Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Black sites open til end of '06, says HRW

A Human Rights Watch report came out this week, recounting the experience of "ghost detainee," Islamic militant Marwan Jabour. The report insinuates that until the US discloses more information about the Black Sites it operated, it is possible that the CIA still holds a number of people in secret custody. This in spite of the Bush administration's declaration last year that "ghost detainees" would be either accounted for or released.

HRW focuses on the Jabour case and demonstrates how inhumane "disappearance" is for families of those taken away.

Jabour was released in November 2006, a full two months after the US claimed the last ghost detainees were accounted for. He had been in custody in Jordan for the early part of 2006.

From the summary
When Marwan Jabour opened his eyes, after a blindfold, a mask, and other coverings were taken off him, he saw soldiers and, on the wall behind them, framed photographs of King Hussein and King Abdullah of Jordan. He was tired and disoriented from his four-hour plane flight and subsequent car trip, but when a guard confirmed that he was being held in Jordan, he felt indescribable relief. In his more than two years of secret detention, nearly all of it in US custody, this was the first time that someone had told him where he was. The date was July 31, 2006.

A few weeks later, in another first, the Jordanians allowed several of Jabour’s family members to visit him. “My father cried the whole time,” Jabour later remembered.

Marwan Jabour was arrested by Pakistani authorities in Lahore, Pakistan, on May 9, 2004. He was detained there briefly, then moved to the capital, Islamabad, where he was held for more than a month in a secret detention facility operated by both Pakistanis and Americans, and finally flown to a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) prison in what he believes was Afghanistan. During his ordeal, he later told Human Rights Watch, he was tortured, beaten, forced to stay awake for days, and kept naked and chained to a wall for more than a month. Like an unknown number of Arab men arrested in Pakistan since 2001, he was “disappeared” into US custody: held in unacknowledged detention outside of the protection of the law, without court supervision, and without any contact with his family, legal counsel, or the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The details of the abuse he suffered in American custody, which only years ago would have deeply shocked the world, now seem horribly "normal":
Jabour was arrested in Lahore, he believes by the Pakistani intelligence services, and the worst physical abuses he endured took place while he was in their custody. He alleges that they beat him severely, burnt him with a red hot iron, and tied a tight rubber string around his penis, causing enormous pain. On this third day in Pakistani custody, three people he believes were Americans questioned him; the following day he was transferred to a secret facility in Islamabad. This facility had both US and Pakistani personnel, but the Americans seemed to be in charge.

Both in the Lahore facility and in Islamabad, Jabour endured many days of forced sleeplessness and forced standing, with little respite. Twice he collapsed, falling unconscious.

After a month in Islamabad he was flown to a secret prison, which he believes was in Afghanistan, where all of the personnel (except possibly the interpreters) were American. There, he was held completely naked for a month and a half, filmed naked, and interrogated naked. He was chained tightly to the wall of his small cell so he could not stand up, placed in painful stress positions so that he had difficulty breathing, and warned that if he did not cooperate he would be put in a suffocating “dog box.”

As the months went by, some aspects of Jabour’s treatment improved: his clothes were slowly returned; the physical mistreatment ended; he was placed in a larger cell; he got better food. Other aspects, however, changed slowly or not at all. He spent nearly all of his time alone in a windowless cell. He went a year and a half without a glimpse of sunlight. He wore leg irons for a year and a half. Worst of all, he spent more than two years with almost no contact with any human being besides his captors. Although he worried incessantly about his wife and three young daughters, he was not even allowed to send them a letter to reassure them that he was alive.

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Getting waterboarded

In this Current TV video, a willing volunteer who undergoes waterboarding, a torture technique used by the Bush administration. The point is for the public to witness it firsthand.

It will be disturbing for some people.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Prisoner

Another documentary on Abu Ghraib, featured in this month's Vanity Fair, is sure to make waves in the US in March. "The Prisoner or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair" is a surreal film about the arrest of journalist Yunis Khayater. His arrest, caught on tape by documentarist Michael Turner who included the footage in his awarding-winning Gunner's Palace. After the release of this documentary, Turner received an email from a "friend" of Yunis' -- Benjamin Thompson, an American who served at Abu Ghraib. He wanted contact Yunis, saying, "I felt that these people were my good friends and that we survived that hell together with support from one another. I truly love these people."

The story has a number of surreal elements, starting with Yunis' arrest for an alleged, far-fetched accusation that the journalist was plotting to kill Tony Blair. He was plunged into the nightmare world of Abu Ghraib where he met Thompson.

Read more in Vanity Fair, visit the film's site, or see the trailer here.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Blunder #3: Prisons and prisoners

From the Talking Points Memo Cafe (a progressive forum for debate), by Marshall Adame, the former director of the Basra airport, "Six Blunders we made in Iraq we can still fix":
3. Prisoners and Prisons

Problem: From 2003 until today our coalition forces have captured or killed some of the most dangerous people in the world. These people will never have the opportunity to hurt anyone else in Iraq or anywhere. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in the process of combing Iraq for bad guys, field commanders, for one reason or another, and at times indiscriminately, have confined many men and women without any specific charges or reasons that can be remembered or recorded. We have, in essence, deprived many people of their liberty with out any real reason or purpose. As a result the coalition now faces the problem of building more prisons even with the knowledge that a very large percentage of the detainees are most likely not ever going to be charged with a crime and may in fact be not guilty of any crime other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time or having the wrong friend or relative. The possibility here is that we may have separated innocent fathers from their wives and children, sons from their families, daughters from their only source of protection and support and in the process created many more enemies. Consequently the coalition has, without charge or specific reason, confined many innocent people and deprived them, without cause, of the very liberties we came here to preserve. Even in war, the principles of due process, within reason, must be upheld.

The most viable fix: The New Iraqi Prime Minister should announce an immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners that fall into certain categories (not including those captured in hostilities or known to be involved in hostile activities).

Categories: All Handicapped * All prisoners over 50 years old *

All only sons * All women not specifically charged but have been confined for over 60 days * All confined persons under the age of 16 * All detainees in any juvenile facility in Iraq * All females under the age of 18 not specifically charged with a violent crime against Iraqi or Coalition forces.(Not to include the charge of “throwing rocks”) *

All Imams, Sunni and Shia, not specifically charged with a violent crime, conspiracy to commit a violent crime, or aiding and abetting the enemy * All persons confined for misdemeanors or petty theft or confined for the reason of failure to pay a debt.

(The June 2006 announcement by PM Maliki of the planned release of 2,500 detainees in Iraqi and Coalition prison facilities was a great start and better late than never, but the numbers of prisoners remaining is staggering, many of whom still having not been told why they were detained. The Coalition, being responsible for the vast majority of the detainments, should be concentrating on a means to provide the process by which the rest can be either charged and held, or simply released and compensated for having their liberties violated without cause. The planning effort should not be on building new prisons to hold people who will ultimately be released with out charge. This equates to simply leaving the problem to the new government). Any release schedules should not be conditioned on political timing as those recently announced. Depriving anyone of his or her liberty, even for a short time for a political advantage, should be unconscionable to those of us who enjoy protections from that very thing.

Every person in these release categories and never charged should be released with a letter of assurance that they are not considered criminal or enemies of Iraq, $500US or $15US per everyday of confinement (which ever is greater) and assured transportation home. They should not necessarily be required to sign any renouncement of violence since the only violence having occurred may have been our violence against them in the process of arrest and detainment. They should be asked to sign an acknowledgement that they may have been detained wrongly due to unpredictable circumstances brought on by the hostilities occurring in Iraq and that they understand that the county if Iraq does not classify them as having a criminal record of any kind as a result of their arrest and confinement.

(Two of my soldier sons came to Iraq and one was wounded during a battle in Baqubah. I would like them to believe we all serve for the preservation of very specific principles and rules of behavior regarding other human beings, even during war. We do not herald our principles of liberty because we are strong, rather we are strong because of our belief and respect for these principles. If we sacrifice the very principles of inalienable rights that define who we are, then we sacrifice our right to defend the helpless. We will have surrendered our banner of hope and liberty).

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Two years, electric tasers, no charges

The New York Times' Michael Moss and Souad Mekhennet report on one common Iraq detainee's experience during two years in detention at Camp Bucca:
DAMASCUS, Syria — In the early hours of Jan. 6, Laith al-Ani stood in a jail near the Baghdad airport waiting to be released by the American military after two years and three months in captivity.

He struggled to quell his hope. Other prisoners had gotten as far as the gate only to be brought back inside, he said, and he feared that would happen to him as punishment for letting his family discuss his case with a reporter.

But as the morning light grew, the American guards moved Mr. Ani, a 31-year-old father of two young children, methodically toward freedom. They swapped his yellow prison suit for street clothes, he said. They snipped off his white plastic identification bracelet. They scanned his irises into their database.

Then, shortly before 9 a.m., Mr. Ani said, he was brought to a table for one last step. He was handed a form and asked to place a check mark next to the sentence that best described how he had been treated:

“I didn’t go through any abuse during detention,” read the first option, in Arabic.

“I have gone through abuse during detention,” read the second.

In the room, he said, stood three American guards carrying the type of electric stun devices that Mr. Ani and other detainees said had been used on them for infractions as minor as speaking out of turn.

“Even the translator told me to sign the first answer,” said Mr. Ani, who gave a copy of his form to The New York Times. “I asked him what happens if I sign the second one, and he raised his hands,” as if to say, Who knows?

“I thought if I don’t sign the first one I am not going to get out of this place.”

Shoving the memories of his detention aside, he checked the first box and minutes later was running through a cold rain to his waiting parents. “My heart was beating so hard,” he said. “You can’t believe how I cried.”

His mother, Intisar al-Ani, raised her arms in the air, palms up, praising God. “It was like my soul going out, from my happiness,” she recalled. “I hugged him hard, afraid the Americans would take him away again.”

Just three weeks earlier, his last letter home — with its poetic yearnings and a sketch of a caged pink heart — appeared in The Times in one of a series of articles on Iraq’s troubled detention and justice system.

After his release from the American-run jail, Camp Bucca, Mr. Ani and other former detainees described the sprawling complex of barracks in the southern desert near Kuwait as a bleak place where guards casually used their stun guns and exposed prisoners to long periods of extreme heat and cold; where prisoners fought among themselves and extremist elements tried to radicalize others; and where detainees often responded to the harsh conditions with hunger strikes and, at times, violent protests.

Through it all, Mr. Ani was never actually charged with a crime; he said he was questioned only once during his more than two years at the camp.


Mr. Ani said the electric prods were first used on him on the way to Camp Bucca. “I was talking to someone next to me and they used it,” he said, describing the device as black plastic with a yellow tip and two iron prongs. He said the prods were commonly used on him and other detainees as punishment.

“The whole body starts to shake and hurt,” he said. “And you lose consciousness for a couple of seconds. One time they used it on my tongue. One guard held me from the left and another on my back and another used it against my tongue and for four or five days I couldn’t eat.”

In a separate interview, the insurgent from Samarra said such a device had been used on him for speaking out of turn. Ahmed Majid al-Ghanem, 50, a former Baath Party official who was also freed from Camp Bucca and is now living in Syria, said in a separate interview that he witnessed the electric prods being used as punishment on other detainees.

The Times interviewed Mr. Ani at his apartment in Damascus, the Syrian capital, where he sat on a couch with his parents, wife and children. When he demonstrated how he had been held for the electric prod, his 4-year-old daughter, Al Budur, mimicked his actions.

Lt. Col. Keir-Kevin Curry, a detention system spokesman, said: “Every use of less than lethal force, to include use of Tasers, is formally reported by facility leadership, ensuring soldiers are in accordance with proper use. Touching a Taser to someone’s tongue is not one of the approved uses.”

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Italy indicts CIA agents

An Italian judge has indicted 26 Americans related to the abduction of an Egyptian born cleric (Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr) who was kidnapped in Milan in 2003 and eventually "rendered" to Egypt, where he claims he was tortured over the course of his 4 year imprisonment. Most of the indicted are CIA officers, and one is an Airforce pilot. The New York Times believes it is very unlikely any will ever stand trial.

Cryptome provides us with the arrest warrant, for those who would like to name names. Ex-CIA Milan bureau chief Robert Seldon Lady is apparently on the lamb and Italian authorities seized his house in Italy to pay for court costs last month.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Rory Kennedy's documentary "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," which debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January, will be airing on HBO in North America next week starting February 22.

Sundance produced a promo piece, with interviews with Kennedy. The film features ex-military intel Sgt. Sam Provance, who has been ostracized for speaking out to the media after reading the Taguba Report.

For schedules, please follow this link to the HBO website.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

"Haunted by Fallujah"

Today the Dallas Morning News published an amazing op-ed (originally published in the Washington Post), by a former Army interrogator, which I will include here in full. The amazement is at first because the author "Fair" which seems to be a pseudonym seems so repentant for the torture he committed.

But a different kind of amazement follows when a certain diligent blogger uncovered evidence that suggests this "Eric Fair" (which reeks of irony and strangely reminds of Eric Blair, George Orwell's real name) was in fact a contractor for CACI. Blogger kilabe reveals that "Eric Fair" is mentioned in a class action suit by ex-detainees against employees of contractors CACI and Titan. Meaning his stays in Iraq were in fact "voluntary" in that he could have resigned at any time, whereas members of the Armed Forces would have had a harder time not following orders, or leaving their posts.
Haunted by Fallujah

I cannot escape the depths I sunk to as an interrogator in Iraq, says ERIC FAIR. Nor can I keep them to myself any longer.

12:00 AM CST on Thursday, February 15, 2007

Aman with no face stares at me from the corner of a room. He pleads for help, but I'm afraid to move. He begins to cry. It is a pitiful sound, and it sickens me. He screams, but as I awaken, I realize the screams are mine.

That dream, along with a host of other nightmares, has plagued me since my return from Iraq in summer 2004. Though the man in this particular nightmare has no face, I know who he is. I assisted in his interrogation at a detention facility in Fallujah. I was one of two civilian interrogators assigned to the division interrogation facility of the 82nd Airborne Division. The man was suspected to be an associate of Khamis Sirhan al-Muhammad, the Baath Party leader in Anbar province who had been captured two months earlier.

The lead interrogator had given me specific instructions: I was to deprive the detainee of sleep during my 12-hour shift by opening his cell every hour, forcing him to stand in a corner and stripping him of his clothes. Three years later, the tables have turned. It is rare that I sleep through the night without a visit from this man. His memory harasses me as I once harassed him.

I cannot ignore the mistakes I made at the interrogation facility in Fallujah. I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself.

American authorities continue to insist that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib was an isolated incident in an otherwise well-run detention system. That insistence, however, stands in sharp contrast to my experiences as an interrogator in Iraq.

I watched as detainees were forced to stand naked all night, shivering in their cold cells and pleading with their captors for help. Others were subjected to long periods of isolation in pitch-black rooms. Food and sleep deprivation were common, along with a variety of physical abuse, including punching and kicking.

Aggressive, and in many ways abusive, techniques were used daily in Iraq, all in the name of acquiring the intelligence necessary to bring an end to the insurgency. The violence raging there today is evidence that those tactics never worked. My memories are evidence that those tactics were terribly wrong.

While I was appalled by the conduct of my friends and colleagues, I lacked the courage to challenge the status quo. That was a failure of character and in many ways made me complicit in what went on. I'm ashamed of that failure, but as time passes, and as the memories of what I saw in Iraq continue to infect my every thought, I'm becoming more ashamed of my silence.

Some may suggest there is no reason to revive the story of abuse in Iraq. But history suggests we should examine such missteps carefully. Oppressive prison environments have created some of the most determined opponents. The British learned that lesson from Napoleon, the French from Ho Chi Minh. The world is learning that lesson again from Ayman al-Zawahiri. What will be the legacy of abusive prisons in Iraq?

We have failed to properly address the abuse of Iraqi detainees. Men like me have refused to tell our stories, and our leaders have refused to own up to myriad mistakes. Regardless of how many young Americans we send to war, or how many militia members we kill, or how many Iraqis we train, or how much money we spend on reconstruction, we will not escape the damage we have done to the people of Iraq in our prisons.

I am desperate to get on with my life and erase the memories of my experiences in Iraq. But those memories and experiences do not belong to me. They belong to history. If we're doomed to repeat the history we forget, what will be the consequences of the history we never knew? The citizens and the leadership of this country have an obligation to revisit what took place in the interrogation booths of Iraq. The story of Abu Ghraib isn't over. In many ways, we have yet to open the book.

Eric Fair served in the Army from 1995 to 2000 as an Arabic linguist and worked in Iraq as a contract interrogator in early 2004. His e-mail address is erictfair@

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Ex-CIA contractor gets 8 years

David Passaro, ex-Navy and CIA contractor, received an 8 year sentence for felony assault against Afghan prisoner Abdul Wali who was killed in June 2003.

Prosecutors argued that Abdul Wali pleaded to be shot to end his pain.

Passaro admitted that he "did not show Wali the compassion he deserved." From ABC News:
In a letter to the judge, the former governor of Afghanistan's Kunar province, Said Fazel Akbar, said the prisoner's death did "tremendous damage" to the credibility of the American-led coalition there and was used as propaganda by al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

"The distrust of the Americans increased, the security and reconstruction efforts of Afghanistan were dealt a blow, and the only people to gain from Dave Passaro's actions were al Qaeda and their partners," he wrote.

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British clear officer in Basra abuse case

Colonel Jorge Mendonca, the highest ranking officer to be charged in relation to abuse allegations in a Basra detention center, was cleared on criminal charges relating to the death of a hotel employee Baha Mousa in 2003, who "who was attacked over a 36-hour period while handcuffed and hooded and suffered 93 separate injuries."

Robert Fisk wrote on this homicide for the Independent. An anonymous survivor recounted to him:
One of the detainees was to recount to The Independent an appalling story of cruelty: "We were put in a big room with our hands tied and with bags over our heads.

"But I could see through some holes in my hood. Soldiers would come in, ordinary soldiers, not officers--mostly with their heads shaved, but in uniform--and they would kick us, picking on one after the other.

"They were kick-boxing us in the chest and between the legs and in the back. We were crying and screaming. They set on Baha especially and he kept crying that he couldn't breath in the hood. He kept asking them to take the bag off and said he was suffocating.

"But they laughed at him and kicked him more. One of them said: 'Stop screaming and you will be able to breathe more easily'

"Baha was so scared. Then they increased the kicking on him and he collapsed on the floor. None of us could stand or sit because it was too painful.''

Other subordinates were also cleared in relation to manslaughter charges. Yet others are still being tried for abuse-related crimes.

More from the Guardian:
The court martial, being held at Bulford in Wiltshire, has heard how in September 2003, 10 civilians were arrested by members of the QLR during a raid at a hotel in Basra, southern Iraq. Handcuffed, hooded with sacks and deprived of sleep, they were forced to maintain a "stress position" - backs to the wall, knees bent and arms outstretched. If they dropped their arms they were punished with beatings.

[Corporal Donald] Payne, who was in charge of the guarding of the prisoners, was said to be at the centre of the ill treatment. At the start of the trial he made history when he became the first British soldier to admit a war crime. But he denied the manslaughter of Mr Mousa, 26.

Two other soldiers, Kingsman Darren Fallon and Lance Corporal Wayne Crowcroft, were also accused of inhumanly treating prisoners - a war crime. A third, Sergeant Kelvin Stacey, was said to have kicked and punched an Iraqi prisoner. But the case against them centred on the claims of a colleague who was attacked as a "fantasist" in court.

The case against Col Mendonca was that he should have known what was going on and ought to have acted to stop it. But the judge, Mr Justice McKinnon, yesterday directed the board hearing the courts martial to find Col Mendonca, Kingsman Fallon, Lance Corp Crowcroft and Sgt Stacey not guilty. He directed them to acquit Payne of manslaughter and of intending to pervert the course of justice. Mr Justice McKinnon told the board there was "no evidence" fit to put before them on which they could convict the men.

The Scotsman, which claims the court martial tribunal cost the British taxpayer £20 million, reports:
Before his court martial, Colonel Jorge Mendonca MBE, the decorated former commander of the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, was widely considered to be destined for the very top of the army.

Fellow officers speak of his exemplary leadership of the QLR during its extremely difficult tour to win "hearts and minds" in Basra following the Coalition Forces' invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The 43-year-old infantry commander's attention to detail and his gallantry in the Gulf, for which he won a DSO (Distinguished Service Order), won him plaudits both in the ranks and the officers' mess.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

No avoiding trial for officer charged in Ghraib

The defense of reservist Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan attempted to get the charges against him in relation to the abuses at Abu Ghraib dropped, on the basis that the government waited too long before charging him. The judge rejected these arguments, which followed his arraignment on January 30. Jordan, who was the only officer to face trial in relation to the torture at Abu Ghraib, is charged with lying to investigators, cruelty and maltreatment, disobeying orders, and dereliction of duty. At Abu Ghraib he was an interrogator in his capacity as military intelligence. He was mentioned in the Taguba report as "directly or indirectly responsible" for the abuses at the prison. He faces 22 years prison time.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Tennesse town rallies for accused murderer

The hometown of 24 year-old Staff Sargeant Ray Girouard is rallying to his defense, reports the AP. Through church fundraising the townspeople of Sweetwater have raised a total of $18,000 to pay for his defense on murder charges for the killings of bound detainees in Samarra on May 9, 2006.

The other three charged in connection with the murders pled guilty, two received 18 years and one receiving nine months. All three pointed the finger at Girouard.

Sgt. Girouard claimed at his arraignment (Article 32 hearing) that he was given orders to kill all "military-aged males" by his brigade commander Michael Steele.

The 24-year-old staff sergeant with the 101st Airborne Division, was one of four soldiers charged with murdering three Iraqi detainees last year.

"Anybody that knows Raymond knows his character, and this is not Raymond,'' said his grandfather, 64-year-old Ron Bentley.

The other soldiers have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors; Girouard, the squad leader, is in a military jail in Charleston, S.C., awaiting a court-martial next month at Fort Campbell.

The soldiers initially told investigators they shot the detainees during a May 9 raid in Samarra because they were attempting to flee and because commanders had given them orders to kill all military-age men. But two of the soldiers now say Girouard ordered them to cut the detainees free and shoot them as they fled. One soldier also said Girouard cut him to make it look as if there was a struggle.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Political firestorm in Ottawa over allegations

The Canadian press certainly jumped on the allegations of detainee abuse by Canadian troops at Kandahar Base in spring 2006. The headline from the Globe and Mail says it all:

Full inquiry ordered into treatment of detainees

Defence Minister vows findings will be made public: 'This is not Somalia'; Military officials will scour Afghanistan looking for 3 men who had been held by soldiers

Canadian CNews gauged the reaction of Afghans to these latest allegations:

Allegations that Afghan detainees were abused after they were captured by Canadians came as no surprise Tuesday to Kandahar residents who have mixed feelings about the soldiers from Canada.

Residents remember shooting incidents that have killed at least two Afghans over the past year and injured several others, many of them motorists or motorcyclists who failed to obey Canadian orders to stop. The latest reports of alleged abuse touched a raw nerve in Kandahar, even though the suspects involved were believed to be Taliban insurgents.

"They promised to do reconstruction," Afadullah, 30, an auto mechanic with a shop near the city's gate, said about the Canadians through a translator.

"If (the Canadians) cannot co-operate with us, they should go home and then the Americans should send somebody else."

But others in Kandahar were prepared to give Canadians the benefit of the doubt. They urged patience while the allegation is being checked out.

"Canadians are better than Americans; more humble," said Abdul Khan, a taxi driver.

"They can be forgiven as long as they promise to stop shooting at civilians."

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Alleged recent Canadian detainee abuse, Kandahar

It appears that the US forces are not the only ones accused of beating three detainees in Afghanistan. The alleged incidents occurred in April 2006, at Kandahar base. There have been prior incidents of abuse at Kandahar.

A Canadian Law Professor at University of Ottawa, Amir Attaran, requested documents relating to the incident under Canada's Access to Information Act.

From CBC News:
Attaran said he received three documents from the Department of National Defence, hand-written reports from Canadian military police in Kandahar. The documents show three men were brought to military police by a single interrogator in one day and all had a pattern of injuries to their faces, heads and upper bodies, he told CBC Tuesday.

"It seems to me that if one interrogator has brought in three people in a single day with very similar injuries, this is something that merits investigation," he said.

Attaran sent the information to the Military Police Complaints Commission, a civilian-run body that investigates complaints.

Commission head Peter Tinsley informed Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier and the head of the military police, Capt. Steve Moore, of the allegations, said a report Tuesday in the Globe and Mail.

Attaran said he doesn't know all the details surrounding the incident because DND has refused to provide all the documents he has requested, including a photo of one of the men.

"Only yesterday, because this was about to break in the press, did the DND agree to conduct an internal investigation. An inquiry of this kind should be open to the public," he said.

A group of Canadian soldiers captured the Afghans near a small town about 50 kilometres west of Kandahar, where more than 2,000 Canadians are serving. The men were taken to the medical centre on the Kandahar base.

A military report says the man with the most serious injuries — bruises and cuts to his arm, back and chest — was injured when his hands were tied behind his back.

The military initially said "appropriate force" was used against the man, who it said was a bomb-maker.

One of the detainees was described in military reports as "non-compliant," while a second was described as "extremely belligerent," taking four men to subdue him.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Khadr, only juvenile at Guantanamo, charged

Omar Khadr, a Canadian who was imprisoned at age 15 in Afghanistan in 2002, has been charged with murder after waiting more than four years in Guantanamo Bay. Although charges were made against Khadr last year, they were dropped after the Supreme Court found the planned tribunals unconstitutional.

Although Khadr has appeared in court a couple of times, no new photos of him have been made available, so the photo of him at age 15 is the only one available. It looks like a school photo.

From Canadian CBC news:

Khadr, who was born in Toronto and lived for years in various southern Ontario communities, was arrested in Afghanistan in July 2002. The U.S. military alleges that he killed an American medic in a grenade attack, which wounded several other American soldiers.

Khadr has been held ever since in Guantanamo. His lawyers and human rights groups say he has been abused in the prison.

The charges against Khadr, the Australian and the Yemeni are not considered formal until they are approved by a U.S. Defence Department legal adviser and an official who oversees the trials.

The process should take two weeks, said Davis. He said the trials will not begin until at least the spring.

The chief prosecutor said it made sense to start with charges against Khadr, who is the only Canadian at Guantanamo, and the other two men.

"Those three have been around for a while, and they were prepared and ready to go," he said.

Khadr and nine other prisoners were previously charged with various offenses, but the charges were dropped in June 2006, when the U.S. Supreme Court intervened.

The court ruled that President George W. Bush overstepped his authority when he ordered the initial military tribunals at Guantanamo. The court also said the tribunal rules violated international and U.S. laws.

U.S. Congress passed a new bill authorizing new military hearings, with new rules, and Bush signed it into law in October 2006. Some of the rules have drawn criticisms from activists because they allow for the use of hearsay and coerced evidence.

The military plans to charge 60 to 80 Guantanamo prisoners under the new system.

Khadr has been accused of training with al-Qaeda.

His father, Ahmed Said Khadr, was reportedly a close associate of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The elder Khadr, who moved his family from Canada to Afghanistan in the 1980s, was killed in a gun battle in Pakistan in 2003.

Along with Khadr, Australian David Hicks was also charged. His legal team accused the US Military of harassing them and attempting to undermine them by announcing the charges the day they had left the prison.

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