SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses grave concern about the continued targeting of minors and the use of the internationally condemned terrorism law against them. This comes at a time of the ongoing culture of impunity and the apparent complicity of the public prosecution.
Security forces arrested the minor Hussein Hashem Fardan (17 years old) on Sunday evening 31 March, 2013 reportedly after an ambush carried out by civilian clothed police in a civilian cars. According to the sources who spoke to the BCHR, Hussein and his friends were stopped while they were at one of the petrol stations – AL-Noor station – in Sitra industrial area. One of Hussain’s friends who was with him at the time and released later on, stated that a man in civilian clothing walked up to the car they were in and put a gun to Hussain’s head, threatening to empty all bullets in his head if any of them attempted to resist. The civilian clothed police surrounded the station until they took Hussein and those with him to the criminal investigations building.
The witness stated that their faces were covered since beginning of their detention, and that they were beaten in the car that took them to the CID building. At the CID, Hussein was reportedly severely beaten with plastic hoses and kicked in the abdomen and the face. To add to that, he was reportedly sexually assaulted and threatened with raped until he collapsed. He was then forced to sign papers of unknown content. After that, he was transferred to the Central Police Station where officer Turki Al Majed, named in several other cases as being heavily involved in torture and other human rights violations, works, and who had reportedly previously threatened Hussain with arrest and torture. At the Central Police Station he was also reportedly tortured and forced to sign papers without reading them.
The lawyer of the detainee Hussein Hashem - Zahra Masood - reported in her twitter account that she was present at the public prosecution to attend the interrogation with her client, who seemed to be scared and confused as it was the first time for him to be detained, and as he had reportedly previously received threats of arrest and revenge from officer Turki Al Majid. The lawyer also confirmed witnessing marks from beatings on his face and swelling in the head, which confirmed reports that he was subjected to ill-treatment at the CID building; where he was questioned before being transferred to the public prosecution.
At the public prosecution building, an investigation was held with Hussein Fardan and he was charged with detonating a bomb for terrorist purposes. Hussein denied the accusations against him and told the prosecutor about being beaten with a plastic hose to confess, adding that he was threatened by the interrogators to have him back to the building of investigations and to torture him in the event of his denial of the charges against him. Despite the clarity of the marks of beatings on the body of Hussein Fardan, the prosecutor refused to take any steps to protect Hussein from further abuse, renewing his detention for 15 days pending investigation. The General Attorney refused to open an investigation into the allegations made by the minor Hussein Fardan about being subjected to abuse and ill-treatment. After that, Hussain was returned to the Central Police Station.
On Wednesday, 3 April 2013, and specifically at 9:30am, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights received information stating that the minor Hussein Fardan was taken back to the Public Prosecution again without contacting his lawyer, and when the lawyer went to inquire about the reason for taking Hussein to the prosecution again, they denied his presence there.
The family of Hussein Fardan reported that this was not the first time Hussein Fardan was wanted; as the authorities have been targeting him since 2010. Hussain was 13 years old at the time. The house of Hussein Fardan was raided more than 10 times, at different periods including 6 raids in November 2012. In one of the raids, a group of civilians vandalized the contents of Hussein’s room and took his clothes. When his brother inquired about the reason of their actionns, he was threatened to be beaten and they left the house.
Photo of Hussein’s room after being vandalized during a house raid
Based on the above, Bahrain Center for Human Rights calls on the United States, the United Kingdon, the United Nations, and all other allies and relevant institutions to put pressure on the Government of Bahrain to:
1. Immediately release Hussein Fardan who is a minor, as well as all other political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
2. Immediately annul the law of terrorism, which has been criticized internationally for being very vague and used specifically during politically motivated cases.
3. To immediately set up an independent committee from civil society to look into the claims and allegations of torture made by civilians.
4. Put an end to the culture of impunity and hold accountable all officials for violations committed, including those in high positions and members of the ruling family.
source : BCHR
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The United States declined Monday to surrender an undisclosed number of detainees during the handover of a prison to Afghan control, a spokesman for the American-led coalition in Afghanistan said.
The handover of Parwan prison at Bagram Air Base was the linchpin in a larger agreement that outlines the gradual transfer of power from U.S. forces to Afghanistan as American troops prepare to withdraw.
A coalition official told CNN the United States is holding on to several Afghan detainees because of concerns about whether Afghan authorities will properly handle their cases and under what circumstances they might be released. The U.S. also is keeping several prisoners of other nationalities who were not part of the agreement, the source said.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Afghan President Hamid Karzai spoke by telephone Monday about the brewing controversy. Pentagon spokesman George Little said the two leaders "expressed a shared commitment to implement the terms of the memorandum of understanding on detention operations in Afghanistan."
Roughly 99% of the detainees in custody before the agreement was signed in March have been turned over to Afghan authorities, Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for coalition, said by telephone.
"We have paused the transfer of the remaining detainees until our concerns are met," he said.
Graybeal declined to release the number of detainees still in U.S. custody, citing operational security.
The detainees in question are believed to be high-value Taliban and Haqqani network militants. The U.S. military has not publicly identified them.
The U.S. military also is temporarily halting the handover of any detainees taken into custody after the agreement was signed in March.
Graybeal did not outline what the concerns were or what steps needed to be taken before the U.S. military agreed to turnover the detainees.
While the handover ceremony at Bagram occurred Monday despite the U.S. military's refusal to surrender the detainees, the issue will likely be a sticking point between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. military leaders.
Karzai has been adamant that all prisoners be under the control of Afghan authorities.
As late as last week, there was an indication of a possible disagreement between Karzai and U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO troops.
In November, a loyal jirga, or grand assembly of Afghan elders, endorsed the continued presence of U.S. forces following the end of combat operations in 2014, though only if the two countries could agree on the transfer of prisoners, the end to night raids and lifting immunity for U.S. troops accused of committing crimes.
Karzai more recently released a statement following a meeting with Allen in which he said that under the agreement, "the prison is now supposed to be transferred to Afghan government and thus any delay in its handover is considered a breach of Afghan national sovereignty."—www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — The Inspector General for the the U.S. Department of Defense reports that the military heavily drugged some detainees in a way which impaired their ability to provide accurate information:
Detainees in custody of the US military were interrogated while drugged with powerful antipsychotic and other medications that “could impair an individual’s ability to provide accurate information,” according to a declassified Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general’s report.
Over the past decade, dozens of current and former detainees and their civilian and military attorneys have alleged in news reports and in court documents that prisoners held by the US government in Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan were forcibly injected with unknown medications and pills during or immediately prior to marathon interrogation sessions in an attempt to compel them to confess to terrorist-related crimes of which they were accused.
Leonard Rubenstein, a medical ethicist at Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights and the former president of Physicians for Human Rights, said … “The problem is not simply what the report implies, that good information is unlikely to be obtained when someone shows psychotic symptoms….”
Shayana Kadidal, the senior managing attorney of the Guantanamo Project at the Center for Constitutional Rights, said what struck him after he read the report is “under the system set up by the [US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia], any statements detainees made during these interrogations would be presumed accurate even if detainees took medication that could produce unreliable information.”
When the inspector general sought to interview the attorney representing one detainee who claimed he was given mind-altering drugs during interrogations, the attorney responded, “at this state of his incarceration, [redacted] memory is severely compromised and, unfortunately, we are skeptical that he can provide you with any further details …”
Al-Nusairi claimed he was injected with an unknown medication that made him extremely sleepy just before he was interrogated in 2002. When his captors awakened him, he fabricated a confession for US interrogators in hopes they would leave him alone so he could sleep.
“I was completely gone,” al-Nusairi told his attorney, Anant Raut. “I said, ‘Let me go. I want to go to sleep. If it takes saying I’m a member of al-Qaeda, I will.’”
“I think any rational person would agree that confessions of terrorism while under the influence of mind-altering drugs are about credible as professions of love while under the influence of alcohol,” Raut, al-Nusairi’s attorney, told Truthout.
Part of a Systemic Effort to Produce False Confessions
These revelations only make sense when taken in context.
We’ve previously noted that the entire purpose behind the U.S. torture program was to obtain false confessions.
For example, the torture techniques used were Communist techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions:
As I noted in 2009:
Senator Levin, in commenting on the Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture declassified today, drops the following bombshell:
With last week’s release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape “SERE” training – a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations – by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.
In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.
Senator Levin then documents that SERE techniques were deployed as part of an official policy on detainees, and that SERE instructors helped to implement the interrogation programs.
The senior Army SERE psychologist warned in 2002 against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at Guantanamo Bay, because:
[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects… When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder… If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain… Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high… (p. 53).
I also pointed out:
McClatchy fills in some of the details:
Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…
For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”
It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…
When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”
Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.
In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.
Writing about this today, Paul Krugman says:
Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.
There’s a word for this: it’s evil.
The Washington Post reported the same year:
Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.
So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.
Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.
I wrote last month:
One of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.
Truth Out reported yesterday:
Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).
Kearns and his boss, Roger Aldrich, the head of the Air Force Intelligence’s Special Survial Training Program (SSTP), based out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, hired Jessen in May 1989. Kearns, who was head of operations at SSTP and trained thousands of service members, said Jessen was brought into the program due to an increase in the number of new SERE courses being taught and “the fact that it required psychological expertise on hand in a full-time basis.”
Jessen, then the chief of Psychology Service at the US Air Force Survival School, immediately started to work directly with Kearns on “a new course for special mission units (SMUs), which had as its goal individual resistance to terrorist exploitation.”
The course, known as SV-91, was developed for the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) branch of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, which acted as the Executive Agent Action Office for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jessen’s notes formed the basis for one part of SV-91, “Psychological Aspects of Detention.”
Kearns was one of only two officers within DoD qualified to teach all three SERE-related courses within SSTP on a worldwide basis, according to a copy of a 1989 letter written Aldrich, who nominated him officer of the year.
The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is exploitation, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”
Jessen wrote that cooperation is the “end goal” of the detainer, who wants the detainee “to see that [the detainer] has ‘total’ control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.).”
Kearns said, based on what he has read in declassified government documents and news reports about the role SERE played in the Bush administration’s torture program, Jessen clearly “reverse-engineered” his lesson plan and used resistance methods to abuse “war on terror” detainees.
So we have the two main Air Force insiders concerning the genesis of the torture program confirming – with original notes – that the whole purpose of the torture program was to extract false confessions.
Torture Program Produced False Confessions Regarding Terrorism
You might assume that torture was necessary or justified after 9/11.
Indeed, most of the information in the 9/11 Commission Report came from suspects who were tortured. Specifically, most of the 9/11 Commission Report was based on 3rd hand reports of what people said while being tortured.
But remember that communist torture techniques specifically crafted to produce false confessions were used. Remember also:
The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn’t work
Another FBI interrogator of 9/11 suspects said:
I was in the middle of this, and it’s not true that these [aggressive] techniques were effective
One of the Main Sources for the 9/11 Commission Report was Tortured Until He Agreed to Sign a Confession that He Was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
The so-called 9/11 mastermind said: “During … My Interrogation I Gave A Lot Of False Information In Order To Satisfy What I Believed The Interrogators Wished To Hear”
The self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit
The Senior Counsel to the 9/11 Commission (John Farmer) – who led the 9/11 staff’s inquiry – recently said: “The CIA tapes of the interrogations were destroyed. The story of 9/11 itself, to put it mildly, was distorted and was completely different from the way things happened“
A humanitarian aid worker said: torture only stopped when I pretended I was in al 1aeda
Under torture, Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi claimed there was a link between Saddam Hussein, al-Qaida and WMD
Torture Is ONLY Good For One Thing … Producing False Confessions
Indeed, the top interrogation experts from U.S. military and intelligence services say that all torture is lousy at producing actionable intelligence … and the only thing it is good for is to produce false confessions. For example:
The C.I.A.’s 1963 interrogation manual stated:
Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex ‘admissions’ that take still longer to disprove.
An Army psychologist – Major Paul Burney, Army’s Behavior Science Consulting Team psychologist – said (page 78 & 83):
[It] was stressed to me time and time again that psychological investigations have proven that harsh interrogations do not work. At best it will get you information that a prisoner thinks you want to hear to make the interrogation stop, but that information is strongly likely to be false.
Interrogation techniques that rely on physical or adverse consequences are likely to garner inaccurate information …. — www.shafaqna.com/english/
SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association)The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) has confirmed, in its report back in November, torture cases committed by Ministry of Interior Officials. The BICI list of recommendations had action points to prevent such incidents. However, months after the report’s release, numerous torture cases have been documented by the Bahrain center for Human Rights (BCHR). The absence of accountability, the presence of a culture of impunity and the disregard of torture allegations by public prosecution are sources of grave concern for the BCHR.
In the past month, many severe cases of torture committed by Bahrain’s security forces have been witnessed and documented by rights activists. Torture is practiced in official MOI detention centers, unofficial centers (e.g. municipal buildings) and upon arrest in the houses being raided and these are only some of the cases:
Photo of Syed Hashim’s (18) torture marks. He was electrocuted and beaten by riot police. (another photo on the top of the page)
Syed Hashim Salman Juma, 18 years old, is one of many torture victims. Syed was arrested in June after riot police attacked Malkiya village. According to his testimony, he was taken to Karzakan village municipality building where he was beaten with batons. Police poured water on him and electrocuted him 7 times on his back. They even tried to set his hair on fire but fortunately they failed. After they were done, he was taken to a deserted farm and he was told to run.
Some torture marks on the body of a 16 year old boy
On 14 June 2012, yet another peaceful protest was repressed by Bahrain’s regime forces in Aali village. A group of protesters took shelter in a house in the area to get away from excessive use of tear gas and shooting. When inside the house, security forces raided it. The protesters were beaten with batons and belts, kicked and punched. A 16 year old boy was in the house at the time. He gave his testimony to the BCHR. He was beaten and insulted for half an hour and then taken by police to a yard in the village where he was further tortured and beaten. He was threatened with rape and murder, if he did not collaborate with the police and worked as a spy for them. Human rights activists and witnesses stated that they’ve heard screams and ambulance sirens. A BCHR representative went to the house and saw blood traces all over it.
Blood on the water tank and different areas of the house
Yousif Al Ajami is one of the many cases of public prosecution ignoring the allegations made by torture victims. He was arrested on 8 June 2012 from his car near Abu Saiba roundabout along with his friends. They were all released later, apart from Yousif. His friend said that he was beaten with batons and kicked all over his body. On 10 June 2012, he was taken for public prosecution for investigation. He told the prosecutor about the torture he was subjected to in a yard in Abu Saiba and in the criminal investigation department (CID) building. In the CID he was deprived of sleep, food and not allowed to pray for at least 24 hours before interrogation. They poured water on him and put him facing an air conditioner. He was handcuffed at all times, threatened with rape and subjected to ruthless psychological torture by officer Mohammed Khalid Al Saidi. He has apparent marks of torture. His left foot was swollen as the police intentionally closed the car door on it. Yousif told the public prosecution that he was forced to confess and denied all accusations. He requested protection. However, he was tortured again when taken back to CID. Currently, he is in detention for 60 days for allegation of making and possessing explosives for terrorism purposes.
Yousif Al Ajami’s story of torture has become very common in Bahrain. Four families from Salhiya village had their sons arrested during house raids at dawn before the 10 of June. They told the BCHR that their sons told them during a visit that they were tortured and raped. They were stripped naked, sexually assaulted and raped. Many of them mentioned officer Isa Al Majali as their torturer. He forced them to sign confessions blindfolded. Adnan Al Mansi, one of the detainees, told the public prosecutor about the torture he went through during his detention and how he was forced to confess on things he did not do. His testimony was ignored and it was not even recorded.
Dozens of cases of torture were documented by the BCHR and other human rights activists. Recently, with the undeclared martial law, torture cases have increased with no regard for basic human rights. The legal system has been ignoring the allegations of torture. They go unrecorded and without investigated which has strengthened the culture of impunity in the system and led to an increase of the violation of human rights.
Bahrain Center for Human Rights demands:
• The immediate intervention of the international community, human rights groups and the United Nations to put an end to the arbitrary arrests and brutal torture by Bahrain’s security forces
• The immediate release of all prisoners of conscience
• The investigation into claims of systematic torture
• Revealing the identities and names of the national security and military officers responsible for torture, bringing them to justice and prosecuting them
• The complete separation of the judiciary system from the executive power
Source : BCHR