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The Meaning of Torture By: Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 15, 2005


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Lt. Colonel Earl Cobeil, United States Air Force.

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Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, a prison commander at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces potential disciplinary measures for failing to oversee interrogation of Mohamed al-Qahtani, a terrorist who is suspected of involvement in 9/11.

This is the latest news coming from the investigations uncovering the “torture” at the “Gulag” at Gitmo.
 
American military investigator, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, looked into the interrogation techniques used on al-Qahtani. Here is some of what he found:
 
Schmidt said that to get him to talk, interrogators told him his mother and sisters were whores, forced him to wear a bra, forced him to wear a thong on his head, told him he was homosexual and said that other prisoners knew it. They also forced him to dance with a male interrogator, Schmidt added, and subjected him to strip searches with no security value, threatened him with dogs, forced him to stand naked in front of women and forced him onto a leash, to act like a dog.
 
Al-Qahtani’s handlers provided him with food, water and medical care.
 
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During the Vietnam War, Fidel Castro ran a “Cuban Program” at the Cu Loc POW camp in Hanoi, which became known as the “Zoo." The main purpose of the “program” was to decipher how much agony could be inflicted on a human being. The Cubans selected American POWs as their guinea pigs. A Cuban sadist nicknamed “Fidel,” the main torturer heading the project, perpetrated his own personal reign of terror.
 
The horrifying ordeal of Lt. Colonel Earl Cobeil, an Air Force F-105 pilot, reflected the tragic reality of the Nazi-like experiment. Fidel tortured Cobeil in slow agonizing stages, solely for the sake of torture, beating him without remission and, aside from myriad other vicious techniques, mercilessly whipping him with a fan belt without pause on all of his body.[1]
 
Former POW John Hubbell describes the scene as Fidel forced Cobeil into the cell of former fellow POW Colonel Jack Bomar:
 
“The man [Cobeil] could barely walk; he shuffled slowly, painfully. His clothes were torn to shreds. He was bleeding everywhere, terribly swollen, and a dirty, yellowish black and purple from head to toe. The man’s head was down; he made no attempt to look at anyone. . . .He stood unmoving, his head down. Fidel smashed a fist into the man’s face, driving him against the wall. Then he was brought to the center of the room and made to get down onto his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel took a length of black rubber hose from a guard and lashed it as hard as he could into the man’s face. The prisoner did not react; he did not cry out or even blink an eye. His failure to react seemed to fuel Fidel’s rage and again he whipped the rubber hose across the man’s face. . . .
 
Again and again and again, a dozen times, Fidel smashed the man’s face with the hose. Not once did the fearsome abuse elicit the slightest response from the prisoner. . . .His body was ripped and torn everywhere; hell cuffs appeared almost to have severed the wrists, strap marks still wound around the arms all the way to the shoulders, slivers of bamboo were embedded in the bloodied shins and there were what appeared to be tread marks from the hose across the chest, back, and legs.”[2]
 
Lt. Colonel Earl Cobeil died as a result of Fidel’s torture. Fidel’s beating of another American POW, Jim Kasler, also tragically epitomized the Cuban torture of Americans at the “Zoo”:
 
“He [Fidel] deprived Kasler of water, wired his thumbs together, and flogged him until his ‘buttocks, lower back, and legs hung in shreds.’ During one barbaric stretch he turned Cedric [another torturer] loose for three days with a rubber whip. . . .the PW [POW] was in a semi-coma and bleeding profusely with a ruptured eardrum, fractured rib, his face swollen and teeth broken so that he could not open his mouth, and his leg re-injured from attackers repeatedly kicking it.”[3]
 
Amnesty International never demanded that the Hanoi regime or Fidel Castro account for the “Cuban Program” or for “Fidel’s” treatment of American POWs there. The Left never demanded an investigation by anyone. The names of Earl Cobeil and Jim Kasler were never, even for a split second, part of the Left’s vocabulary -- not then, not now. But the name Mohamed al-Qahtani will now loom large as the symbol of a noble and heroic figure in the Left’s imagination; he will represent a saintly figure who merits sympathy, protection and defense. This is an individual who was turned away by an immigration agent at the Orlando, Fla., airport in 2001 while Mohamed Atta was at the airport waiting to pick him up.
 
We’ll be hearing about the bra and the thong on the front page of every newspaper. The story will make the headlines and be told on every news channel. The Nation magazine will lead the leftist media in denouncing how the bra and the thong represent American crimes against humanity.
 
The bra and the thong are luxuries that Earl Cobeil and Jim Kasler could ill afford.
 
Notes
 
[1] Humberto Fontova, Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant (Washington: Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2005), pp.141-142. 
 
[2] Stuart I. Rochester and Frederick Kiley, Chapter 19, “The Zoo, 1967-1969: The Cuban Program and Other Atrocities,” in, Honor Bound. American Prisoners of War in Southeast Asia 1961-1973 (Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1999), p.400.
 
[3] Rochester and Kiley, p.404.

Jamie Glazov is Frontpage Magazine's editor. He holds a Ph.D. in History with a specialty in Russian, U.S. and Canadian foreign policy. He is the author of Canadian Policy Toward Khrushchev’s Soviet Union and is the co-editor (with David Horowitz) of The Hate America Left. He edited and wrote the introduction to David Horowitz’s Left Illusions. His new book is United in Hate: The Left's Romance with Tyranny and Terror. To see his previous symposiums, interviews and articles Click Here. Email him at jglazov@rogers.com.


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