The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard W. Roberts United States District Judge
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Plaintiffs, former prisoners of war ("POWs") during the Gulf War in 1991 and their close family members, filed this lawsuit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"), 28 U.S.C. § 1602, et seq. (2000). Plaintiffs seek damages for the injuries they allege they suffered as a result of the torture inflicted on the POW plaintiffs while in Iraqi captivity. The Republic of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and the Iraqi Intelligence Service were properly served pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1608 and are in default. Based on a thorough review of the full record in this case,*fn1 the Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of final judgment against defendants and an award to plaintiffs of compensatory and punitive damages.
Seventeen of the twenty-one American troops held captive by Iraq during the first Gulf War and thirty-seven of their immediate family members filed this lawsuit against the Republic of Iraq, the Iraqi Intelligence Service, and Saddam Hussein, in his official capacity, alleging personal injuries suffered by the POWs caused by torture during their captivity, and suffered by their family members resulting from the acts of torture inflicted on their loved ones. Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages for bodily injury, emotional distress, economic injury, pain and suffering, and solatium. They also seek punitive damages to prevent future mistreatment of American POWs and their families.
The Court has jurisdiction over this action against a foreign state under 28 U.S.C. § 1330. Foreign states have no immunity from lawsuits seeking monetary damages for personal injuries caused by an act of torture or the provision of material support or resources for such torture by a state designated as a state sponsor of terrorism at the time the torture occurred, if such act or provision of material support is engaged in by an official or agent of such foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office or agency. 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(7). The Republic of Iraq was designated as a state sponsor of terrorism in September 1990, prior to the torture and mistreatment of American POWs and their family members of which plaintiffs complain here, and was so designated throughout the Gulf War in 1991.*fn2 The plaintiffs in this case are United States nationals, and they repeatedly offered defendants an opportunity to arbitrate their claims in accordance with accepted international rules of arbitration.
Plaintiffs effected service of process on defendants through the United States Interests Section of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Baghdad on July 22, 2002, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1608. Defendants were required by 28 U.S.C. § 1608 to file an answer or otherwise to respond within sixty days after proper service was made, but failed to do so. The Clerk of Court entered default against defendants on September 25, 2002. Both the Clerk of Court and plaintiffs' counsel notified the defendants of the existence and terms of the Court's scheduling order of December 20, 2002, which established a March 31, 2003 deadline for the submission of a statement on damages. Defendants neither filed a pleading contesting liability nor requested an extension of time to do so. Defendants received adequate notice of this lawsuit and of all deadlines, and they elected not to appear.*fn3
This Court cannot enter a final judgment by default against a foreign state or its political subdivisions, agencies or instrumentalities "unless the claimant establishes his claim or right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the court." 28 U.S.C. § 1608(e). Plaintiffs have submitted uncontroverted evidence that the defendants are liable for the torture of the POW plaintiffs and the intentional infliction of emotional distress on their family members. Plaintiffs have established their right to relief and to an award of damages by clear and convincing evidence which is satisfactory to the Court and which would permit a reasonable jury to find for the plaintiffs if this were a contested proceeding.
On August 2, 1990, the Republic of Iraq, acting at the direction of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, attacked and occupied the State of Kuwait. In response, the United Nations ("UN") Security Council adopted Resolution 678, authorizing member states to use all necessary means to implement earlier UN Security Council Resolutions directing Iraqi forces to leave Kuwait. On January 16, 1991, an international coalition of thirty-three nations led by the United States initiated military action against Iraq.
Between January 17, 1991, and repatriation in early March of 1991, a number of coalition personnel, including the POW plaintiffs in this case, were held in Iraqi captivity. Most had been in aircraft that were downed over Iraq or Kuwait and several suffered injuries when their aircraft were downed.
Officials of the Republic of Iraq violently tortured all of the POW plaintiffs during their captivity. The POW plaintiffs were held for different periods of time and the specifics of their torture varied. Apparently because the Iraqi captors believed pilots had more sensitive information, the pilot POWs were tortured more severely than other POWs. The torture inflicted included severe beatings, mock executions, threatened castration, and threatened dismemberment. The POWs were systematically starved, denied sleep, and exposed to freezing cold. They were denied medical care and their existing injuries were intentionally aggravated. They were shocked with electrical devices and confined in dark, filthy conditions exposing them to contagion and infection. The POWs suffered serious physical injuries, including broken bones, perforated eardrums, nerve damage, infections, nausea, severe weight loss, massive bruises, and other injuries.
Iraqi agents caused the POWs to experience severe mental anguish by falsely reporting that they had killed Americans, including a pilot's wingman, other American POWs, and the President of the United States. The POWs suffered from knowing the agony that their families were enduring because the Iraqi authorities refused to inform the families that the POWs were alive. The Iraqi captors attempted unsuccessfully to degrade the POWs by urinating on them, and some POW plaintiffs were subjected to forced circumcision inspections to determine if they were Jewish. There is no indication that the POWs previously suffered from the extreme mental anguish and psychological harm that followed their captivity.
Iraq also used the POWs as "human shields" and held them captive in a legitimate military target. On January 21, 1991, only five days after the start of hostilities, Iraq announced this policy over Baghdad Radio. This was a profound source of anguish for the POWs' family members. When Allied forces bombed the regional Iraqi Intelligence Service Headquarters on February 23, 1991, not knowing that the POWs were incarcerated there, many of the POW plaintiffs narrowly escaped death.
The Iraqi torture of the POW plaintiffs was carried out in a common pattern of beatings upon capture and during captivity as punishment, beatings and other torture during extensive interrogations in an effort to extract information, random beatings unconnected to interrogations, and beatings in an effort to force the POWs to make verbal and videotaped statements and "confessions" to be used as propaganda.
No American POWs were permitted to notify their families of their capture and current state of health. As a calculated part of the torture of the POWs and their family members, Iraq refused all requests by both the POWs and the International Committee of the Red Cross ("ICRC") for notification of capture. For the POWs, this was a special dimension of the torture and mental anguish as they worried about their loved ones. Although the POWs did not opt for their captivity or torture, many experienced guilt for causing anguish to their families and friends. For spouses and other family members in the United States, Iraq's refusal to permit notification produced severe mental anguish. Several spouses did not know whether they were wives or widows. Other spouses who learned of their husband's capture through released Iraqi propaganda tapes suffered mental anguish knowing that their loved ones would allow themselves to be videotaped only if severely tortured.
The POWs and their families have continued to suffer over the years since repatriation. For many, the physical and mental effect of the torture and mental anguish produced lasting damage. Some have permanent physical impairments. Some have undergone painful and extensive medical treatments in an effort to reverse the damage done by their captors in Iraq. All have suffered the effects of lasting emotional harm, whether to their marriages, their relationship with their families and friends, or their professional lives.
Col. (then-Lt. Col.) Clifford Acree's OV-10 "Bronco" aircraft was shot down by a surface-to-air missile in Kuwait on the first day of the war. He suffered a whiplash-like injury to his neck during the ejection procedure. Within minutes, he was taken prisoner by Iraqi soldiers. He was restrained with handcuffs that were so tight they cut off circulation and cut into his wrist bone, causing significant pain and causing his hands to swell and become numb. During his transportation to Baghdad, he was brutally beaten, often in time to music.
In Baghdad, interrogations and brutal beatings continued around the clock for several days, each episode lasting from twenty minutes to an hour. Col. Acree was threatened with death if he did not cooperate. He was struck with fists and other instruments to his entire upper body, but his captors cruelly focused on his injured neck. Because he was blindfolded, he never knew where the blows were coming from. The beatings were so frequent, however, that he learned to distinguish between the sound of a closed fist and that of other weapons. He also had to endure the agony of hearing other POWs being tortured.
His captors determined that he was a lieutenant colonel and a squadron leader, and they correctly assumed he had important, detailed military information. At that point, the interrogations and beatings became worse. The Iraqi captors tortured him violently in a futile attempt to extract valuable strategic information. Often, the beatings ended only when he was rendered unconscious. Despite the relentless torture, Col. Acree refused to provide information that would have endangered the Allied forces.
Col. Acree's captors also tormented him with stories of torture they had inflicted on POWs in the Iran-Iraq war. One interrogator told him about the interrogation of an Iranian pilot, in which they had taken a period of three days to cut off one of his testicles. When Col. Acree was later subjected to an inspection to determine if he was circumcised, he feared that he would suffer the same fate as the Iranian pilot.
The guards beat Col. Acree's head with such force that they broke his nose and fractured his skull. After the first few days of torture, he could not walk without assistance. The guards subjected him to mock executions and injected him with an unidentified drug during an interrogation. They forced him to make a propaganda video, but he refused to read the scripted message and, instead, merely sent a message intended to let his wife and family know that he was alive. He steadfastly refused to denounce the president or the Allied effort and, as a result, he was beaten even more severely.
Col. Acree was held in a freezing, dirty cell at the Iraqi Intelligence Service regional headquarters. His diet was so meager that he lost approximately 30 pounds during his captivity. Death from starvation alone was likely had the war lasted much longer. To survive, he ate a small piece of soiled bread he found behind the toilet and he ate the scabs off his own body. He developed conjunctivitis, lice infestation, and a severe intestinal disorder from the unsanitary conditions.
The building in which Col. Acree was held, a legitimate military target, was bombed by Allied forces on February 23, 1991. Col. Acree survived the bombing -- a bombing which probably prevented the threatened dismemberment he was to have suffered the next day.
During his forty-seven days in captivity, his status as a POW was never reported by Iraq. The fear he experienced throughout his captivity that his wife had been given no information about his capture and status as a POW unfortunately was well founded.
Following his release, Col. Acree experienced insomnia and outbursts of anger. He feared losing control of his behavior. He believes that his marriage was affected by his impatience, his reduced emotions, and his reluctance to depend on anyone else. He had to undergo four painful reconstructive surgeries to repair his shattered nose and septum and broken facial bones, and to align airways in his skull. Each surgery brought back vivid flashbacks of the torture endured while in captivity in Iraq. As a result of having his nose repeatedly bludgeoned by his captors, he completely lost the sense of smell for several years, and it remains impaired to this day.
Col. Acree's hands remained numb for months after his release. He still suffers ongoing numbness in two fingers of his right hand from the Iraqi torture. He also has a rapid heart beat during medical exams and physical exercise. He has considerable hearing loss, and sudden noises startle him. His neck often becomes stiff and sometimes produces sharp pains, incapacitating him for two to five days at a time.
In 1992, Col. Acree was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD") arising from his mistreatment in Iraq. In 1998, while on assignment to NATO, he suffered what was diagnosed as a Major Depressive Episode coincident with a recurrence of PTSD. He returned to the United States, where he was placed on medical leave during seven months of psychiatric treatment. He still suffers a number of problems caused by his captivity, including rapid and irregular heartbeat, low back pain, night sweats, headaches, nervousness when stressed, irritability when tired, numbness and tingling in his upper extremities, and some hearing loss and tinnitus.
The mistreatment of Col. Acree by his captors has significantly reduced the quality of his life during the twelve years since his release. He is not the same person he was before he became a POW, and has not been able to return to full mental and physical health. As a result, he will always suffer the consequences of his captors' inhumane treatment.
Lt. Colonel Craig Berryman
The Harrier aircraft piloted by Lt. Col. Craig Berryman was shot down near Kuwait City on January 28, 1991. His wingman reported seeing the plane hit the ground and explode, but he did not see a parachute emerge and believed Lt. Col. Berryman had died in the crash.
Upon his initial capture, Lt. Col. Berryman was beaten by Iraqi soldiers using their fists and rifle butts. He was then taken to a series of bunkers in Kuwait for interrogation. One of his interrogators commented that Lt. Col. Berryman's failure to make radio contact meant that he was presumed dead and, therefore, his captors could kill him with impunity. As a result, Lt. Col. Berryman was extremely concerned that his family would never know what happened to him. When he continued to refuse to answer questions during an interrogation, his captors knocked him to the ground, cuffed his hands behind his back, and then jerked him up roughly by the chain linking his handcuffs, making them as tight as possible.
When the guards brought him out of the interrogation bunker, a number of Iraqi soldiers punched, kicked, and spit on him. While waiting in an Armored Personnel Carrier that would transport him to Basra, Lt. Col. Berryman felt a guard's fingers running through his hair as if part of a sexual advance. Blindfolded and handcuffed, he was helpless to prevent any assault that might ensue. At that point, two more guards entered the vehicle and began beating Lt. Col. Berryman's head. To ensure that Lt. Col. Berryman would take the full impact of each punch, one guard held Lt. Col. Berryman's head against the guard's knee while the other two guards punched him. That prevented him from using protective techniques he had learned as a boxer in college.
At Basra, Lt. Col. Berryman was inspected to determine whether he was circumcised, and he was questioned about his religion. When he answered that he was a Baptist, his captors called him a "lying Jew." A guard then hit his left leg below the knee with an instrument that felt like a heavy club. Lt. Col. Berryman immediately collapsed in excruciating pain this blow had broken the fibula in his left leg. Another guard then used a similar club to attack his right leg. The two guards continued beating him as he rolled on the floor trying to protect his left leg.
As he continued to resist answering their questions, Lt. Col. Berryman was told that if he did not answer their questions they would break his other leg. Two guards pinned him to the wall and one kicked his left leg, causing him to collapse to the ground in pain. The others began kicking and beating him. One guard used a steel-toed boot to kick a piece of flesh out of Lt. Col. Berryman's leg, exposing the bone. A lit cigarette was then pressed several times against his forehead and then pressed against his nose and each ear. The cigarette was then crushed out in an open wound in his neck.
Once in Baghdad, Lt. Col. Berryman was thrown into a prison cell from which he could clearly hear other American POWs being beaten by Iraqis. These were among the worst sounds he remembered from his experience while a captive of Iraq, both because it was excruciating to hear a fellow human suffering and because he knew that it would soon be his turn to be beaten again. Indeed, his cell door soon opened and two Iraqis entered. The larger one kicked his left leg and punched him. After about five minutes of continuous beating, these Iraqis left his cell and moved on to the prisoner in the adjacent cell. This cycle repeated itself two more times. During the last session, Lt. Col. Berryman asked the Iraqis what they wanted. They replied simply and coldly that they wanted to kill him, and then they continued beating him. Lt. Col. Berryman feared for his life every moment he was held captive in Iraq.
The next day, he was taken to what the POWs referred to as the "Biltmore," where he was kept in solitary confinement in a six-by-ten-foot cell with almost no light and a non functioning toilet. He was fed a starvation diet of two scoops of broth and two small pieces of pita bread each day. He was given only two thin blankets for protection against the freezing Baghdad nights. After several weeks, he began to lose feeling in his hands because of the severe cold. He lost 25 pounds during the thirty-seven days he was in Iraqi captivity.
The interrogations continued at the Biltmore. They varied in length from a few minutes to hours. On two occasions, he was forced to make videotaped statements. The beatings during these interrogations also continued. In addition to their fists, the guards often used instruments, including rubber hoses, clubs, and pistol barrels. At one point, the interrogator placed a gun to Lt. Col. Berryman's head and told him that if he did not answer the remaining questions correctly, he would die.
At another interrogation session, his hands were held on the table in front of him. The interrogator stuck a knife between two of Lt. Col. Berryman's fingers and announced that he would have to answer five questions. He was told that for each answer deemed insufficient his interrogator would cut off a finger. Lt. Col. Berryman's fear at that point was so overwhelming that he was unable to answer any question. He was then told he would have a similar interrogation several days later.
He was spared that particular torture when the Biltmore was bombed by Allied forces. He was moved to a civilian prison, dubbed "Joliet" by the POWs, where he contracted dysentery that plagued him for years after his return to the United States and still continues to cause a number of problems.
Only after his release did he begin to receive appropriate medical attention for his broken leg and other injuries. Every day of his life, Lt. Col. Berryman thinks about the torture he experienced in Iraq. Nightmares about his time there continued for months after his return to the United States. He was grounded from flight status during this time. To this day, he cannot tolerate anyone touching his wrists because nerve damage from the handcuffs he wore has never fully healed.
As a result of his treatment in Iraq during his captivity, Lt. Col. Berryman developed PTSD. Although his symptoms have fluctuated, he continues to meet criteria for the full disorder. He also suffers symptoms of chronic depression including loss of pleasure, social withdrawal, and nihilistic feelings. These symptoms have seriously affected his family life. He is more withdrawn, more solitary, and less trustful now than before his torture by Iraq while held as a POW. This emotional shift inward caused a great strain to his marriage that he and his wife have resolved only with significant effort.
His POW experience had a negative impact on his career, causing a two-year delay in his promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. As a result, he earned $70,000 less than if he had been promoted on schedule, a loss attributable to the mistreatment he received while a POW.
Former Sergeant Troy Dunlap
On February 27, 1991, then-Sergeant Troy Dunlap was on a search-and-rescue mission in a Blackhawk helicopter when it was shot down over Iraq. He survived the violent crash, along with U.S. Army Major Rhonda Cornum and U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Stamaris. Iraqi troops quickly captured him and Major Cornum, while abandoning the severely wounded Staff Sergeant Stamaris at the crash site. During his capture, the soldiers spit on him and kicked him while a guard said in English for the soldiers to "kill him." A solder put the barrel of a gun to his head and pressed it into his skull. Slowly, he pulled the trigger until it clicked. After the click, his captors laughed loudly at his anguish. Then they started kicking and spitting on him again.
Dunlap was eventually taken to an underground bunker complex where he underwent his first interrogation. The interrogators, seeking details of his mission, pounded his head with a pistol whenever he gave answers they did not like. One of the men then threatened to harm to Major Cornum. During this interrogation, he was asked if he was Jewish.
He was later taken to a town where his guards allowed civilians to hit him and spit on him. One of the civilians spit in his face and grabbed his nose, pinching it until the pain was unbearable. The guard then punched him in the teeth.
That night, Dunlap was locked in a small room tied to a chair with his hands bound behind his back. The only light was from a lantern the guards carried. The guards placed a fuel-soaked blanket over his body up to his neck and laughed as they lit matches and threw them around his chair. His tormentors left momentarily, then returned and placed what appeared to be dates on the blanket. Just as he was trying to devise a way to eat the dates without the use of his bound hands, the guards urinated on the dates.
The next day, Dunlap was taken to an abandoned office where he was left to be watched by a child around the age of ten or twelve who was told, "If he moves, kill him!" For the next three or four hours he stared at the wall, fearing the child would shoot him and claim that he had tried to escape.
He was then moved in a truck to another prison. During the trip, he was punched repeatedly in the stomach and slapped by the guards. When he arrived at what he believes was the prison the POWs called the Joliet, he was thrown into a cold, damp cell. The guards at the prison frequently kicked him and hit his head with their guns.
Dunlap was then taken to another prison where more interrogations took place. His cell there was even smaller than the one at Joliet. He was on a cold concrete floor, had no boots, and had to use a coffee can as a toilet. The guards often told him they needed his home address for the bombs they would send his family. The also said they would send him home one piece at a time.
During one of the interrogations, the guards put scorching hot spoons on the back of his neck each time they did not believe his answers. They threatened to cut off his fingers, and they kept telling him that they would hurt Major Cornum if he did not cooperate. During these interrogations, the guards repeatedly kicked him, hit his head with pistols and rifle butts, and threatened to kill him.
During his seven days in Iraqi captivity, Dunlap lost 18 pounds due to the starvation diet to which he was subjected. The unsanitary conditions he endured also resulted in intestinal problems, including dysentery.
Former Sergeant Dunlap continues to have nightmares –- on average twice per week –- about his torture in Iraq. His nightmares usually include Arabic shouting, gunfire and bright lights. He suffers from sleeplessness, a loss of patience, and flashbacks to his experience in Iraq. Shortly after his release, he felt a major change in himself. He was easily frightened and he became isolated.
He has been diagnosed with PTSD. Although he had been awarded the Bronze star with valor, the Purple Heart, and a POW medal, he was discharged from the Army in October 1992 because of a pattern of misconduct that was possibly a symptom of his PTSD. He was later divorced from his wife, who felt he had changed and who was afraid of him because of his nightmares. He continues to suffer from PTSD with severe impairment in his mood and interpersonal functioning.
Colonel (Ret.) David Eberly
Col. David Eberly was shot down over northwest Iraq on January 19, 1991, and lost consciousness as he ejected. When he awoke, he and his crewmember headed for the Syrian border. As they approached an apparently deserted shack to seek shelter from the cold, they were captured by Iraqi soldiers who hit them repeatedly before throwing them into the back of a truck.
Col. Eberly was paraded through a small town and exposed to angry mobs. Once, while handcuffed in the back seat of a small car, he was attacked by civilians waving sticks and trying to overturn the vehicle. One threw a grapefruit-sized rock through the window behind him.
In Baghdad, he was taken to a video studio and was hit in the head when he did not provide the answers about the war that his captors sought for propaganda purposes. The main interrogator demanded that he cooperate, putting a gun to his head and saying, "You answer my questions or you die, here." He pulled the trigger on an empty chamber.
On January 31, Col. Eberly was taken to the Biltmore, which he learned on return to the United States was the Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters. There he was thrown into an empty cell with no cot, no light, and no heat. He was forced to use a non-functioning toilet in his cell. He slept on the concrete floor with only one blanket for protection from the cold. His daily diet was generally one ladle of broth and a piece of pita bread, but on some days he received nothing. Water was rarely offered.
A second forced propaganda video session was held with Col. Eberly shivering and bleeding, and more interrogations followed. One of his captors' most frequent means of torture was to hit the side of his head, trying to burst an eardrum. During several other interrogations, guards held a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger. On another occasion, he was forced to undergo an inspection of his genitals. This caused him absolute terror, as he had heard of Iraqi mutilations of Iranian prisoners. As the ranking POW, however, he continued to plead for better treatment for the POWs, asking that they be given medical attention, water, food, and blankets.
On February 23, Allied forces bombed the Biltmore, and the POWs were moved to another prison. The conditions at the new prison were extremely unsanitary, resulting in severe gastro-intestinal problems for Col. Eberly.
At the time of his eventual release, his abdomen was sunken and the skin on his chest and legs hung in folds. During the forty-six days he spent in captivity, he lost approximately 45 pounds, over 31% of his body weight.
Col. Eberly's transition back to life as a free person was marked by his impatience to return to a productive leadership role at work. The transition was slow and disconcerting. He continues to suffer mental torment from his facial scars and the torture he endured as a prisoner in Iraq. He is less patient now than before his inhumane treatment and he avoids personal confrontations.
He suffers great continuing stress as his family members, especially his son, continue to cope with the trauma endured from his time as a POW. His wife sought psychological counseling and is still being treated for issues related to this experience. The lingering effects on his family have a negative impact on Col. Eberly's well being. His prognosis is guarded, and it is unclear how much of the psychological damage he has suffered can be mitigated, even with treatment.
Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Jeffrey D. Fox
On February 19, 1991, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Fox's A-10 aircraft was shot down over southern Iraq. He was injured during his ejection, including damage to his right arm, right knee, and compression fractures in his back. He immediately used his radio to call for rescue, but he was captured by Iraqi soldiers before help could arrive. He was taken to a room where he was blindfolded, handcuffed, and tied to a chair. His captors struck him, breaking his eardrum and knocking him to the floor. They continued to beat him with their hands and other instruments, ordering him not to yell in pain.
He was later transported, handcuffed and blindfolded, in the trunk of a vehicle. At this point, he had a torn knee ligament, a broken ear drum, and pain in his back, arms, and legs. After he was thrown into the trunk, he was hit on the head and legs. He was taken to an unknown location where he underwent a lengthy interrogation by several Iraqis in civilian attire. The interrogators accused him of being an Israeli fighter pilot and they conducted inspections to ascertain whether he was circumcised. In addition to the degrading nature of the inspections, this incident produced intense anxiety about being executed or more severely tortured.
Lt. Col. Fox was then taken to the Biltmore prison, where he suffered severe beatings and was informed that he was to be released to the people in the streets who would kill him with a knife. At the Biltmore, he was regularly beaten on his badly injured right knee, as well as on his legs and back. He sustained blows to his head and kicks to his legs and groin.
Lt. Col. Fox was kept in solitary confinement in a small concrete cell. He had to sleep on the floor by a broken toilet with only one blanket to protect him against the cold and damp. There were no lights and no access to water or a functioning toilet. Each day his captors fed him only a single ladle of thin red soup, sometimes with a piece of bread. He was given minimal drinking water. He spent his time in the corner of the cell with the blanket over him, and he prayed constantly.
During the interrogations, his Iraqi captors tried to force information out of him by hitting him on his face and body, sometimes with a fist and sometimes with a rubber mallet or baton. They kicked him with their military boots and hit his injured right knee.
The beatings were recurrent, at least once each day. During one interrogation and beating, while handcuffed and blindfolded, he was told that he would be shot. Someone cocked a pistol behind him. Finally, the gun was discharged next to his right ear, exploding his ear drum.
The Biltmore, a military target, was bombed on February 23, 1991 by Allied forces unaware of the presence of the POWs. Lt. Col. Fox was then transported to Joliet, the civilian prison. On his arrival, he was taken into a courtyard and made to sit cross-legged. Being forced to remain in that position was intensely painful. Sanitary conditions at Joliet were unfit for humans. Lacking a toilet, he would at times urinate in his boot and pour the urine out of a small window. The water he was given was very dirty and he contracted giardia. The combination of disease and starvation caused him to lose approximately 25 pounds while he was a POW in Iraq. During his fifteen days of captivity, he was purposely deprived of medical care.
At Joliet, he was beaten at least twice more. On one occasion, he was asked questions while being videotaped for propaganda purposes.
While he was held as a POW by Iraq, Lt. Col. Fox wanted to notify the United States government, and through them his family, that he was alive. He was never permitted to do so. The fact that his family probably did not know what had happened to him, and might think that he was dead, was a terrible emotional burden.
Throughout the duration of his captivity, his distress was constant, and he was concerned that a guard would finally do too much damage to him. It was particularly frightening to hear the guards' footsteps in the hall and think they were coming for him.
Following his return to the United States, his physical and psychological problems have persisted, some to the present. He underwent surgery to repair the tympanic membrane damaged when the gun was fired next to his right ear, and he currently suffers from tinnitus, ringing, and some hearing loss.
The repeated kicks and beatings to his injured right knee caused him to require reconstructive surgery to his right anterior collateral ligament. Despite the surgery, and physical therapy over the years, his knee has never fully healed and he now needs a total knee replacement. He is regarded by the Veterans Administration as 40% disabled.
Lt. Col. Fox endured chronic diarrheal problems until at least April 1993 and has a low iron condition, both secondary to giardia. He has experienced pain in his shoulders and neck he attributes to being beaten there with the baton.
Following his release from Iraq, he noticed he had become unable to tolerate disagreement, especially in the workplace. The impatience caused by his experience as a POW had a negative impact on his career. He retired from the Air Force, was hired by Southwest Airlines, but soon quit. Subsequently, he worked in a number of jobs on a short-term basis. Currently, he would like to find a part-time job. He still suffers from Subthreshold Posttraumatic stress disorder caused by the mistreatment he suffered while he was a POW in Iraq.
Chief Warrant Officer (Ret.) Guy Hunter
On January 18, 1991, CWO Guy Hunter and his pilot, then-Lt. Col. Acree, were shot down. CWO Hunter received a concussion and lost consciousness, and Col. Acree ejected them both. They were captured by Iraqi soldiers within five minutes.
At his first interrogation, when CWO Hunter refused to disclose military information, the cloth ties on his hands were replaced with handcuffs, clamped so tightly that his hands began to swell and he was in agony.
At what he believed to be an Army headquarters in Kuwait, CWO Hunter was kicked, hit, and beaten with batons on his head, sides, legs, and stomach. At one point, he was forced to kneel, and he remembers vividly the sound of a sword being drawn from a scabbard, giving him the distinct impression that the Iraqi soldiers were preparing to behead him.
On the way to Baghdad, he was repeatedly beaten by the guards and was interrogated in an attempt to obtain military information. At this time, his handcuffs were so tight his hands swelled. He remained in handcuffs for about five days, with only brief breaks to use the bathroom.
On arrival in Baghdad, he was interrogated two or three more times and was beaten into unconsciousness. If he did not answer questions to his interrogators' satisfaction, they would put a gun to his head and pull the trigger in a mock execution. CWO Hunter underwent a total of four mock executions as a POW.
During other interrogations, he was forced to sit on the concrete with his back to a concrete wall, still blindfolded and handcuffed. He clearly heard moans and shrieks coming from other cells. The beatings continued and he remained tightly handcuffed. He was asked the same questions he had been asked before, but with increasing brutality. He felt the barrels of guns placed against his head and stuck in his mouth. He heard the trigger pull sounds and gun slides being recycled next to his ear. After being gang-beaten to unconsciousness so many times, he was forced to make statements about "peaceful Iraq" for a propaganda videotape to be broadcast on international television.
Eventually, CWO Hunter was taken to another prison in Baghdad. An Iraqi military officer told him that he would never go home. A feeling of deep despair swept over him and he felt utterly isolated and alone. Most painful of all, he imagined his wife wondering day after day what had happened to him.
At the end of January, he was taken blindfolded and handcuffed to the Biltmore. He was asked several times if he was American, and at least twice he was beaten when he answered that he was. The interrogations were violent. He spent most of his time in prayer or thinking of his wife and children and hoping they would have a good life if he did not make it back alive.
His cell had a broken toilet and water was severely restricted. He endured a raging thirst and had difficulty swallowing the piece of bread he was occasionally given. The only other sustenance he received was a small amount of red and watery liquid. He lost approximately 30 pounds due to his starvation diet as a POW in Iraq.
The cell had a bare concrete floor and was constantly dark and cold. He developed running sores on his thighs and his tail bone from lying on the concrete day and night. He suffered from persistent aches and pains. His eyes became infected and his only available option was to use his hands to wipe the sores in his eyes and then to rub the pus on the walls of the cell. He never received medical help.
He often heard other prisoners being taken from their cells and then heard them screaming with pain as they were beaten. Hearing the thump of clubs hitting a prisoner's body and the resulting moans seemed to freeze his mind in a stupor.
During his forty-seven days in captivity, CWO Hunter had a constant fear of permanent injury. During the interrogations, the men would hit him in the back of his head when they did not like his answers. He was beaten into unconsciousness at least ten times during captivity.
On February 23, 1991, his captors threatened to cut off one of his fingers for each unsatisfactory answer he gave at the next day's interrogation. He fully believed his captors would follow through on that threat, but the Biltmore was bombed by Allied forces that night.
As he was transferred to Joliet, he was again beaten. It was very cold at Joliet and he had only one blanket. He shivered constantly.
The torture by Iraq has had serious lingering effects on the quality of his life. Following his release, CWO Hunter was easily frightened. His children became anxious around him and were occasionally frightened by his behavior and tenseness. He suffered with post-concussive syndrome caused by the many beatings to his head during captivity in Iraq. He has also suffered from tinnitus, some hearing loss, frequent and severe headaches, stiffness, swelling and pain in his hip and shoulder, dizziness, sleeplessness, night sweats, nervousness, and fatigue. He sustained permanent nerve damage from the severe handcuffing that still causes pain and numbness in both of his arms, from the elbow through his hands, and especially in his thumbs. At night, he tries to straighten his arms out to get relief, but the pain has not improved over time. The aches and pains, coupled with almost nightly nightmares, cause sleeplessness that leaves him constantly tired.
Today, he remains depressed. He takes Zoloft, but his nightmares still occur regularly. In addition, he is more irritable and has difficulty getting along with others. He is short with his family now and it hurts him ...