Iraqi & Afghan prisoners : tortured to death

Discussion in 'Your Bloody Soap Box' started by limerickman, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    The US Human Rights group - Human Rights First - will publish tomorrow a report
    that concludes that the US armed forces "interrogation" techniques has resulted in the deaths of people held in custody.
    (Human Rights First - is a US based human rights lawyers organisation)

    Tonight BBC's Newsnight carried an extensive report covering the Human Rights First report which catalogues US activities in the prisons of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The report will be carried here http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/index.asp




    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/4737384.stm
     
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  2. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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  3. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    All in all, it's disappointing. I heard someone say yesterday that this is just a few rotten apples in a barrel and that the same thing went on in WW2.
    However, I think it's plain wrong and very damaging to America's reputation worldwide. The people who commited these abuses aren't soldiers but thugs who were abusing POW's out of pure sadism and a desire to humiliate those in a vulnerable position.
    Even so, I do realise the majority of Americans are also shocked and angry and disappointed with the Bush Administration. The sooner they are voted out the better as far as I'm concerned. That kind of behaviour goes against everything free, democratric countries are supposed to stand for.
     
  4. darkboong

    darkboong New Member

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    You mean "Unlawful combatants"... ? In which case why aren't they doing time in Gitmo ?

    Sadly they very much *are* soldiers, just the same as the British soldiers who kicked the shit out of those Iraqi kids. Nuff said. Every time a country invades another this stuff happens, grow up or quit advocating it.
     
  5. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I have never advocated POW abuse and I opposed the Iraq War at the time it broke out since I suspected with good reason 9/11 was being forwarded as justification to attack Iraq.
    At any rate, a professional military doesn't or shouldn't abuse POW's period. This is something that obviously wasn't made clear in the upper ranks of command as these troops believed they had a free licence to carry out abuses. Clearly they were told to go ahead and loosen the inmates up. So, a major diplomatic crisis resulted.
    Not all American military agree with such policy. Colin Powell resigned over what had been taking place but had been unable to force his own policies over those of Rumsfeld earlier on.
    All in all, Rumsfeld failed as a general and Bush as a commander in chief. Neither one of them could apparently organise a booze up in a brewery, let alone a war.
    Let's see how the next elections turn out.


     
  6. lyotard

    lyotard New Member

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    the deaths that resulted are only part of the story. after decades of extensive testing of any and all methods of "interrogation" the us arrived at what are the most effective recognized methods. there is a denial by the bush administration that these methods constitute torture, however, their very effectiveness is based upon the amount of long-term pain, suffering, fatigue and disorientaion that results.

    the most effective methods yet found are classified as "self-inflicted", which is termed as methods that are inflicted not so much by force but by sensory deprivation, and by reaction to sensory stimuli, inducing fatigue and discomfort.

    the us uses hoods, gloves, and restraints, the restraints are most effective when the prisoner is suspended just enough to allow no movement yet still stand under their own weight. sleep is not allowed by means of recorded noises that provoke anxiety such as a baby crying. sleep patterns are disrupted for maximum loss of innate biological clock function. shaking the prisoner is also common. what follows as a physical result is lesions and ruptures of the legs from varicose vein development induced by the prolonged standing. restraint chairs have been revealed to be in use as well. as a mental result of being subjected to these methods, hallucinations and nervous breakdowns, now known as "breaks" by the psychological term are among the symptoms that occur.

    these methods are seemingly more passive than beatings or pain inflicted direct physical torture yet are found to be far worse to the human organism.

    it is certainly bad enough that these methods are used by the us and others, and along with the pain and suffering they create there is the endless chain of desire for reprisal that breeds fresh anti-american sentiment and resultant violence. even if one who knows of his countrymen that are subjected to this do not strike back they will almost certainly not speak out against those who do. the ones who do act use the tactics of shock and awe on a budget, if you will...

    the thing the civilians of any nation watching this happening here and now must consider, is what conditions permit a government to conduct these kind of interrogations, and what allows and individual to be subjected to such interrogations.

    then ask yourself, how close are we as citizens to being subjected to the same treatment for any number of vague reasons, now that the fundamentals of human rights as applied to reason for captivity and treatment during interrogation are disregarded under the guise of (pick one) national security, fighting terrorism, gaining information, detainment of enemy combatants, preventing suspected plots, suspected insurgents, illegal immigrants of certain nations, people who fit a specific profile, the list goes on...when this treatment of prisoners is tolerated, we are one step closer to allowing these methods to be perpetrated on ourselves.

    "a civilization can be judged by the way it treats it's prisoners"
    -attributed to sir winston churchill




     
  7. lyotard

    lyotard New Member

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    so if a few police went a bit medieval in your neighbourhood, it could be accepted as just a few rotten apples and the accountability would then cease to go up the chain of command?

    seems a very charitable explaination to cover for those in charge.

    this lack of demand for accountability from the top is what perpetuates these abuses in any case...


     
  8. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    If you read the report, it seems to indicate the "few rotten apples" theory is in fact open to doubt.

    According to Newsnight, the torture tactics employed at Guantanemo were exported to Iraq and Bagram.
    General Miller's name is most prominent
     
  9. roadhog

    roadhog New Member

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    I am an active duty US Army officer. I commanded a company in Iraq during the invasion and subsequent 13 month period. I serve proudly. It should be clear by now that this is not a case of a "few bad apples" but rather some seriously mis-guided policies and ambiguous guidance indicative of a systemic problem. The problem has been perpetuated by the refusal of our leadership to firmly grasp the problem, hold people accountable (I'm talking about leaders at all levels, not simply England and her friends at the bottom), correct the policies, and drive on. Instead, we remain in this questionable state about the whole issue because our leaders have not taken definitive, decisive, and aggressive action.

    It is embarrassing to the vast majority of us in the military who strive to go about our business in an honorable and ethical manner. More importantly, it has severely damaged our nation's credibility to a degree that is hard to explain. The lack of decisive action in response has only lengthened the period of damage and increased the erosion of credibility. There can be no excuse.

    Many of us in the military community are among the most outraged at this. I cannot blame anyone for the conclusions they have drawn based on this issue, but I would like to assure you that the situation does not in fact represent the overall culture in our military. We are just as incensed by this as you, and literally at a loss to explain how our civilian and top military leaders could have allowed it in the first place. Even I could have told them, while I sat on the Kuwaiti border in Mar '03, that proper treatment of enemy POWs was perhaps the single most important thing we needed to "get right" in the impending conflict. The lack of foresight on that issue alone is enough to be held responsible through negligence at the higher levels.

    edit: I should note that, other than an occasional aerial transport, my duties do not include anything directly related to POW handling or confinement or treatment, so my perception of things is not from any "inside knowledge" per say, but rather from being a part of the military culture itself and reading the same media reports and other discussions that you all have read.
     
  10. lyotard

    lyotard New Member

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    road,
    thanks for the report. while you downplay the perspective of inside info, it is always valuable to get the unadulterated news direct from those closest to the scene.



     
  11. darkboong

    darkboong New Member

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    OTOH you support the occupation of Palestine and attacking Iran.
     
  12. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Thanks for the honest post RH.

    I have no doubt that there are honourable men and women within the US forces in Iraq - who observe the rules and just want to get on with things
    in what must be a very very stressful situation.

    With regard to the fact that you've been over there - you presumably have little choice in the matter.
    Your (meaning the military) political masters dictate the tune and you're compelled to obey even if you disagree with the strategy and the policy.

    Given this and given that the nature of the entire escapade was built on a tissue of lies, the politicians have perhaps compounded the difficulty of your
    tenure in Iraq by authorising the use of torture and execution of combatants?

    Let's face it, it was sheer folly when your political masters in March/April 2003
    told us that the people of Iraq would view foreign forces as "liberators".
    No foreign troops were ever going to be viewed with anything other than resentment at best - and outright hatred in some cases.

    On a human level, I can almost sympathise with US troops on the ground.
    Reminds me of the British Army in Northern Ireland in the 1970's : brought in to keep the peace, they ended up as the enemy.
     
  13. roadhog

    roadhog New Member

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    Don't read too much into my post. My post was about the issue of torture alone. I hesitate to get too much into other politics involving the conflict. Politics are not my job. I remain informed so I can vote, but otherwise I have no use for politicians from both major parties in my country. I have no faith in any of them to be honest - party irrelevant. IMHO, our two party system is incredibly flawed and does not serve us well at all.

    I will say this about the beginning of this conflict. Of course it is clear that the WMD argument for invasion was a mistake. It would be hard to refute that. Whether or not there were other agendas on the table - well, I am not privy to information which would allow me to know with certainty one way or the other. Perhaps one day we will all know for sure. I hope so. And I hope that any criminal offenders will be held accountable.

    As regards to the general Iraqis' response to our "arrival" in their country - I do disagree with you. It is quite true that the initial response was indeed that of a liberated oppressed people. They were jubilant in the streets. Surely this did not apply to everyone - but to enough that the public masses were clearly happy. No, they didn't "throw flowers" - but really, that is just an expression anyway. Not sure that has really happened for anyobody since the liberation of Holland and Belgium way back when.

    That is not to say that their exuberance lasted long. Of course it did not. They want long term occupation from a foreign power no more than you or I. The point is that immediately after the invasion, they did not know what to expect. They had no clue what turns the future was going to take. Instead, they reveled in the moment. And that moment included the removal of Saddam. For that they were clearly happy.

    This does not necessarily mean it was the right thing to do of course. Many other factors apply to that determination. Clearly, many Iraqis are now unhappy with the situation - as they should be. Clearly, we (U.S., British, other major players) grossly mis-judged the way things would turn out - probably to a negligent level. I am not trying to argue otherwise. I simply point out that the argument I often see from critics of this conflict that the Iraqis were not happy about our initial invasion is not correct. They were indeed happy initially. Quite so. Like I have said, this does not necessarily make our actions "right", but it should at least be noted factually in the context of the debate.

    As far as our continued presence there - I look at it like this. For better or worse, we invaded. Aside from ensuring that mistakes we made in that decision are not made again in the future - and holding any appropriate people accountable - there is nothing we can do about it now. Instead we are faced with the situation that we absolutely created. So the question is: what do we do about the situation now that we are in it? To me, the answer to this has nothing to do with whether or not we should have invaded. Because of our invasion - we created this situation. We clearly have an obligation to make the best of it now. How do we do that and how long should that obligation last? I don't pretend to know the answers. But to argue that we should have left yesterday simply because we should not have invaded in the first place is a shallow argument. There needs to be more substance to the claim. I personally can see significant positives and negatives to either decision and honestly don't have a strong notion of what we should do from here. We are certainly between a rock and a hard place.
     
  14. EoinC

    EoinC New Member

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    Another good post, RH. One of the problems is that the presence of Coalition Military personnel in Iraq, regardless of whether or not you are being helpful in providing security, is seen as an afront to a fairly large portion of the World's populations. This, in turn, helps feed the machine that seeks to destroy that security (and will continue to do so as long as that presence is evident).
    I do not question that the vast majority of the Coalition personnel engaged in the area are not sadistic, and genuinely hope that they are having a postive influence on restoring peace, regardless of the rights and wrongs of the initial invasion. I do believe, however, that the only way that the Iraqi people are going to establish an enduring secure society is through their own efforts. Such a peace may come quicker through removing the Coalition presence which is, albeit unintentionally, fuelling the fire.
    I personally believe that the invasion was uncalled for and was carried out for ulterior motives. I feel that there were much better means available for helping the people of Iraq to choose their destiny. The agenda's that were proclaimed were patently false. I acknowledge that history can't be changed, so decisions need to be based on the current situation and the prospects for the future. I do not think that a continued Coalition Military presence is going to provide a sustainable level of security. If things continue the way they are going, Iraqi citizens may start referring to the Saddam era as the good old days. I'm not suggesting that they were in any way good (I have very good friends who were refugees from Sadam's Iraq), but there must come a time where ordinary citizens, with no agenda, wonder whether the presence of the Coalition Military is protecting them from the moths, or is a light that is attracting the moths.
     
  15. stevebaby

    stevebaby New Member

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    A well-written and balanced post and a refreshing change from the "kill'em all,let god sort'em out".Would that more people with experience of war ran countries everywhere.
    It was Colin Powell,a soldier with combat experience in vietnam,who warned the current regime..."If you break it,you own it.".His advice was disregarded,with predictable results.Now,having invaded,the us is faced with an unholy mess which is likely to drag on for years,just as vietnam did,with the usual widespread death and destruction,and without a doubt,the usual profiteering.
    Once again,the us has lost the moral high ground,exactly as they did in vietnam,by using torture and assasination.Once again,the us has involved itself in an unwinnable war.Once again,the us has demonstrated that their much-vaunted military superiority means nothing against a determined guerilla force,who,for whatever reason,will resist the aggressor.
    Ask yourselves,all those who support this war,where were dubya,cheney,perle,rumsfeld,wolfowitz et al,when they were of military age and the us was at war.
    Skulking.
    They are happy to send a generation of young people to advance principles that they themselves were,and are,not prepared to risk their own safety for.
    General Smedley Butler Taylor has expressed it far more eloquently than I could,and with his war experience and two congressional medals of honour,with far greater,with far greater veracity.
    If the human race has learned anything from history,it's that noone has learned the lessons of history.(not an original thought.)
    The ruse of "WMD's"...were exactly that.It has always been about the oil,and every oil-producing country is at risk from the us.
     
  16. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I think all of you misunderstood my post? I stated the Bush Administration's excuse was the abuses were down to a few bad apples. That wasn't my view at all - I was reporting what the excuse was.
    My view is the higher chain of command gave a nod and a wink to systematic abuses of POW's as part of a strategy. My view is also that any abuse of prisoners is not only bad policy and unethical but repugnant too.
    Also, I blame Blair just as much as the Bush Administration. And I also think it was hypocritcal of people in this country to vote Blair back in office and I for one would never vote for the despotic regime he represents.
    My question is why did people vote Blair back in? He actively encouraged war in Iraq so I don't understand why he was rewarded for that during the elections.


     
  17. roadhog

    roadhog New Member

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    (...snip...)

    I agree. And your post expresses one side of the argument (re: whether we should maintain presence there or not) very well. There are compelling reasons why it would benefit many issues to leave immediately. However, there are also compelling reasons to stay. Especially in light of this week's activities, it is clear that bloody chaos would ensue if we were to leave now - at least until the resulting power vacuum is filled. Who would fill the vacuum? No telling - some of the possibilities are outside of Iraq's present borders. Some would spell bad news not just for Western concerns but also to those in the middle east. And of course massive bloodshed would be included. So, does our obligation to "make the best" of this situation include the protection of the innocent victims who would certainly perish in the bloodshed I've refered to? I'd say we could easily argue it does. And of course there are other aspects to this side of the argument as well. This is but an example.

    Another issue is that it is not clear what good we can accomplish by staying. There is no organization in the world, to include our military, equipped and trained and manned to build a country up from this sort of chaos. It's not what we were designed for or meant to do. It's not something you can easily accomplish "on the fly". It makes no difference if we have an incredibly powerful military. Incredibly powerful militaries were not made for this mission.

    I honestly don't know which is the right thing to do. I'm very reluctant to say we should leave now because of the issues I've mentioned but I also recognize the negative affects of our presence. Either way, the US will be blamed for the "badness" that results. Some of those people calling for our departure from the region will be the same ones to rail against us when the resulting violence consumes the country and perhaps more of the region. And like you say, people currently rail against us for our presence and question our interests. This situation is our own fault of course - for not either foreseeing this eventuality or somehow preventing it.

    So, my point is not to say "oh, poor America, they have no good options". That is not it at all. We put ourselves in this situation for sure and have nobody else to blame. Instead, my point is to say that we cannot pretend this situation has *any* easy solution - and perhaps not even any *right* solution. We must respect the situation enough to recognize the significant downfalls with almost any decision.

    Essentially, I've been successful in rambling about the situation and offering no solutions. I recognize this. I am torn - but lean towards sticking it out with the good Iraqis that are trying to lead something close to a normal life simply because we now owe it to them. But I most certainly recognize the merits of the other argument as well. And I certainly don't enjoy spending time in Iraq and away from my family. As it is, I've missed my oldest girl's 1st and 2nd birthday and I met my youngest girl when she was 6 months old. For selfish reasons - I wouldn't mind pulling out yesterday. But alas, the "powers that be" don't ask Army Majors for advice on these sort of matters... :rolleyes: They just send us out to execute the decisions. ;)
     
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