Friday, May 08, 2009

US interrogators may have killed dozens, human rights researcher and rights group say.

I accept that I am out of kilter with Obama when it comes to "looking forwards and not backwards" and that O'Reilly and others think that people like myself are guilty of "playing politics" with "policy differences" when we call for prosecution of war criminals, but are we now going to extend this right wing delusion regarding what actually happened so that we can now ignore murder?

United States interrogators killed nearly four dozen detainees during or after their interrogations, according a report published by a human rights researcher based on a Human Rights First report and followup investigations.

In all, 98 detainees have died while in US hands. Thirty-four homicides have been identified, with at least eight detainees — and as many as 12 — having been tortured to death, according to a 2006 Human Rights First report that underwrites the researcher’s posting. The causes of 48 more deaths remain uncertain.

I mean this goes beyond whether or not waterboarding constitues drowning, or whether slapping people or holding them in stress positions violates their human rights, we are now talking about killing people.

And the details are ugly.

They include at least one Afghani soldier, Jamal Naseer, who was mistakenly arrested in 2004. “Those arrested with Naseer later said that during interrogations U.S. personnel punched and kicked them, hung them upside down, and hit them with sticks or cables,” Sifton writes. “Some said they were doused with cold water and forced to lie in the snow. Nasser collapsed about two weeks after the arrest, complaining of stomach pain, probably an internal hemorrhage.”

Another Afghan killing occurred in 2002. Mohammad Sayari was killed by four U.S. servicemembers after being detained for allegedly “following their movements.” A Pentagon document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 said that the Defense Department found a captain and three sergeants had “murdered” Sayari, but the section dealing with the department’s probe was redacted.

"Enhanced interrogation" really sounds so mundane, until one reads of what was done under this programme, a programme which was signed off on at the highest levels of the Bush amdinistration.

“Abed Hamed Mowhoush [was] a former Iraqi general beaten over days by U.S. Army, CIA and other non-military forces, stuffed into a sleeping bag, wrapped with electrical cord, and suffocated to death,” Human Rights First writes. “In the recently concluded trial of a low-level military officer charged in Mowhoush’s death, the officer received a written reprimand, a fine, and 60 days with his movements limited to his work, home, and church.”

The punishment for suffocating this man to death included having one's movements restricted for 60 days. Unlike Lynndie England, and the other cases which carried huge negative publicity, here we see the price that is demanded as the punishment for suffocating a prisoner. You will be reprimanded and might lose some of your right to free movement for 60 days.

Surely, even those who argue that waterboarding isn't really torture can agree that death is actually death? And the US, according to this report, have actually killed 48 people in their custody. That's not to say 48 people have died in US custody, the claim is that the 48 have been killed in US custody.

Is there anyone who still thinks it would be too politically motivated if one were to insist on prosecuting the people who introduced this policy? I mean, are we literally going to allow them to get away with murder?

Related Articles:

Washington Post: Homicide Unpunished

ONE OF THE most shocking photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shows a grinning guard giving a thumbs-up sign over the bruised corpse of an Iraqi detainee. Subsequent investigation showed that the deceased prisoner, an Iraqi named Manadel al-Jamadi, died of asphyxiation on Nov. 4, 2003: He was tortured to death by Navy SEAL and CIA interrogators who took turns punching and kicking him, then handcuffed his arms behind his back and shackled them to a window five feet above the floor. Nine SEALs, a sailor and several CIA personnel were implicated in the killing. As it turned out, the Abu Ghraib guard who posed with the body, former Cpl. Charles A. Graner Jr., was not involved.

Two years after the photo came into the hands of Army investigators, the result of the case is this: Mr. Graner is serving a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the nonlethal abuse of other detainees at Abu Ghraib -- and no one involved in killing Mr. Jamadi has suffered serious penalty. Nine members of the Navy team were given "nonjudicial punishment" by their commanding officer; the 10th, a lieutenant, was acquitted on charges of assault and dereliction of duty. None of the CIA personnel has been prosecuted. The lead interrogator, Mark Swanner, reportedly continues to work for the agency.

The de facto principles governing the punishment of U.S. personnel guilty of prisoner abuse since 2002 now are clear: Torturing a foreign prisoner to death is excusable. Authoring and implementing policies of torture may lead to promotion. But being pictured in an Abu Ghraib photograph that leaks to the press is grounds for a heavy prison sentence.
And it's left to retired Army generals to bring any sense of what needs to happen next:
Sadly, it has been left to retired officers, such as Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, to speak honestly about this shameful record. The "torture and death" catalogued by Human Rights First, he wrote in a response to the report, "are the consequence of a shocking breakdown of command discipline on the part of the Army's Officer Corps. . . . What is unquestionably broken is the fundamental principle of command accountability, and that starts at the very top."
What is needed is an investigation into the orders given by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Bybee, Bradbury and others. The cancer, in this instance, was at the very top of the organisation. It is they who need to answer for what they have done.

It's well worth reading the entire article.

Click title for full article.


Anonymous said...

Just to give your readers some context of the photo you posted of the detainee smeared in feces. He was mentally ill, and routinely smeared his own feces all over this body. He wsa nicknamed "shit boy".

Kel said...

Oh thanks for that. I'd hate to have given the wrong impression and implied that the US mistreated anyone.

Steel Phoenix said...

Thanks for posting this. I'm increasingly finding you to be my best source for the news I don't see elsewhere. It is all the more impressive to see you still fighting the good fight even when most of the other left leaning sites have gone to mindless support for the American executive. Obama needs to do more to reverse his predecessor's policies of detention without representation.

Kel said...

Thanks for that SP. And I think Obama is going to give us more disappointment soon when he announces that he will go ahead with military tribunals at Guananamo. If, and when he does, the left needs to make him hear their disappointment.

Some on the left have turned themselves into little more than girlie fan sites. That's exactly what the right did when Bush gained power and we saw how well that turned out.

I'm all for applauding him when he does the right thing, but left leaning newspapers and blogs need to ensure he feels the heat if he ever veers from the course.