Category Archives: US-Israeli collusion to divide-and-rule Palestinians

CIA linked to Palestinian ‘torture’

December 18, 2009 14:44 Mecca time, 11:44 GMT

CIA linked to Palestinian ‘torture’

Between 400 and 500 Hamas supporters are being held in the West Bank by the PSF and GI [AFP]

Palestinian security agents who have allegedly tortured Hamas supporters in the West Bank have been working closely with the CIA, the UK’s Guardian newspaper has reported.

The US Central Intelligence Agency has co-operated with the Preventive Security Force (PSF) and General Intelligence Service (GI) in the Palestinian territory, the report on Friday said.

“The [Central Intelligence] Agency consider them as their property, those two Palestinian services,” a western official told the Guardian.

Most of the detained Hamas supporters are held without trial and allegedly tortured by the Palestinian agencies in the West Bank.

Hamas backed the Guardian’s findings on Friday during a press conference, and blamed Keith Dayton, the US General commanding the Palestinian National Security Force in the West Bank, for the arrest and torture of its supporters.

Hamas called on Barack Obama, the US president, to remove Dayton from his position and said Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and Fatah leader in the West Bank, was responsible for the “crimes” against Hamas in the West Bank.

Human rights organisations say it is common for detainees to be badly beaten and subjected to “shabeh”, where they are shackled and held in painful positions for long periods.

Hamas, which has de facto control of the Gaza Strip, has faced allegations that its own forces have detained and tortured people allied with Fatah, a rival Palestinian group that is a member of the Palestinian Authority.

Hundreds held

Between 400 and 500 Hamas supporters are currently being held by the PSF and GI, officials from the PA have said.

But Adnan Aldenari, a Palestinian police spokesman, denied that the security forces in the West Bank were abusing detainees.

“We have nothing to hide; or nothing to be ashamed of. When we had mistakes [they] were individual as committed by some officers and not expressive of our policy.

“Our prisons and detention facilities are open and not secret as they are in some other countries. They are open to the media and human rights organisations.”

The Guardian reported that at least three detainees have died in custody this year due to being mistreated.

The most recent was Haitham Amr, a 33-year-old nurse from Hebron, who died four days after he was detained by GI officials last June, the newspaper said.

Shawan Jabarin, the general director of al-Haq, a Palestinian human rights organisation, told the Guardian: “The Americans could stop it any time. All they would have to do is go to [prime minister] Salam Fayyad and tell him they were making it an issue.

“Then they could deal with the specifics: they could tell him that detainees needed to be brought promptly before the courts.”

A regional diplomat told the newspaper that “at the very least” US intelligence officers were aware of the torture and were not doing enough to stop it.

The CIA does not deny working with the PSF and GI in the West Bank, but Paul Gimigliano, a CIA spokesman, said that the US agency does not hold a supervisory role.

“The notion that this agency somehow runs other intelligence services … is simply wrong,” he told the Guardian.

“The CIA … only supports, and is interested in, lawful methods that produce sound intelligence.”

American-led mission builds Palestinian security forces for Abbas

International Herald Tribune
Bolstering Palestinian security forces
Tuesday, July 22, 2008

WASHINGTON: Having just returned from the Middle East, I find it hard to have much optimism about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israel sees Hamas’ control of Gaza as a situation it cannot do anything about. It also must deal with a weak and divided Palestinian Authority on the West Bank, increased arms smuggling and a growing threat from Israeli Arabs.

Palestinians see a steady growth in Israeli settlements and restrictions, a weak Israeli government and faltering international assistance. And all sides seem to see Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s visits as an end-of-administration effort in résumé-building.

There is, however, one potential chance to move forward. It centers on an American-led mission, based in Jerusalem, that is trying to build new security forces on the West Bank that will support stabilization efforts by the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, prevent a Hamas takeover there and end the corruption and abuse of the older intelligence forces, Yasser Arafat’s Mukhabarat.

The importance of this effort cannot be overstated: Unless there are effective Palestinian security forces, Israel will never trust in a Palestinian state or be able to act on the quiet progress being made toward reaching a final settlement. And we’ve had some promising signs. With assistance from Jordan, Britain and Canada, the Americans have activated the first battalion of the so-called Presidential Guard, and it’s had some success in bringing order to the refugee camp at Jenin. There are more battalions to come, and a real possibility that this aid effort could create effective new security forces.

As became all too clear on my visit to Israel, however, this American-led effort is being crippled by decisions within the State Department. The small mission, called the office of the United States Security Coordinator and under the leadership of Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, is effectively locked into a building in Jerusalem. While it is a military mission, the State Department and the consulate in Jerusalem are in charge of Palestinian affairs and Dayton’s advisory teams.

There are several reasons for this – from not wanting the American government to appear to be favoring any faction in a complicated situation to good old-fashioned turf wars – but the result is that the Dayton team has to rely on British and Canadian officials and private contractors to do its work in the field and develop critical personal relationships with Palestinian officers and officials. In fact, even the American military attachés at the embassy are forbidden by the State Department to go into the West Bank and Gaza to carry out liaison efforts with Palestinians or develop human intelligence on the threat of Hamas.

Admittedly, letting the American military take on a greater direct role raises risks. All of those involved know they will be targets of violence and may pay with their lives. Many in the Israeli forces and government fear that any American military presence in the West Bank would undermine Israel’s status there and become, in effect, direct military support for the Palestinians from Washington. And Abbas has failed to abolish the older Palestinian security services like the Mukhabarat, which specialize in corruption, repression and incompetence, and will resist the new Palestinian units.

There is, however, no lack of courage among the American military personnel, and they know they cannot succeed without freedom of movement, embedding with fledgling Palestinian security units, and forming personal relations with Abbas’ officers.

It’s a shame that at such a pivotal moment in the peace negotiations, a key barrier to the first real step toward peace – and an effective war on terrorism in the West Bank and Gaza – is a set of State Department decisions.

Anthony H. Cordesman is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


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