Abu Ghraib Essay

Starting in 2004, reports of physical, psychological and sexual abuse including torture, rape, sodomy, waterboarding (“a prisoner is strapped to a board, or submerged, or held down and forced to breathe through a water-soaked cloth held over his mouth. All waterboarding produces the physical sensation of drowning and a psychological sensation of panic, fear and loss of control[1]”) and homicide of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib become known to the public eye. The acts were committed by members of the United States Army along with members of the United States governmental agencies.As shown in the Taguba Report (“report on alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad[2]), an investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway where soldiers had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse. In April 2004, a “60 Minutes II” news report and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in “The New Yorker” released articles and photos showing prisoners being abused by military personnel[3].

The United States Department of Defence removed seventeen soldiers and officers from their duties and eleven of those soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Eleven soldiers were convicted in courts-martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonourably discharged from the service between 2004 and 2006. Interrogation and torture policies by the United States Government The Office of Legal Counsel declares organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death torture punishable by law[4].President George Bush and his administrators said that the Abu Ghraib torture Scandal was an “isolated incident uncharacteristic of US actions in Iraq[5]”. That was widely controversial, especially in Arab countries, but by the International Red Cross as well, which had been reporting abuse of the prisoners for over a year[6]. An officer that had experience at Guantanamo Bay prior to Abu Ghrab said that there was a “systematic failure caused by a combination of inexperienced troops arresting innocent Iraqism who are then interrogated by nexperienced interrogators determined to break apart these hard cases[7]. Interrogation techniques and the way the US military treats the Abu Ghraib prisoners are not far from the way non-combatants in the past have been treated.

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The Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War and The School of the Americas are similar in training techniques. The murder of Manadel al-Jamadi A prisoner by the name of Manadel al-Jamadi died in the prison in November 2003 after he was interrogated and tortured by a CIA officer.Physical violence and strappado hanging is a form of torture in which the victim is lifted off the ground by a rope attached to the wrists, which have been tied behind the back, and then is dropped partway to the ground with a jerk[8].

Manadel al-Jamadis death was labeled a homicide by the United States Military[9], but the controversy with this is that someone has yet to be charged with murder. Prisoners being raped As stated in the Taguba report, there is photographic evidence of rape.It is said that the rape was carried out by American military personnel at the prison. The supposed rapist was identified by a witness as an American-Egyptian who worked as a translator. “In the Washington Post report, one detainee, Kasim Hilas, describes the rape of an Iraqi boy by a man in uniform, whose name has been blacked out of the statement, but who appears to be a translator working for the army.

‘I saw [name blacked out] fucking a kid, his age would be about 15-18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets.Then when I heard the screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [blacked out], who was wearing the military uniform putting his dick in the little kid’s ass,” Mr Hilas told military investigators. “I couldn’t see the face of the kid because his face wasn’t in front of the door.

And the female soldier was taking pictures. ’ ”[10] There have been other pictures of prisoners being raped with objects including a truncheon, a wire and a phosphorescent tube and a banana.Pictures of female prisoners being raped and having their clothing removed by force have also been reported[11]. International Law and United Nations Involvement The United States put the United Nations Convention Against Torture into action along with the Third and the Fourth Geneva Conventions. Bush and his Administration stated that “Both the United States and Iraq are parties to the Geneva Conventions.

The United States recognizes that these treaties are binding in the war for the ‘liberation of Iraq’[12]”According the Human Rights Watch: “Al-Quaeda detainees would likely not be accorded POW status, bu the Conventions still provide explicit protections to all persons held in an international armed conflict, even if they are not entitled to POW status. Such protections include the right to be free from coercive interrogation, to receive fair trial if charged with a criminal offence, and, in the case of detained civilians, to be able to appeal periodically the security rationale for continued detention. [13]”