The ACLU has released another treasure trove of documents as part of its investigation into torture and abuse of detainees by US forces. The documents - mostly reports from the US Army's Criminal Investigation Division - show torture and abuse are widespread and routine across US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In one case, a prisoner
claimed that Americans in civilian clothing beat him in the head and stomach, dislocated his arms, "stepped on [his] nose until it [broke]," stuck an unloaded pistol in his mouth and fired the trigger, choked him with a rope and beat his leg with a baseball bat. Medical reports corroborated the detainee’s account, stating that the detainee had a broken nose, fractured leg, and scars on his stomach. In addition, soldiers confirmed that Task Force 20 interrogators wearing civilian clothing had interrogated the detainee. However, after initially reporting the abuse, the detainee said that he was forced by an American soldier to sign a statement denouncing the claims or else be kept in detention indefinitely. He agreed.
An investigator who reviewed the signed statement concluded that "[t]his statement, alone, is a prima facie indication of threats." However, despite the medical report and testimony from other soldiers, the criminal file was ultimately closed on the grounds that the investigation had "failed to prove or disprove" the offenses.
That phrase - "failed to prove or disprove" - or variations on it crop up again and again in the ACLU's documents. Investigations into allegations that Iraqis were taken in the middle of the night and beaten in the back of a Humvee, into Iraqis who suffered permanant nerve damage as a result of beatings while handcuffed, and into indiscriminate assaults by Special Forces on villagers in Afghanistan which were witnessed by "senior Psyops officers" were all terminated due to "insufficient evidence", despite medical reports and witness statements. Even in cases where the abusers had been videotaped beating and kicking detainees, they were not prosecuted or punished in any way. Given this, you really have to question the commitment of the US army to enforcing its own rules against the abuse of prisoners...
And that's not the half of it. In another incident revealed by the Associated Press, a "ghost" detainee was tortured to death by being suspended by his wrists with his arms behind his back (a variation on strapado known as "Palestinian hanging") and beaten. According to one witness,
the prisoner's arms were stretched behind him in a way he had never before seen. Frost told investigators he was surprised al-Jamadi's arms "didn't pop out of their sockets," according to a summary of his interview.
Frost and other guards had been summoned to reposition al-Jamadi, who an interrogator said was not cooperating. As the guards released the shackles and lowered al-Jamadi, blood gushed from his mouth "as if a faucet had been turned on," according to the interview summary.
The military pathologist who ruled the case a homicide found several broken ribs and concluded al-Jamadi died from pressure to the chest and difficulty breathing.
Two navy officers are currently facing charges over the murder - the other eight navy SEALs who initially kicked him and beat him with rifle butts having recived "nonjudicial punishment" - meaning "sweet fuck all" - for their actions. Meanwhile, the CIA interrogators who actually killed him have not been charged, and are nowhere to be found. It seems that serious torture is just business as usual as far as they are concerned.