New Report: Detainees Describe Religous Degradation

Human Rights First has printed some newly declassified notes of U.S. lawyers, made during interviewes with their clients at Guantanamo. The detainees describe the use of tactics by interrogators intended to degrade their religious beliefs. Here is a direct link to their stories. (pdf.)

“In detention centers around the world, the United States has been humiliating Muslim prisoners by offending their religious beliefs,” said Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch.

The group also asserts that Newsweek is not to blame for the riots and deaths in Afghanistan that occurred in the wake of it's article:

“The damage in the riots was directly caused by violent protestors and poorly disciplined Afghan police and troops, not by Newsweek’s editors,” said Brody. Human Rights Watch noted that the Newsweek story would not have resonated had it not been for the United States’ extensive abuse of Muslim detainees.

As for repairing the image of the U.S. in the Arab World,

"If the U.S. government wants to repair the public relations damage caused by its mistreatment of detainees, it needs to investigate those who ordered or condoned this abuse, not attack those who have reported on it. " Reed Brody, special counsel for Human Rights Watch.

The group points out that it was Rumsfeld who triggered the abusive policies back in 2002:

....On December 2, 2002, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld authorized a list of techniques for interrogation of prisoners at Guantánamo, which included “removal of all comfort items (including religious items),” “forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc.),” and “removal of clothing.” Each of these practices is considered offensive to many Muslims. These techniques were later applied in Afghanistan and Iraq as well.

It was Secretary of State Rumsfeld, guided by a torture memo signed by Jay Bybee, whom Bush later elevated to a seat on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals (see how it all comes around) and put into action by Alberto Gonzales, who decided to overlook the protocols of the Geneva Conventions:

Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions, which sets out minimum requirements for the treatment of persons in armed conflicts, requires detainees to be treated humanely without adverse distinction based on religion or faith. Outrages upon personal dignity are prohibited, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.

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  • These techniques have been applied by Israel in the occupied territories for years and they were co-opted by our lovely Neocon government, possibly in the hopes for sparking a wider jihad so that they can merrily extend the party on to a few more "axis of evil" countries. It may seem ironic that a few Confederate flag wavin, hillbilly prison guards will be the ones taking the fall for the Ivy League types that set the torture policy up, but that's business as usual in the brave new world disorder of the 'Cons.

    But...But...it's all Newsweeks fault! Oh, and now the Sun's fault! I've been assured that the world's outrage had nothing to do with administration policy, by the Bush admin., and the denizens of LGF and the Freepers.....oh....I see my mistake. My apologies.

    Mission accomplished.