From CIA torture to terrorism

This video says about itself:

Blowback: How Torture Leads to Terror

12 February 2018

Does torture lead to terror? Has the decadeslong abuse of political prisoners across the Muslim-majority world — not to mention in CIA black sites, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq, and the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay — fueled radicalization and extremism? Or is it a coincidence that some of the major figures in the jihadi movement — Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb; Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri; Al Qaeda in Iraq founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — were all victims of horrific torture?

As Mehdi Hasan points out, torture is also a recruiting sergeant for terrorist groups. It allows them to act as a vehicle for angry and outraged young men and helps bolster their propaganda war against people in power. For example, Cherif Kouachi, one of the brothers who carried out the horrific attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, said it was “everything I saw on the television, the torture at Abu Ghraib prison, all that which motivated me.”

Hosted by Mehdi Hasan, “How Torture Leads to Terror” is the fourth episode of a six-part Blowback series for The Intercept. Throughout this series, Mehdi Hasan examines key examples of blowback in greater detail and explores how foreign policy decisions by the U.S. and its allies often produce blowback and so-called unintended consequences.

Sudanese tortured refugee arrested in the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

ICE Arrests Surge 40% Under Donald Trump | All In | MSNBC

12 February 2018

The father of a 5-year-old battling cancer got a last-minute stay from deportation. But many aren’t so lucky.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

ICE arrests immigrant at asylum interview in San Francisco

By our reporter

13 February 2018

On February 8, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents took the unprecedented step of arresting an asylum applicant, Omer Abdelmaed, after he appeared for an interview at a United States citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) building in San Francisco.

Abdelmaed, a resident of San Jose, California showed up at the asylum office in San Francisco to explain his fear of returning to Sudan, having fled after being arrested and tortured.

After the customary interview, which lasted two hours, Abdelmaed and his attorney, Caleb Arring, began to leave the office. However, as Arring explained in a Facebook post, as they began to leave, “someone who I assume is a supervisor at the asylum office came in with 3-4 ICE Officers. The ICE Officers put handcuffs on my client and said they were taking him into custody. I asked why. At first they wouldn’t even answer me.”

The highly provocative arrest is part of a pattern of blatant illegality on the part of ICE, which functions as a law unto itself.

While the Obama administration deported more people per year than Trump did in 2017, the latter’s administration has carried out a deliberate policy to instill terror among immigrants, making random, warrantless arrests outside churches, at courthouses, government buildings, schools, workplaces, on buses, and in other public places. The Trump administration made 37,734 arrests of immigrants with no criminal records in the 2017 fiscal year, more than double the total from 2016.

Arring explained in his post: “My client has NEVER been arrested in the United States. He has a completely clean record. He has a social security number. He works and contributes to our society. He has a United States Citizen Child. His wife and other child both have green cards.”

Abdelmaed’s arrest is a violation of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, which states, “Refugees should not be penalized for their illegal entry or stay” and prohibits immigrants from “being arbitrarily detained purely on the basis of seeking asylum.”

Arring said “the government will give me NO information about why he was taken into custody during what is meant to be a safe and non-adversarial process.” When ICE made the arrest, Arring challenged the officers and told them the Asylum Office retained custody over his case while his asylum application was pending. “The officer said, not anymore, we just arrested him so the asylum office doesn’t have jurisdiction anymore.”

The Trump administration has launched an assault against asylum applicants, proposing to slash in half the total number of asylum applications it will grant per year from roughly 37,000 to 18,000. In October 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions called on Congress to toughen rules for asylum seekers who he claims use “rampant abuse and fraud” to escape their home countries.

“The system is being gamed. Over the years, smart attorneys have exploited loopholes in the law, court rulings, and lack of resources to substantially undermine the intent of Congress”, Sessions said, failing to clarify how it could be fraudulent to cite court rulings in legal proceedings. The immigration system is “overloaded with fake claims” for asylum, he added. This is the opinion of a large number of senators heading into this week’s debate over immigration reform.

In reality, nearly six in ten asylum applications are denied in immigration court, including 90 percent of those applications filed by immigrants too poor to afford legal representation since there is no equivalent to the public defender system in immigration court. Between 75 percent and 90 percent of all asylum applications from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico were denied between 2011 and 2016.

The arrest of Abdelmaed is another sign of the danger posed not only to immigrants, but all workers whose democratic rights are under attack when the government conducts illegal arrests and locks up people seeking refuge from persecution.

Guantanamo torture camp still open today

This video says about itself:

The Dark Legacy Of The Guantanamo Prison

11 January 2018

Guantánamo inmates claim Trump‘s ‘anti-Muslim bias‘ fuels their detention. Eleven prisoners are petitioning a federal court in Washington to end their indefinite incarceration and are citing the president’s campaign comments: here.

Will religion decide the fate of the Guantánamo Bay detainees? The Trump administration has moved from releasing detainees based on their risk factor to treating individuals as dangerous because of their faith: here.

Guantánamo: Bush-era officials warn keeping prison open may be $6bn error. Trump’s decision to keep the prison open may be costly and dangerous, according to officials who set up the Cuba facility: here.

British Thatcherite massive torture of children

This video from Australia says about itself:

Four Corners – ‘Australia’s Shame‘. Shocking vision of Child Torture in Youth Detention

26 July 2016

WARNING: This video contains graphic images.

Last night’s Four Corners revealed shocking vision of a young boy being repeatedly victimised while in youth detention facilities in the Northern Territory. The boy, who was between 13 and 14 at the time, is forcefully stripped naked, held in a hog tie position, carried by the neck and thrown across a room as well as being knocked to the floor by staff.

See also here.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Hundreds of boys ‘tortured’ at youth detention centres in 1970s and 1980s

Survivors calling for public inquiry into sexual and physical abuse during Thatcherite ‘short, sharp shock‘ policy

Lizzie Dearden, Home Affairs Correspondent

Thursday 4 January 2018 20:12 GMT

Hundreds of boys say they were subjected to sexual and physical abuse amounting to “torture” in youth detention centres, sparking calls for a public inquiry.

A lawyer representing the alleged victims said they had been raped, beaten and sexually assaulted during the 1970s and 1980s.

David Greenwood, the head of child abuse at Switalskis Solicitors, said he was already representing more than 400 men and being “approached constantly” by new claimants.

“Clients I’ve spoken to have said it was like torture – they were locked up and couldn’t get away,” he told The Independent.

“Most of them say it made them anti-authority, they felt as though they couldn’t trust people.

“For boys in for stealing to be subjected to this indiscriminate violence was a shock, and I say it was unlawful.

“It made boys who had obviously done wrong in some respect into boys who were worse, and ended up in violence.”

Former inmates at Eastwood Park Detention Centre in Gloucestershire have told Mr Greenwood they were punched if they did not answer officers’ responses with “Sir”.

Others described being regularly hit “for the slightest misdemeanour”, being whipped with rubber pipes, forced to perform extreme exercise, have cold showers and were made to crouch in stress positions without chairs.

Noel Smith, who was imprisoned in a detention centre aged 15 after stealing a motorbike, said his three-month ordeal in 1976 drove his descent into more serious offences including bank robbery.

The 57-year-old recalled being punched to the floor by one officer while still at court, then smacked on the other side of his head by another, even before being taken to the institution.

“When we arrived we had to run the gauntlet past the screws,” he added. “We were kicked, punched and had our ears pulled. Someone poked their finger in my eye.

“Once we were inside, we were stripped and stood in the reception naked while everybody went about their business around us and staff made disparaging remarks. It frightened the life out of us.”

Mr Smith said there were “beatings from start to finish” of his imprisonment, seeing guards drag inmates out of their chairs by their sideburns and grab them by the scrotum while smiling.

Now an author and commissioning editor of Inside Time, a prisoners’ newspaper, Mr Smith said: “It made me bitter and twisted, it was one humiliation after another.

“It turned us into hardened criminals. I went in for stealing a motorbike, and six months later I was appearing in court for armed robbery and possession of firearms… common sense should have told you then that brutalising kids would have an adverse effect.”

Police are already investigating allegations relating to Medomsley Detention Centre in County Durham and Kirklevington Detention Centre in North Yorkshire, where more than 400 victims have already come forward.

But Mr Greenwood said the scale of abuse is “most definitely wider”.

“It was an institutional problem that seemed to have been taking place at all these detention centres at that time,” he added.

When asked what kind of sexual assaults his clients told him took place in the centres, Mr Greenwood listed them as “rape, indecent assault and oral sex”.

Some of the alleged abuse has been attributed to policies brought in by Margaret Thatcher’s government, including Home Secretary Willie Whitelaw’s ‘short, sharp shock’ initiative.

The policy saw young offenders detained in secure units and subjected to quasi-military discipline, despite the fact there was no evidence it would deter them from reoffending.

“There is a common pattern of random beatings and being put into stress positions as part of the ‘short, sharp shock’ programme between the mid-1970s and 1980s,” Mr Greenwood said.

“The idea was perhaps taken too far, perhaps the training they were given was taken beyond the realm of legality. We need an inquiry to work out who was authorising this type of behaviour.”

Professor David Wilson, a criminologist who was governor of a progressive young offenders’ institution in the 1980s, said detention centres were run to deliberately put inmates under psychological and physical stress.

“That line between putting someone under stress and simply brutalising them seemed to never be clearly enough drawn,” he added.

“The ‘short, sharp shock’ was clearly going to be interpreted by some members of staff in ways that would lead to abuse.”

Victims are calling for a new public inquiry to be opened into the treatment of young male convicts at all detention centres in Britain.

HM Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) claimed the allegations would be covered by the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, but critics argue its remit is not wide enough to fully address the new allegations.

Mr Greenwood argued the current inquiry does not specifically address physical abuse, and its scope is also limited by ongoing criminal proceedings. “We’re hoping that the Home Secretary will look at this again and think about a proper public inquiry,” he added.

A HMPPS spokesperson said: “There is already an inquiry looking into these allegations, which is part of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse.

“The allegations of abuse by former members of staff at Medomsley Detention Centre are subject to an ongoing police investigation, therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

If you experienced abuse in youth detention centres and would like to discuss your experience anonymously, please contact

Tortured Iraqis win British court case

This video from Britain says about itself:

9 September 2011

The government and the British army say the illegal torture and interrogation techniques used in Iraq, and which caused the death of Baha Mousa, were the acts of a few “bad apples”. In fact, for five years, illegal and brutal techniques classified as torture under international law, were common practice throughout the British army in Iraq. The shocking treatment of prisoners in this video, which was presented as evidence at the UK inquiry into the army’s use of torture, is just a glimpse of what took place in at least 14 interrogation centres.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Thursday, December 14, 2017 – 17:37

Human Rights

Iraqi civilians win High Court case over abuse by British soldiers

FOUR Iraqi citizens have won tens of thousands of pounds in damages after they were subjected to degrading abuse at the hands of British soldiers during the Iraq war.

High Court judge Mr Justice Leggatt ruled on Thursday that the Ministry of Defence had breached the Geneva conventions and the Human Rights Act over its ill-treatment and unlawful detention of civilians.

The degrading treatment included soldiers taking turns running over the backs of detained civilians and hooding them.

Lawyers said yesterday’s ruling could set a precedent for hundreds of abuse claims of Iraqis during the war.

There are more than 600 unresolved claims in what is known as the Iraqi Civilian Litigation.

Mr Leggatt announced his conclusions after overseeing two High Court trials during which Iraqi citizens gave evidence in an English courtroom for the first time.

The judge himself conceded that “some of the factual issues raised are likely to affect many of the remaining cases in the litigation.”

In his judgment, he made clear that “none of the claimants was engaged in terrorist activities or posed any threat to the security of Iraq.”

Human rights law firm Leigh Day, which represented two of the claimants, praised the ruling.

Leigh Day international claims team partner Sapna Malik said: “These trials took place against an onslaught of political, military and media slurs of Iraqis bringing spurious claims, and strident criticism of us, as lawyers, representing them.

“Yet we have just witnessed the rule of law in action. Our clients are grateful that the judge approached their claims without any preconception or presumption that allegations of misconduct by British soldiers are inherently unlikely to be true.”

Abd Al-Waheed, who was arrested in a house raid carried out by British soldiers in Basra city in February 2007, was awarded the largest sum — a total of £33,300.

He was awarded £15,000 in “respect of the beating” he suffered after his arrest and £15,000 for further abuse including “being deprived of sleep and being deprived of sight and hearing,” the judge said.

Mr Al-Waheed was awarded a further £3,300 for unlawful detention for 33 days.

Pentagon keeps killing Afghan civilians

This Associated Press video says about itself:

First anniversary of deadly NATO airstrike


Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

1. Mid of site where airstrike on tankers happened
FILE: Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 05 September 2009

2. Former NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal visiting the site a day after strike, burnt tanker in background

3. Mid of McChrystal and other NATO officials

4. Various of destroyed tanker
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

5. Zoom out of site

6. Mid of children playing at site
Char Dara district, Kunduz province – 27 August 2010

7. Wide of locals in Char Dara district

8. House of Haji Abdul Basir, who lost three of his sons and one of his grandsons in the strike

9. Various of Basir’s family

10. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Haji Abdul Basir, father and grand father of strike victims:

“Germany is our biggest enemy; they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of the tankers.”

11. Mid of Basir’s grandchild
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

12. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Hayatullah Khan, provincial director for Afghan Human Rights Commission in Kunduz:

“From the day after the incident, the commission started its investigation on the incident. After ongoing meetings with German PRT (Provincial Reconstruction Team) in Kunduz and meeting officials from German Defence ministry, we asked them if they could help the families of the victims in a way to repent for what happened and we also asked them to make sure there will not be anymore civilian casualties in future military operations.”

Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 31 August 2010

13. Wide shot of NATO military base in Kunduz province

14. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The one who did that from a military point of view at the time, who was responsible, had his reasons to act as he had decided. I can’t say anything more than this at this point.”

15. Close of hands

16. SOUNDBITE (German) Major Stephen Wessel, German military spokesman in Kunduz:

“The German army supported financially the victims’ relatives we could research and concerning this, the compensation to the victims’ relatives is now over. There are no further intention of support from the German army’s side. Beyond that, there are some further projects to support, but the security situation here in the region doesn’t allow for it at the moment.”
Kunduz city, Kunduz province – 29 August 2010

17. Wide of police checking cars and people in Kunduz city, rifle in foreground

18. Various shots of police checking car

19. Wide of checkpoint


A year after a German-ordered airstrike on two tankers in Afghanistan that is believed to have killed scores of civilians, families in Char Dara are remembering their relatives.

On 4th September 2009, German Colonel Georg Klein ordered the NATO airstrike against two tanker trucks that had been seized by Taliban insurgents near Kunduz, fearing they could be used to attack troops.

The attack in the northern Afghan province killed up to 142 people, many of them civilians.

German officials have said the Taliban may have been planning a suicide attack on the military’s base using the hijacked tankers.

A year on, 65-year old Haji Abdul Basir was embittered by the incident which took the lives of his three sons and one of his grandsons.

“Germany is our biggest enemy they bombed us because of the two fuel tankers. If they hadn’t done what they did we would have been ready to sell our lands and pay them the cost of tankers,” said Basir.

Hayatullah Khan, the provincial director of the commission added that the issue of the civilian casualties in the military operations still remains a concern for them.

That was 2009-2010 in Char Dara district in Afghanistan.

Now, over eight years later, the bloodshed of Char Dara civilians has not stopped.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

US airstrikes kill dozens of Afghan civilians

7 November 2017

Reports from local officials and Afghan legislators have exposed mass civilian casualties in an offensive carried out last weekend by US and Afghan puppet forces in northern Kunduz province.

Some reports have put the death toll from the bombing raids in the Char Dara district at over 60, with women and children among the victims.

The Pentagon acknowledged that US forces had carried out an operation in Kunduz province, issuing its standard response, asserting that it “takes all allegations of civilian casualties seriously” and is investigating the reports.

The area of the attacks was west of the provincial capital of Kunduz, in a rural district where the Taliban has long maintained control.

According to the News International, Pakistan’s largest English language daily, Afghan security forces surrounded the three villages where the air strikes had taken place—Essa Khil, Qatl-e Aam and Uzbek Bazar—preventing relatives from collecting the bodies of their loved ones and interfering with any attempt to discover the precise death toll.

Khosh Mohammad Nasratyar, a provincial council member, gave an estimate of 55 civilians killed, while an Afghan aid worker in the area said the dead numbered at least 40. Others said that more than 60 had died.

President Ashraf Ghani has made no comment on the slaughter in Kunduz. His predecessor, Hamid Karzai, however, strongly condemned the air strikes, demanding an investigation and the prosecution of those responsible. Karzai, who left the presidential palace three years ago, has been strongly critical of the escalating US war in Afghanistan, accusing Washington of wanting to prolong the bloodshed in Afghanistan as a means of pursuing its own strategic interests in the region.

The latest air strikes were among the most intense in recent months, rattling windows in Kunduz city, which in 2015 was the scene of one of the bloodiest aerial massacres carried out by the US military in the course of its 16-year-old war in Afghanistan. In October of that year, a US AC-130U gunship carried out a protracted attack on a Doctors Without Borders medical center that left 42 dead, 33 missing and 30 wounded amid ghastly scenes of patients burning to death in their hospital beds.

Since US President Donald Trump announced a new Afghanistan strategy in August, ceding to the military brass the authority to set troop levels and guaranteeing the Pentagon “the necessary tools and rules of engagement” to escalate what is now America’s longest war, there has been a marked intensification of the bloodletting that has claimed at least 175,000 Afghan lives and turned millions into refugees.

This has come mainly as a result of intensified air strikes. In its October report on civilian casualties, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the number of civilians dying as a result of bombs and missiles dropped on the country from US and Afghan government aircraft had soared by 52 percent during the first nine months of 2017, compared to the same period last year.

The Pentagon is also increasing troop levels in the country, reportedly sending at least 3,000 more soldiers and Marines, bringing the official strength of the US occupation force to roughly 15,000. According to a recently disclosed Pentagon report, the US is now spending some $3.2 billion a month on the Afghanistan war, with that figure expected to rise along with the ongoing escalation.

The CIA is also reportedly expanding its role in the Afghan war, seeking authorization to initiate its own drone strikes inside Afghanistan—previously it had been restricted to cross-border missile strikes against Pakistan—and to organize “hunt and kill” militias to carry out assassinations and massacres in Taliban-held areas of the country.

In the midst of the US escalation, a prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has formally requested judicial authorization to open an investigation into war crimes carried out in connection with the protracted US war in Afghanistan.

The situation in Afghanistan has been the subject of a “preliminary examination” by the ICC for over a decade, during which countless crimes have been carried out against the Afghan people. Both Washington and its puppet government in Kabul have strongly opposed the court’s moving forward toward any investigation and potential charges.

Among charges that the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, intends to pursue are that the CIA and the US military, along with the Afghan security forces, engaged in the systematic torture of detainees as a matter of state policy.

A Preliminary Examination Report issued last year charged that the US intelligence agency and the Pentagon “resorted to techniques amounting to the commission of the war crimes of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity and rape.” It specifically cited the cases of 61 individual detainees subjected to torture on Afghan territory between 2003 and 2014 by the US military, as well as those of 21 detainees of the CIA who were tortured, abused and raped both in Afghanistan and at CIA “black sites” in Poland, Romania and Lithuania.

The ICC prosecutor’s office stressed that these crimes were “not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but rather were carried out in pursuit of “US objectives in the conflict in Afghanistan.”

Since its foundation in 2000, the US has refused to participate in the ICC, out of justifiable fear that US civilian and military officials could end up in the dock for crimes carried out by the Pentagon and the CIA in the multiple US wars and interventions waged in the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and beyond. Legislation passed in 2002, the American Service Members Protection Act (dubbed the “Hague Invasion Act”), bars any cooperation from Washington on charges brought against US war criminals and authorizes the US president to employ military force to rescue any American military or intelligence personnel detained by ICC prosecutors.

The Obama administration also imposed upon Washington’s Afghan puppet regime a 2014 Status of Forces Agreement that bars any transfer of Americans accused of war crimes to any international tribunal, granting Washington sole jurisdiction over its own personnel operating in Afghanistan.

While Obama defended the CIA torturers who operated under the Bush administration, Trump has publicly declared his support for waterboarding and other forms of torture. While there has been no official US reaction to the ICC prosecutor’s request for authorization to pursue an investigation, it is clear that Washington will do everything it can to suppress such a probe.

CIA’s military role in Afghan morass shows need for open democracy in age of hidden violence: here.

The U.S. is on track to have dropped three times as many bombs on Afghanistan this year than last.

US bombing of Afghanistan up by 300 percent: here.