The SanityPrompt

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

This Is Only a Drill. We Repeat. This is Only a Drill

CBS News G.I. Attacked During Training November 4, 2004:

"Baker was always the first to volunteer. This time, it was to go to the block where the most dangerous detainees were kept in isolated cells. There, Baker was met by Second Lt. Shaw Locke of the 303rd Military Police Company from Michigan. Locke, who was in charge of an IRF (Immediate Reaction Force) team, briefed Baker about the training drill he was planning.

''We're going to put you in a cell and extract you, have their IRF team come in and extract you. And what I'd like you to do is go ahead and strip your uniform off and put on this orange suit,'' says Baker, who was ordered to wear an orange jumpsuit, just like the ones worn by the detainees at Guantanamo.

"Baker says his orders that night were to get under a bunk on a steel floor in a dark cell, and wait: "I said, 'Sir, you're going to tell that IRF team that I'm a U.S. soldier?' He said, 'Yes, you'll be fine, Spc. Baker. Trust me.'"

"But in fact, Locke later acknowledged in a sworn statement that he did not indicate “whether the scenario was a drill or not a drill to the IRF team.” Locke did, however, tell the team the detainee had not responded to pepper spray.

"Locke gave Baker a code word – red - to shout out in case of trouble. From under the bunk, Baker heard the extraction team coming down the causeway. In sworn statements, however, four members of the team said they thought they were going after a real detainee.

'"My face was down. And of course, they’re pushing it down against the steel floor, you know, my right temple, pushing it down against the floor," recalls Baker. "And someone’s holding me by the throat, using a pressure point on me and holding my throat. And I used the word, ‘red.’ At that point I, you know, I became afraid." Apparently, no one heard the code word ‘red’ because Baker says he continued to be manhandled, especially by an MP named Scott Sinclair who was holding onto his head.

"And when I said the word ‘Red,’ he forced my head down against the steel floor and was sort of just grinding it into the floor. The individual then, when I picked up my head and said, ‘Red,’ slammed my head down against the floor," says Baker. "I was so afraid, I groaned out, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.' And when I said that, he slammed my head again, one more time against the floor. And I groaned out one more time, I said, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.’ And I heard them say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa,' you know, like he wanted to, he was telling the other guy to stop."

...

At the end of September, Baker went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York to consult with Dr. Carl Bazil, a seizure specialist, and one of the top neurologists in the country. While undergoing testing, Baker suffered a seizure in front of Bazil, who believes Baker has intractable epilepsy – which means his seizures are difficult to control. Is it an injury Baker could have received as a result of having his head repeatedly knocked against a steel floor? "Oh, absolutely. That is the kind of injury that would be severe enough to result in epilepsy," says Bazil, who believes that with better treatment, Baker's condition could improve. "If he doesn't get better treatment, that will probably continue indefinitely."

Now, imagine what the real thing is like.

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