The Road To Abu Ghraib A generation from now, historians may look back to April 28, 2004, as the day the United States lost the war in Iraq... It was a direct—and predictable—consequence of a policy, hatched at the highest levels of the administration, by senior White House officials and lawyers, in the weeks and months after 9/11. Yet the administration has largely managed to escape responsibility for those decisions; a month from election day, almost no one in the press or the political class is talking about what is, without question, the worst scandal to emerge from President Bush's nearly four years in office... Given the particular conditions faced by the president and his deputies after 9/11—a war against terrorists, in which the need to extract intelligence via interrogations was intensely pressing, but the limits placed by international law on interrogation techniques were very constricting—did those leaders have better alternatives than the one they chose? The answer is that they did. And we will be living with the consequences of the choices they made for years to come.
posted by y2karl
on Oct 27, 2004 -
How Torture Came Down From the Top The latest official reports on the prisoner abuse scandal contain a classic Washington contradiction. Their headlines proclaim that no official policy mandated or allowed the torture of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that no officials above the rank of colonel deserve prosecution or formal punishment. But buried in their hundreds of pages of detail, for anyone who cares to read them, is a clear and meticulous account of how decisions made by President Bush, his top political aides and senior military commanders led directly to those searing images of naked prisoners being menaced with guard dogs.
posted by y2karl
on Aug 27, 2004 -
The Conscience of Joe Darby "Because the irony of all this is that the people in Somerset County who turned their backs on Joe, well, those people would probably feel very different if they knew the rest of the story. That it really wasn't about softening prisoners, gathering intelligence, or trying to win the war. That it wasn't even about losing control in the heat of the moment. It was about getting up in the middle of the night and going somewhere you weren't supposed to go, then beating and raping people there. It was premeditated violent crime."
posted by quonsar
on Aug 16, 2004 -
I have been in torture photos, too.
Gerry Adams speaks out. "News of the ill-treatment of prisoners in Iraq created no great surprise in republican Ireland. We have seen and heard it all before. Some of us have even survived that type of treatment. Suggestions that the brutality in Iraq was meted out by a few miscreants aren't even seriously entertained here. We have seen and heard all that before as well. But our experience is that, while individuals may bring a particular impact to their work, they do so within interrogative practices authorised by their superiors."
posted by sunexplodes
on Jun 5, 2004 -
Torture and Truth
and The Logic of Torture
--Mark Danner writes about Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade (The Taguba Report)
and Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the Treatment by the Coalition Forces of Prisoners of War and Other Protected Persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq During Arrest, Internment and Interrogation
in the former and concludes thusly in the latter:Behind the exotic brutality so painstakingly recorded in Abu Ghraib, and the multiple tangled plotlines that will be teased out in the coming weeks and months about responsibility, knowledge, and culpability, lies a simple truth, well known but not yet publicly admitted in Washington: that since the attacks of September 11, 2001, officials of the United States, at various locations around the world, from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo in Cuba to Abu Ghraib in Iraq, have been torturing prisoners. (More Within)
posted by y2karl
on Jun 4, 2004 -
U.S. Military Bars Some Iraq Interrogation Methods
...The officials said the decision was made on Thursday by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, on the same day that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld met with him on a surprise trip to the country and visited the Abu Ghraib facility on the outskirts of Baghdad. ..
Is this a tacit admission that what took place was not simply rogue actions by individuals but rather military folks following orders of some kind? And, then, why do the new ground rules apply just to Iraq and not to other places?
posted by Postroad
on May 14, 2004 -
The Wrong Morons.
(from the Army Times
) "Around the halls of the Pentagon, a term of caustic derision has emerged for the enlisted soldiers at the heart of the furor over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal: the six morons who lost the war...But the folks in the Pentagon are talking about the wrong morons."
posted by Ty Webb
on May 11, 2004 -
"Pull out, pull out", she cried, "Before it's too late!"
- Sex sells. Amidst the ongoing PR conflagration - as newly released
imagery of the psychosexual humiliation, by US guards at Abu Ghraib, of imprisoned Iraqis (a naked Iraqi man on a leash held by a female American soldier
, notably) provokes widespread outrage (and the Red Cross says things are much worse
than those pictures show), the BBC reports on informed speculation that the perfect storm of a growing insurgency, political reversals, and a PR debacle will lead to a hasty coalition pullout from Iraq. A frustrated and tense "Machine Gun Cheney"
achieves release, via his wheelbarrel load of 30 guns (including a Thompson), blasting away at a Secret Service gun range. His aim, they say, is very good. But will Cheney bite the bullet and level with the American public about what it will now take for the US to prevail in Iraq ?
posted by troutfishing
on May 6, 2004 -
"High court says man shot himself during interrogation".
In reversing the lower court decision, presiding Judge Toshinobu Akiyama of the high court said it was technically possible for Yanagi to snatch a bullet from a plastic bag placed on a table as evidence, when the two interrogators were not looking.
And yet, there might actually be an argument here. As seen in the Fark
thread that followed their initial posting of this Japanese case, Alexander Jason (a forensic analyst) completed a rather detailed analysis
and found the scene at least not incompatible with the suicide theory. This Alexander guy's quite interesting -- have to respect a guy whose home page
opens up with a gun pointing at a mannequin's head
(full research paper here
, not entirely safe on a full stomach).
posted by effugas
on Apr 30, 2004 -
One Iraqi prisoner
was told to stand on a box with his head covered, wires attached to his hands. He was told that if he fell off the box, he would be electrocuted.
Torture by Saddam? No, torture by American soldiers in Saddam's most notorious prison. After an Army investigation, courtmartials are likely, and a brigadier general may be forced to resign in disgrace.
posted by hipnerd
on Apr 29, 2004 -
Remember Tranquility Bay
? Kids being forcibly deported to Jamaica, where they have to earn their right to speak by advancing in a perverted "level" system, with punishment ranging from laying on the floor for hours to painful "restraint" sessions? A report
by Assistant Attorney General submitted on June 19, 2003 to Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove sheds light on two different "correctional" facilities, the Oakley and Columbia "Training Schools" in Mississipi. Boys and girls aged from 10 to 17 are hogtied for hours, pepper sprayed for disobedience, forced to eat their own vomit during exercises, or stripped naked and locked in a dark room for days because of suicide attempts. Between torturing sessions, they have to participate in good Christian prayers. These kids have to suffer abuse that would lead to a nationwide scandal if it happened to adults (or if sex was involved). AP has a brief summary
posted by Eloquence
on Jul 22, 2003 -
- "By touching a hotspot on their screens the Global audience can shock my exhausted face...". Yesterday his face "was sewn into a bind" today in around 3 hours time viewers may "contribute an electric shock direct to Mike Parr by interacting directly with the webcast"
A SMH article
and an Artist's Biography
provide some context.
posted by atom71
on May 2, 2003 -
Dealing With Saddam
What's in the cards for the missing members of the Iraqi high command?
According to Reuters AlertNet
"The United States will soon deliver Iraq's deposed president Saddam Hussein and his inner circle into the hands of its own troops -- as a deck of playing cards...Brigadier General Vincent Brooks held up one of the first examples of the card packs at a Central Command briefing on Friday, explaining that each card depicted a character the United States wanted pursued, killed or captured."
Checking the deck
quite predictably we find that Saddam is portrayed as the Ace of Spades, and his strong-arm younger son Qusay
is tricked out as Ace of Clubs. Ironically, elder-psychopathic progeny Uday, who is said to favor the use of rape
as a weapon of torture
, is imaged as the Ace of Hearts.
An Adobe Acrobat PDF image of the full deck is available at Defense Link.
Is this the the new US military card game, Poke-Iman? "Hey, soldiers...gotta catch 'em all!"
posted by Dunvegan
on Apr 11, 2003 -
A "Disappearance" In America
- Arrested without charge. Secret warrants and subpoenas. No arrest record. No accusation of a crime. Solitary confinement. No access to a lawyer. No comment from the authorities. No court appearance. In other countries, this would be a "disappearance". Here in America, it's just the Patriot Act at work
. Read the story of Mike Hawash
, and ponder where this country is headed.
posted by laz-e-boy
on Apr 7, 2003 -
...implants a device in his body that delivers agonizing pain at the push of a button, and over the course of many days attempts to wear him down through a disturbingly simple process of psychological warfare. He is seated in a chair with four bright lights shining in his face, and the captor attempts through painful coercion to make him say that there are, in fact, five lights. Every time he refuses to say there are five lights, he is drilled with pain. In essence, he is expected to deny the reality described by his own eyes, and surrender the will of his mind to the definition of reality offered by his captor. Four Lights, a thesis
posted by holloway
on Mar 31, 2003 -
Does America Torture?
"The men's death certificates, made public earlier this week, showed that one captive...died from 'blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease' while another ...from [a] blood clot in the lung that was exacerbated by a 'blunt force injury'." What steps are we taking in our "war on terror"? What if other countries decide to treat our civilians as "enemy combatants"? Is the Pax Americana so important that we must resort to torture, or, as is most often the case, giving up prisoners to countries that are known torturers?
posted by taumeson
on Mar 7, 2003 -
Torture by Art.
'Bauhaus artists such as Kandinsky, Klee and Itten, as well as the surrealist film-maker Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells and torture centres built in Barcelona and elsewhere '.
Maybe there is a future for those Turner Prize winners after all.
posted by rolo
on Jan 28, 2003 -
Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan.
"A man who was severely beaten by Ismail Khan's forces described to Human Rights Watch the effect of the repression: 'At any time I feel that I am in danger. When I leave my house, I do not know if I will return. I do not know whether something will happen to me, if there will be some car crash, or that I will be hit in the back of the head.' Another witness talked about how his community's hopes after the hated Taliban regime was ended have been deflated: 'What has changed in Afghanistan? All our hopes are crushed. We are completely disappointed. Look-all the same warlords are in power as before. Fundamentalism has come into power, and every day they strengthen their power.'
The light of liberation and liberty descends upon Afghanistan.
posted by fold_and_mutilate
on Nov 6, 2002 -
Rights Group Accuses Israel Of Torturing Palestinians
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem charged today that Israel has tortured Palestinians who have been detained for interrogation during the current military offensive. The group said in a statement that the interrogation methods included breaking the toes of prisoners. The detainees have also been prohibited from meeting with lawyers, the group said...Israel has long used torture against Palestinian prisoners, but an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in September 1999 specifically outlawed most methods being used.
From torture to assassinations (that result in killing of innocent civilians); from attacking Red Cross vehicles and buildings to preventing wounded and ill from receiving medical attention; from firing in the direction of journalists to house-to-house searches that have resulted in looting - it is clear that Israel is not interested in peace at all, but rather is taking this opportunity to institute a complete clampdown on all Palestinians, to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, and to break the will of what is, at its core, a liberation movement. And to Powell's call for a withdraw "without delay," Israel gives the finger and ratchets up its onslaught. Utterly disgusting. And what's more, the repercussions from this brutal military action will be felt for months to come.
posted by mapalm
on Apr 6, 2002 -
" is the State Department legal term for when they ship
(its a lot like extradition minus due process ) Al Qaida/Taliban POWs to a friendly 3rd country such as Egypt or Jordan for questioning.
"Why not just question them in Guantanamo" you ask? Thats because in some countries, interrogation is less regulated than it is on US soil. Neat, huh?
posted by BentPenguin
on Mar 14, 2002 -
The new TV show, The Chamber
"involves contestants who vie for a chance to enter a torture chamber. The winner is strapped into a chair in the chamber and must answer game show questions while enduring such torments as 100 mph winds, earthquake simulations and extreme heat, Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman told reporters today."
Is there any
depth to which Fox won't stoop? It premieres tomorrow night
posted by Steven Den Beste
on Jan 12, 2002 -
according to andy borowitz, the cia is using
mariah carey's movie "glitter" in the interrogations of al qaeda operatives. apparently, "the film usually induces prisoners to talk after 10 or 12 minutes.
" yow. the US is fighting dirty!
this has got to be one of the most humorous things i've read in a while. (via newsweek)
posted by sixtwenty3dc
on Jan 2, 2002 -
is exactly what I was afraid would happen to the hundreds of so-called material witnesses to the investigation of the terrorist attacks. I fear that this is simply a "quieter" internment of many innocent people of Arab descent. How can the government ask for religious and ethnic tolerance
while subjecting people to morally questionable treatment?
posted by xyzzy
on Oct 15, 2001 -
The Agony and the Ecstasy
It's a thin line between torture and titillation... these exhibits always get tremendous audience turn out. How many people have a little de sade within, I wonder?
posted by christina
on Jul 30, 2001 -
Your worst nightmare come true.
"Bound hand and foot and gagged, a 27-year-old English woman tourist cowered for seven hours in the vast loneliness of the Northern Territory night, stalked by a gunman who is feared to have killed her companion."
posted by Neale
on Jul 15, 2001 -
than a Ricki Lake Show marathon? I'll take an afternoon with King Phalari, thank you very much.
posted by donkeysuck
on Jul 10, 2001 -
Exxon "helped torture in Indonesia."
The Aceh uprising brings up the point--how far do we allow multi-nationals to go to "protect their interests"? Would you sanction torture to keep the price of gas and other petroleum products low?
posted by aflakete
on Jun 22, 2001 -
Torture Still Widespread In Asia Says Amnesty
. On Drudge. Do you think human rights violations of this sort mandate sanctions? I tend to not be a big fan of the U.S.'s ineffective Iraqi or Cuban sanctions but... This is very, very brutal. What do you think the proper U.S./European response should be?
posted by hanseugene
on Feb 9, 2001 -
Cruel and unusual?
"Expert witnesses testified that the brief delays give the body time to recover and increase the chance the person will feel pain."
What a crock... I wonder if the 3 year old baby he killed and dismembered felt any pain?
The punishment should fit the crime. Although the death penalty doesn't deter crime, if we punished those in the same manner that they commited the murder, then maybe criminals would think twice... then again, maybe not.
posted by da5id
on May 9, 2000 -