2
   

"Americans tortured Iraqi to death"

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 01:38 pm
"Americans tortured Iraqi to death"

May 14, 2004

[translation:]

Quote:
American soldiers in Iraq are said to have tortured an Iraqi prisoner to death. The website of the German weekly Der Spiegel has reported so. This Sunday the German TV-station RTL will broadcast images and testimonies in the programme Spiegel TV.

According to Der Spiegel the story is about Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel. The man was a tribal elder who early this year was apprehended on the street by American soldiers and brought to the military base Al Asad.

A photo on the website of the German weekly shows a heavily mistreated dead man. A fellow inmate says that the man had been tortured for days on end and died five days later. An Iraqi coroner says that the body showed evidence of torture.

A pathologist from the US however wrote in the official death certificate that he had died of natural causes and had died in his sleep. According to him no autopsy was done. Spiegel TV, however, says that photos show an autopsy did take place.

Employees of a forensic institute in Bagdad say that bodies with traces of abuse are regularly brought in there. Iraqi coroners however are not allowed to start any researchy of their own if there is already a death certificate from an American pathologist.


That's from the Dutch public broadcaster's news, last Friday.

Background on the source: Der Spiegel is to Germany what Time or Newsweek is to the US. RTL is what ABC, NBC or CBS would be in the US. Here's the link to the Spiegel article:

Iraker in US-Haft zu Tode gefoltert
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,883 • Replies: 90
No top replies

 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 01:41 pm
Two things strike me, apart from the sheer shock-horror of the story.

One is that I expected the story to break in US media as well, but I don't think it has yet. Perhaps it will after the broadcast today. Perhaps it won't. The US media have struck me as being extremely slow in reacting to the abuse scandal(s).

An interesting MSNBC article recently recounted how there was actually an item on CNN, briefly, back in January, about Iraqi prisoners being mistreated and there being photos of the abuse. But the story "sank without a trace". Apparently, some things are so gruesome that even editors brush them aside in disbelief - or shirk back from confronting their audience with them. But then there was the CBS show three months later. Yet even then, however, while the newspapers around here frontpaged the scandal immediately, it took another week for the story to really gain traction in the US. Probably denial. (BBB posted a noteworthy story on that, too).

Second thing is that - even should the story of Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel eventually somehow be disproven, there are enough other troubling elements in this report. I mean this last paragraph:

"Employees of a forensic institute in Bagdad say that bodies with traces of abuse are regularly brought in there. Iraqi coroners however are not allowed to start any researchy of their own if there is already a death certificate from an American pathologist."

Let's hope there will be an Iraqi government in place pretty soon with enough independent powers to be able to put up some kind of autonomous control and monitoring functions over the foreign troops stationed there.

Troubling also is that this report is not about the notorious Abu Ghraib prison - it's about another base. Which means that, if true, it's another strong indicator that the problem is much more widespread (systematic?) than the "behaviour of seven or eight privates".
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:25 pm
Only one thing strikes me about the story. What was the basis of the death certificate certifying natural causes, if indeed, no autopsy were performed?
0 Replies
 
pistoff
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:31 pm
!
"The US media have struck me as being extremely slow in reacting to the abuse scandal(s)."

Photos of sexual humiliation are more exciting for American voyers.

Photos of physical torture are a turn-off.

The Govt. and Congress will avoid photos that depict torture in the US Prisons abroad because it endangers the colonization of other countries and may give Americans and people of other countries the idea that the US isn't really about freedom and democracy, after all.
0 Replies
 
infowarrior
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:36 pm
What I'm struck by is the number of replies from right-wingers who say "all countries engage in torture," so the implication is by entension that it's A-OK for the USA to sink to the level of Saddam Hussein, and Pol Pot, and Stalin, and Mao, and Tito, and Amin, and Suharto.

If this is true, then we as a nation have absolutely no business roaming the world, telling weaker nations they should follow our lead because we're no better than they are.
0 Replies
 
Rick d Israeli
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:41 pm
Nimh, as a Dutchman: what do you think about all the "consternatie" there is concerning the death of Dutch sergeant Dave Steensma? For all non-Dutch: he is the first Dutch soldier who has been killed in Iraq.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:44 pm
I may be a small voice crying in the wilderness, but the only time I see any of those pictures, is when I watch the local news. and I really resent it then.

nimh, I'm glad to see you back here, but totally depressed at this story. John Donne had it right.

I try to skip most of the threads with horror stories, but I just wanted to say, "Hi".
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:51 pm
Roger, dunno. Of course I'm translating, so I don't know if "death certificate" is the right English word. But doesn't every official registration of a death go with a description of the cause of death? Whereas autopsy is only performed in specific cases, if there is an investigation?

I mean, if, say, my grandfather dies in his sleep at age 93, the doctor in the hospital might well register that in the books as "natural causes" without deeming an autopsy necessary, right?

Problem here would be that the Iraqi doctors, looking at the body, would think an autopsy is necessary to find out what exactly happened with this bruised body, but they're not allowed to if an American pathologist has already registered the case. A pathologist who, I suppose, would be working for the US army.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 02:57 pm
Rick, I don't think much about that. Of course there would be a Dutch casualty sooner or later. What did we think, that somehow the Dutch would be spared while bodybag after bodybag is shipped home to the States? <shrugs>

Letty, me too, I'm depressed by these stories. But I think it's very important that they're out there. Bottom line, it's not the pictures that are depressing, it's the stuff they depict. And hopefully, if the pictures are seen enough, the stuff they depict happens less. Already, the rules at Abu Ghraib have changed. Openness is essential.

But hi back, anyway <big smile>

And who's John Donne?
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 03:05 pm
nimh

Howdy...great to have you back.

I hadn't heard of this particular story, nor of the allegations regarding death certificates.

I did note a story out of Denmark two or three days ago where Danish soldiers had forwarded further stories of abuse. I didn't save the link on it, but it referred to multiple instances.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 03:13 pm
nimh, here is a link to John Donne. The last part of the Meditation is the one that I was looking for, and inspired the book and subsequent movie "For Whom the Bell Tolls":

http://isu.indstate.edu/ilnprof/ENG451/ISLAND/

As I recall, it went something like:

No man is an island, entire of itself.
Every man is a part of the main,
A piece of the shore.
************************
Every man's death diminishes me.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

If I get diminished any more, nimh. I'll disappear.
0 Replies
 
Tarantulas
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 03:43 pm
infowarrior wrote:
What I'm struck by is the number of replies from right-wingers who say "all countries engage in torture," so the implication is by entension that it's A-OK for the USA to sink to the level of Saddam Hussein, and Pol Pot, and Stalin, and Mao, and Tito, and Amin, and Suharto

I've never heard anyone say that until just now. I certainly don't agree with that idea.

There's a picture of the body on that German website. It looks like it had been lying on a surface that had ridges on it, so as a result the man's back has ridges impressed into it. The back and right side are a darker color than the rest, which might be a result of lividity. Here's a translation from another website:

Quote:
Spiegel TV Exclusive (Translated by S.B.)
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,299964,00.html

05/15/04 -- Berlin - The case of Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel was pure routine for the American troops. After the 47 year old family father died on the US military base Al Asad west of the town of Khan al Baghdad in US custody on January 9th 2004, an American doctor filled out a death certificate. Apparently without doing an examination, and according to the documents, without performing an autopsy, the pathologist Luis A. Santiago wrote that the man had died in his sleep. The US troops handed the body, including the death certificate, over to the International Red Cross shortly thereafter.

American troops had previously arrested the respected family patriarch on an open road and taken him to the American military base Al Asad west of the town of Khan al Baghdad. Ostensibly there was suspicion that he belonged to the Iraqi resistance. The soldiers are alleged to have put enormous pressure on Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel in the base prison. Another prisoner gave Spiegel TV a detailed description of how the 47 year old was tortured in a sadistic manner for five days. The witness says that the soldiers also took photographs of the abuse.

Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel died in US detention on January 9th of this year. However, there are grave doubts about the version that claims his death to have been from natural causes. An Iraqi forensic pathologist who took the body over from the US armed forces confirmed to Spiegel TV in Baghdad that he diagnosed definite torture marks on the body of the deceased. In addition, photos of the deceased confirm that contrary to the US documentation, an autopsy had been performed on the man. The scars on the torso indicate that Western doctors did the autopsy.

Deep Dark Bruises on the Entire Body

Even a layman can easily recognize the obvious effects of violence on the pictures of the body: Large, dark bruises that could come from beatings can be seen on both sides of the body. On the wrists and ankles there are bruises, which presumably date back to many days of captivity. There are bruises from beatings or other forms of violent impact on the back. Other lacerations on the upper body point to injuries which can hardly be called "natural".

If the suspicious facts against the US troops turn out to be true, the US torture scandal would take a dramatic turn. If the charges hitherto were about violent abuses of prisoners and humiliating methods of interrogation, the investigation would now have to include failure to give assistance, manslaughter, or even murder. The participating soldiers and their commanding officers could be harshly punished, and the US army in Iraq would be exposed to even more hate and desire for revenge than they already are. Although there are already a number of investigations being carried out about unclarified deaths in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan, - the army insists that in none of the cases can the guilt of the soldiers be proven.

According to the research of Spiegel TV, the case of the family father Jaleel in occupied Iraq is not a rarity. Employees of the Forensic Pathology Institute in Baghdad confirm that among the bodies that the International Red Cross has handed over to them on behalf of the Americans there are always victims of torture. However, the Iraqi pathologists are forbidden to do their own investigation as long as there is an American death certificate - even if the information about the cause of death is obviously false.

The US Army Remains Silent

About five bodies with US Armed Forces death certificates are handed over every week in Baghdad alone, according to the employees of the Institute. The established practice of the Americans is to declare bodies that come from the prison at Abu Ghuraib as victims of grenade attacks on the camp. This was the case with the bodies of 26 detainees last week, even though only some of the bodies showed injuries typical of grenade attacks, the employees said.

Meanwhile in the case of the 47 year old Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel, there appears to be an internal investigation of the US troops going on. Witnesses report that they have been questioned by US soldiers about the procedures on the American military base Al Asad. Spiegel TV has been attempting to get a statement from the responsible authorities of the army in Baghdad for several days. Up to now, however, all written as well as oral questions remain unanswered.

Link

I am very suspicious of this article, and I can understand why it hasn't received widespread confirmation in other major news media. None of the witnesses are named. The only names given in the article is the victim and the examining American pathologist. The article says that the death certificate was filled out "Apparently without doing an examination," and yet we all know (don't we?) that a doctor would have to examine a person prior to signing his name on a form. The article states that "Ostensibly there was suspicion that he belonged to the Iraqi resistance." Where does this information come from? We don't know. They say that the prisoner was tortured for five days, yet their witness is an unnamed prisoner in the same prison. Would a reputable news organization publish a story like this on the unsubstantiated word of a prisoner? There are many more questionable statements in the article.

I'm sure that the press will be asking questions about this case during the daily Iraq press briefing on Monday. And I'm sure the military is anticipating those questions. They are probably gathering information right now for the answer. The results of the briefing will probably show up on this website sooner or later, and will probably show up on all the left-wing blogs that are carrying the story much sooner.
0 Replies
 
pistoff
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 03:57 pm
!
So far there are 28 prisoner deaths being investigated. This is what the Govt., Pentagon and Congress are trying to avoid becoming major public knowledge. The "humiliation" aka "abuse events are the tip of the mountain. Americans may be a bit disturbed about those events but the real story is being kept from the world.

The real story is?

A system wide approval of any method of torture to any "detainees" that may result in info. of terrorism or insurgency, approved by Rumsfeld, Cheney and GW Bush.
0 Replies
 
Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:06 pm
I have simply stated that torture occurs during wartime. Any implication that it is OK is certainly not from me.

There are degrees of torture that are accepted by all countries. Then, it goes into the horrible.

I think it borders on insane to act as though it doesn't happen--but any discussion of the reality, and what is acceptable and what isn't, is impossible due to the false accusations that admitting torture happens is the same as approval.

We know isolation, food restrictions, nudity, cold blasts of water...happen when an army is desperate to get information about impending attacks... If you know, or strongly suspect, a detainee has information that can save innocent life--how far do you go to get that information? I think its a pertinent question.

What happened at Abu Ghraib may not fall into this basic conversation--but the application of some questioning techniques, which may be called torture...juxtaposed with the information considered vital to saving people-- considered with upholding Human Rights is a paradoxical mess. I thought the topic would provide interesting conversation.

What is acceptable? Under what circumstances?
0 Replies
 
Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:28 pm
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/05/14/iraq.abuse/
"Interrogation techniques" now abandoned


I wonder if there is a list of what WAS deemed acceptable.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:31 pm
Quote:
Abuse Scandal Focuses on Bush Foundation
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: May 16, 2004

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Iraq prisoner abuse scandal shifted Sunday to the question of whether the Bush administration set up a legal foundation that opened the door for the mistreatment.

Within months of the Sept. 11 attacks, White House counsel Alberto Gonzales reportedly wrote President Bush a memo about the terrorism fight and prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions.

``In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions,'' Gonzales wrote, according to the report in Newsweek magazine. Secretary of State Colin Powell ``hit the roof'' when he read the memo, according to the account.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-US-Prisoner-Abuse.html
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:32 pm
28 prisoner deaths with warnings from the International Red Cross and Kay over months and months, and this is a anomaly of a very small number of enlisted men and women, and they're trying to tell us they just learned of this when we all saw those pictures last week. How many of you believe this; raise your hands?
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:35 pm
...from the same piece...

Here is a very interesting surmise as to a motivation of this sort of interrogation.
Quote:
The reasons for importing the techniques, Cannistraro said, were the frustrations at the policy level in Washington that not enough information was being obtained about weapons of mass destruction and the frustration over the lack of information about the resistance in Iraq.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:36 pm
Sofia wrote:
the application of some questioning techniques, which may be called torture...juxtaposed with the information considered vital to saving people


That's just half the juxtaposition though, even wholly apart from the ideal of "upholding Human Rights". There's also a question of sheer pragmatism, because the cause and effect cycle of this torture/questioning goes beyond whether you get the individual prisoner to talk and thus get to "save lives" in the individual case he's involved in. (And whether what you get him to say will actually be the truth, for that matter. I would immediately start talking when tortured - and tell them whatever it is I think they want to hear, regardless of whether it's true or not. I always wonder how effective torture is, at all, in getting the truth out of people. The number of Soviet Gulag prisoners kept multiplying as ever new inmates named ever new "accomplices" under torture - like a perpetuum mobile - and whatever there was to be "uncovered" just got buried deeper and deeper in the chaos).

Cause and effect also extends to when those thousands of prisoners get out, how they'll feel, where they'll go and what they'll do next. Join the underground resistance? Blow themselves up? And it extends to their families, their friends, anyone who gets to hear or see bits and pieces of what happened to them, and how they will react.

Torture breeds fear, which is good for control, but also bitterness and seething rage, which will come back to bite you as soon as your control slackens or fails just one bit. When released, these men will hate Americans - and many will kill Americans, first chance they get. Is my bet. And their family might too. Perhaps their neighbours as well. This may be especially true for Muslim cultures - I dont really know - just going on the spade of suicide bombings by Chechen women in Russia recently. Chechnya is notorious for the way Russian soldiers torture men and rape women to "keep order". Might work in the short run in terms of "keeping in control", but I'm not surprised that a few years later, suicide bombings abound. The question is not just whether the lives you save by getting these men to talk outweigh the moral objections - but whether they outweigh the number of lives the resulting reaction to such a regime will cost you in the long run, as well.

What I haven't really gotten from the Abu Ghaib news yet is - the inmates who were tortured, were they already sentenced or still only suspects? The fact that they were under interrogation suggests that the army didnt really know what they did and whether they did it yet? The sheer number of inmates seems to suggest so too ... Now rounding up suspects and then torturing them to get confessions is not the way to win a war, in the long run. Hell, even if they were all guilty, its not a way to win the war, if you think about those families and neighbours and what you will move them to do, next. These are no top terrorists you've isolated in a camp on a distant island - they're mostly "common man" Iraqis, whose wives are at the gates every day and who'll be back in their neighbourhood community, talking about you, the day they're released. Not talking lofty ideals here, just pragmatics: clamping down on them with brutal torture may yield you temporary control and a breakthrough in this or that case, but in the long run, they're gonna run you out in fury at how you've treated them - either that, or you'll be forced to reign through fear. Neither should be an option. My two cents.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 May, 2004 04:43 pm
Good "rapid response", Blatham, interesting link.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » "Americans tortured Iraqi to death"
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 06/12/2021 at 05:21:52