Temple-Raston opens the story with this bit of framing:
- "Mackey....was not just a witness, but a participant in tinkering with interrogation techniques that could work against a new kind of enemy."
- "Mackey...was taught methods more suitable for the Cold War....didn't really work with religiously motivated al-Qaida detainees....That's why Mackey and the interrogators working with him ended up having to, in his words, 'adapt.' "
There is so much that is disturbing about NPR's delivery of this story. Not one bit of context is given as to what was happening to detainees seized and sent to Bagram during the time that Mackey was there - Dec. 2001 to August 2002.
How prisoners were seized (according to Human Rights Watch):
On a night in late July 2002, U.S. forces raided the home of Ahmed Khan, a resident of Zurmat district in Paktia province....During the raid, Ahmed Khan was arrested along with his two sons, aged 17 and 18 years.14 A local farmer died from gunfire during the arrest operation, and a woman in a neighboring house was wounded. Human Rights Watch spoke with several neighbors and other witnesses to the raid.
In late May 2002, U.S. forces raided two homes in the village of Kirmati, near Gardez city, and arrested five Afghan men, all of whom were later released and returned to Gardez. During the raid, U.S. forces reportedly used helicopters and airplanes to patrol the area and lay down suppressing fire. The raid took place in an entirely residential area, and there is no evidence that U.S. forces met any resistance.According to HRW arrest was just the beginning, for example - the five men in the May 2002 raid were sent to Bagram. According to one of the detainees, at Bagram:
"They threw us in a room, face down. We were there for a while. Then they stood me up and led me somewhere, and then they took off my blindfold....I was the only prisoner. I was on the ground, and a man stood over me, and he had a foot on my back....They made me take off my clothes, so that I was naked. They took pictures of us, naked....A man came, and he had some plastic bag, and he ran his hands through my hair, shaking my hair. And then he pulled out some of my hair, some hair from my beard, and he put it in a bag. . . . The most awful thing about the whole experience was how they were taking our pictures, and we were completely naked. Completely naked. It was completely humiliating."Mother Jones also reported on Mackey and Bagram back in 2005 and noted the case of Hussain Youssouf Mustafa arrested in Peshawar, Pakistan and sent to Bagram in May of 2002. Mother Jones reports:
"During his imprisonment at the compound, Mustafa estimated that he was interrogated about 25 times. Sometimes, he said, the soldiers forced him to kneel on a concrete floor with a bag over his head. Other times they woke him from sleep or interrupted him in prayer. He said he occasionally heard detainees screaming and concluded that they were being beaten. Then one day, he recalled, 'an American soldier took me blindfolded. My hands were tightly cuffed, with my ears plugged so I could not hear properly, and my mouth covered so I could only make a muffled scream. Two soldiers, one on each side, forced me to bend down, and a third pressed my face down over a table. A fourth soldier then pulled down my trousers. They rammed a stick up my rectum.' "
From Temple-Raston's report we get nothing of the extreme violence and intimidation used in rounding up detainees - and the fact that most were probably rounded up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We get nothing of beatings and sexual abuse and humiliation occurring at Bagram when Mackey was there. We get nothing of the lack of adequate translators and complete ignorance of cultural norms on the part of the interrogators. Yes, these were indeed a "new kind of enemy" alright.
In the report we are expected to believe Mackey's reporting of the "success" of his method's without any supporting evidence.
And we are supposed to believe that Mackey had no idea of the abuses already occurring at Bagram during his tenure there. For someone in intelligence he is awfully ignorant about things that were going on right under his nose - or he is simply lying.