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Thursday, June 04, 2009

As New Afghanistan Commander Sails Toward Confirmation, Key Torture Questions Go Unasked

General Stanley McChrystal, the media darling/special ops ogre of the Bush killocracy, is no stranger to movement. During his yearlong fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2000, he would rise at the crack of dawn every morning to run 12 miles from his home in Brooklyn to his office in Manhattan. Before that job, he bounced from West Point to Fort Bragg to South Korea to Saudi Arabia, building his military credentials and sharpening an intellect so intense, colleagues dubbed him "scary smart." As he prepares to dart out of the special ops shadows and into the boots of Gen. David McKiernan, the recently fired head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, it's worth listening for the rattle of skeletons McChrystal will be dragging behind him.First up is the issue of torture. McChrystal has been linked to an operation called the Terrorist Screen Center (TSC), which was located at Camp Nama in Iraq. The institution was one of several Saddam-era torture centers converted into U.S. "interrogation facilities" by special ops forces under the general's command. A 2006 Human Rights Watch report documents extensive prisoner abuses at Nama, including sleep deprivation, the use of extreme heat and cold, sexual humiliation and simulated drowning. One soldier quoted in the report describes the torture of a detainee believed to be an Al-Qaeda financier:


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