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HERO IN ACTION

Abu Ghraib was Abu Great!

by Matt Taibbi


-OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT-

U.S. DOJ PRISONER INTERROGATION

Recorded by: SACs Richard Carter, Janis Hrblitz; witnessing civilian personnel G. Harris et al. (OGAs)

Prisoner: PFC Matthew Taibbi (372nd Military Police Unit)

Location: Hanscom AFB, Belmont, MA

Date: June 31, 2004 (debriefing prior to congressional testimony)

Agent Carter questioning.

Q: Have a seat, Private.

Taibbi: Sure, I'll have a seat. I'll do anything you guys want. You guys look bad ass!

Q: Let's just get down to it. We're going to show you some pictures…

Taibbi: That was the first thing I said to myself, when I got here. Don't mess with these people! Hell, I didn't even mind wearing the hood. I'm thinking, it's probably better for me that I can't see! Who knows what you're going to do to me!

Q: Private, just to set things straight for the record, we didn't put a hood on you. You put that on yourself. And it wasn't a hood, it was your own pillow case. If you remember, we had to forcibly remove it from your head.

Taibbi: Oh, I remember. Sent shivers up my spine. No messing with you guys!

Q: (sighing) All right, Private, let's move on. Now, for the record, is this you in this photo?

Taibbi: Just like my momma made me!

Q: Now, what is it that you have the prisoner doing in this picture?

Taibbi: (pausing, laughing) C'mon, guys, are you serious?

Q: Oh, we're serious.

Taibbi: Well, what does it look like we're doing? We're putting the guy on the ground and making him lick whipped cream off a goat's balls! Sheesh! And I thought you guys were smart!

Q: Private—

Taibbi: I mean—hey, you guys aren't going to do that to me, are you? Because I know you could. You could bring a goat in here right now, and what could I do? Scary guys like you!

Q: Private, get a hold of yourself.

Taibbi: Oh, please don't hit me like that!

Q: Private, no one's hitting you.

Taibbi: Oh. I thought you were going to hit me. I would have hit me.

Q: (sighing) Now, what about this picture?

Taibbi: (nostalgic) Oh, that. There we're sodomizing the prisoner with a chemical lighting unit.

Q: Why?

Taibbi: Why? What do you mean, why?

Q: We mean, why?

Taibbi: Look, it's the same thing I told Le Monde. What would you do in that situation? Seven-thousand miles from home, all these guys behind bars—shit, when are you ever going to get a chance again to sodomize a guy with a chemical lighting unit? I mean, I'm 34 years old already. Carpe diem, dude!

Q: What do you mean, it's the same thing you told Le Monde?

Taibbi: Just now. When you guys gave me my phone call.

Q: You called Le Monde?

Taibbi: I was going to call my mother, but then I thought to myself, hell, I can talk to my mother later! Then I thought about calling a lawyer, but I ended up ditching that idea, too. So I called Le Monde.

Q: Jesus! What did you tell them?

Taibbi: Oh, all kinds of stuff. They were like, "Are those photos for real?" And I was like, shit, that wasn't the half of it! We did stuff that would have broken the camera if you tried to take a picture of it. It was fucking sweet! I told them this one story about a guy, just an ordinary guy, he was actually one of the quieter ones—anyway, we took him and shoved his head completely up a horse's ass. Just to see if it would fit! You'd be amazed, but it did.

Q: Um—

Taibbi: And then they were like, did you do this on your own, or was there clearance from a superior? And I was like, a superior? Hell, we had carte blanche from the president himself! A written presidential order!

Q: Wait—is that true?

Taibbi: Come on. Of course it wasn't. You guys know that. But that's what they wanted to hear, right?

Q: Private, do you mean to tell us that you shoved a prisoner's head up a horse's ass, systematically tortured others, allowed yourself to be photographed in these acts and then, after you got caught, called a French newspaper and told them you were acting on the orders of the President of the United States?

Taibbi: Sure!

Q: Jesus.

Taibbi: What? What did I do?

Q: Private, about your testimony tomorrow…

Taibbi: Oh, that's going to be sweet. I'm psyched. Is it going to be on the Spike channel? "Stripperella" rocks!

Q: Private, they're going to ask you some very sensitive questions…

Taibbi: Don't worry. I won't tell them about the other stuff.

Q: What other stuff?

Taibbi: My lips are sealed. You can count on ol' Matt.

Q: Private, goddamnit, what other stuff?

Taibbi: You know. All those weapons of mass destruction we found. That'll be our little secret.

Q: What weapons of mass destruction?

Taibbi: Under the prison. You know.

Q: No, we don't know.

Taibbi: Sure. Under the prison. We were taking a prisoner down there to burn his testicles with a hot fork, and we were looking around for a quiet room, when all of a sudden we pull open this door and there's this space under there that's as big as an airplane hangar. All filled with these creepy steel drums. Had all these inscriptions on 'em. So we got one of the prisoners who speaks English down there, and had him translate it for us. Turns out it was an—anthr—shit, I can't remember.

Q: Anthrax?

Taibbi: That's it. Turns out this stuff is totally deadly. Kills people in hundreds if it gets out. We read all about it on the internet. So we figure, if we let this stuff lie around, someone's going to get hurt. So we did the right thing.

Q: What was that?

Taibbi: Well, we drove it out in trucks to this little area of the desert about 10 miles upwind of this little shitbag village where's there's nothing but a children's hospital and some other stuff. Then we put it into this crater and piled all of our unspent ordnance on top of it. Then we drove about three miles away and started firing mortar rounds at it. Took us a while to get a hit, because it had been so long since we'd done that in basic. But when we finally did—boom! Shit went up in this huge cloud. We sent one of the translators out there to check it out later. Said there was nothing left, no trace. Funny thing, the guy died a few days later.

Q: You destroyed all of the anthrax?

Taibbi: Not all of it. We kept one drum. See, we figured this was a matter of national security. Congress had to know. So we scooped out little bits of it into army envelopes and sent one apiece to every member of the Senate and the House. We didn't want to get the press involved, but we figured our leaders could take care of it real quiet-like without scaring the public.

Q: You just sent it in envelopes? Did you enclose a report or anything?

Taibbi: (smacks forehead) Damn. We forgot that part. No, we just scooped a little of the stuff in each one and sent it out.

Q: Private?

Taibbi: Yes?

Q: I think it's time for you to put that hood back on.



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