Tag Archives: iraq

I Am a Human Being

Segments from interviews with Lynndie England. I was particularly struck at how she spoke of wanting people to realize she is a human being, yet i see no evidence that she thinks those who she tortured are.

Torture Victims Stabbed, Sodomized, Soaked with Urine

Broken Laws, Broken Lives
From: Physicians for Human Rights

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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

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

Torture Cost Hundreds, if not Thousands of American Lives

Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney for Torture Speech

Dick Cheney says that torturing detainees has saved American lives. That claim is patently false. Cheney’s torture policy was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American servicemen and women.

Matthew Alexander was the senior military interrogator for the task force that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and, at the time, a higher priority target than Osama bin Laden. Mr. Alexander has personally conducted hundreds of interrogations and supervised over a thousand of them.

“Torture does not save lives. Torture costs us lives,” Mr. Alexander said in an exclusive interview at Brave New Studios. “And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool…These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse….literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives.”

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

Recruiting Gang Members into the Military

I-Team Exposes Soldier Recruitment Inside Jails

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Andre Rayas committed murder with military precision, and it was caught on camera.

Using a high-powered rifle, Rayas gunned down police Sgt. Howard Stevenson, a married father and police veteran.

Rayas, who died in the shootout in Northern California, learned his tactics as a Marine at Camp Pendleton, an example of the dangers of gangs in the U.S. military.

Hunter Glass is an Army veteran, former detective and gang expert. He said a military gang member is a threat because, “He understands fire power, technology, he understands how to shoot.”

The 10News I-Team spent two years investigating military gang members, revealing their growing numbers among sailors, Marines and soldiers.

The I-Team captured illustrations of gang activity, including Bloods and Crips on the dance floor at Fort Bragg, who first flashed gang signs and then turned on each other.

The I-Team’s investigation showed the brutality of gang initiation with dramatic video of a young man being beaten harshly by six or seven gangsters.

There are actually 19 separate gangs with members in the military, according to the National Gang Intelligence Center. They include gangs from all races such as Mongols, MS 13, Vice Lords, Asian Boyz and the Mexican Mafia.

The Center’s threat assessment for 2009 said military gang members pose a “unique threat” because of their “distinctive military skills” and “willingness to teach … fellow gang members.”

Peggy Daly-Masternak of Ohio is a longtime educator who is also part of a group that monitors military recruitment.

“When you take a convicted felon, a street criminal, and train them to be a marksman, I think they’re a deadly danger once they get back,” she said.

Full Story and Video