British war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq

This video is called Sexual abuse and Torture by British troops in Iraq.

By Chris Marsden in Britain:

Mounting evidence of British war crimes

3 November 2010

Britain’s armed forces stand accused of torture and murder, perpetrated in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The scale of the abuses involved cannot be attributed to a few “rogue” individuals, or covered up by the routine excuse that Britain simply got “too close” to the United States and is guilty only by association. They present prima facia evidence for war crimes charges.

Revelations regarding Afghanistan focus on the documents released by WikiLeaks, listing 21 British attacks on civilians, including children. But a separate document seen by the Daily Telegraph suggests coalition forces are responsible for up to 1,000 civilian deaths since 2006. This number has doubled in the past four years.

WikiLeaks also cited three reports recording cases of direct abuse by British troops against Iraqi detainees that coincide with mounting evidence of “systemic” abuses of detainees and other civilians.

A preliminary high court ruling in July found, “There is an arguable case that the alleged ill-treatment was systemic, and not just at the whim of individual soldiers”. The court was presented with evidence on behalf of 102 Iraqis held as prisoners by the British military in an action by Public Interest Lawyers headed by solicitor Phil Shiner. The evidence lists the cases of 59 Iraqi civilians who say they were hooded by British troops, 11 subjected to electric shocks, 122 alleging that ear muffs were used for sound deprivation, 52 deprived of sleep, 39 who were subjected to enforced nakedness, and 18 forced to watch pornographic DVDs.

The Iraq war logs also reveal appalling details of the torture and ill-treatment by the Iraqi authorities, after detainees were handed over by US and British forces. This is in breach of international law. States are bound by a duty of “non-refoulement” and must never hand someone over to another state where it is known they face a “real risk” of torture or ill-treatment. Public Interest Lawyers stated, “In the light of the Iraq war logs, the UK cannot say that it did not have evidence that there was a real risk of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the Iraqi authorities.”

In a number of cases, British forces transferred detainees to US custody, despite being aware of the treatment meted out by US troops at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. In one case, the claimant alleges that US forces placed detainees in coffins for up to three days after nailing the lids shut.

A number of instances have already emerged in which British troops allegedly killed Iraqi civilians, with hotel worker Baha Mousa who was killed in 2003 the most well known. He is believed to have died as the result of asphyxiation, but his body had 93 separate injuries consistent with severe beating. An initial investigation prompted by these revelations has already uncovered over 100 additional cases in which detainees allege ill treatment at the hands of UK forces in Iraq.

Training manuals acquired by the Guardian under a Freedom of Information Act request make it clear that such activities had official sanction. They detail the interrogation techniques approved for use by British military personnel in Iraq, including the use of “threats, sensory deprivation and enforced nakedness” and sleep deprivation. These methods correspond to the charges made by Shiner’s clients. Prisoners should be “conditioned” before questioning in order to provoke “anxiety/fear”, “insecurity”, “disorientation” and “humiliation.” Interrogators are advised to probe the detainee’s anus and search behind his foreskin. “Positional asphyxiation” is recommended.

All of these techniques contravene the Geneva Convention of 1949 and amount to an officially endorsed policy of torture. The training manuals form part of courses run by F Branch, part of the Joint Services Intelligence Organisation (JSIO), which was deployed by the previous Labour government into Iraq.

Last Sunday, one week after it published a front-page smear against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the New York Times ran a self-serving column defending its coverage of the nearly 400,000 classified military logs exposing US war crimes in Iraq: here.

Swedish authorities, stepping up their persecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, have issued an international arrest warrant for his detention in relation to trumped-up “rape” charges: here.

Danish military requests unredacted copy of Iraq War Logs from WikiLeaks after being rebuffed by US: here.

7 thoughts on “British war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq

  1. Wikileaks to spill more beans

    OFFICIAL SECRETS: The government has been briefed by US authorities about the expected release of sensitive diplomatic files on whistleblower website WikiLeaks, Downing Street confirmed today.

    Reports suggest that the files could include hundreds of communiques relating to British interests and possible revelations about secret intelligence sources.


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