Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My years in captivity

Moazzam Begg was abducted and handed over to US forces. Here he tells of endless interrogations, of torture - and one bright moment

"Shackled and hooded, I arrived in Bagram from Kandahar in spring 2003, hoping I was prepared for the worst - whatever that might be ...

"Like Kandahar, the whole place was illuminated with mobile floodlights that were off only during a power failure. I had to cover my head to try to sleep. I found it very difficult to move around with the handcuffs, but then, thinking myself lucky to be small, I twisted my wrists and found that the shackles slid off. I slept every night with the handcuffs tucked under my blanket - empty - until they were finally removed ...

"On the evening of the second day, the person who had told me that I was going to Guantánamo, Jay, turned up. My heart sank when two others arrived, Marti and Niel, the two FBI agents from Bagram. They were both huge, obese, in the style of New York street cops. 'We want you to read and sign these documents,' they said, placing six typed pages in front of me on the table. They had written my confession.

"I read through the pages in utter disbelief. My first reaction was, 'This is terrible. The English used here is terrible. Nobody could ever believe that I would write such a document.' Then I thought, 'This could actually be good - anybody who knows my style of writing would know that I am not the author.'

"It sounded more like the ramblings of a hysterical 16-year-old college dropout than what one would expect from the FBI ..."

Excerpt from Enemy Combatant, by Moazzam Begg

Moazzam Begg (born 1968) is one of nine British men who were held at Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay by the government of the United States of America. He was released from detention on January 25, 2005 along with Feroz Abbasi, Martin Mubanga and Richard Belmar, without charge though he recived no compensation or an apology. (Source: Moazzam Begg article, Wikipedia)
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Blogger Disenchanted Dave said...

The bright spots are really important.

I'm an American that (initially) supported the Iraq war, so you came to the right conclusion about 4144 years before I did ;-). What the American military does to its detainees is really horrible, and for the first time in my life, I'm ashamed of my country. Until the possibility that my country might nuke Iran came up a few days ago, our detention policies (and to a lesser extent the other illegal Bush activities like NSA wiretapping) had been my top priority for some time.

One thing that helped me was making a list of all the people I could think of that were standing up against illegal detention and torture and what they accomplished. There really are heroic Americans still, and they aren't totally powerless. But it still looks pretty bleak. Sometimes stories are all we have.

3:57 PM  

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