Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

4808Bush Authorized Abu Ghraib Torture

Expand Messages
  • World View
    Nov 30, 2005
      Tortured men look like 'Holocaust Victims'
      By Kim Sengupta in Baghdad

      11/18/05 "The Independent" -- -- Iraq's Interior Minister has defended
      the treatment of abused prisoners found in a government bunker,
      declaring that "no one was beheaded or killed". But while Bayan Jabr
      insisted that the allegations of torture were "exaggerated" fresh
      details emerged of the horrific conditions endured by the captives.

      Witnesses said many of the 169 men and youths were emaciated and
      looked like "Holocaust survivors". Some had suffered beatings so
      severe that their skin had peeled off, and three men had been kept
      locked in a cupboard where they could not move. All the others were
      packed, blindfolded, into three rooms nine feet long and 11 feet wide.

      Instruments of torture and beating were found hidden in a false
      ceiling. Witnesses also said that the guards in charge of the
      detainees, all but three of whom were Sunnis, at an interior ministry
      bunker in central Baghdad, wore combat fatigues of the Shia Badr
      Brigades militia. "Because of the appalling overcrowding, some of the
      most badly treated were squashed on to floors and their skins got
      stuck to the floor," said a witness.

      Mr Jabr, a former member of the militia, insisted that only seven of
      the prisoners showed marks of torture, and those responsible will be
      punished. He continued: "You can be proud of our forces. Our forces
      respect human rights. We are the government and we are responsible for
      protecting you."

      Those being held were "the most dangerous criminal terrorists", the
      minister said at a press conference. He added: "Those criminal killers
      inside the bunkers were not Pakistanis or Iranians. Those are your
      Arab brothers that came here to kill your sons." Asked about one
      prisoner who was paralysed, Mr Jabr said he was a Shia who had been
      responsible for four car bombings resulting in 66 deaths in return for
      $1,000 (£582) from insurgents.

      The prisoners were found by American troops and Iraqi police trying to
      trace a 15-year-old boy whose family had access to a US congressman.

      © 2005 Independent News & Media (UK) Ltd.


      George Bush Authorized Abu Ghraib Torture
      Nov 01, 2005
      New Standard

      Among a new batch of documents human rights groups have forced the
      government to release is a Federal Bureau Of Investigation email
      communication that refers to a presidential Executive Order endorsing
      some forms of torture witnessed at Iraq prison.

      Dec 21, 2004 - Repeated references in an internal FBI email suggest
      that the president issued a special order to permit some of the more
      objectionable torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and other US-run
      prison facilities around Iraq. The email was among a new batch of FBI
      documents revealed by civil rights advocates on Monday. Other
      documents describe the initiation of investigations into alleged
      incidents of torture and rape at detention facilities in Iraq.

      The email, which was obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union,
      represents the first hard evidence directly connecting the Abu Ghraib
      prison abuse scandal and the White House. The author of the email,
      whose name is blanked out but whose title is described as "On Scene
      Commander -- Baghdad," contains ten explicit mentions of an "Executive
      Order" that the author said mandated US military personnel to engage
      in extraordinary interrogation tactics.

      An Executive Order is a presidential edict -- sometimes public,
      sometimes secretive -- instituting special laws or instructions that
      override or complement existing legislation. The White House has
      officially neither admitted nor denied that the president has issued
      an Executive Order pertaining to interrogation techniques.

      The specific methods mentioned in the email as having been approved by
      the unnamed Executive Order and witnessed by FBI agents include sleep
      deprivation, placing hoods over prisoners' heads, the use of loud
      music for sensory overload, stripping detainees naked, forcing
      captives to stand in so-called "stress positions," and the employment
      of work dogs. One of the more horrifying tools of intimidation, Army
      canines were used at the prison to terrorize inmates, as depicted in
      photos taken inside Abu Ghraib.

      The correspondence is dated May 22, 2004 -- a couple of weeks after
      images of torture and humiliation at the prison broke in the world
      media -- and was sent between FBI officials attempting to clarify the
      Bureau's position on the terminology to use when categorizing and
      reporting such techniques. The author repeatedly states those
      techniques were, at least temporarily, permitted under the mysterious
      presidential directive. The author also wrote that Pentagon policy had
      since restricted most of the techniques to require specific
      authorization from the chain of command.

      "As stated, there was a revision last week in the military's standard
      operating procedures based on the Executive Order," the letter reads.
      "I have been told that all interrogation techniques previously
      authorized by the Executive Order are still on the table but that
      certain techniques can only be used if very high-level authority is
      granted." The author goes on to recount having seen a military email
      that said certain techniques -- including "stress positions," the use
      of dogs, "sleep management," hoods, "stripping (except for health
      inspection)," and blaring music -- cannot be used without special

      The author wonders if techniques that fall within the scope of the
      Executive Order should be referred to as "abuse," since they are
      technically legal. Unless otherwise advised by the Bureau, the email
      continues, agents "will still not report the use of these techniques
      as 'abuse' since we will not be in a position to know whether or not
      the authorization for these tactics was received from the
      aforementioned officials."

      The author does believe that interrogation methods that involve
      "physical beatings, sexual humiliation or touching" clearly constitute
      "abuse," suggesting they are not within the scope of the repeatedly
      referenced Executive Order.

      The email says that FBI personnel operating at Abu Ghraib witnessed
      but did not participate in prisoner interrogations that involved
      actions approved by the Executive Order. That statement upholds
      separate documentation also obtained via Freedom of Information Act
      requests backed by a lawsuit on the part of the American Civil
      Liberties Union and other groups.

      As reported by The NewStandard, documents revealed in October showed
      that FBI agents had witnessed abuses like those mentioned in the
      email, in addition to many more severe actions.

      The email that was revealed on Monday is the first official document
      to state that the Oval Office was the source of directives permitting
      abuse and torture.

      After the ACLU released the documents, White House, Pentagon and FBI
      officials told reporters that the author of the email was mistaken,
      and that the order was not an Executive Order, but a Defense
      Department directive. All sources refused to be identified in news

      The White House does not appear to have ever officially denied that
      President Bush issued an Executive Order specifying interrogation
      techniques, though none has been made public. The ACLU and other
      organizations involved in forcing the release of documents regarding
      prisoner treatment at Abu Ghraib as well as prison camps in
      Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba have demanded the White House
      "confirm or deny the existence of such an order," according to an ACLU
      press release issued on Monday.

      Last June the president insisted that the only authorization he has
      issued with regard to interrogation procedures was that American
      personnel "would conform to US law and would be consistent with
      international treaty obligations."

      But as the unidentified FBI official noted in his email, techniques
      are made legal under US law if and when the president issues an
      Executive Order rendering them so.

      Asked more directly less than two weeks later if President Bush had
      ever approved particular prisoner handling methods, White House
      spokesperson Scott McClellan responded, "In terms of interrogation
      techniques related to what the military may carry out in Guantánamo
      Bay or Iraq, those are determinations that are made by the military,
      and we expect that those techniques fit within the policies that this
      President has instituted."

      The president and his legal advisors have repeatedly said that the US
      government neither condones nor commits torture. The Bush
      administration's conservative definition of torture, as expressed at a
      June 22 press briefing by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales,
      incorporates only acts bearing "a specific intent to inflict severe
      physical or mental harm or suffering."

      If White House statements are to be taken at face value, then, they
      still leave considerable room for the possibility that President Bush
      has authorized specific acts that civil libertarians and international
      law consider torturous, including the methods listed in the FBI email.

      The United Nations Convention Against Torture, which the United States
      Congress has ratified, defines "torture" far more broadly as including
      "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or
      mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as
      obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession."

      Also included among the newly released documents were notices
      regarding the initiation of criminal investigations pertaining to
      abuse of Iraqi detainees.

      One of the documents is a memo stating that the US Army's Criminal
      Investigation Division had commenced an inquiry "regarding the alleged
      rape of [a] juvenile male detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison." The name of
      the investigating officer or unit has been blanked out, and no
      identifying information is offered pertaining to the case.

      Another document notifies Valene Caproni of the FBI's Office of the
      General Counsel, that two FBI agents who were stationed in Iraq were
      to be interviewed by Army investigators looking into the alleged
      torture of an Iraqi detainee. Gary Bald of the Bureau's
      Counterterrorism Division wrote the email message, in which he notes
      suspicious military paperwork on a detainee whose name is redacted. He
      also writes that the two FBI special agents were with the military
      police unit that held the Iraqi and signed receipts claiming to have
      seen him before he was transferred to Abu Ghraib for further

      While the email states that the prisoner does not mention the FBI in
      his complaint, he described his treatment in troubling detail. "They
      tortured me and cuffed me in an act called the scorpion and pouring
      cold water on me," the email quotes the detainee's complaint as
      saying. "They tortured me from morning until the morning of the next
      day, and when I fell down from the severe torture I fell on the barbed
      wires, and then they dragged me from my feet and I was wounded and,
      and they punched me on my stomach."

      © 2004 The NewStandard



      To subscribe to this group, send an email to: