And the accusations start

  1. this was almost inevitable that once the whole squalid scandal broke there would be further accusations.

    last update: friday, june 18, 2004. 7:16am (aest) human rights first says alleged abuses at abu ghraib prison must not be seen in isolation. (afp)

    us has secret prisons: rights group

    the united states is holding terrorism suspects in more than two dozen detention centres worldwide, about half of which operate in total secrecy, according to a new human rights report.

    human rights first said in a report that secrecy surrounding the facilities made "inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely but inevitable".

    the director of the group's us law and security program, deborah pearlstein, potential abuse at the abu ghraib prison outside baghdad and the guantanamo bay military prison in cuba "cannot be addressed in isolation".

    "this is all about secrecy, accountability and the law," ms pearlstein told a news conference.

    the report coincided with news that defence secretary donald rumsfeld ordered military officials to hold a suspect in a prison near baghdad without telling the red cross.

    mr pearlstein says that would be a violation of the geneva conventions and defence department directives.

    she says the united states is holding thousands of security detainees in iraq and afghanistan, as well as locations elsewhere which the military refused to disclose.

    "the us government is holding prisoners in a secret system of off-shore prisons beyond the reach of adequate supervision, accountability of law," the report said.

    pakistan, diego garcia, jordan

    ms pearlstein says multiple sources report us detention centres in, among other places, kohat in pakistan near the border with afghanistan, on the indian ocean island of diego garcia and at al jafr prison in jordan, where the group said the cia had an interrogation facility.

    prisoners are also being held at the naval consolidated brig in charleston, south carolina, and others were suspected of being held on us warships.

    a defence department spokesman told reuters he would comment when he had more information about the report.

    ms pearlstein called for us authorities to end "secret detentions", provide a list of prisoners, investigate abuses and allow the international committee of the red cross unfettered access to detainees.

    us treatment of detainees came under the spotlight after disturbing photos were leaked to the media showing us soldiers abusing iraqi prisoners.

    the united states is conducting several investigations into the abuses but ms pearlstein says they are not enough and a full court of inquiry should be ordered.

    families of suspects detained by us authorities have complained strongly about the lack of information about detainees.

    pakistani farhat paracha said via a telephone link-up at the news conference that she tried for weeks to find her husband, saifullah paracha, who disappeared last june when he took a business trip from pakistan to thailand.

    ms paracha said she asked the us and pakistani governments to track him down and only learned about his whereabouts when the red cross contacted her six weeks later to say her husband was being held at bagram air force base in afghanistan.

    "i feel disgusted. it makes my heart sink. i feel so powerless and so helpless," ms paracha said.

    human rights first was formerly known as the lawyers committee for human rights.

    -- reuters

    in other developments:
    • us defence secretary donald rumsfeld, acting at the request of the cia, ordered that a suspected iraqi insurgent leader be detained off the books to conceal his identity from the international committee of the red cross (icrc), the pentagon has confirmed. (full story)
    Last edit by gwenith on Jun 17, '04
  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    There is collateral damage from this. Our opposition parties are calling for the goverment to "come clean"

    Last Update: Friday, June 18, 2004. 11:49am (AEST)

    Robert Hill will face a censure motion next week. (ABC)

    Labor demands full disclosure on Iraq abuse
    Labor says it will move a censure motion against Defence Minister Robert Hill after it was revealed he learnt of concerns about Iraqi prisoner mistreatment in June last year.

    There is growing pressure for the Federal Government to release a 60-page document outlining what and when it knew of prisoner abuse.

    Senator Hill has admitted he received reports from Australian defence officials serving in Baghdad in June and July last year, which mentioned an Amnesty International document raising allegations about prisoner abuse.

    Those reports also went to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

    Greens Senator Bob Brown wants to know if Prime Minister John Howard saw them.

    "What did Prime Minister John Howard know a year ago?" he asked.

    The minor parties are joining Labor and calling for the release of the internal defence report outlining when the Government first knew of abuse allegations.

    Independent Senator Meg Lees is supporting those calls.

    "The community is going to read [that] reluctance to put something on the table as actually hiding something," she said.

    Labor says it will move a censure motion against Senator Hill on Monday.[/QUOTE]
  4. by   nekhismom
    I don't think that having unknown prison camps is anything new, really. Just something that people can expose and focus on now to bring more fuel to the fire about the Iraq issue.

    I think (not really clear about this right now, my memory's a bit foggy) that after 9/11, we have the right to detain prisoners indefinately without formally charging them?? Something to do with Homeland defense, or something like that?? I don't think it's a good policy, though.