SYSTEMATIC TORTURE IN AFGHAN PRISONS
(House of Representatives - October 13, 2011)

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[Page H6858]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                  SYSTEMATIC TORTURE IN AFGHAN PRISONS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Woolsey) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. WOOLSEY. ``One interrogator kept banging my head against the 
wall.
  ``After 2 days, he tied my hands behind my back and started beating 
me with an electric wire. The interrogation and beating lasted for 3 to 
4 hours into the night.
  ``For the next 2 days, I was tied up from both wrists to the bars of 
an iron door. From morning until lunchtime they put a hood on my head 
and hung me by my wrists.''
  Mr. Speaker, these are the direct quotes from detainees apprehended 
in Afghanistan and subjected to torture at the hands of Afghan 
intelligence officials and police forces. It's all documented in a 
report issued by the United Nations this week. What they found was 
systematic abuse that followed a pattern--not random or isolated 
incidents--a pattern at several different facilities, involving at 
least 300 prisoners.
  There's more. Kicks to the head; beatings with electric cables, 
rubber hoses, and wooden sticks; electric shocks to the thumbs; threats 
of sexual abuse, some of them against children. And there are some even 
more graphic, gruesome details that I know we've read about that I'll 
spare my colleagues for now.
  No Americans have been directly implicated in this. But as long as 
we're continuing a military occupation of Afghanistan and as long as 
we've taken on the task of training Afghan security forces, I don't see 
how we avoid the responsibility for these shameful acts of abuse and 
ritual humiliation. At the very, very least, Mr. Speaker, we're guilty 
of shoddy oversight and failure to instruct Afghan officials in humane 
interrogation techniques.
  Of course, this kind of brutality is a gross violation of 
international human rights standards. But it's also well-documented 
that torture doesn't work. Torture, at the very most for a normal human 
being, will force that human being to confess to anything under such 
duress, and it's a complete failure as an intelligence-gathering 
strategy.
  The war in Afghanistan has been going on for 10 years now. It's 
costing American taxpayers $10 billion a month. How can we justify 
spending all this money, money that we need to invest in job creation 
right here at home, on a policy and a mission that is leading to such 
barbaric acts. How can we continue to sacrifice blood and treasure on 
this war, a war that is being waged in such gross violation of our very 
American values?
  I have never been more convinced it's time to bring our troops home.

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