"Something really bad happened here." So begins Army interrogator Tony Lagouranis's first briefing at Abu Ghraib. While Lagouranis's training stressed the rules of the Geneva Conventions, once in Iraq, he discovered that pushing the legal limits of interrogation was encouraged. Under orders, he-along with numerous other soldiers-abused and terrorized Iraqis by adding "enhancements" like dogs, hypothermia, and other techniques to "Fear Up Harsh"-the official tactic designed to frighten prisoners into revealing information. And he saw others do far worse.
The first Army interrogator to publicly step forward and break the silence surrounding these tactics, Lagouranis reveals what went on in Iraqi prisons- raising crucial questions about American conduct abroad.
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Tony Lagouranis is a former army interrogator who has appeared on Democracy Now!, the PBS Frontline documentary “The Torture Question,” and MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthew. His op-ed piece for The New York Times sparked much discussion and debate about American military practices in Iraq.
Allen Mikaelian is the author of the New York Times bestseller Medal of Honor: Profiles of America’s Military Heroes from the Civil War to the Present and is a doctoral fellow in history at American University in Washington, DC.
Written with bestselling military writer Allen Mikaelian, this is a developed version of a story widely available in the media and on the Internet. Lagouranis became a central figure to Iraq war opponents by describing his role as an army interrogator at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Official policy may have stressed observing the Geneva Conventions, but in the field and out of sight, he says, the policy rapidly became "anything goes." "Fear up harsh" in principle meant verbally intimidating a prisoner, but came to include sleep deprivation, induced hypothermia and binding, with all levels of command complicit. Convinced such methods did not work and disturbed by his own behavior, Lagouranis felt "the feeble voice of my deeply suppressed morality trying to be heard." Increasingly identifying with prisoners, he began interpreting the war as corrupting and brutalizing of the institutions and individuals involved. On returning to the U.S., Lagouranis had intensifying stress reactions that prompted him to go public about the way the war had led him to "discover and indulge my own evil." To date, his moving account has been accepted rather than investigated [...] (June)
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