Thursday, May 17, 2018

'I hated myself for Abu Ghraib abuse' - Tara McKelvey

Gina Haspel has paved the way for her confirmation as new CIA director, after repudiating torture tactics used in the past. But the scars from one of America's darkest chapters, the abuse of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison, still linger, as one of the men involved explains.
A big, bear-sized man, Jeremy Sivits hunches his shoulders when he walks across the car park of a pizzeria in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, trying to make himself smaller.
He shoves his hands in his pockets as he stands next to me, outside where we can speak freely about the cruelty of his past, without fear of being overheard.
The Abu Ghraib scandal broke on 28 April 2004 when photos taken by him and other soldiers at the prison were revealed on CBS News.
The pictures showed naked prisoners heaped into a pyramid, forced to simulate sexual acts and adopt humiliating poses.
One showed a US soldier, Lynndie England, holding a prisoner on a strap made to look like a leash. Another, the defining image of the scandal, showed a hooded man standing on a box and holding electrical wires.
Sivits was sentenced to a year in prison for dereliction of duty, for counts related to taking a picture and failing to stop the mistreatment of detainees.
In the car park, he describes lessons he's learned from the scandal - about humility, compassion and doing the right thing.

To read the full text of the story, click here.

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