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Hal
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte...5080201941.html

Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush was being stubborn with his American captors, and a series of intense beatings and creative interrogation tactics were not enough to break his will. On the morning of Nov. 26, 2003, a U.S. Army interrogator and a military guard grabbed a green sleeping bag, stuffed Mowhoush inside, wrapped him in an electrical cord, laid him on the floor and began to go to work. Again.

It was inside the sleeping bag that the 56-year-old detainee took his last breath through broken ribs, lying on the floor beneath a U.S. soldier in Interrogation Room 6 in the western Iraqi desert. Two days before, a secret CIA-sponsored group of Iraqi paramilitaries, working with Army interrogators, had beaten Mowhoush nearly senseless, using fists, a club and a rubber hose, according to classified documents.

...

Determining the details of the general's demise has been difficult because the circumstances are listed as "classified" on his official autopsy, court records have been censored to hide the CIA's involvement in his questioning, and reporters have been removed from a Fort Carson courtroom when testimony relating to the CIA has surfaced.

Despite Army investigators' concerns that the CIA and Special Forces soldiers also were involved in serious abuse leading up to Mowhoush's death, the investigators reported they did not have the authority to fully look into their actions. The CIA inspector general's office has launched an investigation of at least one CIA operative who identified himself to soldiers only as "Brian." The CIA declined to comment on the matter, as did an Army spokesman, citing the ongoing criminal cases.

Although Mowhoush's death certificate lists his cause of death as "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression," the Dec. 2, 2003, autopsy, quoted in classified documents and released with redactions, showed that Mowhoush had "contusions and abrasions with pattern impressions" over much of his body, and six fractured ribs. Investigators believed a "long straight-edge instrument" was used on Mowhoush, as well an "object like the end of an M-16" rifle.

...

Hours after Mowhoush's death in U.S. custody on Nov. 26, 2003, military officials issued a news release stating that the prisoner had died of natural causes after complaining of feeling sick. Army psychological-operations officers quickly distributed leaflets designed to convince locals that the general had cooperated and outed key insurgents.

The U.S. military initially told reporters that Mowhoush had been captured during a raid. In reality, he had walked into the Forward Operating Base "Tiger" in Qaim on Nov. 10, 2003, hoping to speak with U.S. commanders to secure the release of his sons, who had been arrested in raids 11 days earlier.

...

At Blacksmith, according to military sources, there was a tiered system of interrogations. Army interrogators were the first level.

When Army efforts produced nothing useful, detainees would be handed over to members of Operational Detachment Alpha 531, soldiers with the 5th Special Forces Group, the CIA or a combination of the three. "The personnel were dressed in civilian clothes and wore balaclavas to hide their identity," according to a Jan. 18, 2004, report for the commander of the 82nd Airborne Division.

If they did not get what they wanted, the interrogators would deliver the detainees to a small team of the CIA-sponsored Iraqi paramilitary squads, code-named Scorpions, according to a military source familiar with the operation. The Jan. 18 memo indicates that it was "likely that indigenous personnel in the employ of the CIA interrogated MG Mowhoush."

Sometimes, soldiers and intelligence officers used the mere existence of the paramilitary unit as a threat to induce detainees to talk, one Army soldier said in an interview. "Detainees knew that if they went to those people, bad things would happen," the soldier said. "It was used as a motivator to get them to talk. They didn't want to go with the masked men."

...

"OGA Brian and the four indig were interrogating an unknown detainee," according to a classified memo, using the slang "Other Government Agency" for the CIA and "indig" for indigenous Iraqis.

"When he didn't answer or provided an answer that they didn't like, at first [redacted]would slap Mowhoush, and then after a few slaps, it turned into punches," Ryan testified. "And then from punches, it turned into [redacted] using a piece of hose."

"The indig were hitting the detainee with fists, a club and a length of rubber hose," according to classified investigative records.

Soldiers heard Mowhoush "being beaten with a hard object" and heard him "screaming" from down the hall, according to the Jan. 18, 2004, provost marshal's report. The report said four Army guards had to carry Mowhoush back to his cell.

Two days later, at 8 a.m., Nov. 26, Mowhoush -- prisoner No. 76 -- was brought, moaning and breathing hard, to Interrogation Room 6, according to court testimony.

Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer Jr. did a first round of interrogations for 30 minutes, taking a 15-minute break and resuming at 8:45. According to court testimony, Welshofer and Spec. Jerry L. Loper, a mechanic assuming the role of guard, put Mowhoush into the sleeping bag and wrapped the bag in electrical wire.

Investigative records show that Mowhoush "becomes unresponsive" at 9:06 a.m. Medics tried to resuscitate him for 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead.

I'm not sure what to think about this. It seems undeniable that the CIA is regularly using torture (actual torture, not the reported 'Abu Ghraib' stuff) and that there are serious cover-ups going on, and my initial reaction is one of abject disgust. There is an argument to be made that this guy was one of the high ranking generals within Saddam's army (and apprently not a particularly nice person) and hence could have had valuable information. But given that torture is going on and coverups do seem to be taking place, its hard to fight the suspicion that torture is also being used on others that are a lot less deserving. I think my biggest problem is the 'not knowing' - its exceptionally difficult to find out what's actually taking place due to the continual attempts to prevent information getting out, and hence forming an educated opinion seems almost impossible :/

Edited by softwareNerd
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And another report

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story...1540752,00.html

A former London schoolboy accused of being a dedicated al-Qaida terrorist has given the first full account of the interrogation and alleged torture endured by so-called ghost detainees held at secret prisons around the world.

For two and a half years US authorities moved Benyam Mohammed around a series of prisons in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan, before he was sent to Guant√°namo Bay in September last year.

Mohammed, 26, who grew up in Notting Hill in west London, is alleged to be a key figure in terrorist plots intended to cause far greater loss of life than the suicide bombers of 7/7. One allegation, which he denies, is of planning to detonate a "dirty bomb" in a US city; another is that he and an accomplice planned to collapse a number of apartment blocks by renting ground-floor flats to seal, fill with gas from cooking appliances, and blow up with timed detonators.

In an statement given to his newly appointed lawyer, Mohammed has given an account of how he was tortured for more than two years after being questioned by US and British officials who he believes were from the FBI and MI6. As well as being beaten and subjected to loud music for long periods, he claims his genitals were sliced with scalpels.

...

Recruits to some groups connected to al-Qaida are thought to be instructed to make allegations of torture after capture, and most of Mohammed's claims cannot be independently verified. But his description of a prison near Rabat closely resembles the Temara torture centre identified in a report by the US-based Human Rights Watch last October.

Furthermore, this newspaper has obtained flight records showing executive jets operated by the CIA flew in and out of Morocco on July 22 2002 and January 22 2004, the dates he says he was taken to and from the country.

If true, his account adds weight to concerns that the US authorities are torturing by proxy. It also highlights the dilemma of British authorities when they seek information from detainees overseas who they know, or suspect, are tortured.

The lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, says: "This is outsourcing of torture, plain and simple. America knows torture is wrong but gets others to do its unconscionable dirty work.

...

Mohammed alleges he was held at two prisons in Pakistan over three months, hung from leather straps, beaten, and threatened with a firearm by Pakistanis. In repeated questioning by men he believes were FBI agents, he was told he was to go to an Arab country because "the Pakistanis can't do exactly what we want them to".

The torture stopped after a visit by two bearded Britons; he believes they were MI6 officers. He says they told him he was to be tortured by Arabs. At one point, he says, they gave him a cup of tea and told him to take plenty of sugar because "where you're going you need a lot of sugar".

He says he was flown on what he believes was a US aircraft to Morocco, while shackled, blindfolded and wearing earphones. It was, he says, in a jail near Rabat that his real ordeal began. After a fortnight of questioningand intimidation, his captors tortured him with beatings and noise, on and off, for 18 months. He says his torturers used scalpels to make shallow, inch-long incisions on his chest and genitals.

A more graphic account of the alleged torture is here

They cut off my clothes with some kind of doctor's scalpel. I was naked. I tried to put on a brave face. But maybe I was going to be raped. Maybe they'd electrocute me. Maybe castrate me.

They took the scalpel to my right chest. It was only a small cut. Maybe an inch. At first I just screamed ... I was just shocked, I wasn't expecting ... Then they cut my left chest. This time I didn't want to scream because I knew it was coming.

One of them took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony. They must have done this 20 to 30 times, in maybe two hours. There was blood all over. "I told you I was going to teach you who's the man," [one] eventually said.

...

They told me that I must plead guilty. I'd have to say I was an al-Qaida operations man, an ideas man. I kept insisting that I had only been in Afghanistan a short while. "We don't care," was all they'd say.

Again, if this is true (and I dont know how to decide either way, but I'm inclined to believe it), its exceptionally troubling. It's one thing to say that "if hes a terrorist then extracting information by any means necessary is justified", but when the government is abducting people and detaining them without trial, there is no grounds to believe he actually IS a terrorist. The idea of this happening to someone innocent is repulsive.

Edited by Hal
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I also highly doubt that these suspected terrorists are innocent.  Ask yourself: Why is it that they would rather die than give up information to the U.S. soldiers?

Er...

Because if theyre innocent, they wont have the information thats being requested?

And theres a big difference between the (theoretical) statement "Torture can be morally acceptable in a war", and the (practical) statement "Its ok for government agencies to kidnap people, detain them without trial, torture them without letting anyone know, and cover things up when caught".

Edited by Hal
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It's perfectly moral and acceptable to torture and even kill terrorists if neccasary.

Hal, why don't you "know what to think about this"? And why would you want another man's opinion on what to think?

Also, why would you feel "abject disgust" over the torture of evil terrorists. Do you think they felt that on 9/11 after their buddies murdered 3000 people and destroyed a great symbolic representation of America as it ought to be (ie, the World Trade Center)?

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It seems undeniable that the CIA is regularly using torture (actual torture, not the reported 'Abu Ghraib' stuff) and that there are serious cover-ups going on, and my initial reaction is one of abject disgust

Why?

My initial reaction is that, if this were actually true, it would be great news. It would mean that the reason we are not hearing about the enemy being interrogated is that the interrogations are kept a secret and not that there are no interrogations taking place.

However, given that the sources are The Washington Post and the Guardian, I find it more likely that the stories are simply made up.

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Also, why would you feel "abject disgust" over the torture of evil terrorists.

First, what do you mean by evil terrorists? Are there other kinds?

Second, how do you know whether any or all of the accused are terrorists? I hope you are not simply taking the word of (usually unnamed) bureaucrats. If you are, then your trust in government employees -- who are operating in this case outside the law and outside of checks and balances -- is very touching.

I hold that any torture done should be done openly and it should follow an objective procedure subject to challenge and review -- not done at the whims of men who might be sadists looking for victims.

Third, do you believe U. S. police should use torture to help them uncover serial killers here in the U. S.? Serial killers are as bad as many terrorists.

Is it moral to torture in certain conditions outside civilized society -- as in an all-out war? I think so. Ignoring the fact that there is no war, what I question most is the effectiveness of torture. I wonder if it wouldn't be a lot more effective to assign U. S. soldiers to killing the enemy in Syria, rather than having them sit around torturing individuals who may or may not be guilty of terrorism.

Torture is evidence, in this case, of the failure of the Bush administration's safety-through-human-sacrifices program. If the U. S. and its allies were fighting a serious war, torture would be irrelevant. The U. S. military "needs" torture because President Bush has granted sanctuary to terrorists fleeing to Syria and Pakistan and because of restraints on military operations within Iraq -- for example, in Fallujah.

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What I don't get in the guys diary records is, why anyone would want him to lie? He says specifically they were training him to say certain things, to admit his guilt--but that doesn't help us in anyway, we don't gain any helpfl information through his lying so why would our soldiers do it?

Secondly this little entry, where he asks why he is being tortured an american soldier's supposed response is :

"As far as I know, it's just to degrade you. So when you leave here, you'll have these scars and you'll never forget. So you'll always fear doing anything but what the US wants."

I'm sorry but does that sound at like the something someone would actually say?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/...1540552,00.html

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And another report

http://www.guardian.co.uk/guantanamo/story...1540752,00.html

A more graphic account of the alleged torture is here

Again, if this is true (and I dont know how to decide either way, but I'm inclined to believe it), its exceptionally troubling. It's one thing to say that "if hes a terrorist then extracting information by any means necessary is justified", but when the government is abducting people and detaining them without trial, there is no grounds to believe he actually IS a terrorist. The idea of this happening to someone innocent is repulsive.

Just remember that this committed mystical Islamist has as an article of his faith that lying to accomplish the furtherance of the spread of totalitarian Islam is a religious duty and a virtue. Not one word he says should be accepted at face value.

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I wholeheartedly support Burgess's opinion on this issue. Torture on terrorists? That's dandy, I'm all for justice and any means that can get us more information. Torture on suspected terrorists (that is, unconfirmed criminals)? Are you kidding me? Surely any supporter of torture on a human being who has not been proven under a rational system of inquiry to be a criminal is making an awfully unfunny and disgusting joke.

As much as we loathe terrorists (the same with serial killers), we ought to demand a strict and rigorous standard of justice and investigation before using the option of torture. Torture should be treated as seriously as the death penalty.

The burden of proof lies on the shoulders of the agency that is performing the torture (the US army or CIA or whichever it may be). That is to say, we ought to be no more willing to trust the man or woman wearing the American flag than the man or woman who is suspected of a crime if the American has not provided ample proof of the criminal's injust actions.

I personally know a few "sadistic types" who have as a reason for entering the military the fact that they will be able to actually "shoot real people." I'm not letting this taint my view of American military men and women (because I am not justified in thinking it is generally representative of military men and women) just as much as I'm not willing to let a foreigner's foreign status taint my view of them. It's all about the evidence, and we ought to base our decisions of loyalty on reason and reality, not on which person is wearing which flag.

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Certain torture is appropriate, such as sleep deprivation.

I am opposed to torture that inflicts unbearable pain, but for different reasons than most. I don't care at all about the terrorists...they have forfeited their rights as human beings and no amount of pain should be considered "inhuman" when being inflicted upon them. But if you're trying to get useful information, inflicting unbearable pain is a bad way to do it, because they'll tell you anything just to get you to stop; often what they tell you will be lies. They may not even know the information that you're trying to get, so it's really pointless. But if you want to use sleep deprivation, or food deprivation, go for it.

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If we need to torture any person that we reasonbly think is a terrorist to get information to save American lifes then it is fully and morally justified to do so. If we accidently torture or kill an innocent man then the blood is on the real terrorists hands for putting us in the position in which we must resort to torture in which to protect ourselves from future attack. The same priniciple would justify the deaths of civilians from a nuclear attack on, say, Tehran (or for a historical precedent that I've noticed Burgess approves of--Hiroshima).

As for torturing mass murderers and other criminals this is a terrible analogy. Terrorists are not American citizens, but are essentially soldiers who wear no uniforms and who represent no nation in battle. If this were the Second World War these men wouldn't be detained and possibly tortured. They would have been shot on the spot.

And we are involved in a war. Maybe not an officially "declared" war at the moment. But it most certainly is a real war. A war against men who go out of their way to kill as many inoccent men, women, and children as they possibly can. In fact I think one day this fight will be known as World War Three. I also agree that we need to be much more aggresive in this war by attacking both Syria and Iran to topple their "governments". This is absolutely where the Bush administration is failing at the moment.

As for using "evil terrorists", I agree it is somewhat redundant, but I just wanted to make it clear about the type of people we are at war with.

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Burgess isn't against interrogation and torture, he is against doing it in a system where it isn't open to the public and it is not subject to checks and balances. You are leaving the torture to the irrational whims of government and military officials.

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Okay, then that makes sense. I also don't trust our government fully (or even mostly, for that matter), but I think the interrogators are for the most part only going to resort to torture if it is needed to gain information as a last resort. I highly doubt they are just going to torture people on a whim or because they are sadistic. And if they do, and are caught, I'm relatively certain they would soon find themselves on the other side of the bars.

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One of the aspects of this torture issue which I find disturbing is the fact that the media almost never give the context in which these terrorists are being interrogated. Who are the individuals receiving this treatment? What were the circumstances of their capture? What are their backgrounds? From what I understand, these people are either hard-core terrorists or Saddam loyalists who are thought to posess information that could be useful in saving innocent lives. When that is the case, I have no problem with torture.

However, Burgess makes a good point in that it should be done openly in a manner that allows for review and oversight.

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I think the interrogators are for the most part only going to resort to torture if it is needed to gain information as a last resort. I highly doubt they are just going to torture people on a whim or because they are sadistic.

What is your evidence for this belief?

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What is your evidence for this belief?

My evidence is my understanding of how a "normal" man would act and think during such circumstances. Other evidence would include the command structure and rules and prior phycological testing of the various oficers which would in general preclude men from using arbitrary torture and force.

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