Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Death And Torture

More light is shed on the torture, abuse and murder of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan by the Army Times of all sources.

An article appearing in the Army Times states that "More than a third of the prisoners who died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan were shot, strangled or beaten by U.S. personnel before they died, according to death certificates and a high-ranking U.S. military official."

The story continues, "The military official, who has direct knowledge of ongoing Pentagon investigations of the deaths, said that 15 of 37 prisoners who have died since December 2002 appear to have been killed or put in grave danger by U.S. troops or interrogators. In some cases, the immediate cause of death was listed as a heart attack, but that was in turn caused by a beating."

In analyzing these deaths, the article details "three patterns [that] have emerged so far:

• Six prisoners died from 'blunt force trauma' or excessive force on the part of captors or prison guards, including two within a week of one another at the same prison. Two prisoners at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, died of complications Dec. 3 and Dec. 10, 2002, after being struck forcefully on their legs by guards or interrogators, military records show. One death certificate said the leg beating 'complicat(ed) coronary artery disease,' and the other certificate said the beating led to a 'pulmonary embolism,' or a heart blockage that is often caused by a blood clot.

• At least four prisoners died in Iraq from strangulation, asphyxia, smothering or 'compromised respiration,' including Abid Mowhosh, a major general who headed Iraq’s air defenses, whose death certificate says he died from 'asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression.'

• At least nine prisoners died in Baghdad and Abu Ghraib prison • including five in August 2003 - as the result of heart disease or heat-related problems. The five deaths occurred in Baghdad over a 15-day period, when temperatures soared between 120-130 degrees." [emphasis added]

These three patterns are most disturbing because they appear to be linked to torture and abuse employed in the interrogation of detainees. While the abuse and torture are widespread and systemic, this article echoes the findings of the Red Cross, the U.S. Army and other groups that have noted that "The vast majority of the more than 41,000 prisoners detained in Iraq have been released."

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?