Daily Archives: March 7, 2006


Minister admits ‘rendition’ planes used RAF bases

By Richard Norton-Taylorn in The Guardian

‘ Government breaks silence on CIA flights

‘ Aircraft landed at Brize Norton and Northholt

The government last night admitted for the first time that aircraft suspected of being used by the CIA to transport detainees to secret interrogation centres had landed at British military airfields.

After months of refusing to answer questions from MPs or the media, it disclosed that two aircraft known to have been chartered by the CIA landed 14 times at RAF Northholt, west London, and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire between October 2003 and May 2004.One aircraft, a Boeing 737, was registered N313P, the other, a Gulfstream, was initially registered N379P and later as N8068V.

The flights were disclosed by Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, in a letter to Sir Menzies Campbell, newly elected leader of the Liberal Democrats. Last week, the Liberal Democrats threatened to report the minister to the parliamentary ombudsman if he continued to refuse to answer detailed questions about flights suspected of being used for “extraordinary rendition” – the practice of sending detainees to camps where they were at risk of being tortured.

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Dahr Jamail Follows the Trail of Torture

From TomDispatch

The other day on Jerry Agar’s radio show, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded to accusations about American atrocities at our prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He accused the detainees there of manipulating public opinion by lying about their treatment. He said, in part:

“They’re taught to lie, they’re taught to allege that they have been tortured, and that’s part of the [terrorist] training that they received. We know that torture is not occurring there. We know that for a fact? The reality is that the terrorists have media committees. They are getting very clever at manipulating the media in the United States and in the capitals of the world. They know for a fact they can’t win a single battle on the battlefields in the Middle East. They know the only place they can win a battle is in the capitol in Washington, D.C. by having the United States lose its will, so they consciously manipulate the media here to achieve their ends, and they’re very good at it.”

Statements like this have been commonplaces from an administration whose President repeatedly insists it doesn’t do “torture,” while its assembled lawyers do their best to redefine torture out of existence. Here’s how, for instance, our Vice President has described the lives of detainees at Guantanamo Bay: “They’re living in the tropics? They’re well fed. They’ve got everything they could possibly want. There isn’t any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we’re treating these people.”

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Embedding Torture as Policy from Guantanamo to Iraq

By Dahr Jamail writing from Tom Dispatch

They told him, “We are going to cut your head off and send you to hell.”

Ali Abbas, a former detainee from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, was filling me in on the horrors he endured at the hands of American soldiers, contractors, and CIA operatives while inside the infamous prison.

It was May of 2004 when I documented his testimony in my hotel in Baghdad. “We will take you to Guantanamo,” he said one female soldier told him after he was detained by U.S. forces on September 13, 2003. “Our aim is to put you in hell so you’ll tell the truth. These are our orders — to turn your life into hell.” And they did. He was tortured in Abu Ghraib less than half a year after the occupation of Iraq began.

While the publication of the first Abu Ghraib photos in April 2004 opened the floodgates for former Iraqi detainees to speak out about their treatment at the hands of occupation forces, this wasn’t the first I’d heard of torture in Iraq. A case I’d documented even before then was that of 57 year-old Sadiq Zoman. He was held for one month by U.S. forces before being dropped off in a coma at the general hospital in Tikrit. The medical report that came with his comatose body, written by U.S. Army medic Lt. Col. Michael Hodges, listed the reasons for Zoman’s state as heat stroke and heart attack. That medical report, however, failed to mention anything about the physical trauma evident on Zomans’ body — the electrical point burns on the soles of his feet and on his genitals, the fact that the back of his head had been bashed in with a blunt instrument, or the lash marks up and down his body.

Such tales — and they were rife in Baghdad before the news of Abu Ghraib reached the world — were just the tip of the iceberg; and stories of torture similar to those I heard from Iraqi detainees during my very first trip to Iraq, back in November 2003, are still being told, because such treatment is ongoing.

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