I woke up early. I had to take my daughter to school this morning. The sun was barely up over the horizon and the colors from the sun's rays splashed the sky with pinks and blues.
As we left the house, we kissed my wife good-bye. She was going to be at work by the time I would be back home. She had an event today so her day was starting much earlier than normal.
The traffic on the roads was especially light on this particular morning. I was able to get to and from my daughter's school in less than 30 minutes, when usually I am gone for over an hour.
After arriving home, I got into my routine. I fixed myself a cup of coffee and say down at my desk to look over the headlines online. New York Times was the first stop then all the blogs I read. I visit all of the new posts from overnight. I read them all and then comment on a few that I feel the need to comment on. I could feel the caffeine in the coffee starting take hold in my blood stream, so I started to get ready for a busy day at work.
I took a shower, ironed my clothes, and went back upstairs to the bathroom to finish my routine. I am expecting a busy day at work on this particular morning so the head start I got to the day was welcome. Never hurts to be prepared.
As I was putting the American Crew fiber in my hair, I heard a noise outside. It was the sound of tires screeching to a halt. I heard shouting in a language I could not understand. I looked out the front window of the bedroom that overlooked the street and saw men with semi-automatic guns in all black outfits. Their faces were covered and I couldn't see their eyes. I heard a noise at my front door, then a loud bang.
My heart was pounding. It felt like an angry monkey banging around in its cage, just itching to get out.
The footsteps were now in my condo, and I could hear them talking. I still was unable to understand what the hell it is they were saying. What were they doing in my house, what did they want?
They eventually found me hiding under my bed. They pulled me out, placed my hands around my back, and I felt the zip ties pull tight against my wrists. I was rolled onto my back, all the guns were pointed at my head. A gunmen to the right said something in a language I still was having trouble placing, then it all went dark.
When I came to, I felt like I was in a van. It was all dark, I could feel the cotton bag over my head. I was completely disoriented and confused. I could hear men talking, calmly this time, and not shouting like they were.
I presume the van we were in stopped because I heard the grind of metal on metal as the sliding door opened and I was carried out. I could smell what I would consider jet fuel, but because I could not see anything, this is all a presumption. Funny how your hearing and sense of smell are enhanced when you lose the use of your eyes.
I was taken indoors and placed in a chair. The bag was ripped off my head and I squinted against the light filling my highly constricted corneas. I couldn't tell you how long I was out, or how long it has been since I was taken, but what I can tell you is that I was now sitting in a room with pale green walls. The smell of mildew was ever present. Its like the smell of a wet basement. There was a small metal table, and another chair besides the one I was sitting in. The chair was also metal, which explains why my ass is cold. There was a dim light, lighting the room, and it was casting an eerie glow with in the room. I have the overwhelming urge to pee, but maybe my captors will tell me why I am here, and I can explain to them that there has been a misunderstanding.
What seemed like an eternity a man walked into the room through the only door to my left. I looked up, but did not speak. He had two other men with him, and they had small guns.
He spoke to me in that language I was far from understanding. I don't know if he was talking to me or telling me why I was there. I didn't know what to do, so I asked if he spoke English.
I didn't see the fist that hit me from my right side across my face. I felt a new gash above my eye and I could feel the warm drain of blood down my face. This man said the same thing in what ever God forsaken language, and I started to talk again. Another punch.
This time when he started to talk again, I kept my mouth shut. That didn't stop the hit that came from my left side.
I felt two hands pull the chair backwards in a reclining position but the bag was back over my head and this time I had headphones on. You know the kind baggage handlers wear on the loading ramps of airports to keep their ear drums intact. I couldn't see and I couldn't hear.
I could feel something pick me up and carry me. The zip ties still around my wrists and this time I could feel them binding my ankles with some kind of shackles. They picked me up again and started carrying me. I could tell we went back outside because I could feel the difference in temperature.
I was thrown down and then bound to something else. Metal. I am trying to smell anything, and I could make out what I think is jet fuel, and Lake Erie. I assume I am somewhere near downtown Cleveland, but I can't be sure.
I could feel a heavy vibration start shaking me to the very core. It felt like I was inside a giant vibrator. The vibrations got even more heavy then all of a sudden the stopped. My ears had the overwhelming need to pop, so under my black bag, I was trying to move my mouth enough to equalize the pressure behind my ears. By the need to do this almost every 10 seconds, we had to be airborne.
Where the hell are they taking me.
We encountered turbulence not too long after take off and the straps binding my wrists to what I assume is the airframe pulled even tighter against my skin. It was pinching so hard I could feel the hot sticky blood on my hands. There was so much blood I could smell it. I still have the need to go pee so bad, the next spot of turbulence I couldn't hold it anymore, and I let it all go. The ammonia and vinegar smell of my urine filled my nostrils. I hope my captors can't smell it, I don't know if I can take another beating. More turbulence. Tighter against the wrists. I am now moaning in agony.
I couldn't hear the footsteps coming near me, but I could feel them. I was hit across the back of the head and I passed out.
I woke up in a room much like the one I was in before the flight. The bag was gone from my head. The zip ties were gone from my wrists. Shackles gone from my ankles. I inspect my surroundings. A cot, much like one would find in a prison. Pale green walls again, much like the walls in the room before. Mildew was growing in the corners of the room. The floor was cold concrete. I was cold, but I am not sure if it was the air temperature, or if it was just my nerves. On the ceiling of this room was a pair of handcuffs hanging from the ceiling. It looks as though they were bolted to the ceiling.
After inspecting my surroundings I inspected myself. My pants were dry, but smelled of urine. My wrists had deep bruises and cuts from the zip ties, but all the blood was dry and clotted. My ankles were also bruised and they took my socks and shoes. My shirt was stained with blood presumably off my face, and it had sweat stains all over it.
I laid back down on my cot and closed my eyes. Just as soon as I shut them, I heard the door slam open and more shouting. I was pulled to a standing position and I stood a good 3 inches taller than the man before me. His two friends in the room took the fleeting hope that I could take this guy out of my mind. My hands were pulled above my head and placed in the handcuffs hanging from the ceiling. Exhaustion wasn't the word, but the pins and needles in my hands told me that there was no blood left in them. The men exited the room and I was again left alone in my room, handcuffed to the ceiling.
There are plenty of movies I run through in my mind of what I could do next. I could miraculously put all my weight on my wrists and see how strong that bolt in the ceiling was, and try and get free. I could some how find a pin on the floor I could grab with my bare feet and use that to pick the lock in the cuffs. Apparently my captors have seen all these movies because, as I placed all the weight on my wrists, I clearly wasn't going to pull that bolt out of the ceiling and the intense and searing pain in my wrists told me I was really not going to be trying that again.
I closed my eyes and thought of my family. I have been so caught up in my survival that I feel selfish in not thinking of them. But behind my closed eyes I saw my wife. She had just taken a pork tenderloin out of the roaster. I could smell the seasoning on it. Thyme, rosemary, salt, garlic, onions. I could smell the potatoes and carrots. The fragrant spinach salad we had was still hanging in the air. I could hear my daughter telling me to sit down because I wasn't allowed to sneak a taste. They were all smiling.
The door opened again. 2 men enter the room. One I recognized as the man who chained me up. The other was someone whom I didn't recognize. I name them to keep them straight. The short guy who I recognized, he's Benson. The other, Olivia.
Benson said something to me I did not understand. Olivia, over his shoulder said, "You name."
I recognized that as English, and very good English. There was a hint of a British accent in there I think.
I told him my name.
Benson speaks again. Olivia translates.
They are asking me what my name was. Where I lived, worked, played, and blogged. They asked me if I was supporting the resistance in the North or was I a General in the Army.
All of which I answered with, United States, a cell phone company, outside, and Blogger. I told them I knew nothing of a resistance in the North and that I was never in the military.
Benson shouted louder. This time he placed his knee in my right thigh. Charley Horses aren't this painful. I could feel the pain travel down my leg, through my toes, and back up to my gut.
Olivia, "Tell them what they want to know so I can make him stop. This goes on as long as it has to. We need to know who you are helping!"
I don' know what the fuck they are talking about, and I tell them that. Another knee from Benson. Same spot. Same pain, but times 2. Shouting. I shout back. More shouting. More knees. More pain. With every new knee blow, the pain increases.
By the time they are done, the deep bruising on my thigh leaves my leg looking like roast beef.
Still hand cuffed. Still alone.
Moments later Olivia and Benson are back with more people. This time the cut my clothes off of me and leave me naked. Benson shouts some commands and leaves. Olivia is still there. He must be playing the part of the good cop. The 3 other men in the room stand by the door. Olivia takes my hands out of the handcuffs and I collapse. Naked. Cold concrete. Olivia helps me to my feet. His warm hand on my back and soothing sounds makes me feel at ease.
The other men pick me up and I am back on my feet. The blood is rushing back to my hands. The pain in my leg is so great that I favor my entire right side. I am shouted at in some language I am still having trouble placing. Olivia tells me I have to masturbate.
What the hell? Now? In front of you guys? I don't think so.
The knee to the thigh from henchman #1 convinced me to oblige these sick bastards, so I started to pull at it. Not surprising nothing happened. I was still flaccid, limp, blood less, and the guys in the room started taking photos with small cameras. Posing with me as it looks like I am trying to get off. There was no turn on at all. I was doing this because I was told to.
Olivia and the men left, so I stopped. Humiliated.
Olivia walked back into the room with warm clothes. This time he was alone. I ask him what I am doing here.
"We have intelligence that you are a terrorist and that you are planning on killing our president."
"What country am I in."
"What the hell language are those guys speaking."
"Farsi. We are not in the country of their origin. You are at a military base outside the country so we can interrogate you."
"I don't know what you guys are talking about. I want a lawyer."
"You don't have the rights you think you have. They don't have to do anything. All they want is the information you have."
Olivia leaves and I get dressed.
I lay down on the cot and close my eyes. Its Christmas morning and my wife and daughter just opened their presents.
I was pulled from my sleep rather abruptly, and taken to another room lead by 3 guards. I could hear running water. A fear of mine if drowning. I am asked again in Farsi what did I know. They wanted names. I didn't know names. I didn't know what they were talking about. I was a sales rep for a cell phone company. I am not a terrorist.
They placed a bag over my head, leaned me back and poured water over my face. I could feel the water running into my sinuses, and my body tells me to choke. The water stops. I catch my breath, leaned back again. More water. I choke. The water stops. I can breath again. The bag comes off. I'm asked again. I know nothing. Bag comes back. Leaned back. Water. Choke. Stop. This goes on 3 more times. By the end I can feel the water in my lungs. I aspirated so much water. It was harder to breath.
I was placed back in my room. Asked the same questions. The same answers. More knees. More water. More handcuffs on the ceiling. Same results.
All my rights were gone. My life has ended as I knew it.
Benson and Olivia. Questions. But this time I just gave them names of anyone. I gave them the names of all my old bosses that I hated. I gave them the names of mass murderers. I gave them any names. They ate it up this time. They brought in a tape recorder, I stated all the names. I poured my heart out. Told them stories, plans, where to find the secret hiding spot. I told them anything they wanted to hear just to make this stop.
Everything I told these guys was complete bullshit. I told them that Bono was the mastermind, and that the KKK's headquarters is where he was hiding. None of this was true, but it made them stop.
The above story is a complete fabrication. I wrote it to prove a point. What I have described to you above has happened. Not to Americans, but to people who America thinks is out to hurt it. By definition, what I describe is not torture by definition, but depriving someone from sleep, pressure pointing, and water boarding is not defined as torture in the United States. But ask anyone who has had this happen, this is noting but pure torture.
Tomorrow Obama takes office. He touts that he is here to change the country. He is here to fix the problems. He wants to end the war in Iraq responsibly. He wants to shut down Guantanamo Bay. There are many things he wants to do, but what will he get done. The American people are waiting with baited breath.
One thing I would love to see is America's international reputation fixed. I went to Europe in the late 90's and Europeans thought we were idiots. The Middle East hates America because, as of late, we have a habit of capturing suspects and interrogating them in the same manner as I described above. The tactics I have described are not fiction. They are very real. There are subordinates the the military taking the fall of doing all these bad things, but they lacked the training, and they were acting under orders from their superior officer. To stop this culture of torture, we need to change from the top down. Obama is the first to change. He needs to close down Guantanamo Bay [the place where most of this happens] to prove he is serious about changing the way America acts.
We are all still reeling from 9/11. We all want to get the bad guys who did that. The 9/11 commission report stated that the major breakdown was that our agencies were not communicating. The FBI had intelligence. The CIA had intelligence. Separately it made no sense, but together it was the missing piece of the puzzle. The war in Afghanistan is still waging, and like any other business, the government wants results. We got all this intelligence very quickly about Iraq, but no one ever went back and double checked it. The interrogators that were gathering this information were nothing more than Privates in the military carrying out orders. We turned a country on its head, because some innocent guy wanted to make the pain stop. We ate it up, and into Iraq we marched. We watched it on CNN live as it happened.
The Military is a strong arm. The CIA is covert. The FBI investigates. Imagine if they all worked together. The CIA finds the suspects. The Military goes and arrests them. The FBI interrogates and investigates the charges.
I trust the FBI to do the interrogating because their policies and procedures are clear and defined. They will not harm the suspect, but they talk to them. Much like I talk to a customer who I am trying to sell something to. Sure it takes a long time, but the intelligence you get from the subject is more likely to be helpful and useful. No more keeping subjects longer than we have to. They have basic human rights, and America can remain safe.
Never in the the history of the world has their been a bomb anywhere ticking and we had the subject in custody. We never needed to find that bomb in 24 hours. What's the point is thinking that is what we need to do? Jack Bauer isn't real. Interrogation isn't glamorous.
So if Mr. Obama wants to close down Guantanamo Bay, I will be there by his side to support his decision. Charge all the suspects or let them go! We are creating terrorists by doing this to people.
If the above scenario happend, who knows what kind of rage I would have for whatever country did that. Whoever was in that room spoke for the country in my eyes. They were in government uniforms, wearing the government's flag, speaking the language of that government.
First impressions last forever, let's hope the world [and especially the Middle East] gives us a second chance.