Sunday, December 04, 2005
Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 03:47:19 AM PDT
Why does the press ignore conclusive hard evidence of widespread torture and murder? As we strive to keep pressure on our governments and media we cannot allow them to do this, to ignore the obvious.
On October 25, 05 the American Civil Liberties Union released an analysis of new and previously released autopsy obtained under the freedom of information act and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated. The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions. *According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides. *
A CommonDreams.org article by Peter Phillips takes the corporate media to task for failing to cover this story, "at least 95percent of the daily papers in the US didn't bother to pick up the story".
While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, today's documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too.
Below are a few of the gory details:
· A 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was "undetermined" although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death. Notes say he "struggled/ interrogated/ died sleeping." Some facts relating to this case have been previously reported. (In April 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the use of "environmental manipulation" as an interrogation technique in Guantánamo Bay. In September 2003, Lt. Gen. Sanchez also authorized this technique for use in Iraq. Although Lt. Gen. Sanchez later rescinded the September 2003 techniques, he authorized "changes in environmental quality" in October 2003.)
· An Iraqi detainee (also described as a white male) died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated by "OGA." He was standing, shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth at the time he died. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries. Notes summarizing the autopsies record the circumstances of death as "Q by OGA, gagged in standing restraint." (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Abdul Jaleel.)
· A detainee was smothered to death during an interrogation by Military Intelligence on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq. A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of General Mowhoush, lists "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression" as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object. New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as "Q by MI, died during interrogation."
· A detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison, captured by Navy Seal Team number seven, died on November 4, 2003, during an interrogation by Navy Seals and "OGA." A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of Manadel Al Jamadi, shows that the cause of his death was "blunt force injury complicated by compromised respiration." New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as "Q by OGA and NSWT died during interrogation."
· An Afghan civilian died from "multiple blunt force injuries to head, torso and extremities" on November 6, 2003, at a Forward Operating Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Abdul Wahid.)
· A 52-year-old male Iraqi was strangled to death at the Whitehorse detainment facility on June 6, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. His autopsy also revealed bone and rib fractures, and multiple bruises on his body. (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Nagm Sadoon Hatab.)
Almost as shocking is how the media ignored this. From CommonDreams.org:
... Anthony Romero, Executive Director of ACLU stated, "There is no question that US interrogations have resulted in deaths." ACLU attorney Amrit Sing adds, "These documents present irrefutable evidence that US operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations."
Additionally, ACLU reports that in April 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the use of "environmental manipulation" as an interrogation technique in Guantánamo Bay. In September 2003, Lt. Gen. Sanchez also authorized this technique for use in Iraq. So responsibility for these human atrocities goes directly to the highest levels of power.
A press release on these deaths by torture was issued by the ACLU on October 25, 2005 and was immediately picked up by Associated Press and United Press International wire services, making the story available to US corporate media nationwide. A thorough check of Nexus-Lexus and Proquest electronic data bases, using the keywords ACLU and autopsy, showed that at least 95percent of the daily papers in the US didn't bother to pick up the story. The Los Angeles Times covered the story on page A-4 with a 635-word report headlined "Autopsies Support Abuse Allegations." Fewer than a dozen other daily newspapers including: Bangor Daily News, Maine, page 8; Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque Iowa, page 6; Charleston Gazette, page 5; Advocate, Baton Rouge, page 11; and a half dozen others actually covered the story. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Seattle Times buried the story inside general Iraq news articles. USA Today posted the story on their website. MSNBC posted the story to their website, but apparently did not consider it newsworthy enough to air on television.
The ACLU continues the fight against torture. From the BBC:
It is acting for a man allegedly flown to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan.
"The lawsuit will charge that CIA officials at the highest level violated US and universal human rights laws when they authorised agents to abduct an innocent man, detain him incommunicado, beat him, drug and transport him to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan," the ACLU said in a news release.
The release identified the jail as the "Salt Pit".
Bravo for the ACLU. Let support them and keep the pressure on our media and political leaders. We cannot allow Bush and the rest of his neo-con bastards or the corporate media to get away with torture and murder in our names.
Note: All bold is mine.