[R-G] Torture widespread; Guantanamo blueprint for Abu Ghraib
menecraj at shaw.ca
Sun May 16 21:46:49 MDT 2004
1) Australian lawyer adds to claims of Guantanamo torture
2) Detainees list Guantanamo torture
3) U.S. guards "filmed" Guantanamo abuse
4) Guantánamo torture same as Abu Ghraib, say Britons
5) Officials 'knew of beatings at Guantánamo'
6) U.S. holds huge network of secret terror prisons
7) General Took Guantánamo Rules to Iraq for Handling of Prisoners
8) No Surprise: Guantanamo Prisoners Claim Torture
9) Torture Probe of Bahraini Prisoner at Guantanamo
ABC Radio (Australia)
Australian lawyer adds to claims of Guantanamo abuse
The Australian lawyer for Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks
says his client has been abused and his human rights violated while
in American detention.
Lawyer Stephen Kenny says he is unable to detail the abuses
because of confidentiality agreements with United States authorities.
However, he says they date back to 2002 and go beyond
stress-and-duress techniques used by interrogators.
Mr Kenny says he is convinced the abuses were orchestrated and
organised at high levels of the US command structure.
"All I can say is the manner in which these activities were carried
out make it fairly clear to me that they were not simply the
excesses of individuals," he said.
Mr Kenny's comments follow those of Mr Hicks'
Pentagon-appointed lawyer, Major Michael Mori, who has also
raised concerns about his client's treatment.
The Australian government says it has been assured Mr Hicks and
the other Australian being held at Guantanamo Bay, Mamdouh
Habib, are not being mistreated.
Mr Hicks and Mr Habib have been held at the US military prison
in Cuba for more than two years without charge.
Herald Sun (Australia)
Detainees list Guantanamo abuse
By Paisley Dodds in San Juan, Puerto Rico
TWO detainees released from the US prison camp at
Guantanamo Bay say interrogators forced prisoners to strip,
chained them to a floor for hours and used deafening music
and dogs to extract confessions.
In an open letter sent to US President George W. Bush and
the Senate Armed Services Committee, Britons Shafiq
Rasul and Asif Iqbal detail the alleged abuse they
encountered during the two years they were held in eastern
They said they were forced to squat with their hands chained
between their legs for hours during interrogations when
guards used strobe lights, dogs and loud music - particularly
from American rapper Eminem - to extract information.
They also say they were not allowed to use the bathroom
during interrogations which often lasted 12 hours.
The new allegations come as US officials try to diffuse a
firestorm of criticism over the treatment of prisoners in Iraq's
Abu Ghraib prison, where recently released pictures show
half-clothed detainees being forced to pose in sexually
humiliating positions with US troops.
"We have never applied any of those techniques," said
Army Lt. Col. Leon Sumpter, a spokesman for the US
detention mission at Guantanamo.
Rasul and Iqbal said detainees often were forced to go naked
as punishment for minor offenses, even when female guards
"Soldiers told us 'We can do anything we want'," they said in
the letter released by the New York-based Centre for
Constitutional Rights, which is providing counsel to the men.
Both are back in England since their March 8 release.
Sumpter said detainees only were asked to undress if they
required medical treatment or had arrived for processing.
The pair said they saw two detainees assaulted by guards,
including Jummah Al-Dousari from Bahrain, who in April 2002
was allegedly beaten by a group of guards while he was
recovering from surgery and receiving psychiatric treatment.
"They stamped on his neck, kicked him in the stomach even
though he had metal rods there as a result of an operation, and
they picked up his head and smashed his face into the floor.
One female officer was ordered to go into the cell and kick
him and beat him - which she did," the letter said.
Rasul and Iqbal said cameras were used and would confirm
Guantanamo officials have said two guards have been given
administrative punishments - for hitting a detainee with a radio
and spraying a detainee with a hose. A third guard investigated
was cleared of wrongdoing.
Rasul and Iqbal said US troops would often hose excrement
and urine off plastic chairs used in interrogation rooms instead
of allowing detainees to use the bathrooms.
They also accused Major General Geoffrey Miller of instituting
new interrogation procedures, particularly "short-shackling," or
shackling a detainee to a hook in the floor to limit movement.
Miller, who was in charge of the Guantanamo mission from
November 2002 to March 2004, now is in charge of US
prisons in Iraq, where he has promised sweeping reforms.
Rasul and Iqbal are among five Britons released from
Guantanamo whom the British Government freed without charge
after determining they were not a security threat. The US
government accuses the men of training with Afghanistan's
ousted Taliban regime.
About 600 prisoners still are held in Guantanamo on suspicion
of links to the ousted Taliban regime or al-Qaeda terror network.
None have been charged or allowed to see lawyers. Some have
been held for more than two years.
U.S. guards "filmed" Guantanamo abuse
Sun 16 May, 2004 07:20
LONDON (Reuters) - A third Briton detained at Guantanamo
Bay has told a newspaper he was mistreated by his U.S.
captors and says guards at the camp in Cuba filmed his beatings.
Tarek Dergoul, 26, from London, was one of five Britons
released from the camp in March. Four others, said by
Washington to be more dangerous, remain captive.
He told The Observer on Sunday he had been repeatedly
assaulted by Camp Delta's punishment squad, the Extreme
Reaction Force, during his 22-month imprisonment.
"They pepper-sprayed me in the face and I started vomiting,"
he was quoted as saying. "They pinned me down and attacked
me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into
the toilet and flushed.
"They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on
me, kicking and punching.
"Finally they dragged me out of the cell in chains...and shaved
my beard, my hair and my eyebrows," he said.
"There was always this guy behind the squad, filming everything
that happened," he added.
Last week, two other British inmates wrote an open letter to
President George W. Bush, saying they were beaten and
accusing U.S. military officials of deliberately misleading the
public about interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo.
The U.S. military, whose interrogation techniques have come
under fire amid revelations of abuse of prisoners at the Abu
Ghraib jail near Baghdad, has denied allegations of abuse at
Guantanamo, where more than 600 people are being held
without charge or access to lawyers.
Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal said in their letter to Bush that they
were forced to squat with their hands shackled to the floor for
hours during questioning, and that dogs, strobe lights and loud
music were used to disorientate them.
Guantánamo abuse same as Abu Ghraib, say Britons
Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington, Tania Branigan and
Friday May 14, 2004
Two British men who were held at Guantánamo Bay claimed
that their US guards subjected them to abuse similar to that
perpetrated at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
In an open letter to President George Bush, Britons Shafiq
Rasul and Asif Iqbal accused US military officials of
deliberately misleading the public about procedures at
Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal, who were freed in March after being
arrested in Afghanistan and held without charge for more than
two years, allege that heavy-handed treatment was systematic.
"From the moment of our arrival in Guantánamo Bay (and
indeed from long before) we were deliberately humiliated
and degraded by methods we now read US officials denying,"
the men write.
The men describe a regime that included assaults on prisoners,
prolonged shackling in uncomfortable positions, strobe lights,
loud music and being threatened with dogs.
At times, detainees would be taken to the interrogation room
and chained naked on the floor, the letter says. Women would
be brought to the room to "inappropriately provoke and indeed
molest them. It was completely clear to all the detainees that
this was happening to particularly vulnerable prisoners,
especially those who had come from the strictest of Islamic
backgrounds," the letter says.
Mr Iqbal and Mr Rasul have issued repeated allegations of
abuse at the camp since their release last March. Previous
allegations were dismissed by the US embassy in London, but
after two weeks in which America has been convulsed by
images of torture and humiliation, their latest challenge looked
set to receive a more serious hearing.
The spotlight has shifted from Abu Ghraib to other detention
facilities in America's war on terror as reports emerge from
Afghanistan, as well as Iraq.
Shortly before their release last March, the two men say a new
practice was instituted in what became known as the "Romeo"
block. Prisoners were stripped completely. "After three days
they would be given underwear. After another three days they
would be given a top, and then after another three days given
trouser bottoms," the letter says.
That account stands in direct contradiction to denials this week
from a Pentagon spokesman, Colonel David McWilliams, that
nudity and embarrassment were never used to break down
prisoners. "We have no protocol that allows us to disrobe a
detainee whatsoever," Col McWilliams told the Washington
Clive Stafford Smith, the lawyer who acted for Mr Rasul and
Mr Iqbal in a supreme court case in the US, said: "These guys
had been trying to put it all behind them, but they have been
reading the stuff this week and getting really angry that the US
is lying again."
The Guardian has learned that some of the British detainees
released from Guantánamo Bay have reported that they were
sexually abused. There is no way to independently verify these
According to a source, who has interviewed them in secret
since their release, they were initially too ashamed to talk about
it, and are only now starting to give details. The source said:
"They are embarrassed about talking about it because they feel
humiliated. We have had an account that their religion was used
against them, that a copy of the Koran was brought in front of
them and pages torn out."
The Guardian (UK)
Vikram Dodd and Tania Branigan
Saturday May 15, 2004
The UK government knew about beatings and abuses at
Guantánamo Bay because Britons held there complained
to UK interrogators and consular officials on numerous
occasions, a lawyer for remaining detainees alleged
Louise Christian, who represents several men held at the
US military base in Cuba, said that two of the Britons
released in March - Tarek Dergoul and Jamal Udeen -
told her they had repeatedly protested about their
treatment. Mr Dergoul alone made five separate
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We take
all such allegations seriously and obviously remain
concerned for the welfare of detainees."
It had been maintained that none of the British men had
complained to consular officials who visited them and
they were not aware of alleged abuses. The
spokeswoman said she was sure the interrogators would
have acted "with the highest degree of professionalism".
None of the men has ever been charged or cautioned in
relation to their detention.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office, which is
responsible for the security services, said: "Officers
conducting interviews were under an obligation to inform
relevant authorities of any complaints made by detainees
or any concerns they had. It would not be appropriate to
give details of any concerns raised."
But Ms Christian said: "They told the British interrogators
about the abuse, about the beatings and about the
punishment and reward system - and the British did nothing.
"Those interrogators should have told officials and ministers
who then should have done something."
She added: "I am convinced that what is happening at
Guantánamo Bay is institutionalised abuse following a
similar pattern to what has been described in Iraq."
Four Britons are among more than 600 prisoners still held
at the base without charge or access to lawyers. The
Foreign Office said officials were still negotiating with the
US for their fair trial or release.
Yesterday's allegations were prompted by an open letter to
President Bush from the other released Britons. Shafiq
Rasul and Asif Iqbal accused the camp authorities of
systematic abuse and challenged officials to release the
photographs and videos of their interrogations.
The US military has insisted that the kind of abuses against
prisoners documented at the Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq did
not take place at Guantánamo Bay.
But Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal wrote: "We were deliberately
humiliated and degraded by the use of methods that we
now read US officials denying."
The Detroit News
Sunday, May 16, 2004
U.S. holds huge network of secret terror prisons
Suspects hidden from public, courts
By Dana Priest, and Joe Stephens / Washington Post
WASHINGTON — In Afghanistan, the CIA’s secret U.S.
interrogation center in Kabul is known as “The Pit,” named
for its despairing conditions. In Iraq, the most important
prisoners are kept in a huge hangar near the runway at
Baghdad International Airport. In Qatar, U.S. forces have
been ferrying some Iraqi prisoners to a remote jail on the
gigantic U.S. air base in the desert.
The Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where a unit of U.S. soldiers
abused prisoners, is just the largest and suddenly most
notorious in a worldwide constellation of detention centers —
many of them secret and all off-limits to public scrutiny.
These prisons and jails are sometimes as small as shipping
containers and as large as the sprawling Guantanamo Bay
complex in Cuba. They are part of an elaborate CIA and
military infrastructure whose purpose is to hold suspected
terrorists or insurgents for interrogation and safe-keeping
while avoiding U.S. or international court systems, where
proceedings and evidence against the accused would be
aired in public. Some are even held by foreign governments
at the informal request of the United States.
“The number of people who have been detained in the Arab
world for the sake of America is much more than in
Guantanamo Bay. Really, thousands,” said Najeeb Nuaimi,
a former justice minister of Qatar who is representing the
families of dozens of prisoners.
The largely hidden array includes three systems that only
rarely overlap: the Pentagon-run network of prisons, jails
and holding facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and
elsewhere; small and secret CIA-run facilities where top
al-Qaida and other figures are kept; and interrogation
rooms of foreign intelligence services — some with
documented records of torture — to which the U.S.
government delivers or “renders” mid- or low-level
terrorism suspects for questioning.
All told, more than 9,000 people are held overseas by U.S.
authorities with the vast majority under military control,
according to Pentagon figures and estimates by intelligence
Although some of those held by the military in Iraq,
Afghanistan and Guantanamo have had visits by the
International Committee of the Red Cross, some of the
CIA’s detainees have, in effect, disappeared, according to
interviews with former and current national security officials
and to the Army’s report of abuses at Abu Ghraib.
The CIA’s “ghost detainees,” as they were called by
members of the 800th MP Brigade, were routinely held by
the soldier-guards at Abu Ghraib “without accounting for
them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their
detention,” the report says.
Process has protocol
None of the arrangements that permit U.S. personnel to
kidnap, transport, interrogate and hold foreigners is ad hoc
or unauthorized, including the so-called renderings.
“People tend to regard it as an extra-judicial kidnapping;
it’s not,” said former CIA officer Peter Probst. “There is a
long history of this. It has been done for decades. It’s
In fact, every aspect of this new universe — including
maintenance of covert airlines to fly prisoners from place to
place, interrogation rules and the legal justification for
holding foreigners without due process afforded most U.S.
citizens — has been developed by military or CIA lawyers,
vetted by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel
and, depending on the particular issue, approved by White
House General Counsel’s Office or the president himself.
General Took Guantánamo Rules to Iraq for Handling of Prisoners
By TIM GOLDEN and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: May 13, 2004
hen Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller arrived in Iraq last August
with a team of military police and intelligence specialists, the
group was confronted by chaos.
In one prison yard, a detainee was being held in a scorching
hot shipping container as punishment, one team member
recalled. An important communications antenna stood broken
and unrepaired. Prisoners walked around barefoot, with
sores on their feet and signs of untreated illness. Garbage
Perhaps most important, with the insurgency raging in Iraq,
there was no effective system at the prisons for wringing
intelligence from the prisoners, officials said.
"They had no rules for interrogations," a military officer who
traveled to Iraq with General Miller said. "People were
escaping and getting shot. We tried to offer them some very
According to information from a classified interview with
the senior military intelligence officer at Abu Ghraib prison,
General Miller's recommendations prompted a shift in the
interrogation and detention procedures there. Military
intelligence officers were given greater authority in the prison,
and military police guards were asked to help gather
information about the detainees.
Whether those changes contributed to the abuse of prisoners
that grew horrifically more serious last fall is now at the center
of the widening prison scandal.
General Miller's recommendations were based in large part
on his command of the detention camp in Guantánamo Bay,
Cuba, where he won praise from the Pentagon for improving
the flow of intelligence from terrorist suspects and prisoners
of the Afghanistan war.
In Iraq, General Miller's team gave officers at the prisons
copies of the procedures that had been developed at
Guantánamo to interrogate and punish the prisoners,
according to the officer who traveled with him. Computer
specialists and intelligence analysts explained the systems
they had used in Cuba to process information and report it
back to the United States.
General Miller also recommended streamlining the command
structure at the prisons, much as was done when military
intelligence and military police units were merged when he
took command of Joint Task Force Guantánamo in
But to at least a few of the officers who met General Miller
in Iraq, the Abu Ghraib crisis was partly rooted in what they
described as his determination to apply his Guantánamo
experience in Iraq. Senators raised similar concerns on
Tuesday at the Armed Services Committee.
General Miller and some of his former aides have dismissed
the notion that his visit to Iraq helped unleash the abuses.
They argue that if his prescriptions had any link to the
problems there, it was because they were misinterpreted by
ineffective commanders in a chaotic environment.
"When you don't have rules and you let lower-level people
decide things on an arbitrary and capricious basis, you're
going to have problems," the officer who accompanied
General Miller said. "Our reference to techniques was to say,
`You need a policy.' "
A Democratic Senate aide who reviewed General Miller's
report on the Iraqi prisons said he had sought to revamp the
intelligence apparatus in Iraq primarily to improve the
collection and transmission of broader, strategic information
about the insurgency that was particularly important to senior
To those officials, the work at Guantánamo by General Miller,
a former paratrooper from Menard, Tex., made him an
obvious candidate for Iraq.
By the time he took over in Cuba, most of the detainees there
had been in custody for nearly a year. Still, General Miller was
credited by Pentagon officials with using interrogations there
to produce a valuable historical account of the workings and
financing of terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, among
other subjects, officials said.
His hard-charging attitude has also raised questions that go
beyond interrogation methods. He was the official most
responsible for pressing a case last year against a Muslim
chaplain at the base, Capt. James J. Yee, that was initially
billed as a major episode of espionage. In March, the military
announced that it would drop all charges.
No Surprise: Guantanamo Prisoners Claim Torture
In the wake of the Iraqi torture scandal it is now reported that
American soldiers also tortured captives being held at the U.S.
Military base in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Two British citizens released last March wrote a letter to U.S.
President George W. Bush detailing the tortures that had been
inflicted upon them as well as those they had been
In the letter, two former Guantanamo captives, Sefiq Resul
and Asaf Iqbal, wrote that they were subjected to abuse
similar to that which had happened in Abu Gharib Prison in
Iraq. Their lawyer, Barbra Olshasky, said on Friday that the
purpose of the letter is to clearly show the world public that
the U.S. engages in systematic torture as part of its military
Olshansky disclosed that her clients clearly said that they
were kept in chain for hours, made to stand stark naked,
threatened with dogs, left in the cold, and humiliated.
Elsewhere, American Jeremy Sivits, who is accused of
torturing Iraqi captives, disclosed many of the details of the
ill treatment. He said that the guards took the captives' cloths
off, beat them, kicked them and made them beat each other.
Sivits said that his superior, Charles Graner, was 'pleased
with his actions'.
Gulf Daily News (Bahrain)
Vol XXVII, NO. 57,
Sunday, 16May 2004
By SARA HORTON
An investigation is to be launched into allegations that a
Bahraini prisoner was brutally beaten at the infamous US
base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Claims that Juma Al
Dossary was stamped on, kicked the stomach and had
his head smashed on the floor of his "cage" by eight or
nine guards, will be investigated, Foreign Ministry
Under-Secretary Yousif Mahmood pledged yesterday.
But Mr Mahmood said he had no information about any
mistreatment of the six Bahrainis held as suspected
terrorists at Camp X-ray.
In fact, he said that a three-member Interior Ministry
delegation which had just returned from meeting the
detainees had given him only "positive feedback" at a
meeting on Wednesday.
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