By Patrick Cockburn, winner of the 2009 Orwell Prize for journalism
April 26, 2009 “The Independent”
A US major reveals the inside story of military interrogation in Iraq.
The use of torture by the US has proved so counter-productive that it may have led to the death of as many US soldiers as civilians killed in 9/11, says the leader of a crack US interrogation team in Iraq.
“The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology,” says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust.
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The Major comes up with a great definition for torture: If these methods were being applied to my men would I classify this as torture? It is obvious that the United States of America would be screaming bloody murder if the methods the government approved and used on foreeign detainees were being used on US troops and citizens. This underscores the hypocrisy. And as brought out here is counter productive in a number of ways. It produces unreliable information and is the largest major recruiting tool for the people fighting US troops invading foreign countries and administering a dose of “Democracy.” or would that be Hypocrisy?