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April 23, 2009

The Stretcher

Sladky Gitmo 02 gurney.jpg

The question I’m interested in is whether this image, taken by the A.P.’s Lynne Sladky in February 2002, and which has become quite familiar and even common over the past seven years as a general reference to Bush’s “terror war” and the facility at Gitmo, might have become something more if greater resistance to BushCo’s torture regime had taken hold years ago.

It first appeared that America’s torture program coincided with the issuance of the Bybee memo on August 1, 2002, authorizing a whole menu of coercive techniques. The report from the Senate Arms Services Committee, however, reveals that SERE psychologist Bruce Jessen circulated a memo on “exploitative” techniques back in April of 2002. Others also claim that the administration — driven to find a linkage between al-Qaeda and Iraq — was already seeking information on armed services interrogation resistance techniques for the purpose of applying the coercion itself, as early as December 2001, predating the arrival of “enemy combatants” at Gitmo.

I’m not suggesting that the prisoner on this gurney — laid out and chained like a wounded animal — was the victim of torture. (From captions elsewhere, the scene is described as a method for moving a war injured detainee from his cell to an interrogation, and back again.) What I am saying, given the data trickling out now, as well as the BushCo’s intent to justify its own terror agenda, is that the image, in its appearance of supplication, is as suggestive of sub-human treatment and torture at Gitmo as any other photo I’ve seen.

(photo: Lynne Sladky/A.P. caption: In this February 2002 photo, a detainee from Afghanistan is carried on a stretcher before being interrogated by military officials at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.)

  • ggb

    Extremely disturbing. And if these people weren’t terrorists before, they sure as heck will be when they get out of that Bushco-created hell hole – and people wonder why others countries don’t want them?
    It also bothers me tremendously that there are so many service personnel performing these horrendous acts against others – what kind of people are they out of uniform – or do they all say “I was just following orders”? Sadly, I don’t think it’s that simple.

  • Andy

    dude, the people in the church they go to every day makes them terrorists. YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT THESE PEOPLE ARENT TAUGHT TO HATE AMERICA FROM DAY 1??? how naive are u guys??
    but i see how obama set this up… when we get attacked again, which will be soon, it wont be his fault for not getting ANY intel from these clowns, no it will be bushs fault cuz he was mean to them.
    u guys make me sick. u cant push any of ur ideas without taking down bush or cheney. Republicans dont even need to campaign, people vote for us because they hear how idiotic ur ideas are.

  • Rima

    Ever consider learning how to spell?

  • jtfromBC

    A prisoner collecting points from “the frequent flyer program” on a gurney labelled;
    - Bush’s Carriage – Dick’s Charriot – Condi’s Cart – Rumsfeld’s Rocket – Maj. Gen. Miller’s Hot Rod – The Jenson Jet or Bybee’s Buggy -
    “..described the frequent flyer program, in classic Orwellian doublethink, as an “incentive program.” Orlich confirmed that, under the program, detainees were moved from cell to cell up to eight times a day, or every three hours, following a “Discipline Synch Matrix.” The goal was to keep detainees “off balance” and prevent the “worst of the worst” from organizing.

  • jtfromBC

    Take your pick,
    The healthy man does not torture others – generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers. – Carl Jung
    Less than fifteen per cent of the people do any original thinking on any subject. The greatest torture in the world for most people is to think. – Luther Burbank

  • ggb

    Andy, don’t you think being in prison is torture enough? People are upset about this because many of these men were not even GUILTY!!! Your last President, Curious (Not) George, didn’t have ONE – not one single person – commuted from death row when he was governor of Texas – what the hell does that tell you???? Even when the records showed some of the convicted had been abused or were mentally instable – he still put them to their DEATH instead of life – what does that tell you about the character of your beloved George?? So … you think he didn’t get a thrill out of knowing he was “da man” in control of having others tortured? You bet his silly smirk he did! All I can say, it was a long f*****g 8 years with Bush and Cheney and what goes around, comes around.

  • Andrew

    Learn proper English first, to talk to adults.

  • braidwood

    :( :( :( I feel tired, and sick, and like crying when I see this. SIGH. Oh yeah, and f-ing angry.
    The stretcher looks like a torture device. It reminds me of man’s inhumanity to man. It reminds me that some people in my family weren’t disturbed about the water boarding when they first found out about it and they call themselves Christians. It basically sets me off on an entire self-righteous rage.
    After looking at the comments, I don’t think I’m the only one who feels a lot of anger when looking at this picture.

  • Russ Nichols

    Is the prisoner dead? Passed out? Too sick to walk? Just came from being tortured? Is there shiny metal band around his ankle? Is it attached by a chain to the other ankle? Or not. He doesn’t appear to be cuffed. Which seems to indicate he is in not able to ambulate by himself. The question is, why. He doesn’t look too old to need a walker. There is a story here. We just don’t know it.

  • Enoch Root

    Through forced perspective, he’s being dragged over razor wire. That’s the subliminal punch of this image. The soldiers seem somehow immune, but the prisoner is a character in Kafka’s ‘In The Penal Colony.’

  • yg

    there is something fundamentally wrong with the world when corporations are viewed as people, assigned rights and protected by the constitution, while actual flesh and blood people have been adjudicated as “non-persons” and denied protection.
    we need a gitmo for wayward corporations.

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