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Sunday, November 13, 2005

fucking idiots 

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This is not going away


CIA allegedly hid evidence of detainee torture - report

WASHINGTON (AFX) - CIA interrogators apparently tried to cover up the death of an Iraqi 'ghost detainee' who died while being interrogated at Abu Ghraib prison, Time magazine reported today, after obtaining hundreds of pages of documents, including an autopsy report, about the case.

The death of secret detainee Manadel al-Jamadi was ruled a homicide in a Defense Department autopsy, Time reported, adding that documents it recently obtained included photographs of his battered body, which had been kept on ice to keep it from decomposing, apparently to conceal the circumstances of his death.

The details about his death emerge as US officials continue to debate congressional legislation to ban torture of foreign detainees by US troops overseas, and efforts by the George W. Bush administration to obtain an exemption for the CIA from any future torture ban.

Jamadi was abducted by US Navy Seals on November 4, 2003, on suspicion of harbouring explosives and involvement in the bombing of a Red Cross centre in Baghdad that killed 12 people, and was placed in Abu Ghraib as an unregistered detainee.

After some 90 minutes of interrogation by CIA officials, he died of 'blunt force injuries' and 'asphyxiation', according to the autopsy documents obtained by Time.

A forensic scientist who later reviewed the autopsy report told Time that the most likely cause of Jamadi's death was suffocation, which would have occurred when an empty sandbag was placed over his head while his arms were secured up and behind his back, in a crucifixion-like pose.

Blood was mopped up with a chlorine solution before the interrogation scene could be examined by an investigator, Time wrote, adding that after Jamadi's death, a bloodstained hood that had covered his head had disappeared.

Photos of grinning US soldiers crouching over Jamadi's corpse were among the disturbing images that emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004, prompting international outrage and internal US military investigations.

Last week, the New Yorker magazine reported that the US government's policies on interrogating terrorist suspects may preclude the prosecution of CIA agents who commit abuses or even kill detainees, and said the CIA had been implicated in the death of at least four detainees.

Mark Swanner, the CIA agent who interrogated Jamadi, has not been charged with a crime and continues to work for the agency. He told investigators that he did not harm Jamadi, Time wrote.


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We will one day regret this

Horrific Charges


We hear arguments that these policies demean the U.S. and what we stand for. We hear that the policies don't work -- that tortured detainees will say anything. We hear that these policies may in fact help create more terrorists.

But we don't hear much about the human cost. Who these people are -- the innocent ones, who are released with no charges filed against them.

Thahe Mohammed Sabbar is a 36-year-old Iraqi who claims to have been in U.S. military custody in Iraq -- including in Abu Ghraib -- for approximately six months, released in January 2004.

Sabbar claims soldiers used guns, batons, shackles, heat, and an electric weapon to beat and shock him. In addition to physical abuse, Sabbar claims to have been deprived of food and water, denied access to a toilet, to have been sexually assaulted by military personnel, to have been placed in mock executions. Sabbar says these experiences have left serious damage.

Sherzad Kamal Khalid, a 34-year-old Iraqi, claims to have been in U.S. military custody in various locations throughout Iraq for about two months, ending in September 2003. Khalid claims to have been deprived of food, water, sleep, and a toilet. He says he was fed spoiled food, severely beaten, hooded, shackled, hit with batons, sexually assaulted, placed before a mock firing squad with simulated gunfire and forced into a “silent tent” where he was severely beaten whenever he began to fall asleep.

Both men claim they continued to suffer from serious long-term damage. They are two of eight men who, with legal representation from the ACLU and Human Rights First, are suing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, as well as three in the military chain of command -- Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, and Colonel Thomas Pappas. The suit alleges that the treatment of the eight men -- four Iraqi and four from Afghanistan -- was part of a systematic plan that violated the U.S. Constitution and international law.

On Sunday, I'll be interviewing Khalid and Sabbar exclusively for ABC News for a series of reports to air Monday on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and Nightline, as well as on ABC News Radio.

How do we know to believe these men? How strong is their legal case? Are these charges something the American people want to hear about or are we all content with treatment of detainees as long as there continue to be no major terrorist attacks on U.S. soil?

Does the U.S. torture detainees or treat them inhumanely? In Panama with the President on Monday, I was lucky enough to be in the audience when President Bush addressed this subject.

"Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people," he said. "The executive branch has the obligation to protect the American people; the legislative branch has the obligation to protect the American people. And we are aggressively doing that. We are finding terrorists and bringing them to justice. We are gathering information about where the terrorists may be hiding. We are trying to disrupt their plots and plans."

But, he said, "anything we do to that effort, to that end, in this effort, any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture."

This will be a fascinating experience. You should know that we've reached out to the Pentagon for weeks and the Justice Department for several days to try to get the government's side of the story -- both about these specific allegations, as well as the larger context of the war on terror -- and we've not received much cooperation at all.

As of right now, no one in the Bush Administration has been willing to give us an interview about Sabbar and Khalid's charges. Hopefully that will change.

More later about this very important story -- one that the world is talking about a great deal, even if the U.S. is not.


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