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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Leaked Red Cross report on internment and interrogation conditions in Iraq during 2003

The leaked Red Cross report of February 2004 containing descriptions of practices at Abu Ghraib:
3.2 Military intelligence section, "Abu Ghraib Correctional Facility"

27. In mid October 2003, the ICRC visited persons deprived of their liberty undergoing interrogation by military intelligence officers in Unit 1A, the "Isolation section" of "Abu Ghraib" Correctional Facility. Most of these persons deprived of their liberty had been arrested in early October. During the visit, ICRC delegates directly witnessed and documented a variety of methods used to secure the cooperation of the persons deprived of their liberty with their interrogator. In particular they witnessed the practice of keeping persons deprived of their liberty completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and in total darkness, allegedly for several consecutive days. Upon witnessing such cases, the ICRC interrupted its visits and requested an explanation from the authorities. The military intelligence officer in charge of the interrogation explained that this practice was "part of the process". The process appeared to be a give-and-take policy whereby persons deprived of their liberty were "drip-fed" with new items (clothing, bedding, hygiene articles, lit cell, etc) in exchange for their "cooperation". The ICRC also visited other persons deprived of their liberty held in total darkness, others in dimly lit cells who had been allowed to dress following periods during which they had been held naked. Several had been given women's underwear to wear under their jumpsuit (men's underwear was not distributed), which they felt to be humiliating.

The ICRC documented other forms of ill-treatment, usually combined with those described above, including threats, insults, verbal violence, sleep deprivation caused by the playing of loud music or constant light in cells devoid of windows, tight handcuffing with flexi-cuffs causing lesions and wounds around the wrists. Punishment included being made to walk in the corridors handcuffed and naked, or with women's underwear on the head, or being handcuffed either dressed or naked to the bed bars or the cell door. Some persons deprived of their liberty presented physical marks and psychological symptoms, which were compatible with these allegations. The ICRC medical delegate examined persons deprived of their liberty presenting signs of concentration difficulties, memory problems, verbal expression difficulties, incoherent speech, acute anxiety reactions, abnormal behaviour and suicidal tendencies. These symptoms appeared to have been caused by the methods and duration of interrogation. One person held in isolation that the ICRC examined, was unresponsive to verbal and painful stimuli. His heart rate was 120 beats per minute and his respiratory rate 18 per minute. He was diagnosed as suffering from somatoform (mental) disorder, specifically a conversion disorder, most likely due to the ill-treatment he was subjected to during interrogation.

According to the allegations collected by the ICRC, detaining authorities also continued to keep persons deprived of their liberty during the period of interrogation, uninformed of the reason for their arrest. They were often questioned without knowing what they were accused of. They were not allowed to ask questions and were not provided with an opportunity to seek clarification about the reason for their arrest. Their treatment tended to vary according to their degree of cooperation with their interrogators: those who cooperated were afforded preferential treatment such as being allowed contacts with other persons deprived of their liberty, being allowed to phone their families, being given clothes, bedding equipment, food. water or cigarettes, being allowed access to showers, being held in a lit cell. etc.
The only allegation of rape contained within that document relate to threats by an Iraqi Police officer:
The mother of one of the persons deprived of liberty was reportedly brought in and the policemen threatened to mistreat her. Another person deprived of his liberty was threatened with having his wife brought in and raped. They were made to fingerprint their alleged confessions of guilt which resulted in their transfer to the CF to be interned pending trial.
UPDATE: Many other documents pertaining to the Abu Ghraib investigation, published by The Center for Public Integrity.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 10/25/2005 09:52:00 AM


Blogger Chris said...

I came across a website yesterday that purported to show images of American soldiers raping Iraqi women. Not sure if it's real or not. Can give a link if you like.

10/25/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Adolf Fiinkensein said...

roger, I imagine if you try hard enough you might even find a website purporting to to show members of the Taliban taking Holy Communion the Pope.

10/25/2005 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Whaleoil said...

Whats with the "persons deprived of their liberty"?

I can't find anything untoward with a more traditional statement like "prisoner"

10/25/2005 10:24:00 PM  

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