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Thursday, June 10, 2004

Class-Action Suit Alleges House of Horrors At Abu Ghraib

By J.M. Berger

Gruesome new incidents of torture, rape, child molestation and murder are detailed in a class action lawsuit against two U.S. companies allegedly involved in prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other facilities.

The two companies are CACI International, a Virginia-based company, and Titan Corp., a San Diego firm. Titan and CACI both denied the allegations in the suit. CACI recently amplified its stand on prisoner abuse allegations in a statement released to INTELWIRE (related story).

The lawsuit provides a long and graphic list of abuses allegedly suffered by Iraqi citizens at the hands of U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors involved in the interrogation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other Iraq prisoners. According to the lawsuit, the abuses included:

(a) Removing their clothes and spraying them with cold water during the cold winter;

(b) Stripping them of their clothes entirely and then tying their hands and legs together and allowing fierce and hungry dogs to come two inches away from their faces and bark in their faces;

(c) Kicking them with their heavy military boots on all parts of their bodies including their heads, backs, private parts, and stomach;

(d) Hitting them with guns on their bodies, including their heads, backs, stomach, and private parts;

(e) Removing all their clothes and leaving them outside for days;

(f) Depriving them of food and keeping them in the cold for such lengths of time as to cause fainting;

(g) Lifting their hands above their heads and leaving them standing in that position for days, and beating them whenever they moved or twitched;

(h) Leaving them lying on their stomachs naked on the floor with their hands tied above their heads for long hours.

One plaintiff named Ahmed was "forced to observe the Torture Conspirators torturing his father and (other plaintiffs) by physically and verbally assaulting them, humiliating them, including sexual humiliation." Ahmed's father was tortured to death in front of him, the suit claims. Ahmed also claimed his captors robbed him and destroyed his house.

A plaintiff identified as Ismael charged that his captors at Abu Ghraib abused him in the following ways:

(a) During interrogation, hitting him (Ismael) with electric cables and kicking him with boots if he did not answer or did not answer in the manner desired by the Torture Conspirators;

(b) Tying his hands behind his backs and terrorizing him by shooting electric guns at him;

(c) Stripping him, tying his hands behind his back and releasing dogs to attack his private parts;

(d) Using demeaning and dehumanizing language;

(e) Depriving him of sleep by use of loud music or loose dogs roaming around the tent;

(f) Stripping his clothes off and forcing him to stand on one leg for as long as 6 hours, during which they would hit him with a rifle if he showed any sign of fatigue or moved in any manner;

(g) Hitting his private parts repeatedly.

The lawsuit claims that when Ismael refused to answer a question posed by interrogators, "they stripped off his clothes and covered his face with a bag. Hours later they removed the bag and showed him two photographs of sexual torture committed on detainees known to Plaintiff Ismael. The first photograph showed a young boy (age 12-15) being sexually molested by a person in a United States' uniform. (...) The Torture Conspirators then showed him another photograph of a different detainee, also known to Plaintiff Ismael, who was being forced to perform oral sex on a person in a United States' uniform."

A plaintiff named Neisef, imprisoned at Abu Ghraib and Buka Prisons, also described being stripped and sexually humiliated, then raped. "The Torture Conspirators raped Plaintiff Neisef. A female conspirator placed a hood over his head and called in two other conspirators, who held Neisef down while she raped him. After sexually abusing him for approximately thirty minutes, she left him naked on the floor and told him 'it is our job to take your manhood away from you by the time you leave, you son of a bitch.' "

Neisef also said he was "forced to touch other detainees' body parts," and his captors "wrapped electric wire around (his and other prisoners') penises, and gave them electric shocks. Plaintiff Neisef started to bleed and suffered a ruptured vein on his penis. The Torture Conspirators refused to tend his wounds."

Neisef also said he was "degraded ... sexually by forcing him to assume a dog position and by threatening to sodomize him with a stick."

Another plaintiff said electric current was applied to his tongue and anus, his toenails were pulled out and he was beaten with iron "skewers." Plaintiffs also complained of being stripped and paraded in front of prisoners and guards, including women. Some said their captors threatened to kill their wives.

All of the plaintiffs reported having their Muslim faith mocked and their efforts to pray disrupted.

One reported his captors attempted "to make him masturbate in front of women and fondl(ed) his penis with a stick so as to give him an erection."

A plaintiff identified as Jane Doe No. 2 was "a 55-year old English teacher" whose husband had been tortured to death in Abu Ghraib under the Saddam regime.

According to the suit, she was detained and interrogated in four different U.S. run facilities in Iraq. Jane Doe 2 charged her captors with:

(a) Detaining her incommunicado, in isolation, for prolonged periods in a tiny (3 metres by 2 metres) dark, unhygienic, cold cell;

(b) Hooding her for extended periods of time so that she was completely disorientated and had difficulty breathing;

(c) Handcuffing her with flexi-cuffs around the wrists and ankles for extended periods causing skin lesions;

(d) Depriving her of food, water, and hygiene facilities;

(e) Threatening and intimidating her with guard dogs;

(f) Threatening her and members of her family with death; and

(g) Interrogating her for extended periods while she was restrained in awkward positions.

Several plaintiffs reported being robbed of money and possessions or having their homes destroyed. At least two men were said in the suit to have been beaten to death.

One 61-year old man was hooded and forced to sit on a hot vehicle surface until severely burned. Another was burned so substantially that he was hospitalized for three months and forced to undergo several skin grafts, and the amputation of his right index finger. He suffered the permanent loss of the use of his left fifth finger."

In another incident:

On or around Ramadan, 2003, the Torture Conspirators located in Abu Ghraib, Iraq tortured putative Class Plaintiff by putting sandbags on his head, stripping him naked, forcing him onto his hands and knees, piling other naked prisoners on top of him, taking pictures from front and back views of the pile of naked prisoners, forcing him to stroke his penis, pretending to put his penis in the mouth of a guard while taking pictures, playing with his penis with a pen, writing on his buttocks, leaving him naked in a cell with no mattress for two days and denying him all food but bread and water for three days.

Several similar incidents were detailed. One plaintiff was handcuffed to a door for hours, beaten, sodomized with a broomstick and had his head dunked in urine.

The lawsuit claims several prisoners were starved, or force fed "foreign objects, such as baseballs." Many were raped, some by "government officials," or forced to take part in other sexual acts.


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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