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Amnesty International Letter to Bush

Amnesty International has written this open letter to President George W. Bush on the question of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of Iraqi prisoners. As to the Taguba report, the letter says:

The Taguba report emphasized that the findings were "amply" supported by confessions from suspected perpetrators, statements from detainees and witnesses, as well as "extremely graphic photographic evidence". The report found that there was a failure to establish clear training, procedures and oversight on interrogation and treatment of detainees, and "that very little instruction or training" was provided to military police personnel on the applicable rules of the Geneva Conventions.

....The Taguba report presents evidence that the abuse allegedly inflicted on the detainees in Iraq followed requests from military intelligence and other government interrogators that the military police (MP) guards in the prison "set physical and mental conditions for favourable interrogation of witnesses". Guards alleged that military intelligence personnel had given instructions including "loosen this guy up for us", "make sure he has a bad night"; "make sure he gets the treatment"; and "Good job, they're breaking down real fast. They answer every question. They're giving out good information, Finally, and Keep up the good work. Stuff like that."

Amnesty recounts the pattern of abuses it reported to the Administration over a long period of time.

During the past two years, consistent allegations of brutality and cruelty by US agents against detainees, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been presented by Amnesty International and others at the highest levels of the US Government, including the White House, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State.

As with hundreds if not thousands of other detainees, during his whole time in Bagram and Kandahar, Wazir Mohammad was held incommunicado. He was given no opportunity to challenge the lawfulness of his detention. He had no lawyer, no access to his family, and was not brought before any court, including the "competent tribunal" envisaged by the Geneva Conventions to determine prisoner status in time of war. He never met a delegate from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) either. During more than a year in Guantánamo he says he met an ICRC delegate once, on the first day.

The Amnesty letter reviews the deaths in custody. This one is particularly disturbing:

Amnesty International repeats here one of the allegations made in the journal of Staff Sergeant Ivan L. Frederick concerning a death in custody of an Iraqi prisoner in Abu Ghraib: "They stressed him out so bad that the man passed away. They put his body in a body bag and packed him in ice for approximately 24 hours in the shower… The next day the medics came in and put his body on a stretcher, placed a fake IV in his arm and took him away." Frederick stated that the prisoner had never been recorded in the prison system "and therefore never had a number".

The letter ends with a long list of corrective measures to be taken. We won't reprint them here, but everyone should read them.

< Ashcroft's Connection to Abu Ghraib | Troops Taught How to Torture >
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