U.S. Interrogators Killed Prisoners
Revolution #021, November 6, 2005, posted at revcom.us
On October 24, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report based on the autopsy and death reports of detainees held by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their analysis shows that many U.S. captives had died while being interrogated. According to these reports, detainees were repeatedly hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects and subjected to sleep deprivation and extreme temperatures.
"There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU. "High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable. America must stop putting its head in the sand and deal with the torture scandal."
The documents were released by the Department of Defense in response to a Freedom of Information filing. They included 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of people seized in Iraq and Afghanistan. This covers just a fraction of the total number of Iraqis and Afghanis who have died while in U.S. custody.
According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides. The ACLU found that eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees. The autopsy reports list deaths by "strangulation," "asphyxiation" and "blunt force injuries" – meaning that prisoners were choked, suffocated or beaten until they died.
According to the ACLU, "While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, these documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too."
One day after this ACLU report was released, it became known that Vice President Cheney made a special appeal in early October to argue for changes in a Senate amendment that would "bar cruel and degrading treatment of any prisoners in U.S. custody." Cheney wanted the Senate to change the bill so that the new rules would not forbid the CIA and any "anti-terrorism" operations from torturing their captives.
This U.S. government is torturing people TO DEATH and openly claiming that it must have a free hand to do this.
Can you stand by and let this go on?
Documented Death by U.S. Torture
The following cases come from the ACLU analysis:
- A 27-year-old Iraqi man died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. He had been hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to heat and cold, including by pouring cold water on his body and hood. Autopsy notes say he "struggled/interrogated/died sleeping."
- An Iraqi detainee died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated by "OGA" (military code name for CIA). He was standing shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth when he died. The cause of death was given as asphyxia (suffocation) and blunt force injuries. Notes on the autopsy said "Q by OGA, gagged in standing restraint."
- A detainee died during an interrogation by Military Intelligence (MI) on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq. The autopsy report lists "asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression" as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object.
- A detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison, captured by Navy Seal Team #7, died on November 4, 2003, during an interrogation by Navy Seals and "OGA." The autopsy report shows cause of death as "blunt force injury complicated by compromised respiration."
- An Afghan civilian died from "multiple blunt force injuries to head, torso and extremities" on November 6, 2003, at a Forward Operating Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
- A 52-year-old male Iraqi was strangled to death at the Whitehorse detainment facility on June 6, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. His autopsy revealed bone and rib fractures and multiple bruises.