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With that background information, I hoped to more fully appreciate the dynamic transactions that had fueled these aberrations. In the process, I agreed to offer appropriate assistance to Myers's client. However, I made it clear that my sympathies were more with Joe Darby, who had been brave enough to expose the
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332 The Lucifer Effect abuses, than with anyone involved in perpetrating them. 1 1 Under these condi- tions, I then joined Staff Sergeant Frederick's defense team and embarked on a journey into this new heart of darkness. Let's begin our analysis by getting a better sense of what that place was like, that Abu Ghraib Prison—geographically, historically, politically, and in its recent operational structure and function. Then we can move on to examine the soldiers and prisoners in their behavioral context. THE PLACE: THE ABU GHRAIB PRISON Twenty miles (32 kilometers) west of Iraq's capital city, Baghdad, and a few miles from Fallujah lies the Iraqi city of Abu Ghraib (or Abu Ghurayb), where the prison is located. It lies within the Sunni triangle, the center of violent insurgency against the American occupation. In the past, the prison was designated by the Western media "Saddam's Torture Central" because it was the place where, dur- ing the reign of the Ba'athist government, Saddam Hussein arranged for the tor- ture and murder of "dissidents" in twice-weekly public executions. There are allegations that some of these political and criminal prisoners were used in Nazi- like experiments as part of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons program. At any one time, as many as fifty thousand people were held in the sprawling prison complex, whose name could translate into "House of Strange Fathers" or "Father of the Strange." It had always had an unsavory reputation because it had served as an insane asylum for severely disturbed inmates in the pre-Thorazine era. Built by British contractors in 1960, it covered 2 8 0 acres (1.15 square kilo- meters) and had a total of twenty-four guard towers encircling its perimeter. It was a sprawling small city, partitioned into five walled compounds each meant to hold particular kinds of prisoners. In the center of its open yard stood a huge 400-foot tower. Unlike most American prisons, which are built in remote rural areas, Abu Ghraib is located within sight of large apartment houses and offices (perhaps built after 1960). Inside, its cells were jammed with as many as forty people confined in a 12-foot-square (4-meter-square) space and living under vile conditions. Colonel Bernard Flynn, Commander, Abu Ghraib Prison, described just how close the prison was to those attacking it: "It's a high-visibility target because we're in a bad neighborhood. All of Iraq is a bad neighborhood. . . . There's one tower where it's built so close to the neighborhood that we can look into the bed- rooms, you know, right there on the porches. There were snipers on those roofs and on those porches firing at the soldiiers who were up there on the towers. So
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  • Fall '19
  • Stanford prison experiment, Philip Zimbardo, Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse, Milgram experiment

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