[Editor’s note: This is the rest of Qasem’s first day under arrest…]
“ok, ok …it is clear that you got a good education because you have a good relationship with the Baath party ……right ??” he asked me ..and I was starting to be upset because of those silly bad questions
Well ….I noticed he is playing the game of Sherlock Holmes ….and he was smiling while speaking his silly questions………he found himself smart …..but the fact he missed is the fact he proved to me, that Americans were fooled by the 2003 Propaganda made to make the war seem to be just.
One of the soldiers handed the officer a very old photo of Saddam…he found it in my grandmother’s room.
“Hey …do you know who is this ?? ” the officer asked me with angry face while he showing the photo of Saddam.
“Yes sure …he is Saddam …you can find these old photos everywhere in Iraq ….it is not a big deal that you found one in my house ” I told him …..
“What is better to you … Iraq during Saddam’s control or Iraq after Saddam gone?? ” he asked me this question and he seemed like he found good point to ask about.
“For me Iraq before the war was much better!!” I answered ….some other marines were interested by this silly conversation
“Oh …yeah …it is sure that you are very grateful to Saddam …he gave you a good education and a good style of life. You lost it when he was gone ” he said that while looking around at his friends …giving the sense that he proved some thing important about me!!
“Wait a minute, sure Iraq now is worse than before the war …and sure my life became worse after the war …I have no rights at all …even if I am killed by you now …nobody will notice, there are no rules …” I said, upset.
At this moment …the officer got a call (by walkie talkie) …then he said,
“Do you use your computer to tell others about what is going in your area, in Ramadi?”
“Yes …I write a diary ..and blogs…..and I use my pc with internet connection to tell this to the world ” I answered him …
“Well …..I think we have to arrest you …and any other adult males here ….you and your Brother will come with us …stop talking now…turn to the wall and raise your hands ….tell your brother to do so …..NOW ” he said that …then 2 marines came behind us and searched us …then bound our hands behind our back …
My mother was shocked when she saw them bind our hands …..she said this words to the officer (in Iraqi)
“Please …leave one of them for me …I can’t see both of them leave my life now…. I am losing my family …please leave one of them for me” she said while crying …and tears covered her eyes.
I stopped her, asking her to stop crying ….
“Mom …please do not beg them ….I can’t see you do this …..we did nothing bad to arrest us …you know your sons very well …..just pray for us ….do not ask them ….ask God ………..we will be ok Mom …”
then my mom …keep crying but she stop sying any thing …she was looking to me …to my eyes …..she deeply was looking at me and my brother ….I can feel her …she feel that this is her last look at me and my brother ……..I smiled for her …and asked my brother to do the same ….we have to smile for her ….to remember us with smiled faces.
The officer said “CONTROL NOW” it was his order to the marines ….control means …stop them talking and blindfold eyes and no movement without their orders …..
The marines shouted on me “Tell your brother that ..from now no talking …no movement ….and look at the ground.”
They blindfolded our eyes ..and started pulling us through the other room of the house ……
Held us, then uncovered our blindfolded eyes ….they took photos for me and my brother with the computer …..
Then take us out the house ….to the garden
They pulling us just like pulling cow ….one marine catches my right shoulder …and pulls me strongly ….it is very difficult to walk with this way …my eyes are blindfolded ..I can’t see anything …I can’t trust my steps …..
They were waiting for the tanks to come and pick us up to somewhere.
Notice : later we knew that the houses that surrounded my home were occupied by snipers …and the families were kept inside for 10 hours in one small dark room.
The Marines got orders to take us to their closer base by walking …..we pulled and walked for more than 700 meters ………oh …they took us to occupied house …I can imagine our steps map …..directions …..the house was just beside the Mosque ….they put us inside dark hot room ….and 2 marines stay guarding .
it is about 3:30 am …I was sitting on the ground ….and hearing sound of big generator …..very noisy
One marine talked to me
“You speak English …right ??’”
“Yes” I said ….after he made me notice that he talking with me by putting his finger on my head
” I like to talk with you …it is the first time for me to meet a prisoner who can speak English” he said ……I kept silent.
“Why are your people killing Americans …we came here to make Iraq a good civilized country? ” he said.
“I did not see any civilized thing happened in Iraq made by Americans …..tell me why you came to Iraq …sure you have a reason to fight in Iraq and risk your life and use your guns??” I asked him.
“Your people started the killing …when they helped the terrorists to attack the twin towers in New York on 9 /11 …..many civilian Americans were killed because of that ….we were scared ..so that we have to stop those bad terrorists before they do it again ” he answered.
“But Iraq had no relation with this at all ” I said
“No ..you’re wrong …Iraqis helped the terrorists ….we know this ..so then we came here”
“Sorry ..I have to say that you’re wrong ……your Congress made sure that you have wrong information ..and Iraq has no bonds with Terrorists crimes …..” I said
“Well ….my job is a soldier ..I am not a politician …my job is killing and arresting terrorists that are hiding in your town” he said
“Do you think I am terrorist ??” I asked him
“Well …military intelligence will make sure ….I do not know …” he said
“Why Americans wasting Billions in Iraq to make enemies ….they can use them to make friends and peace ??” I asked him
“No … we have friends in Iraq ….our friends are giving us the needed information that help to arrest the bad people such as you” he said
“Me ??!! ….You just said now that you are not sure if I bad or not …but you seems sure now ” I said with surprise
“I am sure that you are here for a real reason ” he said
“I will tell the main reason ….it is because marines found a computer in my house and because I write blogs in english for peaceful Americans ” I said
“So ..you have ability to make websites for terrorists …that makes you more suspected ” he said
“What is your job?? ” he asked me
” I was engineer …now I am jobless ” I said
“Wow ….what kind of engineering work ?? ” he asked
“Basically I am a mechanical engineer ” I answered
“That means you can make bombs and improve guns for terrorists …yes ..sure you did so” he said
“Hey hey …wait….you judge me because I am mechanical engineer ?? what you will think if you knew that I worked in construction field ..and I have good experience in civil engineering and buildings ??” I said
“That’s more worse ….you can make maps of the streets and the places and give it to the terrorists ” he said
“So engineer is very suspected person for marines ?? ” I asked him
“Mostly yes ….they can do many things that help terrorists ” he said
“Ok …I have friend whom arrested few months ago ……he is doctor…..do suspect doctors too ” I asked him
“For sure….terrorists could be injured during fighting us ..and sure there are doctors who take care of them and provide them with medical help” he said
“Let me tell you this …..you suspect educated people ….and arrest them because they are doctors or engineers …so, shall I believe that you will help Iraq to be civilized country ???!! ” I said
“You should believe this …..in your city there are terrorists ….and we are here to kill them …..yesterday, my friend was injured when we got mortar attacks here in this house ….and he lost his hand …..for sure there is a fucking Iraqi engineer drawing a map for terrorists and help them to attack us and cut my friend’s hand ……” he said ..he seems getting upset
“Now stop talking …..” he said to me ….
Then another soldier came ….he gave us water bottles …I can’t drink …my hands still bound behind me and my eyes blindfolded …a marine soldier helped me to drink …just like baby, and help me to eat 3 pieces of biscuits, just like bird, I ate from his hand. I have no choice and I have to eat for the next unknown day, it is Ramadan and fasting will start next few minutes …and will keep for all the next day.
At 8: 20 am …..the sounds of a tank came to the house…..then two soldiers pulled me and my brother to get out the house and pushed us to get in the tank ….noisy tank !!!!
Any tanks have rear gate …..the marines put us on the parallel to the rear gate …..it is the most dangerous seat inside any tank ….because the weak point of the tank is the rear door ….
The tank moved ..and I was very careful to feel the directions …turning to left and right …and kept going on ……and there was sand sprayed inside ……yes I know the way now….we are on the way to the Agriculture College building that belong to Anbar university ……it is occupied by US troops for the last 2 years
When we reached there at 8:20am …marines pulled us out of the tank …and gave us a chance to sit on long seat …wooden seat …..then another two soldiers came and took us to a small room that was for medical checkup ……medical checkup is not to make sure that we are ok or not ..but basically to make sure if we are wanted (wanted list) by eye stamp and finger stamp ….and find out if there is old injures caused by fighting or guns
They found that me and my brother are clean …it means not wanted
They made sure about this after make the checkup …that we take off all our clothes during it ….NAKED
By the way…the most question that I used to hear it was “how you learned English ??” and the marines medical team asked me this too
After medical checkup we felt that the situation because less painful ……yes because our hands released and no blindfolded eyes here …it is jail now…Unit jail…
Can you imagine…how much it is painful when your hands are bound with sharp plastic tags…..and blindfolded eyes with Kaffiyah (Arabic cloth use for head cover for men) tightly along 7 hours in hot summer …..???
I felt my hands were dead when they released them …
I remember that I read about Jill Carol ( American journalist hostage ) …for me my case is more painful ……
Two marines took us to our new jail room ….we were walking and the 2 soldiers walking with us pointing there guns to us……it was clear that there guns were different ..it was sniping guns!!!! …later I noticed that this unit is a sniper unit.
They put us in the room ..the room was divided to 2 parts by wooden grill and gun wires from the prisoners room part …and it was very cold…no windows …one door….and 2 air conditioners sets ….very old air-conditioners …I think they belong to the Anbar university …..
The room was about 8 meters in length, 5 meter in width ….. and there is more than 15 military beds …made from Aluminum ….it was very cold room ….I am freezing
When me and my brother got in …..the guard soldier told us to take 2 blankets ..and sleep on beds …and NO talking at all …there was 3 other Iraqi detainees …young men from Sofyiah area in Ramadi
I am really sleepy…..it was a hard night …and I am exhausted almost …..my clothes became very dirty …full with sand …because most of the time we forced to sit-down on the ground .
Ah …by the way …after medical checkup ….the soldiers installed small paper on my shirt …from the left shoulder side ….my brother same …this paper include this English writing:
Serial number of detainee : 4814403
Unit of capturing : c/1-60N
Location of capturing : m 27
Time and date of capturing : 9:00 am 27 September 2006
Name of detainee : qasem ……….
After period of deep sleeping …a soldier woke me up ….sure behind the wooden grill wall and gun wires …..he shouted “Hey you …english man …wake up ,wake up ..”
He asked me to wake up my brother …the officer wants him …
I woke up my brother …..and I used this chance to talk with him with short words. I told him …that he should not be afraid at all ….we are innocent ..do not let them scare U with their silly questions …ok??
He said ok ..I understand
A soldier took my brother out the room ( jail ) ….
After one hour he came back …..I can’t talk with him …so I did not know what questions he got
“Hey …now it is your turn …come here ” a soldier said to me ….pointing me to come to him ….
He took me to the next room …it was empty …there is only old Iraqi rusty metal bed and small piece of dirty sponge on the ground ……well it was my seat as the soldier show me to sit down and wait with out talking ….
I sat down …and wait …..after few minutes …and Marines young officer got in and Iraqi interpreter with him
The rusty metal bed was in the center of the room …it was the American seat that it is in front of me …face to face….but I am sitting on the ground ….he sitting on the bed
He start his questions…..about fighters …names and locations ….what they planning now …..and many specific questions concerned the fighters
I explained for him that I have no relation with anybody carrying weapon ….
He tried to scare me when he said that my his soldiers found CDs and videos that represent propaganda for terrorists …and he said that my computer full with writtens that threat US troops !!!!
For me his way is very cheap …he making lies about my computer …it means that he have nothing real against me as evidences…he just want to scare me ….
After spending one hour with in this room with many silly questions …the officer said…..
“ok ..now you will go to your room ( Jail ) and think deeply about your future…in case you did not help us you might miss the chance to go home again ” he said that ….then he get out the room …and the interpreter took me with 2 marines soldiers back to the jail room.
In the room …..as I told you before there is 3 other detainees from Sufyia ….as they told me their arresting operation was too scary …there house attacked with SONIC hand bombs after midnight …and they did not know why they arrested yet !!!!
Talking was not allowed sure..but sometimes we have the chance to exchange few words during eating …and during the 2 marines (guards) talking with their friends in the unit …..
I noticed that this marines unit included many snipers ….I noticed there machine guns …..it sniping guns.
Every 6 hours the 2 guards exchange position with 2 other soldiers ..
For my first day I couldn’t talk with any of them …..they did not give me the chance …..in addition I spent most of my first day by sleeping deeply ….it was cold room and quiet and I were very tired …so the best choice is sleeping….