Am I Really a Terrorist?
The Story of An Innocent Iraqi Citizen Arrested, Tortured and Abused by the Occupiers of Iraq.
I knew they were inspecting the houses, arresting and killing the innocent people near my house, which was located in the middle of a narrow alley. I knew some of the inhabitants were armed and waited in ambush for the aggressors. I even knew someone in the neighborhood who himself, as he used to state, had sent to hell, two invading soldiers. But I, who was only a businessman and had refused to join the combatants, hoped that Americans would not disturb me. My children were too young to fight; neither my 12-year old daughter could cause any problem for them, nor my 6-year old one, who had just gone to the primary school, and my third child was just 4 years of age. My young wife did not have enough of self-control, and I was worried she would be perished, hearing horrible news about the slaughters.
She was shocked by the shootings and gunfire not even able to look at arms. One day when a young relative of ours took refuge with us to conceal his extra arms, she started trembling from head to toe and refused to look at those armaments. So I refused to hide them, firstly for her sake, and secondly, I did not intend to involve in such troubles. When that young man came to our house, none of us had ever seen American soldiers and could not believe that their assault on our house could be so fierce and rapacious. Anyway, that night the occupiers kicked at the door, broke it and came inside in a war-like manner.
Some of them sat down, shooting their submachine guns to support the first row of soldiers and then the assailers kneeled down and started shooting to make a safe route for the first group of the attackers. They passed through the yard and reached the veranda. We had embraced our children and squatted at the corner of the room in an attempt not to be injured by their shootings or the shattered glasses, scattered all around. While shooting continuously, they broke the door of the room in the same way and immediately two soldiers rushed inside. Then three others joined them. Surely they had seen us, but one of them gave a signal and suddenly they started shooting and destroying everything, including walls, door, and all of the furniture in the kitchen. The refrigerator, oven, table and chairs were not recognizable. I wondered how many shots were fired from each sub-machinegun! Almost all of the plasters on the wall were shed. Suddenly a deathful silence dominated everywhere, as if someone had ordered cease-fire! My family and I were so silent, as if we were not even breathing. The American army man who had ordered shooting, was astonished, pretending he had seen us right at that moment. He rushed towards us, first with the pipe of the submachine gun, and then with the strokes of the rifle, saying something that we could not understand.
After receiving some violent strokes, we just realized that we had to raise our hands up and come out. I wondered how my wife could control herself. I was sure she would faint. She led the children out of the living room and left the room after me.
One solider was standing behind the door; two others in the veranda; two in the yard, and I saw four of them near the gate. As the commander signaled, they pulled down a tarpaulin bag on my head, I was this way blind folded; although we were not able to recognize them even if we stared at them for hours, since they were all wearing helmets, dark glasses, and thick uniforms, and surely had anti bullet waistcoats too. Anyway, when they pushed us harshly, we understood what their intention was. Obviously they wanted to take us as captives or prisoners. The moment we entered the yard, the situation even worsened. With each of their kicks, or the strokes of the rifles, we slightly tripped, and consequently lost the power of orientation, walked in a direction which they had not ordered and inevitably faced with their browbeats and heavy strokes. My wife was wailing quietly; my elder daughter was also weeping soundlessly, but I could vividly hear the moaning of my two little children. I heard my daughters’ voice clearly until we reached the middle of the alley, so I knew they were following me. But as the moments passed, the voice of my 4-year old son, was heard from a distance and as soon as I tried to stop, listening to their voices, their successive strokes started harshly. They tried not to shout outside the house. Considering the echo and reflection of their voices, I realized that we had reached the end of the alley. After walking for a while, I crashed with a metal rim.
I touched it and discovered that I was standing at the back of a military truck. The soldiers forced me to climb and get into that. As I climbed it, they pressed my shoulders, so I thought that the truck was covered and they were worried that my head might hit ceiling, but when four powerful hands pressed me down, I understood that I had to kneel down. Those four hands turned my arms, took my hands to the backside, and fastened them with a sharp rope or a wire. Suddenly a heavy stroke hit the back of my head and I fainted.
I did not know how far the truck had gone. Were we still in Baghdad, or had left the place? Inside the bag which covered my head, was completely dark so no light could gleam inside. My hands that were fastened from the back had become insensible and I did not feel the cold or the heat, maybe they had remained under my body, while I was unconscious, or the blood circulation had stopped in them. Anyway, I felt the heat on my shoulders and found out that another day had begun. When they dropped me from the truck, or better to say threw me out, I felt the heat of the sun. I stood up, turned a little and recognized the direction of the sunlight and its angle, and guessed it could be around noon. So I had been unconscious for more than 12 hours. At those moments, my dizziness and panic overshadowed the pain and irritation caused by the shot they injected into my hips through my pants. After waiting for more than half an hour in that very hot weather, they took me to a hallway and afterwards to a cell and there I could lean against the wall and then sit. Thirst and the need to go to the toilet were harassing me, but nobody heard my requests, and if so, did not care. After 2 or 3 hours, I heard a man speaking Arabic fluently who asked me whether I was Ok, or I needed something. I told him what I needed. He asked: “did they interrogate you?” Did not they beat you?”
I said: “I have been thirsty for about 20 hours and I have to go the toilet immediately, and I have nothing to say until you let me go there.” He said something in English to the guard, laughed and left the place. They took me to the toilet and only there, they untied my hands, shot the door and left. I hardly moved my paralyzed hands, loosened the band of the bag and took it off.
In a long and dark hallway with a dim lamp hanging from the ceiling, I saw two toilets and one washbasin. I hesitated whether I should drink or go to the toilet first and finally, after drinking two gulps of water, I rushed to the toilet.
I washed my hands and face, and do not remember how much water I drank afterwards. A big guard entered and said something in English that I did not understand, but by his hints and gestures I noticed that I had to put that damn bag on my head. On the way back to the cell, I heard some people coughing and walking. I realized that there would be some other cells and the prisoners had seen me or at least heard someone was passing. The guard pushed me into the cell and closed its ribbed door.
My hands were untied, so using my hands and my teeth, I made a hole in the bag, in front of my nose and this way, I could breathe comfortably. Whenever I heard the guard’s footsteps, I turned the bag, so the hole would be hidden in the back of my head and they could not see it. I heard they put a bowl in my cell. It smelled food, but to make sure, I turned the bag again and saw the food, and it whetted my appetite.
I did not dare to pull out the bag to eat, since they had made me understand that it was forbidden. A few minutes later, a guard came in and cut some part of the bag in the size of a big coin in front of my mouth, handed me the bowl, said something and left. Although I did not understand them, but found out that I should not take out the bag and had to eat my meal through that hole. I looked at it from the same hole; it looked appetizing, but was a bit salty. When I asked for water and made the gesture of drinking, by the guard words, and specially his ridiculous snickers, I realized that the answer was no! I spent some time thinking about my family as I was terribly worried about them, and then again asked for water and going to the toilet. They hinted that I could not have water and then gave me a stinking vessel to ease nature. In the silence of midnight, I took off the bag.
Next morning, three men interrogated me in a horrible basement. Two of them spoke Arabic fluently but their Hebrew accent showed that they were Israelis. I could easily understand what they ordered in Arabic. Having an ill formed-strong body, he looked ugly and revenge- full.
I concluded that most probably, he was under their command and specialized in torturing.
I was right. He used to torture so easily and thoughtlessly, as if he was sweeping or wood cutting. He skillfully took my feet with his hands, lifted me and hung me from the special appliances which had been already mounted there, and flogged me harshly. I was suspended there. With my head and shoulders towards the floor, I suffered from the pain, shouting and did not know what they wanted. Honestly speaking, in that horrible condition, I would definitely tell them whatever they would ask for, but the interrogators or better to say torturers asked me questions that I knew nothing about them.” Where are the explosives??? “Weapons”??? What kind of weapons have you concealed??? “How many of them” “where are the detonators??? His strokes were continuously lowing out to my feet, and their heavy kicks hurt my shoulders, flanks and heat.
I do not know how long the torture continued , but I had shouted so much ,that I could hardly breath .I really wished that one of their kicks hit my temple to finish all of my pains and agonies. I wondered whether my feet were still there. Those bastards understood what I was thinking about, because they aimed my knees and legs afterwards. Noticing the direction of their kicks, I recognized the place they were standing and tried to expose my head to their heavy kicks. But they realized that intention of mine too! What a professional and experienced bastard! They stopped the torture immediately and forced me to run. My feet were so paralyzed and insensible that I did not know whether I was barefoot or not, running with shoes or on a sponge.
They sent me back to my cell, without any further question. This time, they took off that damn bag and went away.
My eyes were gloomy and I could not see properly, so I closed them and started moaning, but the guard shouted so terribly that I stopped groaning. After a while, a short American soldier who looked kind and generous came inside and cut the wire around my hands and untied them. He smiled ridiculously, said something and left. For the first time, I saw my injured and bloody feet that had turned into the size of a football. First, I thought there was nothing left from my toes, no skin, no flesh, and not even bones. But the torturers were very experienced because the wounds were not very deep but terribly painful and inflated. I visualized that they would recover soon and that strengthened my morale and then with intentional maximum pessimism, I started considering the situation and the reason why my family and I were arrested. But the more I tried, the less I found the reason and this incapability made me angrier and more depressed. Nobody was there to discuss the matter with. Arresting my family members and the way they tortured me violently, intensified my fears. What were they looking for? Their silly questions during the interrogation and torture, and that they did not bother to listen to my answers, indicated that those questions were not important at all. They asked those questions just in the same way they cursed me. So there should be another purpose beyond those false gestures. What was that purpose?!
Even after two interrogating sessions and those horrible persecutions, I could not understand what they expected from me. During the interrogations, I found out that not only they knew my name, my profession and everything about my family members, but also my moral characteristics as well as my relatives. I wondered what was the use of spending so much time and energy on such insignificant details, despite all the serious problems they faced, and the pressure imposed on them by the Iraqi people! They knew I was thirty eight years old; my profession was business and trade; I was involved in the trade of goods and commodities which were exported to Iraq, legally and illegally; I was an amateur sports man and sturdy; tactful and considerate, and as a result I was in contact with lots of people. Surely, they knew that, I was neither interested in politics, nor I had involved myself in related activities during Saddam’s government or in the post-invasion period. They also knew that I was a family man, ready to sacrifice my life to fulfill the needs and wishes of my family. Therefore, while taking me to the torture room, they let me pass from in front of a room very slowly, so I could hear my wife and children, moaning and crying. Hearing that made me so anxious and terrified that in comparison, mental tortures or any physical persecution looked insignificant and meaningless.
My torturers did not blind-folded me and untied my hands but continued flogging me. In spite of my requests, they just continued asking me nonsense questions, although they knew hat I had no answer to them.
One day, while they were beating me in the head and face with a belt, it suddenly hit my eye and it started bleeding. My shirt was covered with tears and blood. I was in such a terrible condition that I did not even care about my blindness. The same evening, my continuous bleeding was reported to the authorities, they came and transferred me to a field hospital and gave me a shot. I was anesthetized. When I recovered, I found myself with bandaged head and eyes. I did not know that my right eyeball had been damaged so badly that they had to remove it. They stopped torturing me afterwards, and instead stared medical treatment carefully, and I wondered why! It could be because of my blindness, or the fact that I had promised them to cooperate fully.
End of Tortures
I really did not know why I was still alive. Actually I did not understand why they had kept me alive. I had gained access to some secret information- probably they had intentionally allowed me to- I had witnessed and observed some horrible events, so I could publicize them through the mass media and cause scandal for the world champion of liberty!
I was further amazed when they intensified their humiliation, knowing that I had no motive to live, however they added to their medical care. They even transferred me to a field hospital near the prison to operate my feet. Those days coincided with an unpleasant event; they discovered the wire with which they had tied my hands, plus a piece of tarpaulin bag they had cut the size of a coin to make it possible for me to eat. They were so angry, as if I had stolen their properties or had terribly insulted them! They started interrogating me angrily. I told them that I used it as a toothpick, and that it had no other usage, what could I do with that thin wire? But they showed me that piece of tarpaulin bag and said: “ Then what about this? Surely there is something else you have hidden, or have not told us!” with this excuse they laid me bare, left me in the cell and went away, while my only covering was the bandage of my feet!
I had to pass through the hallway, bare and on all fours to empty the fecal vessel! Lots of people, whom I did not know, whether prisoners or jailors, stood watching me. I could hear their mocking and laughing, and felt ashamed so much that kept my head near the ground, just looked at the floor, and nowhere else, restrained from my usual curiosity and alertness about the surroundings. My embarrassment was maximized when I recognized from their voices that some of the mockers were women. Simultaneous wit intensified humiliations and medical care, they ended up torturing me and improved the quality of my food ration. Once, they even gave me Coca Cola instead of water! These signs showed that they did not want to let me die easily. They sent me to the medical center once again to dress my wounds.
Removing the previous bandage was terribly painful and almost unbearable. They anesthetized me again and when I became conscious, I found out that I was covered. They had made a hole in a piece of black material, and passed my head through it. Anyway, I was happy that my bare body was covered. My feet were insensible first and I felt no pain, but still I had the feeling that they were much lighter. Yes, they had operated my feet for the second time, and changed the bandage. My head was also bandaged to heal up my eye. Moreover, luckily, I finally had a covering. They allowed me to go to the toilet, twice a day, but regarding my sour eye, I could only wash half of my face. My wounded eye was terribly painful, as if the pain penetrated deep into my brain and hurt me, especially when I had to bend and go to the toilet on all fours.
Jailors were so professional that they grasped what I felt and gave me anodynes. It seemed that they had been engaged in that business for years, as they were fully aware of our internal conditions; the helpless prisoners, captured in their powerful hands, as inanimate instruments.
Once again, they brought some more prisoners into that jail. They placed so many prisoners to each cell that there was hardly enough place to sit. Inevitably, the noises and clamors were intensified, and even the jailors’ lashes and horrible cries were useless to quiet them. They sent me to the bathroom and toilet, along with other prisoners who had carried out some destructive operations under American commanders’ instructions.
Bathroom had a door and when we stood up, a triangle shaped hole, was located in front of our face and we could oversee the hallway. The hole was made for the guard to peep the prisoners in toilet. When he came near the door, it was him who controlled us, but when he went back, we used to peep him and the hallway.
I asked the names of my fellow prisoners, but they said hesitantly that they were not permitted to tell me their names. So I gave them No.1and No.2 as a symbol, and No.3 for myself. In spite of the fact that we did not know the names of each other, after about two hours, we were intimidated very much, as if we knew each other for years. They had come from solitary confinement, so they loved to talk all the time and so did I. We talked about everything, including family events, our jobs, and activities etc. but they said nothing about what they had done after their arrest, except for the tortures and misbehavior of the American jailors.
Since I had found that they were forced to participate in some molestation operations, I asked them how they could trust me to reveal their political, military and reporting activities before their arrest. They answered: “When the interrogators know every thing, and that they have made us confess all that we knew by using lie detector machine, making us sleepless and special injections, we do not care even if you are a spy”. I added: “Then why don’t you say anything about cooperating with them and fulfilling their malicious desires?” they replied: “These are Americans’ secrets, and if they suspect that we reveal their secrets, then all we do, will be exposed, because they may force you to say whatever we had told you.”
Late in the night, No.4 joined us. We guessed he had come from a long distant place, because he leaned to the wall and immediately went to sleep in squatting posture. No.1 and 2, who were more experienced than me, gave a hint that No.4 was surely an informer.
The first and second day we had some fun when the prisoners came to empty their fecal vessels and sometimes we came to know something through them. For example, a prisoner said that someone had died in his or her cell. Another one said that his roommate spinal cord was cut off during horrifying tortures. He himself had heard that the commander ordered to bury him as he was of no use anymore, so the watchmen came after an hour to move him.
Watching and hearing these events brought us together. Regarding this intimacy, when other prisoners came to empty their sinking fecal vessels, we stopped talking, and of course we were angry about this disturbance.
Anyway, I found out that they had taken No.1 and 2 to remote places, most probably to other countries and forced them to carry out military operations including terror and explosion, and since their recent operation was not completely accomplished, the invaders transferred them to this prison again for punishment and humiliation.
Once No.1 made a short reference to the country of Pakistan, but immediately corrected his fault and started to sophisticate the case further. I do believe that they had more than one gurney and surely performed many operations in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Chechnia or Africa. Once, when I was taking a nap, and they thought I was asleep, they started whispering. As my head and one of my ears were bandaged and although I could not hear properly, I heard the name of the above mentioned countries and military operations carried out there. They said things about special tests on their brains; one of them believed that it was lie detector machine, but others believed it was something else. So I realized why they had shaved their heads. Any way, as No.4 was with us, they tried to show their honesty, obedience and submission though with grievance, but not with dissatisfaction.
Again Solitary Confinement
Finally, they transferred some of the prisoners to other prisons and sent me to a cell again. They started protecting, invigorating and curing me and reduced their humiliations. Three weeks passed this way and then they changed my cell, so I had no access to the hallway and stayed in absolute loneliness. When they wanted to bring my food, the jailor had to open the door of the front cell, pass through it and come to my door, which was locked all the time and only then I could see two hands through a small shutter. The cell walls were very long and a dim lamp was hanging from the ceiling. I almost did not feel the days and nights and passage of time, as though time had stopped.
My endeavors and requests to get in touch with the jailors and other prisoners were useless. When I saw a ray of light radiating from that shutter, I guessed that the day had come.
Many times, I cried and shouted continuously in vein. It seemed that the jailors were just robots and could not hear anything. Twice a day, two hands came inside, did what they had to do and the shutter was closed again. Another week passed, I was almost psychic; I talked to myself; quarreled; cried; giggled and shouted. Frequently, I was so sunken with disappointment that did not notice the opening and closing of the shutter. As I said before, I was neither interested in politics and combat, nor in pleasure seeking, fun and reaction. I was just thinking of my wife and children, and was happy with that thought. My wife was always annoyed about it, and my elder daughter recently complained and expected me to take them for fun and pleasure. During those horrible lonely days, I promised them to fulfill their wishes, if I could only be released from that prison. In my mind, I took oath that I would definitely take them to the wonderful promenades that they could not even dream. I adored them, apologized to them and asked for their forgiveness.
First I thought that someone might hear me and laugh at my madness, or he might misuse my weak points, but then remembered that they are all aware of my private life and characteristics, so I actually laughed loudly! At least, I could hear my own voice and it was much better than that deadly silence!
I was ready to do anything they might ask for, in order to be rescued from that terrible crypt and see the light of the sun. I prayed that they come and send me on a mission, like other prisoners, to carry some explosives to Sudan and deliver them to unknown people. It seemed that this adventitious and rough desire of mine was supposed to come true, because after almost an hour, the front door and also my cell door were opened, a prisoner was pushed inside my cell with a bag on his head, and they took me with them. I wondered why they did not blindfolded me.
First, I passed through the hallway and then through an open area, and finally they ordered me to stop in front of the stairs leading to the basement, I mean the same horrible torture room. Visualizing that room caused me fear and I started trembling from top to toes. In my solitude, I tried my best not to lose my morale and instead overcome my fears but it seemed that I had engaged in a futile task. I really could not control myself, so I ignored the order and sat down. A guard came towards me and pointed to that room. I had no choice but going down the stairs and enter the torture room. I could hear the sound of my heartbeat. No doubt the same tortures were supposed to begin. They pulled another bag on my head. Actually they intended to blindfold me and this was an easier way to do so. They made me sit in a chair. I heard the sound of some footsteps. My eyes were covered, my ears did not hear properly because of that damn bag, but that sound was familiar to me and revived some vague memories in my mind. My heart started beating faster and faster, as if it was beating for the last time. Yes, my feelings had not deceived me. It was my elder daughter voice! She was asking her mother whether I was her father. I could not see, but felt that my wife knobbed her head. I said: “Yes, my dear; it’s me, my lovely daughter.” I tried to remove the bag, but torturer’s rough hands stopped me and in a commanding tone said that I had no right to do so, otherwise they would fasten my hands. I recognized that voice. The same interrogator who asked me to confess, but did not wait for my answers, and just cursed me continuously.
My wife knew that I was only concerned about them, so she started talking. She assured me about herself and our children and asked me to be calm, and then asked about my health and me. I said: “ what kind of meeting it is that my eyes should be closed? I am worried if they have hurt you, and do not want me to see you! They may have disfigured your faces!” my wife took my hand and robbed it to her face, swearing that they were not abused. I held my daughter’s hand with my other hand and felt her tranquility. My wife said that they had sent our younger children to England. They lived with a relative and were happy and healthy. She added that American officers had told them that they would send them soon there, to make sure that I was not a terrorist, then they would release me to join them; but I had to be imprisoned for the time being for further investigations and to be confronted with other terrorists. My daughter was worried about my health and wept all the time, but finally she tried to control herself and told me that she had spoken with the children, they were happy and that she was only concerned about me. Then she kissed me and left. In fact they forced them to go out and I became lonely again. I do not know how long that meeting lasted. One moment…a full lifetime…a few minutes? Anyway, it confused me tremendously. Half an hour later, the tortures came back again. They took the bag off, led me to another small room and made me sit in a handled chair. They tied my hands to the handles of the chair and my feet to its legs so tightly that I was not able to move at all. They were so experienced to do so, as if they had been doing it for years! I guessed there should be a malicious purpose beyond all these silly actions, but I thought it was absurd to torture me after that meeting with my family. Anyway, it was true. That torture did not last long, but it was the most terrible torment I could ever imagine. They suddenly pinched a big pin under my right thumbnail, which made me yell painfully. I could clearly see that they did not let the bleeding stop, and whenever it was going to stop, they shook the pin violently. They were not content with the bleeding and started to heat the pin with a lighter, and my clamor was heard from a very long distance. I thought it took a very long time. But they said it was just less than half an hour.
When they pulled the pin out, I felt the pain all over my head, shoulders, spinal cord, legs and feet and could not stop moaning. After a while, the torturer came with a syringe in his hand and I hoped he had come to kill me. He injected it right above my thumb and suddenly all of my pain was gone. A strange languidness seized me. I was so feeble that could not move at all, even if they would say: “You are free! Get up and go wherever you wish!” then a white dressed barber came and shaved my hair and beard and left the room, without saying a word. He was also experienced in his job, but behaved obscenely and impolitely. I knew that I was finished. I thought they had arranged that meeting to fulfill my last wish before death. Suddenly I recalled my fellow prisoner in toilet; he said he had undergone electrical shock and that they had attached lie detector machine to his head. But I had nothing to say, neither true nor false. Surely they knew everything about my life and me even better than myself. Gradually, I felt better as I could feel a disturbing fly on my face; I felt like scratching my nose, but I was fastened to the chair so tightly that I could not even move my fingers. They understood what I felt, so they united me and sent me out. Two guards made me walk for about 10 minutes, and then we entered a building, looking like a hospital. There were few people inside, all of them wore white uniforms and did not talk even a word. They let me into a room and fastened me to a bed and attached some electrodes to my temples, neck and at the back of my head. When I entered the room, I saw monitors, wires, volumes and pointers, installed on a big apparatus, so I expected electrical shock and death. I was content, as I knew, I would relieve. Two men came into the room. One of them went towards the apparatus and the other one sat beside me, said hello in Arabic and asked about me. I wanted to say something and complain, but he ordered me imperiously not to turn my head He said “just lie down and look at the ceiling and say nothing”.
He started talking and stolidly declared prepared sentences. He said that regarding my past actions and personal abilities, authorities had concluded that I could cooperate with them; and not only I could, but also I should cooperate fully and that there was no other choice. I asked what was that show off about if I had no other options? He replied: “We try to measure your willingness. We have selected you and do not want to lose you. I prefer that the measurement tape of your willingness shows us a satisfactory curve, so I hereby inform you that we have full power to your family members. We can easily do with their fingers, what we did with your thumb, and nobody can prevent it! But you can save their lives by rendering service to the great USA army; and not only save their lives, but guarantee their comfortable future in England. In that case, we will grant them adequate lifetime pension and they will always recall you as a champion.”
I suddenly felt the pain in my thumb, which had started again, intensified as each moment passed. As I imagined my beloved wife and children, suffering from that horrible pain, my heart almost stopped beating and I was going to suffocate. I cursed the apparatus, being just a simple lie detector, not an electrical shock machine; otherwise, I would happily embrace death.
Cooperation with the Criminals
Finally, I expressed my readiness to cooperate with them and promised them to do whatever they wished. I do not know how long that silly theater last. I can only remember that American officer pulled out the tape from the apparatus, looked at it and said:” You see, first you had some resistance, but then you became softer and finally, the tape shows full readiness. Now, you have to prove it practically too. I still cannot believe that the paper tape had proved him something, but he had just guessed my mental reaction, regarding his awareness about my characteristics and myself. Anyway, my conditions changed again. They imprisoned me in a larger room, along with 6 other prisoners and the quality of food improved. We had daily airing and our health care was better too. As the only disturbing thought, we knew there was an informer among us; so without expressing this fear, we all were worried. Each day, two or three of us had to go for interrogation and listening to the speech of Americans’ representatives. Their typical questions were like this:” Can you drive? What kind of weapons are you familiar with? How perfect is your sight? How well are you in solving minor problems like puzzles…”
Then they added that we should promote our abilities to penetrate in terrorist groups and be able to attract” Alqaeda” terrorists’ attention and confidence, or establish similar groups and finally carry out perfect operations, assigned by the related authorities and commanders; as the only way to secure the lives of our family members.
My fellow prisoners said that according to Americans’ dictums, Iraq would not exist anymore; massacre would continue and the country would be divided into five republics, each ruled by one of the America’s confederates. They said that regarding the fact that Iraqis were not able to play an active role in Saddam’s fall and rescue themselves, and that they are all powerless and impotent people, so the republics should be ruled under the civilized countries’ guardianship and America’s confederates.
In this case, Iraq’s new generations may be able to understand the real meaning of liberty and democracy. So it was necessary to perish foreign terrorists, Al-Qaeda and their public and secret confederates. One of them told me:” We can take your family to the civilized world and help them grow, to bring themselves up to our state. But we cannot take there all of the Iraqi people. So our managers must come here to turn your nomad people into humans!” Although I had seen and felt the meaning of civilization and humanity in their behavior ! I had no choice, but to confirm them. Besides, their talking was so repetitive and superficial that we all knew them by heart. They wanted us to express our readiness to participate in activities like: shooting, bomb explosion and fire squads, spying and penetrating into hostile groups etc.
I expressed my readiness in almost all of the aforesaid activities, because I believed that I could save my wife and children, only if I cooperated with them thoroughly. Only few prisoners felt the same, and even tried to submit some proposals voluntarily, which seemed flattery and apple-polish. They even talked about their proposals, in front of other prisoners, hoping the informers among us report the news to the jailors.
After sometimes, these speeches or trainings for one or two prisoners turned into classes with about fifteen prisoners. We had papers and pens and even break time! Therefore, I came to know some prisoners from other prisons, for example: Tas Forat, Al-Rasafe, Ommeghasdoo. It was just then that I found I had been in Kondoor prison. My classmates told me about Talil, Abou Ghraib, and Assalahieh, prisons, and also bougha camp, which looked like the prisons in middle-ages tales. One of the prisoners said that they had laid him bare and forced him to go in all fours and then they rode on him! He said that they fastened his eyes, bridled him and kicked him to run faster! He said:” Once I guessed that my rider is a child, regarding its lightweight, but afterwards I recognized that she is a female officer or soldier and it cost me too much! When she touched me and laughed, I wished I could break her neck. Another prisoner said:” A woman who was called ‘sergeant’ bridled me like a dog and pulled me, and from her giggling, it was obvious that she enjoyed it very much. She had a stick in her hands, with which she stroke my bare limbs and sometimes she thrust it somewhere!” He added: “I could not believe that such an inferior and traitor human being may exist.” Then he asked: ”For heaven’s sake, what kind of people are they?” In sum, all of my classmates including myself had forgotten our personality and will- power and even our existence, and had transformed to the absolute obedience. We asked each other: “ Are all Americans like this? Are all of their soldiers and officers so cruel? Or only their jailors behave so harshly? Is it possible to find such human beings in other parts of the world? Are these crimes real, or they are created by our illusions?”
Anyway, there was not enough time to think over these subjects, especially collectively. It was only at bedtime in prison that I plunged in those thoughts. But as I was alone, and confused, I could not find any answer for the questions. I supposed that my personality, my hopes, wishes and myself had all been lost and perished. I was only concerned about my wife and children and what I could do for them. I did not know that finally I would lose them, and what would remain, would be loneliness, and the hope to revenge. Anyway, on those days, I tried my best to attract the American’s attention and confidence more than other prisoners. Another prisoner, called Saed, who had participated in an operation and was praised by the jailors, competed with me, and I could not find his secret motives; because his behavior and the way he looked, indicated his immense hatred towards the jailors. In fact, he hated all human beings, as he announced his readiness for any kind of terrorist and suicide operation. Sometimes, he even gave new proposals to them.
Finally, we two were selected for a special show off. First, they led me to a room and gave me a paper to read and recorded my voice. In that program, I had to announce that we had captured an American sergeant called… and if they did not release our comrades from their prisons, we would execute him. After an hour, I entered a large room with a mask on my face. Then five other masked men arrived and all of us stood in a line. Then a short, blond American citizen who had no mask but could not walk properly because he was stoned sat in a chair. Again they gave me another paper to read. It meant that as the enemy had not fulfilled our wish to release the mentioned captives, we had decided to punish this betrayer criminal for his evil deed. The photographer was not satisfied with the performance, so we repeated the scene again. They asked me to read the letter with a harsh tone. Each time I was supposed to read something, I tried to change my voice, but this time, it was my real voice with all of the hatred I felt for them; so Saed pinched me secretly. We all had uniforms, masks, and even our boots and gloves were the same, so I did not recognize him first, but when he whispered in my ears- something which made the jailors angry- I found out that it was Saed. The show continued. Suddenly one of us took a dagger and cut off the American’s head, easily and boldly. Poor fellow neither said anything, nor resisted at all!
Later on, Saed told me that the American soldier had tried to escape, and when confronted with the guard resistance, he had shot and killed him. But he was arrested and sentenced to death in Americans’ field court. They had arranged that feigned scene to pretend Arabs are harsh and barbaric, and at the same time, kill their betrayer soldier.
Saed made an oath that the one who beheaded the American, was an Israeli man, because when the blood stained his gloves, he used a special term and said: “Oh, Rubbish” and this phrase is Israelis habitual term. He added that all those masked, raw-boned men standing beside us, were Americans. I tried my best to find out Saed’s secret motive in performing operations in favor of Americans and also his ostentations and show off, but he did not reveal his incentives. Once I asked him directly, but he said: “You are at your wit’s end!” then he added: “ Of course, it is not only the question of wisdom, but you are not clever enough to understand the reason for my actions.” He recalled “Alzarghavi” whom he adored so much. I could not find whether he was Muslim, polytheist, or atheist. A few days later, Saed was killed in a suicide operation.
He knew he would die soon, so he revealed to me many secrets, except for his motive. He told me about stealing cars and vans, painting and transforming them, concealing the explosives in them and cooperating with other prisoners to perform suicide operations. He said that he knew the person who had probably exploded the UN office in Baghdad and was killed in that operation. He believed that the Americans themselves prepared all of those explosives, remote control detonators etc, with those high-tech and complex technologies. He mentioned that the horrible explosion in Shiites mourning ceremonies that was carried out by brainwashed prisoners like us, USA strategy required that the names of the explosion agents to be publicized to cause disunion among different sects and groups of Muslims. Because the glory of Shiites mourning ceremonies had frightened Americans so much and could disappoint them in fighting with Islamic world.
When Saed refused to explain his intention, I tried to discover that myself by analyzing his words, behavior and purposes, but that was no use. He talked so topsy-turvy that confused me badly, although whatever he said was pure truth, and even when he was insulted, I felt his truthfulness and honesty in his words. But he cursed both sides alternately. Sometimes he said,” The more anarchy, chaos and carnage, the more invaders will benefit.” I can certainly say that he was never confused, but tried to make me confused. He played role for both sides and was truthful in both!
My conditions were so critical that I could not concentrate on these problems. I just knew that he had tried to kill his American guard and committed suicide to the point of death, but medical treatments were successful and saved his life. But the strange injections had transferred his mind and morale, developing a character in him, which did not really belong to him. He had gone to Pakistan to perform some operations there and returned without any feeling of guilt. He believed that those training courses were childish for him and he should learn something about space and staying on board spacecrafts beyond the atmosphere. A very important point, which he used to insist on and I also believed in, was the American soldiers’ morale state getting worse day by day. I could vividly notice this change when I met a guard whom I had met a few months ago. No doubt, I had also been changed a lot, but their occasional depression, savagery, rudeness and indifference were noticeable and apparent. According to the information I received from here and there, the same programs were carried out in Alsalahieh, Elroosfa, Altasfirat, Bougha, Aboughoraib, Ommeghasr Talil, Kondor, Emareh and other camps all over Iraq and probably Afghanistan and most probably USA itself, including Guantanamo. So sooner or later, America would turn into a big mental hospital. It was because of this very fact that American soldiers preferred to stay in other parts of the world, even Afghanistan, rather than Iraq. A sergeant, who had come from Shoeibieh hospital, explained that the aforesaid hospital was more horrible than this prison, as its entire doctors and nurses were mentally sick. A prisoner had heard this conservation and recounted it to us. He had also heard that Americans themselves wondered why the Red Cross had kept silent and not revealed it, in spite of its full awareness of this horrible fact and just confined itself by mentioning that such behaviors were against international laws and human rights. They concluded that this approach was the result of USA and Red Cross collaboration.
Eventually, the Americans sent me on the second mission. Trainings and instructions had already been provided to us. Nothing was written on the map, not even a single borderline was fixed. I figured out that it was the Red Sea and African Coast. But the road I had to cross as a truck co-driver had been illustrated carefully and even the distances between the turns and defiles numbered. Yes, we had to enter some part of Africa, carrying a cargo, which no one knew anything about it- I just guessed those were weapons or explosives. We were scheduled to hand them over to unknown individuals upon hearing the password. We then flew to San’aa, Yemen’s capital city, then on board a small military plane, we passed through western Yemen and the Red Sea and landed near a jetty in Africa, where later on, I found that that was Eritrea. Truck driver was also an Iraqi national, who had come with me from San’aa. I was advised not to tell him anything about myself. Although we both suspected each other, soon we became intimate friends and found out that we shared similar problems. So we started telling each other about the tortures we had tolerated and our agonies and deprivations. The only thing that we did not even think about was to escape from that terrible condition. We both had similar problems and our families were captive in their criminal hands. So we were determined to do our best and return to the jetty. He had no child, but his mother and wife were captured by the headsmen and they had promised him to release and support his family. His mother was still young. He was a strong and endured man and did not need my help. As I said before, in the map they provided me with, the routes, distances and even the slopes of the roads were specified, but nothing was mentioned about the borderlines, so we did not know when we passed Eritrea border and entered Sudan.
A jeep with four armed local passengers drove ahead of three trucks, full of cargo moving behind it and us. We sat in the first car. There was enough gasoline and foodstuff in the trucks and we sometimes got off the vehicles to take some water; this was our only contact with the passengers of the jeep and trucks. Quite short a contact, just to say hello and bye. Trucks were heavy and inevitably drove slowly, but the front jeep moved easily, in spite of the roughness of the roads, as its driver knew the routes well. Sometimes it got ahead so much so that we could not trace it. Passing through mountainous areas was much more difficult. As a co-driver, I sometimes drove in desert lands, but in rocky and hilly lands, I was not able to drive because of my wounded feet and my motionless thumb so I left it to the main driver.
We had to pass through a shallow river, which was impossible to cross without towing and using the trucks’ powerful engines. Finally, we reached a place that was just impossible to pass. Jeep and its three passengers left us and returned after six hours. They said that about fifteen camels were coming towards us and we had to put the cargo on their backs and return. I thought that the cargo of the truck was too heavy to be carried by 15 camels.
Anyway, we had to wait for 24 hours. I recognized the driver and co-driver of the other truck. They contacted us cautiously and spoke Arabic not fluently. They could be Pakistanis or Afghans, or may be from India or Bangladesh. They were in a hurry to perform their duties in that monotonous mission. The only useful information I got from that trip was that not only in Iraq but also all over the world, hundreds and even thousands of people like me, were under Americans’ pressure to serve them in the way they wished. Not only that, but after our death, they used to introduce us as the agents of Alqaeda, Taliban or Alzarghavi etc. to defame us. But as they had promised us- and they had kept their promise to that date- they did not mention our names, not to defame our families. There was rumor that Abou Masaab az-Zarghavi, was also cooperating with the Americans. I heard it from a prisoner in Baghdad.
Anyway, the jeep left and after two hours a local man along with a few notorious women reached there. They set up a tent, brought us various foodstuffs and drinks and started fooling around with us. It seemed that one of the jeep passengers, who had stayed with us, knew them well and trusted them. But to be reassured, he assigned a guard for the trucks. 24 hours passed quickly. Next day, around noon, the camels arrived.
Translocation from the trucks to the camels needed a few strong men, but they did not allow us to help. I think they did not want us to know about the content of the cargo. We could not understand the language of the local people, but the city we passed through was a place called Kassala. I heard the name of another city as Singa. I think that their password was Karpinsky. It was about 8 p.m. that we said farewell to them, drove the trucks and returned. The jeep did not follow, so we had to concentrate on the road and maps and try to use our memory to find the route. In case of confronting the border guards, we were supposed to deliver the trucks to them as bribe and save our lives and rush to the jetty, but it did not happen. As the trucks were light, we passed the roads quickly and easily, and reached the jetty after 35 hours. We went to the Yemen border by boat, and then to San’aa by car and finally flew to Baghdad. I must add that before flying to Baghdad, we stayed in a post in San’aa, which looked like a prison. During that time, we did not speak so much, but ate and slept very well. In Baghdad, our conditions improved. Our prison looked like a dwelling place. They taught us politics and tried to convince us, but I did not understand them properly. They said that we had to fight against terrorism and perish it thoroughly in order to save humanity. So during the war against terrorism it is inevitable to immolate some people, they said. They taught some groups to use various detonators and shooting with the guns equipped with cameras and taught us to use submachine guns. When they took us to the desert for training operations, lots of guards followed us. It was obvious that some more practices had already been done before, as the shooting and explosion traces were still visible. I wondered how many savage Americans had come to our country to fight! Lots of them were involved in our prisons, some were training us, and most probably many of them were taking rest and had pleasure. How long did they intend to stay in Iraq, what was all that military equipment and fortification for?
Almost all of our teachers were Israelis and spoke Arabic fluently. There was a woman among them who wore US military uniform and had the rank of US lieutenant. She did not care to say that she was Israeli. They used to guard and watch us carefully and if two of us whispered, both had to explain what we were talking about.
They ordered us to move at 00.45 p.m. and gave us guns and we departed after listening to their repeated advices and orders about observing the security rules and regulations. They wanted me to sit on the right side, but I insisted to sit on the left. I argued that firstly, I was left handed, so I could catch up the jeep rim better and keep myself stable, secondly, my right eye was blind and if I sat on the right side, I had to turn my head to the left side to observe all the possible movements on the way, while on the left side, I could see better.
Anyway, we finally moved. Almost half an hour passed. The distance between the cars was almost 30 meters. Suddenly, we heard a terrible explosion and the front armored car blew up 5-6 meters high, and the next explosion from inside of the car turned it into a scrap, drowned in fire. Because of the heavy rain, cars drove slowly, so our driver stopped about 20 meters from the site of incident. The Co-driver contacted the headquarters continuously with the wireless, reported everything and they ordered him to leave the place quickly. The order was announced to the driver and he accelerated and tried to pass through the smoke and fire, but the front wheel dropped into a pit, which was made by the first explosion or better to say, explosive trap. I was thrown up a few meters and the car turned and somersaulted 2-3 times. The third car collided with it and turned upside down. I fell down in a pit, full of water and black mud. The first thing I felt was the bareness of my feet. Immediately after that, I felt a terrible pain in my shoulder, but luckily I was still alive. I was drowned in the black mud up to my neck and unable to move. Suddenly a lot of people gathered there. I tried my best and came up from the pit and joined the crowd. All of our people had died. I could see myself among my countrymen; they cried: “ call for ambulance!” “They are not our people…these are Israeli 110mm cannons…” “yes, we knew… anyway… hospital… nobody survived…” “telephone… ambulance…” “ I was frightened, but started walking through the people and gradually moved away. It was still raining and I was all soaked, but continued walking in a by-way, vertical to the main road. I climbed up a wall, entered a big garden and hid inside. I stayed there until night, and when it got dark, I continued my way. I knew that I would reach the river, our own Tigris! But I did not know that I had to walk about 3 hours to reach there. It was midnight when I reached the Tigris banks. My feet were injured and painful. I washed myself in the river. I knew that if I kept on walking in the opposite direction of Tigris, I would reach Baghdad. But I had no wife and children there! So I went to the south. I knew it was about 80 kilometers to Al-kout. I was hungry and tired. The rain had stopped, but it was very difficult to walk barefoot in absolute darkness and sometimes I plunged in mud, up to my knees. I needed to take a rest and was terribly hungry. I took refuge in a palm grove and the smell of date attracted me. I found some dates, ate them and slept. I got up at 10 a.m. and started thinking. I acknowledged that I was alive and had to continue to live. I was released; released from those devilish headsmen’s slavery; I had been rescued from those horrible torture rooms, inquisitions and those horrifying deadly missions. My situation was really dangerous and I had to plan carefully. I stayed the whole day in that palm grove and kept on thinking; are my fellow prisoners still involved in bombing, terror and massacring my innocent fellow countrymen? My disturbed mind was full of these thoughts and illusions. I am not going to say anything about my feelings. There was no doubt that my family members had been killed. Anyway, I had to overcome the disappointment, hatred and other weaknesses in my mind, and those 24 hours in absolute loneliness helped me a lot.
Oh, my God! You perished the tyrants like Nimrod, Nero, and Alexander; you sent to hell the invaders like Napoleon and Hitler; you suppressed the Soviet oppressors, who talked about liberty and equality and dominated almost half of human beings, under the banner of world proletariat freedom, but in secret acted imperialistic in order to have a share of the world’s wealth. Then when will you drive these criminal invaders to extremities; those who have massacred millions of innocent people from Eastern Asia, to Africa and South America, and now have aimed Muslims in the Middle East?
I wonder what is the difference between the Nazis and those who consider USA superior to other countries and Americans, nobler and more honorable than other people!
Now that I am writing these lines, I know that the readers-if any- would like to know my name and address, profession etc. Yes, they are right. To answer them, I suffice to say that I am a middle-aged man; I have got my B.A. in accounting and my M.A. in economics. During Saddam’s government, I was not able to find any better job than grocery and vending, because of wrong economic policies and extensive unemployment problem in our society. I had a nice wife and three lovely children, who were killed and in fact I perished with them too. Americans know me very well, because they pulled out my nails and made me blind. The lashes have created painful furrows in my body. I cannot walk properly because of the horrible tortures I bore in their prisons, so I walk lamely. I can be a fisherman in Bangladesh, or a cameleer in Mauritania desert, or a lonely and wandering man in wonderlands.
Sometimes ago, I went to Baghdad, but I could not find my family members’ graves. When I made sure that they had definitely died, I went to a harbor in Kuwait where I was employed as a seaman in a big ship and proceeded to a long voyage. I have nobody in the whole world. No wife and no children. My relatives have been murdered too. I do not know what I really possess. Is it only pain and grief? Is it hatred and longing to revenge those bastards who have dragged me up to here? I was a man who could not tolerate seeing a captive bird, but now, I can easily kill invaders or drawn them in water…I do not know what this boundless hatred that resides deep in my heart is going to do to me. Really, where am I standing in this universe? What is my aspiration? To which side am I going? What is the remedy to this irremediable wound of hatred and anger? Does revenge extinct the fire, flaming in my heart? Or surrender to the divine will can calm me down? Sometimes I think that I have survived just to kill THEM wherever I find them. Actually, I am looking for them day and night, and try to trap them. But an unknown voice browbeat from inside: “How many of them you are able to destroy single-handed, without any support or organization? Do you intend to revolt against violation and terrorism? Are these your ideals? Do you have any ideals at all? You have never been an idealist person. You have lived in middling position and have followed laissez-passer policy. So this is just vengeance. Is it the right way? Is it really enough? Do you want this? Do you not feel any responsibility for other people? Thousands of ideas like these disturbed my confused mind all the time. What should I do? Who am I really?