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LOCAL News :: Police State

Iraq Torturer a PA Prison Guard, Torture In the U.S.

From Santa Cruz to Pennsylvania to Iraq, U.S. law enforcement are experts on torture.
In this Mailing:

1. Some Thoughts on Torture In the U.S. By STEVE ARGUE

2. Currently Employed SCI-Green Prison Guard Supervised Torture of Prisoners in Iraq; PA Officials Covering up his PA Record

From Liberation News:

Some Thoughts on Torture In the U.S.

As someone who has done time as a political prisoner in the U.S. and faced torture at the hands of the guards the following article is not surprising to me. In fact the idea that some involved in the torture in Iraq were probably prison guards or other forms of cops in the U.S. was one of my first thoughts when I saw the pictures.

Another thought was how the CIA teaches these techniques around the world. In the 1980s I had a comrade from Iran who was tortured in the Shah’s prisons with CIA methods. After I was arrested by the police and faced abuses that included being beaten and watching a friend be beaten, as well as facing other abuse, my Iranian comrade said, “What you have gone through is torture. We don’t like to call it that here in the United States because we are taught that torture only happens someplace else. But that is what it was. The only difference is I never signed the paper they tried to make me sign. They succeeded with you. They got you to a point where you felt hopeless and powerless and they got you to plea bargain for something you didn’t do. Now they have discredited your political work by making you look like a criminal. You need to learn to never sign the paper, never give them what they want.?

She was right.

At the time I was very active politically and had recently turned 18. The St. Paul police had warned me that they would get me when I turned 18.

For me this was a pivotal moment in my life. Thanks to my revolutionary friends I came out of the experience stronger and more determined. I have faced similar treatment since from law enforcement in my past 17 years of political opposition to this rotten system, but the words of my Iranian comrade have never escaped me. I have faced similar treatment, including beatings in the Santa Cruz County Jail, but I have never given them what they wanted again.

Mumia Abu-Jamal has stated that it was a police beating at 17 that drove him into the Black Panther Party. Those in Iraq that were not part of the resistance before they were arrested will be when they get out.

The corporate media of the U.S. is now parading the mother and family of one of the criminal torturers on our T.V. screens to tell us of their wonderful daughter and that she must have only been following orders. Of course she was following orders. But what about the families, the mothers and wives, that are seeing photos of their loved ones tortured, raped, and murdered.

Many photos were traded between GI’s and a new term has entered the American vocabulary of 2004: “recreational torture?. Yet this term is only meant to cover up the fact that this torture was ordered by the CIA and private contract mercenaries, those the highest in the U.S. government put in charge.

Claims of weapons of mass destruction; A supposed connection between Iraq and September 11; or the U.S. going to Iraq to bring human rights and democracy: All have been exposed as lies. The profits to be made off of the privatization of Iraqi resources is the cause for which Bush, Cheney, and the Congress have been sending young people to kill and die. Thankfully this is a cause that will fail.

Iraq to the Iraqis!

U.S. Out Now! U.N. Stay Out!

Currently Employed SCI-Green Prison Guard Supervised Torture of Prisoners in Iraq;
PA Officials Covering up his PA Record

By Jeff Garis
On Wednesday, May 5, the New York Times published a story about Americans who were directly involved in the disgusting human rights abuses that have taken place in the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad.

Disturbingly, there is a direct link between Abu Ghraib Prison and the State Correctional Institution at Greene (SCI-Greene), a super-maximum security prison in western Pennsylvania and home to the overwhelming majority of the state's death row prisoners. Charles A. Graner, Jr. [see picture, standing arms folded], an army reservist cited in a military report as supervising the torture of Iraqi prisoners, is CURRENTLY EMPLOYED as a prison guard at SCI-Greene. This is the same prison that Mumia Abu-Jamal has been imprisoned on death row at and published many accounts of abuse and torture about.

Reports of prisoner abuse have plagued SCI-Greene since it opened less than a decade ago as a "shining jewel in the crown" of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. In 1998, a DOC investigation found many instances of abuse of prisoners and took disciplinary action against a handful of SCI-Greene staff. The DOC refused to make public internal videotapes of the abuse and the Greene County District Attorney declined to begin criminal prosecution of any guards.

Pa. Abolitionists and other organizations spoke out against the allegations of abuse long before the DOC acknowledged these heinous acts, and we took a clear position calling for much greater disciplinary action than the DOC was willing to take. In fact, the abuse has continued, as Pa. Abolitionists has received compelling documentation of at least one savage beating of a non-death-row prisoner at SCI-Greene in 2004. The response of one DOC administrator to these serious allegations was seemingly feigned disbelief: "Abuse?! At SCI-Greene?! At Greene?!?!"

Exactly one year prior to yesterday's NYT article, SCI-Greene guard Charles A. Graner, Jr., was called up for active duty in Iraq. According to the army report made public this week, Graner was given a supervisory positions at Abu Ghraib because he had civilian experience as a prison guard. It seems quite likely that Graner took what he had seen and experienced "working with"
prisoners at SCI-Greene with him to Abu Ghraib where he instructed others involved in these major human rights abuses. The Times story details Graner's background:

"Specialist Charles A. Graner, Jr., is a guard at one of Pennsylvania's most heavily secured death row prisons, accused by his former wife of violent behavior.

"An internal Army report made public this week described Specialist Graner, 35, as supervising some of the abusive behavior. He also appears in several photographs, including one in which he stands with arms folded over a pile of naked Iraqi men.

"Specialist Graner, who wears a Marine Corps eagle tattoo on his right arm, served in the corps from April 1988 until May 1996, when he left with the rank of corporal, according to military records. He went to work immediately at the State Correctional Institution Greene, in southwestern Pennsylvania, where he has held an entry-level corrections officer position ever since.

"Two years after he arrived at Greene, the prison was at the center of an abuse scandal. Prison officials declined to say whether Specialist Graner had been disciplined in that case, citing privacy laws.

"Inmates and advocates for prisoner rights asserted in 1998 that guards at the prison routinely beat and humiliated prisoners, including through a sadistic game of Simon Says in which guards struck prisoners who failed to comply with barked instructions.

"After an investigation, the warden was transferred, two lieutenants were fired and about two dozen guards were reprimanded, demoted or suspended.

"Specialist Graner was involved in a bitter divorce. In court papers, his wife, Staci, accused him of beating her, threatening her with guns, stalking her after they separated in 1997 and breaking into her home. Since 1997, local judges have issued at least three orders of protection against him, records show.

"One court document filed in February 1998 typified Staci Graner's complaints. 'Charles picked me up and threw me against the wall,' she said. She added that he had begun sneaking into her home at night to scare her. 'I just don't think this is normal behavior, and he does frighten me,' she wrote."

Whether Graner was involved in the SCI-Greene abuses or disciplined for them by our state's DOC, one wonders if more aggressive investigation and a " zero-tolerance for abuse" policy by DOC administrators might have prevented some of the inexcusable human rights abuses that have further disgraced the U.S. and increased the likelihood of future terrorist acts. While it is unclear what will happen to the thugs who tortured the Iraqi prisoners, it is absolutely appalling that at least one of them -- a supervisor of the torture, no less -- is CURRENTLY ON OUR STATE'S PAYROLL, receiving salary and benefits from our tax dollars!

At an absolute minimum, Pa. Abolitionists believes that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections should immediately begin a serious and open investigation into allegations of abuse in our state prisons. Further, it is our opinion that the DOC should adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy on abuse, immediately terminating criminal employees who assault prisoners. We call on the guards' union to cease defending abusive guards, as their actions jeopardize the safety and lives of decent human beings working in the prisons.

For those wishing to voice their feelings to the Pa. DOC, contact information is provided below along with links to news articles about "our public servant" Charles Graner and links to articles about the 1998 abuse scandal at SCI-Greene.

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The Israeli Torture Template

11 May 2004
The Israeli Torture Template
Rape, Feces and Urine-Dipped Cloth Sacks

With mounting evidence that a shadowy group of former Israeli Defense Force and General Security Service (Shin Bet) Arabic-speaking interrogators were hired by the Pentagon under a classified "carve out" sub-contract to brutally interrogate Iraqi prisoners at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, one only needs to examine the record of abuse of Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in Israel to understand what Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld meant, when referring to new, yet to be released photos and videos, he said, "if these images are released to the public, obviously its going to make matters worse."

According to a political appointee within the Bush administration and U.S. intelligence sources, the interrogators at Abu Ghraib included a number of Arabic-speaking Israelis who also helped U.S. interrogators develop the "R2I" (Resistance to Interrogation) techniques. Many of the torture methods were developed by the Israelis over many years of interrogating Arab prisoners on the occupied West Bank and in Israel itself.

Clues about worse photos and videos of abuse may be found in Israeli files about similar abuse of Palestinian and other Arab prisoners. In March 2000, a lawyer for a Lebanese prisoner kidnapped in 1994 by the Israelis in Lebanon claimed that his client had been subjected to torture, including rape. The type of compensation offered by Rumsfeld in his testimony has its roots in cases of Israeli torture of Arabs. In the case of the Lebanese man, said to have been raped by his Israeli captors, his lawyer demanded compensation of $1.47 million. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel documented the types of torture meted out on Arab prisoners. Many of the tactics coincide with those contained in the Taguba report: beatings and prolonged periods handcuffed to furniture. In an article in the December 1998 issue of The Progressive, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb reported on the treatment given to a 23-year old Palestinian held on "administrative detention." The prisoner was "cuffed behind a chair 17 hours a day for 120 days . . . [he] had his head covered with a sack, which was often dipped in urine or feces. Guards played loud music right next to his ears and frequently taunted him with threats of physical and sexual violence." If additional photos and videos document such practices, the Bush administration and the American people have, indeed, "seen nothing yet."

Although it is still largely undocumented if any of the contractor named in the report of General Antonio Taguba were associated with the Israeli military or intelligence services, it is noteworthy that one, John Israel, who was identified in the report as being employed by both CACI International of Arlington, Virginia, and Titan, Inc., of San Diego, may not have even been a U.S. citizen. The Taguba report states that Israel did not have a security clearance, a requirement for employment as an interrogator for CACI. According to CACI's web site, "a Top Secret Clearance (TS) that is current and US citizenship" are required for CACI interrogators working in Iraq. In addition, CACI requires that its interrogators "have at least two years experience as a military policeman or similar type of law enforcement/intelligence agency whereby the individual utilized interviewing techniques."

Speculation that "John Israel" may be an intelligence cover name has fueled speculation whether this individual could have been one of a number of Israeli interrogators hired under a classified contract. Because U.S. citizenship and documentation thereof are requirements for a U.S. security clearance, Israeli citizens would not be permitted to hold a Top Secret clearance. However, dual U.S.-Israeli citizens could have satisfied Pentagon requirements that interrogators hold U.S. citizenship and a Top Secret clearance. Although the Taguba report refers twice to Israel as an employee of Titan, the company claims he is one of their sub-contractors. CACI stated that one of the men listed in the report "is not and never has been a CACI employee" without providing more detail. A U.S. intelligence source revealed that in the world of intelligence "carve out" subcontracts such confusion is often the case with "plausible deniability" being a foremost concern.

In fact, the Taguba report does reference the presence of non-U.S. and non-Iraqi interrogators at Abu Ghraib. The report states, "In general, US civilian contract personnel (Titan Corporation, CACI, etc), third country nationals, and local contractors do not appear to be properly supervised within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib."

The Pentagon is clearly concerned about the outing of the Taguba report and its references to CACI, Titan, and third country nationals, which could permanently damage U.S. relations with Arab and Islamic nations. The Pentagon's angst may explain why the Taguba report is classified Secret No Foreign Dissemination.

The leak of the Taguba report was so radioactive, Daniel R. Dunn, the Information Assurance Officer for Douglas Feith's Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, Policy (Policy Automation Services Security Team), sent a May 6, 2004, For Official Use Only Urgent E-mail to Pentagon staffers stating, "THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY." Considering Feith's close ties to the Israelis, such a reaction by his top computer security officer, a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP), is understandable, although considering the fact that CISSPs are to act on behalf of the public good, it is also regrettable..

The reference to "third country nationals" in a report that restricts its dissemination to U.S. coalition partners (Great Britain, Poland, Italy, etc.) is another indication of the possible involvement of Israelis in the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. Knowledge that the U.S. may have been using Israeli interrogators could have severely fractured the Bush administration's tenuous "coalition of the willing' in Iraq. General Taguba's findings were transmitted to the Coalition Forces Land Component Command on March 9, 2004, just six days before the Spanish general election, one that the opposition anti-Iraq war Socialists won. The Spanish ultimately withdrew their forces from Iraq.

During his testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee, Rumsfeld was pressed upon by Senator John McCain about the role of the private contractors in the interrogations and abuse. McCain asked Rumsfeld four pertinent questions, ". . . who was in charge? What agency or private contractor was in charge of the interrogations? Did they have authority over the guards? And what were the instructions that they gave to the guards?"

When Rumsfeld had problems answering McCain's question, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, the Deputy Commander of the U.S. Central Command, said there were 37 contract interrogators used in Abu Ghraib. The two named contractors, CACI and Titan, have close ties to the Israeli military and technology communities. Last January 14, after Provost Marshal General of the Army, Major General Donald Ryder, had already uncovered abuse at Abu Ghraib, CACI's President and CEO, Dr. J.P. (Jack) London was receiving the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah's Albert Einstein Technology award at the Jerusalem City Hall, with right-wing Likud politician Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski in attendance. Oddly, CACI waited until February 2 to publicly announce the award in a press release. CACI has also received grants from U.S.-Israeli bi-national foundations.

Titan also has had close connections to Israeli interests. After his stint as CIA Director, James Woolsey served as a Titan director. Woolsey is an architect of America's Iraq policy and the chief proponent of and lobbyist for Ahmad Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress. An adviser to the neo-conservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, Project for the New American Century, Center for Security Policy, Freedom House, and Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, Woolsey is close to Stephen Cambone, the Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, a key person in the chain of command who would have not only known about the torture tactics used by U.S. and Israeli interrogators in Iraq but who would have also approved them. Cambone was associated with the Project for the New American Century and is viewed as a member of Rumsfeld's neo-conservative "cabal" within the Pentagon.

Another person considered by Pentagon insiders to have been knowledgeable about the treatment of Iraqi prisoners is U.S. Army Col. Steven Bucci, a Green Beret and Rumsfeld's military assistant and chief traffic cop for the information flow to the Defense Secretary. According to Pentagon insiders, Bucci was involved in the direction of a special covert operations unit composed of former U.S. special operations personnel who answered to the Pentagon rather than the CIA's Special Activities Division, the agency's own paramilitary group. The Pentagon group included Arabic linguists and former members of the Green Berets and Delta Force who operated covertly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. Titan also uses linguists trained in the languages (Arabic, Dari, Farsi, Pashto, Urdu, and Tajik) of those same countries. It is not known if a link exists between Rumsfeld's covert operations unit and Titan's covert operations linguists.

Another Titan employee named in the Taguba report is Adel L. Nakhla. Nakhla is a name common among Egypt's Coptic Christian community, however, it is not known if Adel Nakhla is either an Egyptian-American or a national of Egypt. A CACI employee identified in the report, Steven Stephanowicz, is referred to as "Stefanowicz" in a number of articles on the prison abuse. Stefanowicz is the spelling used by Joe Ryan, another CACI employee assigned with Stefanowicz to Abu Ghraib. Ryan is a radio personality on KSTP, a conservative radio station in Minneapolis, who maintained a daily log of his activities in Iraq on the radio's web site before it was taken down. Ryan indicated that Stefanowicz (or Stephanowicz) continued to hold his interrogation job in Iraq even though General Taguba recommended he lose his security clearance and be terminated for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

In an even more bizarre twist, the Philadelphia Daily News identified a former expatriate public relations specialist for the government of South Australia in Adelaide named Steve Stefanowicz as possibly being the same person identified in the Taguba report. In 2000, Stefanowicz, who grew up in the Philadelphia and Allentown areas, left for Australia. On September 16, 2001, he was quoted by the Sunday Mail of Adelaide on the 911 attacks. He said of the attacks, "It was one of the most incredible and most devastating things I have ever seen. I have been in constant contact with my family and friends in the US and the mood was very solemn and quiet. But this is progressing into anger." Stefanowicz returned to the United States and volunteered for the Navy in a reserve status. His mother told the Allentown Morning Call in April 2002 that Stefanowicz was stationed somewhere in the Middle East but did not know where because of what Stefanowicz said was "security concerns." His mother told the Philadelphia Daily News that her son was in Iraq but she knew nothing about his current status.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He served in the National Security Agency (NSA) during the Reagan administration and wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth. He is the co-author, with John Stanton, of "America's Nightmare: The Presidency of George Bush II." His forthcoming book is titled: "Jaded Tasks: Big Oil, Black Ops, and Brass Plates."


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