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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

Attacks on Human Rights

Human Rights Abuses Abound Post 9/11/01

Human rights abuses are an integral feature of the "War on Terror." Human Rights Watch's website documents scores of humans rights abuses committed because of the policies of the "War on Terror." including many cases of detention without cause, and many cases of torture. 1

A Chronology of US War Crimes & Torture, 1975-2005 by Tom Stephens becomes dense with entries after 9/11/01.

... ...
2001 September 14 Congress grants Bush the power "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determined planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11."
2001 September 25 Justice Department lawyer John Yoo directs a 15 page memo to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez, arguing that there are effectively "no limits" on Bush's powers to respond to the 9/11 attacks, by attacking "pre-emptively" any countries that harbor terrorists, "whether or not they can be linked to the specific terror incidents of Sept. 11." This is significantly broader than the authority granted by Congress on September 14. Bush's decisions "are for him alone and are unreviewable."
2002 January Rumsfeld approves the use of aggressive interrogation methods, including dogs, to intimidate prisoners at Guantanamo.
2002 Mid-January First plane load of prisoners lands at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo.
2002 January 9 OLC's John Yoo co-authors a 42 page memo concluding that neither the Geneva Conventions nor any of the laws of war apply to the war in Afghanistan.
2002 January 25 Gonzalez advises Bush that the Geneva Convention does not apply to detainees in the "war on terrorism" at Guantanamo. Gonzalez describes provisions of the Geneva Conventions as "quaint" and "obsolete."
2002 February 7 Over State Dept. objections, Bush issues a Memorandum adopting the essence of Gonzalez' legal position that detainees at Guantanamo are not Prisoners of War entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions. This is an attempt to shield US officials from responsibility for torture. Soon thereafter Bush signs a secret order granting new powers to the CIA to set up a series of secret detention facilities outside the US, and to interrogate detainees there harshly. The administration increases the "rendering" of suspects in a secret CIA jet to other governments to be tortured.
2002 August 1 A Justice Department Memo ("The Torture Memo") requested by Gonzalez narrowly defines "torture" under US law and the Geneva Convention, as limited to practices causing physical pain "equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Specific practices like "water boarding" are discussed and approved. The memo opined that laws prohibiting torture "do not apply to the President's detention and interrogation of enemy combatants," because he is Commander-in-Chief of the US military. The author, Jay Bybee, has subsequently been appointed to a lifetime position as a federal appellate judge.
2002 September The Bush administration adopts its National Security Strategy, announcing the doctrine of "pre-emptive war" wherever and whenever they choose. Cofer Black, head of CIA Countertorrorist Center, testifies at a joint hearing of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee: "This is a highly classified area, but I have to say that all you need to know: There was a before 9/11, and there was an after 9/11. After 9/11 the gloves came off."
2002 December Rumsfeld approves initial list of 16 interrogation methods for Guantanamo, in addition to the 17 traditionally approved methods in the Army Field Manual. The new techniques clearly violate the Geneva Convention and US anti-torture laws.
2003 March 20 US military forces invade Iraq without authorization by the United Nations Security Council, in violation of international law.
2003 May A group of military lawyers disclose the administration's legal approval of torture and abuse to the Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the City Bar Association in New York. They repeat their request that the Bar Association take action in October 2003.
2003 June 26 Amnesty International raises concerns about allegations of inhuman treatment in US detention camps in Iraq in a letter to Ambassador Paul Bremer
2003 July 23 Amnesty International releases report, "Iraq: memorandum on concerns relating to law and order," warning of allegations of torture and abuse in US prisons, including Abu Ghraib: "Regrettably, testimonies from recently released detainees held at Camp Cropper and Abu Ghraib Prison do not suggest that conditions of detention have improved" since AI's June 26 letter to Bremer There are "a number of reports of cases of detainees who have died in custody, mostly as a result of shooting by members of the Coalition forces." A Saudi national "alleged that he was subjected to beatings and electric shocks."
2003 August 18-26 Nearly two dozen prisoners at Guantanamo Bay "Gitmo" try to hang or strangle themselves, including ten simultaneous attempts in a single day, to protest conditions there. They were among 350 "self-harm" incidents recorded in 2003, including 120 "hanging gestures" at the prison, according to a Gitmo spokesman. "The 2003 protests came after Maj. Gen Geoffrey Miller took command with a mandate to get more information from the prisoners"
2003 August-September In the face of intensifying resistance to US military occupation of Iraq, including bombings of the Jordanian embassy, UN headquarters, and police headquarters in Baghdad, General Miller, Guantanamo Prison Commander, visits Iraq to "Gitmoize" detention operations in US prisons there. Miller is acting under orders from fundamentalist US General Boykin and Rumsfeld's deputy Stephen Cambone. He recommends that military police be used by military intelligence and CIA interrogators to "set the conditions" for interrogation of Iraqi detainees. That is, he recommends that US personnel torture Iraqis. His recommendations are accepted and implemented. Furthermore, Rumsfeld and Cambone expand the scope of their top-secret "special access plan" ("Copper Green") and apply it to detained prisoners at Abu Ghraib, treating male prisoners there roughly and exposing them to sexual humiliation.
2004 January 9 Delegate from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visit Abu Ghraib prison, and witness "the practice of keeping persons deprived of their liberty [NOTE: without any charges, trial, or right to counsel or any other contact with the outside world] completely naked in totally empty concrete cells and in total darkness" for days. A military intelligence officer tells the ICRC that this practice was "part of the process." The ICRC reports that this "went beyond exceptional cases" and was "in some cases tantamount to torture." ICRC complains directly to top US authorities. National Lawyers Guild Convention resolves that Bush and other officials responsible for the illegal wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in violation of the UN Charter, the Nuremberg Principles, and other international instruments and treaties, and without a formal declaration of war as required by the US Constitution, should be impeached.
... ...


1. Detainees and Other U.S. Post 9/11 Policies, hrw.org, [cached]
2. The Crimes of Empire, Couterpunch.org, 5/13/05 [cached]

page last modified: 2008-08-09