Irish Blog Whacked

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Camp Nama: British Personnel Reveal Horrors of Secret US Base in Baghdad
Detainees captured by SAS and SBS squads subjected to human-rights abuses at detention centre, say British witnesses

By Ian Cobain
April 02, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"Guardian" -  British soldiers and airmen who helped to operate a secretive US detention facility in Baghdad that was at the centre of some of the most serioushuman rights abuses to occur in Iraq after the invasion have, for the first time, spoken about abuses they witnessed there.
Personnel from two RAF squadrons and one Army Air Corps squadron were given guard and transport duties at the secret prison, the Guardian has established.
And many of the detainees were brought to the facility by snatch squads formed from Special Air Service and Special Boat Service squadrons.
Codenamed Task Force 121, the joint US-UK special forces unit was at first deployed to detain individuals thought to have information about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Once it was realised that Saddam's regime had long since abandoned its WMD programme, TF 121 was re-tasked with tracking down people who might know where the deposed dictator and his loyalists might be, and then with catching al-Qaida leaders who sprang up in the country after the regime collapsed.
Suspects were brought to the secret prison at Baghdad International airport, known as Camp Nama, for questioning by US military and civilian interrogators. But the methods used were so brutal that they drew condemnation not only from a US human rights body but from a special investigator reporting to the Pentagon.
A British serviceman who served at Nama recalled: "I saw one man having his prosthetic leg being pulled off him, and being beaten about the head with it before he was thrown on to the truck."
On the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, a number of former members of TF 121 and its successor unit TF6-26 have come forward to describe the abuses they witnessed, and to state that they complained about the mistreatment of detainees.
The abuses they say they saw include:
• Iraqi prisoners being held for prolonged periods in cells the size of large dog kennels.
• Prisoners being subjected to electric shocks.
• Prisoners being routinely hooded.
• Inmates being taken into a sound-proofed shipping container for interrogation, and emerging in a state of physical distress.
It is unclear how many of their complaints were registered or passed up the chain of command. A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said a search of its records did not turn up "anything specific" about complaints from British personnel at Camp Nama, or anything that substantiated such complaints.
Nevertheless, the emergence of evidence of British involvement in the running of such a notorious detention facility appears to raise fresh questions about ministerial approval of operations that resulted in serious human rights abuses.
Geoff Hoon, defence secretary at the time, insisted he had no knowledge of Camp Nama. When it was pointed out to him that the British military had provided transport services and a guard force, and had helped to detain Nama's inmates, he replied: "I've never heard of the place."
The MoD, on the other hand, repeatedly failed to address questions about ministerial approval of British operations at Camp Nama. Nor would the department say whether ministers had been made aware of concerns about human rights abuses there.
crispin blunt namaFormer army officer Crispin Blunt accused defence secretary John Hutton in 2009 of sweeping under the carpet the evidence of direct British service involvement. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA
However, one peculiarity of the way in which UK forces operated when bringing prisoners to Camp Nama suggests that ministers and senior MoD officials may have had reason to know those detainees were at risk of mistreatment. British soldiers were almost always accompanied by a lone American soldier, who was then recorded as having captured the prisoner. Members of the SAS and SBS were repeatedly briefed on the importance of this measure.
It was an arrangement that enabled the British government to side-step a Geneva convention clause that would have obliged it to demand the return of any prisoner transferred to the US once it became apparent that they were not being treated in accordance with the convention. And it consigned the prisoners to what some lawyers have described as a legal black hole.
Surrounded by row after row of wire fencing, guarded by either US Rangers or RAF personnel, and with an Abrams tank parked permanently at its main gate, to the outside observer Camp Nama seemed identical to scores of military bases that sprang up after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Once inside, however, it was clear that Nama was different.
Not that many people did enter the special forces prison. It was off limits to most members of the US and UK military, with even the officer commanding the US detention facility at Guantánamo being refused entry at one point. Inspectors from the International Committee of the Red Cross were never admitted through its gates.
One person who has been widely reported to have been seen there frequently was General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of US Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq.
general Stanley McChrystalGeneral Stanley McChrystal, then commander of US Joint Special Operations forces in Iraq, was said to have visited Nama. Photograph: Christian Sinibaldi for the Guardian
While Abu Ghraib prison, just a few miles to the west, would achieve global notoriety after photographs emerged depicting abuses committed there, Camp Nama escaped attention for a simple reason: photography was banned. The only people who attempted to take pictures – a pair of US Navy Seals – were promptly arrested. All discussion of what happened there was forbidden.
Before establishing its prison at Nama, TF 121 had been known as Task Force 20, and had run a detention and interrogation facility at a remote location known as H1, in Iraq's western desert. At least one prisoner had died en route to H1, allegedly kicked to death aboard an RAF Chinook.
The British were always junior partners in TF 121. Their contingent was known as Task Force Black. US Delta Force troops made up Task Force Green and US Army Rangers Task Force Red. One half of Task Force Black comprised SAS and SBS troopers, based a short distance away at the government compound known as the Green Zone. They detained so-called high-value detainees, who were brought to Camp Nama. The other half were the air and ground crews of 7 Squadron and 47 Squadron of the RAF, and 657 Squadron of the Army Air Corps, who lived on the camp itself, operating helicopters used in detention operations and a Hercules transport aircraft.
"The Americans went out to bring in prisoners every night, and British special forces would go out once or twice a week, almost always with one American accompanying them," one British serviceman who served at Nama recalled earlier this month.
''The prisoners would be brought in by helicopter, usually one at a time, although I once saw five being led off a Chinook. They were taken into a large hangar to be bagged and tagged, a bag put over their heads and their hands plasticuffed behind their backs. Then they would be lifted or thrown on to the back of a pick-up truck and driven to the Joint Operations Centre."
The Joint Operations Centre, or JOC, was a single storey building a few hundred yards from the airport's main runway. Some of those who served at Nama believed it had formerly been used by Saddam's intelligence agencies.
The US and UK forces worked together so closely that they began to wear items of each others' uniforms. But while British personnel were permitted into the front of the JOC, few were allowed into the rear, where interrogations took place. This was the preserve of US military interrogators and CIA officers based at Camp Nama. "They included a number of women," said one British airman. "One had a ponytail and always wore two pistols, so we had to nickname her Lara Croft."
There were four interrogation cells at the rear of the JOC, known as the blue, red, black and soft rooms, as well as a medical screening area. The soft room contained sofas and rugs, and was a place where detainees could be shown some kindness. Harsh interrogations took place in the red and blue rooms, while the black room – described as windowless, with hooks in the ceiling, and where every surface was painted black – is said to be the cell where the worse abuses were perpetrated.
According to an investigation by Human Rights Watch, the New York-based NGO, detainees were subject to "beatings, exposure to extreme cold, threats of death, humiliation and various forms of psychological abuse or torture" at the JOC. The New York Times has reported that prisoners were beaten with rifle butts and had paintball guns fired at them for target practice.
Signs posted around Nama are said to have proclaimed the warning "No Blood, No Foul": if interrogators did not make a prisoner bleed, they would not face disciplinary action.
There was also an overspill interrogation room cell behind the JOC: a shipping container lined with padding. "You could see people being taken in there, and they were in pretty poor shape when they were taken out," said one British witness. He adds: "Everyone's seen the Abu Ghraib pictures. But I've seen it with my own eyes."
A number of British soldiers who served with TF 121 said that some SAS officers were permitted to attend interrogations at the rear of the JOC. Human Rights Watch reports that one SAS officer took part in the beating of a prisoner thought to know the whereabouts of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.
While not being interrogated, according to witnesses, prisoners were held in cells the size of large dog kennels. "They were made of wire mesh with sloping corrugated roofs," said a British ex-serviceman who served at Nama. "They were chest high, and two feet wide. There were about 100 of them, in three rows, and they always appeared to have at least one prisoner in each. They would be freezing at night, and really hot during the day.
"The prisoners were mostly men, although I did see two women being taken into the JOC for interrogation. I've no idea what became of them, or to any of the male prisoners after their interrogation was completed."
Some of the scenes at Nama were so disturbing that personnel serving there would literally look the other way, rather than witness the abuse. "I remember being on sentry duty at a post overlooking the dog kennels, and the guy I was with wouldn't even look at them," one British eyewitness recalls. "I was saying: 'Hey turn around and look at them.' And he wouldn't. He just wouldn't turn around, because he knew they were there."
Some complaints made at the time by British personnel were immediately suppressed. "I remember talking to one British army officer about what I had seen, and he replied: 'You didn't see that – do you understand?' There was a great deal of nervousness about the place. I had the impression that the British were scared we would be kicked off the operation if we made a fuss," the ex-serviceman said.
According to one US interrogator interviewed by Human Rights Watch, however, written authorisations were required for many of the abuses inflicted on prisoners at Nama, indicating that their use was approved up the chain of command.
"There was an authorisation template on a computer, a sheet that you would print out, or actually just type it in," the interrogator said. "It was a checklist. It was already typed out for you, environmental controls, hot and cold, you know, strobe lights, music, so forth. But you would just check what you want to use off, and if you planned on using a harsh interrogation you'd just get it signed off. It would be signed off by the commander."
iraq detaineesAccording to one British serviceman who was at Nama, US soldiers would bring prisoners in every night. Photograph: Jehad Nga/Corbis
Camp Nama was such a secret location that when General Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, was sent to Iraq in August 2003 to advise on interrogation regimes he was initially refused entry, according to Human Rights Watch.
At the end of 2003, the Pentagon sent a special investigator, Stuart Herrington, a retired military intelligence colonel, to discover more about the methods being employed at Nama. In December that yearHerrington reported: "Detainees captured by TF 121 have shown injuries that caused examining medical personnel to note that 'detainee shows signs of having been beaten'. It seems clear that TF 121 needs to be reined in with respect to its treatment of detainees."
More than 30 members of the task force were subsequently disciplined for abusing prisoners. Yet the beatings continued, according to British witnesses. The dog kennel cells remained in place, and UK special forces continued to be used to snatch suspects to be brought in for interrogation. "I can see now that we were supplying the meat for the American interrogators," says one.
In February 2004, senior British special forces and intelligence officers felt emboldened enough to mount a detention operation without an accompanying US soldier. Troopers surrounded a house in southern Baghdad that MI6 had identified as a safe house for foreign fighters. Two men were killed in the raid and two others of Pakistani origin were detained and handed over to the US authorities.
After questioning at Nama, the pair were flown to Bagram, north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, where they are thought to remain incarcerated, despite efforts by lawyers to secure their release by persuading the appeal court in London to order the issuing of a writ of habeas corpus.
Two months later, in April 2004, US news media published a series of shocking photographs showing the abuse of prisoners at a different prison, Abu Ghraib, where individuals detained by regular troops rather than special forces were being held. A few days later Task Force 121 was renamed Task Force 6-26. Shortly after this, two US Navy Seals – who had their own compound with Camp Nama – were seen taking photographs from the roof of their building. Both men were immediately arrested, British witnesses say and were not seen at Nama again.
Later that summer the secret prison was moved to Balad, a sprawling air base 50 miles north of Baghdad, where it became known as the Temporary Screening Facility (TSF). The Army Air Force and RAF troops continued their role there.
SAS troops continued to provide detainees for interrogation, operating from their base in one of a row of seven large villas inside the Green Zone. The villa next door was occupied by troops from Delta Force. Each of the homes had a swimming pool, and at the end of the long garden behind the SAS villa was a large hut occupied by a UK military intelligence unit, the Joint Forward Interrogation Team, or JFIT.
Individuals detained by the SAS – accompanied by their lone American escort – would be flown by helicopter to a landing pad behind the villas, and taken straight to the JFIT. According to former members of TF 6-26, after a brief interrogation by the British, they would be handed over to US forces, who would question them further before releasing them, or arrange for them to be flown north to Balad.
In late 2003, according to former taskforce members, two SAS members wandered next door to the Delta Force villa, where they were horrified to see two Iraqi prisoners being tortured. "They were being given electric shocks from cattle prods and their heads were being held under the water in the swimming pool. There were less visits next door after that."
While a complaint was made, it is not thought to have reported through the chain of command. And it certainly appears not to have reached Downing Street, as shortly afterwards Tony Blair, then prime minister, visited the SAS house to thank the troopers for their efforts.
By the end of 2004, according to the BBC journalist Mark Urban, MI6 officers who had visited the secret prison at Balad were expressing concern that the kennel cells had been reconstructed there, and the British government later warned the US authorities that it would hand over prisoners only if there was an undertaking that they would not be sent there.
Shortly afterwards, the RAF Hercules operated by the task force was shot down while flying from Nama to Balad, with the loss of all 10 men on board. It was the largest loss of life suffered by the RAF in a single incident since the second world war.
By now, a growing number of British members of the task force were deeply disillusioned about their role. When one, SAS trooper Ben Griffin, decided he could not return to Iraq, he expected to be face a court martial. Instead, he discovered that a number of his officers sympathised with him, and he was permitted to leave the army with a first-class testimonial.
When Griffin went public, making clear that British troops were handing over to the US military large numbers of prisoners who faced torture, the MoD came under pressure to explain itself. In February 2009 the then defence secretary, John Hutton, told the Commons that "review of records of detention resulting from security operations carried out by UK armed forces" had disclosed that two men who had been handed over had since been moved to Afghanistan. His statement made no mention of the joint task force, of H1, or of Camp Nama or Balad or how British airmen and soldiers were helping to operate the secret prisons.
Crispin Blunt, a Tory MP and former army officer, accused Hutton of "simply sweeping under the carpet the apparent evidence of direct British service involvement with delivery to gross mistreatment amounting to torture involving hundreds if not thousands of people".
Today, 10 years after the invasion and the creation of the joint US-UK taskforce that detained and interrogated large numbers of Iraqis, the MoD responds to questions about their abuse by stating that it is aware only of "anecdotal accounts" of mistreatment, and that "any further evidence of human rights abuse should be passed to the appropriate authorities for investigation".
Griffin had done just that, asking the MoD itself to investigate the activities of the taskforce of which he had been a member. The MoD obtained an injunction to silence him, and warned he faced jail if he ever spoke out again.
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited

What is described by Ian Cobain is exactly what is coming home to the USA if the present criminal regime is not overthrown. A regime that protects the perpetrators of 911 and refuses to even talk about it anymore, has zero legitimacy and is gaining valuable experience in the art of suppressing resistance. I do not believe there is any chance of a peaceful return to the rule of law and democracy. My dream is that this coming September 11 at the latest, the masses stand up and occupy every single symbol and institution that comprises this fascist nightmare.
Remember, those tortured in Iraq are just as innocent as those Americans killed on 911. They had nothing to do with "Terror". The Zionist stooges and their handlers running the country, they are the terrorists, and should be dealt with accordingly.
Ex Pat· 3 hours ago


Why did _we_ allow this to be done in our name?


Who do you think was using drills on Iraqis? The tooth-fairy? Or the US Empire Nazis? Join the dots.

'Secrets of the Morgue - Bagdad's Body Count,' by Robert Fisk - 16th August 2005 


Robert Fisk - "There is just one little problem, though, and that's the "missing" prisoners. Not the victims who have been (still are being?) tortured in Guantanamo, but the thousands who have simply disappeared into US custody abroad or – with American help – into the prisons of US allies. Some reports speak of 20,000 missing men, most of them Arabs, all of them Muslims. Where are they? Can they be freed now? Or are they dead? If Obama finds that he is inheriting mass graves from George W Bush, there will be a lot of apologising to do."

'Mass graves' apparently, judging by the deathly silence.

Robert Fisk, the same incensed honourable man who fearlessly reported the Sabra and Shatila genocide of Ariel Sharon who, after the Israeli inquiry, was fired as Israeli Defense minister and forever more branded a war criminal. Would that there be such an inquiry in the U.S. -

After which silence. With stories of the USS Auschwitz's off Diego Garcia - ships where torture was _far_ more severe than at Guantanamo, Bagram, or at the 'Black Prison' there. With estimates that 80,000 passed through those camps. How many died? How were they disposed of? Ovens? 

Morgan· 3 hours ago
W^nkers. Why are they revealing it now that it can't be stopped, it's too late - saying it now changes nothing.

Every bad thing any of these armies did in that country becomes a thousand times worse because their very presence there was a crime.

champlain· 21 hours ago
There are a number of societies on this planet that have displayed the most violence in the history of this planet. If these societies are not stopped by the rest of the planet, they will lead to the destruction of humanity...

Frank· 20 hours ago
If we let our torturers off then we can't continue to condemn the NKVD, Gestapo or anyone else can we? Logically that means the actions of these organizations cannot continue to be condemned can they? And that would call for a whole new appraisal of world history wouldn't it?

No JoJo· 17 hours ago
Who are these sick pukes,that served in the USA military and why no names? I'll bet,they are back home serving now with your local police department.
USA is evil --a real military police terrorist state. What is needed is exposure of the bad guys in military, whereby local folks would keep a distance.

KidRob· 15 hours ago
I love the part about having the Iraqi's head underwater while poking him with a cattle prod. 

Ex Pat· 13 hours ago


Which only leaves out the bit about their using drills on their prisoners ...

Remember the Iranian embassy staffer abducted by the US Empire in Bagdad?

The Iranian diplomat's feet - nine holes drilled in his feet, by US -


Remember the US Intelligence officer given the task of deciding life-or-death on a single sheet of paper for every suspect, who were then killed by US death squads? Whose entire Intelligence class in Monterey, California had either committed suicide or were held in mental hospitals after their tour of duty, with him as the sole survivor who wrote the book. Presumably also the psychopath of the class. If not before then after.

'Iraq's New Death Squad,' by Shane Bauer - 3rd June, 2009 - The Nation -

Remember the story of the US army's Special Forces 'new guy' whose job was to 'off' the prisoners after questioning? Google is your friend.

So that, as Robert Fisk reported, the death count was up to fifty, or more, bodies per night, which he personally counted in the Bagdad morgue. At the risk of death to himself and to the morgue staff for reporting it.

Wonder why the revered father of peace studies Johan Galtung says "The decent ones kill themselves"?

The rest, apparently, write books and go on to greater things in the fascist US Empire - using the methods of the Nazis. No change there, then!

USUK Nacht und Nebel.

- Bliar, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Bush and Cheney - 'Boiling for Britain / US' - Muzafar Avazov -

Craig Murray - "None of those prisoners rendered to Uzbekistan have ever been seen again." In other words, they were rendered for extermination. US Empire Nacht und Nebel, with the UK playing Mussolini to the US Empire's Nazis. No change there, then!

Afghanistan in one sentence, from Craig Murray - UK ambassador to Uzbekistan - "There are so many lies about Afghanistan; it's about money; it's about oil; it's about drugs; it's about the abuse of human rights; it's about degradation; it's about all of us paying through our taxes for wars that benefit a tiny clique." - Craig Murray - UK/USA made use of Uzbek torture Pt2 -

"The US Empire Nazis, ER, Heydrich, were careerists who instituted the industrial killing of millions in an effort to please Cheney (ER, Hitler? Ed.) and win promotion." "You cannot just order the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. No normal person would do such a thing." Paraphrased. The following is the neutered replacement version that completely alters the damning commentary of the first 'Memory Holed' version!

- Now deleted entirely, naturally. -

- US Bathwater / Neocon Nazis - just like this lovely fellow? - WW2 - Heydrich -


Poor US Empire (Neo-Con?) Nazis / 'Our Tony' Bliar, Brown, Cameron, Clegg, Bush, Cheney -- Terrified of their date with destiny -- A long drop on a short rope. - Nuremberg Mk II. -

Mk I for comparison - Nuremberg Executions of N_zi Leaders for 'Crimes Against Humanity' and 'Crimes Against the Laws of War.' - Original -

(*) Einsatzgruppen -



John Stockwell has put it as clearly as any man could. -

"I don't mean to abuse you with verbal violence, but you have to understand what your government and its agents are doing. They go into villages, they haul out families. With the children forced to watch they castrate the father, they peel the skin off his face, they put a grenade in his mouth and pull the pin. With the children forced to watch they gang-rape the mother, and slash her breasts off. And sometimes for variety, they make the parents watch while they do these things to the children." These are not just words. It is also real. Real mothers. Real children. Real fathers. Real death.

"We do not parachute teams into the Soviet Union to haul families out at night and castrate the father with the children watching, because they have the Bomb, and a big army, and they would parachute teams right back into our country and do the same thing to us - they're not scared of us." - Video - John Stockwell - "Third World War" - Forty years of Secret Wars of the C1A - 6 million killed -

John Stockwell -

'America's Third World War - 6m to 20m Killed,' by John Stockwell -

Wiki - excellent links -


Johan Galtung - the US empire has murdered 12m or 16m in forty years. "The difference is between overt murders and including covert murders by the US." In illegal wars and genocides. -

'How would we know that the Empire is dead?" - Johan Galtung -

Silence of these crimes by our 'leaders' roars so loud that heaven and hell could hear the screams.

Dulce Et Decorum Est III & A Taste of Armageddon
(or the empire has no clothes but a disposition matrix)

by michael hall

In due homage to Horace, Owen and Mikhail i humbly nod
for how sweet & glorious it must be to kill or die for God & country by pompous duty with dishonor
so c'mon kiddies, any up for good jingo sport?
who’s hungry & poor, who wants to play the hubris 'anything for profit' killing game?

As effusively embedded newspapers rah rah their pied pier patriotism with journalistic integrity & objectivity ha ha!
as a new battle lies just around the corner & armed forces day just weeks away hooray!
rally loyal citizens to whitewash warm innocuous blood off disgraced musket & sullied polluted flag
strike up the marching parade manifested by destiny down main street usa hey hey!

Awaken & open thine eyes chauvinistic folk, visit & see your overseas deeds of nefarious brutality
for as americans you're liable for this appalling tax-paid violence exported to hamlets & villages
assaulting families who've never did you any harm in lands you've never heard of, nor care less for
so step on up, one & all, for everyone here is accountable & responsible for this odious debacle

Take a trip citizens to the overflowing morgues filled with small smashed bodies, once toddlers full of laughter & life
deeply inhale the rancid stench of scorched flesh crispy burnt to a black bubbly mass by melting phosphorus
gaze into doll dead eyes frozen forever by shock & awe renditioned via your God blessed terror raining down hill
atop a cold gurney a stiff finger from a tiny hand amidst a pile of mangled flesh is pointing at you war supporters

Watch as grief-stricken fathers zombie-wander in shattered stumbling silence
sifting through ragged debris & devastating destruction searching for lost sons & missing daughters
discovering ripped wet mangled body parts strewn about as pieces of a human jig-saw puzzle
taking home the ear, the hand, the foot to be quietly buried while 6000 miles away 'heroes' giggle & dub this 'bugsplat'

Hearken to the heart-piercing shrieks as soul-torn asunder mothers wail like howling wild animals
as they find their loves buried, broken & bloody in the rubble of your glorious works
then if you can, please explain to the unresponsive moaning neonatal orphan
why your armed forces just murdered his accident, then wave a condolence payment in his face

Celebrate as your special op-forces silently & quickly dig our bullets from civilian bodies
to cover their tracks from being at the wrong address...again
declare a holiday murdered women at a bridal shower or when 4 kids are droned to smithereens while tending sheep
rejoice in exported evil exploits as great american victories for which your war crimes always are

Trust flim-flam, the PR propaganda spin from your MSM complicit mouthpiece
praise your taxes which finances anglo-terrorism through illegal & immoral aggressive violence
raise your false flag ever higher to cover the rising pile where the butchered lie
however dear good christian citizens, do not trust that any civic rag could ever soar over the sick slaying of the innocent

Consider Fallujha surrounded & caged, then the cowering cringing unarmed civilian inhabitants
shot, burned & barbequed like slaughtered sitting ducks in a ‘free-fire zone’ shooting gallery
ponder upon your sanctimonious attack at a school in Bajour where 69 children are massacred by joystick
this is Sand Creek, Wounded Knee, My Lai, Haditha, & other mass-media contorted & distorted great triumphs
which to no doubt in my mind, the next war crime called a ‘battle’ will be anointed too, of course, ta! ta!