Emirates-USA torture in Yemen, Amnesty says


This video says about itself:

🇾🇪 Yemeni prisoners say UAE officers sexually torture them: AP | Al Jazeera English

20 June 2018

Seven former detainees of prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen have described what they call ”systematic sexual torture”.

They told the Associated Press they were raped and abused by Yemeni guards working under UAE officers. …

Al Jazeera’s Dayana Karim reports.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

UAE and US guilty of war crimes in Yemen torture centers, Amnesty charges

13 July 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and mercenary forces operating under its command have carried out widespread forced disappearances, torture and murder of Yemenis suspected of opposing the more than three-year-old intervention by the oil-rich Gulf state in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Washington.

This is the conclusion drawn by the human rights group Amnesty International after interviewing at least 75 people, including families of the disappeared and detained, survivors of the UAE torture centers, lawyers, journalists and local officials in Yemen.

Amnesty concentrated its investigation on 51 cases, typical of the untold hundreds if not thousands who have been swept up into the UAE detention and torture apparatus. Nineteen of these individuals remain missing, their whereabouts unknown to their families amid fears that some of them may have died in captivity.

The report outlines the stark political contradictions underlying the UAE’s repressive operations in Yemen. While intervening in the country as part of a Saudi-led coalition whose ostensible aim is the restoration to power of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Saudi puppet who was overthrown by Houthi rebels in January 2015, the UAE is clearly pursuing its own interests in the region.

“The UAE had been bypassing Hadi government officials in dealing with security issues, at times prompting President Hadi and his supporters to criticize the UAE for behaving like an occupier”, the Amnesty report states.

This statement was substantiated on Monday when the “interior minister” designated by President Hadi, who remains in self-imposed exile

Or: Saudi autocracy-imposed house arrest exile?

in Riyadh, held a meeting in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden with a top UAE official, calling on Abu Dhabi to shut down or hand over the prisons it runs in southern Yemen.

The UAE has been working in collaboration with southern secessionists, who oppose the re-imposition of Hadi’s rule over the region, as well as with a network of militias and mercenaries that it is arming and financing.

Its aim is to assert control over a series of bases bordering the strategic waterways linking the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, most importantly the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, through which much of the Middle East’s oil bound for Asia is shipped.

To assert its control, the UAE has instituted a reign of terror in the areas of Yemen it has conquered. According to Amnesty: “Witnesses described how detainees were dragged from places of work and on the street, in some cases they were beaten—at times to the point of bleeding or losing consciousness—and companions threatened when they attempted to question the arrest. When a 37-year-old man was being arrested by the Security Belt while hanging out with friends near his house in Aden he was beaten up when he asked why he was being taken, his family said; a friend who stepped in to stop the beating was detained too.

“In cases where arrests happened at home, witnesses said security forces showed up in large numbers, barged in oftentimes late at night or around dawn, pointing guns at family members, using excessive force amid the screams of women and children. They dragged out individuals without showing warrants, explaining the reason of the arrest, or saying where they are taking those being arrested.”

Among those seized in this fashion have been suspected supporters of the Houthis as well as those of groups that fought against them, along with members of the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists, civic leaders and those believed to be critical of UAE rule.

Those detained have been taken to a network of 18 secret prisons where, according to Amnesty, detainees report, “being subjected to or witnessing torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, and the use of prolonged solitary confinement. Witnesses said, at times, detainees were filmed as they were being tortured, including while being tied, stripped naked, given electric shocks and beaten with canes and wires.”

The report quoted one detainee, held at a detention camp located at the UAE base in Bureiqa, Aden, who said he had been subjected to “all sorts of torture” by UAE troops there “including by repeatedly inserting an object into his anus until he bled. He said he was kept in a hole in the ground with only his head above the surface for up to three days during which he was only given a small amount of water twice a day and left to defecate and urinate on himself in that position.”

The report also cited the exposure last month by the Associated Press of widespread sexual torture inside the UAE’s secret prisons. Detainees have been systematically raped by Yemeni guards acting under the orders of Emirati officers as other guards filmed these assaults for the purpose of blackmail.

Other regular practices have included electrocuting prisoners’ genitals, hanging rocks from their testicles and sodomizing them with wooden and steel poles.

“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts”, a father of four told the AP.

An earlier AP report published last year quoted Pentagon officials as acknowledging that US military personnel “participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

The Pentagon has claimed that it has received no reports of torture or abuse, but prisoners have reported the presence of uniformed US military personnel at the torture centers. While they had not seen them participate directly in the abuse, they insisted that they had to have been aware of the torture, given the constant screaming and the condition of the detainees.

The UAE forces, moreover, consist in large measure of mercenaries, including former American military officers who have assumed senior command positions. A key role has been played in the organization of the UAE military by an Abu Dhabi-based firm called Reflex Responses Company, also known as R2, founded in 2010 by the politically connected military contractor Erik Prince, who formerly headed Blackwater, infamous for its massacres in Iraq.

Prince, whose sister Betsy Devos is Trump’s education secretary, has overseen the hiring and training of mercenaries from Sudan, Colombia, South Africa and elsewhere, who have been deployed to Yemen.

The Amnesty report makes clear that the UAE’s arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances and wholesale torture, as well as the US complicity in these acts, constitute war crimes.

As horrific as they are, these crimes are only the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities unleashed against the people of Yemen in a war that has assumed near genocidal proportions. The war has left 600,000 civilians either dead or wounded, according to a statement issued by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights in March. It has left another 22.2 million Yemenis in need of food aid, and 8.4 million on the brink of famine.

Last month, the UAE, with Washington’s backing and military collaboration, launched a military siege of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, despite warnings from the UN that it could cost the lives of 250,000 civilians in the city itself, as well as millions more if the port—the lifeline for food and medicine for some 70 percent of the population—were shut down.

Washington has backed the war, providing Saudi-led forces with the bombs and missiles that are killing Yemenis, supporting the blockade of the country with US warships, providing midair refueling for Saudi warplanes and operating a joint logistic center in Riyadh where targets are chosen.

Begun under the Obama administration, Washington’s support for massive war crimes is directed at countering Iranian influence in the region and furthering US hegemony, strategic aims for which US imperialism is prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions.

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British government and torture update


This video says about itself:

🇬🇧 Report: UK involved in torture and rendition of terror suspects | Al Jazeera English

28 June 2018

An investigation into the UK’s involvement in rendition and torture after 9/11 has criticised “inexcusable” collusion with the United States in the mistreatment of detainees.

The British Parliament’s Intelligence Committee Report concluded that the security agencies supplied questions for the interrogation of prisoners who they knew or suspected were being subjected to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and paid for the rendition of others to states where they were at risk of such abuse.

And the Committee said it was ‘unacceptable’ that the UK still has no clear policy on rendition.

Al Jazeera’s Paul Brennan reports from London.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Friday, 29 June 2018

Hooded, shackled, with gun to my head’ – UK spies witnessed

‘WE still don’t know the process of accountability’, British citizen Moazzam Begg, previously held in Guantanamo Bay, said criticising the scope of an inquiry into torture and extraordinary rendition.

He was responding to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) report released yesterday which showed that there were at least 13 cases where UK spies witnessed at first-hand a detainee being mistreated by the US operatives.

Moazzam Begg said: ‘British intelligence agents were physically there watching as I was hooded, shackled, with a gun to my head, threatened with being sent to Syria or Egypt if I didn’t co-operate. ‘There was the sound of a woman screaming in the room next door, that I was led to believe was my wife being tortured. British intelligence agents knew all about this.’

Although there is no evidence US rendition flights transited through the UK, there is evidence that two detainees went through the Indian Ocean British Territory of Diego Garcia, where records about the conditions in which they were held are ‘woefully inadequate’.

The report states: ‘That the US, and others, were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that the agencies and defence intelligence were aware of this at an early point.’

Tory MP Dominic Grieve, chair of the ISC, said: ‘We find it astonishing that given the intense focus on this issue ten years ago, the government has failed to take action. There is no clear policy, not even agreement over who has responsibility for preventing UK complicity in unlawful rendition. In particular, we note the government has failed to introduce a process to ensure that allies can’t use UK territory for rendition purposes without prior permission.’

Responding to the Intelligence and Security reports released today, Bella Sankey, Deputy Director of Reprieve, said: ‘Dominic Grieve has exposed systemic levels of UK support for torture and rendition operations up until 2010 despite the restrictions his Committee were operating under. ‘But he makes clear in his statement today that he has been forced to “draw a line” under its inquiry after the government refused access to key witnesses.

‘The evidence the Committee heard amounted to just 6 minutes of oral evidence per case of torture or rendition with UK involvement. We have only scratched the surface. ‘The Prime Minister has so far shown contempt for the Committee’s work and its recommendations.

‘She must now listen to cross party calls to deliver what the government originally promised: an independent judge-led inquiry which can explore the dark corners the ISC could not reach. ‘The Prime Minister must also publicly consult on her Torture Guidance which still to this day fails to protect both agents on the ground and hundreds of individuals at risk of mistreatment.’

UK tolerated ‘inexcusable’ treatment of detainees by US after 9/11, damning official report finds. ‘There was no understanding in the government of rendition and no clear policy – or even recognition of the need for one,’ MPs say: here.

British intelligence agencies complicit in US torture: here.

Britain’s role in US rendition and torture revealed: here.

‘Investigate British government’s torture’


This 2009 video from Britain says about itself:

“Yes I am emotional about torture SIR!” Shami Chakrabarti SAVAGES UK Minister Geoff “Buff” Hoon

Shami Chakrabarti SAVAGES UK Minister Geoff “Buff” Hoon over the US attempts to BLACKMAIL Britain into silence over evidence of torture.

Binyam Mohamed, a British resident held at the American base [Guantanamo], has launched a legal challenge in the High Court in London for documents detailing his treatment to be made public.

However, two judges ruling on the case said that David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, had advised that releasing the documents could lead to America withdrawing intelligence co-operation. …

The judges reveal that the secret documents at the centre of the case give rise to an arguable case of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. It is also disclosed that a British intelligence official may have been present when Mr Mohamed alleges he was tortured. The judgement raises the prospect of criminal charges being brought against British officials.

By Sam Tobin in Britain:

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Reprieve: torture inquiry ‘long overdue’

CALLS for a public inquiry into the British government’s use of torture are long overdue, Reprieve said yesterday.

The human rights group welcomed former justice secretary Ken Clarke’s call for Prime Minister Theresa May to set up a judge-led inquiry into Britain’s use of torture in the so-called War on Terror.

Mr Clarke, who shelved plans for an inquiry due to ongoing police investigations in 2012, admitted having been wrong to block an inquiry and joined 13 other MPs and peers in calling for a full investigation.

The move comes weeks after the unprecedented apology to tortured Libyan dissident Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and his wife Fatima Boudchar.

Reprieve director Maya Foa said: “The only way for the UK to regain moral authority on this issue is to fully examine and expose past wrongs.

Pointing out that former PM “David Cameron promised to establish a judge-led inquiry once police investigations had concluded”, Ms Foa said: “That moment has now arrived and Ken Clarke and his colleagues are right to call on Theresa May to keep the government’s promise.”

True scale of UK role in torture and rendition after 9/11 revealed. Two damning reports reveal British intelligence’s treatment of terrorism suspects: here.

Trump’s pseudo-feminism to make torturer CIA boss


This video from the USA says about itself:

White House Hides Behind McFeminism To Push War Criminal CIA Head

7 May2018

In May 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official — whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time — was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.

Read more here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Will “Bloody Gina” Run The CIA?

7 May 2018

Whom amongst us hasn’t run a black site torture facility in Thailand and destroyed the evidence? Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

“After 9/11, when the CIA needed a someone to run its first secret overseas prison, it turned to a 16-year veteran of the clandestine service to oversee the waterboarding of suspected terrorists. Years later, after she’d allegedly acquired the nickname “Bloody Gina”, the same woman would oversee the destruction of video evidence of the “enhanced interrogations” conducted under her watch. On Tuesday, President Trump announced his intention to nominate that woman, Gina Haspel, as director of the CIA.

In a single tweet Tuesday morning, President Trump announced the departure of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as his plans to replace Tillerson with sitting CIA director Mike Pompeo and install deputy director Haspel in Pompeo’s position. If confirmed by the Senate, Haspel will be the first woman to run the CIA.

Haspel, who spent most of her 33 year career with the agency as an undercover agent, was appointed deputy director in early February.”

Read more here.

‘DISQUALIFYING’ Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has urged the Senate to reject Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA, as her “refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.” Here’s a video of Trump’s pick dodging questions on whether it’s ethically right to torture a fellow human being. [HuffPost]

‘HE’S DYING ANYWAY’ Cindy McCain, the wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), hit back at the White House aide who reportedly mocked her husband’s ailing health during a meeting about Trump’s controversial pick for CIA chief, Gina Haspel. Over on Fox Business, Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney backed Haspel and defended the use of torture, saying it worked on “songbird” McCain. [HuffPost]

Wednesday’s Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on the nomination of Gina Haspel as director of the US Central Intelligence Agency provided a revealing exposure of the criminality of the US intelligence apparatus as well as the disintegration of democratic processes within America’s capitalist state. The subject at hand was whether a woman who played a direct and intimate role in the torture of detainees held incommunicado at so-called “black sites” around the world should be appointed to head what one senator described as the “premier intelligence agency in the world.” The hearing was characterized by gushing tributes from both Democrats and Republicans to the work of an agency long ago dubbed “Murder, Inc.” for its crimes around the world, including the organization of political assassinations, the creation of terrorist armies and the orchestration of fascist-military coups: here.

An Arkansas arms company that sells guns to the CIA has been trying to purchase large quantities of napalm — but they won’t say who it is for.

Tortured in George W Bush’s USA


This 2009 video from the USA says about itself:

This is part 1 of a documentary about terror suspect Ali al-Marri, who’s been held at the Charleston Navy Brig for 7 years without a trial. We went to the Mideast to film this right after the Presidential election in 2008. Our story highlights this case as a prime example of how the law and the Constitution can easily be ignored in a time of war. In February 2009, al-Marri learned he will finally have his case heard in court.

Translated from Dutch daily De Volkskrant:

New evidence shows that Americans also used torture methods in the United States itself. The Qatari Ali al-Marri tells for the first time how he was treated in the aftermath of 9/11.

by Maud Effting, Tom Kreling and Huib Modderkolk

Ali al-Marri looks at the door of his American cell that swings open. ‘Pack your things’, the guard says in the doorway. “We’re leaving.” He looks up. Al-Marri – dark eyes, long black hair and a beard – has been trapped in the US for almost a year and a half, where he has come from Qatar to study. Now he is suspected of involvement in the attacks of September 11, 2001.

When he has gathered his things together, his hands and feet are chained. Then guards chain his hands to his waist. He gets ski goggles on which the glass is made black. A pair of headphones goes over his ears. This is how he shuffles behind his guards. In the past year he has been waiting in prison for something to happen with his case. Waiting for a formal charge, a conviction, a punishment. Sometimes he was moved. He was suddenly put in another cell. He waited there again. But this time it is different. Outside he hears the rotors of an aircraft turning. He peeks along the side of his glasses and then he sees them. Soldiers. He knows bad things will happen. He has never seen soldiers in prison. “Am I declared to be an enemy combatant?” He asks. “Yes”, says a soldier. It is June 23, 2003 and Ali al-Marri disappears in the plane that will take him to the military prison: the Navy Brig in South Carolina. From now on, other rules apply.

Because of his new status as enemy combatant- President George W. Bush signed the papers – he will disappear into a black hole from today on. He will not have contact with his lawyers for nearly a year and a half. His family has no idea where he is. And if he still lives at all. A week after the September 11 attacks, Bush was given the power by Congress to “use all necessary and appropriate means” in the fight against terrorism. For so-called enemy combatants, this meant that they could be held indefinitely and without trial. Most of the enemy combatants were detained at Guantánamo Bay after 2001. Only three were jailed on US American territory. Ali al-Marri was one of them.

For the first time, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (52) is telling his story. He is a Qatarese banker who came to the US with his wife and five children just one day before September 11, 2001, to study information technology . He previously earned his bachelor’s degree in the US. He was arrested after the attacks. Initially he was seen as an important witness. He refused, however, to say something and gradually the accusations became more serious. Members of Al Qaeda in Guantánamo Bay were supposed to have said – maybe after torture – that he had ties with them: al-Marri supposedly belonged to a sleeping cell of Al Qaeda, waiting for instructions. After that, the FBI treated him for years as an important terrorism suspect.

Al-Marri denies to this day that he had anything to do with Al Qaida … Now he is here in a room in Amsterdam, and he wants to tell how he was treated in prison. How they tried to break him spiritually. And what total isolation did to him. How he was slowly dehumanized. On US American territory. His story is supported by new documents that show that the methods used in al-Marri are inhuman or torture according to international law.

… The log says that a senior officer of the Navy Brig passes. “Do I have any rights?” asks al-Marri. “No”, the man says. …

In December 2003, the interrogations seem to change: FBI agent Ali Soufan comes to the jail. He is one of the few Arabic-speaking agents at the service, famous for confessions he extracted from terrorist suspects. …

The atmosphere changes, al-Marri says. “Soufan said he could have my family imprisoned and tortured. He threatened that he would rape my wife in front of me, that he would put my children in the cell next to me so that I could hear them cry. He could make me disappear to black sites where they could do what they wanted with me. “Soufan said he had homosexual soldiers who wanted to have fun with me. …

They screamed that I had to keep my mouth shut. At one point I saw someone gesturing that this did not work. One interrogator walked out. “After a minute he was back, he says. “In his hands he had duct tape and a pair of white sports socks. They stuck my mouth shut with tape. “It does not work: the tape gets loose because he pushes it away with his tongue.” They try again. “Soufan pushed my jaws to open my mouth – he knew exactly what to do. Then he pushed the socks in. He shouted: stop singing, you will listen. Then he closed my mouth – one hand under my chin, the other on my head – while the other interrogator closed my head with tape. He went four, five times, horizontally and vertically. “Al-Marri begins to hum. They push his head towards the photos, shout close to his face, hit his cheeks with two hands, sit on his lap: they want him to listen. With two fingers they push his chin up. “I breathed through my nose. But from one moment to the next I suddenly got no air. I choked. It felt like you were trying to breathe under water. I could not do anything. The only thing I wanted was to take out those socks. But my hands were shackled. “I do not know where I was suffocated. The socks? My saliva? My tongue? It was as if I was drowning. I struggled, my body was shocked. I tried to pull my hands out of the shackles. I remember seeing two men sitting quietly beside me and thinking: they just let it happen. “How long does everything take – he does not remember. He only knows that at a given moment he no longer perceived anything. “I have never been closer to death”, says Al Marri. According to documents, the incident takes 15 minutes, until someone removes the tape. “I started coughing, throwing up.” His description is largely supported by documents. The Defense Department only deviates over the socks. …

He has been in total for thirteen years, until he is released in 2015 and expelled to Qatar. ‘I call on people who have experienced the same thing to also go out and tell their story about this man. It will become clear what he has done. I want justice.”

Abu Ghraib, Iraq torture for complaining about garbage


This 28 March 2018 video says about itself:

Ex Abu Ghraib Prisoner Speaks Out On Abuse

This is the man under the hood… Warning: Some viewers may find this content distressing.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 29 March 2018:

The man from the infamous Abu Ghraib photo: I still can not have a bath

He is one of the most famous former prisoners of the infamous Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison. Not because of any crimes or his punishment, but because of the inhumane photo taken of him in 2003.

In the picture, Ali Shallal al-Qaisi can be seen standing on a box, wrapped in a black robe, with a hood over his head and electrical wires on his hands.

He was tortured by prison guards and he was not the only one. In 2004, numerous photographs were published of the horrors that took place in the prison, managed by US American soldiers. Notorious is also the picture on which soldier Lynndie England has a prisoner on a leash.

Al-Qaisi recently spoke about the torture with the news website Middle East Eye. He tells how the American soldiers hanged him, electrocuted him and urinated all over him. “They grabbed a broomstick, broke it in half and penetrated my genitals, it caused bleeding and necessitated operations”, he says in the video.

Fifteen years after his imprisonment, Al-Qaisi is still heavily traumatized. “I can not have a bath in my bathroom, because that reminds me of waterboarding. I still have nightmares.”

In an earlier interview Al-Qaisi told about the reason for his imprisonment. He claims to have complained in 2003 about garbage that the US military dumped in Iraq. After his story appeared in the local media, he was arrested and the horror started.

Complaining about garbage … how dares he! That definitely proves he was a terrorist [sarcasm off]. Just like people complaining about garbage in the present hysterical atmosphere in NATO countries are all terrorists, and/or Russian spies! [sarcasm off]