Corrupt Prison System

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.”

z_torture_Bagram_humans_kept_in_crates.

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.
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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.

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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/

 

 

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
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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NEW Torture Photos: US Soldiers Raped, Sodomized Prisoners

By Tom Eley

In an interview with the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph published Wednesday, former US General Antonio Taguba said that photographs the Obama administration is seeking to suppress show images of US soldiers raping and sodomizing Iraqi prisoners. Taguba, who conducted the military inquiry of prisoner abuse at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in 2004 after some photos of US soldiers torturing prisoners became public, said that among the photos are images of soldiers raping a female prisoner, raping a male detainee, and committing “sexual assaults on prisoners with objects including a truncheon, wire and phosphorescent tube,” according to the Telegraph.z_truth_is000

Gen. Taguba said even the description of the photos is explosive. “These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” Taguba said. “The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it.”

Taguba’s revelations expose the deceit of President Barack Obama’s claim, used to justify the photos’ suppression, that they “are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib.” In all, it is believed that there are some 2,000 photographs depicting about 400 cases of US military personnel torturing Iraqis and Afghans at seven military prisons. The Bush administration, and now Obama, have sought to block publication of the images.

Obama also claimed that “the most direct consequence of releasing them…would be to inflame anti-American public opinion and to put our troops in greater danger.” While this may likely be true, the criminal nature of the US occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan is already well known by the nations’ populations, who have died and been made refugees in the hundreds of thousands since being invaded in 2003 and 2001, respectively. Indeed, this claim only exposes the true nature of the US occupations: they have never been about establishing democracy, but aimed at stamping out resistance to US control of the strategically important nations through mass bloodletting and terror, the historical modus operandi of every imperialist occupying power.

However, the central reason Obama has chosen to fight the photos’ release is that top US generals announced their opposition to their publication. The generals’ intervention came in the midst of increasingly open dissension from the ranks of the military-intelligence apparatus over Obama’s handling of “the war on terror.” After Obama released four Bush administration legal memos justifying torture, a campaign, spearheaded by Bush Vice President Dick Cheney, was launched, appealing to the military brass and spies. Obama responded by promising he would block any investigation of the previous administration’s carefully crafted and controlled torture policies. He then reversed an earlier decision to not appeal a judge’s ruling in response to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) freedom of information lawsuit launched in 2004, which demanded the release of dozens of the torture photos.

An Obama Pentagon spokesman denied that the suppressed images depict rape, while a carefully worded statement seemed to indicate other photos depict precisely such actions. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the Telegraph “has completely mischaracterized the images…. None of the photos in question depict the images that are described in that article.” Whitman did not specifically deny Taguba’s claims.

Obama claims that the torture depicted in the photographs was committed by “a small number of individuals,” and that those “involved have been identified, and appropriate actions have been taken.” Here we may safely assume Obama is referring to a small handful of rank-and-file soldiers.

But what of the high-ranking officers who oversaw, endorsed and most likely ordered the torture and rape of prisoners? If there are 2,000 photographs of prisoner torture that fell under the control of the Pentagon, how many more cases were not photographed? It is clear that the torture and rape of prisoners went far beyond the actions of “a few bad apples.” This torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners—up to and including rape—can only be described as the systematic policy of the US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), sanctioned at the highest levels of government. Indeed, the generals’ opposition to further publication of the photos is likely based in part on their own association with the crimes.

The policy of torture came from higher still, however, as recently released Justice Department legal memos and other evidence show. Various forms of torture, including forced nudity and sexual humiliation were studied, justified, and individually approved by top White House and congressional officials. A US Senate Armed Services Committee report issued in April reveals that Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally approved 15 “harsh interrogation” methods. A version of Rumsfeld’s document was used, verbatim, at Abu Ghraib, according to the report. (See “Bush, top cabinet officials monitored torture of detainees”)

In his Telegraph interview, Taguba solidarized himself with Obama’s decision to suppress the photos. Taguba’s own investigation in 2004 was in fact a partial cover-up. He later admitted that he was ordered to confine his investigation to low-ranking military police, although he was aware that high-ranking generals had “extensive knowledge” of the torture. And though he was aware of the photographic evidence of torture and rape at the time, Taguba’s report made no mention of them.

Because his report was not a total whitewash, however, the Bush administration forced the major general into retirement in 2007. He has since described the actions of the Bush administration in Iraq as war crimes. “There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba wrote in the forward for a report by Physicians for Human Rights. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”

The photographic evidence of rape substantiates evidence Taguba gathered in his investigation, which only became public due to another freedom of information lawsuit. For example, in a sworn deposition Kasim Mehaddi Hilas said he witnessed US military personnel raping a boy. “I saw [a US military translator rape] a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [the soldier] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s **** and the female soldier was taking pictures.”

The sworn deposition also described the anal rape of prisoners with phosphorescent tubes and police clubs, as well as the use of wire in sexual torture.

The rape of Iraqi boys by US military personnel is corroborated by other evidence. Journalist Seymour Hersh, who played a critical role in breaking the Abu Ghraib story in 2004, has evidently seen all of the photos, and is aware of video footage depicting rape. He has not written publicly on their content, but a 2004 speech he gave to the ACLU indicates the sheer horror of the US military’s methods:

“Some of the worst things that happened you don’t know about, okay?” Hersh said. “The women were passing messages out saying, ‘Please come and kill me, because of what’s happened,’ and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst, above all, of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It’s going to come out.” In another speech, quoted by Rick Pearlstein, Hersh spoke of “horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.”z_iraq002

The unfathomable crimes depicted in the photos arise inexorably from the project of aggressive wars based on lies. As such, they are the flip side of the conspiracy against the democratic rights of the American people. Both arise from the deepening crisis of US capitalism, which the ruling elite seeks to offset by seizing hold of key resources and strategic advantage over its rivals.

One can only react with horror. Contained in the stories and images of the torture of defenseless prisoners, some of them boys and women, is the true face of US imperialism, which finds no crime beneath its dignity in its effort to subjugate Iraq and Afghanistan. Just as the Vietnam War conjures up images of napalmed children fleeing US soldiers, and Nazi Germany invokes images of emaciated prisoners near death, the images of sexual torture will forever be associated with the American “war on terror.”

In acting to suppress the images and protect the torturers, Obama has made himself an accomplice in these crimes. Moreover, in the absence of criminal investigation, there is every reason to believe that similar crimes continue.

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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Resist tyranny. . There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soapballotjury and the cartridge box.

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Teen languishes in adult jail for school incident

By Susan Ferriss

Did a foster-care teen need to be arrested by school police this month for alleged battery on a school bus? And then jailed for three weeks with adults long after a judge ordered her released?z_selina_garcia

The questions swirling around Selina Garcia, 17, of Raleigh, N.C. are part of a broader national debate over treatment of foster kids and the role of school police. Garcia was confined to an adult jail until Thursday afternoon because no one from the Wake County, N.C., social services department went to get her. She was arrested on March 7 by a school resource officer after striking another student on a bus during an altercation. A judge freed her on March 10 pending a court appearance, but Garcia remained in jail until Thursday, when she pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and communicating threats and was placed in a new foster care setting.

Part of the problem is that Garcia is both an adult and a minor in North Carolina. Once they’re 16, youths in the state are put automatically into the adult legal system if charged with crimes, including misdemeanors. A 17-year-old, however, is still a minor under the state’s social services system. As a foster child, Garcia can only be released from jail and into the custody of the county, which is her legal guardian.

The twisted case exemplifies a systemic failure on the part of adults who are tasked with helping foster children — some of society’s most vulnerable kids — as well as an urgent need to review the role of school police in Wake County, according to Jennifer Story, an attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Advocates for Children’s Services.

“You cannot use jail as a boarding house for foster children,” said Story, who has been representing Garcia in efforts to obtain individual learning services for the teen from the Wake County School District.

Story also said that Garcia’s arrest by school police — a discretionary act on the part of an officer — illustrates the “unintended consequences” of funneling students into a legal system for incidents that might be better handled by school staff. Garcia was held with adults accused of a range of crimes, and the jail is an unsavory environment for a girl who has struggled since a small child with abuse, Story said.

Spokeswoman Sarah Williamson-Baker said the county cannot give out information about individual clients. In a statement, she said: “When a child in our custody is arrested, we assess the individual circumstances and whether it is safe and appropriate for the child to return to the previous placement. If not, we attempt to secure a new placement and supporting services that meet the child’s needs for treatment and are consistent with the safety of the child and the public.”

Stella Shelton, interim chief of communications for the Wake County School District, also said that she can’t discuss, due to privacy restrictions, a student’s case. She said the district, like other districts nationally, grapples with how to handle disruptions on campus.

“I’d have to leave that to the school resource officer’s judgment,” Shelton said, commenting on whether it was appropriate to have Garcia arrested for an incident on a school bus.

In January, Legal Aid of North Carolina and other groups filed a civil rights complaint against the Wake County School District and a number of law-enforcement agencies that supply officers to campuses there. The district has been disproportionately suspending ethnic minority students for minor misbehavior and referring such students to law enforcement, alleges the complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Educational Opportunities Section of the Civil Rights Division.

Federal school-discipline data released this month shows Wake County failed to report any student referrals to law enforcement or arrests during the 1011-2012 school year. Every school district in the country was supposed to report that data to the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection. The Wake County district has nearly 148,000 students; about a quarter are black; 15 percent are Hispanic; 49 percent are white and 6 percent are Asian.

Garcia, who is black and Latina, is a high school senior who suffered years of abuse as a small child in another state, according to Story. The girl was placed with a family member in North Carolina. She said Garcia wants to disclose what has happened to her; fellow students have rallied to her defense and appealed to the county’s Board of Education this month to help free her, as local TV and other media have reported.

A couple of years ago Garcia entered the Wake County foster-care system and has been transferred from group homes to individual homes and among three different high schools in less than two years, Story said. Garcia gets no counseling at school, Story said. And since January, Story said, the teen has been cut off from the counseling she was previously receiving as a foster child because she was placed in an individual home that’s far from town and has been provided no transportation.

That’s been tough on the teen because she had finally built some trust with the counselor, Story said.

Source: Center for Public Integrity

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Photos Show Detainees Sodomized and Raped- Torture Continues During Obama Presidency

By Naomi Wolf and Christopher Rice

Pres. Obama is withholding of alleged abuse by U.S. soldiers of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. z_torture028

Congress has authorized the suppression of hundreds of torture photographs held by the Pentagon.

MoveOn’s executive director explicitly promised President Obama at a White House meeting that MoveOn would keep silent about the war escalations.

The Obama administration urged a federal court to suppress documents detailing the CIA’s videotaped interrogations at secret prisons.

Highly perverse, systematic sexual torture and sexual humiliation was, original documents reveal, directed from the top; Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice were present in meetings where sexual humiliation was discussed as policy; the Defense Authorization Act of 2007 was written specifically to allow certain kinds of sexual abuse, such as forced nakedness, which is completely illegal and understood by domestic and international law to be a form of sexual assault; Rumsfeld is in print and on the record consulting with subordinates about the policy and practice of sexual humiliation, in a collection of documents obtained by the ACLU by a Freedom of Information Act filing, compiled in Jameel Jaffer’s important book, The Torture Administration.z_torture014

General Strike to end Corruption (GS) broke the news – because the US press is in a drugged stupor — that the photos Obama is refusing to release of detainee abuse depict, among other sexual tortures, an American soldier raping a female detainee and a male translator raping a male prisoner. The photos also show anal rape of prisoners with foreign objects such as wires and lightsticks.

Predictably, the Pentagon issued a formal denial.

The Pentagon is lying. This is exactly what the photos show, because it happened. Precisely these exact sex crimes – these exact images and these very objects — are familiar and well-documented.

Detainees who have told their stories to rights organizations have told independently confirming accounts of a highly consistent practice of sexual torture at US-held prisons, including having their genitals slashed with razors; electrodes placed on genitals; and being told US military would find and rape their mothers.

When you give soldiers anywhere in the world the power, let alone the mandate, to hold women or men helpless, without recourse to law, kidnap them as a matter of policy – as US military kidnapped the wives of `insurgents’ in order to compel them to turn themselves in – strip them naked, and threaten them, you have a completely predictable recipe for mass sexual assault. The magisterial study of rape in war, Susan Brownmiller’s Men, Women and Rape, proves that.

It is proof of the fact that the most senior leadership – Bush, Rumsfeld and Cheney, with Rice’s collusion – were running a global sex crime trafficking ring with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram as the holding sites. The sexual nature of the torture also gives the lie to Cheney’s and others’ defense of torture as somehow functional: the sexual perversity mandated from the top reveals that it was just plain old sick sadism gratified by a very sick form of pleasure.z_torture011

In the highly credible and very fully documented Physicians for Human Rights report, Broken Bodies, Broken Lives, doctors investigated the wounds and scars of former prisoners, did analysis of the injuries, assessed the independent verification of their stories, and reported that indeed many detainees had in fact been savagely raped with lightsticks and by other objects inserted into their rectums, many sustaining internal injuries. This same report confirms that female military or other unidentified US-affiliated personnel were used to sexually abuse detainees by smearing menstrual blood on their faces, seizing their genitals violently, or rubbing them against their will in a sexual manner. In other credible accounts collected by human rights organizations, many former prisoners in US-held prisons report that they had been tortured or humiliated by female agents who appeared to be dressed like prostitutes. Indeed, early on intelligence spokespeople boasted in the New York Times of the use of female agents to sexually abuse and humiliate prisoners: it was called in their own material ‘invasion of space by a female.’

“CIA agent took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over.” detainee Binyam Mohamed.

Lakhdar Boumediene a 43-year-old Algerian, spent the last seven and a half years in Guantanamo. Boumediene claims that he was tortured for 16 days. He says that he was kept awake day and night and forced to walk across sharp stones with his bare feet tied together. He also claims that he was told that if he refused to confess, his handlers would put makeup on and rape him.

Other detainees have recounted similar events, which were part of the special interrogation methods authorized by then-President George W. Bush.

In Sierra Leone, the soldiers and generals who used rape as an instrument of war have been tried and many convicted. In Bosnia, likewise. But in another world, our own former leaders, violent and systemic sex criminals still walk free, not even facing charges.z_torture015

Will we ever convict our very own global rapists, the ones who gave the US the hellish distinction of turning us into the superpower of sex crime? Will we ever see the evidence? Not if Obama gets his way.

Whom are we protecting by not releasing the photos? The victims? Hardly. The perpetrators? Their crimes are archived. (Again: that rape and sodomy were directed form the top; prosecute those at the top.)

Obama is burning what is left of the Constitution by calling for preemptive detention for about 100 detainees. It ain’t because they are `too dangerous.’ It is because their bodies are crime scenes. It is because the torture, including the sexual assault, they experienced is likely to be so horrific that if they were ever to have their day in court it is others whom Obama needs who would be incriminated.

History shows categorically that once the state can lock `them’ up without a fair trial, torture, rape them or sodomize them – well; sooner or later it will be able to do the same to your children or mine; or to you and me.

Obama’s censorship decision is to dampen any anti-war sentiment and public support for an investigation of past crimes. Silence in the face of the censorship means collaborating in the cover-up of torture.

President Obama’s administration may have already released a great deal of information on the torture program. But when it came to revealing the Bush White House’s role in unilaterally authorizing torture, Obama went to unusual lengths to keep the information secret.

Do Gitmo Abuses Still Continue?

They put him in a terribly cold cell with 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). For the first days he had no running water, and he had to sleep on a pad less than one-centimeter thick visibly stained and smelling of food, vomit and feces. Boumediene was “kept isolated there” for 10 days, until Feb. 10, and was “not permitted to shower, pray or change his clothes. He was force fed using violent methods that were intended to and did injure him, and there was no medical treatment.” Despite the new president’s claims in faraway Washington, such actions were par for the course in Guantanamo.

The US Department of Defense denies all these accusations; it claims that they are unfounded and that procedures at Guantanamo have been reviewed.z_torture_force_feeding000

“We never imagined that detainee abuse would continue after Obama came into office,” says Michael Ratner, the head of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights. Ratner coordinates the legal defense of Guantanamo detainees. Across the ocean, the London-based organization Reprieve, which has defended many Guantanamo prisoners over the years, is now calling for an independent investigative commission to be appointed.

A massive report on torture reveals it’s far less effective than reported. But the CIA refuses to declassify it.

President Obama is preventing you from learning any of this, by keeping the CIA report classified.

Instead of having foreigners interrogated in foreign prisons the Obama administration has taken to questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. Navy ships. As the Associated Press explains, this allows Obama to not use the CIA’s secret prisons while also allowing for suspects to be interrogated indefinitely under the laws of war.

Investigating torture is not only our moral duty: it is our legal obligation. When the U.S. Senate ratified the Convention Against Torture in 1994, we committed ourselves as a nation not only to refrain from torture but to prosecute perpetrators when there is evidence of a crime.

As things stand now, the United States has become a safe haven for those who torture.

Sources: CIA, Reprieve, ACLU, Colonel James Steele, AP, van der Kolk, B.A., McFarlane, A.C., & Weisaeth, L. (Eds.) (1996). Traumatic stress: The effects of overwhelming experience on mind, body, and society. New York: Guilford.

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

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President Jose Mujica of Uruguay accepts Guantanamo detainees as “refugees”

By Malena Castaldi

A U.S. State Department official said “the United States has engaged the government of Uruguay for help in closing the detention facility as we have engaged a range of governments.”z_gitmo011

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said many governments, including the Organization of American States and the Latin American community, “have called on the United States to close down the detention facility.”

U.S. officials confirmed that talks about Guantanamo had taken place with Uruguay, but would not give more details.

Guantanamo has been criticized by human rights groups, with some of its prisoners held for a decade or longer without being charged or given a trial.

Uruguay has agreed to accept some prisoners held at the U.S. military base of Guantanamo Bay, President Jose Mujica said.z_gitmo002

The United States, has been talking to several countries about relocating inmates.

Weekly newspaper Busqueda reported that Uruguay had accepted a U.S. proposal to take five detainees from the Guantanamo Bay.

“They are coming as refugees and there will be a place for them in Uruguay if they want to bring their families,” said Mujica, who spent 14 years in prison before and during his country’s 1973-1985 dictatorship.

State Department envoy Clifford Sloan said last month that the United States was in talks with a wide range of countries to speed the transfer of prisoners as President Barack Obama had not made good on a long-standing promise to close the facility.z_gitmo013

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Inmate ‘baked to death’ in cell

By JAKE PEARSON

“He basically baked to death,” said one of the officials, who all spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss specifics of the case.

The officials told The Associated Press that the 56-year-old former Marine was on anti-psychotic and anti-seizure medication, which may have made him more vulnerable to heat. He also apparently did not open a small vent in his cell, as other inmates did, to let in cool air.z_prison_death000

In a statement issued Wednesday, Department of Correction Acting Commissioner Mark Cranston called Jerome Murdough death “unfortunate” and reiterated that an internal investigation will look into the entire episode, “including issues of staff performance and the adequacy of procedures.”

The department said it had addressed two contributing factors an outside consultant identified as causing the excess heat. It also said temperature checks immediately after the death revealed that several cells nearby were over 80 degrees.

Family members say Murdough grew up in Queens and joined the Marines right out of high school, doing at least one stint in Okinawa, Japan.

When he returned from the service, his family said, both his mental illness and thirst for alcohol became more pronounced, and he would often disappear for months at a time, finding warmth in hospitals, shelters and the streets.

Jerome Murdough was just looking for a warm place to sleep on a chilly night last month when he curled up in an enclosed stairwell on the roof of a Harlem public housing project where he was arrested for trespassing.

A week later, the mentally ill homeless man was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell that four city officials say had overheated to at least 100 degrees, apparently because of malfunctioning equipment.

Murdough’s 75-year-old mother, Alma Murdough, said she did not learn of her son’s death until the AP contacted her last week, nearly a month after he died. His public defender was told of the death three days after the inmate was found, the DOC said.

“He was a very lovely, caring guy,” said Murdough, adding that her son had bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and that she had not seen him in about three years.

Dr. Susi Vassallo, an associate professor at New York University School of Medicine and a national expert on heat-related deaths who monitors heat conditions at Rikers Island, said psychotropic medications can impair the body’s ability to cool itself by sweating, making it retain more heat than it should.

Exposure to intense heat for a couple of hours by someone on such medications could be fatal, she said.

Last year, three Rikers inmates died from non-natural causes, according to Department of Correction statistics.

Of the 12,000 inmates who make up the nation’s second-largest jail system, about 40 percent are mentally ill, and a third of them suffer from serious mental problems the department said. Advocates and others have long argued that correction officers are not sufficiently trained to deal with mentally ill inmates whose needs are complex.

Catherine Abate, a member of the New York City Board of Correction, an agency charged with overseeing the city’s jails, suggested at a recent public meeting that Murdough should have been referred to psychiatric care, not to Rikers Island.

Advocates for mentally ill inmates in New York say the death represents the failure of the city’s justice system on almost every level: by arresting Murdough instead of finding him help, by setting bail at a prohibitive $2,500 and by not supervising him closely in what is supposed to be a special observation unit for inmates with mental illnesses.

“So Mr. Murdough violated the trespass law. So he suffered the consequences by going to jail.” “But the jail system committed more serious harm to him. And the question is, ‘Will they ever be held responsible?” Jennifer J. Parish, an attorney at the New York-based Urban Justice Center’s Mental Health Project, said.

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America’s Prison Population Part 1

By Christopher Rice and Shanequa Nelson

The United States, which makes up roughly 5 percent of the world’s population, houses about 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Black male offenders receive 20 per cent longer sentences that white male offenders committing the same crimes.

The overcrowded prison system, which reached a high in 2009 with 1.6 million inmates, is still bursting at the seams with about one in 100 adults behind  bars.z_prison_overcrowding001

Prisoners per 100,000 population in the United States did not change much from 1946 to 1972, but this rate doubled between 1972 to 1985, when it went from 93.4 to 201.5. In another 13 years, the rate more than doubled again, reaching a total of 461 per 100,000 in 1998.

The federal prison system currently has around 216,000 prisoners, a little more than 40 percent of whom are behind bars for drug offenders.

The chart below, from the Prison Policy Initiative, breaks down just where American prisoners are locked up, and the various crimes with which they’re charged..

Prison Policy Initiative

Prison Policy Initiative

Prison overcrowding has become a serious problem in America. There is currently not enough space in prisons for all convicted criminals to fully serve their sentences. This leads to the early release of offenders who are not ready to successfully reenter the community. The emergency release of offenders out the back door, in an effort to free up space for those at the front door, threatens the public safety of communities. This is neither effective nor efficient policy.

EFFECTS OF OVER CROWDING

Having more prisoners than a correctional facility can really accommodate means  that some of them will develop patterns of anti-social behavior, which may lead  to violence. Some prisoners are affected differently. They can become  increasingly stressed, suffer panic attacks and even lose their ability to form healthy relationships once released. Social rather than spacial factors contribute most to the problems associated with prison overcrowding.

It is not just prisoners who develop problems in overcrowded facilities. Staff has limited time to deal with bad behavior, fewer resources to tackle crime and  violence within the prison and less chance to screen potentially dangerous  inmates, as explained by the website, Pantagraph. Staff also has less time to spend with individual inmates and cannot ensure they complete their rehabilitation and education programs. Staff subsequently becomes a target for angry prisoners; their working lives can be made much more stressful and dangerous as a result.

Prisoners who have spent time in an overcrowded, understaffed prison are more likely to face difficulties adapting to normal life when released, as described by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). If prisoners who have not served their full sentence are released early and did not receive sufficient rehabilitation or drug therapy during incarceration, they will not be ready to reenter the community and could quickly reoffend. Prisoners may leave angry and frustrated, which can lead to further violence or drug usage. They can also struggle to rebuild relationships with family and friends or to create new relationships, and this may lead them back to a life of crime.

“We are bursting at the seams in every facility in the state of Illinois,” said Eddie Caumiant, regional director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that represents prison guards and other correctional staff.

Illinois’ prison population is exploding. With 48,760 inmates on Feb. 14, the state is on track to fill 52,000 beds, the maximum capacity now claimed by the Illinois Department of Corrections.

“This population is a classic example of the sentencing policy in Illinois. This is not a Department of Corrections problem. This is a criminal justice problem,” said Smith the department’s newly hired chief of staff.

More inmates and limited space pose risks for inmates and staff, said Rick Bard, a former IDOC director of operations who retired last year.

“Prisons in the best of circumstances can sometimes be a dangerous and challenging place to work or be incarcerated. An overcrowded prison system can increase the frustration levels of inmates and the stress levels of staff that have to deal with numerous safety and security issues on a daily basis,” he said.

Supervising a record number of inmates means there’s less time for screening, for monitoring problem inmates and fewer educational and other programs to occupy the time of inmates, said Bard, who still resides in Illinois.

Caumiant, whose union represents the majority of the state’s 11,000 prison workers, estimates Illinois’ current prison population is at 140 percent capacity.

COST

An average bill per day to house an inmate in state prisons is about $129. The  bill at some prisons is a little less depending on the cost of living in the particular state, but these figures will likely increase every year.

It costs about $65 a day to house a state prison inmate. Keeping nearly 30,000 inmates imprisoned for an extra 60 days adds $175 million per year in housing expenses, according to estimates from prison reform activist Stephen Eisenman, a professor at Northwestern University in Evanston.

State corrections officials think Eisenman’s cost estimates are too high and are working on their own figures on what the higher population is costing taxpayers.z_prison_overcrowding000

“The state needs to do something before the entire system becomes uncorked,” said Hal Jennings, a longtime Bloomington defense attorney.

AMERICA LAND of the FREE

Both parties compete for votes with strong law-and-order programs. Competition for votes in national elections induces incumbents from both parties to enact policies that lead to more people being sent to prison.

Criminal justice statistics show that it was actually Democratic President Bill Clinton who implemented arguably the most punitive platform on crime in decades. In fact, “tough on crime” policies passed during the Clinton Administration’s tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.

Politics, not just the crime rate, plays a powerful role in determining how many people get sent to prison in our society.

The U.S. prison population and drug policies are appalling.

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