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General Topic Areas

Rendition (35)
legalProceedings (41)
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Qala-i-Janghi massacre (20)

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Unnamed prisoners (42)
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Torture, rendition, and other abuses against captives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere

 
  

Project: Prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

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Late October 2003

       The CIA complies with the Office of Legal Counsel's (OLC) opinion that Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul should be returned to Iraq (see October 2003). But CIA Director George Tenet asks Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to see that Rashul is hidden from Red Cross survey teams and that he not be given a registration number. The secretary of defense complies with the request. On June 16, 2004, [Christian Science Monitor, 6/17/2004] Rumsfeld will admit that he ordered Rashul to be hidden from the Red Cross in order to prevent the detainee's interrogation from being interrupted. [CBS News, 6/18/2004] For the next seven months, Rashul remains a so-called “ghost detainee” at the High Value Detention facility near the Baghdad airport at Camp Cropper. [US News and World Report, 6/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Hiwa Abdul Rahman Rashul, Muhammed Al-Zery
          

November 2003

       Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, at the request of George J. Tenet, orders military officials in Iraq to keep a high-value detainee being held at Camp Cropper off the records. The order is passed down to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then to Gen. John P. Abizaid, the commander of American forces in the Middle East, and finally to Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the ground commander in Iraq. “At each stage, lawyers reviewed the request and their bosses approved it,” the New York Times will report. “This prisoner and other ‘ghost detainees’ were hidden largely to prevent the International Committee of the Red Cross from monitoring their treatment, and to avoid disclosing their location to an enemy,” the newspaper will report, citing top officials. The prisoner—in custody since July 2003—is suspected of being a senior officer of Ansar al-Islam, an Islamic group with ties to al-Qaeda. Shortly after being captured by US forces, he was deemed an “enemy combatant” and thus denied protection under the Geneva conventions. Up until this point, the prisoner has only been interrogated once. As a result of being kept off the books, the prison system looses track of the detainee who will spend the next seven months in custody. “Once he was placed in military custody, people lost track of him,” a senior intelligence official will tell the New York Times. “The normal review processes that would keep track of him didn't.” [Fox News, 6/17/2004; Reuters, 6/17/2004; New York Times, 6/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ricardo S. Sanchez, Richard B. Myers, John P. Abizaid, George Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld
          

December 12, 2003

       Col. Stuart A. Herrington, the head of an investigative commission charged with providing recommendations for improving intelligence and detention operations (see Fall 2003), issues a confidential 13-page report in which he documents several instances of abuse in Iraqi detention facilities. Herrington advises Gen. Barbara Fast that intelligence capabilities need to be significantly improved. Given that many detainees have been rounded up in Iraq, he concludes it is “disappointing that the opportunity to thoroughly and professionally exploit this source pool has not been maximized, in spite of your best efforts and those of several hundred MI [military intelligence] soldiers. Even one year ago, we would have salivated at the prospect of being able to talk to people like the hundreds who are now in our custody. Now that we have them, we have failed to devote the planning and resources to optimize this mission.” In addition, Herrington notices the practice of abusing prisoners. He specifically mentions Joint Task Force (JTF) 121. Some of its practices during arrest and detention, he writes, could “technically” be termed illegal. JTF-121 members are found to be abusing detainees throughout Iraq and to be using a secret interrogation facility. Captives delivered at Abu Ghraib have clearly been beaten. “Detainees captured by TF-121 have shown injuries that caused examining medical personnel to note that ‘detainee shows signs of having been beaten’.” Herrington concludes: “It seems clear that TF-121 needs to be reined in with respect to its treatment of detainees.” Sweeping roundups of Iraqis and their mistreatment will be “counterproductive ... to win the cooperation of the Iraqi citizenry.” The report also mentions the practice of “Other Government Agencies,” referring to the CIA, creating so-called “ghost detainees” by not formally registering them when they are taken into custody. [Washington Post, 12/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Stuart A. Herrington, Barbara G. Fast
          

Late 2003

       At Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, MPs hide prisoners from a Red Cross delegation by shifting them around the complex. These prisoners, or “ghost detainees,” are a group of detainees that have been imprisoned without names, charges, or other documentation. According to Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba's February 26 report (see February 26, 2004), a number of jails operated by the 800th Military Police Brigade “routinely held” such prisoners “without accounting for them, knowing their identities, or even the reason for their detention.” Taguba will note that the practice is a “violation of international law.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/5/2004; Washington Post, 5/8/2004; Washington Post, 5/11/2004 Sources: Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade]
People and organizations involved: Antonio M. Taguba  Additional Info 
          

June 23, 2004

       The Guardian of London, during the course of an in-depth investigation of the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, learns that while some of the base's prisoners are being transferred to Guantanamo, others are being purposely kept off the books, a practice that a human rights organization has coined, “RPing,” or “Rumsfeld Processing.” These detainees are sometimes rendered to the intelligence services of Egypt or other foreign governments for interrogation. [The Guardian, 6/23/2004]
          


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