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Were NATO Dogs Used to Rape Afghan Prisoners at Bagram Air Base?

Absolutely disturbing but not surprising if true.

Were NATO Dogs Used to Rape Afghan Prisoners at Bagram Air Base?

December 15, 2014  |  AlterNet / By Emran Feroz

After the release of the CIA torture report by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) the world is reeling in shock at the level of brutality revealed in the documents. In fact, the whole report is nothing more than a confession of sadistic procedures that could have been lifted from the diaries of Torquemada, from “rectal feeding” to nude beatings and humiliation — horrors that were well-known but not officially confirmed. But the report remains incomplete. Indeed, some 9000 documents have been withheld.

What new horrors could be discovered with the publication of these records?

Perhaps the most gut-wrenching story to emerge from Bagram has been buried in the German media and remains unknown to much of the world. Published by German author and former politician Juergen Todenhoefer in his latest book, “Thou Shalt Not kill, the account stems from a visit to Kabul. At a local hotel, a former Canadian soldier and private security contractor named Jack told Todenhoefer why he could not longer stand working in Bagram.

“It’s not my thing when Afghans get raped by dogs,” Jack remarked.

Todenhoefer’s son, who was present with him in Kabul and was transcribing Jack’s words, was so startled by the comment he nearly dropped his pad and pen.

The war veteran, who loathed manipulating Western politicians even as he defended tactics of collective punishment, continued his account: Afghan prisoners were tied face down on small chairs, Jack said. Then fighting dogs entered the torture chamber.

“If the prisoners did not say anything useful, each dog got to take a turn on them,” Jack told Todenhoefer. “After procedure like these, they confessed everything. They would have even said that they killed Kennedy without even knowing who he was.”

A former member of parliament representing the right-of-center Christian Democratic Union from 1972 to 1990, Todenhoefer transformed into a fervent anti-war activist after witnessing the Soviet destruction of Aghanistan during the 1980’s. His journalism has taken him to Iraq and back to Afghanistan, where he has presented accounts of Western military interventions from the perspective of indigenous guerrilla forces. Unsurprisingly, his books have invited enormous controversy for presenting a sharp counterpoint to the war on terror’s narrative. In Germany, Todenhofer is roundly maligned by pro-Israel and US-friendly figures as a “vulgar pacifist” and an apologist for Islamic extremism. But those who have been on the other side of Western guns tend to recognize his journalism as an accurate portrayal of their harsh reality.

Though his account of dogs being used to rape prisoners at Bagram is unconfirmed, the practice is not without precedent. Female political prisoners of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s jails have described their torturers using dogs to rape them.

More recently, Lawrence Wright, the author of the acclaimed history of Al Qaeda, “The Looming Tower,” told National Public Radio’s Terry Gross, “One of my FBI sources said that he had talked to an Egyptian intelligence officer who said that they used the dogs to rape the prisoners. And it would be hard to tell you how humiliating it would be to any person, but especially in Islamic culture where dogs are such a lowly form of life. It’s, you know, that imprint will never leave anybody’s mind.”

I spoke to an Afghan named Mohammad who worked as an interpreter in Bagram and insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisals. He told me Todenhoefer’s account of dogs being used to rape prisoners in the jail was “absolutely realistic.”

Mohammad worked primarily with US forces in Bagram, taking the job out of financial desperation. He soon learned what a mistake he had made. “When I translated for them, I often knew that the detainee was anything but a terrorist,” he recalled. “Most of them were poor farmers or average guys.”

However, Mohammad was compelled to keep silent while his fellow countrymen were brutally tortured before his eyes. “I often felt like a traitor, but I needed the money,” he told me. “I was forced to feed my family. Many Afghan interpreters are in the very same situation.”

A “traitor” is also what the Taliban think about guys like Mohammad. It is well-known that they make short-shrift of interpreters they catch. Mohammad has since left Afghanistan for security reasons and is reluctant to offer explicit details of the interrogations sessions he participated in. However, he insisted that Todenhoefer’s account accurately captured the horrors that unfolded behind the walls of Bagram.

“Guantanamo is a paradise if you compare it with Bagram,” Muhammad said.

Waheed Mozhdah, a well-known political analyst and author based in Kabul, echoed Muhammad’s account. “Bagram is worse than Guantanamo,” Mozdah told me, “and all the crimes, even the most cruel ones like the dog story, are well known here but most people prefer to not talk about it.”

Hometown for soldiers, hellhole for inmates

It is hard to imagine what more hideous acts of torment remain submerged in the chronicles of America’s international gulag archipelago. Atrocities alleged to a German journalist by a former detainee at the US military’s Bagram Airbase in Kabul, Afghanistan, suggest that the worst horrors may be too much for the public to stomach.

Bagram Airbase is the largest base the US constructed in Afghanistan and also one of the main theaters of its torture regime. You have to drive about one and a half hour from Kabul to reach the prison where hundreds of supposedly high-value detainees were held. The foundations of the base are much older, laid by the Soviets in the 1950s, when the last king of Afghanistan, Mohammad Zahir, maintained friendly connections with Moscow. Later, during the Soviet occupation, Bagram as the main control center for the Red Army.

Known as the “second Guantanamo,” even though conditions at Bagram are inarguably worse, you will find the dark dungeons, which were mentioned in the latest CIA report, next to American fast food restaurants. During the US occupation, the military complex in Bagram became like a small town for soldiers, spooks and contractors. In this hermetically sealed hellhole, the wanton abuse of human rights existed comfortably alongside the “American Way of Life.”

One of the persons sucked into the parallel world of Bagram was Raymond Azar, a manager of a construction company. Azar, a citizen of Lebanon, was on his way to the US military base near the Afghan Presidential Palace known as Camp Eggers when 10 armed FBI agents suddenly surrounded him. The agents handcuffed him, tied him up and shoved him into an SUV. Some hours later Azar found himself in the bowels of Bagram.

According to Azar’s testimony, he was forced to sit for seven hours while his hands and feet were tied to a chair. He spent the whole night in a cold metal container. His tormentors denied him food for 30 hours. Azar also claimed that the military officers showed him photos of his wife and four children, warning him that unless he cooperated he would never see his family again. Today we know that officers and agents have threatened prisoners with their relatives’ the rape or murder.

Azar had nothing to do with Al Qaida or the Taliban. In fact, he caught in the middle of a classic web of corruption. The businessman’s company had signed phony contracts with the Pentagon for reconstruction work in Afghanistan. Later, Azar was accused of having attempted to bribe the U.S. Army contact to secure the military contracts for his company. This was not the sort of crime for which a suspect is normally sent to a military prison. To date, no one has explained why the businessman was absconded to Bagram.

Most prisoners from Bagram are not rich business men or foreign workers from abroad, but average Afghan men who had a simple life before they had been kidnapped. One of these men was Dilawar Yaqubi, a taxi driver and farmer from Khost, Eastern Afghanistan. After five days of brutal torture in Bagram, Yaqubi was declared as dead on December 10th 2002. His legs had been “pulpified” by his interrogators, who maintained that they were simply acting according to guidelines handed down to them by the Pentagon and approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The case of the Afghan taxi driver’s killing was highlighted in the Oscar-winning documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side.” The film established that Yaqubi had simply been at the the wrong place at the wrong time. His family, his daughter and his wife, are waiting for justice.

(Watch the full version of Taxi To The Dark Side here).

A US-backed government of rapists, warlords and torturers

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  • Reynardine

    I’m sorry that kink films upset you. I don’t watch them.

  • Reynardine

    You appear to have a more lurid imagination than even this would warrant.

  • Reynardine

    “Other people” is no excuse. Pretty soon, we’re all other people.

  • Reynardine

    PETA has proven to be a complete fraud, anyway. They’ll kidnap your animals and put them down if they think you’re not meeting their standards.

  • downwithpants

    Dude…..thanks for just making me realize you’re probably And depressing me more…

  • Reynardine

    It probably was.

  • Reynardine

    Yes, it was.

  • Trimmercastle42

    They’re too busy making cheap pokemon webgames and scaring kids from thanksgiving

  • Trimmercastle42

    What the hell is wrong with people, not even medieval tortue was this barbaric

  • John Smith

    Land of the free, home of the brave.

  • downwithpants

    Wait until PETA hears about this! There will be sooooo much outrage…

  • Mehdi

    Amen, I could not agree more. God is always with the weak. Empathy towards the weak is a duty, whatever religion or nation or group. I enjoyed what you and Michael Elwood wrote during the Ferguson events, we should also speak against injustice, no matter who the victim is. Have a great weekend brother, god bless you.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    I also think this perception is partially due to the myth of moral progress which implies a linear relationship with morality and time, that we get morally better with time as progresses on the planet.

    True on some issue we as humans have become better while on others we have become worse some issues have stayed the same. It more likely that we even when we make moral progress we fall back into depravity greed hatred and otherization.

    I think Tariq Ramadan said it best when he said “the best loyelty is a critical loyalty” we need to start realizing that struggle for justice and liberty is an everlasting so we must never stop striving for it.

    Muslim society is a good example The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) early Muslims community was a racially diverse community that stood for justice.

    This quote from the Qur’an exemplifies that
    “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice,
    witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and
    relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So
    follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you
    distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is
    ever, with what you do, Acquainted” (Sahih International 4:135)

    And in the modern day Malcom X echoed this sentiment ” I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against. I’m a human being first and foremost, and as such I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.”

    But unfortunately soon after The Prophets(PBUH) death the community made all sorts of excuse for injustice.

  • Mehdi

    Yes sir, this is a reflexion of how low the moral standards of the US have gone with this “war on terror”, nothing new, people can read about what happened during the Vietnam war, it would look terribly similar. And the French never really recovered morally from what they did in Algeria (french historian Benjamin Stora rightly named one of his books “Gangrene and oblivion”), same for the Israelis, and your examples apply too.

  • Razainc_aka_BigBoss

    We have a sickness in this country, it seems as if things are OK so long as the government does it to other people and the worst part is the lack of transparency. Why is it so hard preserving a basic standard of Human Rights when we conduct these “Wars” it just simple because we don’t want to. I am having trouble being able to differentiate what we do from the terrorists. This is not something unique to The West you can look at how Nigeria and Kenya are dealing with counter terrorism and how Pakistanis are dealing with it. It seems like we want an endless cycle of war and revenge. As Chris Hedges said it long ago “War is a Drug That Gives Us Meaning” and we as Humans are all too addicted to it.

  • moraka

    This will chock even the hardest person!

  • The greenmantle

    just made feel ill

    Sir David

  • HSkol

    I cannot even say “Gross” here. This is purely disgusting filth.

  • Reynardine

    And someone had to train those dogs to do that. You think about it.

  • NotAMuslamic

    This has to be the sickest story posted yet on the site yet.

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