[News] Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Day 1
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Wed May 9 10:54:10 EDT 2012
Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal Day 1
by <http://www.laurenbooth.co.uk/>Lauren Booth
Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
When authority entrusted to further truth and
justice betrays that trust, two options remain:
one is to throw up your hands in despair and
resignation; the other is to reclaim that power
and to hold authority accountable.
This is the statement of intent from the Kuala
Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War on the first
day of its proceedings against former US
President George Bush and 11 members of his
regime. Over the next five days, the Tribunal
will hear from victims of US torture in both Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.
On trial in their absence are former U.S.
President George W. Bush and his associates.
Namely Richard (Dick) Cheney, former U.S. Vice
President, Donald Rumsfeld, former Defence
Secretary, Alberto Gonzales, then Counsel to
President Bush, David Addington, then General
Counsel to the Vice-President, William Haynes II,
then General Counsel to Secretary of Defense, Jay
Bybee, then Assistant Attorney General, and John
Choon Yoo, former Deputy Assistant
Attorney-General. The charge reads as follows:
The Accused persons had committed the Crime of
Torture and War Crimes, in that: The Accused
persons had wilfully participated in the
formulation of executive orders and directives to
exclude the applicability of all international
conventions and laws, namely the Convention
against Torture 1984, Geneva Convention III 1949,
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
United Nations Charter in relation to the war
launched by the U.S. and others in Afghanistan
(in 2001) and in Iraq (in March 2003);
Additionally, and/or on the basis and in
furtherance thereof, the Accused persons
authorised, or connived in, the commission of
acts of torture and cruel, degrading and inhuman
treatment against victims in violation of
international law, treaties and conventions
including the Convention against Torture 1984 and
the Geneva Conventions, including Geneva Convention III 1949.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC) is
following the due process of the law in bringing
these charges against the accused. In 2009, the
Commission, having received complaints from
torture victims from Guantanamo and Iraq and
having conducted a painstaking and an in-depth
investigation for close to two years. Thus, two
charges on war crimes were drawn and filed
against the both the Bush and the Blair regimes.
This War Crimes Tribunal heard the first charge
in November 2011 against the two main accused;
former U.S. President George W. Bush and former
British Prime Minister Anthony L. Blair. After a
4-day trial Anthony L. Blair was found guilty of
Crimes Against Peace. Both former heads of state
were found to have violated the United Nations
Charter and international law when they planned,
prepared and invaded the sovereign state Iraq on
19 March 2003 using false and misleading
intelligence as justification for the ensuing, long term, massacre.
An avalanche of information, emerging after the
launch of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, are
providing evidence of the ways in which almost
every facet of international law is being
disregarded with impunity. Including the way in
which the wars were launched and conducted of the
wars and the politically endorsed torture of
civilians. The perpetrators of such barbarism are
not being made to account for their acts. Indeed
there is no legally constituted forum to address
the grievances of the world community offended by
these crimes against humanity.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is
constituted of eminent persons with legal
qualifications. Please visit the website of the Tribunal for more details.
The judges of the Tribunal, headed by retired
Malaysian Federal Court judge Tan Sri Dato Lamin
bin Haji Mohd Yunus, details of the judges panel
can be found at the <http://criminalisewar.org/>Tribunals website.
In the event the tribunal convicts any of the
accused, the only sanction is that the name of
the guilty person will be entered in the
Commissions Register of War Criminals and
publicised worldwide. However it is worth noting
that since the tribunal found Blair guilty last
year, Bush junior has cancelled several
international trips for fear of legal reprisals
and attempts to take such cases further.
The tribunal is a tribunal of conscience and a peoples initiative.
What follows is my partial transcription of the
proceedings plus some conversations and personal
observations. It is longer than pieces you
usually read perhaps. It is much longer thank is
usual for a news website. But the 1.4 million
dead and tortured in Iraq deserve our attention.
Soundbites and summaries no longer cut it. Read
what you can, digest what you can cope with.
Above all share these proceedings with your
university or journalistic contacts and all those
of conscience. Do what you like. But please dont
stay silent or turn away from your brothers and
sister in humanity under such abject suffering.
Those who demand justice and freedom from the
aggressor of our age; The United States of America and Israel.
Yours in peace and in prayer to the One God of us all.
DAY ONE OF THE PROCEEDINGS
I take coffee with three Iraqui university
students. They want to know why Palestine whose
dead number in the thousands is the cause of
such global outrage as opposed to Iraq where
millions are dead and millions displaced. Their
genocide is being ignored there is no doubt. The
man with the beard shakes with emotion, as he
talks of the murder of thousands of scholars
nationwide in Iraq. The other tells me that
children for decades have struggled to even have
pencils in schools because of the blockade and the subsequent occupation.
The Tribunals first witness is Abbas Abid. The
defence council seeks permission for the witness
to appear covered in court and for his image not
appear. We are told this is because he fears the
risk of further reprisals and danger back in
Iraq. He appears with a Palestinian kaffiyeh
wrapped about his face revealing only his eyes.
Witness is 48 year old man, married from Fallujah
with five children born before his arrest. He was
head of science and engineering in Iraq at the time.
First detained August 28 2005. He was removed
violently from his house and after transferred to
nearby base where he was detained for four weeks
in the then secret prison known as, Jadrya bunker or shelter.
In Baghdad there were five shelters against
nuclear attack. One of these were changed into a
secret prison named above. The Iraqui National
Guard and US troops launched a raid on his
uncles home with 4 American Humvees and 12
trucks of Iraqi soldiers. More than 15 Iraqi
soldiers stormed the house in a terrifying
manner. Smashing down doors and using sound
bombs. They would scream and terrorise those
inside the home ie his brothers family. His
nephews came to his families home crying for
help. His brother was absent at the time so he
was called to help them. He said he was ready to
answer any questions and was entirely co
operative. They said why so many Holy books
there are too many holy books! I told them
everyone in the family has their own Quran. The
soldiers examined some articles from the internet
on the situation in Iraq. He was told to follow
them for questioning. He was taken to Al
Munhtanna Brigade Headquarters for questioning.
They beat him up demanding to know the names of
terrorists in his neighbourhood.
They even electrocuted me he says. He was
cuffed with hands behind him. A cord with a
positive and negative charge attached to his
hands and then attached to a power supply.
He stands up to show us his hands behind him.
The wire cable had current in it immediately and
he felt the shocks straight away. The place he
was in was new and not a professional place
for torturing so they had amateur tools which they used at this time.
What was the effect of the electrocution he is asked?
I would turn into a dancer he says to nervous
laughter around the court. You cannot react and
your senses stop and you just shake, dancing.
This was done more than three times and he was
then threatened with being shot. The US soldiers,
would use an AK47 and re load it with his eyes
covered, then shoot near his ears saying the next
shot would be to his head if he didnt
co-operate. He knew it was an AK47 as it is a popular gun in Iraq.
He saw Americans in uniform. The eye cover had a
small space at the bottom and he could tell from
the lower attire of the US military uniform. Plus
their voices and accents were American. After the
torture was finished he would see the soldiers involved were indeed American.
They tortured some of his cousins to get
testimony against him. With 7 detainees he was
moved to Al Jadrya- he was again tortured using a wide range of methods
* Electric shocks to his body especially the penis
* Hitting with tools, pipes
* Forced to drink water mixed with diaretics
then having his penis tied to prevent urination
* Hung to wall with weights hanging from his penis
* Threatens of sexual assault and abuse to sexual organs.
* Shooting live rounds around his body
During the investigation period he was not given
food and only drink with diaretics as above.
They pulled out his finger nails the audience
gasps using pliers more gasps.
He was hung with his hands behind his back until
his shoulders dislocated. Detainees were forced
to have sex with each other. Solid objects were
forced into the rectum of detainees. Forced standing for hours.
He was beaten on every part of his body his
genitals were assaulted. Detainees were used as ash trays by the torturers.
In a room 6×6 he was with thirty detainees for
three days. This room was a temporary room after
torture, where detainees were brought in
unconscious. Piles of bodies would lay there. He
was wake from time to time and would then faint again.
A bag was put over his head for two months and
only removed when food was given. Some detainees
would have a bag on their head for more than five
months. All the time in the prison detainees had
bags on their heads from the minute they arrived to the moment they left.
The room he was kept in was so overcrowded no one
could sleep lying down and all had injuries.
Everyone had to urinate in plastic bottles by the
door. Visits to the toilet were permitted only
once every four days. This was timed at one
minute per person. At all other times we had to
discharge our waste into plastic bags by the
door. These would be trodden on or tip over and
spill waste all over the floor. The bags were only emptied every four days.
No medical care was available at all and men died
from their injuries. He lists the names of almost
a dozen men who died from their injuries in the 8 weeks he was there.
Water was withheld. A litre per detainee every
three days was the ration. Sometimes thirst would
become so bad that detainees would drink from the
urine bottles. He confirms that US troops not
only knew about the torture facilities but that they visited them all the time.
On release he was charged ten thousand USD by
the authorities. He was released with 3 other
detainees. On release two cars followed him one
a BMW with darkened windows. He evaded them. He
later found out that the other two released at
the same time were killed and their families
forced to pay huge amounts of money in order to reclaim the bodies.
He stayed just one hour in his house with his
family before moving to another house and then
leaving his country. He is now back in Fallujah.
He says my suffering was a test from Allah which
I endured with patience. I am now unable to have
children. I have nightmares all the time
dreams of someone coming to catch me, torture me
or hurt my family. My family have similar
nightmares of soldiers coming to torture me.
When he married he wished to have 15 children.
And according to plan he and his wife would
conceive every two years until the time he was
detained. He was happy to be released and he was
overwhelmed by the joy of his loved ones but, the
worst thing, that happened- the thing that took
all his joy since, is the fact he left his wife
pregnant at the time of his capture. But as a
result of the trauma of this capture she
miscarried twins. After going back to his life he
realised his dream of a large family was
shattered. He cannot have further children due to
his injuries. He is giving this testimony to the
world that those who act cruelly must be brought to justice.
The court defence lawyer examines Abid Abbas, who
was born in Abu Ghraib district. He says that as
the man has five children he is fortunate.
Intimating that his long standing damage from his
torture has not such serious effects. Each man
has his own dreams replies Abid to accepting laughter around the court.
He is asked are you from Sunni or Shia?
You see this question regarding being a Muslim
Sunni or Shia only started to be asked here and
in other parts of the world after the war.
A judge makes a call of order asking for the
point to be reached. Clearly defining the
parameters of the court as different from those
of the US soldiers and their agenda.
The defence lawyer for Bush and his cohorts
questions the ages of Mr Abbas children, how much
they actually saw, how he spoke to the soldiers. He is asked many times
Were you scared, you were scared werent you?
You were scared for your brothers children.
No replies Abbas not scared,
When asked if he lost his position in Saddams government he says
Is that relevant to the case?
He is asked then how he supported the large
family during the occupation as a man who had lost his position.
As a Muslim I believe that my wealth is managed
by Allah and I still had a job until the detention in 2005.
He is pushed on the question of whether the
Saddam government had torturers and prisons.
Is this a trial of the previous government?
The prosecution attorney Francis Boyle
intervenes. Calling for questions of the
victims credibility to be dismissed and
avoided as well as questions about the Saddam
government which is not on trial in this court or this case.
The Bush defence asks if the witness had owned a
gun and how he recognised the AK47 sound as
mentioned. Witness clarifies that serving in the
army was compulsory for at least two years.
Its very easy to differentiate between the Iraqi
army and US forces by their uniforms, accents, voices and language.
The defence looks very weak. Interestingly all
the mechanics of its questioning have been played
out in the mainstream press many times. They can
be read in papers from the Telegraph to Ynetnews
in Israel and Fox in the US. The tired strategies
of the oppressive regimes; first attempt to
destroy the credibility of those with a message,
a truth, you do not wish to hear or see shared.
If that fails. compare the crime committed by
yourself (your ally/paymaster) to alleged crimes
of the regime the victim lived under or if not
relevant then to any other oppressive regime, not your own.
Finally try to make the victim into the aggressor
via his views or his knowledge. Thus;
1. Were you angry with the occupation
2. Did you own a gun or serve in the military?
3. Do you hold a grudge against the US?
Overall the Bush/Cheney defence team are doing a
good job at being as obnoxious and intellectually
limited as a US team if that team were lead by
Fox newsreaders rather than attorneys
Did the Americans intervene at any time to stop the torture on you?
No. On the contrary in the first three weeks they
would collaborate with the guards and beat him up.
Testimony from Mozzam Begg. Former Guantanamo Bay
detainee, director of human rights organisation
Cage Prisoner. British citizen of 41 years old.
Moazzam Begg wants to put on record his torture
in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.
In 2001 he went to build a school for girls in
Afghanistan. When the region became dangerous due
to the American invasion, he was evacuated, with
his family, to Islamabad, Pakistan. On 31 January
2002, he was arrested in this house in
Islamabad. He was questioned about his presence
in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was held for
three weeks then handed over to the Americans.
The minute he was handed over he was shackled and
thrown to the ground. He was reverse shackled and
carried into a plane. Punched and kicked
throughout. A knife was put to his throat. Photos
were taken of him in his hood.
On arrival he was punched and kicked. Cold steel
ripped off his clothes. Photos were taken of him
without clothes. Dogs were brought in and he was
racially and religiously mocked and abused.
He was flown to Kadahar in Afghanistan where he
asked when was the last time he saw Mullah Omar
or Osama Bin Laden. He was taken to a tent. On
the way to interrogations barking dogs were brought to bark in my face.
Once I was asked to write my entire life story
and then the entire thing was torn up.
He was moved to Bagram. No one held there was allowed to walk, talk or move.
He used to see the taxi driver Dilawar from his
cell. The man was shackled to the sides of his
cell. He saw him slumped at one time and instead
of the soldiers administering medical aid they
came in and kicked and punched him. He later
found out that the man had died. The award
winning documentary Taxi to the dark side
focuses on this murder of an Afghani civilian detainee held by the US troops.
Moazzem was threatened with being sent to Egypt
on several occasions. In Egypt he learnt later a
man was waterboarded who then gave testimony that
he worked with Saddam Hussein Ibn Sheikh
Halibi. And more testimony about WMDs. This
testimony was then used to make the case for war by Colin Powell and others.
An American soldier who told him he could be sent
to Egypt or Syria. This says Begg proves an
intelligence link between the US and Syrian leaderships.
Did British intelligence play a part?
Yes an immense role. I was intensely
interrogated for a month in solitary confinement
by the CIA, FBI, US military intelligence and
also by British intelligence. For the first time
the British police are examining the British
government for complicity in torture
have been ordered by the British PM into cases of torture.
During his incarceration Moazzem Begg wrote
letters via the Red Cross to his wife and never
got replies. At one point photos were brought in
of his wife and children. A woman was heard
screaming terribly nearby and profanities were
being yelled at her. He believed his wife was
being tortured as a result of this. It was a ruse.
Conditions in Bagram
No tea no fruits no fresh food. Each cell was
communal with ten prisoners with a bucket for a
toilet. The stench was disgusting. Showers were
communal and humiliating. Women prisoners were
present during the showers and trophy photos
were taken. He was shackled in 3 piece shackles
connecting arms and legs to neck and waist
Ear muffs over his ears and goggles on his eyes
which were so tight as to be agony. He begged for
a sedative and was given one. He arrived in Guantanamo Bay groggy as a result.
He spent 20 months in Guantanamo Bay. He was
designated a high risk detainee. A document; a
confession was produced for him to sign. Moazzem
Begg was warned that failure to sign could lead
to execution. Or he would spend decades in in
Gitmo. He was in a state of constant anxiety. He
continues; The female psychiatrist ( I was sent
to) told me a way to commit suicide using my
trousers. Drugs were given to aid sleep after
which her would suffer hallucinations.
I never knew what my crime was to this day. The
absence of due process became worse than the actual detention.
I never imagined the United States to be a
country that would behave in this manner.
When he heard US accents after being held by the
Pakistanis at first he felt relief at last the
good guys are here. That quickly changed.
His testimony continues.
Nine people have died in Guantanamo.
Children are in Gauntanamo who have grown into adults there.
The US, Bush and his cohorts have not accepted
responsibility for anything
it was said of us we
were the worst of the worst if so then why have some 600 of us been released?
There is no rule of law in the US. We still carry
the stigma of being a Guantanamo Bay inmates to
until someone is charged and prosecuted
for this it is very hard to remove this from over our heads.
The court is told that Guantanamo is the tip of
the iceberg. You go through secret prisons that
makes Guantanamo look relatively tame.
Under examination Mozzem Begg describes having
some conversations and relationships with US soldiers at Gitmo..
Would he visit the US now?
He was invited recently. He was asked to visit
the family of a 14 year old boy who is now 24 and
remains in Gitmo. When the boy arrived at Gitmo
he had a bullet wound. When Moazzem Begg arrived
in Canada to meet the boys family, he was taken
off the plane by police for being a former Guantanamo Bay inmate.
The defence asks are you a member of Al Quaeda?
Moazzem answers he has never been a member nor
never will be and that the fact the British
government has made an out of court settlement
with him should be enough proof of this.
What of the school that Moazzem had gone to Afghanistan to help build?
It was also hit by a cruise missile - it was lucky no child was killed..
Defence asks about Moazzams book stall in the UK
in the years before his detention. Was it a religious book stall?
In 2001 there was a raid on this shop and items
were taken away under the uk terrorism act. The
items were returned. He believes this was the
process that was begun by Uk intelliegence and
allowed us to keep him imprisoned.
I have never been to America but America has been
I have never hurt an American but America has hurt me.
He didnt meet his son until he was three years
old. There are says MB ways of asking,
processes what you cant or shouldnt do is
take them to a place where the law doesnt apply
like GBay. Even iguanas are protected on the base
but no one in orange jumpsuits has any rights there.
He is asked if he was raped in Guantanamo Bay.
Uncomfortably MB says things were placed where they shouldnt be.
Asked if the thought the conditions had improved
over time. Moazzem Begg quotes Malcom X;
You dont take a knife and put it in a mans
back nine inches deep withdraw it two inches and say things are better.
The US propaganda outlined so well in James
Yees book that some prisoners put on weight
in Gitmo was brought up. As was the laughable sop
that religious freedoms were respected. In Gitmo
Begg did not know when Ramadan was, when Eid was,
when the prayer times were at first.
Books and TV?
No TV there were some books usually English classics Charles Dickens.
Under examination, Moazzem Begg admits to reading
Harry Potter in Guantanamo Bay which? the
first five. To laughter and with a slight smile, he says;
These are some of the worst admissions I have had to make.
Am I angry? If anyone wasnt angry there would be something wrong with them.
Recently he met with part of the Task force for
detainee rights. He used his time to talk to
them. He has invited Americans who served at Gitmo to his home.
These Americans some of whom kept me from my
children are now in my home playing with them. My
thoughts are that I am ready to forgive any
American who asks for forgiveness. I am not at
liberty to forgive for anyone else who is still suffering at their hands.
He is asked if he can understand the thought
process that could have brought someone to close an eye to torture. The fear?
I have met many people I would consider
torturers in my life. One was called the King of
Torture and the Monster. He was responsible for
the interrogation of many prisoners. One of whom
(prisoners) said he (the torturer) tried to rape him.
In Abu Ghraib he was present at abuse of females.
In 2008 or 7 I received a call from my lawyers
on whether I would be a character witness to him
in the case regarding female prisoners.
Begg said that Damien Corsetti, the US soldier called the Monster, said to him
please forgive me -what I had become in
Guantanamo Bay was as a result of the propaganda
I had been fed by my country and my leaders.
Corsetti realised what he had done and suffered a
series of nervous breakdowns as a result.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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