Thursday, October 20, 2005

Encourage our senators to oppose torture

One hundred and eight prisoners have died in US custody overseas (not counting deaths from mortar attacks on facilities). The investigations into the causes of death have been hindered by poor evidence handling:
[A Human Rights First report] also noted the case of Iraqi detainee Obeed Hethere Radad, shot at a U.S. detention facility in Tikrit in September 2003. His death was not reported for four days and the military failed to collect either the gun or bullet that killed him and conducted no autopsy. The commander of the U.S. soldier accused in the shooting approved his discharge from the military a week before criminal investigators found probable cause to charge him with murder, the report said.

Careless treatment of evidence -- in this case body parts -- weakened the prosecution case brought against Marines in the 2003 asphyxiation death of 52-year-old Iraqi Nagem Sadoon Hatab at a detention facility near Nassiriya, the report stated.

A bag containing his internal organs was left on an airport tarmac and exploded in the Iraqi heat, his rib cage and larynx were found in medical labs on different continents, and a fractured throat bone was never found, the report stated.
If there were real interest from the brass in rooting out the bad apples, this wouldn't happen. If they didn't want to get them out, it isn't just a few bad apples, because the rot has spread.

I don't blame the soldiers in the field. Conditions are rough and they're getting signals from on high encouraging this behavior.

The Senate needs to make it clear that abusive behavior toward prisoners is never acceptable, not by the military, not by the CIA. They have a chance to do it, and shouldn't let a fucking moron undermine that message.