The American Civil Liberties Union today made public an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions. The documents released today are available online...U.S. Operatives Killed Detainees During Interrogations in Afghanistan and IraqThe Bush administration has proposed exempting employees of the Central Intelligence Agency from a legislative measure endorsed earlier this month by 90 members of the Senate that would bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody... "This is the first time they've said explicitly that the intelligence community should be allowed to treat prisoners inhumanely," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "In the past, they've only said that the law does not forbid inhumane treatment." Now, he said, the administration is saying more concretely that it cannot be forbidden.Cheney Plan Exempts CIA From Bill Barring Abuse of Detainees
posted by y2karl
on Oct 26, 2005 -
The Torture Question tonight on PBS by far, television's most in-depth look at how the controversial interrogation policy evolved after a major power struggle within the Bush administration.
(via Rocky Mountain News)
The problem, of course, is that it's often the things we'd rather not think about that we most need to hear, especially when those things are actions taken in all of our names with an eye toward making us safer. Ellen Gray
Watch a preview here
posted by tvgurl
on Oct 18, 2005 -
Harold Pinter at 75.
In One for the Road
, the protagonist is Nicolas, a whisky-sodden interrogator who has brought in a family for questioning
(and, it is implied, raping and torturing). In the short, sharp shock of The New World Order
, we eavesdrop on a conversation between two torturers, held over the top of their mute, blindfolded victim's head ("We haven't even finished with him. We haven't begun."). In Ashes to Ashes
, the interrogation of Rebecca by Devlin takes a sinister turn as we learn that her ex-lover participated in state-sponsored violence. In Mountain Language
, a sadistic guard plays power games with a group of mountain dwellers, who are forbidden from speaking in anything but the language of the state. In Party Time
, Pinter lampoons the smug security of the middle classes, portraying an insufferably élite party which carries on regardless of the violence and terror on the streets outside.
Now, for Pinter's 75th birthday, some of the tormentors and the tormented so potently etched in his later plays are assembled together in a new dramatic work
with a musical setting by the composer James Clarke.
posted by matteo
on Oct 7, 2005 -
"Mom, you're not going to like this."
A mother of a U.S. soldier tells her son about the latest Iraq torture admissions
, only to be told that his unit routinely beat and abused Iraqis.
"...suppose you visit an Imam and you want him to call off IED attacks in his neighborhood. If you just go in and ask him politely, he'll tell you he'll try to help; but, he won't . . . But, if you go to that same guy and beat him up thoroughly, then ask him to knock off the attacks, he'll respect you and he'll try to help. . . ."
The mother reports that her son was "under the impression that the conduct was in line with military policy."
posted by insomnia_lj
on Oct 6, 2005 -
] - an exploration of the issues of censorship, dictatorship, human rights and the legacy of the Argentinian "Dirty War
", the 1976-1983 military junta's repression and extermination of dissidents (when 10,000 to 30,000 Argentinians were tortured and "disappeared"). Produced at the Jan van Eyck Academy of Fine Arts in Maastricht, the project presents striking comics and illustrations made between 2002 and 2005 by contemporary Argentinian artists, as well as text essays on the production of comics and cartoons during the dictatorship era.
posted by funambulist
on Sep 26, 2005 -
One officer and two non-commissioned officers (NCOs) of the 82nd Airborne who witnessed abuse, speaking on condition of anonymity, described in multiple interviews with Human Rights Watch how their battalion in 2003-2004 routinely used physical and mental torture as a means of intelligence gathering and for stress relief. One soldier raised his concerns within the army chain of command for 17 months before the Army agreed to undertake an investigation, but only after he had contacted members of Congress and considered goingpublic with the story. According to their accounts, the torture and other mistreatment of Iraqis in detention was systematic and was known at varying levels of command. Military Intelligence personnel, they said, directed and encouraged army personnel to subject prisoners to forced, repetitive exercise, sometimes to the point of unconsciousness, sleep deprivation for days on end, and exposure to extremes of heat and cold as part of the interrogation process. At least one interrogator beat detainees in front of other soldiers. Soldiers also incorporated daily beatings of detainees in preparation for interrogations. Civilians believed to be from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conducted interrogations out of sight, but not earshot, of soldiers, who heard what they believed were abusive interrogations. Human Rights Watch: Leadership Failure - Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division
. See also 3 in 82nd Airborne Say Abuse in Iraqi Prisons Was Routine
posted by y2karl
on Sep 23, 2005 -
Fear up, pride and ego down...
It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.
posted by Shanachie
on Aug 3, 2005 -
Not torture. U.S. interrogators also told him he was a homosexual, forced him to dance with a male interrogator, told him his mother and sister were whores, forced him to wear a leash and perform dog tricks, menaced him with a dog and regularly subjected him to interrogations up to 20 hours a day for about two months, the report said.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who headed the probe into
FBI accounts of abuse of Guantanamo prisoners by Defense Department personnel, concluded that the man was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" due to "the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations." The techniques used were authorized by the
Pentagon, he said.
"As the bottom line, though, we found no torture. Detention and interrogation operations were safe, secure and humane," Schmidt said.
. . .
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, himself abused by the North Vietnamese as a Vietnam War POW, noted, "Humane treatment might be in the eye of the beholder."
posted by caddis
on Jul 14, 2005 -
Nun crucified at Romanian exorcism.
A Romanian nun has died after being bound to a cross, gagged and left alone for three days in a cold room in a convent, Romanian police have said.
"I don't understand why journalists are making such a fuss about this. Exorcism is a common practice in the heart of the Romanian Orthodox church and my methods are not at all unknown to other priests," Father Daniel added.
UPDATE: She was buried yesterday
and the Principal monk has been charged with false imprisonment leading to death.
posted by cbjg
on Jun 21, 2005 -
What kind of people are these torturers? Are they the bad apples of the American military, as the Bush administration has alleged, or is it the whole barrel that is bad, as Philip Zimbardo, former president of the American Psychological Association, declared? Back in 1975, one year after the fall of the military dictatorship in Greece, I received special permission to attend the trials of the Greek military police's torturers... These torturers were made, not born, to torture... These transformations from “ordinary” young men to fierce perpetrators are paralleled in other studies that I and my colleagues have carried out on Brazilian military and civil policemen and on elite special forces training in the US and elsewhere.Psychological and Sociopolitical Factors Contributing to the Creation of the Iraqi Torturers: A Human Rights Issue beliefnet: Michael Wolfe on relationship between Christian evangelism in the U.S. government and abuse of Muslims and the Qur'an U.S. Military Says 26 Inmate Deaths May Be Homicide We Are All Complicit - But What Can We Do About It?
posted by y2karl
on Jun 20, 2005 -
"One lawyer said that his client... has told him that he was beaten regularly in his early days at Guantánamo, hanged by his wrists for hours at a time and that an interrogator pressed a burning cigarette into his arm." The age of this "client" when he was detained? 14 years old
. The reply of the camp's public affairs officer: "They don't come with birth certificates."
posted by digaman
on Jun 13, 2005 -
How the US tortured the 20th hijacker (and others). According to the logbook, which covers al-Qahtani's interrogations from November 2002 to January 2003, the Time article reports that daily interviews began at 4 a.m. and sometimes continued until midnight.
Was the torture effective? A senior Pentagon official told Time the Defense Department wasn't sure how effective such treatment was. At times, the logbook notes that al-Qahtani was more cooperative when interrogators eased up on him, according to the Time report.
posted by caddis
on Jun 12, 2005 -
A year after the Abu Ghraib photos were widely circulated, and a few days after most of the low-ranking officers blamed were let off
, Human Rights Watch
releases a report
clearly implicating the entire chain of command, and strongly urges the investigation of Donald Rumsfeld and George Tenet. (Full report here
Just some bad eggs, eh?
posted by bumpkin
on Apr 23, 2005 -
Torture Inc. Americas Brutal Prisons Savaged by dogs, Electrocuted With Cattle Prods, Burned By Toxic Chemicals, Does such barbaric abuse inside U.S. jails explain the horrors that were committed in Iraq?
Warning: tiny, NSFW, embedded Windows Media file.
posted by Doug
on Apr 4, 2005 -
The Pentagon's Secret Stash.
"...There can be narratives
of things that are much worse, but if they aren't accompanied by photos, they somehow don't register....The Abu Ghraib photos are sort of the military equivalent of the Rodney King case....And I hate to attribute motives to people I don't know, but it is easy to imagine that the officials who are withholding these images have that fact in mind."
posted by gsb
on Apr 2, 2005 -
Rape, Torture, and Lies
An ongoing Canadian saga has a sad new twist today: photojournalist Ziba Zahra Kazemi
was likely brutally tortured and raped before her death in Iran in 2003. Arrested after a demonstration, the official Iranian line has been that her death was an accident due to injuries from a fall. The ER doctor who treated her has now spoken out, after being granted refugee status in Canada. Wikipedia
has an excellent outline of the entire story.
posted by livii
on Mar 31, 2005 -
Sanchez Perjury Proof ? That depends on the meaning of "never"
Mainstream media once again caught with pants down as
citizen-journalist notes apparent perjury by Gen. Sanchez during testimony
before the US Congress concerning whether he authorized torture or not. The Globe and Mail
noticed the ACLU release of a FOIA-obtained memo
showing that Sanchez did in fact authorize torture, but the implication of perjury seems to have escaped MSM notice, to be pointed out by a
Metafilter's own citizen journalist Mark Kraft, who declares : "Sanchez is clearly guilty of perjury, and should face the wrath of Congress... and the Senate should determine the guilt of his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, while they're at it."
The case all hinges on the meaning of the word "never" which - rumor holds - is much more flexible in Sanchez' native "Never-never Land" where - as with the rumored numerous Eskimo terms for different kinds of snow - denizens of that realm have many different meanings for "never", some of which in fact mean "sometimes" or "occasionally" !
posted by troutfishing
on Mar 30, 2005 -
Transferring the problem does not transfer the moral responsibility.
According to Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, Afghanistan is the hub of a global network of detention centres, the frontline in America's 'war on terror', where arrest can be random and allegations of torture commonplace. I
leave it up to each reader to judge for themselves, but if they are right can the world afford to turn a blind eye?
posted by MadOwl
on Mar 20, 2005 -
Another Fan Of Torture Reveals Himself
Eugene Volokh, a former clerk to Justice O'Connor and a leading voice in conservative legal circles has some interesting opinions on punishment:
[T]hough for many instances I would prefer less painful forms of execution, I am especially pleased that the killing — and, yes, I am happy to call it a killing, a perfectly proper term for a perfectly proper act — was a slow throttling, and was preceded by a flogging. The one thing that troubles me (besides the fact that the murderer could only be killed once) is that the accomplice was sentenced to only 15 years in prison, but perhaps there's a good explanation.
posted by expriest
on Mar 17, 2005 -
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
posted by y2karl
on Mar 14, 2005 -
"He told me his brother was there with him, but he really wanted to see his mother, could he please call his mother. He was crying."
--thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the ACLU has received documents detailing detention, abuse, and death, of many, including children,
at Abu Ghraib. Mostly PDFs, but summaries
available on most pages: ... Investigation closed because furtherance "would be of little or no value" ...
--statements of that sort are common throughout.
posted by amberglow
on Mar 11, 2005 -
Canadian involvement in torture research
Britain, the US and Canada had begun talking about psychological warfare together at least as early as June 1951, when Sir Henry Tizard, the Ministry of Defence's senior scientist, met Canadian scientists and Cyril Haskins, the senior CIA researcher, in Montreal. Among the Canadians was Donald Hebb of McGill University, who was looking for funds to research "sensory deprivation
" - blocking out sight, sound and touch to affect people's personality and sense of identity. Early photographs show volunteers, goggled and muffled, looking eerily similar to prisoners arriving at Guantánamo.
posted by sunexplodes
on Feb 20, 2005 -
Who thinks this stuff up?
Further to concerns discussed here
regarding the torture of Guantanamo detainees, some interesting stories are emerging from those released about the creativity of gonzo military interrogation. Eww.
posted by cosmonik
on Jan 26, 2005 -
Is this really the best idea the military can think of?
Today's NY Times provides details on some methods used to extract the truth from Iraqi prisoners, including (I'm not making this up) audio tapes played loudly with "songs by Lil' Kim and Rage Against the Machine and rap performances by Eminem played loudly,"
and "a mix of babies crying and the television commercial for Meow Mix in which the jingle consists of repetition of the word 'meow'."
Wouldn't sodium pentathol or some other chemical persuasion be more effective, while providing less fodder for Leno and Letterman?
posted by centerpunch
on Jan 1, 2005 -
DOJ coup d'etat.
Ashcroft is gone. Now, six days before the confirmation hearings of Alberto Gonzales, the acting
Attorney General, Daniel Levin
, issues a new official memo
(pdf)on torture, reversing and specifically repudiating the definitions of torture from the August 2002 memo
addressed to Gonzales. The new memo states, among other things,
'we disagree with statements in the August 2002 Memorandum limiting "severe" pain under the statute to "excruciating and agonizing" pain [...] or to pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death'
posted by boo
on Dec 31, 2004 -
"On June 15, 2003, Sgt. Frank 'Greg' Ford, a counterintelligence agent in the California National Guard's 223rd Military Intelligence (M.I.) Battalion stationed in Samarra, Iraq, told his commanding officer, Capt. Victor Artiga, that he had witnessed five incidents of torture and abuse of Iraqi detainees at his base, and requested a formal investigation. Thirty-six hours later, Ford, a 49-year-old with over 30 years of military service in the Coast Guard, Army and Navy, was ordered by U.S. Army medical personnel to lie down on a gurney, was then strapped down, loaded onto a military plane and medevac'd to a military medical center outside the country." (Salon, day pass req.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Dec 8, 2004 -
LAWs instructions for starting criminal procedures against Bush
Today in Vancouver, Lawyers Against the War filed torture charges against George W. Bush under the Canadian Criminal Code. The charges were laid by Gail Davidson, co-chair of Lawyers against the War--LAW, under provisions enacted pursuant to the U.N. Torture Convention, ratified by both Canada and the United States. The charges concern the well known abuses of prisoners held by US Armed Forces in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The charges were accepted by the Justice of the Peace and referred for a hearing to decide whether Bush should be required to appear for trial. The Attorney General of Canada's consent is required within eight days for proceedings to continue, and the question of Bush's diplomatic immunity will have to be resolved by the court.
posted by sunexplodes
on Dec 1, 2004 -
Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse in Guantánamo The International Committee of the Red Cross has charged in confidential reports to the United States government that the American military has intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion "tantamount to torture" on prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The finding that the handling of prisoners detained and interrogated at Guantánamo amounted to torture came after a visit by a Red Cross inspection team that spent most of last June in Guantánamo. The team of humanitarian workers, which included experienced medical personnel, also asserted that some doctors and other medical workers at Guantánamo were participating in planning for interrogations, in what the report called "a flagrant violation of medical ethics." Doctors and medical personnel conveyed information about prisoners' mental health and vulnerabilities to interrogators, the report said, sometimes directly, but usually through a group called the Behavioral Science Consultation Team, or B.S.C.T. The team, known informally as Biscuit, is composed of psychologists and psychological workers who advise the interrogators, the report said.
From the Red Cross : The ICRC's work at Guantanamo Bay
- Related: From Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a pdf: Torture by Proxy: International and Domestic Law Applicable to Extraordinary Renditions
-- Representative Edward J.] Markey pledges battle on rendition practice
posted by y2karl
on Nov 30, 2004 -