Human Rights Watch is out with a new 156 page report detailing various abuses by the American government including expanded use of waterboarding and other various torture techniques that the Bush administration has said publicly that it did not engage in. The Bush administration has admitted waterboarding 3 individuals and says that was the extent of the use of that “program”; that has now been debunked as a lie due to first hand testimony of former prisoners. And frankly – if I were a prisoner – I’m not sure which type of torture I would be the most afraid of … waterboarding isn’t the worst of it.
Make no mistake about it – what the American government has done IS torture. Waterboarding is torture. And these accounts and descriptions of prisoners under America’s supervision is detestable. This behavior is ILLEGAL. This behavior is considered war crimes by definitions set in treaties signed by America. The only conclusion is that George Bush, Dick Cheney and any other person in that administration who ordered this is a war criminal. And to add insult to injury – while NO ONE has been held accountable for this torture … the Obama administration is prosecuting the one person who blew the whistle to the NY Times regarding American torture programs HERE.
If Iranians were doing this to their prisoners … we would have invaded them by now. If some Dictator did this to people it illegally detained without trial (or even with trial) – Americans would be calling for a firing squad but since it was America that did it … ya know – it’s fine I guess.
Foreign policy summarizes what I go into detail with HERE:
The 156-page report, “Delivered Into Enemy Hands: U.S.-led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi’s Libya” includes interviews with 14 Libyans, most part of the anti-Qaddafi Islamic fighting group, who claim they were detained by the United States in various locations including Afghanistan and Pakistan and then sent back to Libya around 2004. The prisoners described their abuse at the hands of their interrogators, and it matched descriptions of waterboarding.
The report has not been verified, but counters U.S. assertions that merely three high-level terrorism suspects, all members of al-Qaeda, were subjected to waterboarding. It also suggests cooperation with former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi, saying the C.I.A, British M16, and other western intelligence organizations delivered “Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter.” The report has come out days after the U.S. Justice Department closed the investigation of two detainees who died while in C.I.A. custody.
America broke international law by giving a political refugee back to the Libyans to be tortured. This is in violation of the Refugee Convention in 1954. More on that treaty HERE.
“I informed them that I faced a real danger if they sent me back. I was wanted in Libya…. If I reached Gaddafi that was when the real ‘ceremony’ was going to begin. I was so clear. I said they will kill me, they will torture me…. It was the first time I cried actually, the first tears I wept were when they told me I was being handed over to the Libyans.”
This is the treatment that the Bush administration ordered and did not consider torture:
“Shoroeiya and Sharif said that once in Afghanistan, they were detained and interrogated—for more than a year in Shoroeiya’s case, and for two years in Sharif’s case—by US personnel. This included being chained to walls naked—sometimes while diapered—in pitch black, windowless cells, for weeks or months at a time; being restrained in painful stress positions for long periods of time, being forced into cramped spaces; being beaten and slammed into walls; being kept inside for nearly five months without the ability to bathe; being denied food; being denied sleep by continuous, deafeningly loud Western music; and being subjected to different forms of water torture including, in Shoroeiya’s case, waterboarding.”
He said the American, who spoke Arabic poorly, would ask the questions and when Sharif did not provide an answer they seemed to think was adequate, the Pakistani would step on his broken and untreated foot.
Sharif said that while he was detained in Peshawar, a Pakistani officer who spoke to him in Pashto beat him. He spread Sharif’s legs apart and kicked him in his groin. The officer also hit Sharif on his head with a whip so violently that he nearly lost consciousness. While the Pakistani was beating him, a different American sat on a chair right in front of him.
Sharif said that at one point he spent two weeks in position 3, with both his arms and legs shackled to the iron ring. During this time, they would unchain him only once a day for half an hour to eat the one meal they gave him. Afterwards they would chain his hands and feet back up to the wall: “I would try to take that time to use the bucket for a toilet I had in my room, but could not do so all the time, so I usually would just pass urine through my clothes.” Shoroeiya said he was in either position 1, 2, or 3 in his cell for four months continuously after he first arrived.
“For the first three months we were not able to have any showers. We could not wash our bodies.”156 Shoroeiya said of that same time period, “That whole time we didn’t even get a drop of water over our body. We couldn’t cut our hair or even the nails of our fingers. We looked horrible. We looked like monsters.”
They only gave me water once, at night. They gave me a milkshake and a small cup of milk with cocoa. That was all I had for three days. They banned me from going to the restroom for those three days. I had to pass urine and go to the bathroom standing up. I wasn’t wearing clothes. At night, they gave me some water to drink but poured the rest of it over my body. I was trying to move to create some warmth in my body. Because of the lack of sleep for three days, I went hysterical. I thought I was going crazy. Everything was spinning around me and it was totally dark.
His feet could touch the floor but he could only stand on one leg because the other leg was still broken and very swollen. Speakers built into the walls of the box were on each side of his head just centimeters to his ears blasting loud Western music. There were no windows. It was dark but there was just enough light to see what he said looked like blood stains on the walls. He was held there, with his hands suspended above his head, for one and a half days, with no food, naked, with the music blasting loudly the entire time.
“I found a woman there who was screaming and beat on the table. She literally told me, ‘Now you are under the custody of the United States of America. In this place there will be no human rights. Since September 11, we have forgotten about something called human rights. If you think you are going to stay here in a very good room and get your newspaper daily, you are wrong.’”
“Shoroeiya said that within the complex, there were several types of rooms. One was a group of rooms where he was interrogated. Another set of rooms were freezing cold and were used to submerge the prisoners in icy water while lying on plastic sheeting on the ground. A thirdset of rooms he called the “torture rooms,” where they used specific instruments. One of these instruments was a wood plank that they used to abuse him with water.”
Shoroeiya said the board was made of wood and could turn around 360 degrees. Sometimes they would strap him onto the board and spin him around while wearing a hood that covered his nose and mouth. This would completely isorient him. While he was strapped to the board with his head lower than his feet, they would pour buckets of extremely cold water over his nose and mouth to the point that he felt he was going to suffocate. After the hood was put over his face, he said, “then there is the water pouring…. They start to pour water to the point where you feel like you are suffocating.” When asked how many times this was done to him, he said “a lot …a lot … it happened many times …. They pour buckets of water all over you.”
Shoroeiya in a later interview explained that each session took about half an hour, and during this half hour he was waterboarded many times.171 He said he felt like each time lasted about three minutes but said there was no way to really tell time. When told that the United States had admitted to doing this to a few people for between 20 and 40 seconds each time, he said he was sure his sessions were definitely longer than that.172 He said: “I could hold my breath for 20, even 40 seconds,so it was definitely longer than that.”
And here … they folded him into a box he was too small to fit in for an entire hour:
Shoroeiya described the use of a small wooden box, about 1 x 1 meter in size, with a lock on it and small holes on the sides. A number of times his American interrogators would threaten to lock him in the box. He said that he was only actually put in there on one occasion which lasted for an hour or more.181 While in the box, they prodded him with long thin objects through the holes on the side of the box.
He said that on one occasion his interrogators used electric shocks on his feet until he lost consciousness. They did this multiple times that day. Also, nearly every day, they took him downstairs to a room where he was forced to lie on his stomach with his hands handcuffed to the top of a steel frame and his feet handcuffed at the bottom. They would take a rope and tie it around his shackled feet and pull his legs towards his head, stretching him painfully.
“I was there for 15 days, hanging from my arms, another chain from the ground. They put a diaper on me but it overflowed so there was every type of stool everywhere, the temperature was freezing.”
“I was totally naked…Then they did horrible things to me that I can’t talk about. They didn’t rape me but they did terribly humiliating things.”
“They were taking good care to harm me with psychological abuses. The concentration was on humiliating me. It was not really physical abuse…. What they did to me was so humiliating I am not sure I can explain it properly—especially forcing me to be naked.”
Some interesting foot notes:
The use of Swiss Bank accounts by the CIA to fund the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan. It’s unrelated to torture but it is in the report and I found it interesting:
The United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and several other governments backed the Afghan rebels with covert funding, weapons, and training for the fighters.62 The Saudi government for example, contributed $350 to $500 million per year for the mujahidin through a US government controlled Swiss bank account.
The connection between government, intelligence services and oil is very interesting as well. What a coincidence this is:
The Tripoli Documents also show that at some point in March 2004, the CIA began to set up an office in Libya. On March 25, 2004, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair paid a visit to Libya, the first by a British prime minister since 1943. He and Gaddafi formally mended relations between the two countries and discussed their “common cause” in counterterrorism operations.108 On the same day, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell announced it had signed a deal worth up to £550 million (approximately $1 billion US) for gas exploration rights off the Libyan coast.
If you want to see pictures of the abuse by American troops to its prisoners – you can see those HERE.
Like us on Facebook?