Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,
Insomnia
insomnia

ACLU releases military abuse & torture records.

... and some of them are pretty damning, covering a wide range of suspected abuses, most outside of Abu Ghraib.

It clarifies the outcome of one shocking incident at Abu Ghraib I wrote about in the past:
"Investigation into detainee allegation, submitted 1/18/04 . . . Detainee . . . stated that he had witnessed a translator forcibly sodomizing a male juvenile detainee while a female U.S. soldier observed and took pictures. CID did not investigate the allegation until 5/28/04. CID identified the victim and witness but could not locate them via the records at the prison or the Ministry of Justice. The translator denied having sexual intercourse with a male detainee. CID closed the investigation because "the Special Agent in Charge determined further of the [sic] investigation would be of little or no value."

Let me clarify this for you... No investigation occurred until four months had passed... until all the prisoners, soldiers, and contractors had moved on and Abu Ghraib became a household name. The investigation was closed, and it hasn't been reopened, despite the fact that multiple witnesses have come forth since then, supporting the claims. Can you believe that the individuals responsible for arguably the most damning incident at Abu Ghraib are going to get away scott free, without even a blemish upon their name?

And while a few guards at Abu Ghraib are being made examples of -- as if they weren't acting under orders -- here are some far more typical examples of "military justice" in this war on terror.

One horrible injustice:
"Investigation established probable cause to believe that a Lt. Col. had issued a death threat and fired his pistol next to the head of a detainee . . . during an interrogation, and that four enlisted soldiers and a female civilian interpreter had punched and kicked the detainee "numerous times while they were interrogating him." Statements in the file indicate that the beatings lasted for approximately an hour and that during this period a soldier (or the translator) brandished a knife at the detainee and told him that she would cut him with it. Soldiers were all from 2-20th Field Artillery Bn., 4th Inf. Div. All the soldiers received non-judicial punishments: none was discharged, and even the NJPs -- such as reduction in rank -- were mostly "suspended," meaning that they would not go into effect unless the soldier committed another offense within six months. No indication that the interpreter was sanctioned or recommended for investigation or prosecution."

after another...
"Detainee alleged he was beaten with wooden sticks, punched, electrocuted, anally sodomized by a female while 2 males held him down and watched, and made to drink urine . . . a physician who examined the detainee at Camp Bucca, stated on 19 Jun 04 that the detainee did have a scar on his right wrist which was indicative of him being pulled by his handcuffs or being hung by handcuffs. The Colonel also stated that the detainee was bleeding from the anus . . . Investigation concludes there is not sufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations."

and another...
"Investigation into allegation that two NCOs and two enlisted men from B Co.. 1/36th Inf. Rgt., 1st Armored Div. severely assaulted several detained youths on 6/11/03 while the detainees' heads were covered with sandbags and their hands restrained with flexi-cuffs. The assaults, as described by other soldiers, included beating a juvenile's head against the wall. The same soldiers physically struck and abused three detainees in a separate incident on 6/29/03, causing a broken collar bone, fractured ribs, a partial collapsed lung, facial fracture, and bowel problems. The soldiers routinely stole money, referred to as the "Robin Hood Tax," from detainees to purchase sodas, food, ice, beer, whiskey and gin for their platoon. A charge of dereliction of duty applied to one additional NCO. All three NCOs had summary courts-martial: one (the supervisor who condoned the assaults) received a reprimand and fine; another was reduced in grade to private first class and placed in custody for 60 days; the summary court-martial dismissed charges as to the third. The two enlisted men received Chapter 10 discharges."

and another...
"Investigation found probable cause to believe that the commander and three other members of Operational Detachment-Alpha 343, 3rd Special Forces Group, had committed the offenses of murder and conspiracy when they lured Mohamed Sayari, an Afghan civilian, into an roadblock, detained him, and killed him. Investigation further found probable cause to believe that a fifth Special Forces soldier had been an accessory after the fact and that the team's commander had instructed a soldier to destroy incriminating photographs of Sayari's body. No court-martial or Article 32 hearing was convened. One soldier was given a written reprimand. None of the others received any punishment at all."

and another...
"CID review of an MP investigation revealed that nine members of Howitzer Battery, 2/3 Armored Cav. Rgt., may have been involved in a criminal conspiracy to rob Iraqi citizens of currency during Traffic Control Point operations. Investigation closed because "action commander indicated an intent to take action amounting to less than a court proceeding."

and another...
"Investigation initiated on basis of report by serviceman's wife that serviceman from C Co., 2-14th Inf. Bn., had a photograph of himself pointing a gun at the head of a bound and hooded detainee. When interviewed, the soldier explained that his "mission in Iraq was to pull security for ODA Groups . . . "I'm a private in the Army and I dont ask too many questions as to what going on or what's being done. I just do what I'm told." File indicates that the serviceman was assigned to a safe house operated by an ODA (525 or 531) from the 5th Special Forces Group. CIA and Special Forces personnel conducted interrogations at this safe house, and assigned conventional forces to guard the hooded and bound detainees. Guard duty included requring detainees to maintain stressful positions and preventing detainees from sleeping by playing loud music, dousing them with water, and poking, prodding, or slapping them. At times guards were told not to wear uniforms "to keep the detainees from knowing we were military." CID concluded that there was probable cause to believe the soldier had committed the offense of aggravated assault when he pointed his pistol at the detainee. There is no indication that CID further investigated the treatment of detainees at this facility."

and another...
"Investigation initiated . . . into allegations contained in a February 10, 2004 ICRC report . . . reflecting 25 detainees' allegations that at the Al-Baghdadi Air Base, coalition forces forced them to sit on their knees with hands cuffed behind their backs for long periods of time; frequently beat them on various parts of their bodies, including their gentials, while they were hooded; and subjected them to sleep deprivation. The report further explained that "a method described in the allegations consisted in forcing [detainees] to lie face down, their hands cuffed behind their back and shackled to their ankles for two to three hours. While in this position, soldiers would allegedly insert in their mouths cloths full of dust and hot pepper. One [detainee] arresed on 21 August alleged that he had been hooded, beaten and placed naked in front of an air conditioning machine while cold water was thrown on his body. A dog, initially with a muzzle, attached [sic] him with its paws and then bit him on the right thigh (according to the examination of the ICRC doctor, he had marks compatible with a dog bite.) In the right shoulder he had a hematoma and linear marks compatible with repeated whipping or beating . . . The investigating office opened an investigation, but closed it within two days on the basis that the ICRC report did not include the names of any victims..."

and another...
"Investigation into detainee allegation that U.S. forces abused him by throwing him against a wall . . . denying him food for three days . . . and beating him and kicking him in the head . . . File indicates that a Special Forces interrogator submitted, and a Major signed off on, a request "for the use of advanced interview techniques" in this detainee's case. CID interviewed two Special Forces soldiers who had interrogated the detainee. These soldiers insisted that the detainee . . . was not abused in any way. These soldiers also stated that they had not requested clearance to use special interrogation tactics against the detainee. The soldiers' statements appear to directly contradict the documentary evidence in the case. CID did not confront the soldiers with this inconsistency or ask why, if the detainee was cooperative, they had requested clearance to use so-called advanced techniques. CID did, however, rely on the soldiers' denials, together with reported inconsistencies in the detainee's statements and the lack of medical evidence supporting his claim, in determining that there was "insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the offenses occurred ...."

and another...
"Investigation into two detainees' allegation that they had been assaulted by U.S. forces while being transported to Abu Ghraib. The . . . detainee said that the soldier punched and kicked him in the head and struck him in the eye with a rifle stock, then charged the bolt of his rifle, at which point other soldiers restrained him.The other detainee said that he was struck in the eye and thigh with a rifle stock. Both detainees exhibited eye injuries consistent with being "butt stroked" by rifles . . . The investigation determined that there was "insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegations of abuse...."

and another...
"Investigation into allegation by detainee that a U.S. soldier kicked him in the back of the legs repeatedly, knocked him to the ground, and kicked him in the back, legs, and stomach while he was at a detention camp at Mahmodia, an area of Baghdad . . . The detainee . . . also reported that U.S. forces placed a piece of metal on a heater and burned detainees with it. The detainee recalled the name on the uniform of the soldier who kicked and beat him at Mahmodia . . . The name given by the detainee led the investigator to focus on a particular 505 PIR soldier who . . . apparently agreed to a polygraph examination, but the agent's request for a polygraph exam was disapproved . . . because "there was insufficient evidence to determine that SPC [REDACTED] was the [REDACTED] in question." . . . CID found that the investigation failed to develop sufficient evidence to prove or disprove Mr. [REDACTED] allegation that he was abused."

and another...
"Investigation initiated after MP sent memo to CID re 2 detainees who related physical abuse in 2 separate instances . . . Detainees were medically examined. . . An agent witnessed that first detainee had bruising on shoulders and upper torso; darkened eyes; welts on back "that had the imprint of a rifle barrel"; "other welts indicated a club." Other detainee's "eyes were blackened and the left side of his face was completely blue and very swollen." . . . The CID investigation was terminated due to insufficient evidence to substantiate the offenses . . ."

and another...
"Investigation into detainee allegation that 2 U.S. soldiers and interpreter entered and searched his home, third soldier walked in and struck him in the mouth with the butt of his rifle. Medical record states "struck during arrest, broken tooth and cut lip." Determined insufficient evidence to prove or disprove allegations."

and another...
"Investigation into allegations by detainee who was interrogated by ST-2 personnel at Navy SEAL Compound, for 3 days. He was told "if you don't tell the truth we going to hurt you father and brother", then taken to small room where he was left for 3 days with no food or water with bag over head, hands cuffed, had cold water and ice thrown on him, ice placed on groin . . . and was banged against the wall. Medical records confirmed bruising consistent with allegations. Investigation concluded insufficient evidence to prove/disprove allegations. "Special Agent in charge determined further of the investigation would be of little or no value."

This is just a sample. I haven't had the chance to fully go through all the allegations, but The New York Times reports that many of them are from the detention center at Adhamiya Palace in Baghdad, and include statements from American contractors who said they saw the effects of beatings.

In one case, a detainee claims a wooden stick was inserted forcefully into his anus and electric shock was applied to his genitals. One contractor who said he was assigned to screen detainees brought to Abu Ghraib said that many who had come from Adhamiya arrived with serious injuries, including one boy with a bleeding rectum. He said the boy had told him that an Iraqi policeman had sodomized him with a soda bottle while American soldiers were present.

It's stupifying and absolutely unconscionable to see how many credible abuse cases get investigated too late to do anything, or wind up getting dropped for lack of evidence. It's enough to make you hang your head in shame. Not our country. No, not ours.
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