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By Michelle Malkin  •  June 14, 2005 03:46 PM

Question: Who believes “M.C.?”

According to an article in yesterday’s New York Times, a young Guantanamo Bay detainee identified as “M.C.” claims he was “suspended from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time with his feet barely missing the floor, and that he was beaten during those sessions.” M.C. also claims he was shackled to the floor, subjected to loud music and lights, and told he would be given access to porn if he cooperated with his interrogators. He also claimed that a special unit known as the Immediate Reaction Force “knocked out one of his teeth” and “an interrogator burned him with a cigarette.”

The allegation that M.C. was beaten while suspended from hooks in the ceiling is more extreme than anything documented by Erik Saar, the al-Qatani logs published by Time magazine, or disclosed in the FBI documents released to the ACLU. If this allegation is true, M.C., who claims he was only 14 years old when captured, was subjected to interrogation that makes Mohammed al-Qatani’s treatment look like a walk in the park.

Gitmo alarmist Andrew Sullivan examines M.C.’s allegations and deems them credible:

I know we’re supposed to treat all detainee affidavits as suspect (and with good reason) but some have corroborating evidence, like this story about a possible minor dragged into Gitmo…. There are simply too many corroborated details in these detainee accounts to let them be dismissed out of hand as enemy propaganda. [Emphasis added.]

Really? Let’s take a careful look at the Times article on which Sullivan’s analysis rests. It says:

Some of M.C.’s descriptions match accounts given not only by other detainees, but also by former guards and interrogators who have been interviewed by The New York Times.

He describes being shackled close to the floor in an interrogation room for hours with music blaring and lights in his face. He also said he was shown a room with pictures of naked women and adult videos and told he could have access if he cooperated. His description fits the account of former guards who described such a room and said it was nicknamed “the love shack.”

That’s the corroboration Sullivan finds so compelling. But read that first sentence again: Some of M.C.’s descriptions match accounts… Not all. Just some.

Also, M.C.’s descriptions “match accounts” given by others. That simply means that some of M.C.’s claims resemble claims of other detainees–a far cry from “corroboration” don’t ya think?

Let’s examine M.C.’s allegations one at a time:

– M.C. says he was “suspended from hooks in the ceiling for hours at a time with his feet barely missing the floor, and that he was beaten during those sessions.” There is no corroboration whatsoever to support this allegation. In fact, there is no evidence that any of the detainees at Gitmo were subjected to such treatment.

– M.C. also said he was shackled to the floor, subjected to loud music and lights, and told he would be given pornography if he cooperated. These interrogation techniques occurred at Gitmo–they are described in Saar’s book and in the al-Qatatni logs and noted by FBI agents–but the Times provides no corroboration whatsoever indicating that M.C. was himself subjected to such methods.

– M.C. claimed that “a special unit known as the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) had knocked out one of his teeth.” Other than the fact that M.C. is missing a tooth, the claim is uncorroborated. I am aware of no claims by former guards or interrogators that IRF units at Gitmo intentionally abused any of the detainees. If Sullivan is aware of such evidence, I invite him to cite it.

– Finally, M.C. claimed that an interrogator burned him with a cigarette. This is “corroborated” only in the sense that M.C. has a burn scar on his skin. There is no corroboration that a cigarette was placed on M.C.’s skin by an interrogator. I am aware of no corroborating evidence that Gitmo interrogators burned any detainee. Again, if Sullivan has credible evidence to the contrary, he should cite it.

M.C.’s allegations don’t add up. The story about being beaten while he was shackled to the ceiling not only is not corroborated, as Sullivan contends, but is obviously fabricated. There is simply no way that interrogators and guards would subject a young boy to harsher treatment than a high-value detainee like al-Qatani whose interrogation methods had to be personally approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. It is unlikely that such tactics would escape the notice of former Gitmo soldiers such as Erik Saar and the FBI agents who complained about other interrogation methods.

Sullivan concludes his post by claiming that Gitmo is “becoming the enemy’s propaganda jewel.” The gullible Sullivan, the slippery Times’ reporters, and their Gitmo-bashing ilk are all to eager to provide spit polish.


See also: Mark Steyn and lots of excellent and thought-provoking related posts at Winds of Change (see here and here).

WofC also points to this handy compare-and-contrast chart at Dr. Sanity. Print and save.

And the latest from Rumsfeld.

The politics of the Gitmo debate
The GOP’s anti-Gitmo squad
W. Stands for Waffle
Gitmo detainees desecrate Koran
The Gitmo round-up
Guantanamo Fog
Letter of the morning: What about Castro’s gulags?
In Defense of Guantanamo Bay
What is it with the Washington Post?
Gitmo’s Emily Latella
Guantanamo Bay: The rest of the story
Once more, into the toilet
Newsweek lied.* People died.
Former Gitmo prisoner: Shot dead.

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Categories: Andrew Sullivan