Documents Obtained By ACLU Provide Further Evidence That Abuse Of Iraqi Prisoners Was Systemic

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American Civil Liberties Union


Military Investigations Stymied By Missing Documents, Flawed Records And Failure Of Witness Recollection, Records Show


CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union released Department of Defense documents today that provide further evidence that prisoner abuse in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq was systemic. The documents, obtained as part of an ongoing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, also show that Army investigations of abuse in Iraq were compromised by missing records, flawed interviews and problems with witness recollection.

“The Bush administration created a climate in which abuse was tolerated even when it wasn’t expressly endorsed,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “With a new administration entering the White House, we should remember that the tone set by senior military and intelligence officials has very real implications for what takes place in U.S. detention facilities overseas. The new administration should make clear from the outset that it won’t turn a blind eye to torture and abuse.”

The documents released today relate to eight investigations of detainee abuse that occurred in 2003 and 2004. Charges of abuse described in the documents include food and sleep deprivation, the misuse of Tasers, sexual threats, urinating on detainees and the use of various stress positions and dogs to intimidate detainees.

In one file, a soldier who was stationed at Camp Cropper in Iraq states that “soldiers would hog-tie detainees out of their own frustration, because detainees would continuously ask them for water or in some form not be compliant.” In another file, a prisoner who was held at a facility called “Kilometer 22” charges that he was punched repeatedly and hit in the face with a sandal by an Egyptian interpreter when he could not give American interrogators the answers that they wanted.

“These documents provide more evidence that abuse of prisoners was systemic in Iraq, and not limited to any particular detention center or military unit,” said Jaffer. “There was a culture of impunity.”

In addition to revealing systemic abuse, the documents describe investigations stymied by military units that were unable or unwilling to cooperate. Six of the eight investigations were compromised by an inability to locate critical records; three investigations include documents in which military personnel state that their facilities were so disorganized that it would be impossible to produce records on detainees; and three investigations were hampered because interviewees claimed that they did not recognize the names of the relevant detention facilities or the name of the capturing unit. It is clear, however, that at least some of the facilities and capturing units did exist because their names appear in other Defense Department documents that have been obtained by the ACLU over the last four years.

In October 2003, the ACLU – along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights, Veterans for Common Sense and Veterans for Peace – filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for records concerning the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. To date, more than 100,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the ACLU’s FOIA lawsuit.

Attorneys in the FOIA case are Lawrence S. Lustberg and Melanca D. Clark of the New Jersey-based law firm Gibbons, P.C.; Jaffer, Amrit Singh and Judy Rabinovitz of the ACLU; Arthur Eisenberg and Beth Haroules of the New York Civil Liberties Union; and Shayana Kadidal and Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Today’s documents are available at:

All of the documents received in the ACLU’s FOIA litigation are online at:

In addition, many of the FOIA documents are also compiled and analyzed in a book by Jaffer and Singh, “Administration of Torture.” More information is available online at:

Documents Reveal U.S. Knowingly Transfers Detainees To Countries That Torture

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American Civil Liberties Union


Controversial “Diplomatic Assurances” Revealed For The First Time In Records Obtained By ACLU And Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic


CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic released documents today revealing for the first time details of the U.S. government’s process for transferring individuals to countries where they face a significant risk of being tortured. The documents, which were uncovered as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the two organizations, shed new light on the fundamentally flawed practice of “diplomatic assurances” or secret promises obtained from foreign governments that they will not torture the returned individuals.

“The United States’ practice of relying on deeply flawed diplomatic assurances makes a mockery of our obligations under the Convention Against Torture,” said Judy Rabinovitz, Deputy Director of the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Now that President-elect Obama has pledged to end torture, it is a perfect time to put a stop to policies that permit the transfer of individuals facing torture in foreign countries. Our government should stop trusting such inherently unreliable assurances and immediately disclose all remaining records relating to this practice.”

The documents released today include copies of actual diplomatic assurances – the first ever to be made public. The U.S. government has repeatedly insisted that the assurances must remain secret.

Also included among the documents are memos between high-level State Department officials and Indian diplomats pertaining to the extradition of Kulbir Singh Barapind, a Sikh separatist who was alleged to have committed crimes prior to his arrival in the U.S. in 1993. These memos shed light on the inherent unreliability of such unenforceable promises. For example, one memo written by Deputy Secretary of State John Bellinger states, “There is no doubt that torture generally remains a problem for Indian law enforcement.” Yet the U.S. government extradited Barapind in 2006 based on diplomatic assurances from the Indian government that he would not be tortured upon his return.

According to another memo, the U.S. government conceded that it is “keenly aware of the culture of torture and extrajudicial punishment in Indian jails” and admitted that it was “unable authoritatively to confirm” whether another extradited couple was tortured. In fact, the couple signed affidavits claiming they were indeed tortured.

The State Department also turned over documents relating to the extradition of Mexican national Ramiro Cornejo-Barreto and Romanian national Petru Mironescu.

“These documents provide the first meaningful glimpse into the diplomatic assurances process – and what they reveal is not a pretty picture,” said Peter Rosenblum, Director of Columbia’s Human Rights Clinic. “The American public deserves to know the full truth about this troubling practice. Unfortunately, since so much information is still being withheld, a complete accounting of the diplomatic assurances process remains elusive.”

The Convention Against Torture, ratified by the U.S. in 1994, prohibits the U.S. from transferring a person “to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.” That prohibition has also been implemented in domestic law. But the U.S. has sought to avoid its treaty obligations by transferring individuals to countries – including those known to employ torture – that provide assurances that they will not torture such individuals.

The United States has obtained such assurances from other countries known to employ torture, including Syria and Egypt. While the full extent of reliance on assurances is unknown, the U.S. has acknowledged that it relies on these promises for all transfers from Guantánamo.

Earlier this year, in the first decision of its kind, a federal court sided with the ACLU and ordered the government to stop the deportation of Sameh Khouzam based on secret and unreliable promises from the Egyptian government that he would not be tortured upon extradition. The judge in the case noted that deporting Khouzam based on diplomatic assurances without court review would render the procedures established for seeking protection under the Convention Against Torture “a farce.” He added, “Not even the President of the United States has the authority to sacrifice…the right to be free from torture.”

The FOIA request that produced today’s documents seeks records related to the transfer of individuals in a number of different contexts, including immigration removal, extradition, transfer from Guantánamo Bay, and all other transfers from United States custody. The request was filed with the CIA and the Departments of State, Defense, Justice and Homeland Security.

The documents obtained by the ACLU and Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic are available online at:

The FOIA request is available online at:

The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same by Ralph Nader

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
Nov 20, 2008

While the liberal intelligentsia was swooning over Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, I counseled “prepare to be disappointed.” His record as a Illinois state and U.S. Senator, together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action he opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but obvious.

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Huge Protest in Baghdad Over U.S. Iraq Security Agreement

Dandelion Salad

November 21, 2008 BBC World
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Unofficial Translation of U.S.-Iraq Troop Agreement from the Arabic Text + Bitter battles ahead?

A Turkey By Any Other Description – Is Still the Governor of Alaska by Walter Brasch + video

by Walter Brasch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Nov. 21, 2008

President Bush, as has every president since his father began the practice in 1989, annually pardons a Thanksgiving turkey.

Amid hundreds of spectators, most of them members of the media, the president makes a few cute comments, issues a pardon for the turkey and a “runner-up” (in case the Main Bird can’t fulfill all the duties), and then sends the turkeys off to a petting zoo or ranch, where they live about a year. Why they live only a year is because domestic turkeys are bred to become so pleasingly plump so quickly that disease takes over their bodies if not slaughtered. A domestic turkey has a 26 week life span; wild turkeys, if not killed by natural predators, have a 12 year life span. Continue reading

You’re Scaring Me, Obama: Let the Bush Years Die By Heather Wokusch

By Heather Wokusch
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Heather Wokusch
Nov 21, 2008

To be honest, Obama, you lost me when you voted for the PATRIOT Act reauthorization in 2006. You lost me again when you voted for the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendment in 2008. And you lost me every single time you voted for yet more war funding.

Don’t even get me started on your vote for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

I cast a ballot for you in November, but I just can’t share in this moment of collective euphoria over your election.

So, if your transition team really wants feedback on “where President-Elect Obama should lead this country,” here’s a Top Five list:

1. Dump the Bush Doctrine and don’t start more wars

You’ve made it clear that the US has to “take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights” and you’ve argued for “more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11.”

What exactly does that mean?

Take troops out of Iraq and shove them into Afghanistan? Further destabilize Pakistan?

The whole idea of preemptive war (a.k.a. the Bush Doctrine) has no place in a civilized society and must be laid to rest, along with those sacrificed in Bush’s military adventurism these past eight years

Yet your approach to preemptive war, Mr. Obama, is nuanced at best.

During the January 2008 Democratic presidential debate, you said that if the US had “actionable intelligence” and Pakistan didn’t “take on Al Qaida in their territory,” then “I would strike.” You added, “And that’s the flaw of the Bush doctrine. It wasn’t that he went after those who attacked America. It was that he went after those who didn’t.”

No, the flaw of the Bush Doctrine is that it’s just plain wrong. We’ve learned that the hard way.

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Mosaic News – 11/20/08: World News from the Middle East

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This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.


Mosaic needs your help! Donate here:

“Turkey Concerned Over Untimely US Pullout from Iraq,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Iraqi Government Forms Anti-Corruption Committee,” Al-Iraqiya TV, Iraq
“Iraqi Refugees Stranded in Indonesia,” Al Sharqiya TV, Iraq
“Israeli Blockade Creates Food Shortages in Gaza,” Dubai TV, UAE
“Stopping a War in Ein el Hilweh,” NBN TV, Lebanon
“Jordan Seeks Release of its Prisoners from Jordanian Jails,” Al Arabiya TV, UAE
“Global Markets Nervous After Another Wall Street Collapse,” Russia Today, Russia
Produced for Link TV by Jamal Dajani.

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Stacks of dead presidents or flesh and blood companions?

Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Nov 21, 2008

Jason Miller interviewed by Robert Turnbull

Robert Turnbull: I guess I’ll start with a rather mundane question. How are you?

Jason Miller: I just looked at some horrific photos of extremely sick and emaciated people who suffer from a drug-resistant strain of TB and AIDS, so I’m feeling blessed because I’m relatively healthy and able to employ my personal strengths to carry out my purpose on Earth.

RT: What is that you consider your purpose on Earth to be? Continue reading

Centrism, Paris And The Futility Of Barack Obama by Gaither Stewart

Gaither Stewart
by Gaither Stewart
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Nov 21, 2008


Some cities are open to surrounding plains or the open seas and the eternal firmament overhead. Port cities and plains cities in fact place no limits. Such cities are to be seen, possessed and participated in. They don’t need to hold onto secrets. Other cities are self-sufficient, turned in on themselves and have no need for the outside world. The latter cities hold the most intimate of secrets, shared only between the city and its own. In such great but closed cities like Prague or Paris which curb encroachments from the rest of the world you probably feel a justified longing for space. Continue reading

Prospect of Israeli strike in Iran more likely, intelligence sources told the Times

compiled by Cem Ertür
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

21 November 2008

excerpts from ‘Bush and Olmert to meet over Iran’s nuclear ambitions

by Tom Baldwin, Times, 21 November 2008

President Bush is to hold White House talks with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday after publication of a nuclear watchdog’s report this week showing that Iran may have stockpiled enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Agency believes that Iran has amassed 630kg of low enriched uranium, up from 480kg in late August.


Intelligence sources have told The Times that the prospect of Israel taking preemptive military action to knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities appears to have become significantly more likely in recent weeks. Such an operation would require at least tacit US cooperation because it would almost certainly involve Israeli warplanes flying through US-controlled airspace in Iraq.


* related link:

Military analysts: Iran ‘has enough material for atomic bomb’

by Hannah Strange, Times, 20 November 2008


Iranian General: Don’t be a launch pad for war

Turkey’s PM Erdogan: Those who warn Iran should not possess nuclear weapons in the first place

Israeli Air Force Major General: All Options Are on the Table

The Evilness of Power (must-see; 2008)

[note: replaced video Dec. 30, 2009]


This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war/violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

October 18, 2009

zeitgeistgreece on Sep 8, 2009

Part 1 Continue reading