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Saturday, 19 February 2005
Torture and Negroponte, like peanutbutter and chocolate.

We all know the abuses at Abu Ghraib were isolated incidents perpetrated by a few lower level bad apples and certainly Alberto Gonzales' characterization of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" didn't have any baring on the behavior of those lower down the chain of command.

There is of course the alleged torture of detainees at Gitmo where women soldiers stripped in front of prisoners and pretended to smear menstrual blood on them, and the chaining on the floor for days on end ect. but this is all under investigation. I'm sure the military can investigate themselves, right? (They're "shocked,shocked" there's torture going on here.)

AP::

NEW YORK - Pictures of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan posing with hooded and bound detainees during mock executions were destroyed after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq to avoid another public outrage, Army documents released Friday by the American Civil Liberties Union show.

The ACLU said the probe shows the rippling effect of the Abu Ghraib scandal and that efforts to humiliate the enemy might have been more widespread than thought.

"It's increasingly clear that members of the military were aware of the allegations of torture and that efforts were taken to erase evidence, to shut down investigations and to humiliate the detainees in an effort to silence them," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said.


The WaPo:

Members of an Army Special Forces unit allegedly punched, slapped, kicked and beat Afghan civilians in two villages southeast of the capital of Kabul last May, prompting official complaints from two senior Army psychological operations officers who were present and said they witnessed the incidents.

The allegation is detailed in internal Army criminal files, released yesterday, that also document other allegations of abuse in Afghanistan as recent as last year. Previous abuse allegations have mostly concerned U.S. military activities in Iraq in 2003; these documents detail parallel conduct in Afghanistan in 2004.

In one strikingly similar event, the Army last year found about half a dozen photographs that depict masked U.S. soldiers standing with their weapons pointed at the heads of handcuffed and hooded or blindfolded detainees at a base in southern Afghanistan and, in one case, pressing a detainee's head against the wall of a "cage" where he was brought for interrogation.

And after many investigations there is finally an answer to how the "ghost"detainees' corpse wound up in the shower at Abu Ghraib:

According to news reports:

Al-Jamadi was one of the CIA's "ghost" detainees at Abu Ghraib -- prisoners being held secretly by the agency.

His death in November 2003 became public with the release of photos of Abu Ghraib guards giving a thumbs-up over his bruised and puffy-faced corpse, which had been packed in ice. One of those guards was Pvt. Charles Graner, who last month received 10 years in a military prison for abusing detainees.

Al-Jamadi died in a prison shower room during about a half-hour of questioning, before interrogators could extract any information, according to the documents, which consist of statements from Army prison guards to investigators with the military and the CIA's Inspector General's office.

One Army guard, Sgt. Jeffery Frost, said the prisoner's arms were stretched behind him in a way he had never before seen. Frost told investigators he was surprised al-Jamadi's arms "didn't pop out of their sockets," according to a summary of his interview.

Frost and other guards had been summoned to reposition al-Jamadi, who an interrogator said was not cooperating. As the guards released the shackles and lowered al-Jamadi, blood gushed from his mouth "as if a faucet had been turned on," according to the interview summary.

The military pathologist who ruled the case a homicide found several broken ribs and concluded al-Jamadi died from pressure to the chest and difficulty breathing.

According to the statements:

Al-Jamadi was brought naked below the waist to the prison with a CIA interrogator and translator. A green plastic bag covered his head, and plastic cuffs tightly bound his wrists. Guards dressed al-Jamadi in an orange jumpsuit, slapped on metal handcuffs and escorted him to the shower room, a common CIA interrogation spot.

There, the interrogator instructed guards to attach shackles from the prisoner's handcuffs to a barred window. That would let al-Jamadi stand without pain, but if he tried to lower himself, his arms would be stretched above and behind him.

The interrogator told guards that al-Jamadi was "playing possum" -- faking it -- and then watched as guards struggled to get him on his feet. But the guards realized it was useless.

"After we found out he was dead, they were nervous," Spc. Dennis E. Stevanus said of the CIA interrogator and translator. "They didn't know what the hell to do."

Negroponte in Honduras.

Joseph E. Milligan wrote in the L.A. Times in 2001 of John Negroponte's tenure as U.S. ambassador during the contra wars in the 80's.

"According to a 1997 CIA inspector general's report, U.S. officials in Honduras were aware of serious violations of human rights by the Honduran military during the 1980s but did not adequately report this to Congress. A heavily redacted version of the report notes particularly that the U.S. Embassy suppressed sensitive data during Negroponte's time there...

In a section with repeated references to the capture and execution of Jose Maria Reyes Mata, the political leader of the group, the CIA inspector general's report cited a source whose name has been blacked out who "believes that the embassy country team in Honduras wanted reports on subjects such as this to be benign to avoid Congress looking over its shoulders."

Reporting murders, executions and corruption, says the source, would "reflect negatively on Honduras and not be beneficial in carrying out U.S. policy."

The embassy seemed particularly sensitive to reports about the operation in which the two U.S. citizens disappeared, the report said, quoting another source as recalling "a discussion . . . circa 1983 wherein the latter indicated that unspecified individuals at the embassy did not want information concerning human rights abuses . . . to be disseminated because it was viewed as an internal Honduran matter."

This is corroborated by an Aug. 19, 1985, handwritten memo declassified by the State Department: "Fr. Carney case . . . is dead. Front office does not want the case active. . . . We aren't telling that to the family."

The Baltimore Sun reported:

As U.S. ambassador to Honduras and its military-run government from 1981 to 1985, Negroponte was suspected of a key role in carrying out the covert strategy of the Reagan administration to crush the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

The Reagan administration's support of the anti-Sandinista Contra rebels in Nicaragua and its sale of missiles to Iran in connection with the U.S. hostages held there turned into the Iran-Contra scandal that rocked President Reagan's second term.

Honduras, itself, was accused of human rights abuses while Negroponte held the ambassador's post. Negroponte's nomination for the U.N. post was confirmed by the Senate in September 2001 only after a half-year delay caused mostly by criticism of his record in Honduras.

For weeks before his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Negroponte was questioned by staff members on whether he had acquiesced to human rights abuses by a Honduran death squad funded and partly trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Negroponte testified that he did not believe the abuses were part of a deliberate Honduran government policy. "To this day," he said, "I do not believe that death squads were operating in Honduras."

But Leo Valladares, a law professor who was Honduras' first human rights commissioner afterward, said, "He knew about the abuses and violations of human rights of those the United States considered subversives."

In a report in 1993, Valladares blamed a U.S.-trained battalion for the disappearance of 184 suspected leftists."

From another Baltimore Sun article quoted at UNWIRE:

"Ambassador Negroponte knew all about the human rights violations and he did nothing to stop them," said Leo Valladares, the human rights commissioner for Honduras who spent years investigating such abuses in the 1980s. "He was more interested in politics than in human rights violations" (Baltimore Sun, 7 Mar)."

See Valladares' congressional testimony to congress.

Negroponte is reported have wanted to leave Iraq and that's how he got the nomination. What a trooper.

WaPoWaPo:

Bush says of Negroponte "His service in Iraq during these past few historic months has given him something that will prove an incalculable advantage for an intelligence chief: an unvarnished and up-close look at a deadly enemy."

[It's amazing what you can learn after a few months firmly secured behind a steel wall encased in concrete blast barriers.]

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told reporters yesterday that he thinks Negroponte has done "an absolutely first-class job in Iraq" and that the ambassador is "clearly an excellent choice" to be intelligence chief.

[And so have you Rummy. If anyone would know about a first-class job it's you.]

Negroponte's name did not arise in the early speculation that swirled around the new intelligence post, which had mentioned former CIA director Robert M. Gates, current CIA Director Porter J. Goss and retired Army Gen. Tommy R. Franks as candidates.

But in the past few weeks, after some candidates were hesitant about the job, the White House focused on Negroponte after it became clear that he wanted to leave his Baghdad post."

See more about Battalion 3-16,,which Negroponte never heard of while they were rampaging through Honduras.

Learn more about the School of The Americas where many death squad leaders got their education, courtesy of the American tax payers.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:59 PM EST
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