Posted on Jan 11th 2014, a day where protesters worldwide mark the 12th anniversary of the inhumane Guantanamo detention centre calling for closure and we remember those abused at Bagram jail, Afghanistan
The prisoner, who was hand cuffed and leg chained, was dragged to the room by two guards holding him on each side. In the middle of the court room was a large wooden table and on each side of the table there was a chair. On the left chair sat a red-faced American, his double-chin sagging low. The guards sat the prisoner right in front of this man. The prisoner’s leg chain was then locked to the steel bar of the table and his hand cuffs were tightened securely behind his chair. The prisoner’s blindfold was removed from his eyes. The prisoner opened his eyes and looked around the room. Beside the two guards who had dragged him into the room, there was also a third guard standing upright next to them. A fourth guard was standing in the corner of the room. Next to him sat another man, with piles of paper lying in front of him. This man glared angrily at the bewildered prisoner. Soon after another man, who did not appear to be American entered the room. He placed a chair next to the man sitting in front of the prisoner and quietly sat on the chair. The prisoner had not yet fully taken stock of his surroundings and was still looking around the room when the red-faced American, sitting in front of him, grabbed his hair and turned the prisoner’s face towards him. This man was an interrogator who was in charge of the investigation and the man sitting next to him was typing the correspondence. The Interrogator began his questions:
Interrogator: “What is this place?”
Prisoner: “I am not sure… Maybe it’s Bagram.”
Interrogator: “Who am I?”
Prisoner: “I don’t know.”
Interrogator: “You will soon know me. But look straight at me and do not wander, and answer my questions truthfully. Come close to me and pay full attention to what I say. Do not even look towards anything in the corners of your eyes.”
Interrogator: “What is your name?”
Prisoner: “Muhammad Noor.”
Interrogator: “Where are you from?”
Interrogator: “From which district?”
The Prisoner began to realize that the American sitting next to the Interrogator was writing down the whole correspondence and began to concentrate on his answers.
Interrogator: “Why have you been imprisoned?”
Prisoner: “I don’t know. Ask the men who imprisoned me.”
Interrogator: “What were you doing when you were captured?”
Prisoner: “I was fighting when they captured me.”
Interrogator: “Alright! Whom were you fighting?”
Prisoner: “The British.”
Interrogator: “Ok so you were fighting with British military forces when you were captured?”
Prisoner: “Yes that is correct.”
Interrogator: “Why were you fighting with the British?”
Prisoner: “Ask your forefathers this question!”
“Idiot!” barked the Interrogator angrily. “Think about what you say. You are under interrogation.” He continued.
Prisoner: “I am saying the truth. You are an American. So ask your fathers and forefathers why they fought the British in the eighteenth century.”
Interrogator: “Are you talking about the War of Independence of 1770?”
Prisoner: “Yes that very same war. Where the American fought the British for their independence.”
The Interrogator went into deep thought. He was biting his lips and rolling his eyes. The prisoner called out to him.
Prisoner: “Now you are rolling your eyes as if you don’t understand what I am saying?”
The interrogator replied in a low voice “I understand what you are saying. But our struggle against the British colonization was a war of independence because they had invaded our land”.
Prisoner: “So are you saying that Helmand isn’t our land or that the British have not invaded us?”
Interrogator: “There is a difference between invading and aiding. The British are helping us along with a number of other countries in order to aid the Afghans and to bring peace here. We want to develop your country and to help advance your civilization.”
Prisoner: “Aid us? Develop our country? civilizing us? Hah” The prisoner replied sharply. “What an ancient logic this is. This logic is more than 250 years old and was created by the British so that they could justify their aggressions against other people. Your forefathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, rejected this logic of Britain and took up arms against this colonization. By accepting this logic, have you not abandoned the values of your forefathers?”
The Interrogator’s eyes turned red. The typist had also stopped writing. He was struck by the what he saw intently looked at the interrogator to see what his reply would be.
The Interrogator, who was unable to rebut the Prison replied: “I think you are wrong and full of anger. And that’s why you are making up these lies.”
Prisoner: “No, never. As I said to you, I was fighting the foreign forces when I was captured.”
Interrogator: “In that case there is no need for this interrogation as you have already confessed to your crimes.”
Prisoner: “If wanting freedom and independence is a crime then your forefathers are also my co-convicts.”
Interrogator: “You seem like a teacher in history.”
Prisoner: “And the American’s are slack students of this field.”
Interrogator: “How so?”
Prisoner: “If you had even skimmed over history then you would not have bothered to invade Afghanistan. Because only those that are unaware of history and geography ever bother to invade us.”
Interrogator: “That is enough! Either shut your mouth or I will shut it for you!”
Prisoner: “You can shut my mouth but you will never silence the voice of my people.”
Interrogator: “Your people are just as stupid as you! Your nation only wants freedom and independence. The world has progressed so much and yet you desire death in exchange for freedom.”
Prisoner: “But I am not alone in this stupidity since your nation is also an accomplice in this foolishness. In 1775 your forefather, Patrick Henry, declared to a crowd in Virginia “Give us one of these two, death or freedom!”
The Interrogator’s mouth dried, he screamed out to the guards to remove the prisoner from the room. The prisoner was once again taken out of the room in his chains. The Interrogator lit a cigarette and turned to the typist asking “What did you write?”
Typist: “I only wrote his name and place of birth.”
Interrogator: “Only this?”
Typist: “The rest of what he said was not worth writing.”
Interrogator: “Indeed he has a big mouth. But I will teach him a lesson.”
The interrogator inhaled from his cigarette and motioned the typist to leave the room. He thought for a moment and then asked the typist “Leave the transcript here”. After the typist had left, he wrote a note and attached it to the transcript. It read: “The prisoner named Muhammad Noor is extremely dangerous. If we do not kill him with a fatal injection during his transfer from Bagram he will incite other prisoners where ever we send him.”
The next morning a panel of military judges approved the interrogator’s recommendation. The dossier of Muhammad Noor was then given to officers for execution. In this council the interrogator was also present. He had been summoned in order to describe the details of his investigation. The interrogator was sitting on a chair next to the chief military judge. On the wall in front of him hung a painting of Thomas Jefferson. Under the picture were ascribed Jefferson’s famous words: “Every human being and human society on the face of this earth has the right to freedom and self-governance”.
Translated work of author ‘Zarabeen’ (shared by Islamic Emirate, Afghanistan)
The Forgotten Guantanamo: Prisoner abuse continues at Bagram in Afghanistan
Today marks the 12th anniversary of America’s Guantanamo Prison Disgrace
Gtayson on Guantanamo .. Free Shaker, Tariq, and Emad, protests, links and 12th anniversary video
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.