World Can’t Wait & WBAI & Iraq Veterans Against War – 2008-04-21 00:07:02
(April 19, 2008) — Despite a nearly universal black-out by the corporate media, some of us have seen, heard, or read portions of the testimony provided by soldiers attending the Winter Soldier hearings in March. Now, the full testimony is available online. Audios at WBAI; Videos at World Can’t Wait.
This testimony may be particularly disturbing to those that are against this war but think that recruitment centers have free speech rights and that U.S. troops should be supported. World Can’t Wait does NOT support the recruitment of young men and women into a military that commits these crimes against humanity. Stay tuned for reports of yesterday’s protests of military recruitment.
*Scott Ewing, who served for three years as a cavalry scout in the U.S. army, described his unit’s “block-by-block” raid of the entire city of Talafar in September of 2005. Ewing said tactics were particularly brutal in the Sarai neighborhood of the city, which the U.S. military had identified as an insurgent stronghold.
“We were told to search aggressively to teach the residents a lesson not to harbor terrorists,” Ewing testified. The result of those orders was doors kicked in, homes ransacked-and nothing found in the way of weapons. The Army then moved northward, and continued to terrorize innocent Iraqis.
Ewing described one incident in which the military rounded up every male of military age and detained about 500 Iraqis in a barbed-wire enclosure as their families watched across the street. A “masked man,” as Ewing described him, then walked the line of detained Iraqis and gave either a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
In the end, 50 men were zip tied and taken away, with the crimes they were accused of written on their hands. Ewing said he had no idea what happened next to these 50 men. “It’s hard for me to believe,” Ewing said, “that the Iraqis who witnessed this could take seriously our version of justice and democracy.”
Ewing concluded his speech by noting, ironically, that “The only war our country has really waged well is a propaganda war on its own people.”
*Chris Arendt’s strikingly youthful appearance was made all the more chilling when he referred to himself as a former “concentration camp guard” at Guantanamo. With disgust, Arendt recalled the dehumanizing absurdity of practicing to shackle detainees, in preparation for the “big game” of shackling actual detainees.
He said, to applause from the audience, that he considered imprisoning human beings for five years away from their friends and families, without ever explaining why, to be torture in and of itself. “If that wasn’t enough,” Arendt said, “there were other methods to make sure we got around to torturing people.”
Arendt testified that detainees were kept in rooms 10 to 20 degrees in temperature, blasted with loud music, and shackled to the floor by their hands and feet. Arendt also described how detainees viewed as unruly would be pepper sprayed and forcibly removed from their cells. “These are all on tape,” Arendt noted. “The government makes sure all of these are on tape.” As he began to describe a prisoner who was subjected to such a procedure, he seemed to abruptly stop his testimony, and it seemed unclear exactly why-if he had simply run out of time, if he was too emotional to continue, or if another factor was at play.
For the next several weeks, World Can’t Wait will be publishing testimony from the Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan hearings that recently took place in Washington, DC. This testimony is an accurate and disturbing account of what has happened and continues to happen daily in these countries.
• Special audio broadcast archived at WBAI.org
On Wednesday April 16 – 17, WBAI pre-empted most programming to air a repeat broadcast of Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan. The testimony from veterans who served in those occupations gave an account of what is really happening on the ground. The four-day event brought together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences – and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists gave context to the testimony. These panels covered everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans’ health benefits and support.
To hear the shows, see our audio archives.
• For more see ivaw.org/wintersoldier.
More on worldcantwait.org
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