Tag Archives: afghanistan

Blackwater/Xe: Christian Supremacists Involved in Murder, Prostitution

Keith Olbermann: Blackwater – Murder, Inc.

Child Prostitution, Illegal Weapons & Murder!

US security firm faces fresh allegations

Ex-employees claim Blackwater pimped out young Iraqi girls

Since the revelation earlier this week of allegations by two former employees of security firm Blackwater that its owner was complicit in murder in order to cover up the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians, explosive charges have continued to emerge.

Perhaps the most shocking of those charges — quoted by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Thursday from the employees’ sworn declarations — is that Blackwater was guilty of using child prostitutes at its compound in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and that owner Erik Prince knew of this activity and did nothing to stop it.

The declarations describe Blackwater as “having young girls provide oral sex to Enterprise members in the ‘Blackwater Man Camp’ in exchange for one American dollar.” They add even though Prince frequently visited this camp, he “failed to stop the ongoing use of prostitutes, including child prostitutes, by his men.”

One of the statements also charges that “Prince’s North Carolina operations had an ongoing wife-swapping and sex ring, which was participated in by many of Mr. Prince’s top executives.”

According to the two former employees, Blackwater supervisors in Iraq sometimes sent men back to the United States for wanting to “kill ragheads,” excessive drinking, steroid use, or failure to follow weapon safety procedures, but “Mr. Prince and his executives would send them back” with a reprimand to the supervisor for costing the firm money. Blackwater even fired “those mental health professionals who were not willing to endorse deployments of unfit men.”

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US Still Paying Blackwater Millions

Just days before two former Blackwater employees alleged in sworn statements filed in federal court that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” the Obama administration extended a contract with Blackwater for more than $20 million for “security services” in Iraq, according to federal contract data obtained by The Nation. The State Department contract is scheduled to run through September 3. In May, the State Department announced it was not renewing Blackwater’s Iraq contract, and the Iraqi government has refused to issue the company an operating license.

“They are still there, but we are transitioning them out,” a State Department official told The Nation. According to the State Department, the $20 million represents an increase on an aviation contract that predates the Obama administration.

Despite its scandal-plagued track record, Blackwater (which has rebranded itself as Xe) continues to have a presence in Iraq, trains Afghan forces on US contracts and provides government-funded training for military and law enforcement inside the United States. The company is also actively bidding on other government contracts, including in Afghanistan, where the number of private contractors is swelling. According to federal contracting records reviewed by The Nation, since President Barack Obama took office in January the State Department has contracted with Blackwater for more than $174 million in “security services” alone in Iraq and Afghanistan and tens of millions more in “aviation services.” Much of this money stems from existing contracts from the Bush era that have been continued by the Obama administration. While Obama certainly inherited a mess when it came to Blackwater’s entrenchment in Iraq and Afghanistan, he has continued the widespread use of armed private contractors in both countries. Blackwater’s role may be slowly shrinking, but its work is continuing through companies such as DynCorp and Triple Canopy.

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Torture Victims Stabbed, Sodomized, Soaked with Urine

Broken Laws, Broken Lives
From: Physicians for Human Rights

02

Synopses of the Cases of Former Detainees Profiled

Kamal is in his late forties. He served in the Iraqi Army during the 1980s and later became a businessman and Imam of a local mosque. In September 2003 he was arrested by US forces. At the time of his arrest, he was beaten to the point of losing consciousness. After being brought to Abu Ghraib prison, he was kept naked and isolated in a cold dark room for three weeks, where both during and in between interrogations he was frequently beaten, including being hit on the head and in the jaw with a rifle and stabbed in the cheek with a screwdriver.

He was then placed in isolation in a urine-soaked room for two months. When Kamal was allowed to wear clothes, they were sometimes soaked in water to keep him cold. On approximately ten occasions he was suspended in a stress position, causing numbness that lasted for a month. He was made to believe that his family members were also in prison and that they were being raped and tortured.

He recounted, “[T]hey were telling me, making me hear voices of children and women, and told me they were my children and [wife].”

Amir is in his late twenties and grew up in a Middle Eastern country. He was a salesman before being arrested by US forces in August 2003 in Iraq. After his arrest, he was forced, while shackled, to stand naked for at least five hours. For the next three days, he and other detainees were deprived of sleep and forced to run for long periods, during which time he injured his foot. After Amir notified a soldier of the injury, the soldier threw him against a wall and Amir lost consciousness.

Ultimately, he was taken to another location, where he was kept in a small, dark room for almost a month while being subjected to interrogations that involved shackling, blindfolding, and humiliation. Approximately one month later, he was transferred to Abu Ghraib. At first he was not mistreated, but then was subjected to religious and sexual humiliation, hooding, sleep deprivation, restraint for hours while naked, and dousing with cold water.

In the most horrific incident Amir recalled experiencing, he was placed in a foul-smelling room and forced to lay face down in urine, while he was hit and kicked on his back and side. Amir was then sodomized with a broomstick and forced to howl like a dog while a soldier urinated on him. After a soldier stepped on his genitals, he fainted.

Youssef is in his early thirties. Unable to find work in his country of origin, he sought employment in Afghanistan. In late 2001 or early 2002, Youssef was detained as he attempted to cross the Afghanistan-Pakistan border without a passport while trying to return home. He was held in a Pakistani prison for two months, where he was often shackled in unsanitary conditions and given little food. During this time, he was interrogated by US personnel and eventually hooded, shackled, and transferred to the US detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

In Kandahar, Youssef was immediately interrogated and subjected to beatings with sticks and fists as well as kicking, although he did not sustain serious injuries at the time. After that, he was stripped naked.

The first night he was not allowed to sleep, as guards hit the detainees and threw sand at them. While in Kandahar, Youssef endured forced nakedness, intimidation by dogs, hooding, and repeated assaults by being thrown against a wall. He was subjected to electric shock from a generator, feeling “as if my veins were being pulled out.”

Yasser is in his mid-forties and reported that his father was a “simple farmer.” He was raised in a big family, completed secondary school, attended an Islamic university, and eventually became a teacher. In the late 1990s, he changed his career and became a farmer. According to Yasser he was a respected member of the community; people sought his help in resolving social disputes and family problems and considered him a “wise man.” He recalled many accomplishments during this period and describes it as “the best days of our lives.”

Yasser tearfully described that when he reached the top of the steps “the party began…They started to put the [muzzle] of the rifle [and] the wood from the broom into [my anus]. They entered my privates from behind.” He noted that several other soldiers and civilians were present, including an interpreter with “a Lebanese accent.” Yasser estimated that he was penetrated five or six times during this initial sodomy incident and saw blood “all over my feet” through a small hole in the hood covering his eyes.

Yasser recalled that this “party” of abusive behavior continued for approximately five days. In a particularly traumatic experience, which Yasser describes as the “music party,” he was forced to lie on the ground with loudspeakers blasting music into his ears at a very painful volume. He recalled that this lasted “about one day, but you can say two years.”

Legal Prohibitions Against Torture and Ill-Treatment

All of the abusive interrogation techniques and patterns of ill-treatment endured by these eleven men — including beatings and other forms of severe physical and sexual assault, isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nakedness, severe humiliation and degradation, and sensory deprivation, many of which were experienced over long periods of time and often in combination with other prohibited acts — constituted acts of torture as well as cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under domestic criminal statutes and international human rights and humanitarian treaties, including the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions, that were in effect at the time the acts were committed.

Full Report of Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact

Message for Obama: Take Troops Out of Afghanistan

Afghan president demands an end to air raids on Taliban amid claims of 130 civilian deaths
US accused of using white phosphorous in raids

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has called for an end to air raids in his country after scores of civilians were killed in the latest attack on the Taliban.

Karzai, who went on U.S. television to make the call has put the death toll at up to 130 people.

If his figure is confirmed, it would be the biggest such case of Western forces killing civilians since they invaded in 2001.

His spokesman said the Afghan leader was ‘very serious’ about his demand.

Afghans are furious about the bombing of two villages in Western Farah province during a drawn-out battle last week, when homes full of civilians were hit.

…Karzai’s warning comes after the U.S. was accused of using white phosphorus bombs during the raids.

Doctors say they found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago.

They believe they could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to flesh and burn deep into it.

Full Story

Air Raid Victim Tells Obama to Leave Afghanistan at Once

Starving Afghan Family Displaced by US Airstrike

Afghan Children Left to Die After US Bombings

Afghan Refugee Describes Horror of US Bombings

See:
Of Poppies and War
Ugly truth about foreign aid in Afghanistan

The Torture and Killing of Innocent Detainees

Ex-Bush Official: Many at Guantanamo Bay Are Innocent

Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday.

“There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.

“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.” Full Story

Did Media Ignore Autopsy Reports on Iraqi Prisoners?

Professor Peter Phillips reprimands mainstream media for underreporting autopsy reports released in 2006 that listed homicide as the cause of death for dozens of Iraqi and Afghani civilians held in U.S. military custody. “This is killing people; this is murder,” he says.

Murder of detainees confirmed!

Innocent Gitmo Detainee Says He Was Tortured, Holds Bush and Cheney Responsible

Lakhdar Boumediene was locked up at Guantanimo Bay prison for 7 1/2 years for a crime he didn’t commit and says he was tortured while he was there, including one episode where he was forced to go without sleep for 16 days straight. He cries because he doesn’t even know his own daughters anymore, and may sue the US government.

U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases

The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.

The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. People who have read or been briefed on it said it had been presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by an administration task force on detention. Full Story

The Real Photos Show Torture, Abuse, Rape and Every Indecency

Abu Ghraib abuse photos ‘show rape’
Photographs of alleged prisoner abuse which Barack Obama is attempting to censor include images of apparent rape and sexual abuse, it has emerged.

At least one picture shows an American soldier apparently raping a female prisoner while another is said to show a male translator raping a male detainee.

Further photographs are said to depict sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and a phosphorescent tube.

Another apparently shows a female prisoner having her clothing forcibly removed to expose her breasts.

Detail of the content emerged from Major General Antonio Taguba, the former army officer who conducted an inquiry into the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq.

Allegations of rape and abuse were included in his 2004 report but the fact there were photographs was never revealed. He has now confirmed their existence in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.

The graphic nature of some of the images may explain the US President’s attempts to block the release of an estimated 2,000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan despite an earlier promise to allow them to be published.

Maj Gen Taguba, who retired in January 2007, said he supported the President’s decision, adding: “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency.

“I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them, and British troops who are trying to build security in Afghanistan.

“The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

…It was thought the images were similar to those leaked five years ago, which showed naked and bloody prisoners being intimidated by dogs, dragged around on a leash, piled into a human pyramid and hooded and attached to wires.

Mr Obama seemed to reinforce that view by adding: “I want to emphasise that these photos that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.” Full Story

See Also:

Bush’s Rape And Torture Rooms – Seymour Hersh

Soldiers ‘Hunting People for Jesus’ in Afghanistan

US troops urged to share faith in Afghanistan

US soldiers in Afghanistan have been filmed with local language Bibles and urged to be “witnesses for Jesus” despite anti-proselytising rules.

‘Witness for Jesus’ in Afghanistan

US soldiers have been encouraged to spread the message of their Christian faith among Afghanistan’s predominantly Muslim population, video footage obtained by Al Jazeera appears to show.

Military chaplains stationed in the US air base at Bagram were also filmed with bibles printed in the country’s main Pashto and Dari languages.

In one recorded sermon, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, is seen telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility “to be witnesses for him”.

“The special forces guys – they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down,” he says.

“Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business.”

Local language Bibles

The footage, shot about a year ago by Brian Hughes, a documentary maker and former member of the US military who spent several days in Bagram, was obtained by Al Jazeera’s James Bays, who has covered Afghanistan extensively.

Bays also obtained from Hughes a Pashto-language copy of one of the books he picked up during a Bible study lesson he recorded at Bagram.
A Pashto speaker confirmed to Bays that it was a Bible.

In other footage captured at Bagram, Sergeant Jon Watt, a soldier who is set to become a military chaplain, is seen giving thanks for the work that his church in the US did in getting Bibles printed and sent to Afghanistan. Full Story

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Survey: Support for terror suspect torture differs among the faithful

The more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support the torture of suspected terrorists, according to a new survey.

More than half of people who attend services at least once a week — 54 percent — said the use of torture against suspected terrorists is “often” or “sometimes” justified. Only 42 percent of people who “seldom or never” go to services agreed, according to the analysis released Wednesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

White evangelical Protestants were the religious group most likely to say torture is often or sometimes justified — more than six in 10 supported it. People unaffiliated with any religious organization were least likely to back it. Only four in 10 of them did. Full Story

Obama Pumping Billions of Dollars into ‘War on Islam’

Obama: U.S. ‘Not at War With Islam’

Obama seeks $83.4 billion in special war money

President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Obama’s request, including money to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion

since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.

Obama is also requesting $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan.

“Nearly 95 percent of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future — and work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, acknowledged that Obama has been critical of Bush’s use of similar special legislation to pay for the wars. He said it was needed this time because the money will be required by summer, before Congress is likely to complete its normal appropriations process…

…Some Democrats were not pleased.

“This funding will do two things — it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011, and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely,” said anti-war Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. “Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts.” Full Story

Night-time raid on home leaves five civilians dead