Wednesday, August 04, 2004


US ABUSE COULD BE WAR CRIMES: Red Cross Says Britons May Have a Case
By Vikram Dodd and Tania Branigan
The Guardian (UK), 5 August 2004

EXCERPT: Repeated abuses allegedly suffered by three British prisoners at the hands of US interrogators and guards in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba could amount to war crimes, the Red Cross said yesterday. The organisation, which maintains a rigidly neutral stance in public, took the unusual step of voicing its concerns in uncompromising language after the former detainees, known as the Tipton Three, revealed that they had been beaten, shackled, photographed naked and in one incident questioned at gunpoint while in US custody. Their vivid account of the harrowing conditions at the camp, as told to their lawyers and published for the first time in yesterday's Guardian, has reignited the debate about the treatment of prisoners and the British government's role in their questioning and detention. Last night the Red Cross was joined by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, which argued that if the allegations were true they indicated systematic abuse, amounting to torture.
SEE ALSO: Editorial: Justice in the Balance (Guardian)
SEE ALSO: Families call for immediate freeing of Britons caught in 'Kafka nightmare' (Guardian)
SEE ALSO: Questioned at Gunpoint, Shackled, Forced to Pose Naked: British Detainees Tell Their Stories of Guantanamo Bay
By Vikram Dodd and Tania Branigan
The Guardian (UK) 4 August 2004

EXCERPT: Britain and the US last night faced fresh allegations of abuses after a British terror suspect said an SAS soldier had interrogated him for three hours while an American colleague pointed a gun at him and threatened to shoot him. The allegation is contained in a new dossier detailing repeated beatings and humiliation suffered by three Britons who were captured in Afghanistan, then held in Guantánamo Bay for two years, before being released in March without charge. Rhuhel Ahmed, one of the "Tipton Three", claims in the 115-page dossier that shortly after his capture in November 2001 he was interviewed in Afghanistan by a British interrogator who said he was from the SAS. Mr Ahmed alleges he was taken by US guards to be interrogated by the British officer in a tent. "One of the US soldiers had a gun to his head and he was told if he moved they would shoot him," the report says. The SAS officer pressed him to admit he had gone to Afghanistan to fight a holy war.

Coalition Forces Holding Children in Iraqi Prisons
Human rights groups demand immediate access to children held as criminals or 'security detainees.'
By Tom Regan
Christian Science Monitor, 4 August 2004

EXCERPT: The Sunday Herald of Scotland reported this week on its own investigation into allegations that more than 100 children, some as young as 10 years-old, are being detained by coalition forces in Iraq under suspicion of "alleged activities targeting the occupying forces." Many of the children are being held in a special wing at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The Herald's story includes allegations that some of the children were abused, tortured, or raped, by coalition and Iraqi soldiers.

Bush Administration Knew They Were Lying About Iraq
Despite the whitewash, we now know that the Bush administration was warned before the war that its Iraq claims were weak
By David Sirota and Christy Harvey
In These Times, 3 August 2004

EXCERPT: If desperation is ugly, then Washington, D.C. today is downright hideous. As the 9/11 Commission recently reported, there was “no credible evidence” of a collaborative relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda. Similarly, no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. With U.S. casualties mounting in an election year, the White House is grasping at straws to avoid being held accountable for its dishonesty. The whitewash already has started: In July, Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee released a controversial report blaming the CIA for the mess. The panel conveniently refuses to evaluate what the White House did with the information it was given or how the White House set up its own special team of Pentagon political appointees (called the Office of Special Plans) to circumvent well-established intelligence channels. And Vice President Dick Cheney continues to say without a shred of proof that there is “overwhelming evidence” justifying the administration’s pre-war charges. But as author Flannery O’Conner noted, “Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” That means no matter how much defensive spin spews from the White House, the Bush administration cannot escape the documented fact that it was clearly warned before the war that its rationale for invading Iraq was weak. Top administration officials repeatedly ignored warnings that their assertions about Iraq’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and connections to al Qaeda were overstated. In some cases, they were told their claims were wholly without merit, yet they went ahead and made them anyway. Even the Senate report admits that the White House “misrepresented” classified intelligence by eliminating references to contradictory assertions. In short, they knew they were misleading America.

Weapons of Miller's Descriptions
Spoon-fed information about Iraq's WMDs, New York Times reporter Judith Miller authored many stories later found to be misleading or downright false.
By Herbert L. Abrams
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, July/August 2004

EXCERPT:By June 3, 2003, according to a Harris Poll, 35 percent of Americans believed that weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been found in Iraq, while 10 percent were not sure; in October, 30 percent were still persuaded, although six months of searching had failed to uncover any such weapons. How could so many have been convinced in the face of the total absence of evidence? Selected comments from New York Times reporter Judith Miller's dispatches from December 2001 through June 2003 provide part of the answer. Miller, with a special knack for writing what the Pentagon liked to read, was the sole reporter embedded with the 75th Exploitation Task Force, which operated Mobile Exploitation Teams (MET Alpha, MET Bravo) hunting for WMD in Iraq. Her stories, which were widely reprinted or reported in other newspapers, on cable TV, and on talk radio, helped convey the impression to the nation that illicit weapons had been found in Iraq, supposedly validating the decision for war.

Doctors and Torture: Medical Professionals Complicit in Illegal Procedures
By Robert J. Lifton, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine, 29 July 2004

EXCERPT: There is increasing evidence that U.S. doctors, nurses, and medics have been complicit in torture and other illegal procedures in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Such medical complicity suggests still another disturbing dimension of this broadening scandal. We know that medical personnel have failed to report to higher authorities wounds that were clearly caused by torture and that they have neglected to take steps to interrupt this torture. In addition, they have turned over prisoners' medical records to interrogators who could use them to exploit the prisoners' weaknesses or vulnerabilities. We have not yet learned the extent of medical involvement in delaying and possibly falsifying the death certificates of prisoners who have been killed by torturers.

New Thinking in an All-Orange World
By Tom Englehardt and Mark LeVine
TomDispatch, 3 August 2004

EXCERPT #1 (Engelhardt): Unfortunately, our media is programmatically like some exceedingly slow, brain-damaged acquaintance. You have this constant urge to stretch out your hand and say, "Here, here, I'll help you along." But you also know that, massive and influential as it may be, on certain crucial matters it is institutionally incapable of learning. I mean, it's almost three years after 9/11 and we know we have an administration that never saw a piece of false intelligence it couldn't run with or accurate intelligence it couldn't mangle or suppress.
EXCERPT #2 (LeVine): It is time for the United States to declare a truce with the Muslim world, and radical Islam in particular. This may sound like a naïve, even defeatist statement in the context of The 9/11 Commission Report's reminder that America remains very much at war with "Islamist terrorism" and the ideas behind it. Yet a truce -- in Arabic, hudna -- rather than an increasingly dangerous "clash of civilizations," is the only way to avoid a long, ultimately catastrophic conflict. And it's up to Europe to be the good broker. Indeed, there is no chance for a halt in the war on terror, or any fundamental change in U.S. foreign policy as long as George Bush is President. Even if John Kerry wins this November, the possibility that he might initiate such a transformation is slim. However, there is one major difference -- at least rhetorically -- between the two possible presidencies: Kerry has made a point of saying that he would "listen" to European allies and strive to build a common approach to combating terrorism.

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