Tag Archives: Guantánamo

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

CIA Interrogation: ‘Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment’

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Red Cross Described ‘Torture’ at CIA Jails

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives “constituted torture,” a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document.

The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA “black site” prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

The findings were based on an investigation by ICRC officials, who were granted exclusive access to the CIA’s “high-value” detainees after they were transferred in 2006 to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 14 detainees, who had been kept in isolation in CIA prisons overseas, gave remarkably uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding, or simulating drowning.

At least five copies of the report were shared with the CIA and top White House officials in 2007 but barred from public release by ICRC guidelines intended to preserve the humanitarian group’s strict policy of neutrality in conflicts. A copy of the report was obtained by Mark Danner, a journalism professor and author who published extensive excerpts in the April 9 edition of the New York Review of Books, released yesterday. He did not say how he obtained the report.

“The ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture,” Danner quoted the report as saying. Full Story

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I recently saw the film Taxi To The Dark Side. It was a very difficult, disturbing film to watch, but an important look at how ‘terrorist suspects’, who are presumed guilty, are tortured by U.S. Soldiers. I urge everyone who cares about this issue to see the film.

“Taxi To The Dark Side” – Trailer

This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. In an unflinching look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.

Taxi to the Dark Side – Falsely Accused

See Also:

‘The News that Didn’t Make the News’

Secret Prison Interrogation Videos Destroyed

Prison Torture in Afghanistan

Obama Refuses to Reverse Bush Policy on Prisoner’s Right to Trial

Soldier Abuse of Guantanamo Inmates

Prisoners Interrogated, Tortured and Killed

Obama Will Continue Use of Renditions

Soldier Abuse of Guantanamo Inmates

Former Gitmo guard recalls abuse, climate of fear

Army Pvt. Brandon Neely was scared when he took Guantanamo’s first shackled detainees off a bus. Told to expect vicious terrorists, he grabbed a trembling, elderly detainee and ground his face into the cement — the first of a range of humiliations he says he participated in and witnessed as the prison was opening for business.

Brian Neely

Brian Neely

Neely has now come forward in this final year of the detention center’s existence, saying he wants to publicly air his feelings of guilt and shame about how some soldiers behaved as the military scrambled to handle the first alleged al-Qaida and Taliban members arriving at the isolated U.S. Navy base.

His account, one of the first by a former guard describing abuses at Guantanamo, describes a chaotic time when soldiers lacked clear rules for dealing with detainees who were denied many basic comforts. He says the circumstances changed quickly once monitors from the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived.

The military says it has gone to great lengths in the seven years since then to ensure the prisoners’ safe treatment. “Our policy is to treat detainees humanely,” said Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Gordon, a Pentagon spokesman.

Full Story

See Also:

Prisoners Interrogated, Tortured and Killed
10 Reason Iraq Veterans Oppose the War

Prisoners Interrogated, Tortured and Killed

Unredacted documents reveal prisoners tortured to death

The American Civil Liberties Union has released previously classified excerpts of a government report on harsh interrogation techniques used in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. These previously unreported pages detail repeated use of “abusive” behavior, even to the point of prisoner deaths.

The documents, obtained by the ACLU under a Freedom of Information Act request, contain a report by Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, who was tapped to conduct a comprehensive review of Defense Department interrogation operations. Church specifically calls out interrogations at Bagram Air base in Afghanistan as “clearly abusive, and clearly not in keeping with any approved interrogation policy or guidance.”

The two unredacted pages from the Church report may be found here.

The ACLU’s release comes on the same day as a major FOIA document dump by three other leading human rights groups: Documents which reveal the Pentagon ran secret prisons in Bagram and Iraq, that it cooperated with the CIA’s “ghost detention” program and that Defense personnel delayed a prisoner’s release to avoid bad press.

“In both cases, for example, [prisoners] were handcuffed to fixed objects above their heads in order to keep them awake,” reads the document. “Additionally, interrogations in both incidents involved the use of physical violence, including kicking, beating, and the use of “compliance blows” which involved striking the [prisoners] legs with the [interrogators] knees. In both cases, blunt force trauma to the legs was implicated in the deaths. In one case, a pulmonary embolism developed as a consequence of the blunt force trauma, and in the other case pre-existing coronary artery disease was complicated by the blunt force trauma.”

Full Story

Obama to Approve More Secret Prisons & Torture

See Also: Obama Will Continue Use of Renditions

Following in Bush’s Warring Footsteps

Obama’s ‘War on Terror’

The language is softened and deceptive. The strategy and tactics are not. The “war on terror” continues. Promised change is talk, not policy. Just look at Obama’s “war cabinet,” discussed in an earlier article. It assures:

— the “strongest military on the planet” by outspending all other countries combined;

— continued foreign wars;

— possible new ones in prospect; on February 7, vice-president Joe Biden outlined continuity of the Bush administration’s policy toward Iran, including “preventive” wars under the National Security Strategy; demands also that Iran abandon its legal nuclear program meaning nothing going forward will change;

— permanent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is planned;

— a reinvented “Cold War” with Russia; perhaps also with China; “draw(ing) a new ‘iron curtain’ (between these) formidable Eurasian powers” to prevent their alliance from challenging America, according to F. William Engdahl;

— an “absolute” commitment “to eliminating the threat of terrorism (with) the full force of our power;”

— inciting instability for imperial gain, especially in resource-rich parts of the world;

— militarizing America; keeping Bush administration police state laws in force; dealing with a deepening economic crisis by preparing for hard line crackdowns should popular unrest arise; and

— readying for another major false flag attack?

Three times in his final week in office, George Bush warned: “Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. There’s still an enemy out there that would like to inflict damage on America – Americans. And that’ll be the major threat. The most important job (for) the next president is….to protect the American people from another attack.”

Full Story

Obama Will Continue Use of Renditions

Obama preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool

The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantanamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these programs, President Obama left intact an equally controversial counter-terrorism tool.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

The rendition program became a source of embarrassment for the CIA, and a target of international scorn, as details emerged in recent years of botched captures, mistaken identities and allegations that prisoners were turned over to countries where they were tortured.

Full Story

Rattansi talks to Christison, former Senior CIA Official
Leon Panetta retracts his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee and says he doesn’t know about the Bush administration’s involvement in torture and he says kidnapping is okay, after all.

Twelve Myths in Bush’s “War on Terror”

Twelve Myths in Bush’s “War on Terror”

Michael Haas

There are many misconceptions about the “war on terror” now being promoted by President George W. Bush in interviews and “talking points” to his minions. At least twelve need to be cleared up before he leaves office and they become accepted truth:

1. The only way to remove Saddam Hussein from power was by invading Iraq. Prior to the invasion in 2003, there had been several attempted coups in Baghdad. Saddam Hussein’s air force was able to foil those which were most serious. In 1999, the top Saudi Arabia intelligence officer urged the United States to have the Security Council authorize the expansion of the no-fly zones over the north and south to cover the entire country. The idea was rejected by both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

2. The invasion of Iraq was premised on the high probability that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) that could be launched at the United States. In May 1999, presidential candidate Bush intimated — without mentioning WMDs — that he would launch a war on Iraq if elected. Throughout their investigation, United Nations inspectors reported finding no hard evidence that there was anything suspicious at the many locations that American military intelligence identified as possible secret WMD sites in Iraq before the invasion. However, former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O’Neill saw a secret document dated March 5, 2001, entitled “Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq and Foreign Suitors of Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.”

3. Prisoners at Guantánamo were the “worst of the worst” among those detained in Afghanistan in 2001. Of the 774 prisoners detained at Guantánamo, approximately 500 have been released already, at least 70 are eligible for release today, and about 100 are in limbo. Only 60 have been identified as likely to be convicted of an offense. The initial commandant at Guantánamo, General Rick Baccus, flew to Afghanistan to try to stop receiving “Mickey Mouse” prisoners. He was unsuccessful.

4. A special tribunal was needed to try al-Qaeda operatives at Guantánamo. When Bush decided that al-Qaeda terrorists could not be tried under criminal or military law, he tried to set up something new by executive order. After the Supreme Court faulted his new tribunal for violating the constitution, Congress set up a separate tribunal in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. But the violations cited in the first two trials at Guantánamo were found in American criminal statutes, thus negating the rationale for separate tribunals.

5. The legal proceedings at Guantánamo are “war crimes trials.” In the first trial, Salim Ahmed Hamdan was convicted of violating a criminal law, not a war crime. Ali Harnza Ahmad Suliman al-Bahlul, the second person on trial, was convicted of aiding others who committed war crimes principally because he drove them in vehicles. In other words, he did not commit a war crime. Some prisoners at Guantánamo may indeed be tried in court for war crimes, but no such proceeding has yet gone beyond preliminary motions.

6. There is no evidence that George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are war criminals. In 2006, the Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld ruled that the judicial system at Guantánamo violated Article 3, common to the four Geneva Conventions of 1947. A violation of the Geneva Conventions is a war crime. If there is a crime, there must be a criminal, though the Supreme Court ruled on procedures, not guilt. The judicial arrangements at Guantánamo violating the Geneva Conventions were set up under Bush’s executive order and implemented by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld.

7. Valuable intelligence was only extracted from terrorists when torture was employed. The FBI obtained useful intelligence from several prisoners through normal interrogation. When the CIA pushed aside the FBI to employ torture, cooperation ceased and phony confessions emerged.

8. Harsh treatment of suspected terrorists and wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have crippled al-Qaeda. The National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 states just the opposite — that al-Qaeda has “regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capabilities.” According to a White House press release about that estimate, al-Qaeda’s “intent to attack the U.S. is undiminished, and they continue to adapt and improve their capabilities.”

9. Torture is the worst abuse committed by the Bush Administration in the “war on terror.” Most of those subjected to torture are still alive, though several died. Dr. Steven Miles and others have identified 45 prisoners who were murdered by their American captors from 2002 to 2007. Some others have died through neglect of their medical conditions. Murder is arguably worse than torture.

10. The Geneva Conventions were never applied to prisoners captured in the “war on terror.” General Baccus posted signs informing the first groups of incoming prisoners at Guantánamo that they were only required, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, to disclose their name, rank, and serial number. When the invasion of Afghanistan began, General Tommy Franks ordered that all prisoners should be treated in accordance with the Geneva Conventions. A few months later, the White House issued countermanding orders to both commanders.

11. Aside from murder and torture, the Bush administration has committed few war crimes. In George W. Bush, War Criminal?, with a Foreword by Nuremberg prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, 269 war crimes are identified in four categories — 175 that deal with mistreatment of prisoners, 52 with the occupation of Iraq, 36 with the misconduct of war, and 6 with the launching of unjustified aggression. The number would be astronomic if based on the number of perpetrators, victims, and repetitions of the same types of crimes.

12. A presidential pardon would confer impunity on the war criminals of the Bush administration. Presidential pardons are conditional on admission of guilt. Indeed, the main sticking point in Nixon’s acceptance of his pardon by President Gerald Ford was the requirement that he admit guilt for his criminality. A president cannot pardon himself.

As time goes on, Bush will continue to rewrite history. Thus far, journalists have mostly avoided referring to his actions as “war crimes.” In so doing, the journalists are participants in a cover-up.