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Thursday, November 28, 2002

Incident: Habibullah tortured to death

Today, according to a New York Times article published in 2 years and a half years time, Habibullah will be captured by an Afghan warlord. He will then be given to CIA operatives at Bagram two days later, where the doctor will describe him as being in good health. (It is noted that Lt. Col. John W. Loffert Jr, the man responsible for intelligence operations at that time (ref), later claimed to investigators that "[Habibullah] was already in bad condition when he arrived".)

Habibullah will be a spirited and defiant prisoner. He spat on his torturers, and according to reports, after one soldier gave him a cavity search, Habibullah kneed him in the groin.

By 02 December, he will have already been beaten to the extent that he can no longer bend his legs to sit in a chair. He will also be coughing up phlegm, limping, and his right foot will be swollen. Yet he will remain unbroken.

"Once they asked him if he wanted to spend the rest of his life in handcuffs," Mr. Baerde [his interpreter] said. "His response was, 'Yes, don't they look good on me?'"
By 03 December he will be found dead, still tethered to the ceiling as his torturers left him.

In several month's time, General McNeill will give statements to the press. General McNeill will be quoted denying that prisoners had been chained to the ceiling or or held in chains attached to the ceiling (source: NYT). From the article:

"Our interrogation techniques are adapted," [General McNeill] said. "They are in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques ..."
As described in an article for the International Herald Tribune:
Military spokesmen maintained that both men had died of natural causes, even after military coroners had ruled the deaths homicides. Two months after those autopsies, the American commander in Afghanistan, then-Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, said he had no indication that abuse by soldiers had contributed to the two deaths. The methods used at Bagram, he said, were "in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques."

Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill.
In a 04 March 2003 article in the NYT (reprint), Habibullah's family will say that no American official had given them any information or explanation about the death, which was learnt from the International Committee of the Red Cross.


For a timeline and further reading, see this blog's entry on Dilawar. He was another detainee who was tortured to death at Bagram around the same time.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Objections to rendition within FBI

Today a memo will be forwarded to a senior FBI lawyer from a supervisory special agent from the FBI's behavioural analysis unit. In two years and nine month's time, Newsweek will obtain a copy of the memo, and write an article about the memos contents.

According to the article, the agent discusses a plan to send a detainee to Jordan, Egypt, or another country for interrogation. The author objects to this saying

In as much as the intent of this category is to utilize, outside the U.S., interrogation techniques which would violate [U.S. law] if committed in the U.S., it is a per se violation of the U.S. Torture Statute

... Discussing any plan which includes this category could be seen as a con-spiracy to violate [the Torture Statute]" and "would inculpate" everyone involved".

Monday, November 11, 2002

Detainee dissidents handed over to [censored] gov, shot and killed?

Today, a detainee at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, will be questioned by a Special Agent from the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command. His response recorded will eventually be made available due to NGO's Freedom of Information Act request.

He will claim that he is a dissident fighting against his own government's repressive regime. This government's name is censored out. He also claims that information about his family was passed on to this government by the U.S. His story bears strong resemblance to this story, which relates a similar situation. An excerpt of him describing a visit from a representative of this government is reproduced below (page 3933).

[censored] stated that [censored] came in to the interview room and started giving him a threatening speech. [censored] told him that [censored approx. 11 letters] Government is very strong and the United States cannot stand up and protect [censored] ... [censored] advised that [censored] told him that the United States is very weak and in financial ruin because of the Trade Center bombing. ... [censored] advised that [censored] told him to cooperate and tell them everything. [censored] stated that the delegation told him that he would be released back to [censored] Government soon. ...

[censored] told him that the United States released all of [censored] detainees' information (statements, true names, family information, addresses, and photographs) to [censored] Government. [censored] advised that the [censored] showed him a picture of himself, taken by the Americans. [censored] knew information that was only shared with the Americans. [censored] advised that this information was only given to the Americans in confidence, because the [censored] thought the Americans were their friends and the United States would not give it to [censored] ...
[censored] advised that [censored] told him that since he did not believe in cooperation between [censored] and the United States declaring [approx. one line censored] a terrorist organization, [censored] brought in an American that read a statement declaring the above.

[censored] advised that [censored] told him that [censored] Government had been in contact with all of the [censored] detainees' families. [censored] stated that [censored] policy toward the [censored] people is killing them. [censored] advised that the [censored] land is rich with oil and very fertile, that is why the [censored] want it. [censored] stated that the easiest way for [censored] to keep [censored two words] is to kill all of the [censored] people. [censored] advised that by the United States releasing all of his personal information to [censored] that has put his family in danger. [censored] stated that since [censored] visit, all of the [censored] detainees are becoming mentally depressed and unstable, due to the mental stress of worrying about what [censored] Government has done to their families. [censored] advised that he is worried about his family and is sure that [censored] Government has seized his family's home, put his parents into the streets, placed his brothers in prison, or killed his family. [censored] stated that [censored] did not verbally threaten his family, but they told him what city and neighbourhood his family lives in. [censored] advised that the [censored] told him that money can buy any story that [censored] Government want. [censored] told him that they can pay two people to say that they saw [censored] commit terrorist acts. [censored] stated that [censored] accused him of being a terrorist, knowing USAMA BIN LADEN, and being part of Al-Qaeda.

[censored] stated that he had never heard of Al-Qaeda, until he heard of it from the Americans. [censored] has not [censored] the Arabs and the Arabs have some unknown, stupid cause. [censored] is fighting for freedom of the [censored] people and their country, [censored] [censored] stated that the [censored] have no civil rights, no equality, no jobs, no freedom, and [censored] are killing their people and culture. [censored] stated that [censored] are using the [censored] land, oil, and natural resources to become a powerful county (sic). [censored] stated that is the reason why he left his home and went to live in caves in Afghanistan. [censored] stated that he had to learn to fight and try to save his people, before it is too late.

[censored] stated that back home, he used to listen to the United States freedom channel, Radio Free Asia[1], on the radio. [censored] advised that Radio Free Asia gives so much hope to the [censored] ...

[censored] advised that [censored] turned over [censored half line] shot and killed them on the border.

Considering this story and the story here, I propose that the detainees may be Uyghurs, and the government that the detainee is fearful of is the Chinese Government.

Update: In several years time, on 24 August 2005, the Washington Post will do a story on the Uyghurs, verifying that their details were released to the Chinese government, and noting that the US is now uncertain as to where to send them.

[1]: Note that Radio Free Asia broadcasts in nine languages: Mandarin, Cantonese, Burmese, Korean, Lao, Khmer, Tibetan, Vietnamese, and Uyghur.