When CIA Tortured Detainees to Death — And Agents Escaped Accountability and Were Promoted
By: Kevin Gosztola – 2 April, 2014 – FDL
There is not much being reported about CIA torture, as detailed in the major report by the Senate intelligence committee, that has not been reported previously. However, there has been no accountability, and the struggle between CIA and Senate over the report and what parts will be declassified for the public to read offers an opportunity to reckon with some of the horrific acts that were committed.
McClatchy Newspapers spoke with some sources for a story on the contents of the report and was apparently able to confirm that “the CIA’s own internal documents confirm the agency’s culpability in the hypothermia death of one Afghan captive.” The CIA has never had to publicly discuss the incident, even though in 2009 the Justice Department under President Barack Obama opened an investigation into what happened.
As summarized by Larry Siems in The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program, a young agent named “Matt, “a former Naval intelligence officer who joined the CIA and was put in charge of an operation for which he had no experience or training.” At the Salt Pit prison in Afghanistan, he ordered a captive named Gul Rahman to be “dragged around his concrete cell, doused with water and left shackled overnight.”
The temperature plummeted. Rahman, who was in the cell all night half-naked, was found dead. This happened despite the fact that Matt knew the prison was in need of heaters, which he had requested from the CIA’s Afghanistan station chief.
A report by CIA inspector general John Helgerson faulted the agency for “fail[ing] to provide adequate staffing, guidance and support to those involved with the detention and interrogation of detainees.” This report called attention to the poor judgment of Matt and the role of Paul, a CIA station chief in Afghanistan. And Helgerson also recommended that Rahman’s death be “referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.”
However, the Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) refused to prosecute insisting that a “declination memorandum” protected Matt from prosecution because he had no “specific intent.” The memo by Jay Bybee explained that, as manager of the Salt Pit site, if Matt “did not intend for Rahman to suffer severe pain from low temperature in his cell, he would lack specific intent under the anti-torture statute.”
John Sifton, an attorney and private human rights investigator, wrote for Slate, “The declination memo ‘regarding Gul Rahman’s death” was essentially an after-the-fact blessing for Rahman’s killer, in the form of a memo stating that DoJ would not prosecute the officers responsible.”
The Justice Department’s Criminal Division “provided declinations in cases of detainee abuse, thus giving individual officers de facto immunity from criminal prosecution.” Even if the Justice Department wanted to prosecute under Obama, this declination could be cited by defense counsel “as a partial shield.” (Sifton suggested these “declinations” may have been issued as “after-the-fact-immunities” similar to pardons.) …more
As the United Nation’s Human Rights Council discusses state practiced torture and impunity in its 25th session, Mr. Kevin Laue, the Legal Advisor of the Redress Trust has called on the participants to read the report released by his organisation about torture in Bahrain.
Torture expert criticises ongoing use of torture in Bahrain
13 March, 2014 – ABNA
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – As the United Nation’s Human Rights Council discusses state practiced torture and impunity in its 25th session, Mr. Kevin Laue, the Legal Advisor of the Redress Trust has called on the participants to read the report released by his organisation about torture in Bahrain.
Bahrain has been criticized by a number of European States in the Human Rights Council for having refused twice the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, who has reiterated his request for the third time.
A number of Bahraini activists and opposition members are attending the Human Rights Council’s 25th session.
Mr. Kevin Laue said in a side event at the HRC 25th session that Bahrain uses torture to extract false confessions and show protesters as terrorists, as well as to repress the people from speaking out.
He added that torture is not restricted to the past 3 years but has always been used by rulers to stop calls for reform.
The Redress report was issued in April 2013 under the title “Bahrain: Fundamental reform or torture without end?” It overviews torture and political life in Bahrain, before and after the 2011 prodemocracy uprising. It made a number of recommendations to the Government of Bahrain to address torture and impunity as well as recommendations to international actors to reach effective implementation of the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment according to international law. …more
Bahrain: Abducted, Beaten and Threatened
3 February, 2014 – Bahrain Center for Human Rights
The Bahrain Center for Human Rights expresses concern about the continuation of grave violations including abduction of civilians, severe beatings and leaving them in a stranded area. These actions appear to come as a form of punishment and threat for those who participate in pro-democracy protests in the country. The BCHR has document numerous such cases in different areas that witness daily protests demanding the right to self-determination.
A civilian, who asked to remain unnamed for safety reasons, told the BCHR that he was abducted by security forces on the 17th of January 2014. He was reportedly severely beaten with different weapons and blunt objects. He added that he was verbally abused, and the security forces used very derogatory sectarian terms during the beating. The victim was then taken to Karraneh beach, where he thought he would be dumped, but the security forces continued to beat him until he lost consciousness after which they left. A number of Karraneh residents found him and moved him to a house where he was treated by a volunteer nurse as he feared anticipated arrest if he were to go to the hospital. …more