WordPress is SHUTTING DOWN General Strike USA and General Strike to end Corruption

I’d like to take a moment and thank everyone for their continued support. Last week WordPress suspended General Strike to end Corruption. I was locked out and that is why nothing has been published here recently. WordPress was nice enough to allow me back in to my administrative panel so we can export our material. There has been no word as to how long this blog will remain visible to you, so we are now publishing here http://generalstrikeusa.blogspot.com/

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We know what the government is capable of, we must be prepared. They will do everything in their power to stop us, discredit us, discourage us. We know this. Stand firm, truth is on our side. I know things look bad, I know that you are fed up, but please, keep your head up. -Christopher Rice

 

TORTURE IS U.S. POLICY

By Christopher Rice

Close observers of Afghanistan are not likely to be surprised by recent allegations contained in a United Nations report that the Afghan National Security Directorate, the CIA’s leading counterterrorism partner in South Asia, used whips and electric shocks to squeeze confessions out of suspected insurgent detainees. There are many ways to describe the directorate, or NDS as it is locally known, but a model of modern intelligence gathering and investigative efficiency is not one of them. z_afghan_sp_fc000

The report, which was quietly published on the website of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Sunday, details a grim pattern of abuse and mistreatment in NDS prisons, and has put yet another dent in NDS’s reputation at a time when the Afghan intelligence agency has never been more vulnerable. A key partner in the ongoing U.S. quest to contain transnational terrorism in South and Central Asia, NDS seems to have fallen on very hard times of late. Yet, few in Washington appear ready to confront the implications of NDS’s downward spiral, a trend that seems to be accelerating as NATO marches toward the exit. 
 
Last week, in an unprecedented show of force at least half a dozen Taliban fighters charged the gates of NDS headquarters in central Kabul, set off a suicide truck bomb and nearly blasted their way straight into the central nervous system of the Afghan intelligence agency. Some 32 civilians and security personnel were injured, and at least one NDS officer was killed on the spot. The attack might have been a little less demoralizing, however, had it not been for another purported Taliban assault in Kabul only a month earlier on an alleged NDS safe house in central Kabul that severely wounded the agency’s well-known chief, Asadullah Khalid. 
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z_afghan_sp_fc001Both incidents beg a couple of questions that US, NATO and Afghan officials must all be asking themselves these days. First, just how safe is an Afghan intelligence agency safe house if a suicide bomber can gain entry and blow up the director of said intelligence agency?
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It was in Kandahar that Khalid burnished a reputation for applying tough tactics to insurgent detainees after Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin alleged in testimony before the Canadian parliament in November 2009 that Khalid “personally tortured people” in a “dungeon” beneath his residence. Khalid has repeatedly denied the Canadian claims. 
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An ethnic Pashtun who also briefly served as minister of borders and tribal affairs before his appointment to NDS, Khalid has rejected similar allegations lodged in the British high court late last year. Khalid’s denials aside, the most recent UN report on NDS torture practices would certainly seem to bear out a persistent pattern in the Afghan presidential palace of ignoring the obvious when it is convenient to do so. 
Khalid at one point purportedly took control of the CIA-backed Kandahar Strike Force, an aggressive local militia that was accused in 2010 by Afghan officials of assassinating the southern province’s local police chief. Not long after his adventures in Kandahar, Khalid got involved in backing a controversial anti-Taliban uprising in Ghazni by provincial locals.
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Growing concerns among NDS leaders about increased infiltration of insurgents and Iranian and Pakistani double agents within their ranks has resulted in the reported arrests of a little more than a dozen NDS officials in the last year.
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Khalid, convalesces at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. And, at least he won’t be lonely while he’s meditating on his future and the prospects for NDS; Khalid has already received visits from President Obama, Leon Panetta, and, naturally his old friend Hamid Karzai in recent weeks. 
The Obama administrations continued uncritical support for regimes that employ torture to ensure state security can only be explained by the fact that torture is U.S. policy.
TORTURE IS U.S. POLICY
Colonel James Steele is a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America, during which he trained counter-insurgency commandos who carried out extreme abuses of human rights.[3] Steele organized Central American death squads on behalf of the US during the Reagan years. Steele is also a veteran of the Vietnam war. From 1984 to 1986, during the Salvadoran Civil War, Steele operated as a counterinsurgency specialist and was a member of a group of United States special forces advisers to the Salvadoran Army. In 1986 he was implicated in the Iran contra affair. In 2004, early in the Iraq War, Steele was sent by Donald Rumsfeld to serve as a civilian adviser to Iraqi paramilitary Special Police Commandos known as the Wolf Brigade.
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In 2004, during the US occupation of Iraq, Steele was sent as a civilian adviser to train the Special Police Commandos; a paramilitary unit known as the Wolf Brigade that was later accused by a UN official of torture and murder, and which was also implicated in the use of death squads.[4][5][6] The Wolf Brigade was created and supported by the US and it enabled the redeployment of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard but with the new task of terrorising those connected with the Iraqi insurgency.[7] This was part of the US drive to use “dirty tactics” against insurgents in Iraq, a counterinsurgency doctrine known as “fighting terror with terror,” and one that had previously been exercised by the US in other theaters, including Vietnam and El Salvador.[8] Steele worked closely with Colonel James Coffman, an American Army officer who advised Iraqi Special Police Commandos during Multi-National Security Transition Command operations, and who has also been implicated in human rights abuses of Iraqi detainees.[9][10][11] Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus and worked alongside Steele in detention centers that were set up with US funding.[12]
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David Petraeus’ often-praised counterinsurgency, or COIN, strategyz_torture_afghan006

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Petraeus did not institute his COIN strategy only in Iraq. He put it into place in Afghanistan as well, and the fact that it lead to widespread allegations of torture and murder there demonstrates that the atrocities committed by these militias is a feature of the funding and training provided to them and not an unfortunate outgrowth, because this practice has now produced death squads in Central America, Iraq and Afghanistan. Recall that less than two weeks ago, Hamid Karzai called for the expulsion of US Special Operations forces from Maidan Wardak province due to allegations of abuse by the Afghan Local Police there. The Afghan Local Police are in reality groups of local militias trained and funded by US Special Operations forces and operating separately from the Karzai government. The ALP became one of the primary features of Petraeus’ COIN strategy when he moved it to Afghanistan.

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z_torture069From NEWSWEEK 2005: “THE PENTAGON MAY PUT SPECIAL-FORCES-LED ASSASSINATION OR KIDNAPPING TEAMS IN IRAQ”

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“What to do about the deepening quagmire of Iraq? The Pentagon’s latest approach is being called “the Salvador option”–and the fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are,” one senior military officer told NEWSWEEK. “We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing.” Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking “the back” of the insurgency–as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time–than in spreading it out.

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Now, NEWSWEEK has learned, the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administration’s battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government-funded or supported “nationalist” forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success–despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal. (Among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Under Reagan, he was ambassador to Honduras.”

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The Guardian analyzed a number of documents from Wikileaks and assembled a huge number of reports of torture carried out by the militias the US trained and supported under this program. Most devastating within this cache of information, however, is that the US issued an order to ignore reports of torture carried out by these Iraqi groups. From a 2010 report by the Guardian:

This is the impact of Frago 242. A frago is a “fragmentary order” which summarises a complex requirement. This one, issued in June 2004, about a year after the invasion of Iraq, orders coalition troops not to investigate any breach of the laws of armed conflict, such as the abuse of detainees, unless it directly involves members of the coalition. Where the alleged abuse is committed by Iraqi on Iraqi, “only an initial report will be made … No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ”.

Frago 242, ordering US forces to ignore torture by Iraqi militias, was issued the same month as when Petraeus was sent to Iraq to institute his training program.

z_us_military_pIn case you think that Petraeus’ COIN strategy exited the US government with Petraeus’ resignation after it was learned he was boinking his biographer, think again. Yes, his primary aide in instituting the policy (and overseeing US torture), Stanley McChrystal, also has resigned in disgrace, but key aides William McRaven and Michael Flynn have advanced their careers on the basis of these war crimes. McRaven now heads Special Operations Command, and so he would be in charge of training the death squads in the next country where the US decides to institute them. Where will it be? Libya? Syria? Mali? And Michael Flynn heads the Defense Intelligence Agency. Flynn was responsible for turning the “intelligence” gained by torture, whether it was carried out by the US or Iraq, into actions such as night raids, thereby producing more insurgents and fueling the cycle of violence.

Civilian Killings, disappearances, torture, and abuse by joint U.S. Special Forces/Afghan militia operations

Masked men burst in to Bibi Shereen’s house and took her son away, villagers found his corpse – half-eaten by dogs – under a bridge in Afghanistan’s volatile Wardak province.z_torture_afghan007

“His fingers were cut off, he was badly beaten. His hands were swollen, his throat was slit,” she told Reuters in her small mud brick house.

“Why is the government not listening to our voices – why are they not stopping Americans from doing such things.”

Repeated complaints to the government, about the abuse by the joint U.S./Afghan operations, went nowhere.

In 2002, the United States had set up joint CIA/Special Forces/Afghan militias at Mullah Omar’s old house in Kandahar, called Camp Gecko. On the Afghan side, Ahmed Wali Karzai, current National Directorate of Security head Asadullah Khalid, and our “mad dog on a leash“, Abdul Raziq Achakzai, operated there. The joint operations out of Camp Gecko have been the source of the frequent torture allegations, from 2002 up to now.

z_torture_Omar_Khadr_BagramAt the center of the Afghans’ accusations is an American Special Forces A Team that had been based in the Nerkh district until recently. An A Team is an elite unit of 12 American soldiers who work with extra resources that the military calls “enablers,” making it possible for the team to have the effect of a much larger unit. Those resources can include specialized equipment, air support and Afghan partner troops or interpreters. Mr. Kandahari had been an interpreter working for the team in the Nerkh district.

Hamid Karzai sacked five of the most American-connected Governors, and replaced them with Governors more friendly to himself. The American-picked Governor of Wardak, with the shadow war connections, was among the sacked. Complaints about U.S. connected abuse in Wardak were now less likely to be ignored.

z_torture062Afghan officials got ahold of a videotape of an interrogation session.

There’s a videotape in Afghan government hands showing a man named Zakaria Kandahari presiding over the torture of an Afghan civilian who, along with 15 others, recently disappeared from Wardak Province.

Afghan officials said they had tried for weeks to get the coalition to cooperate with an investigation into claims that civilians had been killed, abducted or tortured by Afghans working for American Special Operations forces in Maidan Wardak. But the coalition was not responsive.

Mr. Kandahari, was arrested on charges of murder, torture and abuse of prisoners, was confirmed by Maj. Gen. Manan Farahi, the head of intelligence for the Afghan Defense Ministry. He said Mr. Kandahari, who escaped from an American base in January after President Hamid Karzai demanded his arrest, was captured in Kandahar by the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence service.

A U.S. defence official in Washington said a review in recent months in cooperation with Afghanistan’s Defence Ministry and NDS intelligence agency found no involvement of Western forces in any abuse.

“No coalition forces have been involved in the alleged misconduct in Wardak province,” said the official, who declined to be identified.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (also a war criminal) said the complaints against Afghans working for U.S. special forces would be investigated.

Reuters interviewed dozens of residents of Wardak and Afghan government officials who allege that Afghan men working with a small unit of U.S. special forces illegally detained, tortured and killed suspected insurgents.

z_torture_Kabul000NEVER SEE THE LIGHT AGAIN”

“People complain of being beaten, tortured by U.S. special forces on a daily basis,” Jalala told Reuters in his Kabul office.

Reuters spoke to the families of four of the nine missing men, and all said their men folk were taken to the special forces outpost by Afghan men identified as translators, often in the presence of U.S. soldiers.

“My brother, Aziz-ul Rahman, was on his way to bring firewood to the mosque, when the Americans and Afghans forced him to stop, dragged him out of his car and started beating and kicking him,” Zabihullah, 22, from Nerkh village, told Reuters.

“Eventually they tossed him in an irrigation ditch near the village. He was badly injured, so we took him to the hospital and later to Kabul, but despite that he died,” said Zabihullah, who said his brother had three children.

THE TORTURE VIDEO

The video was described to Reuters by Afghanistan’s most senior general, army chief of staff Sher Mohammad Karimi, during an interview.

Kandahari is seen wearing a U.S. military uniform and repeatedly kicking an Afghan man.z_torture_Bagram001

A Western military official said the beating occurred at the offices of the country’s NDS intelligence agency in Wardak’s Nerkh district, not far from the special forces outpost.

“There was a clip in which he was beating some civilian, he was in uniform and he was speaking Pashto,” Karimi said.

“There was a guy, you can’t see him, but he is speaking in good English, that clearly shows that someone was there from the international forces.”

He said the English voice sounded to be that of a native speaker, most likely that of a North American.

ISAF said a review of the video determined that no coalition forces were present or involved in the incident.

American policy is to outsource the torture to the militias once the heat is on regarding the US role in torture. Deniability is key and continues to this day.

Reference:

  1. a b c premierespeakers.com (2013). “Jim Steele”. Premiere Speakers Bureau. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  2. The Guardian (2013). “From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington’s man behind brutal police squads”. The Guardian. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  3. Mass, Peter (May 1, 2005). “The Way of the Commandos”. New York Times. Retrieved March 22, 2013. 
  4. Buncombe, Andrew and Patrick Cockburn. “Iraq’s death squads: On the brink of civil war”, The Independent. February 26, 2006
  5. “Wikileaks war logs: who are the ‘Wolf Brigade’? – Telegraph”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  6. “Wikileaks: Americans handed over captives to Iraq torture squads – Telegraph”. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  7. Leigh, David. “Iraq war logs: US turned over captives to Iraqi torture squads”. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  8. Snodgrass Godoy, Angelina (2006), Popular Injustice: Violence, Community, And Law in Latin America, Stanford University Press, pp. 175-180, (ISBN 978-0804753838).
  9. “Colonel Receives DSC for Leading Iraqi Commandos”. Military.com. 2005-08-29. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  10. “Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news”. The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-03-06. 
  11. “James Steele in Iraq: only known video footage”. guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-03-08. 
  12. “Report Links US Advisers to Iraq Torture Centers”. Military.com. Retrieved 2013-03-08.
We can no longer in good conscience trust the politicians to police themselves. Link to this article from forums and blogs. Mention it with links in your comments on blogs. PROMOTE IT.
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Britain guilty of systemic torture

By

Sexual abuse and torture of Iraqi prisoners and their families by British armed forces between 2003 and 2008.z_torture_al-Sweady-2_2661396b

In the Lebanese capital of Beirut, far from the theatre of war in Iraq and his office in Birmingham, one of Britain’s leading civil rights lawyers has gathered some of the most damning allegations ever levelled against this country’s armed forces – certainly since the worst days of Northern Ireland’s Troubles.

As Britain’s invasion of Iraq approaches its 10th anniversary in March, Phil Shiner – who founded the Public Interest Lawyers group – and members of his team have held face-to-face meetings with survivors of alleged abuse and torture by British soldiers and intelligence officers and with relatives of those unlawfully killed during and after the war that defined the premiership of Tony Blair.

z_torture_iraq017The statements – 180 of them, with 871 to follow – go before a judicial review hearing at the high court in London next week in a claim seeking to demonstrate that Britain broke international laws of war by pursuing a policy of systematic torture.z_torture_iraq137

The testimony is shocking, such as from “Khalid”, a detained Iraqi civilian: “[A British soldier] then grabbed my penis and dragged me around the floor while holding it. He also made me squat up and down whilst naked and inserted his finger into my anus. I would have preferred to have been killed than subjected to this.”

A prisoner called Halim claims he was told: “Fuck you and fuck Islam!” by a soldier who then “opened the belt of my trousers and said ‘now jiggy jiggy’. The soldier put his boot in my chest and pulled my trousers down … The soldier put his foot on my chest … lifted me in the air and turned me on to my front … He started rubbing his penis on my back while the other soldiers watched. I felt him ejaculate on my back … I was so upset but he spat in my face. He kicked me and started slapping me.”

A man called “Asif” claims that when soldiers came to arrest his elderly father, he said: “So you are the British people?” He testifies that the soldiers paralysed the old man with the blow of a rifle butt and stamped on Asif’s young son’s head when the boy tried to help his grandfather. “What I know of the British people is the opposite of what you are doing,” said Asif.

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And so it goes on, witness after witness, in papers and videos before the court on 29 January, calling for a public inquiry into what is presented as an orgy of sadism, outlawed interrogation methods and unlawful killings by soldiers and intelligence officers against Iraqi civilians and prisoners of war between 2003 and 2008. Iraqi soldiers who surrendered – supposedly protected by the Geneva Conventions – allege that they were forced to sit for hours in harsh sun, kicked, beaten and photographed going to the toilet.

Civilians say they were subjected to hooding, beating, threats of rape and execution, forced nakedness and maintaining stress positions, violence against wives and children, ritual humiliation. And they claim that others, like Baha Mousa, were beaten to death. They say walls of noise were used to drive the prisoners mad and cover the sounds of abuse and pain.

The British government will argue in court that this apparent litany of abuse by troops it sent to “liberate” the Iraqis does not warrant a public inquiry, since it was not “systemic”.

But the high court will be asked to rule that this position is untenable given the weight and range of the allegations. Shiner and lawyers for the families of those killed and survivors of the abuse say the inquiry is a fundamental requirement of articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, on the right to life and prohibition of torture.

z_torture070According to Shiner and his supporters, the decision of the high court will signal whether, 10 years after the invasion, Britain is prepared to reckon with its own legacy in Iraq.

“This is the crucial moment of decision,” says Professor Andrew Williams, author of a book on the most infamous single case to date, the torture to death in custody of an innocent hotel receptionist, Baha Mousa. “This is our last chance to get to the truth and find out what went on. It’s the last chance to see who is responsible.”

The legal issue at stake is whether the other abuses were isolated incidents of which commanders were unaware, as the government insists, or systemic and authorised as policy. With these cases comes the contention that the violations were systemic and thereby illegal – with responsibility reaching senior command level – which would put the state in breach of international law and necessitate an independent public inquiry. The victims’ claim before the court says: “No Iraqi appeared to be exempt from ill-treatment from arrest onwards.”

The MoD says the Baha Mousa inquiry, which investigated the killing of Mr Mousa and torture of several other civilians, dealt with any general problems of detention and interrogation. That inquiry reported last year and condemned the use of hooding and stress positions, supposedly outlawed by the UK government in the 1970s.

The MoD also points to its own Iraq Historic Allegations Team, established in 2010, which it says is a sufficient response to the allegations. The team was made up of Royal Military Police officers appointed to internally investigate unlawful killing and torture. But the appeal court ruled in November 2011 that the RMP had been “substantially compromised”, its members having been involved in the system of detention itself.

Williams’s book, A Very British Killing: the Death of Baha Mousa, details the killing and flawed investigation and prosecutions which followed, and exposes what he calls “a culture of callous indifference that infected a whole battalion and permeated far up the command chain, both military and governmental. What happened to Baha Mousa, and how the army and the government responded to his death, is emblematic of a whole system in operation.”

Moreover, says Williams, who teaches law at the University of Warwick: “The international principle in criminal law is that you look at the connection between commanders and what happens on the ground. Responsibility is supposed to rest with those at the top. It’s no excuse for ministers and officials to say they didn’t know what was happening.

z_torture_iraq071“These are international obligations. This is what we demand of others, but we do not demand it of ourselves. What kind of message does that give to the world about who we are?”

Shiner’s case is built in part on the conviction of the UK at the European court in Strasbourg in 1977 of “inhuman and degrading treatment” of detainees in a case brought by the Irish Republic.

Trial lawyers, led by Michael Fordham QC, will argue that while the Baha Mousa inquiry “may have shone a torch into a dark corner”, what is now before the court is more like “a stadium in which we will switch on the floodlights”.

Shiner’s files are disturbing: page after page, case after case offers detailed gruesome particulars. The worst abuses took place in facilities named by the British as Battlecamp Main, Camp Stephen, Camp Bucca and Camp Breadbasket; also at Shaibah logistics base, a contingency operations base, and holding facilities including one soldiers called “the guest house”. But many also occur in people’s homes and at street demonstrations.

Shiner argues that five illegal “state practices” are established by the evidence, which includes videotaped interrogations. “We’ve got the training materials, we’ve got the policy documents,” says Shiner. “Violence was endemic to the state practices and part of the state practices.”

One “state practice” is “the use of trained coercive interrogation techniques, as a matter of policy … They knew full well that what was happening was unlawful, right to the top,” says Shiner. “It was all being trained at a facility in Britain called Chicksands” – an army intelligence base 50 miles north of London in Bedfordshire.

His argument is borne out in a history of British torture by Guardian journalist Ian Cobain – Cruel Britannia – which tracks permissions required to enact specific techniques of abuse up to ministerial level. Cobain also reveals an interrogators’ Powerpoint tutorial called “Any Questions” which trains in the use of forced nakedness and sensory deprivation, including such instructions as: “pull back foreskin, spread buttocks”.

The second “state practice”, claims Shiner, is “an unlawful detention and internment regime which did not meet international obligations”, with regard to tribunals, combatant status for PoWs and obligations to civilian suspects during arrest and detention.

Third was a “rolling programme of strike operations” to apprehend civilians –”blowing doors off so that 20 soldiers can run into houses at one or two in the morning while women and children are sleeping, men dragged from bed and rifle-butted – one man was simply shot in bed – women and children abused”.

There is also unlawful use of lethal force – using illegal rules of engagement after the wartime phase has ended. “The rules change during an occupation, but the practices did not, and a lot of people were killed. The judges are going to hear about a grandmother who was abused and a few hours later found in a body bag,” Shiner says.

“What we’re dealing with are the widespread abuses,” he says. “We say to the ministry and government: ‘Don’t say you didn’t know – what you can do is explain why you failed to do anything about it’.”

Sexual depravity is a recurrent theme. Apart from routine sexual assaults, prisoners’ faces are superimposed on to pornographic videos in order to blackmail them; female interrogators strip and feign seduction of prisoners in return for “information”.

Abuse of Islam is another regular feature. One prisoner says he “could not believe” what he was seeing when a British soldier pretended to defecate on the Qur’an. “It’s all carefully thought through,” says Shiner. “It’s as though the army took a manual on Muslim culture and reverse-engineered it. Things were done that are calculated to make them go mental.”

In his own arguments to court, Shiner says: “All of these allegations involve circumstances in which it can be said that the UK state knew, or ought to have known” about breaches of international law. “Its response, or lack of one, is highly pertinent,” says the claim.

“Military facilities at which abuse occurred were under the command of the relevant commanding officer” and “each detainee was medically examined at various points by doctors … It is inconceivable that senior officers did not witness what was happening, or otherwise be aware of these incidents and practices.”

Case studies

Radhi Nama was a teacher in his early 50s who was taken into detention at a unit holding facility.

He was hooded, his hands tied behind his back, and – as witnessed by his son — pushed by a soldier so that he “fell forward” and was thrown into a vehicle. During the subsequent interrogation, Nama’s son said that his father had been “made to squat on the floor with his hands on his head”.

Radhi Nama died on 8 May 2003 and was said, following a Royal Military Police investigation, to have died of “natural causes” involving a heart attack. There was no postmortem examination carried out, nor was a death certificate issued.

Kh M was one of the first two serving Iraqi soldiers to surrender to the British as prisoners of war, thereby placing themselves under stringent laws of war that protect PoWs.

He testifies: “A very muscular soldier … hooded both of us. We were left to kneel in the sun for hours. If I moved position or bent my head forward at all, a soldier would come and kick me hard – shouting ‘shut up!’ and ‘fuck you’. I was kicked many times.

“During this time, one of the soldiers kicked me hard in the mouth, which caused three of my teeth to fall out later that day … I could see through the hoods a soldier taking photographs of me when I went to the toilet.”

“Large military dogs” were also used to terrorise him during his time held in captivity.

JST was placed under arrest while at home

“The soldiers started throwing me to each other as though I were a doll … As each soldier caught me they would punch me … I could hear the soldiers laughing … I was thrown to the ground … I felt a soldier’s boot on my head pushing my head to the ground.

“[In detention] a soldier started hitting me and pinching me on the buttocks … He then grabbed my penis and dragged me around the room while holding it … He also made me squat up and down while naked and inserted his finger into my anus … This was a serious affront to my religion.”

Baha Mousa

Baha Mousa was one of 10 Iraqis detained in Basra in September 2003 by members of the 1st Battalion The Queen Lancashire Regiment on suspicion of being an insurgent.

The 26-year-old died two days after his arrest and a post-mortem examination found he had suffered asphyxiation and at least 93 injuries to his body, including fractured ribs and a broken nose.

Seven British soldiers from the Queen’s Lancashire Regiment were charged in connection with Mousa’s death and abuse of Iraqi prisoners and a court of appeal ordered an independent inquiry.

Corporal Donald Payne was jailed for a year and dismissed from the army after pleading guilty to inhumane treatment of Mousa. The six others either had the charges dropped or were acquitted.

Defence Secretary Des Browne announced a public inquiry into Mousa’s death and the Ministry of Defence agreed to pay £2.83m compensation to mistreated detainees.

The inquiry concluded that Mousa’s death was the result of a combination of his weakened physical state – caused by factors including lack of food and water, heat, exhaustion, fear, previous injuries and the hooding and stress positions used by British troops – and a final struggle with his guards.

The report also concluded that British soldiers had inflicted “violent and cowardly” assaults on Iraqi civilians, subjecting them to “gratuitous” kickings and beatings and included 73 recommendations to prevent a repeat of the failings.

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First hand account: TORTURED at Abu Ghraib by American military

There is the mangled hand, an old injury that became infected by the shackles chafing his skin. There is the slight limp, made worse by days tied in uncomfortable positions.z_torture_iraq_mutilated_hand

And most of all, there are the nightmares of his nearly six-month ordeal at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004.

Mr. Qaissi, 43, was prisoner 151716 of Cellblock 1A.

The picture of him standing hooded atop a cardboard box, attached to electrical wires with his arms stretched wide in an eerily prophetic pose, became the indelible symbol of the torture at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.

“I never wanted to be famous, especially not in this way,” he said, as he sat in a squalid office rented by his friends here in Amman. That said, he is now a prisoner advocate who clearly understands the power of the image: it appears on his business card.

z_torture_iraq036At first glance, there is little to connect Mr. Qaissi with the infamous picture of a hooded man except his left hand, which he says was disfigured when an antique rifle exploded in his hands at a wedding several years ago.

A disfigured hand also seems visible in the infamous picture, and features prominently in Mr. Qaissi’s outlook on life.

In Abu Ghraib, the hand, with two swollen fingers, one of them partly blown off, and a deep gash in the palm, earned him the nickname Clawman, he said.

A spokesman for the American military in Iraq declined to comment, saying it would violate the Geneva Conventions to disclose the identity of prisoners in any of the Abu Ghraib photographs, just as it would to discuss the reasons behind Mr. Qaissi’s detention.

But prison records from the Coalition Provisional Authority, which governed Iraq after the invasion, made available to reporters by Amnesty International, show that Mr. Qaissi was in American custody at the time.z_torture_iraq_ali_shalal_qaissi

Beyond that, researchers with both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say they have interviewed Mr. Qaissi and, along with lawyers suing military contractors in a class-action suit over the abuse, believe that he is the man in the photograph.

Under the government of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Qaissi was a mukhtar, in effect a neighborhood mayor, a role typically given to members of the ruling Baath Party and closely tied to its nebulous security services.

After the fall of the government, he managed a parking lot belonging to a mosque in Baghdad.

He was arrested in October 2003, he said, because he loudly complained to the military, human rights organizations and the news media about soldiers’ dumping garbage on a local soccer field.

But some of his comments suggest that he is at least sympathetic toward insurgents who fight American soldiers.

“Resistance is an international right,” he said.

Then the questioning began.z_torture_iraq101

“They blamed me for attacking U.S. forces,” he said, “but I said I was handicapped; how could I fire a rifle?” he said, pointing to his hand.

“Then he asked me, ‘Where is Osama bin Laden?’   And I answered, ‘Afghanistan.”

How did he know?   “Because I heard it on TV,” he replied.

He said it soon became evident that the goal was to coax him to divulge names of people who might be connected to attacks on American forces.

His hand, then bandaged, was often the focus of threats and inducements, he said, with interrogators offering to fix it or to squash it at different times.z_torture_iraq031

After successive interrogations, he said he was finally given a firm warning: “If you don’t speak, next time, we’ll send you to a place where even dogs don’t live.”

Finally, he said, he was taken to a truck, placed face down, restrained and taken to a special section of the prison where he heard shouts and screams.

He was forced to strip off all his clothes, then tied with his hands up high. A guard began writing on his chest and forehead, what someone later read to him as, “Colin Powell.”z_torture_iraq110

In all, there were about 100 cells in the cellblock, he said, with prisoners of all ages, from teenagers to old men.

Interrogators were often dressed in civilian clothing, their identities strictly shielded.

The prisoners were sleep deprived, he said, and the punishments they faced ranged from bizarre to lewd.

An elderly man was forced to wear a bra and pose.

A youth was told to hit the other adults.

And groups of men were organized in piles.z_torture_iraq053

There was the dreaded “music party,” he said, in which prisoners were placed before loudspeakers.

Mr. Qaissi also said he had been urinated on by a guard.

z_torture_iraq082Then there were the pictures.

“Every soldier seemed to have a camera,” he said.

“They used to bring us pictures and threaten to deliver them to our families”

Today, those photographs, turned into montages and slideshows on Mr. Qaissi’s computer, are stark reminders of his experiences in the cellblock.

As he scanned through the pictures, each one still instilling shock as it popped on the screen, he would occasionally stop, his voice breaking as he recounted the story behind each photograph.

z_torture_iraq027In one, a young man shudders in fear as a dog menaces him.

“That’s Talib,” he said.   “He was a young Yemeni, a student of the Beaux-Arts School in Baghdad, and was really shaken.”

In another, Pfc. Lynndie R. England, who was convicted last September of conspiracy and maltreatment of Iraqi prisoners, poses in front of a line of naked men, a cigarette in her mouth.z_torture_iraq_england_with_prisoners_touching_penis

“That’s Jalil, Khalil and Abu Khattab,” he said.   “They’re all brothers, and they’re from my neighborhood.”

Then there is the picture of Mr. Qaissi himself, standing atop a cardboard box, taken 15 days into his detention.

He said he had only recently been given a blanket after remaining naked for days, and had fashioned the blanket into a kind of poncho.

The guards took him to a heavy box filled with military meal packs, he said, and hooded him.

He was told to stand atop the box as electric wires were attached to either hand.z_torture_iraq103

z_torture_iraq080Then, they shocked him five times, enough for him to bite his tongue.

After almost six months in Abu Ghraib, Mr. Qaissi said, he was loaded onto a truck, this time without any shackles, but still hooded.

As the truck sped out of the prison, another man removed the hood and announced that they had been freed.

With a thick shock of gray hair and melancholy eyes, Mr. Qaissi is today a self-styled activist for prisoners’ rights in Iraq.z_torture_iraq060

Shortly after being released from Abu Ghraib in 2004, he started the Association of Victims of American Occupation Prisons with several other men immortalized in the Abu Ghraib pictures.

Financed partly by Arab nongovernmental organizations and private donations, the group’s aim is to publicize the cases of prisoners still in custody, and to support prisoners and their families with donations of clothing and food.

Mr. Qaissi has traveled the Arab world with his computer slideshows and presentations, delivering a message that prisoner abuse by Americans and their Iraqi allies continues.

He says that as the public face of his movement, he risks retribution from Shiite militias that have entered the Iraqi police forces and have been implicated in prisoner abuse.z_torture_iraq044

But that has not stopped him.

Last week, he said, he lectured at the American University in Beirut, on Monday he drove to Damascus to talk to students and officials, and in a few weeks he heads to Libya for more of the same.

Despite the cruelty he witnessed, Mr. Qaissi said he harbored no animosity toward America or Americans.

“I forgive the people who did these things to us,” he said.

“But I want their help in preventing these sorts of atrocities from continuing.”

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to revive a lawsuit that accused two military contractors of abusing inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, turning away an appeal by 26 onetime prisoners.Unknown

The inmates sought to sue CACI International Inc. (CACI), which helped interrogate prisoners at the facility, and Titan Corp., which provided translation services. Titan has since been renamed and is now part of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL)

The inmates, who were civilian detainees, said they were subjected to abuses by CACI and Titan employees including beatings, sexual humiliation, exposure to extreme temperatures and rape. In court papers, the inmates said some prisoners were tortured into unconsciousness and several were murdered.z_torture_abu_ghraib001

The case is Saleh v. CACI International, 09-1313.

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Confidential State Department cable released by WikiLeaks “detainees were RAPED”

by John Glaser

On May 30, 2006, “a joint US-Iraqi inspection” of an Iraqi detention facility “discovered more than 1,400 detainees in squalid, cramped conditions,” many of whom were illegally detained. Prisoners “displayed bruising, broken bones, and lash-marks, many claimed to have been hung by handcuffs from a hook in the ceiling and beaten on the soles of their feet and their buttocks.”

z_torture_iraq045   37 JUVENILES WERE HELD ILLEGALLY z_torture_iraq100

Rape and sexual abuse, primarily of young teenagers, was also widespread. “A number of juvenile detainees,” reads the cable, “alleged…that interrogators had used threats and acts of anal rape to induce confessions and had forced juveniles to fellate them during interrogations.”

The inspectors found a torture contraption where ”a hook…on the ceiling of an empty room at the facility” was “attached [to] a chain-and-pulley system ordinarily used for lifting vehicles” and that “apparent bloodspots stained the floor underneath.”

Detainees were severely tortured, beaten, and raped, according to a confidential State Department cable released by WikiLeaks. Discovery by US officials of the abuse did not lead to criminal investigations of the perpetrators and much of the mistreatment was permitted to continue.z_torture066

The detention facility, referred to in the cable only as “Site 4,” was “well over acceptable capacity” leaving detainees with insufficient space to lie down, poor air circulation, overflowing toilets, and sewage spills into cellblocks. Conditions were so bad that detainees were suffering “from lice, scabies, and infections” and a limited water supply.

Iraqi Ministry of Interior (MOI) officials put forth a “bad apple” explanation to US inspectors, claiming that only three interrogators abused their prisoners. But the Ambassador who wrote the cable dismissed this as almost impossible, and several more torturers were identified in following days. “Following the inspection of ‘Site 4,’” reports Kevin Gosztola “arrest warrants for ’50 suspected abusers’ were issued, but MOI “only executed three of those warrants” and no trials were held for the suspects.

z_torture_iraq137

Although the Ambassador who wrote the cable made strict recommendations to initiate criminal investigations and release illegally held detainees, no thorough accountability was ever applied to the case of Site 4. Other instances of close cooperation between the US and abusive Iraqi forces in the MOI have been previously uncovered and the Iraq War Logs published by WikiLeaks revealed a secret US military order to ignore cases of torture and abuse by Iraqi interrogators.

z_torture039The revelations serve as a reminder of the still incomplete picture of detainee torture by US and US-supported groups since the war on terror. Details are now known of abuse at Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and the rendition sites detainees were sent to, but the full extent of the abuse and criminality has yet to surface.

 

General Strike to end Corruption HAS MOVED, you can find us HERE- http://generalstrikeusa.blogspot.com/

 

 

Protest over police shootings turns to ‘mayhem’

As of 11:00 p.m. local time Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that fewer than 100 protesters remained in front of police headquarters.

Protesters took to the streets in the early afternoon and stayed out late Sunday after authorities declared an unlawful assembly. People are angry over Albuquerque police’s involvement in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that’s far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.Albuquerque Police Shootings

Major Richard Berry’s office said that at least three people were arrested, while at least one police officer was injured. The Albuquerque Journal reported that protesters threw rocks and at one point trapped police in a vehicle and broke the windows.

An Associated Press reporter saw gas canisters being thrown outside police headquarters and Albuquerque police and Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies charging at the protesters, which mostly dispersed the crowds.

Motorists honked, and supporters took photos with smartphones. Activists called on various city officials to resign, yelling late Sunday for the police chief to resign.

The protesters repeatedly marched the 2 miles from downtown Albuquerque to the University of New Mexico, holding signs protesting recent police shootings.

Justin Elder, 24, followed the protest as a passenger in a car and held a sign that read, “APD: Dressed To Kill.”

“That’s what this police force is about,” Elder said.

Albuquerque police in riot gear and New Mexico State Police followed the marchers, and protesters were seen shouting epithets at officers. At one point, a protester climbed a tall street sign on the city’s historic Route 66.

Alexander Siderits, 23, told General Strike to end Corruption (GS) he was participating because he was “fed up” with how police treat citizens. “It has reached a boiling point,” he said, “and people just can’t take it anymore.”

The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the department for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.

The gathering came days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent deadly police shooting.

The video, which bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous, warned of a cyber attack on city websites and called for the protest march. Albuquerque police said their site had been breached early Sunday afternoon.

Last week, Albuquerque police fatally shot a man at a public housing complex. Authorities said he shot at officers before they returned fire, but he had no weapon.

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de-CLASSIFIED Report: A survey of 493 FBI personnel whether they observed aggressive mistreatment or interrogations at Gitmo

z_gitmo012In response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU, the FBI has released a report detailing abuses observed by FBI agents working at Guantanamo Bay. The report has two sections. The first, an executive summary, is reprinted in its entirety below.

The second, a 244-page detailed report consisting of multiple FBI records, has been posted here in its entirety. The file is a PDF slightly larger than 5 megs.

Following is a list of the positive and “not purely negative” responses that prompted the inquiry. Note that these documents have been vetted by both DoD and FBI, and that FBI believes this or substantially similar information has already been released in this litigation.

Positive Responses:

  • on several occasions, witness (“W”) saw detainees (“ds”) in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to floor w/no chair/ food/water; most urinated or defecated on selves, and were left there 18, 24 hrs or more. Once, the air conditioning was so low that the barefoot d was shaking with cold. Another time, it was off so the unventilated room was over 100 degrees, d was almost unconscious on floor with a pile of hair next to him (he had apparently been pulling it out throughout the night). Another time, it was sweltering hot and loud rap music played – d’s hand and foot was chanined and he was in a fetal position on the floor. Upon inquiry, W was told that interrogators [military contractors] ordered this treatment. Took place in Delta Campz_torture052
  • d was kept in darkened cell in Naval Brig at GTMO, then transferred to Camp Delta where he gave no info. Then taken to Camp X-Ray and put in plywood hut. Interrogators yelled and screamed at him. One interrogator squatted over the Koran. Another day a German Shepherd was commended to growl, bark and show his teeth to the prisoner. Subsequently someone laughingly told the W “you have to see this” and took him to an interrogation room where W saw a d with a full beard whose head was wrapped in duct tape
  • civilian contractor asked W (an FBI SA) to come see something. There was an unknown bearded longhaired d gagged w/duct tape that covered much of his head. SA asked if he had spit at interrogators, and the contractor laughingly replied that d had been chanting the Koran nonstop. No answer to how they planned to remove the duct tape.
  • W saw canine used aggressively to intimidate a d
  • d in darkened cell in Naval Brig where they planned to interrogate him for 24 hours straight, W was told the Secretary [Rumsfeld] approved this technique. Saw interrogator straddle the Koran while d was handcuffed to chair, d held in chain link cage w/cover over top
  • W observed sleep deprivation interviews w/strobe lights and loud music. Interrogator said it would take 4 days to break someone doing an interrogation 16 hrs w/lights and music on and 4 hrs off. Handwritten note next to typed synopsis says “ok under DoD policy”z_torture060
  • Rumors that interrogator bragged about doing lap dance on d, another about making d listen to satanic black metal music for hours then dressing as a Priest and baptizing d to save him – handwritten note says “yes”
  • W heard rumor that male d was dressed in female clothing, made up and given a lap dance by female prison guard. Was told this was a tactic to break the d and get cooperation
  • W observed d in a stress position – w/in regs of military techniques but outside MIOG
  • W walked into Camp Delta observation room and saw d rubbing his leg due to possibly being in stress position. D was wearing leg irons and handcuffed w/cuffs chained to waist. W was advised the chains were adjusted to force D to stand in “baseball catcher” position. D was being questioned by 2 military officers. D was previously held in brig and questioned for 2 months w/no results. Permission had been granted to use “special interrogation techniques”
  • Nurse informed that a d was admitted to hospital for hypothermia, had low blood pressure and low body core temp; Lt Col subsequently said at daily staff mtg that d did not have hypothermia
  • After hearing what sounded like “thunder,” W saw 2 individuals dressed in BDUs standing and an inmate kneeling on a bloody floor with his forehead on the ground, holding his nose and crying. They said d become upset and threw himself on floor. W heard previously that a female military personnel would wet her hands and touch the ds face as part of their psych-ops to make them feel unclean and upset them. W heard that in an effort to disrupt ds who were praying during interrogation, female intelligence personnel would do this
  • A detainee brought into interview shack at Camp x-ray appeared to have broken fingers and facial injuries. W was told that d exhibited noncompliance w/prison guard and rapid reaction team was brought in to bring d into compliance. He was in a plywood shack adjacent to “dog cages”. D had black eye, facial cuts around nose, and taped fingers. He motioned to guards and said “they”
    handwritten note “yes – Do interview so we will have a formal record. I think I know what all he saw.”z_camp-delta-in-guantanamo-bay
  • W saw d in interview room sitting on floor w/Israeli flag draped around him, loud music and strobe lights. W suspects this practice is used by DOD DHS based on who he saw in the hallway
  • d pointed to marks on wrists from shackles, upset at wearing hood, alleged guards beat him. Claims he is innocent of any crime and was arrested while dining w/guests at his house. Two weapons found at his house; he said he got them 8-10 yrs ago. Insisted he was a simple farmer and allegations were false. Yet his hands were smooth.
  • D says he was beaten unconscious at Camp x-ray. Guards entered cell unprovoked and spat and cursed at him, called him SOB, bastard and crazy. D rolled on stomach to protect self due to recent stomach surgery. Soldier jumped on his back, beat him in the face, then choked him till he passed out. Said he was beating him because he was a Muslim. Female guard also beat him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor. D taken to hospital after.
  • D put in isolation after a dispute over arguing with a guard over his food.
  • D’s story re his arrest/innocence. D claims he was arrested by the Saudis under suspicion stemming from Khobar Towers bombing, sent to prison in Dammam where beaten for 2 weeks prior to interrogation. Detained 3 mos then released. Later detained again and released. Traveled to Bahrain and got 5 yr tourism visa from US embassy. After 2 months went back to Saudi Arabia to visit sick father. 8 mos later returned to US. Back and forth until 9/11. His travels were funded by Saudis, including his father.
  • W situated in observation booth in between two interview rooms, booth crowded. D seated in chair and secured w/shackles at feet. Lights off except for strobe, loud rock music. Continued for 30-60 minutes. W was told such tactics were common there.
    Handwritten notes “No – This would be consistent w/DoD guidelines”
  • W saw d w/bloodshot eyes and blood congealed to eyelashes, attaches photos
    hw notes – “No. No other bruising to suggest he as hit. Looks like conjunctivitis or other eye infection rather than result of bruise.”z_torture057
  • interviewers sat D down on floor in center of room while rap music played loudly and interviewers laughed, smoked cigars and blew smoke at d’s face
    hw notes – “No. Seems consistent w/DoD policy”
  • W heard of technique (not allowed by FBI agents) where a difficult d who would not cooperate would be left in shackles for extended time (12 hrs or more) and the AC turned way low or off.
    hw notes “environment down – doesn’t seem excessive given DoD policy”
  • d on floor w/Israeli flag draped around him, loud music playing, strobe light flashing
    hw notes “No – consistent w/DoD policy. Israeli flag is over the top – but not abusive.”
    email from Valerie Caproni: “No further interview necessary. Loud music and strobe light would be within the notion of ‘environment down’ that is an approved technique for DoD. The Israeli flag, though obnoxious, doesn’t seem to change the basic technique into one that would be unlawfully abusive.”
  • observed short shackling to the floor, cold temperatures, loud music, strobe lights and left in interrogation room for long periods – consistent with Dod policy – not FBI policy
  • lights were off in interview room except for a strobe light and loud music played while a clothed d sat on the floor alone
    handwritten note: “No. Psych-ops appron [?] w/in DoD guidelines”
  • W saw interrogation thru one-way glass – d seated in middle of floor while loud rap or heavy metal music played. Two interrogators stood above d laughing and blowing cigar smoke in d’s face. W thinks they were with Defense Humint Services or contracted by Army
    handwritten note “No – consistent w/DoD policy”
  • occasionally ds complained of inappropriate behavior i.e., incident in which d alleged female guard removed her blouse and, while pressing her body against a shackled and restrained d from behind, handled his genatalia and wiped menstrual blood on his head and face as punishment for lack of cooperation
  • W observed d shackled to the bolt on the floor in a kneeling position in dark room w/flashing strobe light and loud music
    handwriting “no – consistent with DoD policy”
  • practice in which d wd be placed in interview room approx 6-8 hrs prior to interview w/AC turned down as low as 55 degrees. D would be restrained from adjusting AC
    hw note – “no – consistent w/DoD policy”
  • when d said he only wanted to speak to someone introduced by his regular interrogators he was yelled at for 25 minutes. D was short shackled, room temp lowered, strobe lights used and maybe loud music 2 males interrogators yelled at him and said he was never leaving here They left d along in this condition for 12 hours. D could not eat, pray or use the bathroom.z_torture056
  • D being debriefed by NAE for 15 hours periodically threw up in trash can. W was told D had ulcer and stress was irritating it. Later told he had stomach virus.
    hw note – “no – consistent w/DoD policy – not nice but not abusive – consistent w/ [?]oD policy”
  • W observed women crying near the river, their homes had been destroyed by planes. Trucks full of people trying to surrender were blown up by planes. On 2d day after capture, d was put in a ditch by Northern Alliance people. Next day, he was allowed to jump into a truck and taken to Mazar-e-Sharif where he was forced into a metal “shipping”-type container w/about 100 men. The container was then closed and d blacked out due to lack of air. When he awoke, there were new holes in the container., The man next to him was dead. He thinks he was in the container 24 hours – only 20 men survived. When it opened he was at Sabergaan jail. The dead were put into a hole and buried, he heard that those too weak to get out of the container were as well. US soldiers arrived about a month later
  • loud music and strobe lights

Responses which are not purely negative

  • fluctuations in room temperature
  • W is Uighur translator Uighurs are moderate muslims who occupied E Turkestan – which ultimately became the Kinjiang province of China. They were offered land in Afghanistan and considered themselves US allies. D was a broadcaster for Radio Free Asia. When their camp was bombed they fled to Pakistan, were captured and half turned over to US. [the other half were immediately executed by the Chinese]. Those at GTMO fear immediate execution if sent to China.
  • W heard that every time the FBI established rapport with a d, the military would step in and d would stop being cooperative. Rumor that military would present themselves as FBI agents.
  • loud music, ds said they were shown pornographic photos to upset them
  • the only complaints this W saw were about lack/delay of mail, lack of dental appts, not allowed to grow beards long enough
  • hooded d was led into room by hooded MPs
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