Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Is torture standard?

Denver Post.com published an article by Jim Spenser.
I wish you all read it, and judge the US justice

If torture is standard, we're in for it

By Jim Spencer
Denver Post Staff Columnist

Fort Carson

Every American should be forced to see the autopsy pictures of Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush now on display at the trial of Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr.

Welshofer is charged with murdering the Iraqi general during a November 2003 interrogation. But what's playing out in a Fort Carson courtroom is a nation's shame, not just an individual's.

The autopsy photos of Mowhoush make the now-infamous images from Abu Ghraib prison look like a costume party. Bruises and welts cover Mowhoush's dead body. Doctors ruled that Mowhoush was smothered. Officials charge that Welshofer stuffed him inside a sleeping bag, bound him with an electric cord, sat on his chest and covered his mouth. Still, there is no question that Mowhoush also was savagely beaten.

The United States, which sanctimoniously lectures the rest of the world about human rights, did this. America's political and military hierarchy approved harsher handling of military detainees after the 9/11 attacks. This is what we got.

The prosecution and defense in Welshofer's trial continue to argue about who bears responsibility. Capt. Elana Matt, a prosecutor, claimed Welshofer "abandoned the moral high ground" in his handling of Mowhoush. As testimony drones on, it looks increasingly like America's moral high ground has turned to quicksand.

Welshofer deserves punishment for killing Mowhoush. But the presidential administration and Army chain of command that lets military prisoners be stuffed in sleeping bags or wall lockers or held down to have water poured down their mouths and noses won't get their due. The "non-military" folks (read CIA) whom a witness said beat Mowhoush two days before he died have not even been charged.

Welshofer's company commander knew he was using the so-called "sleeping-bag technique."

Mowhoush probably was a "high-value facilitator of the insurgency in Western Iraq," to use the intelligence-speak of the chief prosecution witness, Chief Warrant Officer Jefferson Williams. But, as military judge Col. Mark Toole reminded everyone, "the victim is not on trial."

American principles are. Williams testified after prosecutors dropped his murder charge in Mowhoush's death. Testifying, as Williams did, under a grant of immunity, Sgt. Justin Lamb, the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment's chief interrogator, talked about "fear up" inquisitions. That's why he invented the sleeping-bag trick. Along with packing prisoners in wall lockers, he used it to induce claustrophobia.

You slip the end of a sleeping bag over the prisoner's head and tie the bag in place, Lamb explained. Then you roll the prisoner back and forth while asking questions.

And, allegedly, if you're Lewis Welshofer, when the prisoner doesn't give you what you want, you also sit on his chest and cover his mouth.

Prosecutors claimed this was not business as usual, that it was the cowboy misbehavior of a lone outlaw. Then their star witness, Williams, took the stand and described how the sleeping-bag technique was no more extreme than many other interrogation techniques he had witnessed. Williams also said he walked away from the eight to 10 "spooks" as they started to clobber Mowhoush with rubber hoses two days before the general died. Williams admitted to hearing screams after he left. He also said he saw "four to five men" carrying the general back to his "cage" afterward.

Similarly, when Welshofer invited Williams to be part of the eventually fatal interrogation of Mowhoush, Williams agreed, but said he had to get a cup of coffee first. Williams went for a second cup of Joe as Welshofer lowered the sleeping bag over Mowhoush's head.

It was, apparently, no big thing.

For as long as it isn't, this question about the humane treatment of military prisoners remains open for all Americans:

If the sleeping-bag technique was used against your soldiers, would you consider it wrong?

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

daily Selection of IRIN Middle East reports, 1/15/2006

In response to my lasat post, I recieved an e-mail from a friend contain the following report.


Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN) - 1995-2005 ten years serving the humanitarian community

[These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


1 - IRAQ: Activists call for protection of academics

BAGHDAD, 15 January (IRIN) - A network of human rights activists and journalists has called for the protection of local academics and higher level educational institutions.

The appeal, launched this month by the Brussells Tribunal, a worldwide network devoted to campaigning against the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, notes the "systematic liquidation of the country's academics."

According to conservative estimates, over 250 educators have been assassinated while hundreds more have disappeared, the network's website states.

Thousands of other academics have reportedly fled the country, in the belief that they are being targeted because they are well educated.

The Brussells Tribunal further notes that the disappearance of trained educators has led not only to "a major brain-drain," but also to the decimation of the secular middle class.

"Anyone who has the ability to imagine a secular future for the country is forced to flee," said Hana al-Bayaty, a member of the network's executive committee.

The assassinations have targeted women and men countrywide, with little reference to political or religious affiliations.

"The most striking fact is that the majority of those killed where not scientists. but were involved in the field of humanities," the anti-war organisation notes, adding that, "the motives for these assassinations are unknown."

In April 2005, the United Nations University published a report noting that 84 percent of Iraq's higher education institutions had been burnt, looted or destroyed since the start of the US-led invasion in 2003.

It went on to point out that four dozen academics had been assassinated, while many more faced daily threats.

In addition to the destruction of vital infrastructure, only 40 percent of which is under reconstruction, other problems facing Iraqi higher learning included an isolated and under-qualified teaching staff; poorly equipped libraries and laboratories; and a fast-growing student population, said the UN report.

A third of the nation's teachers held only bachelors' degrees, despite official requirements of at least a Master's degree, it added.

"The devastation of the Iraqi system of higher education has been overlooked amid other cataclysmic results of the war, but it represents an important consequence of the conflict, economic sanctions and ongoing turmoil in Iraq," noted Jairam Reddy, the study's author and director of the Jordan-based International Leadership Institute.

"Repairing Iraq's system of higher education is in many ways a prerequisite to the long-term repair of the country as a whole," Reddy added.

Iraq's educational system was formerly recognised as being one of the best in the region.

In the meantime, the campaign is calling for an international investigation into the killings and urging academic institutions in other countries to forge links with Iraqi educators, both in exile and at home.

As "an occupying power, and under international humanitarian law, final responsibility for protecting Iraqi citizens, including academics, lies with the United States," the Brussells Tribunal concluded.

Al-Bayaty said the impact of the lack of protection for academics could be felt for two to three decades: "It's a developing country so they need the brains that can contribute to the development of their society," she said.


Monday, January 09, 2006


Dear Friends,

I have just read and signed the online petition:


hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
service, at:


I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might
agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
signing yourself.

Best wishes,

Truth Teller

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Who are the terrorists

A Terrible Crime Committed by the " Maghawir" Police Forces in the Village of Abou-Deshir - Warning to the Readers - The Rapport includes some Horrible Pictures.
"In the poor popular district of Abou-Deshir where the simple people lives, some of the agents of the 'Maghawir ' Police, of The Ministry of Interior, have committed a terrible crime, which could be added to the crimes of sectarian militias working under covered as Security Forces and under full American protection.

On Friday 11th of December 2005, The Police arrested 11 young man at 10 A.M. and drove them from their homes to a near place used as a headquarters, under allegations of been part of the Security Forces of the so-called (Big Crimes). A place which became a house of torture and execution , inspite of his outer look of worship house ."