popular? Do they always get access to exercise or is that a privilege based on behavior?

    Are detainees allowed to communicate with anyone other than their lawyers and, if so, who do they typically want to communicate with? Male family members, female family members, friends, others?

    Do they like the Red Cross/Crescent visits?

    Comment by drj (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:20 pm

  87. Stashiu,

    My questions pertain to detainee treatment and I see Patterico wants to defer that until tomorrow. Please disregard those questions for now. Sorry.

    [Most of your comments are not answered by tomorrow's post, but a couple are, in part. I'm not trying to prevent answers but to minimize effort. -- P]

    Comment by drj (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 7:22 pm

  88. Patterico inexplicably posted:

    It doesn’t seem particularly credible to me that you claim to know what’s in tomorrow’s installment, or that you Stashiu is denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time.

    I beg your pardon, Patterico, but I never claimed any such thing. Quite the contrary; it was your post:

    Rick,

    Tomorrow’s entire post is devoted to the issue of detainee treatment.

    Perhaps your questions are better deferred until then.

    …which led me to merely post something as innocuous: “Perhaps, as Patterico suggests, Stashiu’s fourth installment tomorrow will provide some additional insights [into the treatment of the detainees]“; how you managed to infer something more than an affirmation of what you posted is something of a mystery.

    Nor have I claimed or even implied that Staishu is “denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time.” My comments in that post were in reply to Dubya, not Stashiu. If I was wrong about an inference I drew from Dubya’s post, l’ll retract that claim at his request. But even so, there is no call for your “snark” or misrepresentations.

    Comment by Rick (ea2ac3) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:17 pm

  89. #84 drj

    From a behavioral health perspective, we encourage as much interaction as possible. Milieu therapy is the most effective psychotherapy we use. From a security aspect, I would expect the opposite would be true, but as far as I know, there is no solitary confinement there.

    #85 Charlie

    Still waiting for that apology to Patterico (up to three now). Also, it seems like the left are the only ones who have to put up “pretend” military sources (Jesse Macbeth for example). If I was a fraud, I think that would be a first with a conservative view. Thirdly, if you don’t trust Patterico’s establishment of my credibility, why even come here? Finally, ignoring firther trollish behavior.

    #87 drj

    I’ll look forward to any questions you have after the post tomorrow. Thanks again for the thought you put behind them, strong work.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (0da7ed) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:23 pm

  90. #88 Rick

    I took no offense at your post and understand what you meant. Not to speak for Patterico, but maybe Charlie’s attacks influenced how your comments were taken. You have clearly stated your position and refrained from personal attacks which is greatly appreciated. After tomorrow’s post we can expect some lively discussion I see, but I don’t mind difficult questions or discussion. Just as you have respected my sincerity, I respect yours and look forward to tomorrow.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (0da7ed) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:30 pm

  91. Rick inexplicably posts:

    Patterico inexplicably posted:

    It doesn’t seem particularly credible to me that you claim to know what’s in tomorrow’s installment, or that you Stashiu is denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time.

    I beg your pardon, Patterico, but I never claimed any such thing. Quite the contrary; it was your post:

    Rick,

    Tomorrow’s entire post is devoted to the issue of detainee treatment.

    Perhaps your questions are better deferred until then.

    …which led me to merely post something as innocuous: “Perhaps, as Patterico suggests, Stashiu’s fourth installment tomorrow will provide some additional insights [into the treatment of the detainees]”; how you managed to infer something more than an affirmation of what you posted is something of a mystery.

    Nor have I claimed or even implied that Staishu is “denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time.” My comments in that post were in reply to Dubya, not Stashiu. If I was wrong about an inference I drew from Dubya’s post, l’ll retract that claim at his request. But even so, there is no call for your “snark” or misrepresentations.

    Let me make it less inexplicable for you, Rick.

    You said in a previous comment:

    Perhaps, as Patterico suggests, Stashiu’s fourth installment tomorrow will provide some additional insights. But for now, the implicit suggestion these “techniques” were never used even though there use was logged by interrogators and approval to use them was sought by JTF170 command and given by DOD just doesn’t seem particularly credible.

    Sounded to me like you were accusing Stashiu of suggesting these techniques were never used. And based on your accusation, you accused him of not being credible.

    In response to that, I said:

    It doesn’t seem particularly credible to me that you claim to know what’s in tomorrow’s installment, or that you [think] Stashiu is denying anything that allegedly happened well before his time.

    I don’t see what’s inexplicable about that.

    Stashiu says he never saw it. You say he’s implying it didn’t happen before his time. I say he’s not. He’s carefully sticking to what he knows.

    Eminently explicable.

    Comment by Patterico (de0616) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:35 pm

  92. Stashiu3….good dx on the kids in yard, disregarding the medical reasons for dementia, this is exactly what we(me and my medicos)saw in IZ in 03/4 with our pts in Abu and Cropper. Esp the “big guy”..and all his “friends” (just watch the trial outbursts on the tube). And Patterico…if you want to talk offline to another med-type who took care of these people in IZ before the Bulls**t hit the media fan,I would so inclined.

    Comment by drdave6655 (2a3a85) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:36 pm

  93. #92 drdave6655

    What’s scary is I understood that, lol. Thanks for your comments and thanks for your service.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (0da7ed) — 10/4/2006 @ 8:49 pm

  94. Charlie,

    After reading through your various posts on this thread, you do come across as being unintentionally hilarious. Perhaps you have posted elsewhere on this blog and received a less-than-hospitable welcome. I don’t read all of the comment threads here. If you had the same tone in those threads that you do in this one, I can understand why other commentors are not welcoming you with open arms and proclaiming your presence as the second coming.

    You condemn people here as being lackies for the President, but your comments make me wonder if you would believe anything published by the current administration. You would accuse the President of lying if he said the sky was blue.

    I take particular offense to your crack about Stashiu “just following orders”. It is a long-standing conundrum for all military personnel to follow only lawful orders since it may be difficult to discern what is and what is not a lawful order. People who serve (and who have served) swear an oath to carry out the orders of the Commander in Chief. For most of my military time, I did not hold the person presiding as Commander in Chief in high regard. I thought his pandering and sociopathic behavior demeaned his office. However, if he had given the order to go to war, I was ready. Also, I grant that not every member of the armed forces is a saint. I encountered men and women I thought disgraced the uniforms they wore. However, I think only a closed-minded simpleton would think of the military as a bunch of mindless, jack-booted thugs. Do you care to wear the label of closed-minded simpleton?

    I have to wonder if there could be any evidence that would convince you that it was right for us to go to war in Iraq. Iraq has been a concern for stability (if it could be achieved) in the Middle East for many years. You don’t think Clinton kept the military flying sorties over Iraq and launching attacks against Iraqi positions just for fun, did you? President Bush took a heavy gamble in launching the war against Iraq, but I believe that some President at some time would have to develop an end game for Iraq that involved armed conflict. I hope that history bears him out as making the right choice. The possibility for a democracy in that region certainly sounds better than the status quo of the 11 plus years prior to the invasion.

    So Charlie, you might have a scintilla of credibility for your claims if you did not appear to be so closed minded yourself.

    By the way, can you offer any proof that the current administration has taken ANY action that has personally affected your constitutional rights? Of course, if the brown-shirts have carried you off to some secret prison in another country to torture you, we may not get a reply on that question. (I almost forgot to ask. You do understand sarcasm, don’t you? I hope it’s not too complex of a concept for you.)

    As an aside for Dubya: I looked at the New Yorker Magazine link. One thing that caught my eye was the label at the top of the memo that said the document was secret unless removed from the attachments. Perhaps the people reviewing the document used a different standard than I am accustomed to, but typically I have seen the same document classification header on EVERY page of the document. After all, you could remove the first page of the memo and distribute the remaining pages with the attachments, and people would not necessarily know it was a classified document.

    Comment by Steve (7d7719) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:00 pm

  95. - Don’t waste your keyboard on “Charlie” steve. Charlie is just another Liberal Progg that lives to drop BS comments on Conservative blogs. They infest the blogsphere like unhinged cockroaches.

    - They all have one central theme, and the same shopworn memes. Aboslutely zero conviction in what they say. Try posting ANYTHING as a counter voice on sites like Huffinton, or LiarDogFake, and the brownshirts go bottlerocket mode, immediately redacting your comment. They are so unsure, so doubtful of their own crazy positions, they simply cannot handle or tolorate counter views.

    - As a psyche-med, you clearly recognize the mental weakness behind that sort of activity. As a general rule I just ignore their rants unless it gets personal. That little pony trick gets the pointy toe in the ass for them in a heart beat. The big lie is one thing. the big personal lie something else.

    - Let me add my thanks to you for your service, and even more for your principled actions in giving us this exposure of something that’s been politicized ad nausua by the braindead Marxist Left.

    Comment by Big Bang Hunter (9562fb) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:17 pm

  96. - That last was ment for both you and Stashiu3… again thanks to you both.

    Comment by Big Bang Hunter (9562fb) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:21 pm

  97. Patterico,

    Re: DrDave’s #92 and Stashiu’s #93

    I think I understood DD’s post, too, and you need to follow up on that. What a tag team Stashiu and DD would make.

    Comment by drj (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:24 pm

  98. Stashiu,

    Thanks for your response. I look forward to tomorrow’s post because they just get better every day.

    Comment by drj (ccb97e) — 10/4/2006 @ 9:26 pm

  99. Hello Stashiu,

    I invite you to drop me an email at aceserve2001@yahoo.com

    As I mentioned before, I am a reporter – a print journalist. I have no agenda or axe to grind. Several posters on this good Blog have noted that your outlook has not been reported in the mainstream media. This is what I am trying to do. btw: I look forward to seeing tomorrow’s installment on the media. Best, Ace.

    Comment by Ace (24fe95) — 10/5/2006 @ 5:04 am

  100. A few thoughts:

    Thank you Patterico and Stashiu for your work in general and on this series.

    Ace, in my experience even an interview with the most honorable of reporters can turn out a slanted piece after the editor gives a skewed title and photo captions, probably to the reporter’s frustration as well. If a reporter and chief editor are willing to sign an agreement that says the “interviewee” has final word on approval for publication of the entire final piece as it will appear then some with newsworthy views would be more willing to talk. Stashiu has said that nothing in his interview involves things not already in the public sphere. The fact that we have not seen this on the front page of the New York Times is the responsibility of the NYT editorial staff. Nothing of this is meant against you personally, Ace, you have my empathy and support for trying to do honest and credible work.

    It seems to me that a few main points stand out:
    1. A significant number of detainees are serious and committed to waging war against the US. They will use anything and everything to further their cause, whether it is complaining about highly controlled conditions or taking advantage of conditions when requests were granted by the C.O. This includes hunger strikes, complaining about being kept alive during hunger strikes, and suicide.
    Whether behaviors are consistent with Islam is up to the reasoning, no matter how twisted, of the beholder.
    There is no such thing as “good faith” discussion with this group of people.*
    2. Some internees are there for their own protection, as they would be executed as traitors for “cooperating”, even if “cooperation” was nothing other than not successfully fighting to the death.
    3. Medical providers and the overall camp staff are dedicated to providing the dignity accorded to humans simply because they are humans.
    4. But many of these humans have committed acts, and wish to, that in effect forfeits their treatment with dignity, but earns them treatment as cruel and wicked monsters. They need to be treated accordingly when information can be obtained that saves innocent lives. Their own lives are not innocent.

    *There are a few versions of this parable: The scorpion asked the turtle to give it a ride across the river. The turtle protested, concerned that it would be stung by the scorpion. The scorpion promised it would not sting the turtle. The turtle assented, then in mid-stream the scorpion stung the turtle. The turtle exclaimed, “What have you done? Now we will both die!”. The scorpion replied, “Well, after all, I am a scorpion.”

    Comment by MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 10/5/2006 @ 5:58 am

  101. Ace,

    I have enjoyed your insightful comments and thank you for the offer. Nothing personal, but I have absolutely zero interest in mainstream media. This was not a story that I felt compelled to tell, Patterico contacted me. I’ve since tried to tell this story as best I could and trusted him to ensure that there were no mixed-messages or anything that might imply we discussed classified or confidential information. Everything I’ve said is the truth as I experienced it and what I believe. I’m not under any pressure by the military, the media, or Patterico. He has repeatedly offered to kill the story if it became problematic and I have repeatedly assured him at each step that I am ok with continuing.

    I’m certain you are a stand-up guy and worthy of trust. But I am not interested in anything beyond completing what Patterico and I have worked on. I don’t want to deal with the media, I’m not writing a book, and I would never go on a TV show of any kind. I’ve got no agenda other than to tell the truth. People can accept what I say, or not. If I were ‘outed’, it wouldn’t change a thing. I will not ever talk with the mainstream media because even though you (as an individual) may be trustworthy, those whose toes were stepped on would not be. And it wouldn’t stop with you because while once can be an absolute, a second implies a third and a fourth and so on. This is a one-time thing, period.

    I understood that my name becoming known was a possibility from the first time I responded to Patterico’s email. I’ve never tried very hard to be anonymous and have internet trails leading back years for anyone determined enough to ruin my life. Being a public figure is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. Like many, I’m a pretty private person who stays at home when I’m not at work. I like being with my family and it’s been a good life. I believe there is actually little danger to my family as long as I remain a private figure. To become a public figure would be like rubbing it in the face of those who hate Americans and made the threats against me and mine. Right now, I’m just not important enough to target.

    One poster found me within minutes and email from media came within 24 hours. I haven’t responded and have no intention of responding. Patterico has my full permission to release any personal information, correspondence, or conversations to the military or any appropriate government agency upon their valid request. I’m not worried about that because everything that has been posted has been true and bereft of classified or confidential information. I have advised him that what I’ve told him is true and he has accepted that I am who I say, been where I say I have been, and done the job I said I had done.

    So if Charlie, or anyone else, wants to question whether I’m the “real deal”, that means they have no faith in Patterico’s ability to establish that. If that’s the case, why read his blog? Anyone who questions my qualifications is questioning Patterico’s integrity and shouldn’t trust anything he posts. But they should keep in mind that Patterico can prove what he has done to check me out, he has that permission anytime he feels it is necessary. Because it’s his reputation on the line too, and he deserves that. He gave the outline of how he did it in the first post. And I can prove everything I’ve said if it becomes necessary. So, whether or not the mainstream media tells this story, or says something completely different, my conscience is clear. I hope you (and any other media) understand and respect this. I can’t make my reasoning any clearer.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:17 am

  102. Stash – Again, thank you for sharing all of this. I am amazed.

    Comment by SFY (a79b02) — 10/5/2006 @ 7:15 am

  103. Stashiu thoughtfully posted:

    #88 Rick, I took no offense at your post and understand what you meant…You have clearly stated your position and refrained from personal attacks which is greatly appreciated. After tomorrow’s post we can expect some lively discussion I see, but I don’t mind difficult questions or discussion. Just as you have respected my sincerity, I respect yours and look forward to tomorrow.

    Thanks, Stashiu; Once again, I appreciate your efforts and sincerity. You have already acknowledged as much, but I’ll once again reiterate that I would never deliberately misrepresent either your position or what you have posted, and if I ever inadvertently do so, please let me know, and I’ll correct myself.

    I have a very busy day ahead of me, so I may have to delay my comments or replies, but I will read your latest installment sometime later today

    Thanks, again. Rick

    Comment by Rick (c4e376) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:38 am

  104. Thank you so much for your long service. I understand the impulse. I’ve been retired for eons and know I’d be worthless now. My “baby” brother retired after 31 years in the Navy just 8 months before 9-11. He was upset they wouldn’t allow him back in. It is difficult to explain that impulse to those who never served.

    It is important for people to understand that whatever goes on at Gitmo, or in any other theater of this war, the biggest battlefield, and therefore the target of these actions, isn’t the individual victim, but the propaganda value involved. The prisoners commit suicide because it will not be ignored by the media, and in most cases, it will not be the enemy who suffers in these particular battles. It doesn’t take many “Charlie”s to fill out the required manpower needs in these battles, either. The original three suicides were a small force that was quickly added to.

    It is very easy to run around in circles and wave your arms about frantically. It takes no thought whatsoever to parrot accusations. What it takes to do the job Stashui3 and his fellows are doing, however, requires a total focus that the Charlies of the world will never achieve.

    I appreciate Rick’s thoughtful, and above all respectful, comments however. It is crucial to have important questions debated. One of the most dangerous aspects of this war is that there is too little genuine debate by those with the responsibility to do the job. There are too many “Charlies” on both sides of the aisle and they are letting the whole country down.

    I have nothing but these comments for right now. There are a couple of things I’d like to think about more before I ask any questions. From the sounds of it, many of those questions will be answered in the near future. I’m patient.

    Thank you again, sir. All the best and to you and yours.

    Keep your head down and watch your back.

    Comment by oldsalt (c10650) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:53 pm

  105. [...] Part 3: Hunger strikes, suicides and suicide attempts, and mental illness. [...]

    Pingback by MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy » Blog Archive » Friday’s “Must Read” - Gitmopalooza! (1b383c) — 10/6/2006 @ 6:31 am

  106. [...] Part Three: This part deals with the hunger strike, the suicides, and the mental health of the detainees at Gitmo. Based on his experience with the detainees and their mental history, Stashiu opines that the recent suicides were an organized political act. Part Four: Treatment of the detainees. The nurse (”Stashiu”) discusses some of the brutality that detainees inflict on guards. [...]

    Pingback by Pundit Review » Blog Archive » What’s happening at Guantanamo Bay? Who do you believe? (693bf6) — 10/6/2006 @ 4:54 pm

  107. I ask this question understanding to some degree the difference between a legal and an illegal combatant. How does a mental health professional distinquish – in terms of mental health – between a legal combatant soldier/prisoner who risks severe punishment and/or death trying to escape because of a continuing responsibility to “harrass” the enemy and an illegal combantant “soldier”/prisoner who uses tactics of those at GITMO where there is no possiblity of escape. One sees Allied soldiers in German Stalags as behaving rationally in fulfilling their duty as soldiers. Are not some of the prisoners at GITMO who commit suicide, harrass the jailers, etc. “rational” in the same sense and not sociopaths. (This is purely an intellectual question since emotionally I’m with those who say let ‘em kill themselves. I do not believe my moral status or that of my country is at the mercy of anybody else’s actions.)

    Comment by Sioux Lady (26bbd0) — 10/7/2006 @ 4:07 am

  108. #107 Sioux Lady

    How does a mental health professional distinquish – in terms of mental health – between a legal combatant soldier/prisoner who risks severe punishment and/or death trying to escape because of a continuing responsibility to “harrass” the enemy and an illegal combantant “soldier”/prisoner who uses tactics of those at GITMO where there is no possiblity of escape. One sees Allied soldiers in German Stalags as behaving rationally in fulfilling their duty as soldiers. Are not some of the prisoners at GITMO who commit suicide, harrass the jailers, etc. “rational” in the same sense and not sociopaths.

    It seems there are two questions you are asking here, so I’ve italicized where I believe they are (giving my personal opinion as answers). For the first, that wouldn’t be determined by mental health and wouldn’t need to be. Both legal and illegal combatants believe themselves soldiers and so have the same motivations for their behavior. It’s not necessary for us to convince them (which could also be called “brainwash”, if someone was inclined to take a less-flattering and less-accurate perspective) that our governments’ description for them was accurate in order to help them better cope with being there.

    In the second, it seems you’re more in the area between a legal definition of rationality/sanity versus a medical definition. Sociopaths in general, and possibly by definition (I’d have to research it to be sure), are considered legally sane or rational. In other words, having the capacity to understand the difference between right and wrong does not necessarily mean you care about whether it is right or wrong.

    I hope these answer the intent of your questions, I was a bit confused by the phrasing and lack of question marks.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (168d43) — 10/7/2006 @ 4:56 am

  109. You’re right. Badly done. Let me try again with the appropriate question marks. Without having read “The Great Escape” and learning it is the duty of a soldier to attempt escape and anything else that will cause the enemy time, money, trouble, etc., I would have thought it “crazy” or “suicidal” for a soldier held in the middle of Germany and territory it controlled – hundreds of miles from freedom – to attempt escape. Knowing the full story, I thought them very brave. So my question is: Is what appears irrational about the behavior (suicides, attacks on guards, etc.) of some of the detainees at GITMO “soldier-like” behavior which I could respect without having any sympathy? Or is it mostly because they lack coping skills? I have a bit of sympathy for the latter – poor, crazy !@#$%$^.

    I’m sorry if your reply above answers this question and I’m just too obtuse to get it.

    Comment by Sioux Lady (26bbd0) — 10/7/2006 @ 7:51 am

  110. #109 Sioux Lady

    That is a different question and not answered by the last response. My opinion, and the opinion in the article Patterico linked, is that these were not irrational acts, but intentional as you describe. Seen as duty. Maladaptive or insufficient coping skills are a problem anywhere, but I don’t believe they were a factor in the suicides.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (168d43) — 10/7/2006 @ 8:01 am

  111. Some creep named Sioux Lady done wroted:

    “(This is purely an intellectual question since emotionally I’m with those who say let ‘em kill themselves. I do not believe my moral status or that of my country is at the mercy of anybody else’s actions.)”

    I got three words for you: Blah. Blah. Blah.

    CAMP PENDLETON — A sworn statement from a Marine sergeant alleging that guards at the U.S. military facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, regularly beat terrorism detainees — and bragged about it — has been turned over to Pentagon investigators.

    “I was shocked and outraged to find that beatings are continuous and open,” Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, the Marine Corps’ defense coordinator for the Western United States, said Friday. Vokey is lawyer for one of the prisoners. He forwarded the two-page statement from the sergeant, a paralegal, to the inspector general’s office at the Department of Defense.

    “This is offensive,” Vokey said. “I don’t want my fellow Marines treated this way if they are ever captured.”

    Comment by Bloodshedder (97ee5b) — 10/7/2006 @ 9:48 am

  112. Gitmo aka Guantanamo Bay…

    These are non legal combatants. They are not soldiers fighting for a country or a sovereign state, these are terrorists. Despite popular belief these terrorists are shown more respect and given more courtesy than they deserve, especially considering th…

    Trackback by Wake up America (a91ef5) — 10/7/2006 @ 12:04 pm

  113. Thank you, Stashiu3, for your response. Sorry, I did not follow the link. I suppose I should modify my comment by adding I have a “modicum of respect” for those detainees who perform what they see as their “duty” by committing suicide and say, rather, that I feel pity (which does not include respect) for those you treated for insufficient coping skills.
    As for buttinski “Bloodshedder,” I stand by my statement, “I do not believe my moral status or that of my country is at the mercy of anybody else’s actions.” Of course, I was referring to the detainee suicides, but I will expand it to include the alleged actions of military guards at GITMO, those at Abu Grahib, Americans in the 19th century who said, “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” Colonel Chivington (I think) who justified killing Navajo babies in that era with the statement, “nits breed lice,” the vainglorious, George A. Custer’s, (who got what he – if not his command – deserved at the Little Big Horn) 7th Cavalry at Wounded Knee in 1890, and Lt. Calley in Vietnam.
    As an American Indian (stress on American) and not a Utopia-ist, I have always been glad that we were “discovered” by the Children of the Enlightenment rather than, say, the Children of Allah or of Karl Marx (whom, I suspect, Bloodshedder is the intellectual !@#$%^& of via Noam Chomsky). I do not believe it was the policy of the United States in the 19th, 20th or this century to wantonly kill, maim and torture, men, women and children. Every people, including mine (and I am very knowledgeable of their history), have had “bad actors” who do not represent the policy, beliefs or morality of their country or citizens. As long as the government takes steps, where possible, to deal with the “bad actors,” their actions are no reflection on the moral status of my country or me. If you, Bloodshedder, want to wear sack cloth and ashes over these incidents, help yourself – post a picture.

    Comment by Sioux Lady (26bbd0) — 10/7/2006 @ 2:25 pm

  114. Sioux Lady,

    That was an eloquent response to the troll.

    It is quite possible that Bloodshedder believes that a terrorist who beheads an American is just a random, tortured soul, while an American Marine who hits a captive terrorist is an example of the evil represented by the US military and of America itself.

    Comment by Steve (7d7719) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:27 am

  115. I strongly disagree with the part that says:

    The New York Times editorial board has claimed that the suicides occurred because the detainees were driven to despair by their conditions. I asked Stashiu to what extent the detainees’ feelings of depression were centered around the idea that they had no idea when (if ever) they’d get out. Did they talk about this? Did they complain about how they just wanted a trial, and that sort of thing?

    Some did and it makes sense. There were detainees with situational depression that was authentic, just as you can see situational depression in prisons. We did not talk at length about this though, as I mentioned, there were some topics that just had no therapeutic benefit to them. This was one of them and we would redirect the conversation because we had no answers for them and expressing sympathy for their situation would not only have been inappropriate, it would have been seen as weakness and exploited.

    how can you say talking about living under such restrictive, bare conditions do not provide any benefit to therapy? Could you honestly say that you would be a mentally stable person living under the conditions that they do? Also, while I certainely don’t condone terrorism, I am not convinced that they do not deserve sympathy. Isn’t your job all about understanding and empathizing for the reasons as to which ppl do the things they do? Can you honestly say that not a single 1 of them has been wrongfully or unfairly accused? If so, your view is very bias.

    Comment by LinZ (b131c5) — 10/16/2006 @ 9:51 pm

  116. LinZ,

    If you read some of the earlier comments, I explain in more detail. To address your post I will recap and if anything remains unanswered, please let me know.

    First, that post was referring primarily to the three successful suicides, but we did talk about living conditions at times in an effort to see what could be done to improve them. Dwelling on them was not a therapeutic direction in most cases because we had absolutely no influence on when they would leave.

    Second, I can’t say for certain whether I would remain stable under those circumstances, I’ve never been detained. I might make a case that field duty and other military training environments give some insight into being restricted, but it’s not exactly the same. However, I don’t need to be suffering from pneumonia to know how to take care of someone who is. Also, you need to remember that this was a coordinated act using the same means at the same time. The article notes that none of the three had any history of depression and had already made political statements by hunger-striking. These reasons, and others, led to my personal opinion that this was not the result of despair over the conditions of their detainment.

    Third, I don’t recall saying that none deserve sympathy. I did say that expressing it in too empathetic a manner would be seen as weakness and exploited. This would be true in a correctional setting in the States as well.

    Fourth, being understanding and empathetic are a part of the job I do, but not all of it. There are many more facets to psychiatric nursing, including medication, limit-setting, confrontation, developing insight, among other things. Add the fact that I am an officer in the United States Army and these detainees were classed as unlawful combatants. You can see where we would need to balance our professionalism with our compassion constantly. Nurses tend to lean towards the compassionate end of the spectrum as a group, and this can interfere with the therapeutic relationship when you’re dealing with psych. If I felt sorry for any of them, showing it too much is counter-therapeutic. Period. Even with our own soldiers who get treatment, it is always contraindicated. The people we help can get sympathy and friendship after they leave us. While we’re taking care of them, they get understanding and empathy, as well as professional, non-judgmental, and research-based therapy. Not sympathy or friendship.

    Finally, your assumption of bias is flawed if it’s true that not a single one has been wrongfully or unfairly accused. But, I never claimed that. I did say that there weren’t any that I was aware of, but even so, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t give our best efforts to everyone there. It wasn’t our call to make whether or not they should be there. We just helped them deal with the reality of it as best we could.

    I hope this has answered the points you raised. Thank you for the interesting questions and the thought you put into them.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/16/2006 @ 10:49 pm

  117. [...] A blog called Patterico’s Pontifications has an interesting five part (1 2 3 4 5) interview with a Major at Guantanamo known to the terrorists there as “Stashiu.” He has been reading and commenting on the blog, and agreed to an interview. [...]

    Pingback by sammytaylor.net (5c8fa9) — 10/17/2006 @ 10:10 am

  118. [...] no surprise to anyone. I’m reminded of the story of one American working at Guantanamo Bay who got to know one of the inmates. Asked what he would [...]

    Pingback by Flopping Aces » Blog Archive » Obama Gives Terrorists A License to Kill (e7cd22) — 1/23/2009 @ 4:02 pm

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