Friday, May 22, 2009

A nation crucified

The decision by President Obama not to release the picture of torture at Abu Ghraib and other US detention facilities did not surprise me. President Obama did not want the world to see pictures of Iraqi kids being raped by US military personal in front of their mothers or kids were sodomized. He defiantly did not want the world to see pictures detainee’s hair shaved to resemble a Christian cross especially when he is going to address the Muslim next month.

The Average American (Mr. AA) does not want to believe that the government he elected was involved in torturing and killing innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 270 torture pictures were published by Other pictures were later published by Australia's Special Broadcasting Service. Despite of those pictures and US official reports Mr. AA has been in state of delusion and denial for the last seven or eight years. He much rather sweep this under the rug so he doesn’t see evil.

One of the reasons why Obama changed his mind and blocked the release the picture is the fact that some of the pictures and videos show prison guards sodomizing young boys in front of their mothers, both with objects as well as physical rape. This was first reported in 2004 by the British newspaper the Guardian.

The London Telegraph also reported “US soldiers 'seen raping woman' in new jail photos” and “US soldiers beating an Iraqi prisoner nearly to death and having sex with a female PoW,” as well as a videotape, apparently made by US personnel, which shows “Iraqi guards raping young boys”. Some of these facts could also be found in US official Taguba Report.

Abu Ghraib, or better renamed Abu Gulag, was not the only American detention and torture center. NAMA "Nasty Ass Military Area" at Baghdad Airport and run by US elite task force 6-26 is another US official torture center. Their motto is "No Blood No Foul," meaning "If you don't make them bleed, they can't prosecute for it." This torture center was a subject of Human Rights Watch report.

The release of the Bush administration torture memos and the COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES UNITED STATES SENATE report concluded among other things that:

“The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's December 2,2002 authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.”

A video Abu Ghraib Torturers Expose US Government Direct Torture Orders and the American documentary film GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB are worth watching. CNN last week interviewed on of the detainees of Abu Ghraib watch Abu Ahmed interview

Ancient civilizations were remembered by the hug pyramids that they built. I hope Americans can do something to destroy the image of their disgraceful human pyramid they built at Abu Gulag

Back in 2005 I published something about this subject I am adding it for further information.

Abu Ghraib, Abu Gulag and Abu American Lies

by Ghazwan Al-Mukhtar

Abu: “The father of” in Arabic.

Gulag: The worst type of prison.

With the migration of torture from from Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib evolved into Abu Gulag. With the protection of those responsible for the U.S. torture policy it has become Abu American lies.

In the late 1950s the Iraqi government commissioned an American consulting firm to design and build a modern prison in Baghdad. It was decided that the nearby agricultural area of “Abu Ghraib” was the best place to build the prison. We had our American designed “model” prison in the early 60’s.

Like many police forces in the world the Iraqi police forces had “detention” centers inside the police station where suspects are kept. It is at these police stations that interrogations are done. These interrogations were supposed to be supervised by interrogation judges from the ministry of justice. In most cases suspects continued to be the responsibility of the ministry of interior until the end of trials. Once sentenced to prison the criminal was handed over to the ministry of social affairs which is responsible for Abu Ghraib prison and others.

Iraq Security police and the Iraqi intelligence agency “Mukhabarat” and other security forces each has their own “detention” centers and interrogating judges independent from the ones at the local police stations or Abu Ghraib prison.

It is most likely that at these “detention” centers human rights are violated or “torture” is used to extract “confessions” to be “used” in the court to put “criminals” at Abu Ghraib prison. “Convicted” criminals, prisoners, very seldom were re-interrogated in the prison hence very seldom were “tortured” at Abu Ghraib prison. In most cases torture was done before the prisoner was sent to Abu Ghraib to serve a sentence issued by a court.

Under Saddam, the notoriety of Abu Ghraib prison was in fact due to the very large number of prisoners in death row rather than “torture.” Since 1980 laws were introduced or amended to make more crimes punishable by capital punishment. Some laws were strange. Breaking into a house for stealing carries the death penalty if it is done at night while the same crime committed during the day carries a less penalty. Drug cases were also another example. Courts in Iraq were obliged to follow these laws.

The increased number of executions at Abu Ghraib was mostly attributed to the increase number of crimes punishable by death and due to the socio-economic crises that Iraq went through during Iraq-Iran war, 1991 Gulf War and the 13 years of economic sanctions.

In November 2002 Saddam surprised everyone by freeing all prisoners in prisons as well as those in detention centers and police stations. Criminals arrested that day were actually released some without literally setting a foot in the police stations. That day I saw TV reports of journalist going through the empty Abu Ghraib prison. I also saw relatives of detainees waiting for family members at one of the known interrogation centers of the fearful Mukhabarat.

After the fall of Baghdad in April 2003 people looted what ever was left in Abu Ghraib prison, doors, window frames – anything they could put their hands on. It is fair to say that after one week of looting Abu Ghraib was not fit to be used for anything. Similarly police stations and their small detention cells and other interrogation centers were looted and burned. The Iraqi police force was dissolved and the American armed forces were the “only game in town.” The American forces started arresting common criminals, people suspected of resistance activities, sometimes people suspected of nothing and they needed “detention centers” and “interrogation centers” outside their military camps. This forced them into using the Abu Ghraib prison after fixing it.

Under the American control Abu Ghraib was transformed from a prison to a “detention and interrogation” center. American forces lacking the language skill, the cultural understanding and sheer volume of detainees were frustrated by the lack of progress in getting the intelligence information they needed. This frustration led to the “migration” of interrogation methods developed in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. This was the beginning of the Abu Gulag prison. It is at that time that the father of the worst prisons was created in Iraq by the American forces.

Saddam’s Abu Ghraib was a jail of convicted criminals – at least there was an appearance that they were convicted in Saddam’s courts. The American Abu Gulag was a place where people were detained with no judicial orders and detainees were tortured to speedily extract information from them.

Three factors contributed to the atrocities at the American Abu Gulag. Firstly, America shielded its people of any legal responsibility under Iraqi law. This blanket immunity encouraged American forces and American civilian contractors to violate the law without being prosecuted in Iraq or answering to their atrocities. Secondly, U.S. officially “migrated,” meaning approved, authorized, these inhuman interrogation techniques. Thirdly, the U.S. intimidated Arab media from even talking about such things. I provided information and photos to Arab media outlets and they would not touch it because of U.S. pressure. In August/September 2003 I approached Al-Arabia satellite station in Baghdad about a torture story. I was told by the station director in Baghdad that they have instructions from the American forces not to cover such subjects. I went to Al-Jazeera office and they agreed to send a reporter with me. I documented the torture story in the presence of an American lawyer, Al-Jazeera was reluctant to broadcast the story. Eventually Dahr Jamail broke the story along with pictures and information I provided.

Torture and human rights abuses apparently were common even before the official “migration” of the interrogation rules. Now we know that the U.S. Navy seals had pictures of human rights violations in May 2003. I know that Amnesty International was handed different pictures of torture also in May 2003 when they were visiting Baghdad.

President Bush told the Iraqi people and the world that Iraqis will not be tortured again since he has deposed the dictator, Saddam who tortured his people. For one year we the Iraqi people tried hard to believe him. Then when the Abu Gulag pictures were made public we were told over and over that those responsible for what happened to our countrymen would be held accountable. But now, one year later, those who signed the decrees authorizing torture, and those like President Bush himself, who were told by human rights groups about the torture, have not been held accountable. We are now told that what was done was by few people taking the “law” into their own hands and were actually just “seven bad apples.” But, we are not fools – we know an Abu Lie when we hear one.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Yes we nailed you bastards lying

This posting is not about whether Saddam Husain was or was not a dictator. It is not about whether his police force used torture or not. It is about the US government manipulating the US media to spread lies and fabricated stories to convince the world that he was what they claimed, a dictator and his police force use torture!!!

On July 21, 2003, nearly three months after the fall of Baghdad, the Washington Post published the following article A Lone Woman Testifies To Iraq's Order of Terror”. It was copied and republished by hundreds of newspapers across the US.

In his article Peter Finn told the story of Iraqi Christian women named Jumana Michael Hanna who claimed that she was arrested, tortured, raped and beaten by police at the Iraqi police academy. She “identified” to the American occupying authorities the people “responsible” for her ordeal.

Bernard B. Kerik, the senior policy adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Interior and former police commissioner in New York City was quoted as saying  "This is the first case where someone has given us information that appears to be credible and that we can corroborate and act on. A lot of Iraqi women will see that we are serious. This is an event that will lead to closure for a lot of people -- and justice." Dennis Henley, the American director of reconstruction at the police academy said We'll nail the bastards,"

Jummana “Hanna became a potent symbol of Iraqi liberation, and the Bush administration brought Jummana and her children to the United States for their protection.” “US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz testified about her before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "Her courage in coming forward to offer U.S. officials what is very likely credible information," he said, would help the coalition "root out" Baathist killers.”

She was such a valuable assists to the US government propaganda war that they wanted her story to be told to the world. A ghost writer, Sara Slovitch, was hired to write her memoir. Sara is not trained crime investigator or anything like that but she had the common sense to put two and two together. This is how prefaced her article:

“In all of Iraq, Jumana Hanna was the bravest witness to the horror of Saddam's regime, telling the Americans of torture, rape, and mass murder. In Washington, Hanna became a potent symbol of Iraqi liberation, and the Bush administration brought Hanna and her children to the United States for their protection. Then the author discovered the really horrible truth.”

The “really horrible truth” is that the above Washington Post is a lie. Furthermore Jummana told Sara so many other obvious lies that instead of writing a book about the “symbol of Iraqi liberation” she wrote this article “The American Dream” in Esquire magazine exposing all the lies told by this lady who was arrested in Iraq “on charges of prostitution”.

After reading the Esquire article I had exchanged few messages with Sara Slovitch. I also wrote to the Washington Post ombudsman telling him that based on the Esquire article regrettably his paper look more like the Washington Pravda!!! Towing the line of the US government, and spreading lies.

To its credit the Washington Post revisited the story again. It published a follow-up article “Threads Unravel in Iraqi's Tale by the same journalist, Peter Finn, exposing more lies about America’s “symbol of Iraqi liberation” 

I want to tell Dennis Henley, the American director of reconstruction at the police academy and his government Yes we nailed you bastards lying !!!