U.S. Soldier Killed Herself After Refusing To Torture
In a heartbreaking and infuriating article at Huffington Post, Greg Mitchell recounts what happened when a person of conscience was confronted with Bush Administration inhumanity:
With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo (and who, knows, probably elsewhere), I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.
Peterson should be hailed as a martyr and a national heroine. But the military, of course, engaged in a cover-up. The cause of her death was listed as a "non-hostile weapons discharge"- possibly accidental. An intrepid local reporter named Kevin Elston, from her home state of Arizona, decided to do what national reporters now so infrequently do: investigate and report.
Here's what the Flagstaff public radio station, KNAU, where Elston now works, reported:"Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed."
The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners.
Empathy being anathema to the Bush-Cheney war criminal cabal.
The contents of her notebook were blacked out. The contents of her suicide note were never revealed, and it has since disappeared. Her parents, of course, were told nothing about any of this.
Elston summarized the comments reported to the Army by Peterson's colleagues:
"The reactions to the suicide were that she was having a difficult time separating her personal feelings from her professional duties. That was the consistent point in the testimonies, that she objected to the interrogation techniques, without describing what those techniques were."
But we know what those techniques were. Even if the corporate media continue to try to obfuscate the truth.
Alyssa Peterson deserved better, and continues to deserve better. Bush Administration war crimes should be called for what they were, and those responsible should be held accountable according to the law. And Peterson should be remembered as a great American and a great human being. For showing humanity under extreme duress. For dying for it.
h/t Tiki Al