[FoRK] Keeping it under wraps till November 3.

Ian Andrew Bell (FoRK) fork at ianbell.com
Mon Aug 2 18:14:20 PDT 2004

Training for future terrorists courtesy Donald Rumsfeld.  Too bad he's  
not a "details guy".


On 2-Aug-04, at 3:19 PM, Owen Byrne wrote:

> Thank god the US liberated those orphanages.
> Owen
> http://www.sundayherald.com/print43796
> ======================================================================= 
> ===========
>> Iraq's Child Prisoners
>> A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that coalition forces  
>> are holding more than 100 children in jails such as Abu Ghraib.  
>> Witnesses claim that the detainees – some as young as 10 – are also  
>> being subjected to rape and torture
>> By Neil Mackay
>> ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 
>> --
>> *It was *early last October that Kasim Mehaddi Hilas says he  
>> witnessed the rape of a boy prisoner aged about 15 in the notorious  
>> Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. “The kid was hurting very bad and they  
>> covered all the doors with sheets,” he said in a statement given to  
>> investigators probing prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib. “Then, when I  
>> heard the screaming I climbed the door … and I saw [the soldier’s  
>> name is deleted] who was wearing a military uniform.” Hilas, who was  
>> himself threatened with being sexually assaulted in Abu Graib, then  
>> describes in horrific detail how the soldier raped “the little kid”.
>> In another witness statement, passed to the Sunday Herald, former  
>> prisoner Thaar Salman Dawod said: “[I saw] two boys naked and they  
>> were cuffed together face to face and [a US soldier] was beating them  
>> and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures and there was  
>> three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners. The prisoners, two  
>> of them, were young.”
>> It’s not certain exactly how many children are being held by  
>> coalition forces in Iraq, but a Sunday Herald investigation suggests  
>> there are up to 107. Their names are not known, nor is where they are  
>> being kept, how long they will be held or what has happened to them  
>> during their detention.
>> Proof of the widespread arrest and detention of children in Iraq by  
>> US and UK forces is contained in an internal Unicef report written in  
>> June. The report has – surprisingly – not been made public. A key  
>> section on child protection, headed “Children in Conflict with the  
>> Law or with Coalition Forces”, reads: “In July and August 2003,  
>> several meetings were conducted with CPA (Coalition Provisional  
>> Authority) … and Ministry of Justice to address issues related to  
>> juvenile justice and the situation of children detained by the  
>> coalition forces … Unicef is working through a variety of channels to  
>> try and learn more about conditions for children who are imprisoned  
>> or detained, and to ensure that their rights are respected.”
>> Another section reads: “Information on the number, age, gender and  
>> conditions of incarceration is limited. In Basra and Karbala children  
>> arrested for alleged activities targeting the occupying forces are  
>> reported to be routinely transferred to an internee facility in Um  
>> Qasr. The categorisation of these children as ‘internees’ is worrying  
>> since it implies indefinite holding without contact with family,  
>> expectation of trial or due process.”
>> The report also states: “A detention centre for children was  
>> established in Baghdad, where according to ICRC (International  
>> Committee of the Red Cross) a significant number of children were  
>> detained. Unicef was informed that the coalition forces were planning  
>> to transfer all children in adult facilities to this ‘specialised’  
>> child detention centre. In July 2003, Unicef requested a visit to the  
>> centre but access was denied. Poor security in the area of the  
>> detention centre has prevented visits by independent observers like  
>> the ICRC since last December.
>> “The perceived unjust detention of Iraqi males, including youths, for  
>> suspected activities against the occupying forces has become one of  
>> the leading causes for the mounting frustration among Iraqi youths  
>> and the potential for radicalisation of this population group.”
>> Journalists in Germany have also been investigating the detention and  
>> abuse of children in Iraq. One reporter, Thomas Reutter of the TV  
>> programme Report Mainz, interviewed a US army sergeant called Samuel  
>> Provance, who is banned from speaking about his six months stationed  
>> in Abu Ghraib but told Reutter of how one 16-year-old Iraqi boy was  
>> arrested.
>> “He was terribly afraid,” Provance said. “He had the skinniest arms  
>> I’ve ever seen. He was trembling all over. His wrists were so thin we  
>> couldn’t even put handcuffs on him. Right when I saw him for the  
>> first time, and took him for interrogation, I felt sorry for him.
>> “The interrogation specialists poured water over him and put him into  
>> a car. Then they drove with him through the night, and at that time  
>> it was very, very cold. Then they smeared him with mud and showed him  
>> to his father, who was also in custody. They had tried out other  
>> interrogation methods on him, but he wasn’t to be brought to talk.  
>> The interrogation specialists told me, after the father had seen his  
>> son in this state, his heart broke. He wept and promised to tell them  
>> everything they wanted to know.”
>> An Iraqi TV reporter Suhaib Badr-Addin al-Baz saw the Abu Ghraib  
>> children’s wing when he was arrested by Americans while making a  
>> documentary. He spent 74 days in Abu Ghraib.
>> “I saw a camp for children there,” he said. “Boys, under the age of  
>> puberty. There were certainly hundreds of children in this camp.”  
>> Al-Baz said he heard a 12-year-old girl crying. Her brother was also  
>> held in the jail. One night guards came into her cell. “She was  
>> beaten,” said al-Baz. “I heard her call out, ‘They have undressed me.  
>> They have poured water over me.’”
>> He says he heard her cries and whimpering daily – this, in turn,  
>> caused other prisoners to cry as they listened to her. Al-Baz also  
>> told of an ill 15-year-old boy who was soaked repeatedly with hoses  
>> until he collapsed. Guards then brought in the child’s father with a  
>> hood over his head. The boy collapsed again.
>> Although most of the children are held in US custody, the Sunday  
>> Herald has established that some are held by the British Army.  
>> British soldiers tend to arrest children in towns like Basra, which  
>> are under UK control, then hand the youngsters over to the Americans  
>> who interrogate them and detain them.
>> Between January and May this year the Red Cross registered a total of  
>> 107 juveniles in detention during 19 visits to six coalition prisons.  
>> The aid organisation’s Rana Sidani said they had no complete  
>> information about the ages of those detained, or how they had been  
>> treated. The deteriorating security situation has prevented the Red  
>> Cross visiting all detention centres.
>> Amnesty International is outraged by the detention of children. It is  
>> aware of “numerous human rights violations against Iraqi juveniles,  
>> including detentions, torture and ill-treatment, and killings”.  
>> Amnesty has interviewed former detainees who say they’ve seen boys as  
>> young as 10 in Abu Ghraib.
>> The organisation’s leaders have called on the coalition governments  
>> to give concrete information on how old the children are, how many  
>> are detained, why and where they are being held, and in what  
>> circumstances they are being detained. They also want to know if the  
>> children have been tortured.
>> Alistair Hodgett, media director of Amnesty International USA, said  
>> the coalition forces needed to be “transparent” about their policy of  
>> child detentions, adding: “Secrecy is one thing that rings alarm  
>> bells.” Amnesty was given brief access to one jail in Mosul, he said,  
>> but has been repeatedly turned away from all others. He pointed out  
>> that even countries “which don’t have good records”, such as Libya,  
>> gave Amnesty access to prisons. “Denying access just fuels the rumour  
>> mill,” he said.
>> Hodgett added that British and US troops should not be detaining any  
>> Iraqis – let alone children – following the recent handover of power.  
>> “They should all be held by Iraqi authorities,” he said. “When the  
>> coalition handed over Saddam they should have handed over the other  
>> 3000 detainees.”
>> The British Ministry of Defence confirmed UK forces had handed over  
>> prisoners to US troops, but a spokes man said he did not know the  
>> ages of any detainees given to the Americans.
>> The MoD also admitted it was currently holding one prisoner aged  
>> under 18 at Shaibah prison near Um Qasr. Since the invasion Britain  
>> has detained, and later released, 65 under-18s. The MoD claimed the  
>> ICRC had access to British jails and detainee lists.
>> High-placed officials in the Pentagon and Centcom told the Sunday  
>> Herald that children as young as 14 were being held by US forces. “We  
>> do have juveniles detained,” a source said. “They have been detained  
>> as they are deemed to be a threat or because they have acted against  
>> the coalition or Iraqis.”
>> Officially, the Pentagon says it is holding “around 60 juvenile  
>> detainees primarily aged 16 and 17”, although when it was pointed out  
>> that the Red Cross estimate is substantially higher, a source  
>> admitted “numbers may have gone up, we might have detained more  
>> kids”.
>> Officials would not comment about children under the age of 16 being  
>> held prisoner. Sources said: ‘‘It’s a real challenge ascertaining  
>> their ages. Unlike the UK or the US, they don’t have IDs or birth  
>> certificates.” The Sunday Herald has been told, however, that at  
>> least five children aged under 16 are being kept at Abu Ghraib and  
>> Camp Bucca.
>> A highly placed source in the Pentagon said: “We have done  
>> investigations into accusations of juveniles being abused and raped  
>> and can’t find anything that resembles that.”
>> The Pentagon’s official policy is to segregate juvenile prisoners  
>> from the rest of the prison population, and allow young inmates to  
>> join family members also being detained. “Our main concern is that  
>> they are not abused or harassed by older detainees. We know they need  
>> special treatment,” an official said.
>> Pentagon sources said they were unaware how long child prisoners were  
>> kept in jail but said their cases were reviewed every 90 days. The  
>> last review was early last month. The sources confirmed the children  
>> had been questioned and interrogated when initially detained, but  
>> could not say whether this was “an adult-style interrogation”.
>> The Norwegian government, which is part of the “coalition of the  
>> willing”, has already said it will tell the US that the alleged  
>> torture of children is intolerable. Odd Jostein Sæter, parliamentary  
>> secretary at the Norwegian prime minister’s office, said: “Such  
>> assaults are unacceptable. It is against international laws and it is  
>> also unacceptable from a moral point of view. This is why we react  
>> strongly … We are addressing this in a very severe and direct way and  
>> present concrete demands. This is damaging the struggle for democracy  
>> and human rights in Iraq.”
>> In Denmark, which is also in the coalition, Save the Children called  
>> on its government to tell the occupying forces to order the immediate  
>> release of child detainees. Neals Hurdal, head of the Danish Save the  
>> Children, said the y had heard rumours of children in Basra being  
>> maltreated in custody since May.
>> Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was “extremely disturbed” that the  
>> coalition was holding children for long periods in jails notorious  
>> for torture. HRW also criticised the policy of categorising children  
>> as “security detainees”, saying this did not give carte blanche for  
>> them to be held indefinitely. HRW said if there was evidence the  
>> children had committed crimes then they should be tried in Iraqi  
>> courts, otherwise they should be returned to their families.
>> Unicef is “profoundly disturbed” by reports of children being abused  
>> in coalition jails. Alexandra Yuster, Unicef’s senior adviser on  
>> child detention, said that under international law children should be  
>> detained only as a last resort and only then for the shortest  
>> possible time.
>> They should have access to lawyers and their families, be kept safe,  
>> healthy, educated, well-fed and not be subjected to any form of  
>> mental or physical punishment, she added. Unicef is now “desperately”  
>> trying to get more information on the fate of the children currently  
>> detained in coalition jails.
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