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"Americans tortured Iraqi to death"

 
 
panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 07:01 pm
CI, if I was impertinent I'm sure you'll forgive me. I can't know the heartbreak of any kind of incarceration let alone comment on it...BUT!

I defended Sofia first, so step outta the way buddy!
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 May, 2004 07:26 pm
pan, YOu want me to jump to the right or left?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2004 03:06 pm
Investigated homocides and cases of torture have long spread beyond Abu Ghraib ...

Quote:
Abuse of Captives More Widespread, Says Army Surveywidespread pattern of abuse involving more military units than previously known.

The cases from Iraq date back to April 15, 2003, a few days after Saddam Hussein's statue was toppled in a Baghdad square, and they extend up to last month, when a prisoner detained by Navy commandos died in a suspected case of homicide blamed on "blunt force trauma to the torso and positional asphyxia."

Among previously unknown incidents are the abuse of detainees by Army interrogators from a National Guard unit attached to the Third Infantry Division, who are described in a document obtained by The New York Times as having "forced into asphyxiation numerous detainees in an attempt to obtain information" during a 10-week period last spring. [..]

The Army summary is consistent with recent public statements by senior military officials, who have said the Army is actively investigating nine suspected homicides of prisoners held by Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan in late 2002.

But the details paint a broad picture of misconduct, and show that in many cases among the 37 prisoners who have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army did not conduct autopsies and says it cannot determine the causes of the deaths.

In his speech on Monday night, President Bush portrayed the abuse of prisoners by American soldiers in narrow terms. He described incidents at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which were the first and most serious to come to light, as involving actions "by a few American troops who disregarded our country and disregarded our values."

According to the Army summary, the deaths that are now being investigated most vigorously by Army officials may be those from Afghanistan in December 2002, where two prisoners died in one week at what was known as the Bagram Collection Point [..]

On March 4, 2003, The New York Times reported on the two deaths, noting that the cause given on one of the death certificates was "homicide," a result of "blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease." It was signed by an Army pathologist.

Both deaths were ruled homicides within days, but military spokesmen in Afghanistan initially portrayed at least one as being the result of natural causes. Personnel from the unit in charge of interrogations at the facility, led by Capt. Carolyn Wood, were later assigned to Iraq, and to the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center at Abu Ghraib. [..]

In what appeared to be a serious case of abuse over a prolonged period of time, unidentified enlisted members of the 223rd Military Intelligence Battalion, part of the California National Guard, were accused of abusing Iraqi detainees at a center in Samarra, north of Baghdad. [..]

According to the Army summary, members of the 223rd "struck and pulled the hair of detainees" during interrogations over a period that lasted 10 weeks. The summary said they "forced into asphyxiations numerous detainees in an attempt to obtain information." [..]

Another incident, whose general outlines had been previously known, involved the death in custody of a senior Iraqi officer, Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, who died last November at a detention center run by the Third Armored Cavalry, of Fort Carson, Colo. Soldiers acknowledged to investigators that interviews with the general on Nov. 24 and 25 involved "physical assaults."

In fact, investigators determined that General Mowhoush died after being shoved head-first into a sleeping bag, and questioned while being rolled repeatedly from his back to his stomach. That finding was first reported in The Denver Post.

According to Army officials and documents, at least 12 prisoners have died of natural or undetermined causes, including nine in Abu Ghraib. In six of those cases, the military conducted no autopsy to confirm the presumed cause of death. As a result, the investigations into their deaths were closed by Army investigators.

In another case, an autopsy found that a detainee, Muhammad Najem Abed, died of cardiac arrest complicated by diabetes, without noting, as the investigation summary does, that he died after "a self-motivated hunger strike." [..]

At a Pentagon briefing on Friday, a senior military official and a senior Pentagon medical official said the Army was investigating the deaths of 37 detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, an increase from at least 25 deaths that a senior Army general described on May 4. [..]
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Wed 26 May, 2004 03:10 pm
I also read that a American soldier that presented himself as one of the prisoners at Gitmo were abused from other American soldiers with torture.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 May, 2004 06:36 pm
This could of course just be totally an oddball observation from &c.:

Quote:
DEPT. OF NOT REASSURING MILITARY LINGO:
Still more grim news from Abu Ghraib, and other detention facilities. This time care of the Times...

The article pretty much speaks for itself. But one minor thing stood out for me:

Quote:
In another case, an autopsy found that a detainee, Muhammad Najem Abed, died of cardiac arrest complicated by diabetes, without noting, as the investigation summary does, that he died after "a self-motivated hunger strike."

Self-motivated hunger strike? Sounds a little ominous, no? Would we have to identify the hunger strike as "self-motivated" if there weren't some other kind?

posted 10:32 a.m.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 May, 2004 02:54 am
nimh wrote:
dlowan wrote:
Actually, I think this horror illustrates something I really like about the US - the culture of openness.

I honestly cannot imagine such a story about Oz troops, for instance, getting out so fast and increasingly fully with such a fearless press. Sure, people want to muzzle things - it is hard and tough having this stuff come out.

But, out it comes.

Good on you America, I say.


I wish I could share the sentiment - always good to be able to throw something positive in the mix. But I have a problem buying it.

First off, like Foxfyre said, the story did appear back in January, and sank without a trace. Apparently, they either werent brave enough, or interested enough to wanna find out about it.

All credits go to 60 minutes for then coming out with the story again in a way that noone could ignore. Yet they almost did, again - press reporting on the story was strangely subdued for about another week, even as it splashed straight on to the frontpages here.

Perhaps it was the splash abroad that forced the US media to finally catch up - perhaps they were just slow. Perhaps there was some state-of-denial thing going on, perhaps a recitence to rouse the wrath of the administration - or, more likely, to offend the audience/readership.

Granted, not that the Dutch press was very fast in picking up on the Srebrenica story coupla years back ...


Oh. Damn.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 06:27 am
Sofia, tentatively, suggested the consideration that sometimes, a degree of torture may be necessary to save lives:

Sofia wrote:
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.


The line of argument has been proposed much more forcefully in other posts: what happened at Abu G. was terrible, but you shouldn't forget we're desperate to get information from terrorists that could save lives. McG quoted an article on it:

McGentrix wrote:
U.S. officials hate to talk about it openly, but a primary function of places like Baghram and Abu Ghurayb is interrogation. The lives of American soldiers can depend on secrets spilled there.


Now, from the start I've asked here - were these inmates that were being abused confirmed terrorists or mere suspects? And were they (suspected) Al-Qaeda terrorists or Iraqi insurgents?

By now, we know that many of those at Abu G. were indeed mere suspects, sometimes brought in on the vaguest notion of possible involvement at that. But back then (and perhaps still), people rather just skipped the question, as if it didn't matter whether it was a known Al-Qaeda terrorist we were holding there or some guy caught throwing stones and apprehended because, you know, you never know what else he mighta done -- hey, it's about "saving lives"!

Foxfyre went pretty far:

Foxfyre wrote:
I personally don't care if those who target innocents and are committed to kill anybody and everybody who doesn't conform to their beliefs are comfortable or not.


In Fox's world, everybody at Abu G. was "committed to kill anybody and everybody who doesn't conform to their beliefs" - the worst kind of fundamentalist terrorist, say. Unclear what that is based on. But why is it practical for him to assume so? Because it allows for rationalising what happened as the kind of unavoidable collateral damage when one is, as Fox put it, "in charge of some of Saddam's toughest soldiers who have information you need to bring the war to a speedy end and restore peace and progress toward a free and democratic Iraq".

Note that the inmates have now even morphed into "Saddam's toughest soldiers" - by mere assertion of such. And that the assumption is that the war in Iraq could be brought to "a speedy end" - peace, progress, freedom and democracy all included - if only we could get those prisoners at Abu G. to talk.

Anyway. This from the NYT last week:

New York Times wrote:
The questioning of hundreds of Iraqi prisoners last fall in the newly established interrogation center at Abu Ghraib prison yielded very little valuable intelligence, according to civilian and military officials.

The interrogation center was set up in September to obtain better information about an insurgency in Iraq that was killing American soldiers almost every day by last fall. The insurgency was better organized and more vigorous than the United States had expected, prompting concern among generals and Pentagon officials who were unhappy with the flow of intelligence to combat units and to higher headquarters.

But civilian and military intelligence officials, as well as top commanders with access to intelligence reports, now say they learned little about the insurgency from questioning inmates at the prison. Most of the prisoners held in the special cellblock that became the setting for the worst abuses at Abu Ghraib apparently were not linked to the insurgency, they said.
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Sofia
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 07:49 am
To be fair, in my post, I said the larger conversation about "approved" or "unapproved" interrogation techniques may not apply to the particular Abu Ghraib story.

I was interested in the larger issue of routine, universal "interrogation techniques...and where members draw the line between acceptable, and unacceptable.

I didn't want to be found guilty by association (or thought to agree with) other remarks you quoted alongside my quote...
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 08:12 am
Where that line is drawn is important. In this case, as we know now, White House counsel Gonzales (and John Yoo or Loo, under Ashcroft) held that the Geneva conventions were 'quaint'.

We also know, as nimh suggests, that most folks at Abu Ghraib were citizens pulled in for as little as merely expressing disapproval at the American presence or operation.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Jun, 2004 04:56 pm
Sofia wrote:
To be fair, in my post, I said the larger conversation about "approved" or "unapproved" interrogation techniques may not apply to the particular Abu Ghraib story.


I know - that's why I phrased my reference to your post the way I did, as constituting a more general proposition.

In fact I had wanted to write "suggested the consideration that sometimes, on an abstract level" for a while, but just couldnt do it - seeing how, though you werent necessarily talking about Abu G., there would be nothing abstract about the consequences of what you were suggesting ...

OK, I actually just came in to post one post on this one other thread and leave again, so thats what I'll do ...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 13 Jul, 2004 05:00 am
Sofia wrote:
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.

What is acceptable? Under what circumstances?

The abuses at Abu G. have several times on this board been connotated with the possible context of a deeper question: as Sofia phrased it, how do you deal with prisoners who may have "information about impending attacks" - information that's "considered vital to saving people" - "innocent life"?

The question is indeed whether that context was applicable at all for the Abu G. abuses. Newsweek reviewed the case files of 26 abused prisoners and found that half were common criminals, not terrorists.

The hooded prisoner in the infamous "Statue of Liberty" picture was arrested for being a car thief, not an insurgent ...
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