List all torture incidents | List deaths | List by technique | List by location
Public support | Government policy | Accountability & cover-ups | Rendition | FoIA docs | NGO reports & legal actn
Consequences & blowback | The New Iraq & other broken promises | The media | The noble few

Monday, June 21, 2004

DOD denies expedited processing for second FOIA request

T. J. Harrington, Deputy Assistant Director Counterterrorism writes a letter to General Donald J. Ryder, DOA Criminal Investigation Command regarding the suspected mistreatment of detainees. He writes describing interrogation techniques:
[censored] asked what happened to cause the detainee to grimace in pain. The marine said [censored] had grabbed the detainees thumbs and bent the backward and indicated that she also grabbed his genitals. The Marine also implied that her treatment of that detainee was less harsh than her treatment of others by indicating that he had seen her treatment of other detainees result in detainees curling into a fetal position on floor crying in pain.
He also writes about the impacts of intense light and solitary confinement on a detainee:
FBI agents observed Detainee [censored] after he had been subjected to intense isolation for over three months. During that time period [censored] was totally isolated (with the exception of occasional interrogations) in a cell that was always flooded with light. By late November, the detainee was evidencing behaviour consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non-existent people, hearing voices, crouching in the corner of the cell covered with a sheet for hours on end).
The letter further states that "these matters were referenced in a May 30, 2003 electronic communication (EC) from the Behavioural Analysis Unit of the FBI to FBI headquarters". This will be referred to in other documents as a "must read" to understand Abu Ghraib.

This document forms part of the documentation released on 15 December 2004 by FBI in response to an FOIA court order.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Pentagon, think-tank screens Saddam torture videos

This week, in the midst of the burgeoning Abu Ghraib scandal, right-wing think-tank The American Enterprise Institute screens a four minute plus video clip it obtained from the Pentagon depicting the torture of detainees by Saddam's military. The video contains gruesome, inhuman, terrible scenes of torture, including:
  • fingers being hacked off one by one;
  • tongues being cut off with razor blades;
  • beatings; and
  • decapitations.
It is accompanied by documents describing far worse atrocities perpetrated under Saddam.

Deborah Orin, a journalist who reported on the video, accuses journalists of duplicity for not covering the Pentagon-released video. Further, she argues that, by highlighting the current and ongoing actions of the U.S. Administration who are answerable to the U.S. voters, rather than the actions of Saddam, U.S. journalists "have become propaganda tools for the other side".

Monday, June 07, 2004

Media: 06 March 2003 memos published by Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal publishes a story called "Pentagon Report Set Framework For Use of Torture" (reprint on Common Dreams), in which it reveals some of the contents of the 6 March 2003 entitled "Working Group Report On Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism; Assessment of Legal, Historical, Policy, and Operational Considerations" (pdf)(html)

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Memo, Murry: Renditions to Uzbekistan

In his final memo (Letter #3 on the aforementioned website) to the UK Foreign Office, Ambassador Craig Murray writes:
We [the UK] receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.
He elaborates to say:
9. I understand that the meeting decided to continue to obtain the Uzbek torture material. I understand that the principal argument deployed was that the intelligence material disguises the precise source, ie it does not ordinarily reveal the name of the individual who is tortured. Indeed this is true -- the material is marked with a euphemism such as "From detainee debriefing." The argument runs that if the individual is not named, we cannot prove that he was tortured.

10. I will not attempt to hide my utter contempt for such casuistry, nor my shame that I work in and organisation where colleagues would resort to it to justify torture. I have dealt with hundreds of individual cases of political or religious prisoners in Uzbekistan, and I have met with very few where torture, as defined in the UN convention, was not employed. When my then DHM raised the question with the CIA head of station 15 months ago, he readily acknowledged torture was deployed in obtaining intelligence. I do not think there is any doubt as to the fact.

He also presents an example of such practises, and his opinion of the value of intelligence gained in this manner:
At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

NGOs file complaint in US District Court

Today the NGOs filing requests under the FOIA will take their claim to court.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

DIA Information regarding alleged detainee abuse

This document forms part of the documentation released on 15 October 2004 by DIA in response to an FOIA court order.

A rather dismissive document is produced by DIA relating to allegations of abuse by former detainee Mohammed Maleem Fidel. Mohammed alleges that while detained in Kandahar:

  • US Forces tortured him; and
  • he was forced him to perform sexual acts with dogs (c.f. Habib, 01 October 2001, an Australian citizen detained in Egypt, Pakistan, and Guantanamo Bay, who claimed he was threatened that he would be forced to perform sexual acts with dogs).
Another detainee, Amir Mohammad Agha, makes similar claims.