US spokesmen repeatedly respond to accusations that detainees are being tortured and abused by saying all al Qaeda operatives have been trained to lie about being tortured.
I have been skeptical of this claim. Some of the former detainees who have claimed abuse were clearly innocents, and would never have had that training. The Tipton Three, for instance, of the three children who were detained in Camp Iguana all reported horrible abuse.US spokesmen repeatedly respond to accusations that detainees are being tortured and abused by saying all al Qaeda operatives have been trained to lie about being tortured.
I have been skeptical of this claim. Some of the former detainees who have claimed abuse were clearly innocents, and would never have had that training. The Tipton Three, for instance, of the three children who were detained in Camp Iguana all reported horrible abuse.
One of the largely unrecognized aspects of the detainee abuse is that the guards back at Bagram were allowed to be more brutal than the guards at Guantanamo. The detainees who report Qu'ran desecration aren't careful to distinguish between whether they are reporting Qu'ran abuse at Bagram or Guantanamo.
Some of my correspondents here on slashdot start from the premise that no American official would ever torture The first two pages of the chapter on detention tell the al Qaeda operative to report torture. But, contrary to the claims of US spokesmen, my reading of it is that it doesn't actually tell the trainee to -lie- about torture. It merely assumes that the captors will torture captives.
The previous chapter, on interrogation says:
When taken to the prosecution office, a brother should do the following:
a. He should, prior to questioning and whether or not he has injuries, ask the prosecutor or his representatitve to be seen by the medical examiner.
b. He should, when the questioning begins, ask that evidence of his torture be entered in the report proceedings.
c. He should, prior to the start of the questioning, ask that an attorney be present with him during the questioning process. He should mention the attorney by name.
d. He should ask for food.
e. He should deny all information (accusations) about him by the prosecution representative. He should claim that the interrogation apparatus has fabricated those accusations and should deny his connection to anything obtained against him.
f. The brother may have to confess under pressure of torture in the interrogation center. Once in the prosecution center, however, he should say that he was tortured, deny all his prior confessions, and ask that the interrogation be repeated.
Note -- section f is the closest the manual comes to telling the captive to say he has been tortured. But, it is not actually telling the potential captive to -lie- about torture. It assumes that all captives will be tortured.
Note -- the manual instructs the reader to try to get a medical examination before interrogation. If the author anticipated that the captives weren't going to be tortured, then wouldn't it recommend that they avoid a medical examination which would undermine the credibility of lies about abuse?
Mamdouh Habib's medical report records frequent medical examinations that say he kept expressing blood in his urine. Medical experts who had experience treating victims of torture who looked at his records said that the most probable cause of the repeated incidents of blood in his urine were repeated brutal beatings.
The Smoking Gun says that this training manual was captured prior to the set up of the interrogation center at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. Look at the list of interrogations techniques the manual warns trainees they might be subjected to, if captured. There is considerable overlap with the techniques we know were used at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
This manual assumes that captive country will be Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.
So, I do believe that some of the reports of torture are completely truthful. I believe some of the first hand accounts. And I believe some of the second hand accounts. The British detainees reported, for instance, that Habib, the middle-aged Australian detainee, would frequently bleed from his ears, and nose, while he slept. I find that report credible.
On the other hand I recently read an interview Der Spiegel conducted with Nadja Derdevic, the Bosnian wife of Boudella el Hajj. El Hajj was a naturalized Bosnian who was, at first, suspected of plotting to blow up the American embassy in Sarajevo. There was zero evidence of ties to terrorism, except he met, once a month, with five other Bosnians, who were born in Algeria, and one of them was suspected of ties to an Al Qaeda cadre.
The six of them all worked for various charities. He says their meetings were to co-ordinate the projects their charities ran jointly. And I believe him.
US intelligence officials had been monitoring the calls from Bosnia to Afghanistan. One of these six made, seventy calls to or from Afghanistan during the month following the attacks of 9-11. He might have made those calls because his charity had posted him to Afghanistan a year or two earlier, and he still knew people there. Or he might have made those calls because he was an al Qaeda member, or was willing to help al Qaeda members.
This is an example of the infamous "chatter". My reading of the unclassified dossiers of these guys is that the record that there had been these seventy calls was the sole evidence that there had ever been a plot. My reading is that the other five Bosnians were innocent.
Anyhow, Nadja has been working tirelessly to try to get her husband released. She had been on a hunger strike prior to her interview. During her interview she made two serious accusations. She said that Guantanamo guards routinely desecrated te Qu'ran. And she said boys -- minors, were routinely tortured at Camp Iguana.
Well, I had previously done quite a bit of looking into the record of Camp Iguana. Her assertion that the minors were tortured at Camp Iguana was not true. Close to 20 minors are known to have been detained in Cuba. Three minors were detained in Camp Iguana. They were treated kindly. They didn't have to wear the boiler suits. They got to take two showers a day. They had a view of the Sea, and the nearby beach, and were sometimes taken to the beach, for a swim. They had school teachers, who taught them to read. They were allowed to play video games, and their guards would play soccer with them.
Nadja got that part completely wrong. Other minors were treated very harshly however -- just not at Camp Iguana.