Afghanistan: first, torture by Taliban; then by the US. To Guantanamo

The USA and torture, cartoon

Associated Press reports:

U.S. Jails Man Once Tortured by Taliban


October 20, 2006

Abdul Rahim insists he’s an apolitical student who fled a strict father.

But he’s fallen into a black hole in the war on terror in which first the Taliban and then the United States imprisoned him as an enemy of the state.

Arrested by the Taliban in Afghanistan in January 2000, Rahim says al-Qaida leaders burned him with cigarettes, smashed his right hand, deprived him of sleep, nearly drowned him and hanged him from the ceiling until he ‘confessed’ to spying for the United States.

U.S. forces took the young Kurd from Syria into custody in January 2002 after the Taliban fled his prison.

Accusing him of being an al-Qaida terrorist, U.S. interrogators deprived him of sleep, threatened him with police dogs and kept him in stress positions for hours, he says.

He’s been held ever since as an enemy combatant.

Rahim’s story is one of several emerging from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay as defense lawyers make bids to free their clients while the Bush administration tries to use a new law to lock them out of federal courts.

More Afghanistan: here.

Afghanistan: German soldiers pose with skull.

See also here.

Koran abuse in Guantanamo here.

9 thoughts on “Afghanistan: first, torture by Taliban; then by the US. To Guantanamo

  1. Asia Times Online, 17 Nov 2006
    Into the breach again: US looks to Filipinos
    By Cher S Jimenez

    MANILA – When the United States moves to downsize its military facilities in Okinawa, Japan, and begin construction on new military bases designed to house 8,000 marines and their families on the Pacific island of Guam, Filipino construction workers will likely do most of the heavy lifting.

    In September, Philippine labor officials accepted an invitation from Guam – a US territory – to discuss hiring 15,000 Filipino construction workers to work on the new military facilities, including barracks, administration buildings, schools, training sites, runways and entertainment establishments. On-land construction activities on Guam are set to begin early next year and the estimated US$10 billion project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

    The US Congress’ Overseas Basing Commission had earlier estimated that the cost of relocation and building the new base in Guam, including facilities for a new command post and housing for the marines’ family members, at about $2.9 billion. For undisclosed reasons, the US military now says the total cost will be closer to $10 billion, of which Japan has agreed to shoulder 59% of the bill. Cheap Filipino labor, it is believed, will help bring down those spiraling costs.

    If the deal is done, it will mark the latest big hire of Filipino workers by the US military and its affiliated business interests. The US has employed more than 7,000 Filipino workers – nearly half of them undocumented – in its four main military camps in Iraq, according to Philippine labor officials. Neither the Philippine nor US governments has publicly owned up to how thousands of Filipino workers have slipped into Iraq and found work on US military facilities.

    US federal policy prohibits the employment of non-Americans inside US military facilities, but the Bush administration’s heavy use of private contractors has blurred the lines between public and private functions. After a Filipino truck driver killed in Iraq caused a domestic uproar against the Philippines’ participation in the United States’ war effort, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in July 2004 banned any new deployments of Filipino workers to Iraq.

    Philippine-based non-governmental organizations tracking Arroyo’s support to the United States’ global counter-terrorism campaign contend that both Washington and Manila have quietly decided to ignore the official ban to maintain the steady supply of cheap, English-speaking Filipino workers in Iraq. Washington clearly seems to favor Filipinos over other English-speaking nationalities for its most crucial and sensitive military-related construction projects.

    In March 2002, Washington and Manila secretly processed the papers of 250 Filipino construction workers to help build new or overhaul old detention facilities now in use at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the US controversially holds hundreds of suspects as part of its “global war on terror” campaign, according to Philippine officials. For their efforts, Filipino workers received a $1,000 monthly salary – far below what it would have cost the US military to employ
    US citizens.

    Contractual gratitude
    Local labor recruiters have been told by government officials that the Guam assignment is a US reward for the Arroyo administration’s strong support for its “war on terror”. There is also an element of trust: US soldiers frequently train with their Philippine counterparts and US advisers are currently training and providing logistical support to Arroyo’s campaign against Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines.

    Philippine officials estimate that if and when Filipino workers are deployed to work in Guam, they will earn wages similar to those paid for the Guantanamo operation. From the United States’ perspective, hiring cheap Filipinos makes good economic sense at a time when the US military budget has spiraled out of control with the mounting expense of operations in Iraq and to a lesser degree Afghanistan.

    It also appears to be part of a quiet outsourcing process: the US Department of Defense’s 2005 base realignment and closures recommendations aimed to pare “unnecessary management personnel” at Guam’s existing facilities, including “military, personnel and contractor personnel”, to the tune of 174 lost jobs over the period spanning 2006-11.

    Cheaper Filipinos are expected to fill some of the lost contractor positions, Philippine labor sources say. And they will be charged with building facilities alongside some of the most advanced and important assets the US military maintains outside the continental US. This includes Andersen Air Force Base, which can handle aircraft ranging from unmanned aerial vehicles to long-range strategic bombers, and Apra Harbor, which services everything from nuclear submarines to aircraft carriers. Andersen’s special hangar facilities are designed specifically to protect the special radar-evading skin of B-2 bombers.

    Sources from the Philippine recruitment industry say that, apart from their low cost, Filipino construction workers are “highly favored” by the US because of their English-language skills. According to industry sources, Middle Eastern companies that have recently hired large numbers of Filipino construction workers there are often subsidiaries of or somehow affiliated with big US reconstruction firms, including Halliburton, Bechtel and Flour Daniel.

    “Americans favor Filipino workers because we can understand them and they speak English,” said Loreto Soriano, president and chairman of the board of LBSeBusiness, a Manila-based recruitment firm. “Construction manuals and plans are written in English, so we can follow easily, and that’s what they like.”

    Their overall skill sets, including their ability to work with modern construction technology, however, are very much in question. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) recently said that from 2001 to 2005 it was only able to meet 56% of global orders for 103,167 construction workers because of their low skills, including their inability to operate modern construction technology. Much of that demand has come from the Middle East, where booming oil prices have led to a flurry of new construction and infrastructure projects.

    Soriano said the Philippines generally could not meet the surging demand for highly qualified construction workers, including welders, flame cutters, plumbers, pipe fitters and carpenters. For the past few months, job advertisements for construction workers and engineers rose by almost 29%; there were new requests for 4,000 overseas placements in September, according to official statistics.

    As of 2005, the Professional Regulation Commission registered 312,478 construction-sector professionals, where nearly one-third was listed as qualified civil engineers. However, the POEA, the government agency that oversees labor deployment abroad, had registered only 737 professionals over the period spanning 2002-04. Now, local employers are complaining about the growing number of construction workers who leave their jobs without notice after they have been placed overseas.

    Some in Manila fear that if the government paves the way for 15,000 workers to take jobs in Guam, the already labor-strapped local Philippine construction could come to a total grinding halt. However, that could also happen to the planned new military facilities in Guam if Filipino workers lack the skills to implement US building designs effectively and efficiently.

    Cher S Jimenez is a Manila-based journalist with the BusinessMirror newspaper. She recently received a grant from the Ateneo de Manila University to conduct investigative journalism on illegal workers in the United Arab Emirates.

    (Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing .)


  2. From Dear Kitty ModBlog Google cache

    USA: commander of Guantanamo Bay camp fired Linking: 2 Comments: 5
    Date: 7/10/05 at 1:20PM (2M2w ago)

    Mood: Looking Playing: Get up, Stand up, by Bob Marley

    According to Dutch press agency ANP of today:

    WASHINGTON (ANP) – The commander of the detention centre at the US American military base Guantanamo Bay [in Cuba] has been dismissed.

    The US navy stated this on Sunday.

    The dismissal of captain Leslie McCoy supposedly would not have anything to do with the criticism by human rights organizations on the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

    The navy said in a declaration that McCoy has been dismissed because of an inquiry into his way of management.

    The commander commanded Guantanamo Bay since March 2003.

    Yeah right. The dismissal has nothing to do with torture at Guantanamo Bay.

    And pigs flie. And I am George W. Bush.


  3. RE: USA: commander of Guantanamo Bay camp fired
    Posted by:
    Idle: 1h54m
    The Silent Revolution
    ModBlog Groups
    patucariver Group

    Date: 07/10/05 at 10:07 PM (2M2w ago)
    Naw! You can’t be Shrubya, you can string words together without any help! šŸ™‚

    Perhaps the Cap’n was dismissed because he wasn’t tough enough on the in-mates? Let’s see who replaces him. I bet we won’t like him.

    ‘Nothing is ever forgotten.’

    RE: USA: commander of Guantanamo Bay camp fired
    Posted by:

    Date: 07/10/05 at 10:28 PM (2M2w ago)
    Maybe he was dismissed not because of what happened, but because he did not cover it up enough.


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