More evidence of abuse and torture...

A trove of government disclosures forced by a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit has signaled that the abuse of detainees in Iraq and at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was much broader than the Bush administration has portrayed it since the Abu Ghraib prison scandal became public this spring.

A heavily redacted internal e-mail from an FBI agent in June, for example, reported hearing of ''numerous serious physical abuse incidents of Iraqi civilian detainees . . . strangulation, beatings, placement of lit cigarettes into the detainees' ear openings, and unauthorized interrogations" and refers to ''coverup efforts."

Another FBI agent wrote in an e-mail in August of witnessing an interrogation in Guantanamo:

''The A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees," the report said. ''The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night."

Thousands of pages of documents, including two sets of FBI reports made public in the past week, have been released since October in response to a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights groups.

The documents suggest that severe mistreatment was far more widespread than previously known and that there may have been higher-level authorization by Bush administration officials for a policy of aggressive interrogation tactics. The White House last week again denied that anyone authorized torture and pledged to investigate the new allegations.

more greatest hits of Iraq torture and abuse...


A vivid FBI e-mail, which recounted the detainee who pulled his hair out, also describes sessions in which detainees were chained in a fetal position with no food or water for 24 hours or more, causing them to urinate and defecate on themselves.

During one prolonged period, the room temperature was set so low that a barefoot detainee shook with cold. Another time the unventilated room was made ''unbearably hot" while ''extremely loud rap music" blasted a detainee for more than a day, the agent said.

Another FBI agent reported in July 2004: ''I saw another detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played, and a strobe light flashing."

And two FBI reports from Guantanamo also present possible new evidence of higher responsibility for authorizing abuses. A e-mail from last December protests about Defense Department interrogators impersonating FBI officers at Guantanamo.

''If this detainee is . . . released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [by] the 'FBI' interrogators," the FBI agent wrote in December 2003.

Then, an e-mail from January 2004 discussing the sessions in which interrogators impersonated FBI agents -- but which itself does not use the phrase ''torture techniques" -- connects the practice to the second-highest official at the Pentagon, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz: ''Once again, this technique, and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the Dep Sec Def."

The Pentagon has denied that Wolfowitz approved interrogation techniques of any kind, although it says Rumsfeld approved the tactic of impersonation.

A typical example: Last summer, two Defense Intelligence Agency interrogators saw members of a special forces task force ''punch a prisoners in the face to the point that the individual needed medical attention." They told a task force supervisors, but were ''threatened," ordered not to talk about it, and had their photos of the beaten prisoner confiscated.

A document indicated that an FBI official thought President Bush had personally authorized some aggressive interrogation techniques in Iraq, a charge the White House denies.

A May e-mail from an FBI commander in Baghdad makes repeated references to a presidential order allegedly authorizing military interrogators to use techniques such as sleep deprivation, hooding, and stress positions.

''The things our personnel witnessed (but did not participate in) were authorized by the President under his Executive Order," the FBI agent wrote.

The White House denies such an order exists. If it does and was issued before the Abu Ghraib abuses, such a directive would contradict the government's account that the interrogation policy went no higher than the top US commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez.

''We need more information, but there is evidence here of high-up approval of these techniques," said Jaffer, from the ACLU. ''This is the first we've heard about the existence of this type of order."

To read/view more...Boston Globe - US disclosures signal wider detainee abuse & Un REgardModerne


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