Monday, September 15, 2008
ONGOING report #2 this week on Recent History of Female Detainees under US jusrisdiction
See below the item JUST IN: US finally makes contact with Dr. Aafia Siddiqi's family
How much longer before this is addressed, apologized for and changed? How much is still hidden from public view? Has it even gotten worse?
Going backwards in time...
AFTER SADDAM, IRAQI WOMEN USED AS SEX OBJECTS
3/14/2006 8:15:00 AM GMT
"The extent to which women have lost their rights in Iraq is shocking"
Violence against women has increased dramatically since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. They have been kidnapped, killed, raped, and even sold to foreign countries for the global prostitution network, the Woman Freedom Organization (WFO), a Baghdad-based NGO, said in a report earlier this month.
"We've studied reports from local NGOs on women's rights in the past three years, including violence, kidnappings, forced prostitution and honor killings," WFO President Senar Mohammad told Reuters. “And the extent to which women have lost their rights in Iraq is shocking."
According to the WFO study, the most worrying trend was the kidnappings of women, many of whom reported being sexually abused or tortured. "Kidnapping and raping women has become so widespread that every woman worries that she may become the next victim. Very few women are seen on the streets. It was not like that before the war, no! Many are frightened to step out of their home,” an unidentified Iraqi woman said.
More than 2,000 Iraqi women have been kidnapped since April 2003, the report said, adding that such incidents were largely unknown during Saddam Hussein’s regime. "Money has become more important than lives, and kidnapping women – easy targets because of their weakness – is a quicker way to get a good ransom," said Mohammad.
Moreover, the study says that several Iraqi women were being sold as sex workers abroad, mainly to the illegal markets in Yemen, Syria, Jordan and the Gulf States. Victims usually discover their fate only after they have been lured outside Iraq by false promises.
"They told my family that I was very beautiful and they were sure I could be a famous model outside Iraq," said one woman who was deceived by traffickers into going to Kuwait. "Because my brothers and father died in 2003, and we needed money desperately, my mother agreed that I should go."
"But I discovered that everything was a lie, and I was forced to have sexual relations with men," she said painfully. "I lost my virginity to a 65-year-old man who bought me at a very high price and who slept with me everyday until I ran away and arranged my return to Iraq."
The report also raised concerns about the conditions of women detainees currently held in prisons run by the U.S. and UK occupation forces, pointing to the Al-Kadhimiya and Abu-Ghraib prisons in particular. "Based on our records and from anonymous information, we estimate that there are more than 250 women in these two prisons alone, who are exposed to different kinds of torture, including sexual abuses,” Mohammad said.
"I was kidnapped and sexually abused," said Surra Abdu, who spent two months in al-Kadhimiya prison. "But after I was released and reported the matter to the police, they interrogated me and hurt me more, saying I was in cahoots with my jailers." Abdu added: "Is that the freedom and security offered to us when Saddam was toppled?"
The Iraqi Interior Ministry denies that women detainees were regularly subject to mistreatment. "We're Muslims, and we know very well how to treat our women prisoners," said top ministry official Ahmed Youssifin.
But the WFO rejects the government‘s assertions, insisting that it has abundant evidence of the abuse of women detainees. "It's very difficult to believe women are being well-treated in Iraqi prisons," he said. "Many times have I seen signs of torture and beatings on their faces after they were released."
Some of the photos that U.S. guards shot at Abu Ghraib show a U.S. military policeman "having sex with an Iraqi woman," according to Maj Gen Taguba, who headed a 2005 investigation into abuses of female detainees at the hands of U.S. guards. The Taguba report also stated that U.S. guards committed other crimes against Iraqi women for their entertainment. "An Iraqi woman in her 70s had been harnessed and ridden like a donkey at Abu Ghraib and another coalition detention center after being arrested last July," the report said.
Lawyers of women prisoners also assert that U.S. guards had been raping women detainees and forcing them to strip naked in front of men. They also said that these crimes were being committed all across Iraq. According to an Iraqi female lawyer, identified as Swadi, a woman prisoner at a U.S. military base in al-Kharkh told her that “she had been raped… several American soldiers had raped her. She had tried to fight them off and they had hurt her arm.”
There is reason to believe that these abuses are still going on. When Swadi tried to visit women detainees at Abu Ghraib recently, U.S. guards refused to let her in. When she complained, they threatened to arrest her.
It is obvious that these abuses are horrible. What is so painful is that the oppression of Iraqi women won’t end soon. It will also have a devastating impact on the way of life of the Iraqi people -- thanks to the U.S./UK invasion.
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Report comes out detailing abuse of female detainees in Iraq from 2005 one of many such articles and blogs from that time...
An article on the GNN tells us...One female detainee, who identified herself as “Noor”, said that U.S. soldiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib raped women and, in many occasions, forced them to strip naked in public. She also said that many female detainees got pregnant.
The classified investigation launched by the U.S. army, led by Major General Antonio Taguba, confirmed Noor’s account and said that U.S. guards sexually abused female detainees at Abu Ghraib.
According to Taguba’s report, the 1,800 abuse photographs shot by U.S. guards inside Abu Ghraib included images of naked male and female prisoners, a male Military Police guard “having sex” with a female detainee, and naked male and female detainees forcibly arranged in various sexually explicit positions for photographing.
The Bush administration, which insists that these were the acts of a few soldiers, blocked the release of photographs of Iraqi women detainees at Abu Ghraib, including those of women forced to bare their breasts, although these have been shown to Congress.
Attorney Amal Kadham Swadi, one of seven female lawyers representing women detainees at Abu Ghraib, says that abuse and torture against Iraqi women is not confined only to Abu Ghraib, but is “happening all across Iraq.”
“Sexualized violence and abuse committed by U.S. troops (of both US service women and Iraqi women) goes far beyond a few isolated cases,” she said.
Remember the US military represents freedom. Not patriarchy, power and oppression.
Posted by Samhita - April 21, 2005, at 03:51PM | in Iraq War
PM Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Torture and War Crimes: Crucial Context
CLIFF KINDY, kindy at cpt.org, http://www.cpt.org
Kindy has spent two five-month stints over the last year and a half in Iraq
with the Christian Peacemaker Team, which released a document entitled
"Report and Recommendations on Iraqi Detainees" in January. Kindy has had
substantial contact with Iraqi detainees and their families and with U.S.
soldiers and higher-ups.
DAHR JAMAIL, dahrma90 at yahoo.com,
Baghdad correspondent for the Internet journal The NewStandard, Jamail has
written several articles (one of them in January) about U.S. military
torture of Iraqis. His most recent piece, "Telltale Signs of Torture Lead
Family to Demand Answers," is available at the above web page.
ANDRES THOMAS CONTERIS, andres at desmilitarizacion.net,
"We know that the U.S. has been involved with torture training because of
the School of the Americas in Georgia; torture manuals have been exposed
there," said Conteris, who has helped produce a documentary about the
School of the Americas, "Hidden in Plain Sight." Added Conteris: "Last week
at John Negroponte's nomination hearing as Ambassador to Iraq, I noted
Negroponte's connections to death squads during his tenure as ambassador to
Honduras. If he is confirmed, which seems likely since Democratic senators
like Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden have backed him, Negroponte will work
to prevent such images of torture from getting out. The Senate can act as
though they are shocked by torture now, but if they approve Negroponte,
they are facilitating the likelihood it will escalate and be covered up."
AS'AD ABUKHALIL, AAbukhalil at csustan.edu, http://angryarab.blogspot.com
AbuKhalil is professor of political science at California State University
at Stanislaus and visiting professor at the University of California at
Berkeley. He said today: "U.S. propaganda efforts, and the last-minute
appearances of Bush in Arab media (with the deliberate exclusion of
al-Jazeera -- the most widely watched channel by far) only underscore U.S.
problems. But the message by Bush will only underline the gap between this
administration and Arab public opinion. He tells them that the torture
incidents were an exception, and Arabs believe that they are systematic. He
tells them that the U.S. is making progress; Arabs know the nature of the
bloody mess in Iraq. He tells them that Sharon is a man of peace; Arabs
(and many Europeans and some Israelis) consider him a war criminal. Bush
tells them that the U.S. is promoting freedom in Iraq; Arabs know that the
U.S. is obstructing democracy and elections in Iraq. The Bush message is
effective to an audience in Iowa. In the Arab world, his message will only
provoke and insult. But that is the nature of U.S. propaganda efforts in
the Middle East: the more they try, the worse the U.S. image problem gets."
RAY HANANIA, RayHanania at aol.com, http://www.hanania.com
A syndicated columnist, Hanania just wrote the article "Appearing on Arab
TV Not Enough Mr. President," in which he comments: "Rather than win the
hearts and minds of the Arab World, American policies reinforce greater
anti-American hatred because they fail to speak to the fundamental and
legitimate complaints of the Arab World."
MARJORIE COHN, libertad48 at san.rr.com, http://www.nlg.org,
Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, executive vice president of
the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive
committee of the American Association of Jurists, Cohn wrote the recent
article "Torturing Hearts and Minds," at the above web page.
REED BRODY, brodyr at hrw.org, http://www.hrw.org,
Brody is special counsel with Human Rights Watch and author of a recent
article in the International Herald Tribune, "Prisoner Abuse: What About
the Other Secret U.S. Prisons?" He said today: "The U.S. has created legal
black holes all over the world where we can't find out what's happening to
ROGER NORMAND, rnormand at cesr.org, http://www.cesr.org
Normand is executive director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights.
He will be participating in the World Tribunal on Iraq in New York City
this Saturday, May 8. Normand said today: "Recent revelations about
mistreatment at Abu Ghraib prison are only the tip of the iceberg when it
comes to U.S. war crimes in Iraq. Despite the rhetoric of fighting for
democracy and human rights, the U.S. occupation is providing the world with
a case study on how to violate the full range of civilian protections
enshrined in the Geneva conventions -- from indiscriminate killings and
collective punishment, to arbitrary detention, torture and sexual violence,
to war profiteering and pillaging."
ROBERT JENSEN, rjensen at uts.cc.utexas.edu,
Jensen is author of the new book "Citizens of the Empire," and co-author of
the book "Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality." He
wrote the essay "Blow Bangs and Cluster Bombs: The Cruelty of Men and
Americans" for the magazine Feminista. Jensen said today: "Many are
expressing outrage and surprise at the cruel and pornographic nature of the
photos from the Abu Ghraib prison. Outrage is appropriate, but we should
not be surprised. U.S. culture is saturated with such pornography, which
each year gets more overtly cruel and sadistic. Millions of U.S. men watch
this kind of material every year. We should expect to see those values play
out in the world, especially in the military, where violence is normalized
and cruelty is essential to the task."
LARA STEMPLE, [via Alex Coolman, acoolman at spr.org], http://www.spr.org
Executive director of Stop Prisoner Rape, Stemple said today: "These are
troubling events, but they didn't happen by accident. The choice to use
sexually charged forms of abuse was not random or careless....
Approximately one in five male inmates in the United States has faced
forced or pressured sexual contact in custody, according to studies by
researchers such as Cindy Struckman-Johnson at the University of South
Dakota. One in 10 has been raped. For women, whose abusers are often
corrections officers, the rates of sexual assault are as high as one in
four in some facilities."
ILENE FEINMAN, ilene_feinman at csunmb.edu
Author of "Citizenship Rites: Feminist Soldiers and Feminist
Antimilitarists," Feinman said today: "The increase in more gender neutral
training in the forces (notwithstanding the severe residual sexualized
violence against women in the military by the military) has enabled women
to develop the same strategies of power over and objectification of 'the
other,' a.k.a. enemy combatants, as the men possess.... It is most
interesting that the woman brigadier general is being held responsible for
this abuse which happened under military intelligence, or possibly CIA,
purvue. The sexual politics of military women are revisited here in that
the arguments for women in the military and against women in the military
were both grounded on the idea that women as they are socialized would
bring a 'civilizing' force to the military; this would either improve the
military or destroy it, respectively."
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020
Posted by CN at 11:45 AM