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Torture in Abu Ghraib Prison

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  • Torture in Abu Ghraib Prison

    Here's a very good article on the torture of prisoners in the Abu Ghraib Prison. It is a lot more extensive than most think. Apparently this has been going on for some time. Thankfully some US Army soldier blew the whistle after seeing some of it first hand and being given a CD containing over a 1000 images which some of these MP's were proudly distributing.

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040510fa_fact

    Here's a link to The Smoking Gun's page that has "the military investigative report into abuses perpetrated by soldiers working at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Prepared by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba". (text in quotes from TSG)

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive...1torture1.html

    All this makes me wonder what other things are going on with other "detainees" in other places, namely Guantanamo Bay (camp X-Ray) where the military does not have to answer to anybody and most people have no idea how many people are really there. Anyone in that place could disappear and no one in the world would ever know (and the US gov't can apparently keep them there as long as it likes, so if someone dies, who would ever know?). Holding people without giving them any rights, torturing prisoners (I understand the need to interrogate prisoners, but torture, for any reason, is always evil), these things makes me angry and ashamed.

    Is this what we want in America? Is this what our country stands for?
    When they had advanced together to meet on common
    ground, then there was the clash of shields, of spears
    and the fury of men cased in bronze; bossed shields met
    each other and the din rose loud. Then there were
    mingled the groaning and the crowing of men killed and
    killing, and the ground ran with blood.

    Homer, The Illiad

  • #2
    And while the rest of the world's hatred for us grows by leaps and bounds, both Bush and Rumsfeld neglected to issue any kind of apology; only vacuous platitudes.

    Disappointing. But expected, I'm afraid.
    "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
    --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, "the rest of the world" doesn't hate YOU. It will question you're senses if you go on tolerating a government that allows such a thing to happen. It is not a matter of excuses.
      I think that numerous soldiers went over there thinking they were dealing with sub-humans! Very much what German soldiers were made to believe in order to commit the attrocities during WW2, especially in the Eastern war theatre - where the supposed "sub-humanity" of the Slavs and Jews was easier to "sell".
      The mission hence wasn't about democracy, it wasn't about our Western ideals of Freedom etc. It was the old attitude that only a dead injun is a good injun What else did the unit leaders and their superiors inspire their soldiers with that so many turned out the inner beasts? And their supreme commanders are undeniably responsible for the spirit of a conquering army. Hence at least Rumsfeld should resign without any further hesitation.
      Google ergo sum

      Comment


      • #4
        'US soldiers abused young girl at Iraqi prison'
        7.17PM, Fri May 7 2004

        http://www.itv.com/news/623337.html

        Suhaib al-Baz, a journalist for the al-Jazeera television network, claims to have been tortured at the prison, based west of Baghdad, while held there for 54 days.

        Mr al-Baz was arrested when reporting clashes between insurgents and coalition forces in November.

        He said: "They brought a 12-year-old girl into our cellblock late at night. Her brother was a prisoner in the other cells.

        "She was naked and screaming and calling out to him as they beat her. Her brother was helpless and could only hear her cries. This affected all of us because she was just a child.

        The allegations cannot be verified independently but Mr al-Baz maintains psychological and physical violence were commonplace in the jail.

        He also claims that a father and his 15-year-old son were tortured in front of his cell.

        He said: "They made the son carry two jerry cans full of water. An American soldier had a stick and when he stopped, he would beat him.

        "He collapsed so they stripped him and poured cold water over him. They brought a man who was wearing a hood. They pulled it off. The son was shocked to see it was his father and collapsed.

        "When he recovered, he now saw his father dressed in women's underwear and the Americans laughing at him.

        -----------------------------------------------------

        Rumsfeld apologizes to abused Iraqis: Defense secretary warns that worse photos, videos are yet to come
        NBC, MSNBC and news services
        Updated: 07:00 PM PT May07, 2004

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4855930/

        "There are other photos that depict incidents of physical violence towards prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he said. "... It's going to get a good deal more terrible, I'm afraid."

        Rumsfeld did not describe the photos, but U.S. military officials told NBC News that the unreleased images showed U.S. soldiers severely beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death, having sex with a female Iraqi female prisoner and "acting inappropriately with a dead body." The officials said there was also a videotape, apparently shot by U.S. personnel, showing Iraqi guards raping young boys.

        -----------------------------------------------------

        Rush {edit: Limbaugh}: MPs Just 'Blowing Off Steam'

        http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0507-11.htm

        "This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation, and we're going to ruin people's lives over it, and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You [ever] heard of need to blow some steam off?"

        -----------------------------------------------------

        The Seeds of Abu Ghraib were Sown in American Prisons
        by Tony Norman, Published on Friday, May 7, 2004 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

        http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0507-07.htm

        That's why no one should be shocked that two of the soldiers under investigation for prisoner abuse in Iraq once worked as prison guards in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Prisons have long been hothouses for sadists who get high on their own brutal authority.

        With 2 million Americans behind bars, one sector of the economy that continues to grow is prison construction. Thanks to three-strikes laws and mandatory sentencing, more people than ever are being squeezed into spaces unfit for humans.

        There's an assumption in this country that once you're caught up in the criminal justice system, you get what you deserve, more or less. Whatever sympathy people can muster for strangers is reserved primarily for victims. No one wants to hear about the abuse of prisoners' rights in America, especially opportunistic politicians elected on law-and-order platforms.

        The first paragraph of the Human Rights Watch Prison Project is sobering in its description of the conditions of life behind bars: "In many jails, prisons, immigration detention centers and juvenile detention facilities, confined individuals suffered from physical mistreatment, excessive disciplinary sanctions, barely tolerable physical conditions, and inadequate medical and mental health care. Unfortunately, there was little support from politicians or the public for reform."

        It's great that Americans are scandalized by the treatment of the Iraqi prisoners. Sympathy for American inmates shouldn't be such a stretch, either.

        -----------------------------------------------------

        If Junior is to be believed - this is God and your tax dollars at work...

        "Holiday in Cambodia" anyone?

        The law don't mean shit if you've got the right friends
        That's how the country's run

        Comment


        • #5
          L'Etranger says "No one hates" the USA for Abu Ghraib incidents, and if we're thinking straight we shouldn't; but there is a goodly percentage of the world not currently thinking straight, they hate the US STATE becuase of its foreign policy and place at the centre of multinationalism, and by extension this becomes a hatred of all US NATIONALS. Which really emphasises the crass stupidity which lies behind Bush et al not thinking through the implications of allowing their personnel in Iraq to behave in this fashion, or putting in place controls to ensure that nothing like it happened.

          Plain fact is they just didn't care enough about Iraqui lives, and didn't see far enough to imagine any consequential impact on US lives.
          \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by zakt
            L'Etranger says "No one hates" the USA for Abu Ghraib incidents, and if we're thinking straight we shouldn't; but there is a goodly percentage of the world not currently thinking straight, they hate the US STATE becuase of its foreign policy and place at the centre of multinationalism, and by extension this becomes a hatred of all US NATIONALS. Which really emphasises the crass stupidity which lies behind Bush et al not thinking through the implications of allowing their personnel in Iraq to behave in this fashion, or putting in place controls to ensure that nothing like it happened.

            Plain fact is they just didn't care enough about Iraqui lives, and didn't see far enough to imagine any consequential impact on US lives.
            Excuse if I correct this. I wrote nobody hates YOU, and I meant HIM = PsychicWarVeteran personally, and all the other nice people on this forum. But of course the US government is putting the safety and lives of Americans at a tremendous risk as the frustrated and wronged of the world are bound to hit back indiscriminately.
            And if "the" Americans don't stop their cynical government that unleashes the most primitive instincts in their warriors - then they will certainly be treated as "all the" Germans were after WW2 - they will all be held morally responsible.
            How can anybody claim to be morally right if they employ barbarian methods? The months long suppression of the photos and tapes without any decisive action being taken also discredits all mumbo-jumbo of "The Free World".
            And the whole incident tunes in perfect with last year's big refusal of this very US government to have American soldiers submitted to international justice in case they are accused of war crimes. Anybody remember this? As if they had known that their soldiers would do such things - or worse - as if they knew they'd trained their men (and women) to be such hating monsters!

            This is what makes "the rest of the world" hate and feel impotent against the callous concept of US power politics. Oh, they can be so sweet and warm-hearted, the Americans I know, but why do they put a government in power that walks out on the Kyoto accords trampling on everybody's concerns. They obviously don't give a shit. It rings a bell... why didn't all the supposed "good Germans" stop Hitler?
            And I still maintain that the war Bin Laden and islamic fundamentalists are waging, albeit utterly contemptible in the choice of their weapons, is fuelled alone by frustration of decades of injustice, endless humiliations (seen the pics of that female prison guard pointing a mock gun at the captives' genitals? http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/image...england203.jpg !!!) and absolute lack of sensitivity and respect for other cultures!
            Am I hating the Americans if I sound furious? No, I am in dispair over what people are doing to my idealised idea of America, they're pulling the rag from under my feet!
            Google ergo sum

            Comment


            • #7
              We're in absolute agreement, I think, L'Etranger - I just got into response without having quoted from you. The point I am trying to make is that whilst right-thinking people would not hate all individual inhabitants of a country for what their government does, the world is in such a twisted mess that it is difficult for people to think straight at the moment.

              A shrug and an apology does not fix the pile of shit that Bush and his crew have got themselves, their army, their people, and a hell of a big percentage of the world's population into. Not to say that Bin Laden and his religious army are any better (I'd still say they are a good deal worse) - but western prejudice would be to expect the "free West" to have more sense.
              \"Killing me won\'t bring back your apples!\"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LEtranger
                And if "the" Americans don't stop their cynical government that unleashes the most primitive instincts in their warriors - then they will certainly be treated as "all the" Germans were after WW2 - they will all be held morally responsible.
                That's exactly what bothers me. I do not hold the opinions of what appears to be the majority. Forgive my lack of eloquence today, but it plain sucks ass that if Bush is re-elected, despite all my (and many others') work for a regime change here in the US, I will be lumped in as one of "the" Americans who didn't bother to oust an obvious monster from office.

                I'm only now becoming convinced Bush may not be re-elected, because up until this torture thing, more than half the country was still supporting him.

                Originally posted by LEtranger
                I wrote nobody hates YOU, and I meant HIM = PsychicWarVeteran personally, and all the other nice people on this forum.
                Thanks, LEtranger, for the assurance. It's good to know there are some who see individuals as individuals. I was in a 7-Eleven recently and was appalled at how a guy was treating the middle-eastern clerk. And the clerk wasn't even a Muslim but a Sikh! Very sad.
                "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

                Comment


                • #9
                  He promised to be humble

                  I have an old friend in a small town in America. He was a Lt in the US Airforce during WW2 and dropped his share of bomb loads over both miltitary and civilian targets before he was shot down and found himself in a German POW camp. I met him in 1995 when I was researching for a documentary on POW camps. We became friends. "Mac", let's call him so, is will turn 80 these days.
                  He sends me emails from time to time, their sincereness moves me very much. Perhaps you'd like to hear what an octogenarian thinks - as we don't have that generation among the forum members...

                  Just before the War on Iraq began:
                  "Mac":
                  Very sad, but it appears likely that you'll awake tomorrow and find the
                  carnage is under way. At the very least, American troops will be on Iraqi
                  soil.

                  I didn't vote for George Bush., I believed that Al Gore,had a higher degree of intelligence, listened closely to his advisors and never made hasty decisions, and could deal comfortably and on equal terms with any of the world leaders. Gore would, I believe, listen to reason. (shortened by L'E) ... But I took heart from Bush's oratory while campaigning for the Presidency. He promised to be humble towards other nations and limit the use of US troops around the world and said he didn't believe in nation building. What ever happned to these high ideals?
                  Oh, yes, being humble ...!
                  Two weeks earlier in March 2003 "Mac" wrote:
                  "Mac":
                  I am among many Americans who are outraged by our present Republican Administration's lemming-like march to war against Iraq. ... (shortened L'E) ...

                  Our war in the US began on September 11, 2001 and the nation has been unified in a just war against terrorists and terrorism. If I were shown a direct link between Iraq and the September 11 terrorists, I would have been for the destruction of the Iraqi regime months ago. I'm sure we'd have most of our European allies join us in such a just cause. But no one has shown me the smoking gun. I fear I'm being led to believe war
                  with Iraq is the right thing to do, just as I was in the Viet Nam war when the government devised the Tonkin Gulf incident as an excuse for extending the war in Viet Nam.

                  If it were not so ironic I'd find it comical to live through the times when Germany and France, countries with histories of great differences going back centuries, came out of World War II , and, let's face it, with considerable help from the United States, rebuilt their cities and educated their children in the ways of peace, not war, and now stand united against an American war fighting Iraq.
                  For me, personally, the stance "old Europe" has taken makes me feel vindicated for the time I spent fighting and the time I was a POW in WW II.. You learned your lessons well, and I'm proud of you.
                  He was proud of us, those Europeans he sacrificed his youth to liberate. The Bush/Rumsfeld stance was to call us "sissies" and "unloyal", because we didn't back the country that liberated us.
                  We were liberated in 1945 by people, and many were like "Mac".

                  While I would argue with "Mac" over when and how the current war actually began ... this to show you that we know the other America exists. And among them are enough people who have experienced war and who don't need to be tipped over by a Michael Moore to realize something is going awefully wrong.
                  It is just that you all have to say "No More" very loudly and decidedly - and in time there'll be no frightened division in YOU and "the Rest of the World".

                  PsychicWarVeteran wrote
                  I'm only now becoming convinced Bush may not be re-elected, because up until this torture thing, more than half the country was still supporting him.
                  I would hope for the bitter irony that these incidents at the prisons have at least that single positive effect.
                  Google ergo sum

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    "How can anybody claim to be morally right if they employ barbarian methods? The months long suppression of the photos and tapes without any decisive action being taken also discredits all mumbo-jumbo of "The Free World". "

                    Not suggesting that this didn't go higher up the chain - I tend to think it did - but the psychology of these types of events doesn't rule out that it is an environment-specific event. I am NOT saying I believe this is an isolated event, or excuseable; what I am saying is, this does NOT automatically have to be an example of execution (sorry, no pun intended) of orders from the President or Rumsfeld. The responsible parties have to be puished. If it is at the site level, so be it. If it runs higher, then the punishments have to run higher. It is no more right to say that Bush and Co. have to go because of this than it is to say "All Americans are sadists" because of this.

                    Rumsfeld did apologize for this behavior, by the way. I know many people have been calling for some sort of apology. I am sure that will not be enough.

                    "And the whole incident tunes in perfect with last year's big refusal of this very US government to have American soldiers submitted to international justice in case they are accused of war crimes. Anybody remember this?"

                    Apples and oranges; why should the soldiers be subject to this, if Saddam, bin Laden, and their respective henchmen weren't subject to it? Anyway, I think the American refusal to cooperate had more to do with the fact that by doing so, they would be under no obligation to turn over POWs. Not saying this is right, or smart, just that it is.

                    "...but why do they put a government in power that walks out on the Kyoto accords trampling on everybody's concerns."

                    The Kyoto Protocols are the wrong example of this type of behaviour. The kyoto Protocols were a thinly disguised economic weapon that applied almost solely to the U.S. If the Kyoto Protocols were really intended to cut emissions and improve air quality, they would have applied to China. See my lengthy post of a couple months ago. ANY government - Gore, Kerry, Bush - would have been wrong to have entered into that agreement. It has nothing to do whatsoever, and should not be used as evidence of, any disregard for the environment.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No, it wasn't ordered, but remember the historians never found a written order by Hitler to exterminate the Jews? It happened nevertheless. While I'm not comparing the holocaust with these incidents, I am pointing at the "brute mentality" that is happy to obeying supposed, unsaid wishes of the bosses -and let me provoke a little - of "the Nation"?
                      So, Rumsfeld apologized ...? In the meantime, sure, because it dawned on that lot that they could lose the elections, and it was just very pc to act ruefully. They knew it for months and it was again the characteristic arrogance (that pisses us, the rest of the word, off) that whatever is send in by the Red Cross or the UN or any other body composed of foreigners and leftists and gays is to be ignored.

                      Of course, the fault is at the top level! One can't isolate it to the site level. The leaders give signals to the troops and this translates into what "esteem" they have of the enemy. All the gunslinger-lingo of the president and his foreman shaped the idea for many soldiers that they were shootin' injuns again. This is perverting the alleged civilization-bringing idea (which was a lie anyway) to a joke. Soldiers sense lies like that, so why behave like gentlemen? If you look closely you'll find how surprisingly related the Iraq war and aftermath are to the 19th century Indian Wars. I don't think it was a coincidence that of all possible units the 7th Cavalry went dashing into Iraq furthest during the first days of the war. This was sending a signal, save for playing the tune of the "Garryowen March", we're back and we mean business, revenge for Custer again! (at least the Brits had senses not to send in the Ghurkas first which would have reminded everybody of colonialist times.)

                      What about the childish excuses that the prison guards were not prepared for the job, and they were really cooks, truck drivers and whatnots? If the spirit is sane and minds not brutalized and dumbed down by the idea that the enemy is sub-human, then you just don't do these things. Do cooks and truck drivers do these things? Do civilization-bringers do such things?
                      And Kyoto - even if certain aspects are different - the slap in the face of the oft-quoted "Rest of the World" (which, again, is the majority) once more added to the immense feeling of being screwed again and again.
                      Google ergo sum

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What about the childish excuses that the prison guards were not prepared for the job, and they were really cooks, truck drivers and whatnots? If the spirit is sane and minds not brutalized and dumbed down by the idea that the enemy is sub-human, then you just don't do these things. Do cooks and truck drivers do these things? Do civilization-bringers do such things?
                        This whole incident has made me think about the Stanford prison experiment. It seems the science says that "ordinary" people are only to quick to act like animals in these situations. Nine times out of ten Joe Average goes with what everybody else is doing.

                        The most disturbing thing about the Stanford data I think, was the way the observers were unable to predict who the ringleaders, the most enthusiastic torturers would be. None of those had shown signs of such behavior before they had people under their power.

                        Finally, when people torture others, we call them 'brutes' and 'animals', yet animals aren't sophistcated enough to be able to take pleasure in something as abstract as another beings pain. I doubt very much that animals have a concept of humiliation.

                        Such behavior can not, therefore be considered 'animal' It's part of the package that makes us something different from the animals and the responsibilities that go with all of that.

                        PS: I have often had to correct people that we (the Allies) fought the second world war against the Germans, we did not, we fought it against the Nazis.[/quote]
                        \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "So, Rumsfeld apologized ...?"

                          I snipped the rest of your comment for space, but that is my point exactly. There were several posts here that decried the fact that at no time has Bush or Rumsfeld apologozed for anything. Now he does, and it is only because it is PC and because of the election.

                          "Of course, the fault is at the top level!"

                          I don't have any idea as to what orders were driven down through the organization, but believe me, for better or worse, certain Americans need no prodding for the type of behavior to which you refer. The "cowboy-indian" mentality to which you refer certainly didn't start in 2000, and doesn't need encouragement to come out. Where were the cries against Clinton for the bad behavior in Kosovo? Mike has been particularly (and rightfully) critical of U.S. and UN behavior in Kosovo following the military action there. Did anyone call for the resignation of Johnson or Nixon (or their Secretaries of Defense) over the bad behavior of the troops in Vietnam? Roosevelt or Truman during the second World War (there was no Secretary of Defense until 1947)?

                          I think this behavior is at a minimum embarassing, but actually a whole lot worse. I don't think there should be any passes given on this issue. But this should not be brought down to a political level; all that will do is to make scapegoats of a few isolated people (most likely the soldiers actually in the pictures) and do more harm than good in terms of finding out why this happened and how it could be prevented.

                          "All the gunslinger-lingo of the president and his foreman shaped the idea for many soldiers that they were shootin' injuns again."

                          If you think this started with this President, this term, you are not paying attention at all to American history. Sad but true, this is not a new occurence. Why do you think bin Laden et al have been targeting the U.S. and its interests since the early 90's? Reagan was called a cowboy all the time, as a term of respect.

                          "And Kyoto - even if certain aspects are different - the slap in the face of the oft-quoted "Rest of the World" (which, again, is the majority) once more added to the immense feeling of being screwed again and again."

                          I don't agree with that at all. This is the kind of argument that gets people's knickers in a twist because it makes no sense in the big picture. So we owe something to the world that we have to adopt a system of protocols that we know from fact will not serve their purpose simply to make the world like us? Do you honestly believe that it would have made one whit of difference in terms of the world's impression of the United States? Absolultely not. The simple fact is, it is another case of the administration doing the right thing by the world but in a less than graceful way. Shame on Bush for that. But somebody has to stand up and say "that was the right move for the world, and we need to stop making this a political statement". Shame on the world for not doing that.

                          "Finally, when people torture others, we call them 'brutes' and 'animals', yet animals aren't sophistcated enough to be able to take pleasure in something as abstract as another beings pain. I doubt very much that animals have a concept of humiliation."

                          They may not take "pleasure" in it, but animal cruelty to other animals - even within the same species - is, like homosexuality, well-documented in the animal kingdom.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BBC revisits the Zimbardo experiment with the claim that the original experiment subjects were influenced by the researchers. Apparently, peer and authority approval are key elements to these tragedies. That's why these assholes took photos - they thought they would be met with approval. Like in a fucking game of The Sims. And again, it raises the issue of the chain of command. I think in fairness we can take right up to the top, Rummy and Junior. They were behind the Patriot Act that sanctions the creation of these American Gulags.

                            I mean, the minute you take away a persons civil liberties (no appearance before a Judge, no right to an attorney) you are saying they are less than human. They have no rights. How big a leap is it from there to where you are threatening naked men with violent and barking dogs?

                            I couldn't find the link, but I think it is interesting. Basically, we are all merely potential monsters. Thankfully, people like myself who have spent their lifetimes ignoring peer and authority approval may not be monsters - well, not unless we feel like being monsters anyway.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              They may not take "pleasure" in it, but animal cruelty to other animals - even within the same species - is, like homosexuality, well-documented in the animal kingdom.
                              I don't question that. Many animals even have complex enough social structures to allow terms like 'ambition' and 'humilation' to be (loosely) applied to their behavior.

                              but it takes a human to take pleasure out of pain or discomfort experienced by another, so being able to enjoy the torment of another being -sadism if you like. Is a human, not an animal attribute.
                              \"It got worse. He needed something to cure himself. What? he asked. M-A 19 he answered.\"

                              Comment

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