Photographs of American and British troops humiliating prisoners could change the public mood across the world. But the coalition has brushed aside similar complaints for six months
Chilling new evidence of the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers emerged last night in a secret report accusing the US army leadership of failings at the highest levels.
Wafiq Samarrai, a former military intelligence chief who went into exile in 1995 and retains contacts, said U.S. officials were seeking to reconstitute them in some form. "They are trying to rebuild it very quietly," he said.
The American army has sacked the police chief it was working with, because he was accused of being a senior Ba'athist and running his own mafia in the force.
Major-General Hamid Uthman, who headed the police under Saddam Hussein, is the second to have tried to lead the force since the war ended.
Major-General Zuhair al-Noami, who had been a deputy chief of police, resigned last week amid similar criticism.
On Sunday, protests by dozens of doctors forced the resignation of Ali Shnan al-Janabi, the newly appointed health minister, who had also been a senior party member.
Iraq's newly appointed interior minister will recruit a paramilitary force composed of former Iraqi army special forces troops to pursue guerrillas, terrorists and saboteurs who are undermining the country's stability, officials said today.
He said several of the members [of the interim council] were Baathists - members of Saddam Hussein's former ruling party - and that the council, first set up after the fall of Umm Qasr at the start of April, spent much of its time bickering.
Members of the police force, currently under the supervision of the British Royal Military Police, have allegedly been using "old-style techniques" to beat confessions out of those they arrest.
US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists (Guardian/UK, 26 May 2003) Army files charge in combat tactic (Washington Times, 29 October 2003) The persuaders, Part One (Observer, 19 October 2003) The persuaders, Part Two (Observer, 19 October 2003) Judges condemn Camp X-Ray (Guardian/UK, 11 October 2003)
In August 2002, the Justice Department advised the White House that torturing al Qaeda terrorists in captivity abroad "may be justified," and that international laws against torture "may be unconstitutional if applied to interrogations" conducted in President Bush's war on terrorism, according to a newly obtained memo.
Justice Goldstone said: "The law just doesn't accept black holes. If they're prisoners of war they've got rights under the Geneva convention. If they're civilians they've got rights under the domestic law of the US.
"It's unacceptable and inconsistent with the rule of law that you're holding 662 people without any access to due process. They're at the mercy of Pentagon officials."
The report coincided with a statement from the International Red Cross. Wrapping up a two-month visit to the base, the organisation, the only independent group with access to the detainees, said it had found a "worrying deterioration" in their mental health.
The IBA task force also suggests the US/UK strike on Iraq was questionable under international law. It says: "The task force has grave doubts as to whether claims of self-defence justify, per se, unilateral action to engage in armed intervention in any country that has not attempted an attack or threatened international peace and security."
The task force calls for adherence to a set of fundamental principles of law in the fight against terrorism. Among the first principles, it says, is that states should not use the threat of terrorism to disregard international law.Red Cross breaks silence on Guantanamo prisoners to lambast US approach (Independent/UK, 11 October 2003) US tortured Camp X-ray suspects, says lawyer (The Scotsman, 09 October 2003) US Attempts to Deflect Criticism of Guantanamo Prison - Media Barred from Questioning Unlawful Detention (Amnesty International, 08 October 2003) Claims of torture in Guantanamo Bay (ABC Australia, 08 October 2003) Terry Hicks agrees prisoners are being mistreated (ABC Australia, 08 October 2003) Lawyers want inquiry into Camp X-ray torture claims (ABC Australia, 08 October 2003) US military torturing Guantanamo prisoners (AlJazeera.net, 08 October 2003) Lawyer Says Guantanamo Detainees Tortured (AP, 08 October 2003) UN says unable to investigate Guantanamo torture allegations (ABC Australia, 08 October 2003) Briton held as terror suspect says CIA threatened torture (Guardian/UK, 04 October 2003) US accused of genocide and torture (AlJazeera.net, 18 September 2003) Amnesty: Iraqis Complain of Torture by U.S. Forces (Reuters, 23 July 2003) US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists: Uzbekistan's president steps up repression of opponents (The Guardian, 26 May 2003) Cover-Up Found in Honduras Prison Killings (New York Times, 20 May 2003) Iraqi PoWs tell Amnesty they were tortured (The Guardian, 17 May 2003) Amnesty International renews local call for torture probe: Amnesty International's Norwegian unit is asking local authorities to investigate claims that the US is torturing prisoners of war in Cuba and Afghanistan. Some POWs are believed to have been killed. (Aftenposten, 16 April 2003) Freed aid workers tell of prison torture (Independent.co.uk, 13 April 2003) US accused of hypocrisy on human rights: State Department reveals double standards in annual global assessment of government treatment of citizens (Independent.co.uk, 06 April 2003) Hendrik Hertzberg: Terror and torture (The New Yorker, 17 March 2003) US interrogators turn to 'torture lite': The second half of our investigation finds America bending the rules in the wake of September 11 (The Guardian, 25 January 2003) Alan Cooperman: CIA Interrogation Under Fire: Human Rights Groups Say Techniques Could Be Torture (Washington Post, 28 December 2002) CIA accused of torture at Bagram base (The Guardian, 27 December 2002) US 'is using torture techniques' to interrogate top al-Qa'ida prisoners (Independent.co.uk, 27 December 2002) United States: Reports of Torture of Al-Qaeda Suspects (Human Rights Watch, 27 December 2002) U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations: 'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities (Washington Post, 26 December 2002) James Ron and Charles T. Call: US Has Its Own Record of Atrocities (Boston Globe, 23 December 2000) Tom Blanton: National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 27: The CIA in Latin America (National Security Archive, 14 March 2000) Tom Blanton: If All This Makes For A 'Distinguished Career,' One Can Only Ask The CIA: What Qualifies As Undistinguished? (Washington Post, 14 March 2000) Human Rights Watch World Report 1998: AMERICAS
"Documents declassified in 1997 about U.S. involvement in the coup that overthrew the elected government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954 provided a chilling inside look at the methods used and promoted by the agency [CIA], including targeted political assassination and mass murder."W.E. Gutman: CIA admits teaching torture techniques in Latin America (OneWorld News Service, 18 June 1997) Human Rights Watch: The Facts Speak for Themselves: The Preliminary Report on Disappearances of the National Commissioner for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras (Human Rights Watch, July 1994)
"Battalion 3-16, a clandestine military death squad originally trained and equipped by the CIA, is synonymous with torture, murder and disappearance in Honduras."
Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners, some tortured to death. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, in August two prisoners were even boiled to death.
Last year Washington gave Uzbekistan $500m (£300m) in aid. The police and intelligence services - which the state department's website says use "torture as a routine investigation technique" received $79m of this sum.
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Last modified: Wed Jun 9 15:07:42 CDT 2004