Archive for Friday, December 21, 2007

Hidden rooms reveal torture by extremists, silence in village

December 21, 2007

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— Blood splotches on walls, chains hanging from a ceiling and swords on the killing floor - the artifacts left a disturbing tale of brutalities inside a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq torture chamber. But there was yet another chilling fact outside the dirt-floor dungeon.

Villagers say they knew about the torment but were too intimidated by extremists to tell authorities until now.

Stories such as these - claims of insurgent abuses and the silence of frightened Iraqis - have emerged with increasing frequency and clarity recently as U.S.-led forces push deeper into former extremist fiefdoms and forge alliances with tribes seeking to reclaim their regions.

The reports and tips now pouring in build a harrowing portrait of rule under al-Qaida and its backers: mass graves, ruthless punishments, self-styled Islamic courts ordering summary executions.

Such a lead brought soldiers earlier this month to the hidden room in Muqdadiyah, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Thursday. Graffiti on the building proclaimed "Long Live the Islamic State" - a reference to the Islamic governance, or caliphate, sought in Iraq by Sunni extremist groups that include al-Qaida.

Scrawled in white paint above a bed in the torture area was a Quranic phrase in Arabic normally used to welcome a guest. But the context suggested only sadistic mockery: "Come in, you are safe."

The floor was littered with food wrappers, plastic soda bottles and electric cables that snaked to a metal bed frame, presumably where detainees were shocked, according to the U.S. account of the discovery during a Dec. 8-11 mission.

The rooms "had chains, a bed - an iron bed that was still connected to a battery - knives and swords that were still covered in blood," said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, the top U.S. commander in northern Iraq.

Nearby were nine mass graves containing the remains of 26 people, he said.

Villagers knew about the torture site, but did not tell authorities as they were afraid of reprisals from the militants, a local policeman told The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was still afraid of being targeted by extremists.

He said he thought the chamber had been used for a year.

It was not the first such torture chamber discovered in Iraq. But it serves as a reminder of the extremist grip in parts of Iraq despite growing optimism as violence continues to fall.

And Diyala province - where the grisly discovery was made - remains one of the most volatile regions as U.S. and Iraqi forces struggle to match the clear advances against extremists made in Baghdad and the western desert of Anbar.

The province is mixed between Sunnis and Shiites - often called a "little Iraq" and a remnant of Iraq before sectarian bloodletting partitioned many parts of the country along religious lines. Diyala's capital, Baqouba, also is the self-proclaimed seat of the insurgents' caliphate.

"I think that is why al-Qaida wants that province so very much, because it is 'a little Iraq,'" Hertling said. "It gives them access to Baghdad and it also ... is considered their caliphate capital."

Comments

Richard Heckler 7 years, 5 months ago

This could have been a CIA unit easily contracted out to Blackwater Inc.

lounger 7 years, 5 months ago

Sadly I never thought I could relate to the pain of hearing about my countrymen using torture-but I now have a shame in relating to this story. I cant wait for G.W. Bully to be out of office.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

merrill, you could be a totally clueless drone pounding out hyperbole & baseless drivel. Oh, wait, you are.

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 7 years, 5 months ago

Sadly I never thought I could relate to the pain of hearing about my countrymen using torture-but I now have a shame in relating to this story.

Agreed, because everyone knows that having water splashed in one's face is every bit as bad as being electrocuted, cut apart and hung from hooks.

Oh the humanity!!

blackwalnut 7 years, 5 months ago

With the highest people in our government promoting and defending torture, we can no longer claim to be better than they are. Torture is indefensible, regardless of who does it.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 5 months ago

Some would say this account reveals why America should leave Iraq. I say it's a reason we should persevere there.

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

"...we can no longer claim to be better than they are..." When did we begin hanging people in public from construction cranes?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"When did we begin hanging people in public from construction cranes?"

"We" don't need to. "We" can just blow them to smithereens from 30,000 feet.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"No, worse, he knows what he said is a lie. he tried to change the facts to fit his agenda. A cold calculated liar is much worse to me than an idiot."

But that makes him eminently qualified for a position with BushCo.

Haiku_Cuckoo 7 years, 5 months ago

Sickening article. Those people are animals.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"I was against the troop surge at the start, but I have to admit that it does appear to be working, at least in the short term."

It's probably had a minor effect, but it's mostly just coincidental. The real reason for the decrease in violence (to a level that is still appallingly high) is that the country has been turned into a collection of mafia-like fiefdoms which has brought on a very dysfunctional "stability." Militias and street gangs rule, and the Shiite-dominated government is mostly powerless because of infighting between rival Shiite factions and distrust by the Sunnis who are mostly locked out of the government. The Kurdish north has been an almost independent country since well before the invasion.

The only potentially unifying force is an almost universal desire among Iraqis for the Americans to leave, which means that US service members will dying in relatively high numbers for as long as they are there, and the longer they are there, the more they will be resented.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

Folks this article is about a room that the bad guys ran, not us. The people we are fighting are running this torture chamber, and Merril and lounger show their stupidity by immediately harranging The US.

Go take one in a rolling doughnut. YOu guys are afraid of the US using "coerced" interrogation that does not kill and does not maim. Mind games and Psy-ops are necessary to give the illusion that we kill people to get info, nothing could be further from the truth.

You anit war anti US idiots needto give it a rest.

Remember the bad guys we are fignting are currently using torture and will continue to use torture. They use it for political influence, not for intel gathering, and it works as it you see the entire village kept this quiet.

That is the difference between "Coerced interrogation" and "torture". The torture groups leaves bloody knoves, and beds with batteries hooked up to them and mass graves.

The US, using coerced interrogation does it only when there is a threat, and it results in no dead bodies, no blood, and they get 3 hot meals after they cooperate. The forces they are subjected to are loud music and cold environments, and at the most harshest waterboarding. However every one interrogated in the US lives, and usually gets a lawyer. THe bad guys leave mass graves and people broken.

The moral equivelancy is not even close,

ksdivakat 7 years, 5 months ago

powershopper (Anonymous) says:

Merrill - Federal agencies don't "contract" out to civilian run companies.


Please tell me that you are joking right?? 1 word....haliburton!!! the Federal government contracts haliburton for all things military!!!

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

The "Blame America First" crowd is in full cry this morning.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

Way to regurgitate that spoon-fed pablum, Asbestos.

pace 7 years, 5 months ago

I am against torture. I hate that the extremist did it. I really hate we do it. I want to be better than those people. Torture is a terrorist act. It it a sign that our administration has neither courage, honor or brains.

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

Did anyone notice that the torture cell had been in place for about a year now? That means al-Quida was able to set up shop and control a region three and a half years AFTER we entered the country. In other words, it took an American presence in Iraq before al-Quida could take control of areas of the country.

Instead of fighting a war against "terror," we should be concentrating on finding and fighting against "terrorists." In a land lacking in WMDs, we now have al-Quida terror cells. Instead of focusing on Osama and the terrorists, we allowed oil companies blinded with greed to dictate our foreign policy. Heck of a job, neocons, heck of a job.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

"Waterboarding has shown to cause long-term respiratory deterioration. Does that not qualify as "maiming"?"

I am not aware of ANY study that has the "health effects" of water boarding. IT is done so seldomly, that the cohort population is not even big enough to draw conclusions on.

What you got was a "study" from some anti American group.

When are you guys gonna grow a spine and become AMERICANS?

BigDog 7 years, 5 months ago

Some of the crowd here hates Bush so much that they try to ignore the article's content. This was an al-Quaida facility used to torture and kill those who opposed them.

Some of this same crowd are the same people that saw the US having dogs bark at jailed terrorists, playing loud music and making people stand in uncomfortable positions as torture. I guess listening to Michael Jackson music over and over is on the same plain as strapping someone to a metal bed frame and shocking them

I guess Sadaam and al-Quaida are just misunderstood by some Americans. Much like some didn't get Hitler either.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

Right Max, I listened to the NPR tripe. DId you hear the commenter stating that the reason violence was down so muc in Baghdad was that the "ethnic cleansing" is complete?

Well I am sure if Baghdad was "ethnically cleansed" we would have heard about it from Red Cross and CNN, and the like.

The NPR is absurd and a lap dog for the Far lefties, and needs to eithe have funding cut, or open it up to the other sides of the debate. All NPR can report is the lefty POV, which is not necessarily the same view of the DNC.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

"http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db90: In some areas, hundreds of ex-Sunni insurgents and even a few Al Qaeda-linked fighters are on the US military's payroll as neighborhood guards: The group of fighters is accused by Shiites of planting roadside bombs aimed at both US and Iraqi forces. They are also thought to be responsible for displacing Shiite..."

What is your point there max? Is it that islamic faith people are incapable of haveing peace, and are only capable of kiling each other?

What is your point?

"Don't taze me bro!"

beatrice 7 years, 5 months ago

BD: "I guess Sadaam and al-Quaida are just misunderstood ..."

I guess some people are so thick they refuse to acknowledge that Sadaam had nothing to do with al-Qaida. There was no al-Qaida presence in Iraq until we arrived and destabalized the government. The al-Qaida cells recently discovered were opened one year ago.

Nobody is saying al-Qaida is just misunderstood, so quit with the asinine petty games. They are evil and need to be stopped. Many of us, however, are arguing that the way we have gone about it so far has not been effective and ill-advised and ill-prepared.

Why won't people admit we never should have gone into Iraq? Do you hate American soldiers that much that you don't care if they die for the greed of oil companies? (Yes, I threw that last line in there to show how stupid such comments are. We are all Americans and we need to act as such.)

jgragg 7 years, 5 months ago

Are we forgetting these people are not only killing OUR OWN but also Iraqi civilians. Do NOT compare their torture tactics to ours. My husband and his company have captured extreme terrorists and the leading arms dealer in northern Iraq. The soldiers were required to give the prisoners blankets, pillows, water, and food. Do you think they do they same for their prisoners? Let's not forget about the soldiers who were captured in March. One soldier was tortured and beaten so badly that they had to take his DNA to identify him. Dont ever disrespect our military and make them look like the bad guys. If there are less Al-Quaida then there are less civilian and military deaths.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

"Water-boarding Water-boarding or mock drowning, where a prisoner is bound to an inclined board and water is poured over their face, inducing a terrifying fear of drowning clearly can result in immediate and long-term health consequences. As the prisoner gags and chokes, the terror of imminent death is pervasive, with all of the physiologic and psychological responses expected, including an intense stress response, manifested by tachycardia, rapid heart beat and gasping for breath. There is a real risk of death from actually drowning or suffering a heart attack or damage to the lungs from inhalation of water. Long term effects include panic attacks, depression and PTSD. I remind you of the patient I described earlier who would panic and gasp for breath whenever it rained even years after his abuse."

Well, it looks as if the "long term effects" are subjective, and only from one source.

You idiots forget that we are not just rounding people u and waterboarding them. We do not torture anyone. HOWEVER, the islamic extremists DO round up even innocent people, and DO torture and murder them.

YOU guys are the ones that hate Amercia and do everything you can to discredit us and to undermine our protections. We are not waterboarding boy scouts here, we are takeing the "worst of the worst" and putting them in extreme discomfort.

IF they are in the position to be "coercly interogated" they have done bad things to be there in the first place. Unlike all the islamic extremists that want to stone a woman for getting raped, hauling in non middle eastern people in and hacking their legs off.

So SPARE ME YOUR MORAL OUTRAGE! Your moral compass has magnetic aberations if you are upset about what the US does, and you say nothing about the other guys.

It is ugly in war, and yes sometimes you have to take in a really bad guy and give him the once over to find out what he knows. I would not leave that up to you wimps, but I would make sure it was done if it needed to be done to protect me and to protect you, even though YOU disapprove.

You idiots are enablers of barbaric behavior, and judging waterboarding as equal to hacking off arms. legs, or stoning a rape victim is incoherent with your supposed outrage.

Remember this thread was about "the artifacts left a disturbing tale of brutalities inside a suspected al-Qaida in Iraq torture chamber."

This was the enemies, all you putzes can complain about is the United States. We are trying to STOP this sort of thing.

Put your political derangement syndrome on hold for a minute.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

The politics of the 60's hippy years is alive an well in Lawrence. No forward thinking here, only yesterday's empty rhetoric ignoring today's complexities.

Everything cannot be solved by wearing paisley and smoking joints.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 5 months ago

lounger (Anonymous) says: Sadly I never thought I could relate to the pain of hearing about my countrymen using torture-but I now have a shame in relating to this story. I cant wait for G.W. Bully to be out of office.


So, you are Iraqi? You moron.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"You idiots forget that we are not just rounding people u and waterboarding them. We do not torture anyone. "

Tell that to Maher Harar.

kneejerkreaction 7 years, 5 months ago

Here's the problem logicsound04.

You shoot off your big mouth about the US using torture, yet you are not as loud regarding articles such as the above written.

That's why people are upset with you.

Since you don't seem to be able to figure it out for yourself, I'll spell it out for you.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"You shoot off your big mouth about the US using torture, yet you are not as loud regarding articles such as the above written."

It's like this, kneejerk. We live in a supposed democracy. We are supposed to be concerned about and involved in the actions of our government. Some of us happen to believe that you can't effectively fight terrorism by becoming just like them.

And the last I checked, we don't elect foreign terrorists. But some of you did elect our current cabal of domestic international terrorists, and some of us are doing our best as citizens to rectify that situation.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

Good lord Logic, you are a raving maniac. You state we are a democracy, then in the very same sentence accuse of electing terrorists. IF that is what the masses want, then so it goes.

Remember this article was about the enemy's rtorture room with bloody knives and a boxspring connected to a battery.

Far and very far removed from waterboarding.

You anr a raving idiot, and cannot analyze properly or read.

Before you have another idea, check your "moral equivelancy", and trun your magic lazer beam of perceprtion on yourself, and you will wee just how unbalanced that view is.

You let the islamic extremists off the hook, but a reasoned, legal, and necessary interrogation process with oversight (remember there are tapes) utilized by the United States to collect informationto first protect slodiers, and then our citizens you go off on a tangent.

Let me tell yoiu something, 100 of "theirs" is not worth on of "ours". If it took hanging up 100 islamic extremists and gutting them while alive to get information to protect one of our soldiers or citizens, I am all for it.

You idiots do not have a clue about the enemy.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

Yes I did read the article, in length. It is not about American military or government torture.

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

No angostik, Bernice is spinning. THe issue is that the people are scared and that there are torture camps, and the AMERICANS seem to be th only ones that are wanting to endi it.

That is the story!

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

Last sentence:

""I think that is why al-Qaida wants that province so very much, because it is 'a little Iraq,'" Hertling said. "It gives them access to Baghdad and it also ... is considered their caliphate capital.""

Nuf said.

Sandra Willis 7 years, 5 months ago

Oh my, I read the link you posted to - after reading that, Our military does torture on it's own members - I completely believe it does.

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

Wow, asbestos is sure a symbol of the high standards now apparent in the US. "Let me tell yoiu [sic] something, 100 of "theirs" is not worth on of "ours". If it took hanging up 100 islamic extremists and gutting them while alive to get information to protect one of our soldiers or citizens, I am all for it." What would Jesus do?

And Agnostick: the only reason the locals kept it quiet was fear of reprisal. In a lawless country, anything could happen to them. And if they haven't left already then they probably don't have enough money to leave.

But a question for the rightwinger repubs on here: if waterboarding isn't that bad, then why doesn't it happen when congress questions someone. Mukasey for instance. If he had been waterboarded at his hearings, he would have given more of an answer as to whether or not it was torture.

Staci Dark Simpson 7 years, 5 months ago

Well it is war. Doesn't torturing prisoners go hand in hand with war? THats why we are there to find these hell holes and rid them of the extremeists that run them. Anyway even if it was us torturing Iraqi prisoners who cares? How many of our people have they maimed and killed. All is fair in love and war. This isn't backgammon

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

"Spacy" is right.

"Anyway even if it was us torturing Iraqi prisoners who cares? How many of our people have they maimed and killed."

An eye for an eye? Do you want us to be on the same level as them? Why do you hate America?

jgragg 7 years, 5 months ago

logicsound04....I want to correct you. The U.S. soldiers ARE REQUIRED to give the TERRORISTS food, water, blankets, and pillows. I got this information from an actual soldier (my husband) in Iraq who had to guard the terrorists. While they sleep with blankets and pillows my husband and the rest of the soldiers sleep in full gear on the ground with their heads rested on their rucksacks. Don't give pitty to terrorists and dont try to prove me wrong, unless you have been in the same situation as my husband and his buddies.

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

I'd rather sleep anywhere than in jail. Besides, that was his job. Getting paid for it.

jgragg 7 years, 5 months ago

They werent in jail..they were all outside.

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

No restraints at all then? What was to stop them from running off?

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

"if our guy's would just put a bullet in a forehead. Note to military guys kill em, that way we don't give the weak a chance to run you or Bush down."

Why do you hate America so much?

ASBESTOS 7 years, 5 months ago

"This isn't backgammon"

That is the part these idiots do not get. Thank you Spacystaci for your post.

"What would Jesus do?"

Does our lord God let some suffer? Does not our Lord GOD require us to rise up against those that are evil? What you suffer from is "convient christianity". You appear to only be a believer wthen it is convienent?

jgragg 7 years, 5 months ago

Mancityfooty......They rotated guard duty.

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

"Does our lord God let some suffer? Does not our Lord GOD require us to rise up against those that are evil? What you suffer from is "convient christianity". You appear to only be a believer wthen it is convienent?"

How convenient that there are plenty of others out there that are evil, yet we didn't invade them. And maybe things would be better if God would come down off that lofty throne and clarify some things.

"Mancityfooty::They rotated guard duty."

Not trying to pick a fight, but that means either they weren't terrorists, or on their way to a jail. Otherwise, they were still held against their will.

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

"our Military are [sic] involved in a Nobel campaign..."

Are they going to win a prize?

I support the troops by wanting them all home safe. And I don't think we should leave because it's our fault everything there is messed up. How many car bombs did you hear about when Saddam was in charge? What you repubs just don't get is that we shouldn't be there in the first place.

"I'm just tired of the "neighbors" that run the President ... down all day..."

What were you doing when Clinton was president? More of the same? It's only vicious attacks when they happen to your party, isn't it?

Corey Williams 7 years, 5 months ago

Some of you really need to use a spell check on your stuff? Nobel? Isn't it "noble"? If you can't get your spelling or grammar right, then it just makes you look like a third grader.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"As far as being a stalker:well that's a new one. Now back to the article,"

says justfornow in attempt to distract from being outed as a stalker (while ignoring the article in the process.)

Kathy Getto 7 years, 5 months ago

Torture is torture and terrorism is terrorism. Pace said it best - Bush & Co has no courgage, no brains, and no honor. All should be tried as war criminals. Justfornow - you really should check your anger at the forum door, it doesn't bode well for intelligent discourse.

littlegrace 7 years, 5 months ago

Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimisation) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference).

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"You're willing to water board a fellow American for his views,"

Bush in his bully pulpit is even influencing max1.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"I'm feeling that I'm talking to 2 walls."

Somehow I have a feeling that you do quite a bit of that sort of thing.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"don't feel comfortable there, sorry."

Have you already undergone torture treatments there? PTSD much?

ukillaJJ 7 years, 5 months ago

The feds contract all kinds of jobs to civilian companies... Honeywell, Allied Signal, SPAWAR, NRL, ISI,......

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 5 months ago

"We pour a little bottle of water on a known terrorist poor little face and we have calls for trying W and Dick for war crimes,"

That's a one of the wispiest strawmen I've ever seen.

SteelHorseRider 7 years, 5 months ago

Just remember that in all societies there are people of unthinkable extremes.

SteelHorseRider 7 years, 5 months ago

Oh yeah.... case in point is the when extremists hung the the Black Water guys mutilated from the bridge????

Tom Miller 7 years, 5 months ago

goodgawd, max...enough with the linkage...

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