Tag: torture (page 2)
Navanethem Pillay, a lawyer from South Africa who serves as the U.N.'s top Human Rights offical, criticized President Obama and the U.S. today over the continued detention of Guantanamo detainees:
In her most detailed statement on U.S. detention policy, the South African lawyer criticized President Obama's decision to hold some suspected terrorists in detention indefinitely without a trial. She also called for a probe into officials who participated in torture sessions or provided the legal justification for it.
"People who order or inflict torture cannot be exonerated, and the roles of certain lawyers, as well as doctors who have attended torture sessions, should also be scrutinized," Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, said in a statement dedicated to victims of torture.
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A former U.S. general said graphic images of rape and torture are among the photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse that President Barack Obama's administration does not want released.
"I am not sure what purpose their release would serve other than a legal one and the consequence would be to imperil our troops, the only protectors of our foreign policy, when we most need them," Taguba was quoted by the Daily Telegraph. "The mere description of these pictures is horrendous enough, take my word for it."
The Telegraph article is here. Among the graphic images: [More...]
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"Amid Queries, CIA Worries About Future" (WaPo):
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Via Raw Story, a liberal activist group has filed complaints with the state bars in the District of Columbia, New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, seeking disbarment of 12 lawyers who served in Bush Administration and were involved in defending torture policies. The lawyers are:
[F]ormer White House Legal Counsel attorneys John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Stephen Bradbury; former Attorney Generals Alberto Gonzales, John Ashcroft and Michael Mukasey; former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney David Addington, Alice Fisher, William Haynes II, Douglas Feith and Timothy Flanigan
The complaints are available at DisbarTortureLawyers.
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Raw Story reports the torture photos the Obama Administration reversed course on releasing this week include photos released by the Australian news in 2006. Raw Story, as well as TalkLeft, published them then. (I've reprinted some several times since then.)
So if the world has already seen them, and a federal appeals court has upheld a trial court's order to produce them to the ACLU, what's Obama's justification?
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An FBI Agent who interrogated Abu Zubaydah before the CIA took over testified at a congressional hearing today. He said torture doesn't work. He said he got useful information from Zubaydah before the CIA took over and began using abusive techniques.
Soufan said his team had to step aside when CIA contractors took over, using simulated drowning, sleep deprivation and other harsh methods. He said those techniques caused the prisoner to "shut down."
Sen. Lindsay Graham called the hearings a "political stunt."
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked whether "we would have this hearing if we were attacked this afternoon."
Sounds like something Jack Bauer would say.
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Via Raw Story, a human rights researcher says 98 detainees died in U.S. custody. Of them, he says 34 deaths were labeled homicides, and between 8 and 12 were tortured to death.
The researcher, John Sifton, worked for five years for Human Rights Watch. In a posting Tuesday, he documents myriad cases of detainees who died at the hands of their US interrogators. Some of the instances he cites are graphic.
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Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzón has decided he will investigate allegations of torture by four released Guantanamo detainees.
The writ did not name specific officials as defendants but speaks of investigating the roles of those responsible for authorizing, planning and executing the torture program, particularly in light of the newly release torture memos and the Senate Armed Services Committee report. The case could lead to arrest warrants in Europe....
This is a different and broader investigation than the one we've written about here. [More...]
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As Big Tent Democrat wrote earlier, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed the dismissal of the ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. for its role in the Bush administration's unlawful extraordinary rendition. The opinion is here (pdf.)
The Bush and Obama Administration's "state secrets" claim was expressly rejected. The opinion says the government must invoke the state secrets privilege with respect to specific evidence, not by moving to dismiss the entire suit.
The ACLU brought the suit on behalf of five men, Al-Rawi, Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel, Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed Farag Ahmad Bashmilah, who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were interrogated and tortured. The case is Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen. The ACLU's brief is here.
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Can it be five years since the horrendous photos at Abu Ghraib were released? Yes.
The ACLU has been fighting all this time to obtain more photos of the abuse. As a result of their 2004 lawsuit, the Defense Department will release additional photos from Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan on May 28.
In case all you remember is Lynndie England leading a detainnee around on a leash or a hooded detainee wired and standing on a box, there were many other kinds of physical abuse that took place. Some were quite bloody and left ugly scars.
Here are some photos that were released for the first time in 2006. Scroll through them. [More...]
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The Washington Post today quotes a political advisor to Condoleeza Rice on the Bush/CIA torture policies:
"The systematic, calculated infliction of this scale of prolonged torment is immoral, debasing the perpetrators and the captives," said Philip D. Zelikow, a political counselor to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice who reviewed secret Bush administration reports about the program in 2005. "Second, forfeiting our high ground, the practices also alienate needed allies in the common fight, even allies within our own government. Third, the gains are dubious when the alternatives are searchingly compared. And then, after all, there is still the law."
Also don't miss Frank Rich in the New York Times: He leads with Dave Cullen's new book on Columbine (congrats to Dave) and then moves onto Bush and torture. This week will mark the 5th anniversary of the photos showing the abuse at Abu Ghraib:
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The CIA wasn't the only agency involved in torture of detainees. A newly declassified report by the Senate Armed Services Committee shows that high level Bush officials approved the brutal interrogation techniques used by the military at overseas prisons. So now there's confirmation that the military, not just the CIA CIA were involved, and that Rumsfeld's denials were full of it.
The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq — stripping detainees, placing them in “stress positions” or depriving them of sleep — originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations. [More...]
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As Big Tent Democrat and the New York Times noted, Marcy Wheeler of Empty Wheel broke the story of the number of times the C.I.A. used waterboarding on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in a month. That's an average of 6 times a day.
Doesn't this show the ineffectiveness of the technique? Particularly when it was only one of a number of coercive techniques that were used in tandem? (Others, according to the May 30, 2005 memo were facial and abdominal slapping,walling, sleep deprivation through shackling, nudity coupled with adult diapers.) Marcy has more on this here. [More...]
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It's one thing to read the memos. It's another to read how they were executed.
- Nudity, sleep deprivation and dietary restrictions kept prisoners compliant and reminded them they had no control over their basic needs. Clothes and food could be used as rewards for cooperation.
- Slapping prisoners on the face or abdomen was allowed. So was grabbing them forcefully by the collar or slamming them into a false wall, a technique called "walling" that had a goal of fear more than pain.
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A February, 2007 Red Cross report on the treatment of the 14 high-value detainees held in secret CIA prisons before being transferred to Guantanamo has been released. It's available here (pdf). The report in encrypted so I can't cut and paste excerpts, but the Washington Post has this description of its findings.
Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, according a confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
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