Afghan CIA torture victim not buried yet

This video says about itself:

Being Innocent isn’t Enough, No Justice for CIA Torture Victim El-Masri

Being innocent is not enough to protect you from being tortured, not when you are dealing with a nation which does not uphold the rule of law.

And even if they know you are innocent, that’s not enough for them to stop violating your rights and release you.

But this is something I want to clarify, this video might lead you to believe he was released once they realized he was innocent but that ‘s not the case. When they realized he was innocent, they continued to imprison him THEN they dumped him on a back road at night in Albania. Mr. El-Masri’s unlawful detention and inhumane treatment continued for two additional months after they knew he was innocent.

CIA agents held him for at least several weeks after his release had been ordered. And the injustices didn’t end after he was released, he STILL can’t get justice. A Munich court had issued arrest warrants against the CIA agents for complicity in his kidnapping and torture but that was dropped. And thanks to Wikileaks we know why, the US government pressured Germany to drop the case, to not pursue justice , to not allow El-Maseri his day in court.

“… similarity of his name to that of Khalid al-Masri, an Al Qaeda agent linked to the Hamburg cell where the 9/11 attacks were plotted. Despite El-Masri’s protests that he was not al-Masri, he was beaten, stripped naked, shot full of drugs, given an enema and a diaper, and flown first to Baghdad and then to the notorious “salt pit,” the CIA’s secret interrogation facility in Afghanistan. At the salt pit, he was repeatedly beaten, drugged, and subjected to a strange food regime that he supposed was part of an experiment that his captors were performing on him. Throughout this time, El-Masri insisted that he had been falsely imprisoned, and the CIA slowly established that he was who he claimed to be. Over many further weeks of bickering over what to do, a number of CIA figures apparently argued that, though innocent, the best course was to continue to hold him incommunicado because he “knew too much.””

From Associated Press:

Victim’s family battles through Red Cross to get remains from CIA to bury in Islamic tradition


6:58 a.m. PST, January 5, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The family of Gul Rahman is still trying to recover his remains for burial, months after learning that he was stripped naked, doused in cold water and then left to die in a CIA-run Afghan prison known as the Salt Pit.

Suspected of links to al-Qaida, Rahman was picked up in the early morning hours of Oct. 29, 2002 from a home in Islamabad and taken with four other people to a CIA black site called the Salt Pit near the Kabul Airport.

Rahman died Nov. 20, 2002, but his identity was not known until revealed by an Associated Press investigation in March. Since then, appeals by his family — Afghan refugees living in Pakistan since the 1980s — for his remains have gone unanswered.

“It has been a mental torture for his family,” said Dr. Gharat Baheer, who was picked up with Gul Rahman. Baheer spent six months at the Salt Pit and six years in Afghan prisons before being released in 2008. Baheer said the family has yet to even receive confirmation of his death from the United States.

“His wife and his mother are in agony,” said Baheer. “They want to have a religious ceremony.”

Baheer, who spoke to the AP last week, is in regular touch with Rahman’s family, who he says are living in a refugee camp outside the Pakistani frontier city of Peshawar. Baheer said they fear that if they protest too loudly, the U.S. will press Pakistan to harass them or even expel them from the country.

Rahman’s brother, Habib Rahman, spoke to the AP in April, saying his family hopes U.S. authorities will return the remains. “We want them to let us give him a religious burial,” he said. Reached by the AP last week, he said he was too distraught to speak again.

The CIA on Monday declined to comment on the return of Rahman’s remains. The agency has said that its detention and interrogation program is over

yeah right. Really?

and it’s focused on preventing future terrorist attacks. An AP Freedom of Information Act request for Rahman’s autopsy report was rejected — a decision upheld on appeal by the Justice Department in November.

The Rahman family has sought the help of the International Committee for the Red Cross both in Peshawar and in Afghanistan.

“But the Red Cross isn’t able to get anything from the Americans,” Baheer said.

Baheer is the son-in-law of wanted militant Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose al-Qaida-allied group Hezb-e-Islami is battling U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

In the 1980s-1990s, Hezb-e-Islami were the main Afghan recipients of United States taxpayers’ dollars; doled out by the CIA.

Najum-ul-Saqib, the Red Cross communication officer in Pakistan, told AP on Tuesday that the Geneva-based organization has registered Rahman as a missing person and has sent out requests for more information. “Beyond that we are not authorized to say anything more,” said Saqib.

Gul Rahman’s name had not been previously known until the AP identified him as the detainee who had died at Salt Pit. Rahman was the only detainee known to have died in a CIA-run prison, and his death stands as a cautionary tale.

But Rahman never cracked under questioning, refusing to help the CIA find Hekmatyar. Former CIA officials described him as one of the toughest detainees to pass through the CIA’s network of secret prisons.

So far no CIA officer has been formally punished for the death of Rahman, who died of hypothermia. But federal prosecutors are re-examining his death, along with a small number of other cases involving CIA detainee abuses.

In March, the FBI rejected a Freedom of Information Act request the AP submitted for autopsy records in Rahman’s death, saying it was relevant to “a pending or prospective law enforcement proceeding.”

The AP appealed, but the Justice Department upheld the decision in November because releasing the information “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.” The Justice Department added that disclosing the autopsy report could cause “foreseeable harm” to the ongoing investigation.

Baheer said Gul Rahman, in his early 30s, went by the nom de guerre Abdul Menan when he served as one of Hekmatyar’s elite guards. But when he was picked up in 2002, he had left Hekmatyar’s service and returned to his family at Shamshatoo refugee camp, near Peshawar, said Baheer.

At the Salt Pit, the code name for an abandoned brick factory that became a forerunner of a network of secret CIA-run prisons, Baheer said his own interrogation often consisted of being tied to a chair while his American interrogators, wearing masks, would sit on his stomach. For hours he would be left hanging, naked and shivering.

“They were very cruel.”


Goldman reported from Washington.

Censorship of anti-war art in Los Angeles, USA: here.

Pakistan’s Communist Party (CPP) condemned on Wednesday the murder of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer and alleged that “the iron mighty hands of the military establishment” were behind the crime: here.

9 thoughts on “Afghan CIA torture victim not buried yet

  1. US suspends military contractors in Afghanistan

    January 5, 2011

    KABUL, Afghanistan—Two contractor companies working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan have had their contracting privileges suspended over allegations they failed to pay their Afghan subcontractors, the U.S. Central Command said Wednesday.

    Coalition forces said in a statement that several Afghan companies brought allegations of nonpayment against Bennett-Fouch Associates and K5 Global, both of which are owned by the same person, identified as an American woman named Sarah Lee.

    “The failure of firms to pay their local national workforce or local national subcontractors adversely affects counterinsurgency strategy,” the coalition said in the statement.

    The local companies that brought the allegations provided documents showing that Bennett-Fouch, which was involved in construction contracts at military bases in Afghanistan, had claimed it had not been paid by the U.S. government, the statement said. However, the coalition said that “in reality, the U.S. government had paid Bennett-Fouch for the work on the construction projects.”

    The company had closed its local offices and bank accounts in Afghanistan, the coalition statement said.

    “Bennett-Fouch’s subcontractors were Afghan companies who depended on the revenue to pay workers and complete projects. U.S. law does not allow the government to pay subcontractors directly,” the statement said, adding that the local companies had been “informed of their opportunity for recourse against the contractors through the U.S. court system.”

    The suspension of could last 18 months while the case is being investigated, it said, and the companies could be barred from further contracts depending on the results of the investigation, meaning they would not be able to “conduct business with the U.S. for a period commensurate with the seriousness of the crimes or causes of the debarment, normally not to exceed five years.”

    © Copyright 2011 Associated Press.


  2. Former Australian soldier Robert William Langdon spared death penalty

    * Jeremy Kelly
    * From: The Australian
    * January 06, 2011 12:21AM

    A FORMER Australian soldier has been spared the death penalty for murder in Afghanistan and instead has been sentenced to 20 years’ jail.

    This was revealed in court documents obtained by The Australian

    Robert William Langdon was convicted of murdering an Afghan colleague during a violent dispute while they were escorting a convoy to American military bases in mid-2009.

    Both men were working for Four Horseman International, a US private security company.

    After shooting the man, referred to in court as Karimullah, Langdon then tried to stage a fake Taliban attack in which he had colleagues shoot randomly into the air before he threw a hand grenade inside the vehicle in which Karimullah lay dead.

    He was arrested later that day at Kabul airport as he tried to board a flight to Dubai.

    After twice being sentenced to death, at the First Court and then at his appeal in January last year, Langdon paid a sizeable amount of compensation, known in Afghanistan as ibra, to appease Karimullah’s family.

    Langdon’s family, from Port Augusta in South Australia, was reported to have said the money was raised through family and friends.

    The Australian has obtained a copy of the sentencing document, handed down in a secret, in-camera hearing by the Supreme Court on October 11 last year.

    Langdon’s family and his Australian lawyer, Stephen Kenny, said they were unaware of the judgment until contacted by The Australian this week.

    Court officials said Langdon would have been informed of the decision but it was not known whether this happened.

    Mr Kenny, whose previous clients include convicted terror supporter David Hicks, warned that a long stint inside the notorious Pol-e-Charkhi prison on the outskirts of Kabul, where Langdon is serving his time, was not a huge win.

    “A 20-year sentence in Pol-e-Charkhi is really the equivalent of a death sentence,” Mr Kenny told The Australian yesterday.

    “It’s not a prison that a person is likely to survive in for 20 years.”

    Mr Kenny said the nature of the Afghan legal system meant he sometimes was not notified about developments in cases.

    “I haven’t seen or heard anything about that (sentence),” he said.

    Langdon’s family declined to comment on the sentence. The court’s sentencing document has been signed by two of the nine justices as well as eight advisers to the court’s crime department.

    The former Australian soldier, who served in East Timor and the Solomon Islands and is believed to be 39, must now rely on President Hamid Karzai either to pardon him or to reduce the sentence.

    The judgment has been confirmed by the punishment departments of both the Supreme Court and the Attorney-General’s office, which this week wrote back to the court saying it was satisfied with the decision to commute Langdon’s death sentence.

    The head of the Attorney-General’s Punishment Department, Namatullah Hafizi, said the revised sentence was befitting the crime, given the victim’s family had approved ibra.

    But he added the crime was “ruthless” and deserved a substantial jail term especially because of Langdon’s “cruel” attempts to stage a fake Taliban attack.

    “Burning the body in our religion is a serious action,” Mr Hafizi said.

    Qari Sidiqullah, head of the Supreme Court’s punishment division, said Langdon’s attempt to flee Afghanistan in the hours after the incident was another factor in his 20-year sentence.

    A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade declined to comment on Afghanistan’s judicial processes, but said Langdon had been the subject of many Australian government representations and extensive consular assistance.

    He said Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and his predecessor, Stephen Smith, had both raised Langdon’s case with Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul last year, with the government registering its opposition to the death penalty with the Afghan government on several other occasions.

    Additional reporting: Mark Schliebs, Siobhain Ryan


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