"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Thursday, February 10, 2005

How to Protect Your Child from the Coming Draft

"Fighting should be reserved for genuine self-defense in the face of imminent attack, when no other help is available. Preemptive strikes and aggression disguised as self-defense won't pass muster under the Golden Rule."

- Jesus on Parenting: 10 Essential Principles That Will Transform Your Family

Draft? What draft?

Yes, there's a draft going on right now. At the time of this writing it preys only on current members of the military: it's called the "stop-loss" order, which unilaterally breaks the original agreement – and the trust – between soldiers and the government.

The stop-loss draft is just the first step. As soon as Mr. Bush gets America's young people fighting two or more wars at once (you may have noticed that Iran is next), there simply won't be enough volunteer soldiers to go around. The draft is coming.

Parents need to think ahead to protect their children from the armchair warriors in Washington, because avoiding the draft is a lot easier than avoiding combat after entering the military, whether by choice or by force. Consider Sgt. Kevin Benderman, who's already served in Bush's War of Terror and was so shaken by what he witnessed that he's risking seven years in prison to refuse orders to return to Iraq.

Soldiers who seek CO can't or won't adopt the common coping skill of callous indifference to human suffering. But they're punished for having a conscience: military lawyers often use this spurious argument to cast doubt on the soldier's sincerity: If you didn't already oppose war when you joined, then you can't possibly oppose it now.

This is like saying that a toddler who touches the stove and gets burned can't possibly change his mind and avoid touching stoves in the future. Human beings do learn – and change their minds and their hearts – from experience: That's what makes us intelligent and moral beings.

When spiritually wounded soldiers apply for conscientious objector (CO) status on moral or religious grounds, military chaplains are often no help; in fact, they can make matters worse with their contemptuous words and attitudes. After all, they're not paid to help our troops avoid committing atrocities or suffering debilitating nightmares and guilt.

Teach Your Child About the Immorality of Killing and War

As a parent surrounded with constant messages on TV, billboards, radio, and newspapers that the military is the best or only way for your child to be a "hero," it can be difficult to go against the popular grain by teaching that these messages are recruiting tools, not reality. To raise a moral, nonviolent child – and doesn't the world need more of these? – you must sacrifice the comfort of "fitting in" with today's violent American culture.

The first thing you need to do, if you haven't already, is talk with your child about the disconnect between what our society teaches through the schools – that physical conflict, bullying, and other forms of violence are wrong and counterproductive – and what our government and its media teach about the "glory," "heroism," and "nobility" of war.

You may wonder how to start – after all, you may not be one for talking about politics or war with anyone, let alone your child. Yet if you think about it, you've always taught your child about matters of right versus wrong, safety versus violence. From the day they begin to play with other children, you've taught your child how to handle conflict.

Do you encourage your child to hit others when he or she is angry? Do you advise your teenager to buy a gun and blow away classmates who bully or tease? Do you teach your child that might makes right, that it's okay to kill a few kids in order to "liberate" their siblings from tyrannical parents?

Over the years, you've instilled moral values that reflect your love, concern, and wisdom as a parent – values that the U.S. government, its military, and its media spokesmen have no business tinkering with or reversing.

So even if you haven't talked with your child about war and violence, begin today. Find popular books and movies that teach positive lessons about nonviolence; encourage him or her to consider the superior morality and intelligence required in the story for the main character to avoid using violence, even when provoked.

If you could only see what I've seen at Veterans Administration hospitals, you'd be fearful not only of what could happen to your child's body in war, but of what could happen to the mind and soul. PTSD is the diagnosis (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) assigned to veterans whose thoughts and emotions continue to be affected by traumatic memories of combat, but grief is the fate of parents who can never take away the night terrors, sweats, temper outbursts, or underachievement that linger on for years and years.

Once your child is wounded mentally through exposure to combat, he or she may require a long period, or even a lifetime, of psychological help and medications. A common pattern – and a misleading one – is joy and the appearance of normalcy when returning home from combat zones, followed by the gradual awakening of disturbing memories and a feeling of "unreality." That's when the trouble starts.

Document, Document, Document: Start a CO File for Your Child

This month's issue of Mothering (Jan.-Feb. 2005) gives you the information you need to protect your child from the coming draft. Unlike other parenting magazines, Mothering is solidly on the side of parents (notwithstanding its title, it's great for caring fathers, too), rather than big business advertisers.

If you can possibly get your hands on this issue (buy it or read it at the library), you'll find detailed instructions for helping your child establish conscientious objector (CO) status. "Help Your Peace-Loving Child Avoid the Draft" is the title of the article by Helen James; it lists the activities and materials you'll need to help your child legally avoid being forced into the combat.

Whatever your child's age, taking these steps now could also help protect him or her from the terror of being harassed and prosecuted by the military the way Sgt. Benderman has been since he applied for CO status so that he wouldn't have to be involved in U.S. aggression resulting in dead civilians, burned children, and the like.

The article notes that as a parent, you can help lay the foundation for future CO status, if and when your child is drafted (or forced back into combat in today's stop-loss draft) by documenting your child's opposition to war – all war.

As Ms. James points out, becoming a conscientious objector doesn't require that your child be a strict pacifist, nor does it require a belief in God: "If the draft is reinstated, under existing regulations a young conscript wanting to claim CO status will need to prove that he has a 'sincere' objection to all wars.… His belief … must be religious, moral, or ethical, not political or pragmatic."

What to document? There's not enough space here to cover all the pointers in the article, but in a nutshell, it suggests that you gather everything, in writing, that supports your child's opposition to war. Recently, recruiters started calling my daughter at home, having gotten her name and number from school (where kids used to be safe) through Bush's sneaky No Child Left Behind trick: She let them know that she was against war and that military recruiters were not to call her again. We'll document her response to that call.

Antiwar efforts by adult family members should also documented. For instance, I keep copies of my letters to the editor describing my religious and moral values that prohibit the killing of innocent people through this war, even the War of Terror that's advertised as "preventing terrorism," "finding WMD," "instilling liberty," or "spreading democracy." I will also keep a copy of the antiwar article you're reading right now.

From antiviolence pictures your child has drawn to antiwar protests he or she has attended, a variety of documents can go into your child's CO file. Ms. James gives an example involving her own son:

"One summer, when I picked Adam up from camp, his counselor reported that he'd happily hiked and participated in all the activities but wouldn't join in the break-time war games. Wondering why children were even doing that in the first place, I asked her to put what she'd just told me in writing, for his CO file. She wrote, 'Adam let the other children know that he was against war games and informed them that death was a very real consequence of war. I found him to be very strong in his attitude to promote nonviolence.'"

No matter how profusely politicians praise "our troops," the ugly fact remains that after the funeral with the military salute, your child will be quickly forgotten. The children of pro-war pundits and politicians, on the other hand, will stay safely at home, calling Mom and Dad, coming over for Christmas dinner, getting married, and having babies.

It isn't fair, and you shouldn't stand for it. My youngest child is 17, and my oldest daughter and her husband are 29 and 30, respectively, with a baby boy on the way. These individuals were not raised to kill, torture, or maim other human beings. And I wouldn't trade my living, breathing, beautiful kids for all the praise and popularity in the world. I don't want a graveside military salute, three-cornered flag, or computer-signed condolence card from Donald Rumsfeld, in exchange for the ones I love – they're not for sale.

Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

No Justice, No Peace

There will be no Middle East peace without justice

SO, the Palestinians will end their occupation of Israel. No more will Palestinian tanks smash their way into Haifa and Tel Aviv. No more will Palestinian F-18s bomb Israeli population centres. No more will Palestinian Apache helicopters carry out "targeted killings" - ie: murders - of Israeli military leaders.

The Palestinians have promised to end all "acts of violence" against Israelis while Israel has promised to end all "military activity" against Palestinians. So that’s it, then. Peace in our time.

A Martian - even a well-educated Martian - would have gathered that this was the message, supposing he dropped in on the fantasy world of Sharm el-Sheikh yesterday. The Palestinians had been committing "violence", the Israelis carrying out "innocent" operations. Palestinian "violence" or "terror and violence" - the latter a more popular phrase since it carried the stigma of 11 September 2001 - was now at an end. Mahmoud Abbas - who told a close Lebanese friend this year that he wore a suit and tie so that he would look "different" to Yasser Arafat - went along with all this. Just which people were occupying the homes of which other people remained a mystery.

Silver-haired and wisdom-burdened, Mahmoud Abbas looked the part. We had to forget that it was this same Abbas who wrote the Oslo Accords, who in 1,000 pages failed to use - even once - the word "occupation", and who talked not of Israeli "withdrawal" from Palestinian territory, but of "redeployment".

At no point yesterday did anyone mention occupation. Like sex, "occupation" had to be censored out of the historical narrative. As usual - as in Oslo - the real issues were put back to a later date. Refugees, the "right of return", East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital: let’s deal with them later.

Never before have we been in such need of the caustic voice of the late Edward Said. Settlements - Jewish colonies for Jews, and Jews only, on Arab land - were not, of course, discussed yesterday. Nor was East Jerusalem. Nor was the "right of return" of 1948 refugees. These are the "unrealistic dreams" that were referred to by the Israelis yesterday.

All this will be discussed "later" - as they were supposed to be in Abbas’s hopeless Oslo agreement. As long as you can postpone the real causes of war, that’s OK. "An end to violence," that has cost 4,000 deaths - it was all said yesterday, minus the all-important equation that two-thirds of these were Palestinian lives. Peace, peace, peace. It was like terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. It was the sort of stuff you could buy off a supermarket shelf. If only.

At the end of the day the issues were these. Will the Israelis close down their massive settlements in the West Bank, including those which surround Jerusalem? No mention of this yesterday. Will they end the expansion of Jewish settlements - for Jews, and Jews only, across the Palestinian West Bank? No mention of this yesterday. Will they allow the Palestinians to have a capital in Arab East Jerusalem? No mention of this yesterday. Will the Palestinians truly end their "intifada" - including their murderous suicide bombings - as a result of these non-existent promises?

Like the Iraqi elections - which were also held under foreign occupation - the Israeli-Palestinian talks were historic because they were "historic". US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, "warned" Palestinians that they must "control violence" but there was, as usual, no request to "control" the violence of the Israeli army.

Because the sine qua non of the equation was that the Palestinians were guilty. That the Palestinians were the "violent" party - hence the admonition that the Palestinians must end "violence" while the Israelis would merely end "operations". The Palestinians, it seems, are generically violent. The Israelis generically law-abiding; the latter carry out "operations". Mahmoud Abbas went along with this nonsense.

It was all too clear in the reporting of yesterday’s events. What was on offer, said CNN, was "an end to all violence" - as if occupation and illegal colonisation was not a form of violence. The American Associated Press news agency talked gutlessly about "towns that, for now, continue to be under Israeli security control" - in other words, under Israeli occupation, although they would not tell their readers this.

So Mahmoud Abbas is going to be the Hamid Karzai of Palestine, his tie the equivalent of Karzai’s green gown, "our" new man in Palestine, the "tsunami" that has washed away the contamination of Yasser Arafat, whose grave Condoleezza Rice managed to avoid. But the tank-traps remain: East Jerusalem, Jewish settlements and the "right of return" of 1948 Palestinians to the homes they lost.

If we are going to clap our hands like the Sharm El-Sheikh "peacemakers" yesterday, we’d better realise that unless we are going to resolve these great issues of injustice now, this new act of "peacemaking" will prove to be as bloody as Oslo. Ask Mahmoud Abbas. He was the author of that first fatal agreement.

Robert Fisk
Copyright: The Independent

Court of First Resort

The Bush administration can't decide what it dislikes more: genocide or the International Criminal Court, which aims to punish it. Administration officials have missed no opportunity to undermine the court. During President Bush's first term, the United States suspended military aid to more than 20 countries that refused to shield Americans from potential prosecution, including Mali (a fledging democracy), Ecuador (a partner in drug interdiction efforts), and Croatia (a fragile government trying to stem a nationalist tide).

TEN years ago, I asked Bosnian civilians under siege in Sarajevo where they would go if they could escape. Most chose one of the sand or pebble beaches along the Adriatic. Last summer, when I traveled through the Sudanese province of Darfur, I asked the same question of Sudanese who'd seen their homes torched, their cattle stolen and their children butchered. The surprisingly common answer, whether from refugees wandering the Sahara, or from farmers who had never had electricity or running water, was this: "The Hague." They had heard there was an international court there, and they wanted to go testify.

I didn't have the heart to tell them that their attackers couldn't be tried at the International Criminal Court because Sudan was not a party to it and because the United States, even though it was Khartoum's fiercest critic, was likely to block an investigation by the court.

In late January, a United Nations commission issued its findings on Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed. Much has been made about the commission's refusal to describe the atrocities by government-backed militias as genocide. But more striking was the commission's authoritative documentation of some of the worst horrors of the last half-century: violations "without any military justification" that "no doubt constitute large-scale war crimes." In addition, the team delivered a sealed list with the names of 51 Sudanese suspected of war crimes and recommended just what the Darfurians had been urging all along: investigation and prosecution in The Hague.

The Bush administration has been more forthright than any of the United Nations' 191 member states in denouncing the atrocities in Sudan - a fact that should shame European nations that pride themselves on their human rights pedigrees. The United States was the first to characterize the violence as genocide and the first, way back in June, to name potential perpetrators and call for punishment. It has also dismissed offers by the Sudanese government to conduct the trials at home, rightly recognizing that Khartoum is unlikely to prosecute crimes that it has ordered and committed.

But the Bush administration can't decide what it dislikes more: genocide or the International Criminal Court, which aims to punish it. Administration officials have missed no opportunity to undermine the court. During President Bush's first term, the United States suspended military aid to more than 20 countries that refused to shield Americans from potential prosecution, including Mali (a fledging democracy), Ecuador (a partner in drug interdiction efforts), and Croatia (a fragile government trying to stem a nationalist tide).

In one of its most astounding moves, the administration teamed up with Republican lawmakers in August 2002 to pass a law that includes a measure known colloquially as the "Hague invasion clause," which authorizes American troops to use "all means necessary and appropriate" to liberate American servicemen should they ever be imprisoned. That's not exactly the kind of diplomacy that will, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice promised on the eve of her trip to Europe, join the United States and its allies "around a common agenda for the next several years, one that is firmly rooted in our values, our shared values."

Since coming into force in July 2002, has the court done anything to justify the administration's fears that Americans will be hauled before an "unaccountable" tribunal? For example, has its chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, begun investigating the torture and murder carried out by American soldiers and contractors in Iraq or Guantánamo Bay? No. Mr. Moreno Ocampo has explained that these crimes don't fall within his jurisdiction.

Instead, working with Christine Chung, formerly a top federal prosecutor in New York, Mr. Moreno Ocampo has been busy building complex cases against militia leaders in Congo and against the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda, which the State Department has branded a terrorist group. Mr. Moreno Ocampo took up these cases not on his own initiative, but because Congo and Uganda asked him to. And now, although Mr. Moreno Ocampo has the funds and the personnel to investigate the horrors in Darfur, he cannot act unless the United Nations Security Council tells him to.

But the United States so mistrusts the International Criminal Court that President Bush has instead proposed that the African Union and the United Nations create a Sudan tribunal based at the war-crimes court run by the United Nations in Tanzania. "We don't want to be party to legitimizing the I.C.C.," Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador for war crimes issues, said in late January. That's an about-face from the American stance in 2002, when Mr. Prosper criticized the very same United Nations ad hoc tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia that he now hails. Citing "problems that challenge the integrity of the process," like a lack of professionalism among staff, Mr. Prosper demanded that the interminable proceedings at those courts be wrapped up by 2008, regardless of who was left at large. Justice at these courts, he said, "has been costly, has lacked efficiency, has been too slow, and has been too removed from the everyday experience of the people and the victims."

Temporary courts suffer other disadvantages next to the permanent International Criminal Court. Because their mandates are finite, they tend to rush indictments and arrests, disregarding their potentially destabilizing effects on societies still reeling from conflict. The permanent court, by contrast, can time its arrests to advance both justice and peace.

Moreover, creating a court from scratch takes months, or even years. A new statute would need to be devised, staff members and judges would need to be recruited, and the African Union, which has never before overseen criminal trials, would need a crash course.

The ad hoc court could cost as much as $150 million annually. By contrast, the supposedly bloated international court, which is already investigating multiple crises simultaneously, will cost roughly $87 million in 2005. Couldn't that same $150 million be better spent on arming and transporting African Union peacekeepers into Darfur to prevent the massacres from being committed in the first place?

Skeptics say that international courts will never deter determined warlords. Musa Hilal, the coordinator of the deadly Janjaweed militia in Darfur, gave me a very different impression when I met with him soon after the Bush administration had named him as a potential suspect. He had left Darfur and was living in Khartoum, courting journalists in the hopes of improving his reputation. Almost as soon as I sat down with him, he began his defense. Like his victims, he had only one place on his mind. "I do not belong at the Hague," he said. Surely President Bush doesn't want to find himself on the side of someone his administration considers a killer.

Published: February 10, 2005
Cambridge, Mass.

Samantha Power, a lecturer at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, is the author of "A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide," which won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

Massachusetts Governor Opposes Stem Cell Work

Setting up a political battle over stem cell research, Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts said this week that he would propose legislation to outlaw a type of embryonic stem cell research that is being planned by laboratories at Harvard University and other institutions in the state.

The governor's remarks came as Democratic lawmakers were introducing legislation that would promote embryonic stem cell research, partly in an effort to keep the state's large stable of research scientists and biotechnology companies from moving to California or other states that are providing support or financial incentives for such research.

The president of the Massachusetts Senate, Robert E. Travaglini, a Democrat, introduced such a bill on Wednesday, saying he wanted "to send a clear message that we are going to authorize this kind of research."

His bill would change a 30-year-old law that made it harder to conduct stem cell studies because it required the approval of county district attorneys, and would embrace research on stem cells derived from embryos. Future bills may offer scientists financial incentives, Mr. Travaglini said.

Many proponents of the bill have assumed they would have the backing of Mr. Romney, a Republican whose wife, Ann, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that could potentially be helped by the research. Mr. Romney had previously said he supported stem cell research in general, but had not elaborated.

But in an interview on Tuesday, Mr. Romney said that he was strongly against a type of embryonic stem cell research that many scientists consider extremely promising: research that involves creating human embryos specifically for scientific experimentation.

The governor said he would oppose any bill, like the one Wednesday, that would allow that method. And he said he would propose his own legislation that would establish criminal and civil penalties for research like that being planned by labs at Harvard University and Children's Hospital.

"Some of the practices that Harvard and probably other institutions in Massachusetts are engaged in cross the line of ethical conduct," Mr. Romney said.

He added: "My wife has M.S., and we would love for there to be a cure for her disease and for the diseases of others. But there is an ethical boundary that should not be crossed."

Stem cells derived from embryos are controversial because, unlike stem cells obtained from adults or from umbilical cords, the only way to obtain them is to destroy the embryo. Those stem cells, which are taken from what is essentially a clump of cells that constitutes an embryo that is a few days old, are considered the most promising because they have the potential to develop into any kind of cell.

The embryos can come from two sources: fertility clinics that have leftover embryos from in-vitro fertilization and embryos created solely for the purpose of research, known as therapeutic cloning. Scientists say fertility clinics would provide a limited number of embryos because many couples choose to store them rather than give them up.

Unlike some other social conservatives, including President Bush, Mr. Romney said he did not object to scientists' obtaining stem cells from fertility clinic embryos because those would probably be discarded anyway and because they were created with the intention of helping couples generate life.

Mr. Romney said he would allow research on embryos obtained from fertility clinics as long as the couples who created the embryos gave written permission, were not paid and were offered the options of rejecting research in favor of storing the embryos or giving them up for adoption.

But Mr. Romney said he objected to therapeutic cloning because "creation for the purpose of destruction is wrong."

The governor's position runs counter to the actions that many other states are considering. After California's decision last year to invest $3 billion in embryonic stem cell research, at least seven other states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, are considering steps to encourage researchers in the field or provide economic incentives.

Dr. Douglas A. Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, has plans to start research with embryos created explicitly for that purpose. He is interested in creating stem cells with a particular disease, such as Alzheimer's or diabetes, so that scientists can try to understand why some people develop these diseases, how they develop and how they can be treated.

"It is the only method that I can think of now to get at the root causes of these diseases," Dr. Melton said.

Were Mr. Romney's proposal to become law, he said, "that would be not only disastrous, it would set science back significantly if they did that."

"Essentially what we would be saying," he said, "is we do not want to let scientists get at the root causes of these diseases."

Mr. Romney said he met with Dr. Melton to gather information to help him formulate his position.

If the governor's proposal passes, "some of the things he's doing would be decidedly against the law," Mr. Romney said of Dr. Melton.

Republicans make up only about 15 percent of the legislature, and Mr. Romney may not have the political muscle to get his proposal passed, even if he wins over the sizable number of conservative Democrats in this heavily Roman Catholic state.

Indeed, his effort may be more calibrated to a national stage. While he is seeking re-election in 2006, Mr. Romney is often said to have national political ambitions, and some political analysts believe he emphasizes his conservative social views, which are out of sync with the majority of his state, to earn points with Republicans at the national level.

Still, Mr. Romney's input on the issue in the state cannot be completely discounted. Many lawmakers in both parties are wrangling with the complexities of the research.

Senator Jack Hart, a Democrat who is co-chairman of the committee handling the Travaglini bill, said that he was opposed to abortion, as is Mr. Romney, and that he questioned the creation of embryos solely for research purposes.

"The concern I think that the majority of the people have out there is if, all of a sudden as a result of stem cell research, there's creation en masse of human embryos for the sake of research," Mr. Hart said.

In the last legislative session, a measure to endorse stem cell research overwhelmingly passed the 40-member Senate, but did not come to a vote in the 160-member House because the speaker, Thomas M. Finneran, a conservative Democrat, blocked it.

Mr. Finneran stepped down last fall. His replacement, Salvatore F. DiMasi, supports the research, so many believe the measure has a better chance of passing this year.

Mr. Travaglini, whose bill bans the cloning of humans for reproductive purposes and requires all research to be approved by an ethical review board, said he favored both kinds of embryonic stem cell research because of "the potential for medical breakthroughs."

He said he expected resistance from legislators opposed to abortion, who are outnumbered by legislators who favor abortion rights.

Published: February 10, 2005
NY Times

Detainees Accuse Female Interrogators

Pentagon Inquiry Is Said to Confirm Muslims' Accounts of Sexual Tactics at Guantanamo

Female interrogators repeatedly used sexually suggestive tactics to try to humiliate and pry information from devout Muslim men held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a military investigation not yet public and newly declassified accounts from detainees.

The prisoners have told their lawyers, who compiled the accounts, that female interrogators regularly violated Muslim taboos about sex and contact with women. The women rubbed their bodies against the men, wore skimpy clothes in front of them, made sexually explicit remarks and touched them provocatively, at least eight detainees said in documents or through their attorneys.

A wide-ranging Pentagon investigation, which has not yet been released, generally confirms the detainees' allegations, according to a senior Defense Department official familiar with the report. While isolated accounts of such tactics have emerged in recent weeks, the new allegations and the findings of the Pentagon investigation indicate that sexually oriented tactics may have been part of the fabric of Guantanamo interrogations, especially in 2003.

The inquiry uncovered numerous instances in which female interrogators, using dye, pretended to spread menstrual blood on Muslim men, the official said. Separately, in court papers and public statements, three detainees say that women smeared them with blood.

The military investigation of U.S. detention and interrogation practices worldwide, led by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III, confirmed one case in which an Army interrogator took off her uniform top and paraded around in a tight T-shirt to make a Guantanamo detainee uncomfortable, and other cases in which interrogators touched the detainees suggestively, the senior Pentagon official said.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the report has not yet been made public, said the fake blood was used on Muslim men before they intended to pray, because some Muslims believe that "if a woman touches him prior to prayer, then he's dirty and can't pray." Muslim men also believe that contact with women other than their wives diminishes religious purity.

Defense Department officials said they have reprimanded two female interrogators for such tactics. It is unclear whether military personnel, employees of other agencies or private contractors were involved.

The attorney interviews of detainees are the result of a Supreme Court decision last summer that gave the captives access to lawyers and the opportunity to challenge their incarceration in U.S. courts.

In previous documents, detainees have complained of physical abuse, including routine beatings, painful shackling, and exposure to extremes of hot and cold. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld insisted then that detainees were treated "humanely," and Pentagon officials said terrorists were trained to fabricate torture allegations.

Some of the accounts resemble the sexual aspects of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at the U.S. prison at Abu Ghraib. Photographs that became public last year showed a servicewoman there holding naked prisoners on a leash and posing next to a pile of naked prisoners.

Pentagon officials said yesterday that wearing skimpy clothing or engaging in provocative touching and banter would be inappropriate interrogation techniques.

"I don't see that as being authorized by secretary of defense's approved interrogation techniques for Guantanamo," said Col. David McWilliams, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees operations at Guantanamo Bay.

McWilliams said it is premature to comment on whether the detainee allegations are credible until a second military investigation that focuses on Guantanamo Bay abuse allegations is complete. The inquiry, which began in early January after the release of documents in which FBI agents said they witnessed abuse, is scheduled to be completed this month.

"That's exactly why we're doing an investigation," McWilliams said. "We're going to establish the facts and the truth."

Church's report found that interrogators used sexually oriented tactics and harassment to shock or offend Muslim prisoners, the senior Pentagon official said. The official said that the military would not condone "sexual activity" during interrogation, but that good interrogators "take initiative and are a little creative."

"They are trying to find the key that will get someone to talk to them. Using things that are culturally repulsive is okay as long as it doesn't extend to something prohibited by the Geneva Conventions."

Attorneys for detainees scoffed at the Pentagon's insistence that the military can fairly investigate its own personnel. They noted that the Defense Department last fall initially dismissed torture allegations, insisting that detainees were trained at terrorist camps to lodge false claims.

Even detainee lawyers doubted that interrogators would spread menstrual blood on prisoners when a recently released British detainee first made the allegation in early 2004. A month ago, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed it had verbally reprimanded one female interrogator who, in early 2003, had smeared red dye from a marker on a detainee's shirt and told him it was blood.

In a yet-to-be-published book, former Army translator Erik Saar said he saw a female interrogator smear red dye on a Saudi man's face, telling him it was blood. Saar's account was first reported by the Associated Press last month. And Mamdouh Habib, an Australian man released from Guantanamo Bay last month, said he was strapped down while a woman told him she was "menstruating" on his face.

One lawyer, Marc Falkoff, said in an interview that when a Yemeni client told him a few weeks ago about an incident involving menstrual blood, "I almost didn't even write it down." He said: "It seemed crazy, like something out of a horror movie or a John Waters film. Now it doesn't seem ludicrous at all."

Some of the newly declassified accounts of detainees evoke scenes from a rock music video. German detainee Murat Kurnaz told his lawyer that three women in lacy bras and panties strutted into the interrogation room where he was sitting in chains. They cooed about how attractive he was and suggested "they could have some fun," he said.

When Kurnaz averted his eyes, he said, one woman sat on his lap, another rubbed her breasts against his back and massaged his chest and a third squatted near his crotch. He head-butted the woman behind him, he said, knocking her off him. All three ran out and a team of soldiers stormed in and beat him, he said.

Detainee lawyers likened the tactics to Nazis shaving the beards of orthodox Jews or artists dunking a crucifix in urine to shock Christians. "They're exploiting religious beliefs to break them down, to destroy them," said Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents several dozen detainees. "What they're doing, it reminds me of a pornographic Web site -- it's like the fantasy of all these S&M clubs."

Falkoff said some of his clients have also been threatened with rape by male interrogators.

One soldier told another detainee, Muktar Warafi, that he had to start telling the truth or he would be raped, according to Falkoff's notes of the interview. When he left the room, another person immediately came into the room and told Warafi: "That interrogator is new and doesn't know the rules. We apologize on his behalf. Now let's talk."

Yasein Esmail, a Yemeni detainee, said he had been interrogated more than 100 times since being "kidnapped" in a marketplace in Kabul, Afghanistan, and brought to Guantanamo Bay. He recounted to his lawyer that when he refused to talk in one interview, a female soldier entered wearing a tight T-shirt.

"Why aren't you married?" she reportedly asked Esmail. "You are a young man and have needs. What do you like?"

Esmail said "she bent down with her breasts on the table and her legs almost touching" him. "Are you going to talk," she asked, "or are we going to do this for six hours?"

Carol D. Leonnig and Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, February 10, 2005; Page A01
Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report