USA: torture of prisoner to death in Afghanistan

This video says about itself:

The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan – CLOVER-FILMS.COM (Dir. Jamie Doran 2010).

Award-winning Afghan journalist Najibullah Quraishi investigates a sexual exploitation ring. The film exposes the lack of support from those in authority and explores possible responses to the plight of children in this conflict zone.

From in the USA:

RALEIGH, N.C. — In the weeks after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal stunned Iraq, a story emerged from Afghanistan about a CIA contractor named David Passaro, a former Special Forces medic accused of beating an Afghan detainee so severely that he later died.

More than three years later, after several soldiers working at Abu Ghraib have been sentenced to prison, Passaro will finally stand trial when jury selection begins Monday – in a civilian court in his home state of North Carolina.

He is the first, and so far only, civilian to be charged with mistreating a detainee during the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Torture of Australian Jack Thomas: here.

34 thoughts on “USA: torture of prisoner to death in Afghanistan



  2. u ask where is the media. it is over seas portraying americans at the worst never to show the better side of the war or of the people that come up to us and thank us. the media attempts to portray all us soldiers to be bleak mindless killers that are consantly dieing for no apparent reason. Grow up and find a real source of information (like a soldier or refugee that was there or is there) american media is nothing but gore to gain ratings


  3. Hi “a”: what is, according to you, “the better side of the war”? Bombing weddings, killing hundreds of wedding guests? Torturing prisoners in Bagram torture prison or elsewhere? Indeed, this blog often has soldiers or refugees “that was there or is there” in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. as sources. Like soldier Joe Glenton; see here.

    Or Iraqi girl blogger Riverbend, now a refugee like millions of other Iraqis: see here.

    Or the expelled Afghan feminist MP Malalai Joya; see here.

    By the way, “a”, I note that you are trying to divert attention away from the terrible case which this thread is about.


  4. You know the US won its independance at a great cost and with much sacrifice. And that was just a tax dispute. War is horrible. But why arent we happy to be able to praticipate in giving Iraq and Afghanistan Freedom. Are we to say that their liberty isnt as important as ours. As a member of the Armed Forces serving the US I am happy to say that I will Not let men like Saddam have their way. And I know that the men and women I serve with are doing everything they can to save every life possible, while staying alive.


  5. Like I said war is the worst thing man has ever done, next to letting war be waged on the defenseless. But it you want to protest pointless deaths why not incluid the 39,800 who died on our highways just last year.


  6. Re #7 and #8: MO, as I noted also in comment #6, you are avoiding the issue of this thread, which is torturing a prisoner to death in Afghanistan. You cannot equate the eighteenth century United States revolution with the present wars in Afghanistan z\and Iraq. The American revolution was against foreign occupation. While the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ARE foreign occupation, and NOT freedom. That Saddam Hussein had been a dictator was just used as a dishonest post facto justification for the war by the Bush administration. Before the war, the justifications had been Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; which did not exist. And supposed Saddam Hussein involvement in 9/11, which was also a lie. In the 1980s, when Saddam had been even more of a dictator, he was a US ally. Paul Wolfowitz, a leading Iraq war supporter in the Bush administration, had been a pal of Indonesian dictator Suharto, who had about two million people murdered. Likewise, dictatorship in itself had never been a problem in the eyes of US administrations for US allies like Mobutu in Congo, Franco in Spain, the colonels in Greece, Pinochet in Chile, Duvalier in Haiti, the royal dynasty in Nepal, in El Salvador, etc. etc.

    I agree that something should be done about deaths in US traffic as well. However, there is a difference with wars like in Afghanistan or Iraq. A driver in the USA who kills another driver, or a cyclist, or a walker, etc., is not paid to do that by US tax money. Also, nearly always, he does not intend to kill that other driver etc., but does it inadvertently, because he is drunk, or drives too fast, or does not look out, etc. So, a difference with orders from the Pentagon to kill thousands of miles away from the USA.


  7. Torture is never exceptable and I had no intention of giving any other thought. And happily this happens far less today then it has in the past. Only today we are able to hear about it before people can true cover it up. Three cheers for the media. Now why dont the media or people here start just as vocalizing the hipocracy in supporting dictators anywhere. Ofcoures in some places we have to choose the lesser of two evils and wait till we can really to proactive there, but bad is bad and we should never support bad guys. It is entirely false to say that the American Revolution was a war against foreign occupation. The Americans where the foreigners. No, it was a tax dispute bewteen English men living on two sides of the Atlantic. And now we teach it was a noble war fought for the freedom of all man, except the blacks, women, and those who didnt own land… But noone can say its hasnt worked out well.
    My point in all this has been, why get so upset about the war in Iraq and Afganistan when success would bring about so much good. And if we becry the wars why are we not so appalled and equally vocal about everything else the US govt does, usually trying to promote the US and thus me and you, that takes advantage of others…


  8. Torture is not acceptable. I did not mean to glance over or minimize the issue but failed to address it because I felt that was a forgone thought. No, what I ment in posting was to show how post #1,3,6 are loosing sight of what really matters. There are more sides to anyone issue then can ever be expressed. But I wanted to broaden peoples perceptions a little. Think with me. Im a soldier, I know that beating a man for info only gets me the quickest lie. And have been under incredible stress for the past year maybe more, little sleep or food for three four days. Im scared out of my mind, confused and very nervous from our fire fight. Maybe my buddy was hurt. And then we get someone who was fighting us, captured, but he isnt done. He is spitting, fighting back, calling names. So I try to shut him up, a little fustration starts coming out, I get lost in it . When I back off the guys nearly dead, later he dies.
    I dont think Passaro intended to kill the dude. If he had he wouldnt have been caught. But I am glad he is being tried and I think its fair if he gets life, Soldiers cant give in like that. But I understand.
    What we cant do is be blinded by our own thinking. That just leads to more Fanaticism and great fighting. I was trying to exemplify this by showing how even though war is evil, great good can become of it. The American Revolution was not a war of occupation, Englishmen were fighting Englishmen over taxes. The Americans had to obey the same laws and had much less taxes as did those living in England, yet they still went to war. And just look at the amazing great things that have come of that. People all over the world are now taught that that war, with all its evil and great distruction, were important events in world enlightenment, peace, and progress.
    Again Torture is never ever acceptable, it does nothing good. But we cant say that make the whole effort bad. And why should we bemoan giving all the aid possible to Iraq and Afganistan? Why arent we more anxously trying to change every country in the world, to get ride of all dictators and tyrants? Dont blame the Media for not covering wrong doing, as it cant be everywhere at once, especially with all the good it is doing. And dont blame the Govt because it cant control everyone everywhere on a battle field, we dont want that anyways. Or for failing to be able to help everyone everywhere, we dont have the resources to do that all at once. The only way to truely help is to open mindedly and camly work, work ,work, work for a better world and again camly steadily with understanding we’ll overcome all obsticles.


  9. Re #10: about torture, you write “Three cheers for the media”. I would say, as far as the mainstream media are concerned, only one or two cheers, as many of the cases of torture are published about only years after the fact. I am not really sure if torture happens less now than in earlier times, as you write. After World War II, US authorities gave Japanese soldiers the death penalty for waterboarding prisoners. That means, then the US government considered waterboarding a capital crime, which they did not order US soldiers to do. Now, however, waterboarding has been done on the orders of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld.

    The 18th century American revolutionaries were indeed often of English ancestry; though sometimes going back a century or more. But many were also of Scots, Irish, Swedish, Dutch, German, French, Jewish, etc. etc. ancestry.

    In the Iraq war, over a million Iraqis and over 4,000 US soldiers have died, so it is correct to be upset about that. I agree that other issues should also get attention. Like George W. Bush’s bloody proxy war through his Ethiopian dictatorial allies in Somalia. Like the death squads in Colombia. Etc.


  10. Re #11: you refer to suspect Passaro as a soldier. He was not a soldier when the Afghan prisoner died. As the blog post says, he was a CIA contractor.

    You write on the eighteenth century American revolution: “The Americans had to obey the same laws and had much less taxes”. But they had no representation in the British parliament. Their slogan was “No taxation without representation”.

    You ask “Why arent we more anxously trying to change every country in the world, to get ride of all dictators and tyrants?” That is an important question.

    I already pointed out: “In the 1980s, when Saddam had been even more of a dictator, he was a US ally. Paul Wolfowitz, a leading Iraq war supporter in the Bush administration, had been a pal of Indonesian dictator Suharto, who had about two million people murdered. Likewise, dictatorship in itself had never been a problem in the eyes of US administrations for US allies like Mobutu in Congo, Franco in Spain, the colonels in Greece, Pinochet in Chile, Duvalier in Haiti, the royal dynasty in Nepal, in El Salvador, etc. etc.” Right now, in Honduras, Micheletti established himself as a dictator, by having the democratically elected President Zelaya driven away in a coup d’état. Hondurans protesting against the dictatorship get killed, wounded, or “disappeared”. Officially, the new Obama administration opposes the coup, saying Zelaya is still the legal president. However, they are under pressure from right wing Republicans and “blue dog” Democrats to recognize the dictatorship. What should happen now is breaking all ties with the Honduran dictatorship and economic sanctions. No; I am NOT calling for a US invasion of Honduras. Sanctions would be enough to bring the Micheletti dictatorship to its knees. Will the Obama administration do that? We do not know yet. If you want to know more, then look with search term “Honduras” in the search box of this blog.


  11. #12 It is far better that the media is able to expose torture, when ever it happened, now, then to never be able to. As almost has always been the case. And if you feel that Passaro or anyone is guilty of the death penalty, great, I dont. Even if I did think he intended to kill the unforunately nameless detainee, which as I pointed out I dont, Im still not sure that justifies use in killing him. And your points #12,13 and mine on the American Revolution seem to be the same. It was not a war against occupation but a tax dispute, “No taxation without representation”.
    And whats more, all these other issues are just what Im talking about. We may, nay, we do have the Greatest nation on earth, but its not perfect. And we need to be addressing all these issues, not just screaming about one or two.


  12. Re #14, I did NOT advocate the death penalty for anyone.

    The slogan `No taxation without representation` highlighted the difference between England, where there was representation, and the colonies where there was not. So not a pure tax conflict. Also not, because as I have written, many North American inhabitants had not come from England.

    Foreign military occupation, leading to events such as the 1770 Boston massacre, were more important a factor than taxation in bringing about revolution.


  13. You’re still seem to be missing my point. People tend to scream, in the media, on line, at rallies, about one thing, ex torture, and are wasting energy accusing those who are doing their best to change the world for good, the media and yes the Govt too, instead of using that energy to help perfect those efforts. And althought I greatly enjoy arguing the historic causes of the American Revolution, which wasnt not a war of foreign occupation any more then Taiwan rebeling against China, thats another post, so lets keep it light here =).


  14. Re #16: on torture: I certainly hope that not just minor or relatively minor people, like Private Lynndie England; but the top people, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld will get what they deserve for ordering torture.

    About the American revolution: if it really would have been just a minor conflict on taxes between people who on both sides considered themselves staunchly English: then why not, eg, an attempt to replace the London government with another government; instead of, as happened, a Declaration of *Independence*? Which would become an inspiration for Haitian slaves who felt occupied by France; South Americans who felt occupied by Spain, etc?

    By the way, Taiwan did not rebel against China. The Kuomintang party ruled most of China, then lost against the communist party, except in Taiwan. The Kuomintang, at the moment still the ruling party in Taiwan, still thinks they should rule all of China.


  15. “Torture” happens to prisoners.
    If no prisoners are taken, then no torture can happen.
    I understand the Taliban and Al Qaeda will fight to the last bullet.
    So, there should be no need for taking prisoners.
    Afghanistan has been a wilderness for millenia and there is no reason to believe it will change.
    The U.S. should get out and leave notice that if the country is again used as a base to attack the U.S., then Afghanistan and its sorry inhabitants become nothing more than a test range for whatever weapons need testing.
    Use your imagination.


  16. Hi Alan, I agree with one sentence of yours: “The U.S. should get out”. One cannot supposedly impose “democracy” at gunpoint; or with torture instruments.

    As for Al Qaeda, they are not Afghans, and were brought to Afghanistan originally by the CIA with US taxpayers money as fighters against “atheist communism”.

    Likewise, the (predecessors of) the Taliban got CIA money.

    It is untrue that “Afghanistan has been a wilderness for millenia”. There is beautiful architecture and sculpture in its history. Oil painting was invented there. Invasions by foreign armies, from the British in the 19th century till NATO in the 21st century, explain much of the poverty and other ills in Afghanistan. Your “test range” proposal would kill all Afghans, including presumably babies (as hsappens now every now and then already) and is cynical and evil.


  17. this painlessly easy, We could have just cut his head off then broadcast it, or drag his naked body through the streets. but no one in americas military are allowed that. matter of fact this man does not represent 2mil+, if u truely look at the military has a whole the crimes commented by us and them, i fail to side with anyone that favor the lawless, idiots who enslave woman, brainwash world into thinking taliban are victims. they kill innocent people daily and blame the US. its not for god its for drug trade. u cant fight an idea so why try u may ask! because when one of those little taliban or terrist states get a nuke, it all over for the free world, u ingorant stupid person, i pray the frist nuke, land between ur legs, how dare u judge US or anyone while enjoying the freedom of free speech. u like taliban, saddem kidnapping sqauds so much, go live over their speak ur mind see what happens.

    after saying that u cant fight an idea, we should leave but only n way that wont hurt afgans again or let terrorist have their way. i guess i should view all of islam like the taliban, which u do with few soldiers at a prison. go smoke ur peace pipe leave the fighting to those that can see beyond their own noises. cia already screwed afgans once i almost think cumminist country would have been better then the taliban,

    islam say to hate go to war with those who prosucute their faith but in america as long as u arent doing a ja-had blowing poeple up u are free wroship ali as u c fit. funny how blessings of similair country’s are so evident, but god wrath is so obivous on the enslavers.


  18. Re #22: Hi, “wow, irony” it seems to me that you are a confused person who does not know English language spelling or grammar. It is impossible to say what you really mean in your rambling comment. Just one remark: if you talk about “enslave women”, read what the feminist fighter for Afghan women’s rights, Malalai Joya, has to say about the war: here.


  19. Do you have any original ideas, thoughts, any idiot can google that. I’m using a cell phone for typing and I hardly think proper spelling on two words and a few grammar mistakes can hardly take away form what I originally said. You have no original ideas except those expressed by others. Why can you not make a chart on the left make all war crimes U.S. has committed mostly by accidents, expect maybe torture (waterboarding) then list all the mistakes the /crimes Taliban did on propose to the Afghans. Then tell me how u feel. U.S. leaving would be like leaving school of fish ready for a slaughter by sharks. That was a mistake in the first Iraq war which cost 100thousands there lives. In anycase, get over yourself it is painfully obvious u only point at the flaws of others, while quoting sources that are not your own. What a prefect little world you must live in. I do not have to quote anyone; you know why because their my ideas, thoughts and justification is you pissed me off. My background is not smoking dope, and riding on skirtails of other peoples ideological coats. What are your original thoughts do you have anything of value to share if not then shut the heck up..

    O yours..I’ll place it in words because when it comes right down to it you can’t. “Why can’t we all just get along.” Pretty much the day they stop killing innocent people and stop shooting at us is the day the bombs stop, it pretty much goes for both sides but more so on terrorist. In anycase good luck getting over reality, I personally think you are fighting a lost battle with yourself. Have you even a submitted an idea on how fix this? No..u just whine, we’ll here is some cheese for your wine, go get a life!


  20. Re #24 it seems you are incapable of understanding the issue, so you resort to personal attacks. On Afghanistan, you prefer regurgigating propaganda by George W. Bush and Rush Drug Addict Limbaugh instead of reading Afghan Malalai Joya.


  21. Who says you cant fight an idea? Of course we can, but we have to fight an idea with an idea. I ask who doesn’t think that we have a better system then what Afghanistan has? What the military is fighting isn’t an idea, we are fighting the people who kill anyone, men women children, they don’t like because of that “idea”. Then with some form of stability and freedom we are able to present another idea to compete. Now we have to defend the safety of Afghanistan so that that idea can continue to grow and the people there are able to enjoy the freedoms we have. If for no other reason, and I do think there are others, that alone should keep us there, the ability to help the people of Afghanistan progress. Unfortunately torture makes us look like bad guys and the people to grow suspicious of us, and fails to get any useful information. Now i don’t believe in being especially nice to prisoners but human isn’t hard. Therefore I have no love for people who commit torture, although I can understand them, but stand staunchly in defense of both wars.


  22. I also think that the fanatical rantings in #24 do a great disservice to the strong points in the argument and serve only to alienate others and change the topic. Just calm yourself, so that only the merits of both sides can be fought. Or save your anger for terrorist so that we can watch them die a thousand painful deaths (not under torture) =>


  23. In response to post #20 I would like to say there is great need for us to take prisoners, or if you dislike that term, we are arresting the bad guys. And really that is just what we are doing now. I just got back from a 3 week train-up preparing for my upcoming deployment. During the course of training we role played just what we will be doing over there, and it was nothing more then police work. It is maddening to many, myself including, because we refuse to take the fight to the enemy. We don’t do that because that makes us no better then the terrorist. Instead we pick our fights, back down when civilians could get hurt, patrol the “beat” in our area, allow the host nation to always take the lead. And that’s an amazing thing, even as hard as it is for soldiers to do, because it means that law and order have the chance to grow. Not taking prisoners would be like our cops not arresting people anymore. No we are and must take prisoners, so they can be dealt with in accordance to the laws of their land. That’s the kind of thing that stops torture. A real system, something lacking for much of Afghanistan’s modern history, that leads to real change and really winning this war of ideologies. Sorry if this seems like a rant I was just disturbed by post #20.


  24. Re #28: I completely understand that you are disturbed by the cynical “kill all Afghans” views of #20.

    Those views, I fear, are not the view of just some lunatic fringe “Internet warrior”. Erik Prince is the boss of the Blackwater/Xe mercenaries corporation (the blog post which started this thread is also about the case of a mercenary). Now, Blackwater are on trial for murdering Iraqi civilians “in revenge for 9/11” (while not any Iraqi, not even Saddam Hussein, had anything to do with 9/11). Mr Prince, a fundamentalist Christian, is said to believe in a war of extermination against all Muslims (Iraqi, Afghan … whatever. Baby, old age … whatever). Yet, Xe, as it calls itself now, still gets many US taxpayers’ dollars. And its people are still in Afghanistan, even under the new Obama administration.

    RE #28: “back down when civilians could get hurt”. That is indeed said to be a recent official policy change. However, civilians still get hurt and get killed. See here, and here; and there are many other recent examples. And are you really sure that there is no more torture (to death, or just “simple” torture) in Bagram prison or elsewhere?


  25. I am not questioning that torture still exsite and as I have stated before I can even understand it happening, though I see no good in it and feel it ought to be severly punished. Nor do I dispute that civilians are injured. Luckly we arent the animals who are trying to kill civilians. Even Blackwater, in every instance I am familiar with, never set out to kill none-combatants. I dont not fear a fringe internet warrior nor Eric Prince and his personal views, I do fear be blinded by our own feelings and failling to miss the good on all sides. I do believe in black and white and no shades in between, its knowing when to change sides thats difficult and makes us wish for grey.


  26. Re #30: those views of Erik Prince are not more or less irrelevant “personal views” as Prince is the boss of Blackwater/Xe who get many US taxpayers’ dollars. That Blackwater did not kill civilians while you were present of course did not prevent them from doing so while you were not present.


  27. How aren’t they irrelevant? So what if he has a govt contract, anyone can get a govt contract, or a job in the govt. They still have to obey the law. If they cant do that then there is a problem, and we ought to prosecute. But where is the proof that they set out to kill or torture innocents. I have never worked with, for, or around Blackwater or Xe and I am sure that they and every other armed force in the area has killed civilians. Mostly cause of the incredible pressure of a combat zone. I feel certain that most people working the “beat” of there can be accused of his being very protective of their lives and overreacting. Mr Prince can has already lost most if not all his major govt contracts because the rules of engagement his company used where after the fact seen as to broad. By hind sight is twenty twenty is it not. Unfortunately many of the people who have worked for Xe are know working for other companies, the ones who got Xe’s old contracts. We must hope the change in corporate environments is enough to prevent them from falling back into old habits and ways of thinking, that it will be enough to change their very animal instincts of survival when someone may be shooting at them or trying to blow them up.


  28. Re #32: Good that you clarify now: “I have never worked with, for, or around Blackwater or Xe”. As your comment #30 “Blackwater, in every instance I am familiar with, never set out to kill none [sic]-combatants” might give the impression that you had.

    “Unfortunately many of the people who have worked for Xe are [sic] know working for other companies”. That, indeed, may bring deathly problems in the future.


  29. Pingback: Ten news stories of the year, underreported by US corporate media | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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