Pakistani, tortured in Iraq, sues British government


This rock music video from Brazil is called Torture Squad – Holiday in Abu Ghraib (Official Music Video HD). Lyrics are here.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

MoD and Foreign Office sued by Pakistani citizen in Iraq torture case

Yunus Rahmatullah accuses UK of complicity in torture and abuse after his capture by British special forces in Iraq in 2004

Richard Norton-Taylor

Tuesday 29 July 2014 09.56 BST

A Pakistani citizen is suing the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office, accusing them of responsibility for his subjection to torture and severe abuse over 10 years.

Yunus Rahmatullah was captured by British special forces in Iraq in 2004 and handed over to US troops soon afterwards. The incident was initially kept secret from ministers and only disclosed to MPs five years later, in 2009. Rahmatullah, now 31, was released by the US without charge in May.

He is believed to have been first held at Camp Nama, a secret detention facility at Baghdad airport that British troops helped to run. He was later transferred to Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib jail before being rendered to the Bagram “black prison” in Afghanistan.

The court of appeal ruled in 2011 that Rahmatullah was unlawfully detained and ordered a writ of habeas corpus – the ancient British legal right to be charged or released from arbitrary detention – to be issued.

However, lawyers acting for the government later successfully argued in the supreme court that British ministers had no power “to direct the US” to release Rahmatullah from Bagram.

He describes in detail his torture and abuse in a 60-page document drawn up by his lawyers and seen by the Guardian. He says when he was captured by British special forces in Iraq in early 2004 he was beaten unconscious. Soldiers cut his clothes with a pair of scissors until, he says, he was “completely naked”.

His lawyers’ statement of claim describes how a soldier poured water on to Rahmatullah’s face after placing a cloth over his mouth and nose causing “a sensation of drowning”.

He was shackled and hooded, and lapsed in and out of consciousness as he was beaten and thrown against a wall. He was suspended upside down and “repeatedly dunked into a tank of water”, says the court document.

At one point, he was taken to a room “where he was horrified to see six or seven naked detainees piled on top of each other”, according to the court statement. He was thrown on top of the detainees and kept in the room for more than two days.

Despite an agreement signed by Britain and the US that specifically referred to the rights of prisoners of war and detained civilians enshrined in the Geneva conventions and international humanitarian law, Rahmatullah was handed over to US forces who secretly took him to Afghanistan. His entire body, including his eyes and mouth, were “taped tightly with duct tape”, the court document says. He was locked in a solitary cell with rats and cockroaches. With other Bagram detainees, he was exposed to daylight in 2006, for the first time in two and half years.

After going on hunger strike, he was subjected to force-feeding on six separate occasions. Apart from limited communication with International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) representatives, he had no contact with the outside world, including his family, until 2010.

British officials, their “servants and agents”, were “recklessly indifferent to the illegality of their actions”, Rahmatullah’s lawyers have told the high court.

Kat Craig, legal director at the human rights group Reprieve, who has recently visited Rahmatullah, said he had been “through 10 years of frankly unimaginable horror”.

She added: “Now that he has finally been able to speak freely to his lawyers, there is no longer any doubt that the British government bears responsibility for his torture and illegal rendition to Bagram.”

Craig continued: “Yunus was robbed of 10 years in the prime of his life; a time when he wanted to find a career, choose a partner and build a family.

“The government must now come clean about the full extent of British involvement in this disgraceful episode in our history – only then will Yunus be able to move on and try to rebuild his life.”

Reprieve legal directors says there is ‘no doubt’ of British responsibility for torture and rendition of Yunus Rahmatullah: here.

CIA drone strike in Pakistan criminal investigation


This video from Pakistan says about itself:

Karim Khan submits application to file FIR against Jonathan Banks

13 December 2010

Karim Khan, whose brother and son were killed in a drone strike, on Monday submitted an application for the registration of a First Investigation Report (FIR) against Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Station Chief Jonathan Banks. More here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

PAKISTAN: The High Court in Islamabad ordered police today to begin criminal investigation of CIA involvement in a drone strike that killed three people on December 31 2009.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui told officers to examine whether former CIA Islamabad station chief Jonathan Banks and former CIA general counsel John Rizzo were guilty of committing murder, waging war against Pakistan and offences under the Terrorism Act 1997 for their involvement in authorising the strike.

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Pakistani freed from US torture jail in Afghanistan after ten years


This video from the USA says about itself:

“From the producer of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and Who Killed the Electric Car? comes a documentary that takes a critical look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture by investigating the death of an Afghan taxi driver who, after being taken into the custody of American soldiers at Bagram Air Force Base, suffered fatal injuries at the hands of U.S. soldiers. In 2002, American soldiers accused an Afghan taxi driver of taking part in a deadly rocket attack. Five days after being handed over to the U.S. military for questioning, the man was found dead — the victim of a brutal bout of torture and abuse according to the medical examiner who inspected his body. The examiner concluded that the taxi driver’s hands had been bound to the ceiling, forcing him to stand for hours on end as his assailants repeatedly — and relentlessly — kicked him.

Compelled to finally unearth the truth about the mysterious fate of the deceased taxi driver, filmmaker Alex Gibney takes viewers on an illuminating journey from a tiny Afghani village to Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib, and ultimately the White House, to explore why the man who turned up in the morgue wasn’t the only victim to fall prey to the Bush administration’s controversial foreign policy.

By examining the sad fate of the wrongly accused, the toll that the War on Terror has taken on an exhausted United States military, and Justice Department official John Yoo’s internal memo concerning interrogation techniques, the filmmakers behind Taxi to the Dark Side encourage viewers to weigh out the issues for themselves, and never accept what’s told to them on face value. The film won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 80th Annual Academy Awards.”

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

Pakistani man captured by British forces in Iraq released from US Bagram prison in Afghanistan after 10-year ordeal

Saturday 17th May 2014

Pakistani citizen Yunus Rahmatullah is released from 10-year detention by the US at Bagram airbase following a transfer from British forces in Iraq which the Supreme Court suggested could be a war crime.

A Pakistani citizen held at Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan for a decade has been released, it was revealed yesterday.

Yunus Rahmatullah was held at the US airbase for 10 years without charge, trial or access to a lawyer after his capture by British forces in Iraq and subsequent rendition to Afghanistan by British forces in 2004.

After years of government denials that Britain had been involved in rendition operations, Mr Rahmatullah’s capture by British forces was finally revealed to Parliament in February 2009 by then-secretary of state for defence John Hutton.

Despite admitting its role in Mr Rahmatullah’s illegal detention and transfer, the government refused to assist him.

As a result legal charity Reprieve and Leigh Day solicitors took action on Mr Rahmatullah’s behalf by legal action.

It was subsequently revealed that British officials were aware of a US intention to transfer Mr Rahmatullah from Iraq to Afghanistan at the time, yet did nothing to prevent it.

The Supreme Court in London suggested in 2012 that his rendition may have amounted to a war crime, stating: “The, presumably forcible, transfer of Mr Rahmatullah from Iraq to Afghanistan is, at least prima facie, a breach of article 49 [of the fourth Geneva Convention]. On that account alone, his continued detention post-transfer is unlawful.”

Mr Rahmatullah is said to be in a grave mental and physical condition as a result of his ordeal.

Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said: “After 10 years of unimaginable abuse and imprisonment at the hands the British and US forces, Yunus Rahmatullah deserves a full investigation into the circumstances of his capture.

“As its pernicious role in the worst abuses of the ‘war on terror’ continues to come to light, the British government must hold its hands up and right the wrongs of the past.”

Leigh Day solicitor Rosa Curling added: “The UK authorities transferred our client in to US custody, when it knew there was a real risk such a transfer would expose him to torture, mistreatment and abuse.

“They failed to take proper steps to try to ensure the US returned him to UK custody. To date, the UK government has refused to undertake such an investigation.”

Today in 2003: New York Times exposes torture of prisoners by US and British soldiers in Basra, Iraq: here.

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Saudi prince kills 2,100 vulnerable houbara bustards in Pakistan


This video is called MacQueen’s Bustard on a mating dance.

Note: the article below here mentions “houbara bustards“. Meanwhile, biologists consider the MacQueen’s bustards of Pakistan and elsewhere in Asia, as a species, separate from the African houbara bustard. BirdLife still sees the two species as one species; which it considers Vulnerable.

From Dawn daily in Pakistan:

Arab royal hunts down 2,100 houbara bustards in three week safari

KARACHI: A Saudi prince has poached over 2,100 internationally protected houbara bustards in 21-day hunting safari in Chagai, Balochistan, during which the royal also indulged in illegal hunting in protected areas, says a report.

The report titled ‘Visit of Prince Fahd bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud regarding hunting of houbara bustard’ prepared by Jaffar Baloch, divisional forest officer of the Balochistan forest and wildlife department, Chagai at Dalbandin, says the prince hunted for 21 days – from Jan 11, 2014 to Jan 31– and hunted 1,977 birds, while other members of his party hunted an additional 123 birds, bringing the total bustard toll to 2,100, sources said.

They said that hunting of the internationally protected bird was banned in Pakistan also, but the federal government issued special permits to Gulf states’ royals.

Permits, which are person specific and could not be used by anyone else, allow the holders to hunt up to 100 houbara bustards in 10 days in the area allocated, excluding reserved and protected areas.

The report dated Feb 4, 2014 (No: 216-219 HB/CHI) says that during the 21-day safari the prince hunted the birds for 15 days in the reserved and protected areas, poached birds in other areas for six days and took rest for two days.

Giving a breakup of date-wise as well as area-wise details of the prince’s expedition, the report says that he hunted 112 houbara bustards in the Gut game sanctuary (Arbe pat) which is a reserved and protected area on Jan 11, 2014.

Also read: Houbara bustard butchery | An eulogy for 2,100 bustards

The next two days on Jan 12 and 13th he hunted 116 and 93 birds in the Gut game sanctuary (Sai Rek) which is also a reserved and protected area. Then for the next two days Prince Fahd, who is also governor of Tabuk, visited Sato Gut and hunted 82 and 80 houbaras on Jan 14 and 15, respectively. On Jan 16, he visited Gut-i-Barooth and hunted 79 houbaras. Both these areas are not protected areas, says the report.

For the next six days the Saudi royal camped in the Koh-i-Sultan state forest, which is a reserved and protected area, and hunted 93, 82, 94, 97, 96 and 120 houbara bustards on Jan 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22, respectively.

On Jan 23 and 24, he continued his hunting spree in the Gut game sanctuary (Dam), which is a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 116 and 197 houbara bustards, respectively.

The prince carried out hunting of the protected bird in Thalo Station and hunted 89 houbara bustards on Jan 25 and spent the next two days hunting the birds in Pul Choto, killing 34 and 89 birds on Jan 26 and 27, respectively. Both of these areas are neither reserved nor protected, says the report.

The remaining four days, Prince Fahd spent in the Gut game sanctuary, a reserved as well as protected area, and hunted 92, 94, 119 and 97 birds on Jan 28, 29, 30, and 31, respectively. The royal guest took rest on Feb 1 and 2 at the Bar Tagzai base camp after bringing the grand total of his trophies to 1,977.

The report says: “123 birds were hunted by local representatives and other labourers of the hunting party. The total bustards hunted by Prince Fahd bin Abdul Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud are 1,977 and total bustards hunted by local representatives and other labourers are 123 bringing the grand total to 2100”.

See also here. And here.

This reminds me of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco’s butchery of partridges.

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NSA, Dutch military spy on millions of Somalis for drone attacks


This video says about itself:

Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen & Somalia include targeting Rescuers and Funerals

US Drone Strike statistics based on research by a team of journalists of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

(As of October 10, 2012)

CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 349
Obama strikes: 297
Total reported killed: 2,593-3,365
Civilians reported killed: 474-884
Children reported killed: 176
Total reported injured: 1,249-1,389

For latest Pakistan strike data click here.

US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 — 2012:

Total confirmed US operations (all): 52-62
Total confirmed US drone strikes: 40-50
Possible additional US operations: 119-138
Possible additional US drone strikes: 63-76
Total reported killed (all): 357-1,038
Total civilians killed (all): 60-163
Children killed (all): 24-34

For latest data from Yemen click here.

US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 10-23
Total US drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 58-170
Civilians reported killed: 11-57
Children reported killed: 1-3

For complete data on Somalia click here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saturday 8 March 2014, 03:46 (Update: 08-03-14, 09:17 AM)

Dutch data may be used to carry out drone attacks on targets in Somalia. This turns out, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, from documents of the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service(MIVD) intercepted the telephone messages of millions of Somalis and shared that information with the US American security service NSA.

From Snowden‘s documents it would appear that the Americans have no access to the local telephone network in Somalia. According to the NSA, the MIVD does have access to those data, the newspaper writes.

Civilians

The information from the MIVD according to NRC Handelsblad is used in the drone attacks on Somalia. The U.S. military is currently engaged in attacks on members of the terrorist group al- Shabaab. The drone attacks are controversial, as in those attacks often innocent civilians are killed as well.

The Dutch Department of Defense says Dutch information may be used in the attacks, but if at all, that would probably be to a very limited degree.

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