Women’s bodies used in Gitmo interrogations

The military is “using” women as part of its interrogation tactics against terrorism suspects. And that doesn’t mean women are simply the ones asking questions.
Female military interrogators and civilian contractors at Guantanamo tried to break male Muslim prisoners by showing off their tight T-shirts and thong underwear, rubbing their breasts on prisoners’ backs and wiping fake menstrual blood on prisoners, according to a new book that is “classified as secret pending a Pentagon review.”
Did the military encourage women to conduct interrogations this way? Or did the women themselves come up with this “creative” method? Either way, it’s disgusting.
Any thoughts?
Contributed by Ann Friedman

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24 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2005 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I agree! I wrote about this on my site and I think its a symptom of a much larger problem, mainly the mysogyny of the military.

  2. Posted January 31, 2005 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Initial reaction: ew.
    I’m sure the tactics “make sense” from a militaristic point of view, especially if they were completely out of interrogation ideas.
    However, I seriously doubt that there was *no* other way to ‘break’ the prisoners, and the whole thing is kind of disgusting. Especially the “break the prisoner’s reliance on God” part.
    I don’t really care who came up with the idea; I’m sure women can find better ways to fight terrorism.

  3. Voxper
    Posted January 31, 2005 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Prisoners in Gitmo are being held in conditions equivalent to torture, without access to legal counsel, perhaps for years on end… but what *really* disturbs you is the possibility that the interrogation methods involve women’s bodies. Yeah, that captures the prevailent mentality here really perfectly. We all see where your priorities are.
    Seeing piles of male corpses is occasionally detrimental to the happiness of women, so I’m totally outraged when women are exposed to such images.

  4. Ann
    Posted January 31, 2005 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I (or anyone else) said that this news item is the MOST disturbing thing to happen at Guantanamo. And for the record, I’m also outraged when I see piles of male bodies. (Those weren’t corpses in the Abu Ghraib photos.) But I don’t want to start listing all of the things that disgust and outrage me about the military’s post-9/11 actions. I’d be here all day.

  5. Posted January 31, 2005 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Word. This is just the latest disturbing news from “Gitmo” (when did we start calling it that?) and it is certainly no more disturbing than the other reports of torture and human rights violations that have come to light in the past.

  6. Troy
    Posted January 31, 2005 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    So let me get this straight…
    Tropical location,
    All your friends are there,
    and occasionally you go to a room where a woman rubs her breasts on you and tells you what a bad boy you are.
    That’s not prison…that’s Spring Break.

  7. Tess
    Posted January 31, 2005 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Urgh, that’s revolting. Torture, without trial for the prisoners. And then the sick, debasing use of women. I’m just… words fail me as to the level of evil this all is. How could women allow themselves to be so degraded as to be used as sexual torture instruments?
    Frankly I’d like to see the Red Cross, Amnesty International and the UN takeover Gitmo and just end it all. Have fair trials, or deport the people there and just end it’s nasty, totalitarian activities.
    So much for home of the free, land of the brave…

  8. beehive
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I have no idea what possessed these women beyond a truly despicable desire to test out sexualized power in a situation where little resistance was possible on the part of the prisoners. This is the kind of sexual power that men have more often weilded over women (harassment) and there is no question that most women are exposed to this type of power play at some point in their lives. It isn’t suprising that they might be tempted to try their hand at it too. I can’t conjecture anything about the state of the military, but harassment is pervasive in our culture and military interventions create extremely unbalanced power situations and extreme stress. Whether military women are pressured into these acts by their mainly male peers or do so spontaneously when presented with a situation where it is possible, remains to be seen. Hopefully the trial and inquiries will bring something to light.

  9. Ryan
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    “…showing off their tight T-shirts and thong underwear… Either way, it’s disgusting.”
    I missed this first time around. I had to have a friend point it out to me. Look at this quote then look at the picture promoting feministing clothing (your tanktop clad showgirl). I feel like I’m in Guantanamo right now.
    I’d like to take this chance to tell the ladies how well I think they are doing with this site. How they show the disgusting injustice against women in this world. Women are not just TITS and ASS boys… they are also billboards for anything you want to advertise and not even Feministing.com is above it.

  10. Tess
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    “I feel like I’m in Guantanamo right now.”
    Handcuffed to a chair while you are forced to see this website are you?
    Hmmm…

  11. Dawn
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Who’s supposed to model the feminist shirts for feminist women, if not feminist women themselves? Men? Children? Come on Ryan, try to make at least a little sense here.

  12. Posted February 1, 2005 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I suppose then Ryan that every time a woman sees a penis, she should think it’s rape? Or do you mean every time a woman is raped it’s exactly the same as consensual sex?
    I swear to god, you would think the concept of consent was nuclear physics the way that anti-feminists get so confused about it. These women are sexual assailants, female versions of rapists. That’s all there is to it.

  13. Voxper
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “I suppose then Ryan that every time a woman sees a penis, she should think it’s rape?”
    But Amanda- isn’t that not too far off from how your usual brand of ‘logic’ works?

  14. Voxper
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    “(Those weren’t corpses in the Abu Ghraib photos.)”
    Ann- Oh, but there *were* indeed several dozen prisoner deaths at that prison, and there were a number of photos of grinning female guards posing next to said corpses. Perhaps you didn’t see them, but much of the international media did.

  15. Lego
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    They are most likely CIA or other intelligence types, who are trained to do that sort of thing.
    Women in the intelligence agencies are often trained to seduce males.
    It is a very, very strange man who would object to a woman sitting on his lap or showing off to him…any man who says he wouldn’t enjoy it is either a Liar or Gay, or a complete Mysogynistic Nutcase.

  16. elfy
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    “Women are not just TITS and ASS boys… they are also billboards for anything you want to advertise and not even Feministing.com is above it.”
    no, you’re right, I’m sorry. The ladies should’ve gotten an old 80-year-old man to wear their clothing, because now THAT would truly repesent who they are and what they are all about. Because all that mission thingie about how this website is for -pay attention now- young women – that’s all just a bunch of words, doesn’t mean anything. I swear. At least try to make some sort of effort when trolling.

  17. Posted February 1, 2005 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Wish in one hand and shit in the other, Vox, and see which one fills up first.

  18. Ryan
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    “I suppose then Ryan…penis…rape…woman is raped…consensual sex.
    I swear to god…consent…anti-feminists…women are sexual…That’s all there is to it.”
    Amanda- I always get a good hardy chuckle when I see your posts. I think you forgot to work the words “vagina” and “liberated” into your little self-gratifying speech there. So to point out BECAUSE YOU OBVIOUSLY DIDN’T READ IT THE FIRST TIME; I didn’t mention rape, sex, consent or any of the other ‘outrage inducing’ phrases you just rallied against.
    —————————————————
    THIS HOWEVER IS THE POINT YOU MISSED:
    “showing off their tight T-shirts and thong underwear”
    THEN
    “Who’s supposed to model the feminist shirts for feminist women, if not feminist women themselves?”
    Maybe you and your compatriots are supposed to live up to the cause they are fighting for. If they post about how it is degrading for women to wear tight shirts in front of men then they shouldn’t be selling them. It is SIMPLE AS THAT.
    OR is it just degrading to you when men look at you wearing the shirt. Wait, that’s IT. You want to be able to wear whatever/whenever/wherever and as little as you want without a single man looking at you sexually. You know what, Amanda, when I don’t want women looking at me sexually, I put I put clothes on.

  19. Posted February 1, 2005 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think having boobs is inherently degrading. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em and all that.
    What the women did to those men was sexually assault them. You are trying to pretend that there is no difference between sexually assaulting a person and simply wearing something sexy.

  20. Ron O
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Lego, I am neither a liar, nor gay, nor a mysoginist, and I don’t want a woman to sit in my lap univited or stick her tits in my back either. I don’t like to be sexually touched by a woman (or man) that I do not want to touch me. It takes me a while to get comfortable with new people. To me this is perfectly sane. I also don’t care for strip clubs or semi-anonymous sex for the same reason. For me, a lap-dance from stripper is awful. If others like it, that’s fine for them, but I don’t.
    Unfortunately, I’ve been fondled by women and men and it’s pretty equally unpleasant. Thankfully, I have little risk that something worse will happen.

  21. FP
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    “These women are sexual assailants, female versions of rapists. That’s all there is to it.”
    Sexual assailants? Why not just call them rapists too?

  22. Ryan
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Silly, FP, only men can be rapists didn’t you know that. After all the only thing that makes a rapist is a penis. No penis, no rape.

  23. Posted February 2, 2005 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Because if a man molests a woman but doesn’t penetrate her, then it’s just assault, not rape. Women will be held to the same, not a greater standard. If they had penetrated these men, then I’d call them rapists. Accuracy, you know, is not a crime.

  24. Laurie
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    – It is a very, very strange man who would object to a woman sitting on his lap or showing off to him…any man who says he wouldn’t enjoy it is either a Liar or Gay, or a complete Mysogynistic Nutcase.
    I think a very important point has been overlooked here.
    As I understand it, the majority of prisoners being held at Guatanamo Bay are/were Muslim, right? Islam as a religion promotes physical modesty, supposedly for both sexes. (That’s a whole other argument, guys.) Depending on how conservative of a family/town these men grew up in, they may never have had close contact with a female who was not of their own family (albeit extended family). Having a woman they aren’t married to displaying herself and rubbing herself on them would be *humiliating* to them if they were at all devout, which was the point of the exercise. Ditto for the homosexual slanted tortured leveled at the prisoners at Abu Ghraib; it was all designed to humiliate these men to the point where their resistance to questioning crumbled.
    While torture and various mental anguishes leveled at prisoners of war are a sad and disgusting reality (even though prohibited by the Geneva Convention), I am even more dismayed that someone, somewhere decided to use these cultural taboos to help “break” these men. And that women, who would traditionally have been subjected to similar and worse scenarios had they ever been captured (and not just in the Middle East), apparently willingly participated in these acts. Using seduction techniques to extract information from someone is different from assaulting them. Context is everything.
    Sexual assault, from either sex towards either sex, is simply not tolerable. That it has been used by United States soldiers and civilians on prisoners of war is intolerable. We no longer have any sort of righteous position about “human rights” to stand on. I wonder if whoever thought this set of tortures up gave THAT fact any thought?

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