Friday, December 12, 2008

UPDATED: Senate report ties Rumsfeld (& Meyers) to Abu Ghraib, (GTMO & More)

(Photo from Truthout dot org)

Here is one UPDATE for December 11-12, 2008 from Center for Constitutional Rights...find more below.

Report: Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

SEE the ACTUAL REPORT at Center for Constitutional Rights and Here

This report is a product of our united efforts. This report uniquely recounts the experiences of prisoners inside Guantánamo Bay prison. Other reports, for the most part, rely on the statements of released prisoners who were willing to tell their stories. Appearing in this report are the accounts of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment drawn directly from habeas counsels’ unclassified notes. Prisoner statements were made to counsel during in-person interviews conducted at Guantánamo beginning in the fall of 2004.

Information provided to counsel through client interviews is presumed secret until cleared. Such information must be provided to a Department of Defense (DoD) privilege team for review. Once cleared, the information carries no restriction. All of the information reported by prisoners in this report has been cleared for publication. Some information has been taken from public sources compiled in a separate report by the law firm of Shearman and Sterling LLP.

The italicized block passages in this report are excerpts from attorney notes and summaries of prisoner accounts. In some cases, the passages are taken from documents submitted in public court filings. In most cases, the accounts are taken verbatim from attorney summaries; in a few instances, the accounts are paraphrased or combined from more than one document. To the extent possible, reported incidents have been corroborated by other public, unclassified sources, including government documents. Those corroborated accounts are also cited in this report. Prisoners’ statements of abuse generally correspond with descriptions of abuse recorded in government documents released through a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, CCR, Physicians for Human Rights, and Veterans for Peace.

Sergeant Eric Saar, a former Guantánamo military intelligence linguist, corroborates specific accounts of abuse in his book Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantánamo.4 Additional corroboration can also be found in the book For God and Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire written by Captain James Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo who was falsely accused of spying for Al Qaeda and later exonerated.

Finally, given the limitations of access to the base, this report cannot provide a full accounting of the incidents of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo. Rather, by offering examples of the abuses described to attorneys and, in many cases, corroborated by independent government or other documents, this report compels the conclusion that a more detailed investigation must be conducted into the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo.

More from Center For Constitutional Rights
By David Morgan David Morgan Thu Dec 11, 6:47 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to portions of a report released on Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The report's executive summary, made public by the committee's Democratic chairman Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan and its top Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said Rumsfeld contributed to the abuse by authorizing aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay on December 2, 2002.

He rescinded the authorization six weeks later. But the report said word of his approval continued to spread within U.S. military circles and encouraged the use of harsh techniques as far away as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The report concluded that Rumsfeld's actions were "a direct cause of detainee abuse" at Guantanamo and "influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques ... in Afghanistan and Iraq."

"The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own," the executive summary said.

"Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at (Guantanamo)."

The detainee scandal at Abu Ghraib and later revelations of aggressive U.S. interrogations such as "waterboarding" led to an international outcry and charges that the United States allowed prisoners to be tortured, a claim denied by the Bush administration.

The Bush administration has since recanted the policies under pressure from Congress, while President-elect Barack Obama has vowed to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

The report found that the military derived the techniques from a Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape program, or SERE, which trains U.S. soldiers to resist enemy interrogation that does not conform to the Geneva Conventions or international law.

"These policies are wrong and must never be repeated," McCain, who last month ended an unsuccessful bid for the White House, said in a statement released with the executive summary.

McCain said the report revealed an "inexcusable link between abusive interrogation techniques used by our enemies who ignored the Geneva Conventions and interrogation policy for detainees in U.S. custody."

The full report, billed as the most thorough examination of U.S. military detainee policy by Congress, remains classified.

Committee staff said the full report was approved on November 20 in a unanimous voice vote by 17 of the panel's 25 members. The panel consists of 13 Democrats and 12 Republicans.

The executive summary also traces the erosion of detainee treatment standards to a Feb,. 7, 2002, memorandum signed by President George W. Bush stating that the Geneva Convention did not apply to the U.S. war with al Qaeda and that Taliban detainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or legal protections.

"The president's order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment," the summary said.

Members of Bush's Cabinet and other senior officials participated in meetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques were discussed, according to the report.

The committee also blamed former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers for undermining the military's review of interrogation methods.

Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

UPDATED: See Democracy Now! December 12, 2008

Senate Report Finds Rumsfeld Directly Responsible For U.S. Torture of Prisoners

A bipartisan Senate report has accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials of being directly responsible for the abuse and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and other U.S. prisons. We speak with the man who sued Donald Rumsfeld in Berlin, German attorney Wolfgang Kaleck.


Wolfgang Kaleck, General Secretary of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. He brought a war crimes suit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. For this update GO Here

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