Hooding: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses of "hood," see Hood.

Hooding is the placing of a hood over the entire head of a prisoner.[1] It is an act of torture when its primary purpose is sensory deprivation during interrogation; it causes "disorientation, isolation, and dread."[2][3] According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, hooding is used to prevent people from seeing and to disorient them, and also to prevent them from breathing freely. Hooding is sometimes used in conjunction with beatings to increase anxiety as to when and where the blows will fall. Hooding also allows the interrogators to remain anonymous and thus to act with impunity.[4][5][6] Moreover, if a group of prisoners is hooded, the interrogator can play them off against each other by pretending, for instance, that some of them are cooperating, which the prisoners will be unable to verify.[7]

In 1997, the United Nations Committee Against Torture had concluded that hooding constituted torture, a position it reiterated in 2004 after the committees special rapporteur had "received information on certain methods that have been condoned and used to secure information from suspected terrorists."[8]

Hooding is a common prelude to execution.[9][10]


Modern history

In the first half of the twentieth century, hooding was rarely used. During World War II, the Gestapo used it especially in the Breendonk prison in Belgium. It became more popular after World War II as a means of "stealthy torture," since it makes public testimony more difficult: the victim can testify only with difficulty as to who did what to them.[11] In the 1950s, hooding was used in South Africa[12] and French Algeria[13]; in the 1960s, in Brazil and Franco's Spain, in the 1970s, in Northern Ireland, Chile, Israel,[2] and Argentina; and since then in a great number of countries.[11]

In some cases, hooding was accompanied by white noise, such as in Northern Ireland;[14] such techniques used by British troops followed up on research done in Canada under the direction of Donald O. Hebb, where "sensory isolation" combined with white noise was found to cause extreme disorientation.[15]

Documented use of hooding



According to a 1976 military directive, issued during the Dirty War: "In cases of detained leaders, hooding the head is recommended together with tying the wrists at the end of a stick, which would be placed on the shoulders."[16] Hooding prisoners was widespread in Argentina in the 1970s; a particularly severe application was having pregnant prisoners give birth while hooded.[17] After the 1989 attack on La Tablada Regiment, during the presidency of Raúl Alfonsín, the military reacted violently and again hooded prisoners; its methods were called "an immediate return to the methodology used during the dictatorship."[18]


Battalion 3-16, the unit of the Honduran army which carried out assassinations and tortured political opponents in the 1980s, was trained by interrogators from the CIA and from Argentina, and made up in part of graduates of the School of the Americas. Hooding was taught to 3-16 by Argentineans, who used a hood made of rubber called la capucha, which induced suffocation.[19]

Israel and territories

In Israel, Shin Bet, the Israeli internal security service, uses hooding systematically (more systematically than the IDF), according to reports published by Human Rights Watch, who interviewed Palestinian detainees who had been hooded for extensive periods (four to five days at a time throughout their detention). They complained about hoods being dirty, having difficulty breathing, and suffering from headaches and pain in their eyes. The object, according to Human Rights Watch, wasn't so much the inability of victims to recognize their torturers, but to increase "psychological and physical pressure."[2] According to Amnesty International's influential report Torture in the Eighties, hooding and other forms of ill-treatment became widespread again after the resignation of Menachem Begin in 1984.[20]

Israeli troops are accused of using hooding in prisons in for instance Tulkarm (where 23-year old Mustafa Barakat died while in custody, most of which he spent hooded[21]), Ashkelon (death of 17-year old Samir Omar) and Gaza (death of Ayman Nassar); many deaths in Israeli detention centers involved hooded prisoners, such as Husniyeh Abdel Qader, who "was held in solitary confinement with her hands cuffed behind her back and her head in a dirty bag during the first four days of her detention."[22] In turn, Palestinian authorities in the West Bank were accused of the same practice in 1995, according to media reports and organizations such as B'Tselem.[23][24]

South Africa

In January, 2010 the South African Constitutional Court officially refused all citizens direct access to the court in order to prevent direct and urgent applications against the government being heard (Case CCT 02/10). Without the constitutional protection for citizens, President Jacob Zuma moved swiftly to re-introduce unofficial, undocumented policies that violate international laws, including the re-introduction of torture to be carried out by the Presidents personal executioners in black uniforms and boots. Hooding of innocent citizens at gunpoint in the streets, and the regular use of 'Deadly Force' (the State murder of innocent citizens that the Government can't prosecute in a court because of corruption) has created an environment of fear and terror for every South African, who live in daily fear of being 'Steve Biko'd' by the ANC Government. (Murdered by the government death squads called the SAPS, similar to the NKVD of the Soviet Union.) Hooding torture is administered at the Presidents Residence for Jacob Zuma's pleasure. The South African media are not allowed to report on the issue unless they report it showing all government actions in a 100% favourable light. The word 'Torture' is banned and even the Presidents propaganda spokesman made it clear that the dictatorship will not tolerate any questioning of the regime. The man who was tortured for over 24 hours without trial, apparently showed his middle finger to the Presidents motorcade (the internationally recognized salute of tyrants and dictators).[25] In a move that has shocked the entire world, Nelson Mandela, who was also tortured by the Apartheid government with 'hooding' and other techniques has remained totally silent on the issue. He has failed to condemn the act and continues to support the ANC Party over and above these human rights violations they commit. His actions have spoken louder then his words, and many now realise the death of democracy has finally come to South Africa.

With the 2010 FIFA world Cup Soccer taking place, international visitors are urged to double-think their plans, as no government can guarantee the safety of their citizens, not against terrorism or crime, but against being tortured and murdered by the South African government who clearly have no problem using torture against even their own citizens in blatant violations of human rights and a 100% turn-around to oppressive dictatorship.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, hooding, one of the so-called "five techniques," was used as a means of interrogation during The Troubles, the period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland from 1966 to 1998, and notably so during Operation Demetrius.[26] In the prison Long Kesh, now known as Maze, prisoners were subjected to hooding in 1971: "throughout their days and nights of interrogation torture, their heads were kept covered by thick, coarse cloth bags."[27] Complaints quickly led the Heath government to order troops in 1971 "not to use hoods when interrogating prisoners."[28] On behalf of fourteen of these, the Republic of Ireland filed suit against the British government at the European Commission of Human Rights, which found in 1976 that the British had been guilty of torturing political dissidents. When, in March 1972, Direct rule was instated, the practice did not cease altogether, and at the end of 1972 the European Commission of Human Rights accepted a second case on behalf of victims of the practice.[27] In March 1972, the Parker report had concluded that the five techniques were in fact illegal under British law; on the same day the report was published, Prime Minister Edward Heath announced in the House of Commons that the techniques "will not be used in future as an aid to interrogation."[29]

While the practice was thus officially banned since 1972, reports of its use by British troops appeared during the Iraq War.[30] Hooding was discovered to have been applied in 2003 and 2004 to Iraqi prisoners who were held by American troops and questioned by intelligence officers from the British Secret Intelligence Service.[31] Baha Mousa, an Iraqi civilian, died in British custody after being hooded and beaten.[30]

United States

Hooded prisoner at Abu Ghraib.

Most notably in recent history, hooding has occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison[31] and in Guantanamo Bay.[32] In 2003 already, Amnesty International had reported such abuse in a memorandum sent to Paul Bremer, then the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority.[33]

In cases of extraordinary rendition by the United States, suspects are usually hooded, apparently as part of "standard operating procedures."[34] Sometimes, however, suspects are abused[35] and interrogated as well.[36] The famous photograph of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed taken not long after his capture, where he appears "dazed and glum," was taken moments after his hood was removed; he was hooded continuously throughout the first days after his arrest by commandos from the United States and Pakistan.[37]

Resistance to hooding is a standard element of the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training undergone by elite US military.[38]


According to a 1989 report by the Servicio Paz y Justicia Uruguay, hooding was the most common form of torture practiced in military and police centers in the 1970s.[39]


  1. ^ Amy Zalman. "Hooding". About.com. http://terrorism.about.com/od/h/g/Hooding.htm. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Human Rights Watch/Middle East (1994). Torture and ill-treatment: Israel's interrogation of Palestinians from the Occupied Territories. Human Rights Watch. pp. 171-77. ISBN 9781564321367. http://books.google.com/books?id=A2MhsQU4hPgC&pg=PA171. 
  3. ^ Matthew Happold (April 11, 2003). "UK troops 'break law' by hooding Iraqi prisoners". Guardian News and Media. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/11/iraq.iraq. 
  4. ^ "Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the Treatment by the Coalition Forces of Prisoners of War and Other Protected Persons by the Geneva Conventions in Iraq During Arrest, Internment and Interrogation (section 3.1)". ICRC. February 2004. http://cryptome.org/icrc-report.htm. 
  5. ^ Amy Zalman. "Hooding". About.com. http://terrorism.about.com/od/h/g/Hooding.htm. Retrieved March 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ Hernan Reyes, MD (September 1994). "Torture and its Consequences". ICRC. http://www.icrc.org/Web/eng/siteeng0.nsf/0/be6dce62b830816bc1256b66005a00a0!OpenDocument&ExpandSection=4. 
  7. ^ "One of Koubi's tricks was to walk into a hallway lined with twenty recently arrested, hooded, uncomfortable, hungry, and fearful men, all primed for interrogation, and shout commandingly, 'Okay, who wants to cooperate with me?' Even if no hands, or only one hand, went up, he would say to the hooded men, 'Okay, good. Eight of you. I'll start with you, and the others will have to wait.' Believing that others have capitulated makes doing so oneself much easier. Often, after this trick, many of the men in the hall would cooperate." Bowden, Mark (October 2003). "The Dark Art of Interrogation". The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200310/bowden. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  8. ^ "Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". United Nations General Assembly. 2004-09-01. http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N04/498/52/PDF/N0449852.pdf?OpenElement. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  9. ^ J.A. Ulio (June 12, 1944). "Procedure for Military Executions". U.S. War Department. http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/ref/Executions/index.html. 
  10. ^ Richard Ramsey (April 20, 2006). "Pierrepoint". Picturing Justice. http://www.usfca.edu/pj/pierrepoint_ramsey.htm. 
  11. ^ a b Rejali, Darius (2009). Torture and Democracy. Princeton UP. p. 333. ISBN 9780691143330. http://books.google.com/books?id=-L8GtJY_J00C&pg=PT358. 
  12. ^ Millett, Kate (1995). The Politics of Cruelty: An Essay on the Literature of Political Imprisonment. Norton. p. 125. ISBN 9780393313123. http://books.google.com/books?id=i-QQAhSRhjAC&pg=PA125. 
  13. ^ Lazreg, Marnia (2008). Torture and the twilight of empire: from Algiers to Baghdad. Princeton UP. p. 123. ISBN 9780691131351. http://books.google.com/books?id=VOjYOVVqRykC&pg=PA123. 
  14. ^ Streatfeild, Dominic (2007). Brainwash: the secret history of mind control. Macmillan. p. 104. ISBN 9780312325725. http://books.google.com/books?id=zXSUzReRkHgC&pg=PA104. 
  15. ^ Streatfeild, Brainwash, 110.
  16. ^ Heinz, Wolfgang S.; Hugo Frühling (1999). Determinants of gross human rights violations by state and state-sponsored actors in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, 1960-1990. Martinus Nijhoff. p. 688. ISBN 9789041112026. http://books.google.com/books?id=E1YZy_x-hQoC&pg=PA688. 
  17. ^ Robben, Antonius C.G.M. (2005). Political violence and trauma in Argentina. U of Pennsylvania P. p. 4. ISBN 9780812238365. http://books.google.com/books?id=vh28AAAAIAAJ&q=%22Hooded%22+argentina&dq=%22Hooded%22+argentina&lr=. 
  18. ^ Brysk, Alison (194). The politics of human rights in Argentina: protest, change, and democratization. Stanford UP. p. 120. ISBN 9780804722759. http://books.google.com/books?id=E5arAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA120. 
  19. ^ Otterman, Michael (2007). American torture: from the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and beyond. Melbourne UP. p. 90. ISBN 9780522853339. http://books.google.com/books?id=wiVqrgS68NoC&pg=PA90. 
  20. ^ Finkelstein, Norman G. (2008). Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History. U of California P. p. 143. ISBN 9780520249899. http://books.google.com/books?id=QGrCVAyisyoC&pg=PA143. 
  21. ^ Ginbar, Juval (1992). The death of Mustafa Barakat in the interrogation wing of the Tulkarm Prison. B'tselem. pp. 8-9. 
  22. ^ Rodley, Nigel (1994). "U.N. Commission on Human Rights, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1994/31". http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/commission/torture94/cat-israel.htm. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  23. ^ "Torture, dark-of-night justice spread with Palestinian rule: Six security services kidnap, detain, abuse hundreds". The Washington Times. 1995-09-20. 
  24. ^ "Furor Erupts over Reports of Torture by Palestinians; Investigator Catches Fire from Both Sides". Miami Herald: pp. 1A. 1995-09-20. 
  25. ^ "Man swore at president, says ministry". IOL. Feb 2010. http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=nw20100216135421604C153267. 
  26. ^ Streatfeild, Brainwash, 100.
  27. ^ a b Fields, Rona M. (1980). Northern Ireland: society under siege. Transaction. p. 75. ISBN 9780878558063. http://books.google.com/books?id=UopZvrIquysC&pg=PA75. 
  28. ^ Jones, George; Michael Smith (2004-05-11). "Troops broke ban on hooding PoWs". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1461494/Troops-broke-ban-on-hooding-PoWs.html. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  29. ^ Lauterpacht, Elihu; C. J. Greenwood (1980). International Law Reports. Cambridge UP. p. 241. ISBN 9780521464031. http://books.google.com/books?id=PqPo03h_FrIC&pg=PA241. 
  30. ^ a b Townsend, Mark (2004-12-19). "Ban on hooding of war captives: U-turn after outrage at treatment of Iraqi PoWs". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/dec/19/iraq.military. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  31. ^ a b Johnston, Philip (2005-03-11). "MI6 officers broke law by interrogating hooded Iraqis". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1485360/MI6-officers-broke-law-by-interrogating-hooded-Iraqis.html. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  32. ^ Sturcke, James (2006-03-06). "Guantánamo detainee tells of torture and beatings". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/mar/03/guantanamo.usa. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  33. ^ Simpson, John (2004-05-09). "Simpson on Sunday". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/1461374/Simpson-on-Sunday.html. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  34. ^ Drogin, Bob (2009-08-22). "Lebanese man is target of first rendition under Obama". Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2009/aug/22/nation/na-rendition22. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  35. ^ Neville, Richard (2009). "The Fever That Swept The West". The Diplomat. http://www.the-diplomat.com/001f1281_r.aspx?artid=217. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  36. ^ Meldrum, Andrew (2006-06-13). "The vanishing point". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jun/13/worlddispatch.southafrica. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  37. ^ "In the first hours of his captivity the hood came off and a picture was taken....He appears dazed and glum." "Preparing a subject for interrogation means softening him up. Ideally, he has been pulled from his sleep—like Sheikh Mohammed—early in the morning, roughly handled, bound, hooded (a coarse, dirty, smelly sack serves the purpose perfectly), and kept waiting in discomfort, perhaps naked in a cold, wet room, forced to stand or to sit in an uncomfortable position." Bowden, Mark (October 2003). "The Dark Art of Interrogation". The Atlantic. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200310/bowden. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  38. ^ Benjamin, Mark (2008-06-18). "A Timeline to Bush Government Torture". Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2008/06/18/interrogation/. Retrieved 2009-11-19. 
  39. ^ Heinz, Wolfgang S.; Hugo Frühling (1999). Determinants of gross human rights violations by state and state-sponsored actors in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina, 1960-1990. Martinus Nijhoff. p. 288. ISBN 9789041112026. http://books.google.com/books?id=E1YZy_x-hQoC&pg=PA288. 


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