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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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(October 2001-2004)

       According to several press reports, the CIA has set up a secret detention and interrogation center (see (October 2001-2004)) at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where US intelligence officers are using aggressive techniques on detainees. The captives—imprisoned in metal shipping containers—are reportedly subjected to a variety of “stress and duress” interrogation tactics. [Washington Post, 12/26/2002; The New York Times, 3/9/2003 Sources: Unnamed former intelligence sources and current US national security officials, several of whom have witnessed the actual handling of prisoners] Detainees are often forced to stand or kneel for hours, wear black hoods or spray-painted goggles for long periods of time, and stand or sit in awkward and painful positions. They are also reportedly thrown into walls, kicked, punched, deprived of sleep, and subjected to flashing lights and loud noises. [Washington Post, 12/26/2002; The New York Times, 3/9/2003; Amnesty International, 8/19/2003 Sources: Unnamed former intelligence sources and current US national security officials, several of whom have witnessed the actual handling of prisoners] Some detainees tell of being “chained to the ceiling, their feet shackled, [and being] unable to move for hours at a time, day and night.” [New York Times, 3/4/03; New York Times, 9/17/2004] Psychological interrogation methods such as “feigned friendship, respect, [and] cultural sensitivity” are reported to be in use as well. For instance, female officers are said to sometimes conduct the interrogations, a technique described as being “a psychologically jarring experience for men reared in a conservative Muslim culture where women are never in control.” [Washington Post, 12/26/2002 Sources: Unnamed former intelligence sources and current US national security officials, several of whom have witnessed the actual handling of prisoners] Human rights monitors are not permitted to visit the facility. [Washington Post, 12/26/2002; Agence France Presse, 12/29/2002] The US claims that the interrogation techniques used at Bagram do not violate international laws. “Our interrogation techniques are adapted,” Gen. Daniel McNeil claims in early March 2003. “They are in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques, and if incidental to the due course of this investigation, we find things that need to be changed, we will certainly change them.” [The Guardian, 3/7/2003]
People and organizations involved: Daniel McNeil
          

October 5, 2001-April 2002

       An Australian named Mamdouh Habib is arrested in Pakistan by Pakistani authorities. Over the next three weeks he is interrogated by three Americans. He is then taken to an airfield, where American individuals beat him up, cut off his clothes and “posed while another took pictures” with a foot on his neck. He is first taken to Bagram and from there [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004] flown to Egypt, where he spends the next six months in a six by eight foot cell, forced to sleep on the concrete floor with one blanket. [Washington Post, 1/6/2005] According to Habib, the Australian high commission in Pakistan authorizes his transfer to Egypt. [Amnesty International, 9/2004] During his stay in Egypt, Habib is repeatedly tortured, he alleges. [Washington Post, 1/6/2005] According to his Australian lawyer, Stephen Hopper, in Egypt, Habib is blindfolded for months on end and in addition “beaten up, electrocuted, injected with unknown drugs, tortured” and has dogs set upon him. [Amnesty International, 9/2004] During interrogations, he is repeatedly kicked, punched, and beaten with a stick, rammed with an electric cattle prod, and deprived of sleep by drenching him with cold water, according to a petition he will later file with a US District Court. Sometimes he is “suspended from hooks on the wall” with his feet on the side of a large metal rotating drum. When Habib fails to provide his interrogators with the answers they want, they throw a switch and “a jolt of electricity” goes through the drum, forcing Habib to “dance,” making the drum rotate. Thus, “his feet constantly [slip], leaving him suspended by only the hooks on the wall.” Another technique used on Habib is to place him in ankle-deep water “wired to an electric current.” According to the petition, his interrogators tell him that unless he confesses, they will “throw the switch and electrocute him.” Habib submits and, he says, gives false confessions. [Washington Post, 1/6/2005]
People and organizations involved: Jamal Udeen
          

December 2001-January 2002

       Tarek Dergoul and two Pakistani friends, who arrived in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 (see Shortly After September 11, 2001) to purchase houses, stay in the Afghan town of Jalalabad. That night, the house where they are sleeping is bombed, and Dergoul's friends are killed in the blast. Dergoul goes outside when another bomb explodes nearby, wounding him with shrapnel. He then lies among the ruins, unable to walk, for at least a week. His left arm, hit with shrapnel, is severely damaged and a large part will later be amputated. At night the cold is so severe that his toes turn black from frostbite. Eventually, troops loyal to the Northern Alliance find him, treat him well and take him to a hospital where he undegoes three operations. But after five weeks, someone decides to make a profit on him. Dergoul is taken to an airfield, where a US helicopter arrives to pick him up. His captors are paid the standard fee of $5,000, according to Dergoul. From there, he is flown to the US air base at Bagram. [The Observer, 5/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mohamed al-Khatani
          

January 2002

       As soon as Tarek Dergoul arrives at Bagram, he is subjected to treatment that he later describes as sexually humiliating. “When I arrived, with a bag over my head, I was stripped naked and taken to a big room with 15 or 20 MP's. They started taking photos and then they did a full cavity search. As they were doing that they were taking close-ups, concentrating on my private parts.” Dergoul sees other prisoners enduring beatings, which he is spared. “Guards with guns and baseball bats would make the detainees squat for hours, and if they fell over from exhaustion, they'd beat them until they lost consciousness. They called it ‘beat down.’ ” Dergoul is interrogated 20 to 25 times at Bagram. Once, a team from the British intelligence agency MI5 is present, at which occasion he is told his family's assets will be seized. His interrogators accuse him of fighting with al-Qaeda in the Tora Bora mountains. Although he says none of that is true, Dergoul finally breaks. “I was in extreme pain from the frostbite and other injuries and I was so weak I could barely stand. It was freezing cold and I was shaking and shivering like a washing machine. The interrogators, who questioned me at gunpoint, said if I confessed I'd be going home. Finally I agreed I'd been at Tora Bora—though I still wouldn't admit I'd ever met bin Laden.” [The Guardian, 3/13/2004; The Observer, 5/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Tarek Dergoul
          

End of 2002

       Wazir Muhammad, a 31-year-old farmer turned taxi driver from Khost province in Afghanistan, is detained and taken to Bagram. At the time of his arrest, he was working and had four passengers with him in his taxi. During his time at Bagram, he is interrogated, prohibited from talking to other prisoners, and deprived of sleep through the use of loudspeakers. He is later sent to Kandahar and eventually to Guantanamo (see Beginning of 2004). [The Guardian, 6/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: Wazir Muhammad
          

February 2002

       Tarek Dergoul is transferred from Bagram to the US detention camp at Kandahar. He is still suffering from frostbite (see January 2002). For weeks he is not given medical treatment and the infection spreads, turning a big toe gangrenous. There at Kandahar he undergoes a further amputation. During the ensuing three months, Dergoul is only allowed two showers. [The Observer, 5/16/2004] He will eventually be released in May 2004, never charged and never convicted.
People and organizations involved: Tarek Dergoul
          

March 15, 2002

       Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi, a Jordanian national, is detained at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan for a period of 40 days. During this time, he is threatened with dogs, stripped naked, and photographed “in shameful and obscene positions.” In an affidavit, he alleges he is hung for two days from a hook inside a cage, while blindfolded. Occasionally he is given “breaks” of an hour. [The Guardian, 2/18/2005]
People and organizations involved: Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi
          

March 28, 2002

       In Faisalabad, Pakistan, a joint team of US and Pakistani Special Forces engage in a firefight with Abu Zubaida, a Palestinian believed to be an al-Qaeda logistics expert. Zubaida is shot, captured, briefly interrogated, and then handed over to US officials. He is then taken to Bagram base in Afghanistan. What happens after that is uncertain, but it is believed that he is flown to Jordan. More high-value prisoners like Zubaida are being held in prisons in Amman and in desert locations in the eastern part of Jordan. [The Observer, 6/13/2004] At all times, Zubaida remains under control of the CIA. The FBI, which until now has competed with the CIA over the lead role in interrogations of terrorist suspects, decides not to have a part in Zubaida's interrogation. A senior FBI counterterrorism official later says, “Once the CIA was given the green light ... they had the lead role.” [Washington Post, 6/27/2004] National Security Adviser for combating terrorism Army Gen. Wayne Downing is apparently intimately involved in the questioning of Zubaida. “The interrogations of Abu Zubaida drove me nuts at times,” he recalls. “He and some of the others are very clever guys. At times I felt we were in a classic counter-interrogation class: They were telling us what they think we already knew. Then, what they thought we wanted to know. As they did that, they fabricated and weaved in threads that went nowhere. But, even with these ploys, we still get valuable information and they are off the street, unable to plot and coordinate future attacks.” Since Zubaida is shot in the groin during his arrest in Pakistan, he requires painkillers. US officials will later suggest to the Washington Post that his painkillers “were used selectively.” One official explains, “in a deadpan voice,” that “pain control [in wounded patients] is a very subjective thing.” [Washington Post, 12/26/2002] As a result, he reportedly shares information leading to the arrest of other al-Qaeda members, [Washington Post, 12/26/2002] including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Jose Padilla, [New York Times, 6/27/2004] Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Rahim al-Nashiri, Omar al-Faruq and Muhammad al-Darbi. [Washington Post, 6/27/2004] Downing, who resigns in June 2002, affirms, “We know so much more about them now than we did a year ago: the personalities, how the networks are established, what they think are important targets, how they think we will react.” [Washington Post, 12/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Abu Zubaida, Muhammad al-Darbi, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Jose Padilla, Wayne Downing, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Omar al-Faruq, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh
          

April-May 2002

       After six months in an Egyptian prison (see October 5, 2001-April 2002), Mamdouh Habib is flown to the Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Habib will arrive at Guantanamo the following month. [Washington Post, 1/6/2005] After his arrival there, according to the Tipton Three, he bleeds from his nose, ears, and mouth when asleep. He receives no medical attention. They describe him as being “in catastrophic shape, mental, and physical.” At some time during his stay at Guantanamo, Habib is put in isolation at Camp Echo, where prisoners are deprived of natural light 24 hours a day. [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Shafiq Rasul
          

April-May 2002

       28-year-old Afghan taxi driver Sayed Abassin is on his way from Kabul to Khost, when he is stopped at a checkpoint at Gardez. One of his passengers is identified as a wanted suspect, and all the occupants in the vehicle, Abassin included, are arrested. At the Gardez police station Abassin is beaten before being turned over to the US military. After a brief interrogation, he is flown by helicopter to the Bagram base. When his father makes inquiries, he is only told that his son has been taken to Bagram. For the first week he is held in shackles and kept in a cell with 24-hour lighting, with the guards waking him up whenever he would fall asleep. He does not get enough to eat and is forced to stand or kneel for four hours a day. A year later he will say he still has problems with his knees. He is interrogated six or seven times. In total, he spends 40 days at Bagram. [Associated Press, 3/15/2003 cited in Amnesty International, 8/19/2003]
People and organizations involved: Sayed Abassin
          

End of May 2002

       US troops raid two houses near Gardez in the village of Kirmati. Five Afghan men are arrested: Mohammad Naim and his brother Sherbat; Ahmadullah and his brother Amanullah; and Khoja Mohammad. They are tied up, blindfolded, and taken to Bagram. “They threw us in a room, face down,” Mohammad Naim later recalls. After a while, they are separated and he is taken to another room and ordered to strip. “They made me take off my clothes, so that I was naked. ... A man came, and he had some plastic bag, and he ran his hands through my hair, shaking my hair. And then he pulled out some of my hair, some hair from my beard, and he put it in a bag.” Human Rights Watch later says it believes this was done to build a DNA-database. Mohammad Naim experiences his treatment as humiliating, especially being photographed naked. “The most awful thing about the whole experience was how they were taking our pictures, and we were completely naked. Completely naked. It was completely humiliating.” Sixteen days later, the five men are released. According to Sherbat, an American apologizes to them and promises they will be receive compensation. “But we never did,” he says a year later. An interpreter gives them the equivalent of 70 US cents to buy tea. When they return, they find their homes looted and most of their valuable possessions gone. On March 10, 2003, almost a year after his release, Ahmadullah says he suffers from continuing anxiety as a result of his experience. “When we were there [at Bagram], I was so afraid they were going to kill me. Even now, having come back, I worry they will come and kill me. ... I have to take medication now just to sleep.” [Human Rights Watch, 2004]
People and organizations involved: Ahmadullah, Khoja Mohammad, Human Rights Watch, Mohammad Naim, Sherbat Naim, Amadullah
          

June 2002

       Omar al-Faruq, a top al-Qaeda senior operative in Southeast Asia, is captured by Indonesian agents after receiving a tip from the CIA. He is flown to the CIA interrogation center at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where is subjected to months of intense interrogations . “It is likely, experts say, that ... Mr. Faruq [was] left naked most of the time, his hands and feet bound. [He] may also have been hooked up to sensors, then asked questions to which interrogators knew the answers, so they could gauge his truthfulness,” the New York Times will later report. One Western intelligence official will tell the newspaper that Mr. Faruq's interrogation was “not quite torture, but about as close as you can get.” For three months he is provided with very little food, subjected to sleep and light deprivation, prolonged isolation and temperatures ranging from 100 degrees to 10 degrees. After being softened up, Faruq provides information about “plans to drive explosives-laden trucks into American diplomatic centers [and] detailed information about people involved in those operations and other plots, writing out lengthy descriptions.” [The New York Times, 3/9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Omar al-Faruq
          

June 4, 2002-early August 2002

       Palestinian Hussein Abdelkadr Youssouf Mustafa, arrested 10 days earlier (see May 25, 2002), is flown from the Pakistani Khaibar prison to Bagram together with 34 other Arab prisoners. They are stripped naked and subjected to stress positions, sleep deprivation, beatings, and humiliation. “They made me stand on one leg in the sun,” he later recalls. “They wouldn't let me sleep for more than two hours. We had only a barrel for a toilet and had to use it in front of everyone.” [The Independent, 1/8/2005] He hears other detainees screaming, who he believes are being beaten. [Mother Jones, 3/2005] The same happens to him. “I was beaten severely,” he claims. He is also doused with cold water and subjected to cold air. “[W]ater was thrown on me before facing an air conditioner,” he will say. [The Independent, 1/8/2005] On one occasion, he later recounts to British journalist Robert Fisk, “an American soldier took me blindfolded. My hands were tightly cuffed, with my ears plugged so I could not hear properly, and my mouth covered so I could only make a muffled scream. Two soldiers, one on each side, forced me to bend down, and a third pressed my face down over a table. A fourth soldier then pulled down my trousers. They rammed a stick up my rectum.” [Mother Jones, 3/2005] Nevertheless, he says, “My torture was even less than what they did to others.” [The Independent, 1/8/2005]
People and organizations involved: Hussein Abdelkadr Youssouf Mustafa
          

August 22, 2002

       In Asadabad, Afghanistan, US troops arrest Haji Rohullah Wakil, a local leader, together with 11 of his associates. They are flown by helicopter to Bagram air base. [New York Times, 8/28/2002] One of Wakil's associates, Abdul Qayyum, will later tell the Associated Press of his experience at Bagram. Qayyum stays at the base for two months and five days, during which time he says he is systematically deprived of sleep, forced to stand for long periods of time and humiliated by female US soldiers. All the time, he is forbidden to talk to his fellow detainees. He is held in a large hall with about 100 other prisoners divided by wire mesh into several cages or cells, each containing 10 people. The lights are always on, washing is allowed for only five minutes a week, and a bucket is provided for use as a toilet. When a military spokesperson is later asked to comment on Rahman's account, the spokesperson says it sounds only partially true (see January 22, 2002). [Associated Press, 3/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: Haji Rohullah Wakil, Abdul Qayyum
          

December 2002

       US troops arrest Saif-ur Rahman in the northeastern province of Kunar, Afghanistan, and fly him out by helicopter to Jalalabad. There, according to an account Rahman later provides to Associated Press, he is stripped and doused with ice-cold water. Two US interrogators question him with two dogs. After 24 hours, Rahman is sent to Bagram, where he is deprived of sleep, forced to stand for a long period of time, humiliated by female soldiers who scream abuses at him, and forced to lie on the floor with his arms and legs spread wide and a chair placed on his hands and feet. For 20 days he remains handcuffed. At some point, interrogators threaten to send him to Guantanamo. “One of them brought me 50 small stones and said ‘count these stones.’ When I finished he said, ‘We will send you there for 50 years.’ ” When a military spokesperson is later asked to comment on Rahman's account, the spokesperson says it sounds only partially true (see January 22, 2002). [Associated Press, 3/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: Saif-ur Rahman  Additional Info 
          

December 2002

       Parkhudin, a 26-year-old Afghan farmer and former soldier, is detained by US troops and held at Bagram Air Base for ten days. “They were punching me and kicking me when I talked to the other prisoners,” Parkhudin will later tell the New York Times. [New York Times, 5/24/2004] For eight days, he is held in isolation with his hands chained to the ceiling. “They were putting a mask over our heads, they were beating us in Bagram.” At one point, Parkhudin says, a soldier jumps on his back while he is laying on his stomach. [New York Times, 9/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Parkhudin
          

(December 2002 or January 2003)

       Bisher Al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna are detained incommunicado in Banjul, Gambia, for roughly two months. From there they are transferred to Bagram in secret. [Amnesty International, 8/19/2003] Bisher al-Rawi will later say that in Bagram, he was subjected to sleep deprivation and intimidation. [The Independent, 1/16/2005] The fact that they are taken to Bagram first, and only later to Guantanamo, fuels suspicions that they are tortured in Afghanistan. [The Guardian, 7/11/2003] At no time during their detention, are they permitted to see a lawyer, despite the fact that a habeas corpus petition has been filed on their behalf and is pending before British courts. By February or March, Rawi and Banna are in Guantanamo. [Amnesty International, AI Index AMR 51/114/2003, 8/19/2003 Sources: Petition for writ of habeas corpus for Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Martin Mubanga, 7/8/2004] In Guantanamo, Al-Banna will tell Asif Iqbal that Bagram was “rough” and “that he had been forced to walk around naked, coming and going from the showers, having to parade past American soldiers or guards including women who would laugh at everyone who was put in the same position.” [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Bisher al-Rawi, Asif Iqbal, Jamil al-Banna
          

December 1, 2002

       Zakhim Shah from the Afghan province of Khost, is captured by US forces. Shah is taken to Bagram Air Base where he is held for several weeks, including ten days in isolation. [New York Times, 6/21/2004] He and other prisoners, including Abdul Jabar, a 35-year-old taxi driver, are kept upstairs for two weeks naked, hooded, shackled, and with their hands chained to the ceiling day and night, according to the New York Times. Their only respite is when they are allowed to eat, pray, go to the bathroom, and for daily interrogation. They are kept awake by guards who shout or kick them to prevent them from sleeping. At one point, his exhaustion causes him to vomit. [New York Times, 9/17/2004; The Guardian, 6/23/2004; New York Times, 5/24/2004] “The Americans tied our hands very tight, spit in our faces and threw stones at us,” he later recalls in an interview with the Times. He will be transferred to Guantanamo and eventually released on March 15, 2004. [New York Times, 6/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Abdul Jabar, Zakhim Shah
          

December 3, 2002

       Mullah Habibullah, a 30-year-old Afghan from the southern province of Oruzgan, dies of complications related to “blunt force trauma” while in detention at the US base at Bagram. [New York Times, 9/17/2004; Guardian, 3/7/03; Washington Post, 3/5/03; BBC, 3/6/03] When Habibullah, reportedly the brother of a former Taliban commander, arrived at the US air base, he was reportedly already severely hurt. Despite his condition, according to one account, he was isolated “in a ‘safety’ position [stress position], with his arms shackled and tied to a beam in the ceiling.” He was left in that position for days, but regularly checked on. [Knight-Ridder, 8/21/2004] At some point, Sgt. James P. Boland, a guard from the Army Reserve's 377th MP Company from Cincinnati, allegedly watched as a subordinate beat Habibullah. [New York Times, 9/17/2004] His legs were struck so forcefully, according to one death certificate, it complicated his coronary artery disease. Another certificate will say the beating led to a pulmonary embolism, which is a blockage of an artery in the lungs, often caused by a blood clot. [USA Today, 5/31/2004] The beating of Habibullah was likely witnessed by British detainee Moazzam Begg, who will later say he witnessed the death of “two fellow detainees at the hands of US military personnel” while at Bagram (see July 12, 2004). [New York Times, 10/15/2004; The Guardian, 10/1/2004] On December 3, Habibullah is found dead, still hanging in his shackles. [BBC, 3/6/03; Washington Post, 3/5/03; New York Times, 9/17/2004; Guardian, 3/7/03] In charge of the military intelligence interrogators at Bagram at this time is Capt. Carolyn A. Wood. According to an anonymous intelligence officer, Wood should be aware of what is happening to prisoners at Bagram since interrogations take place close to her office. The intelligence officer will recall hearing screams and moans coming out from the interrogation and isolation rooms. [Knight-Ridder, 8/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mullah Habibullah, Moazzam Begg, James P. Boland, Carolyn A. Wood
          

December 5, 2002

       Dilawar, a 22-year-old Afghan farmer and part-time taxi driver from the small village of Yakubi in eastern Afghanistan, is picked up by local authorities and turned over to US soldiers. The authorities had found a broken walkie-talkie and an electric stabilizer several hours after a missile attack on the American base at Khost. He is then sent to Bagram Air Base. Witnesses will later tell the New York Times that Dilawar appeared weak and unhealthy upon his arrival. Five days later, Dilawar will be found dead in his cell (see December 10, 2002). [New York Times, 3/4/03; New York Times, 9/17/2004; Guardian, 3/7/03; Independent 3/7/03 Sources: Unnamed witnesses who are later interviewed by the New York Times]
People and organizations involved: Dilawar
          

December 10, 2002

       Dilawar, the Afghan farmer who was detained by US troops on December 5 (see December 5, 2002), is found dead in his cell at Bagram. The pathologist who records his death, Maj. Elizabeth A. Rouse, writes on Dilawar's death certificate that he died from “blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease.” She marks “homicide” as the cause of death. Months later, New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall learns of and investigates Dilawar's death and confirms the death certificate's authenticity with the US military. She also interviews Dilawar's family and friends who describe the 22-year-old farmer as being young and inexperienced. “He had never spent a night away from his father and mother,” his brother says. Dilawar was married and the father of a 2-year-old girl. [Guardian, 3/7/03; Independent 3/7/03; New York Times, 9/17/2004; New York Times, 3/4/03; BBC, 3/6/03; Washington Post, 3/5/03] A military investigation will later find that after his arrival at the base, he was shackled by Sgt. James P. Boland, a guard from the Army Reserve's 377th MP Company from Cincinnati, with his hands above his shoulders, and was denied medical care. [New York Times, 9/17/2004] Dilawar was then beaten by guards and interrogators, some of whom stood with their full weight on top of him, concentrating on his groin. [Knight-Ridder, 8/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Dilawar, Carlotta Gall, James P. Boland, Elizabeth A. Rouse
          

December 26, 2002

       In a front-page article, the Washington Post reports on the US intelligence program of rendition (see 1993-2004) and reveals that US agents are using “stress and duress” techniques to interrogate captives detained in Afghanistan. Persons being held in the CIA interrogation center at Bagram Air Base who refuse to cooperate “are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, .... held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights' subject to what are known as ‘stress and duress’ techniques,” the report says. [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004; Washington Post, 12/26/2002] Each of the ten current national security officials who were interviewed for the article “defended the use of violence against captives as just and necessary.” [Washington Post, 12/26/2002] The report quotes one official who reasons: “If you don't violate someone's human rights some of the time, you probably aren't doing your job.... I don't think we want to be promoting a view of zero tolerance on this.” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004; Washington Post, 12/26/2002] Likewise, another official acknowledged that “our guys may kick them around a little bit in the adrenaline of the immediate aftermath.” A different source commented, with reference to the medical services provided for captives, that “pain control [in wounded patients] is a very subjective thing.” [Washington Post, 12/26/2002] Finally, in a very explicit remark, one of the officials interviewed by the Post, who is described as being directly involved in the rendition of captives, explained the program's logic: “We don't kick the [expletive] out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the [expletive] out of them.” [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004; Washington Post, 12/26/2002] After the report is published, Maj. Stephen Clutter, the deputy spokesman at Bagram, denies the allegations, claiming that the Washington Post article was “false on several points, the first being that there is no CIA detention facility on Bagram.” He says, “The accusation of inhumane treatment is something that I can clearly refute. The things that they talked about, the inhumane conditions ... are things that do not go on here.” [Agence France Presse, 12/29/2002] “There is a facility run by the US Army, however, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that persons under control of the US Army have been mistreated,” he explains. “A doctor examines them daily. They have access to medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have dental care. They sleep in a warm facility and have three meals a day that are prepared according to Islamic cultural and religious norms. When they arrive, they go through an interview process to determine whether they are enemy combatants or have information that can help us prevent terrorist attacks against Americans or attacks against US forces. During this interview process, they are treated as humanely as possible. We routinely allow visits, about once a week, from the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure their treatment is humane. If they are deemed to be enemy combatants or pose a danger, they become detainees. If they are not, they are ultimately released.” [Reuters, 12/28/2002]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Clutter
          

December 29, 2002

       A US military spokesman for Bagram, Maj. Steve Clutter, says allegations reported in the Washington Post (see December 26, 2002) are unfounded. He claims that the Washington Post article was “false on several points, the first being that there is no CIA detention facility on Bagram.” He says, “The accusation of inhumane treatment is something that I can clearly refute. The things that they talked about, the inhumane conditions ... are things that do not go on here.” [Agence France-Presse, 12/29/2002] “There is a facility run by the US Army, however, there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that persons under control of the US Army have been mistreated,” he explains. “A doctor examines them daily. They have access to medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They have dental care. They sleep in a warm facility and have three meals a day that are prepared according to Islamic cultural and religious norms. When they arrive, they go through an interview process to determine whether they are enemy combatants or have information that can help us prevent terrorist attacks against Americans or attacks against US forces. During this interview process, they are treated as humanely as possible. We routinely allow visits, about once a week, from the International Committee of the Red Cross to ensure their treatment is humane. If they are deemed to be enemy combatants or pose a danger, they become detainees. If they are not, they are ultimately released.” [Reuters, 12/28/2002]
People and organizations involved: Stephen Clutter
          

(Late 2002)-March 15, 2004

       Abdur Rahim, a baker from Khost City, Afghanistan, is arrested outside Khost, Afghanistan, and sent to the Bagram US air base. Abdur Rahim says he was hooded and chained to the ceiling for “seven or eight days,” after which his hands turned black. He was later forced to crouch and hold his hands out in front of him for long periods, which caused intense pain in his shoulders. When he tried to move, he says, “they were coming and hitting me and saying ‘Don't move!’” In December, he is transferred to Guantanamo Bay. “There were some soldiers that were very good with us,” he will later tell the New York Times. “But there was one soldier, he was a very bad guy. He was stopping the water for our commode. At nighttime, they would throw large rocks back and forth, which hit the metal walkway between the cells and made a loud noise. They did it to keep us awake. .... After I left Cuba, I had mental problems. I cannot talk to people for a long period of time. I work just to survive. But I'm not scared of anyone in this world. I'm just scared of God.” [New York Times, 9/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Abdur Rahim
          

Late 2002-February 2004

       Mohammed Ismail Agha, about 14, from the Afghan village of Durabin, is arrested and sent to the Bagram US air base. According to Agha, he was arrested while looking for construction work with a friend at an Afghan military camp in the town of Greshk. Afghan soldiers beat him and then turn him in to the US claiming he is a Taliban soldier. In Bagram, he is held in solitary confinement, interrogated, provided with minimal amounts of food, subjected to stress positions, and prevented from sleeping by guards who continually yell and kick his cell door. He is later sent to Guantanamo, where he is held with two other youths in quarters separate from the adult prisoners. He is finally set free in early 2004. During the first twelve months of his detention, his parents had no idea what had happened to him. Agha was their oldest child and was a major income-earner of the family. [Associated Press, 2/8/2004; Washington Post 2/12/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Ismail Agha
          

Beginning 2003

       Abdurahman Khadr, an al-Qaeda operative-turned-informant, witnesses at Bagram other prisoners being hung from a wall by their shackles for as long as four days. [Toronto Star, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Abdurahman Khadr
          

January 22, 2003

       Capt. Carolyn A. Wood receives a Bronze Star for “exceptional meritorious service” as the head of military intelligence interrogators at Bagram. She and her small platoon of 15 interrogators from the 519th Military Intelligence Battalion returned to their base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina earlier in the month. [Knight-Ridder, 8/21/2004]
People and organizations involved: Carolyn A. Wood
          

February 2003

       Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, the commander of US forces in Afghanistan (Commander of Joint Task Force 180), announces an investigation into the deaths of Bagram prisoners Dilawar (see December 10, 2002) and Mullah Habibullah (see December 3, 2002). Nevertheless, he claims both prisoners died of natural causes. Dilawar, according to McNeill had an advanced heart condition with his coronary arteries 85 percent blocked. “We haven't found anything that requires us to take extraordinary action,” McNeill says. “We are going to let this investigation run its course.” But military pathologists have already determined both deaths were caused by beatings. Dilawar's death certificate, signed by Maj. Elizabeth A. Rouse, a pathologist with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, stated that Dilawar's cause of death was “blunt-force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease.” [The Guardian, 6/23/2004] When McNeill is asked whether the dead prisoners suffered injuries during detention, he denies this. “Presently, I have no indication of that,” he says. Later, McNeill claims that the prisoners had already suffered injuries before arriving at Bagram. When asked about the use of chains, Lt. Gen. McNeill replies: “We are not chaining people to the ceilings. I think you asked me that question before.” [New York Times, 9/17/2004]
People and organizations involved: Daniel K. McNeill, Dilawar, Elizabeth A. Rouse
          

February 6, 2003

       After a year of detention at Bagram, which appears to be unusually long, [7/26/2004] Moazzam Begg is transferred to Guantanamo. [BBC News Online, 10/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Moazzam Begg
          

March 2003

       Lt. Gen. Daniel K. McNeill, US troop commander in Afghanistan, tells the New York Times that prisoners are forced to stand for long periods at Bagram, but denies that they have been chained to the ceilings. “Our interrogation techniques are adapted,” he says. “They are in accordance with what is generally accepted as interrogation techniques, and if incidental to the due course of this investigation [of Dilawar's death (see December 10, 2002)], we find things that need to be changed, we will certainly change them.” [New York Times, 3/4/2003]
People and organizations involved: Daniel K. McNeill, Dilawar
          

Spring 2003

       Abdurahman Khadr says he is forced at Bagram to lie on a cold concrete block for two days in the spring of 2003. He also experiences US soldiers stepping on his shackles, which cut through his skin “to the bone.” A female guard drags him up a flight of stairs, he recalls, after smiling at her. [Toronto Star, 8/19/2004]
People and organizations involved: Abdurahman Khadr
          

March 9, 2003

       A New York Times article reports that the US government is rendering suspects abroad (see 1993-2004) and that “stress and duress” techniques are being used at the secret CIA interrogation center located in a hangar at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan (see (October 2001-2004)). “Intelligence officials ... acknowledged that some suspects had been turned over to security services in countries known to employ torture. There have been isolated, if persistent, reports of beatings in some American-operated centers,” the report explains. [Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2004; The New York Times, 3/9/2003]
          

April 18, 2003

       The Pentagon rejects Amnesty International's request to visit the US military base at Bagram. The Defense Department declares that “access to detainees is provided to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and on a case-by-case basis to selected government officials.” In a letter, Marshall Billingslea, principal deputy to the assistant secretary of defense, writes that “in this war, as in every war, captured enemy combatants have no right to counsel or access to courts for the purpose of challenging their detention.” [Amnesty International, 8/19/2003]
People and organizations involved: Amnesty International
          

July 2003

       Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani citizen who studied and lived in the US until the mid-1980s, flies from Pakistan to Bangkok on Air Thai. He plans to attend a meeting with his US business partner, Charles Anteby, with whom he runs an import/export company. When the driver sent to pick up Paracha arrives at the airport, he is told Paracha has not left the plane. Paracha has disappeared. More than six weeks later, in August, Paracha's family will receive a letter from the International Red Cross (ICRC), informing them that he is being held at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. [Human Rights First, 6/2004]
People and organizations involved: Saifullah Paracha, International Committee of the Red Cross
          

March 2004

       Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni is flown to Bagram air base in Afghanistan and then taken to Guantanamo, where he provides the three Britons known as the Tipton Three with information on Moazzam Begg whom he encountered at Bagram. [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004] Asif Iqbal, another inmate at Guantanamo, says Madni told him that in Egypt “he had had electrodes put on his knees and something had happened to his bladder.” [Sources: Composite statement by Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed: Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, 7/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni
          

June 2004

       Lt. Gen. David Barno, head of US forces in Afghanistan, tells the Guardian newspaper of London that there are currently 400 detainees at the Bagram base in Afghanistan, none of whom have been charged. More than 2,000 people have been detained there since the war, he also says. [The Guardian, 6/23/2004]
People and organizations involved: David Barno
          

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]
          

September 2004

       Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani citizen who was arrested and sent to Bagram in July 2003 (see July 2003), is transferred to Guantanamo. [The Herald, 1/11/2005]
People and organizations involved: Saifullah Paracha
          

Early October 2004

       Lt. Col. Anthony Christino III, a 20-year military intelligence veteran who spent six months in 2003 working as “senior watch officer” with a Joint Intelligence Task Force, says that material he reviewed from Guantanamo indicated that the administration had “wildly exaggerated” the intelligence value of the Guantanamo detainees. The process of screening captives at Bagram for detention at Guantanamo was “hopelessly flawed from the get-go,” he says. The personnel that conducted the screening were “far too poorly trained to identify real terrorists from the ordinary Taliban militia.” Most of the Guantanamo detainees had no connection to al-Qaeda, Christino said, adding that Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller's system would have only produced false confessions. [The Observer, 10/3/2004] He also says it is doubtful that Guantanamo prisoners possessed any important intelligence concerning al-Qaeda. Anyone claiming to have such information probably fabricated it in response to the awards and punishment policy instituted by General Miller. Christino's account is supported by an FBI official whose job it is to track suspected terrorists. The official tells the Guardian, “I'm unaware of any important information in my field that's come from Gitmo. It's clearly not a significant source.” [The Guardian, 10/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Anthony Christino III, Geoffrey D. Miller
          

October 2004

       More than one-and-a-half years after the deaths of the Afghan detainees Mullah Habibullah (see December 3, 2002) and Dilawar (see December 10, 2002), the US Army Criminal Investigation Command completes its investigation of the two cases. It finds that 28 military personnel, including two captains, were involved in the incident. The perpetrators could be charged with involuntary manslaughter, assault, and conspiracy. A Pentagon official says five or six of the soldiers will likely be charged with the most serious offences. The investigation concludes that “multiple soldiers” beat Dilawar and Habibullah, using mostly their knees. It is likely, according to Pentagon officials, that the beatings were concentrated on the legs of the detainees, so that wounds would be less visible. Amnesty International severely criticizes the long duration of the investigation. “The failure to promptly account for the prisoners' deaths indicates a chilling disregard for the value of human life and may have laid the groundwork for further abuses in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere,” says Jumana Musa of Amnesty International USA. [New York Times, 10/15/2004]
People and organizations involved: Dilawar, Mullah Habibullah, Patrick J. Brown, Jumana Musa
          


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