CIA Copy of Letter from Human Rights Watch to Donald Rumsfeld re: Prisoner Abuse

In this letter dated May 6, 2004, Human Rights Watch "calls, first, for the U.S. government to reveal all places of detention where security or terrorist suspects are being held on whatever grounds, and second, for it to permit independent, impartial and public investigations of all facilities."

Doc_type: 
Letter
Doc_date: 
Saturday, May 8, 2004
Doc_rel_date: 
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Doc_text: 

05/08/2004 17:29 FAX 212 218 187B HAW . Q002/003
1111MAY RIGHTS WATCH
May 6th, 2004
Donald Rurnsfeld
Secretary of Defense
Department of Defense
1000 Deft= Pentagon
Washington, D.C. 20301
Dear Secretary Rumsfeld:
The ill-treatment, torture and murder of prisoners by U. .S military and
intelligence personnel in Iraq demonstrate, according to a military inquiry,
"systemic and illegal abuse of detainees." Each dayne* Facts and
photographs arc coming to light that paint an inacea,singly grim picture of •
U.S. military practices at detention facilities not only in I. -aq. but elsewhere.
It is clear that the U.S. military and the intelligence community have failed to
. comply. with President Bush's .pledge on June 26,„2003‘ thtt,,t the ibliteci.,5‘tpie3
will neither "torture" detainees, nor use "cruel and imusmil" treannent to
interrogate there.
U.S. military officials have recently stated that "stress and duress"
interrogation techniques — such as extended sleep and sensory deprivation,
forced standing, binding detainees in painful positions, and holding detainees
naked — will no longer be used against prisoners in Iraq. There is absolutely
no reason why such a ban should not be instituted globally and applied to all
U.S. personnel, whether military, intelligence, or private ;ontractors under
U.S. employ. ,Such techniques are explicitly designed to inflict pain and
humiliation; by ratcheting up the detainee's pain and disc orator-4 they almost
invariably lead to far more serious mistreatment Their use clearly
contributed to an environment in which some military personnel believed
even more shocking abuse would be tolerated_ The techniques violate the
Geneva Conventions, the policy on interrogations expressed by Defense
Department General Counsel William Haynes in his June 25, 2003 letter to
Senator Patrick Leahy, as well as the Army's longstanding interrogation
guidelines. "Stress and duress" techniques must be permanently and
universally banned.
It should also now be evident that the monitoring of deteation facilities by the
armed forces has been insufficient to ensure compliance with U.S. obligations
under international human rights and humanitarian law, particularly the
Geneva Conventions. Denying access to detainees by family members and
legal counsel has undoubtedly contributed to a• situation i n which abuses were
likely to proliferate. While much attention has been given to the forthright
yet unreleased report of Major-General Antonio Taguba into the situation at
Abu Ghraib prison, an earlier inquiry by Provost Marshal Donald Ryder
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05/08/2004 17:30 FAX 212 218 1878 23W
003/003
seriously downplayed concerns about conditions. Unfortunately, the United States has
now lost so much credibility worldwide that its own investigations will not be found to be
impartial. While the confidential reporting of the International Committee of the Red
Cross to the U.S. government is critical, investigations by independent and reliable •
monitors who can report their findings publicly are also needed.
Human Rights Watch calls, first, for the U.S. government to reveal all places of detention
where security or terrorist suspects are being held on whatever grounds, and second, for it
to permit independent, inipar 'that and public friVestigations of all facilitir4 where the U.S.
armed forces and the U.S. intelligence community arc holding persons in detention. As
an independent organization withexpertisc in human rights monitoring, Human Rights
Watch has repeatedly sought to visit U.S. military detention facilities —including in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and Guantananio'Bay without success..
Human Rights Watch requests access to any and all U.S. detention facilities in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Guantanamo 13 ay and wherever security or terrorist suspects are being held
on whatever grounds. For such visits to be meaningful, Human Rights Watch would
require access to allparts of a facility and to all detainees, and to mating privately with
detainees of our choosing.
We would welcome a meeting with your office to discuss these M3ill TS further.
Executive Director
Cc: George Tenet, Director, Central Intelligence Agency

Doc_nid: 
9511
Doc_type_num: 
69