Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008
|by Sarah Meyer|
(For Update On Guantanamo, Rendition And Torture, See Obama's Rhetoric vs.Damning Evidence on Guantanamo, Rendition, Torture
What would James Lee Burkes alterego, Dave Robicheaux, have to say about the cast of characters in this evil story of kidnapping, prison and torture? Does the alleged mastermind, Dick Cheney, go to jail for war crimes? Does his mouthpiece, the President, tag along or go back to Texas oil territory and revision his place in history? What happens to the judges, the PNACers, the lawyers, the corporate elite, and all other 'gumballs' in this disgusting sham of democracy and freedom? Who will deep-six them?
Following is a recent conversation that already illustrates a Hollywood remake:
Frei: Can you honestly say, Mr President, that today America still occupies the moral high ground?
Mr Bush: Absolutely - absolutely. We believe in human rights and human dignity. We believe in the human condition. We believe in freedom. And we're willing to take the lead. We're willing to ask nations to do hard things. We're willing to accept responsibilities. And - yeah, no question in my mind. It's a nation that's a force for good. And history will judge - the decisions made during this period of time as necessary decisions. And I [firmly] believe that we are laying the foundation for peace. George W Bush's BBC interview (14.02.08. BBC. Video)
CHAPTER HEADINGS (click on subject in which you are interested)
1. Prologue: Robicheaux's Nightmare
2. Rendition in February 2008: Report, Articles, Resources
3. Guantanamo in February 2008: Articles, Resources
4. Torture in February 2008: Articles, Resources
5. War Crimes (Gideon Polya, Winter Soldiers)
6. Geneva Conventions on Genocide: Epilogue
In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly [sic], questioned by experts, and -- when appropriate -- prosecuted for terrorist acts. Some of these individuals are taken to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. ... In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. ... Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. . George Bush , September 2006
Rendition to Torture: The Case of Maher Arar
18.10.07. joint hearing before subcommittees of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees (pdf)
"The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress,"
updated 08.01.08. CRS.
Transfering detainee operations to Afghanistan
08.02.08. Wikileaks Notable Document Release.
Secret CIA Flights to Greenland Reported
31.01.08. AP / truthout. Denmark will investigate claims that the CIA secretly used an airport on the Nordic country's remote Arctic territory of Greenland to transport prisoners in the U.S. war on terror, the prime minister said Thursday.
US flouts human rights with secret prisons, torture: HRW
31.01.08. RAW STORY.uruknet. The United States continues to violate basic human rights by keeping secret detention facilities abroad, holding people illegally as "disappeared" and justifying torture, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Thursday.
Is a Small Island in the Indian Ocean Holding Prisoners in the War on Terror?
02.02.08. Robert Verkaik, Independent/alternet. The expulsion of the people of Diego Garcia was covered up for years. Now officials block an investigation of its role in extraordinary rendition.
Rendition and Boeing
Feds Want Rendition Lawsuit Dismissed
05.02.08. Paul Elias, AP / Washington Post. Bush administration lawyers cited national security concerns [sic] Tuesday in urging a federal judge to toss out a lawsuit accusing a Boeing Co. subsidiary of illegally helping the CIA secretly fly terrorism suspects to overseas prisons to be tortured. The American Civil Liberties Union sued Jeppesen Dataplan Inc. last year in San Jose federal court, accusing it of aiding the CIA in the "forced disappearance, torture and inhumane treatment" of five suspected terrorists in violation of national and international laws. The ACLU alleges that Jeppesen, based in San Jose, knowingly participated in the program by supplying aircraft, crews and logistical support to the CIA flights.
Extraordinary Rendition on Trial
08.02.08. C. Moraff, In These Times/alternet. On behalf of five detainees, the ACLU sues the Boeing subsidiary that trafficked in torture. The story of Bisher Al-Rawi (see torture below, 21.02)
CIA rendition case against Boeing unit blocked
15.02.08. Telegraph, anti-war. A case filed on behalf of five terrorism suspects, including two based in Britain, who claimed they were flown overseas on Boeing planes to secret US prisons for torture and interrogation has been dismissed by a judge because he says it involves state secrets.
Federal Court Throws Out Torture Lawsuit
14.02.08. Jurist/alternet. In a victory for the Bush administration, a federal judge labels extraordinary rendition a "state secret" -- despite all evidence to the contrary.
Embarrassed Miliband admits two US rendition flights refuelled on British soil
22.02.08. R. Norton-Taylor, J. Borger, Guardian. Planes landed contrary to earlier assurances US promises no repeat amid British anger. [Believe that one?]
See more * quality news on rendition in Guardian, including Timeline, quotations and leader here.
Full text of Miliband statement
Straw in rendition flight denial
20.01.08. Channel 4 news. There are no cases of US 'extraordinary rendition' flights involving the UK which the Government hasn't been told about. Video.
In quotes: Rendition statements
21.02.08. BBC. Earlier 2005-6 quotes from Straw, Blair, Lord Triesman, Lord Brown.
British territory used in 2 [sic] U.S. rendition flights
21.02.08. John F. Burns, IHT.
US fears backlash over terror flights
21.02.08. M. LEE, AP / wiredispatch/antiwar. US Braces for Diplomatic Backlash After Rendition Flight Fiasco With Britain. U.S. officials have sought to quell the fallout by apologizing to Britain for what they said was an "administrative error." [new euphuism for lie?] .. But as a sign of its concern, the State Department sent its top lawyer, John Bellinger, to London on Thursday on a two-day mission. Bellinger will try to defuse what many expect will be widespread anger that the U.S., when asked in 2004, incorrectly assured its closest ally that neither British soil nor airspace had been used in moving suspected terrorists, officials said.
Renditions row after CIA plane lands in UK
25.02.08. D. Gardham, Telegraph. A fresh row erupted over the use of British air bases by US authorities as it emerged a plane used by the CIA has landed at an RAF airstrip in the past week. A Gulfstream IV jet, identified by Amnesty International as a plane linked to the US intelligence agency, landed at RAF Northolt in west London. The jet, registration N134BR, which flew from Morristown, New Jersey, to Britain, landed on Wednesday and returned on Friday. It was also seen at Luton airport in January. The plane was listed in a 2006 report by Amnesty, which said it believed the aircraft was being used for the transfer of prisoners by the US. At the time, the Government admitted aircraft chartered by the CIA had landed 14 times at RAF Northolt and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire between October 2003 and May 2004, but denied they had been used in the practice of rendition.
Poor record-keeping cited in 'rendition' flights row
25.02.08. N. Randall, Scotsman. A FORMER foreign secretary said yesterday that poor record-keeping could have been to blame for the late disclosure that two United States "rendition" flights transporting terrorist suspects had landed on UK soil in 2002.
Apology that flies in face of integrity
25.02.08. I. bell, sunday herald. WELL, THAT'S a relief. Nothing worse than "unfortunate", according to Gordon Brown. Better still, his foreign secretary, David Miliband, is "very sorry" for a couple of events way back in 2002 that were overlooked in "good faith". These things happen. They happen, at any rate, if you look the other way when torture is going on. Still, when the issue of CIA rendition flights and ghost prisoners was stretching the world's credulity beyond its elastic limits back in 2005, didn't Jack Straw, another foreign secretary, make reference to "careful research by officials"? This was research so scrupulous, supposedly, it enabled Straw and Tony Blair to insist repeatedly that no Gulfstream flights to or from America's secret international prison network had sullied our airspace since September 11, 2001. Scrupulous, and dead wrong.
Labour is still lying about extraordinary rendition flights
26.02.08. socialistworker. claimed the cases involving Diego Garcia had not been disclosed before due to an error in an earlier US records search.
He is lying. In fact, the British-controlled island plays a critical role in the CIAs secret prisons.
Rather than two, there have been hundreds of secret rendition flights using British airports. Countless numbers have gone through Diego Garcia. But the island itself is also host to a CIA prison.
Intelligence from the Council of Europe confirmed last year the existence of those flights and identified the covert CIA prison on Diego Garcia.
On 5 December 2006, US general Barry McCaffrey said of suspected terrorists, Theyre behind bars, theyre dead, theyre apprehended. Weve got them on Diego Garcia, in Bagram air field, in Guantanamo.
In May 2004, he said, Were probably holding around 3,000 people, you know, Bagram air field, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo, and 16 camps throughout Iraq.
The Council of Europe report included testimonies from more than 30 serving and former members of intelligence services in the US and Europe.
It established that within weeks of the 9/11 attacks, Nato had signed an agreement allowing the CIAs civilian jets into member states airspace.
EU: Poland, Romania coy on rendition
22.02.08. wiredispatch. EU Commission: Poland, Romania Must Clarify Role in CIA Extraordinary Rendition Program
EU assembly must reopen "rendition" inquiry
22.02.08. Reuters. "Yesterday's revelations confirm that the European Parliament has a moral duty to continue its inquiry," Fava told Reuters in Rome. "... We still don't know everything that we have the right to know about this issue." Amnesty International called on European countries to fully investigate possible involvement in renditions.
Romania Base Suspected CIA Prisoner Site
23.02.08. AP. Mihail Kogalniceanu Base.
Renditions Clothed in State Secrets Mantle
26.02.08. W. Fisher, anti-war. As the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged it had erroneously denied using British territory to transport victims of "extraordinary rendition," a federal court bowed to pressure from the George W. Bush administration to dismiss a case against a Boeing subsidiary being sued for providing the aircraft that carried the suspected terrorists.
SAS 'held suspects for extraordinary rendition'
26.02.08. P. Johnston, Telegraph. Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who quit the Army in protest at the ''illegal" tactics and policies of coalition forces, said the Government knew what was happening.
Ben Griffin says he believes that British ministers should be charged with breaching the Geneva Convention. He maintained that Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and other senior Government figures were in breach of international law forbidding torture and should face charges. Mr Griffin said the SAS was part of a joint US/UK unit which captured suspected terrorist who were then spirited away for interrogation. See VIDEO: BEN GRIFFIN: Ex -SAS mans rendition claims.
also see Richard Norton-Taylor's article in The Guardian: Former SAS man condemns British rolein torture tactics. (26.02.08).
Court gags ex-SAS man who made torture claims
29.02.08. R. Norton-Taylor. A former SAS soldier was served with a high court order yesterday preventing him from making fresh disclosures about how hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans captured by British and American special forces were rendered to prisons where they faced torture. Ben Griffin could be jailed if he makes further disclosures about how people seized by special forces were allegedly mistreated and ended up in secret prisons in breach of the Geneva conventions and international law. Griffin, 29, left the British army in 2005 after three months in Baghdad, saying he disagreed with the "illegal" tactics of US troops. [Description of press conference with Stop the War.] He told a press conference hosted by the Stop the War Coalition this week that individuals detained by SAS troops in a joint UK-US special forces taskforce had ended up in interrogation centres in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Guantánamo Bay. He had not witnessed torture himself but added: "I have no doubt in my mind that non-combatants I personally detained were handed over to the Americans and subsequently tortured."
US Military Says Detained Afghan Journalist Has Been Designated an Enemy Combatant
27.02.08. AP / wiredispatch. A journalist for a Canadian TV network [Jawed Ahmad, an Afghan] who has been held for four months without being charged has been designated an unlawful enemy combatant, the U.S. military said Wednesday. ... Ahmad [also known as Jojo Yazemi] is being held at the military compound in Bagram, 30 miles north of Kabul. ... He [Belcher] declined to provide details about the "credible information" and would not say if Ahmad had more contact with militants than other journalists working in Afghanistan. It is common for journalists in the country to have contact information of Taliban fighters so they can seek militants' comments for news stories.
The ban stays absolute
28.02.08. Economist. A ruling that will frustrate governments and please libertarians. IN A landmark decision, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on February 28th that a government may not deport an individual to a state where he may be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment. The unanimous ruling by the court's Grand Chamber, whose decisions are final, marks a big setback for every country that is struggling to rid itself of suspected foreign terrorists.
US accused of holding terror suspects on prison ships
02.06.08. Duncan Campbell and Richard Norton-Taylor, Guardian. Report says 17 boats used --MPs seek details of UK role. The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of prisoners. The analysis, due to be published this year by the human rights organisation Reprieve, also claims there have been more than 200 new cases of rendition since 2006, when President [sic] George Bush declared that the practice had stopped. According to research carried out by Reprieve, the US may have used as many as 17 ships as "floating prisons" since 2001. Prisoners are interrogated aboard the vessels and then rendered to other, often undisclosed, locations, it is claimed.
U.S. assures UK over secret flights, doubts persist
03.07.08. Reuters. Britain has received new U.S. assurances that the CIA did not secretly smuggle terrorist suspects through its territory, but critics said on Thursday the government had failed to ask Washington the right questions. / Foreign Secretary David Miliband sought the assurances after being embarrassed in February by revelations that two U.S. planes carrying terrorism suspects on so-called rendition flights had landed and refueled in 2002 at a U.S. base on the British Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. / Miliband said on Thursday Britain had asked the United States to check nearly 400 other flights about which members of parliament, rights campaigners and others had raised concerns. / "The United States government confirmed that, with the exception of two cases related to Diego Garcia in 2002, there have been no other instances in which U.S. intelligence flights landed in the United Kingdom, our Overseas Territories, or the Crown Dependencies, with a detainee on board since 11 September 2001," Miliband said in a written statement to parliament. ... / The United States acknowledges it has conducted secret transfers but denies torturing suspects or handing them to countries that do. It has also confirmed it held some detainees at secret overseas prisons.
UK Commons committee deplores 'false' US assurances on Diego Garcia renditions
06.07.08. Jurist. The UK House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee [official website] Sunday called "deplorable" what it termed "false US assurances" about rendition flights through the UK Indian Ocean territory of Diego Garcia and said the "failure of the United States Administration to tell the truth resulted in the UK Government inadvertently misleading" the committee and the House of Commons about US operations on a military base [official website] located on the island. In a new report [text] it said it would conduct a further investigation of UK supervision of US activities on Diego Garcia, including all flights and ships serviced there.
OBAMA: NO CHANGE
OBAMA preserves renditions as counter-terrorism tool
01.02.09. LA Times. The role of the CIA;s controversial prisoner-transfer program may expand, intelligence experts say.
Barack Obama grants CIA permission to retain right to carry out renditions
02.02.09. Times Online. The banner headlines greeting President Obama’s decision to close the detention centre at Guantánamo Bay and secret CIA prisons may have concealed how he has retained one of the most controversial weapons in the War on Terror. / Under executive orders signed on January 22, the CIA appears to have preserved its authority to carry out renditions – by which hundreds of terrorist suspects have been abducted and transferred to prisons in countries with questionable human rights records such as Egypt, Morocco or Jordan. / The measure, disclosed by the Los Angeles Times yesterday, gives some indication of how Mr Obama’s promise of change may be slower to be realised than once hoped, with the new Administration coming under concerted attack across a range of issues. SEE ALSO HERE.
Hearing on CIA rendition a test for Obama: rights group
06.02.09. AFP. The case against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, accused of knowingly providing services that enabled rendition flights for the Central Intelligence Agency, was thrown out last year after the administration of George W. Bush invoked the state secrets privilege./ ... "This case presents the first test of the Obama administration's dedication to transparency and willingness to act on its condemnation of torture and rendition," said Ben Wizner, an ACLU staff attorney who will argue the case for the plaintiffs on Monday.
Why Is Obama Adopting Bush's Blustery Stance on Secret Documents about Rendition?
09.02.09. Matthew Rothschild, Progressive / ICH. We learned that Obama's Administration has reaffirmed one of Bush's egregious positions on rendition.
Under Obama, same stance on rendition suit
09.02.09. sfgate. President Obama's Justice Department signaled in a San Francisco courtroom Monday that the change in administrations has not changed the government's position on secrecy and the rights of foreign prisoners - and that lawsuits by alleged victims of CIA kidnappings and torture must be dismissed on national security grounds. [NB: where there is rendition there is also torture]
Extraordinary rendition definition (Sourcewatch)
Rendition" and secret detention: A global system of human rights violations. Questions and Answers
01.01.06. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
Extraordinary Rendition": Outsourcing Torture
Friends Committee on National Legislation. Using Code Words, Jettisoning the rule of law; more reasons to abandon this practice; Federal legislation outlawing this practice; Documented cases of extraordinary rendition by U.S. personnel.
Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights. Trevor Paglin, Melville House Publishing (September 24, 2006)
The Guantanamo Airlift: how Europe helped transport the prisoners
25.11.07. Stephen Grey.
14.02.08.Jane Mayer, The New Yorker. The secret history of Americas extraordinary rendition program.
Rendition to Torture
Human Rights Watch. Abu Ali; Khouza; Criminal Complaints.
RENDITION (JURIST archive)
Human Rights Watch News Renditions and Diplomatic Assurances; further resources.
SOUTHERN CONE RENDITION PROGRAM: PERU'S PARTICIPATION
22.02.08. gwu national security archive. OPERATION CONDOR CRIMES FOCUS OF ITALIAN INDICTMENTS. 10 pdf documents. The Archive's Peter Kornbluh noted "sinister similarities between Condor and the current U.S. rendition, enhanced interrogation, and black site detention operations."
And, so, what people gotta understand is that we'll make decisions based upon law. We're a nation of law. Take Guantanamo. Look, I'd like it to be empty. On the other hand, there's some people there that need to be tried. And there will be a trial. And they'll have their day in court. Unlike what they did to other people. Now, there's great concern about, you know, and I can understand this. That these people be given rights. The - what - they're not willing' to grant the same rights to others. They'll murder. But, you gotta understand, they're getting rights. And I'm comfortable with the decisions we've made. And I'm comfortable with recognising this is still a dangerous world. George W Bush BBC interview 14.02.08, Video & TRANSCRIPT.
The Bush administrations treatment of enemy combatants undermines international law and disregards fundamental human rights. Ever since Washington launched its war on terrorism, lawyers and human rights groups have presented evidence of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees by US authorities in Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, Iraq, and at secret locations. The Pentagons prisoner interrogation techniques, solitary confinement procedures, and its failure to provide full and fair trials at detention centers, violate the Geneva Conventions and basic human rights.
Washington argues that international law does not apply to enemy combatants and that detentions in the name of war on terror are vital to national security. By ignoring international law, the US not only loses credibility and moral ground on human rights, but such policies also open the door for other countries to follow suit with human rights violations.
Torture and Prison Abuse, Global Policy Forum. (Excellent Resource site)
Pentagon Vetoes Guantanamo Visit by UN Official
23.01.08. S. Edwards, Canwest news service / global policy.
Libyan Detainee Infected with AIDS
31.01.08. Andy Worthington, Counterpunch. It really doesnt get any worse than this.
Emergency motion Abdul Hamid al Ghizzawi, Detainee, for Medical Treatment and Medical records v. George Bush . 5 February 2008
The Hippocratic Oath Dies in Gitmo
26.02.08. H. Candace Gorman, anti-war. The dungeon masters at Guantanamo moved Al-Ghizzawi to Camp 6, a supermax facility where prisoners are kept in isolation. (See H. Candace Gorman's bloghere.)
US military commission hears jurisdiction arguments in Khadr case
04.02.08. Jurist. Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] Monday argued that the US military commission responsible for trying him lacks jurisdiction over the case [motions, PDF], saying that Khadr did not commit a war crime by allegedly throwing a grenade that killed one US soldier and wounded another while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2002 because soldiers are lawful targets in a war zone. Prosecutors argued that jurisdiction was proper as Khadr violated international rules of war by concealing himself in civilian clothing and living among women and children during combat. Defense lawyers also argued that Khadr's alleged actions in 2002 were not considered war crimes at the time they were committed and thus cannot be tried as such under the 2006 Military Commissions Act (MCA) [PDF text]. Prosecutors countered that the law is retroactive. US military judge Col. Peter Brownback did not issue a ruling on the motions to dismiss at Monday's hearing. Khadr's trial is currently set for May.
Khadr, now 21, faces life imprisonment for crimes allegedly committed when he was 15. Defense lawyers, a UN representative [JURIST reports], and rights groups have said if the US proceeds with the military trial, the US will be in violation of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child [text], which gives special protection to children under 18 involved in armed conflicts. Khadr's trial would be one of the first in Guantanamo Bay's new $12 million mobile war crimes courtroom complex [Reuters report], ready for regular use in March. The military hopes to try as many as 80 detainees for war crimes in the complex. To date, only four Guantanamo detainees have been formally charged with war crimes [JURIST report] under the MCA.
See also: Khadr secret document released by accident (04.02.08. thestar)
Cracks appear in murder case against Khadr
05.02.08 Canadian wasn't only one who could have thrown grenade that killed medic in Afghanistan, agent's leaked testimony suggests. Another fighter was still alive inside the Afghan compound where Omar Khadr was captured at the time a grenade killed a U.S. soldier, casting doubt on allegations that only the teenage militant could have been responsible for the soldier's death... The revelations, mistakenly released in never-before-seen documents, came during a military tribunal hearing for Mr. Khadr yesterday at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. (original story in globe and mail)
The scourge of child soldiers
22.02.08. D. Crane, thestar. This year we will see the trial of the first child ever to be prosecuted as a war criminal by the United States in Guantanamo. The child, now a young man, was 15 at the time of the alleged crime he is charged with committing, yet the facts show that he had no choice after being taken by his family from Canada to Afghanistan several years ago. The child was very young and he had little option but to go with members of his family.
Opposition MPs demand action on Omar Khadr
25.02.08. CTV.ca. The federal opposition parties presented a united front in Ottawa in demanding the release of Omar Khadr.
New court can silence captives who tell secrets
04.02.08. miamiherald / legitgov. A new court at Guantánamo would allow the U.S. military to keep its secrets by cutting off terror suspects' testimony from the ears of observers at the flick of a switch.
The Story of Mr. Hekmati and His Death
05.02.08. C. Gall/A. Worthington, NY Times. Time Runs Out for an Afghan Held by the U.S. In 2003, Mr. [Abdul Razzaq] Hekmati was arrested by American forces in southern Afghanistan when, senior Afghan officials here contend, he was falsely accused by his enemies of being a Taliban commander himself. For the next five years he was held at the American military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he died of cancer on Dec. 30.
Strange Fruit: America's Gulag and the "Good War"
05.02.08. * Chris Floyd , Empire Burlesque/uruknet. The long-running "progressive" stance on America's 21st century imperial adventures can be reduced to this simple dichotomy: Afghan war good, Iraq war bad. And for all progressives who want to be regarded as "serious," the Iraq war is bad because it has distracted us from the real war, the good war, in Afghanistan. This theme has been sounded over and over by the "progressive" candidates throughout the presidential campaign. It is the opinion of a sizable majority of the U.S. population, which has clearly repudiated the Iraq war but still supports the Afghan war. But a story by Carlotta Gall and Andy Worthington in the New York Times reminds us most forcefully that the Afghan war is not and has never been some separate entity from the brutal, voracious "War on Terror" machine that has killed a million people in Iraq, spawned a global gulag of torture sites and secret prisons for uncharged captives and kidnap victims, and destroyed the last vestiges of the American republic, replacing it with an authoritarian "Commander-in-Chief State" ruled quite literally by the fhrerprinzip, where the order of the Leader transcends any law. A poison tree can only bring forth poison fruit -- and the Afghan war is a fruit of the Terror War tree.
Former Guantánamo prisoner asks U.S. to review its founding ideals
06.02.08. CSM. Adel Hassan Hamad, who is suing the US government, claims that American values of freedom and democracy have been shaken.
Arrested and Jailed for Protesting Gitmo 'Black Hole'
05.02.08. Bryan Farrell, Foreign Policy in Focus.
AP Confirms Secret Camp Inside Gitmo
06.02.08. AP / Guardian. For the first time, the top commander of detention operations at Guantanamo has confirmed the existence of the mysterious Camp 7. In an interview with The Associated Press, Rear Adm. Mark Buzby also provided a few details about the maximum-security lockup. Detainees have been held in Camp Echo and Camps 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Journalists cleared by the military have been allowed to tour some of these lockups, where 260 men are held, but aren't allowed to speak to detainees. Some lawmakers and other VIPs have passed through, and the International Red Cross has access, but doesn't divulge details of visits with prisoners. Camp 7, where 15 ``high-value detainees'' are held, is so secret that its very existence was not publicly known until it was mentioned in December by attorneys for Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident who allegedly plotted to bomb gas stations in the United States.
their role in Sept. 11 attacks. FNC.
6 at Guantánamo Said to Face Trial in 9/11 Case
09.02.08. W. Glaberson, NY Times/truthout. .. The charges, to be filed in the military commission system at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, would involve as many as six detainees held at the detention camp, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former senior aide to Osama bin Laden, who has said he was the principal planner of the plot.
9/11 terror suspects in Guantanamo to face trial soon
09.02.08. AFP. Meanwhile, the US government announced on Friday that charges were filed against two more suspects alleged to have worked for bin Laden. The two men, Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al-Bahlul of Yemen and Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmud al-Qosi of Sudan are accused of having worked as drivers and bodyguards for Al-Qaeda agents.
US accused of using 'kangaroo court' to try men accused of role in September 11 attacks
12.02.08. Independent. The United States military announced yesterday that it was bringing death penalty charges against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and five other men suspected of orchestrating the September 11 attacks, and intended to try them under the Bush administration's much-criticised military tribunal system, which is subject only to partial oversight by the civilian appeals system. The decision to use Mohammed and the others as guinea-pigs in a constitutionally dubious legal proceeding is likely to trigger a firestorm of anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world and spark a fractious domestic debate in an already highly charged presidential election year.
Scalia in uncompromising form
12.02.08. BBC / ICH. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia rejected the notion that US courts have any control over the actions of American troops at Guantanamo Bay, argued that torture of terror detainees is not banned under the US Constitution and insisted that the high court has no obligation to act as a moral beacon for other nations.
Guantánamo six will have fair trials, insists Chertoff
12.02.08. M. Weaver, E. Pilkington, Guardian.
Bush Administration Tries to "Cleanse" Evidence Obtained Through Torture
12.02.08. Liliana Segura, Alternet. Giving Starbucks coffee to prisoners is no substitute for a clean trial. [See Torture, below]
Smoke, Mirrors and American Justice
12.02.08. V. Brittain, Guardian. The issue is straightforward: the men cannot receive fair trials.
Court Declares Corporations Are People, Some Human Beings Are Not
12.02.08. Jeffrey Kaplan, Reclaim Democracy / ICH. In evaluating allegations that U.S. military forces deprived four British men of human rights during two years they were held captive in Guantanamo Bay prison, a U.S. appeals court found an innovative way to let the Bush administration off the hook. Two of three judges ruled the men -- because they are not U.S. citizens and, technically, were not imprisoned in the U.S. -- were not legally "persons" and, therefore, had no rights to violate.
Diplomats told to defend seeking death penalty for 9/11 detainees
12.02.08. AP| / ICH. U.S. justifies tribunal as similar to trials of Nazis. A four-page cable sent to U.S. embassies and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press says that execution as punishment for extreme violations of the laws of war is internationally accepted and points to the 1945-46 International Military Tribunals as an example. Twelve of Adolf Hitler's senior aides were sentenced to death at the trials in Nuremberg, Germany, although not all were executed in the end.
Rules for Lawyers of Detainees Are Called Onerous
13.02.08. J. White, W.Pincus and J, Tate, Washington Post/truthout. Fair, adequate defense questioned. The cadre of civilian lawyers representing terrorism suspects held by the military at Guantanamo Bay are not allowed to meet their clients in private, without video surveillance. All their mail and notes must be turned over to the military. Classified information cannot be shared with their clients. They are not entitled to everything the government knows about their clients.
Executions May Be Carried Out at Guantanamo
13.02.08. M. Melia and A. O. Selsky, AP / truthout. If six suspected terrorists are sentenced to death at Guantanamo Bay for the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. Army regulations that were quietly amended two years ago open the possibility of execution by lethal injection at the military base in Cuba, experts said Tuesday.
Bush wants limits on access to evidence
14.02.08. AP. Bush Administration Asks Supreme Court to Limit Judges' Access to Detainee Evidence. The case is linked to another dispute already at the high court in which detainees are asking the justices to rule that they can use the U.S. civilian courts to challenge their indefinite imprisonment.
George W Bush's BBC interview
14.02.08. BBC. Video & TRANSCRIPT.
Bush Wants Limits on Access to Evidence
14.02.08. AP / ICH. The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to limit judges' authority to scrutinize evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Bush Appeals to Justices on Detainees Case
15.02.08. L. Greenhouse, New York Times/truthout. The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to review an appeals court decision that it said had created a "serious threat to national security" by requiring the government to supply extensive evidence supporting the classification of more than 180 Guantánamo detainees as enemy combatants. The administration asked the court to choose one of two options: either accept its appeal for expedited review, with arguments taking place in May and a decision to come in the current term, or defer action until the justices decide the case on the rights of the Guantánamo prisoners that is currently before them. Under either option, the administration is seeking a stay of the lower court's ruling, which it characterized as "serious legal error."
Bush fear mongering
Bush Appeals to Justices on Detainees Case
15.02.08. NYTimes /antiwar. The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to review an appeals court decision that it said had created a serious threat to national security by requiring the government to supply extensive evidence supporting the classification of more than 180 Guantánamo detainees as enemy combatants.
Injustice at Guantanamo: Torture Evidence and the Military Commissions Act
15.02.08. Marjorie Cohn, JURIST/uruknet. JURIST Contributing Editor Marjorie Cohn says that the rules of evidence governing the recently announced military commission trials of six alleged al Qaeda members, combined with the Bush administration's efforts to sanitize the legal mess made by the use of illegal interrogation methods, ensure that the trials will fall short of due process...
Court rejects ACLU challenge to wiretaps
19.02.08. wiredispatch. Supreme Court Rejects ACLU's Challenge to Bush Administration's Domestic Spying Program. The action underscored the difficulty of mounting a challenge to the eavesdropping, which remains classified and was confirmed by President Bush only after a newspaper article revealed its existence.
Experts Doubt Fair Trials for Gitmo Suspects
20.02.08. William Fisher, anti-war.com. As the U.S. moves toward holding death-sentence trials for six Guantánamo Bay detainees alleged to have plotted the Sept. 11 attacks, legal scholars and human rights advocates are questioning not only the six-year-long process and timing of the charges, but also whether the accused could ever receive fair trials.
Rigged Trials at Gitmo
20.02.08. Russ Tuttle, The Nation. Secret evidence. Denial of habeas corpus. Evidence obtained by waterboarding. Indefinite detention. The litany of complaints about the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is long, disturbing and by now familiar. Nonetheless, a new wave of shock and criticism greeted the Pentagon's announcement on February 11 that it was charging six Guantánamo detainees, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with war crimes--and seeking the death penalty for all of them.
Now, as the murky, quasi-legal staging of the Bush Administration's military commissions unfolds, a key official has told The Nation that the trials have been rigged from the start. According to Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo's military commissions, the process has been manipulated by Administration appointees to foreclose the possibility of acquittal.
At Gitmo, even acquittal may not set you free
20.02.08. Muriel Kane, Raw Story.
Lost years in Guantanamo
25.02.08. Kamal Kushkush, Turkish weekly. Adam's agonizing torture ordeal began early on in Bagram. .. After two months, it was the time to move to another pit of hell thousands of miles away. Adam painfully describes Guantanamo as a place "in contrast with humanity." He recalls the harsh interrogations, beatings, the cries and screams of fellow detainees and loud music played at the time of prayer. "Some (interrogators) would tell me we know you are innocent but this is a political game."
Guantánamo guards suffer psychological trauma
25.02.08. J. Randerson, Guardian. The guards at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp are the "overlooked victims" of America's controversial detention facility in Cuba, according to a psychiatrist who has treated some of them. In some cases, a tour of duty at the camp has made guards suicidal and prompted a variety of psychiatric symptoms, from depression and insomnia to flashbacks. The guards' testimony also provides a harrowing insight into the treatment of prisoners.
Professor John Smith, a retired US Air Force captain, treated a patient who was a guard at the camp. "I think the guards of Guantánamo are an overlooked group of victims,"
Sudan journalist detained at Guantanamo Bay may be released
25.02.08. The Jurist. An Al Jazeera [media website] cameraman detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2002 may soon be released, his lawyer said Monday. Qatari officials visiting Sudanese detainee Sami al-Haj [advocacy website] apparently told him that he "should be out soon," although US officials would not confirm any plans to release al-Haj. Al-Haj was arrested [CPJ report] by Pakistani authorities while crossing the border into Afghanistan in 2001 and was turned over to US forces.
Controversial Pentagon lawyer quits
25.02.08. E. Schor, Guardian. Donald Rumsfeld's right-hand man takes his leave. The Pentagon quietly announced today that its top lawyer, William Haynes, will be "returning to private life" next month. What went unmentioned is Haynes' central role in promulgating the legal strategy for the brutal interrogation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Back in March 2003, before the US invaded Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld tapped Haynes to come up with a legal framework that would allow the military to ignore a law prohibiting American soldiers from engaging in torture. Haynes complied, producing a report that stated the law "does not apply" to Guantanamo. See also Pentagon General Counsel Resigns, R. Tuttle, The Nation/truthout 26.02.08.
Shocking Stories About the Forgotten War in Afghanistan
26.02.08. Interview by Joshua Holland with Andy Worthington, AlterNet.
Confessions of a Gitmo Guard
26.02.08. D. Nathan, Counterpunch / ICH. A Nightmare World of Torture and Prison Guard Suicides. A psychiatrist who has treated former military personnel at Guantánamo prison camp is telling a story of prisoner torture and guard suicide there, recounted to him by a National Guardsman who worked at Guantánamo just after it opened.
Held 6 years, Al Qaeda suspect sees lawyers
26.02.08. miamiherald. Alleged arch-terrorist Abu Zubaydah, whom the CIA waterboarded in secret overseas interrogations, has agreed to let two American attorneys challenge his detention. Chicago law professor
Joseph Margulies and Washington, D.C. lawyer Brent Mickum said Tuesday that they secured the authority in 12 hours of meetings Friday and Monday at the U.S. Navy base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. (See President Bush comments on the "questioning" of |Abu Zubaydah here.)
Pentagon OKs charges against Guantanamo prisoner
26.02.08. Reuters. The Pentagon on Tuesday approved war crimes charges against a Yemeni Guantanamo prisoner it says was a "media director" for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The charges against Ali Hamza Ahmad Suliman al Bahlul, 39, were filed by military prosecutors this month and Tuesday's decision set the stage for his trial at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
US Quietly Breaks UN Treaty
26.02.08. L. Griffith, t r u t h o u t. On Friday, at a United Nations meeting in Geneva, the United States broke a series of legal promises. Keeping those promises would have proved extremely embarrassing to the United States government by pointing out that human rights abuses are being committed here at home and at US military installations abroad. The basic racism practiced by the US military in both Abu Ghraib and in the detention centers of Guantanamo includes torture, degradation and illegal detention of hundreds of prisoners in these two facilities, based on race, nationality, ethnicity and religions of those arrested.
World lawyers urge Guantanamo closure
26.02.08. AFP. Lawyers' organizations from around the world have sent a letter to US and Canadian leaders urging the closure of the US prison facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the repatriation of a Canadian suspect. .. The lawyers issued a particular appeal for Omar Khadr.
Twist of Fate: Gitmo Prosecutor Could Be Defense Witness
27.02.08. ABC. Col. Morris Davis Resigned in the Fall Citing Political Interfere. He's been vilified as a war criminal for his strong support of detaining and prosecuting alleged terrorists at the controversial Guantanamo Bay military prison. He's been condemned for calling the detainees murderers, mocking their defense claims as "nauseating" and sarcastically poking holes in their alibis for being caught in Afghanistan: "When these guys went to camp, they weren't making s'mores and learning how to tie knots." In a stunning turnaround, Davis says that he has met with Salid Ahmed Hamdan's defense team and that he plans to testify at a hearing in the case. Davis would tell the court about what he says is political interference in the U.S. military tribunals, according to Hamdan's military lawyer, Navy Lt. Brian Mizer.
Lack of staff hampers defense in Sept. 11 trial at Guantanamo
27.02.08. AP / IHT. The military is speeding ahead with plans to try six men at Guantanamo Bay for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but none of the defendants, who face possible execution if found guilty, has seen a defense lawyer yet. "I have grave concerns about the commissions process and grave concerns about the ability to provide them with a fair trial" David [the chief defense counsel for the war-crimes trials] said in a recent phone interview from Washington.
Guantánamo's Shambolic Trials
28.02.08. Andy Worthington, anti-war.com. Pentagon boss resigns, ex-chief prosecutor joins defense. "This has been another terrible week for Guantánamo's Military Commissions, established by Dick Cheney and his close advisors in November 2001 to try, convict and execute those responsible for 9/11 through a novel process so far removed from the US court system and the military's own judicial procedures that the tainted fruit of torture would be allowed, and secret evidence could be withheld from the accused." Brilliant analysis of ongoing horrors.
Guantánamo Bay: How did it happen? What next for detainees?
28.02.08. europarl. Joint hearing on human rights and Guantánamo BayProcedural rights trampled, say experts; Resettlement of endangered detainees in Europe?; Council criticised for failure to attend hearing.
U.S. Police State Injustice
Yassin Aref's Struggle for Justice in Police State America
13.03.08. S. Lendman, mathaba.net. Because of his faith and ethnicity, Yassin Aref was victimized by US ''justice'' in a post-9/11 climate of fear. The story concludes with a powerful essay by pro bono lawyer, Stephen Downs, that details how Yassin was framed and wrongfully convicted. It explains how he "never before in (his) professional life (of over 35 years) encountered a deliberate frame-up. (He) was familiar with prosecutorial abuses" wrongful convictions, "sloppy police work, concealment of errors, hubris and arrogance, but what happened to Yassin was (much) different."
Yemeni describes CIA secret jails
14.03.08. BBC. A Yemeni man has described being held for nearly three years in secret CIA prisons, or "black sites", around the world and accused the US of torture. Khaled al-Maqtari told Amnesty International he was held in isolation for more than 28 months without charge or access to any legal representation. The US has not acknowledged detaining Mr Maqtari. / He said he first became a US "ghost detainee" at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq after being arrested there in 2004
High Court: Gitmo Detainees Have Rights in Court
12.06.08. ABC. The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. ... / Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban..
First the Execution, then the Trial: Rewriting Gitmo "Evidence"
24.06.08. The Real News. The Bush administration wants to rewrite official evidence against Guantanamo Bay detainees before they come under scrutiny by civilian judges for the first time. While the government has stood behind the evidence for years, they now want to submit new records, which would allow them to add intelligence and expand their reasoning for holding the detainees. Transcript.
Key player in waterboarding policy 'smug' under questioning
27.06.08. Julian Barnes, LA Times / legit gov. Top Cheney aide David Addington barely conceals his disdain for Democrats on a House subcommittee asking about his role in the use of controversial interrogation techniques. ... For years, congressional Democrats dreamed of getting a crack at a man they saw as a key player behind the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods against detainees in the war on terrorism -- methods the critics say amount to torture. / On Thursday, they finally got their wish: Thickly bearded and glaring out through half-rimmed glasses, David S. Addington, a top aide to Vice President Cheney and alleged master-mind of the legal rationale for the harsh techniques, appeared before a House subcommittee. / But rather than eliciting new information or forcing damaging admissions from the long-sought witness, the hearing turned into an emotion-charged demonstration of the hostility and mutual disdain between the most liberal critics of the Bush administration's war policies and one of the architects of those policies.
In Courts, Afghanistan Air Base May Become Next Guantanamo
29.06.08. Del Quentin Wilber, Washington Post / legitgov. Human rights groups and activists have become increasingly concerned about the U.S. military prison at Bagram, about 40 miles north of Kabul. The prison has grown steadily over the years and has about 600 detainees, military officials said. The military is planning to spend $60 million to build a new, larger facility that would house the same number of captives but could accommodate as many as 1,000.
OBAMA said he would close Guantanamo. There are many problems to resolve before this actually happens.
Key Bush Gitmo Advisers Still On Job At Pentagon
05.02.09. kdka/ICH. A senior judge who has not followed President Barack Obama's order to halt military trials at Guantanamo Bay is among Bush administration appointees still overseeing how the Pentagon deals with terror captives.
China again calls for return of Uighur Guantanamo detainees
Wikileaks busts Gitmo propaganda team
12.12.07. J. Assange. The US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been caught conducting covert propaganda attacks on the internet. The attacks, exposed by government transparency group Wikileaks, include deleting detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, the systematic posting of unattributed "self praise" comments on news organization web sites in response to negative press, boosting pro-Guantanamo stories on the internet news site Digg and even modifying Fidel Castro's encyclopedia article to describe the Cuban president as "an admitted transexual" .
Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power, Margulies, Joseph, Simon & Schuster (July 3, 2007)
Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, Begg., Moazzam, New Press, September 2007
The Guantanamo Files, The Stories of the 759 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison, Andy Worthington, Pluto Press, 2007
Review by Stephen Grey.
UPDATE JUNE 2008
Easing the Laws that Led to Detainee Abuse Hatched in Secret
18.06.08. Tom Lasseter, McClatchy/Truthout. "The framework under which detainees were imprisoned for years without charges at Guantanamo and in many cases abused in Afghanistan wasn't the product of American military policy or the fault of a few rogue soldiers. It was largely the work of five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who, following the orders of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reinterpreted or tossed out the US and international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners in wartime, according to former US defense and Bush administration officials."
(Hollywood Remake, cont.)
Frei: The Senate yesterday passed a bill outlawing water-boarding. You, I believe, have said that you will veto that bill.
Mr Bush: That's not -
Frei: Does that not send the wrong signal...
Mr Bush: No, look... that's not the reason I'm vetoing the bill. The reason I'm vetoing the bill - first of all, we have said that whatever we do... will be legal. Secondly, they are imposing a set of standards on our intelligence communities in terms of interrogating prisoners that our people will think will be ineffective. And, you know, to the critics, I ask them this: when we, within the law, interrogate and get information that protects ourselves and possibly others in other nations to prevent attacks, which attack would they have hoped that we wouldn't have prevented? And so, the United States will act within the law. We'll make sure professionals have the tools necessary to do their job within the law. Now, I recognise some say that these - terrorists - really aren't that big a threat to the United States anymore. I fully disagree. And I think the president must give his professionals within the law the necessary tools to protect us. So, we're not having a debate not only how you interrogate people. We're having a debate in America on whether or not we ought to be listening' to terrorists making' phone calls in the United States. And the answer is darn right we ought to be.
Frei: But, given Guantanamo Bay, given also Abu Ghraib, given renditions, does this not send the wrong signal to the world?
Mr Bush: It should send a signal that America is going to respect law. But, it's gonna take actions necessary to protect ourselves and find information that may protect others. George W Bush BBC interview 14.02.08. BBC. Video & interview transcript
This administration's bold flirtation with torture, medieval-style, has led us into sorry company, whether in the past or the present. Its top officials told the world they would do "what it takes" in their war on terror and in the Middle East, with or without allies. They then chose to leave the family of nations and take up kinship in the family of torturers. Karen Greenberg
MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT (pdf)
"U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques,"
updated January 25, 2008; CRS. (pdf)
Army Field Manual 34 - 52, Intelligence Interrogation
It's torture; it's illegal
02.02.08. LA Times. The attorney general's evasions on waterboarding are repugnant, and set a dangerous global precedent.
Torture Does Not Work, as History Shows
04.02.08. Robert Fisk, Independent / ICH. Torture works, an American special forces major - now, needless to say, a colonel - boasted to a colleague of mine a couple of years ago. It seems that the CIA and its hired thugs in Afghanistan and Iraq still believe this. There is no evidence that rendition and beatings and waterboarding and the insertion of metal pipes into mens anuses - and, of course, the occasional torturing to death of detainees - has ended. Why else would the CIA admit in January that it had destroyed videotapes of prisoners being almost drowned - the waterboarding technique - before they could be seen by US investigators?
CIA Says Used Waterboarding Three Times
05.02.08. Reuters / truthout. The CIA on three occasions shortly after the September 11 attacks used a widely condemned interrogation technique known as waterboarding, CIA Director Michael Hayden told Congress on Tuesday. "Waterboarding has been used on only three [sic] detainees," Hayden told the Senate Intelligence Committee. It was the first time a U.S. official publicly specified the number of people subjected to waterboarding and named them. Named: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and senior al Qaeda leaders Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Bush approved CIA dislosure on waterboarding
White House: We "Definitely Want To Consider" Using Waterboarding Again
Satyam Khanna, Think Progress/alternet. Despite its hedging, the White House made clear today it very well may commit illegal torture again.
Cheney: 'Damn right' I back Bush use of waterboarding
07.02.08. Raw Story. See Cheneys master plan here .
Waterboarding Is Legal, White House Says
07.02.08. Greg Miller. Los Angeles Times. The assertion stuns critics and revives debate over the widely condemned interrogation technique.
White House Pushes Waterboarding Rationale
13.02.08. Dan Eggen, The Washington Post / Truthout. Administration may be trying to shore up prosecution of terrorism suspects. After years of refusing public comment on a particularly harsh CIA interrogation method, top Bush administration officials have suddenly begun pressing a controversial argument that it was legal for the CIA to strap prisoners to a board and pour water over their face to make them believe they were being drowned. The issue promises to play a role in the historic military prosecution of six al-Qaeda detainees for allegedly organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in cases described by the Defense Department on Monday. One of the six detainees, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, was subjected to the technique known as waterboarding after his capture in 2003, and four of the others were subjected to different "enhanced interrogation" tactics by the CIA.
Bush plans to veto waterboarding ban
15.02.08. news.com.au /ICH. US President George W. Bush plans to veto legislation passed by the Senate to bar the CIA from using harsh interrogation methods including waterboarding.
Horrifying and Unnecessary
03.02.08. NY Times. In the next few days President Bush is expected to again claim the right to order mistreatment of prisoners that any civilized person would regard as torture.
UN Blasts White House on Waterboarding
06.02.08. AP / truthout.
Mukasey Rejects Criminal Probe Into Waterboarding
07.02.08. Dan Eggen, Washington Post / truthout. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said this morning that waterboarding was deemed legal by the Justice Department at the time it was used by the CIA on three al-Qaeda captives, and as a result the Justice Department "cannot possibly" investigate whether a crime occurred.
Mukasey's skillful evasions on torture
18.02.08. N. Henhoff, washingtontimes / anti-war. Mr. Mukasey's continued refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture or to conduct a criminal investigation of its use by the CIA is ludicrous in the face of the newly published, heavily documented 849-page "Torture and Democracy" by Professor Darius Rejali. In this history, including the present practices of torture, written by an internationally recognized expert on the subject, the definition, Mr. Attorney General, is plain: "Waterboarding is forced drowning, interrupted, for the prisoner will die if the flow of water is not cut off in time." And yet, on Jan. 6, the Associated Press reported the White House said waterboarding is legal.
Injustice at Guantanamo: Torture Evidence and the Military Commissions Act
21.02.08. M. Cohn, Jurist. The Bush administration has announced its intention to try six alleged al Qaeda members at Guantánamo under the Military Commissions Act. That Act forbids the admission of evidence extracted by torture, although it permits evidence obtained by cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment if it was secured before December 30, 2005. Thus, the administration would be forbidden from relying on evidence obtained by waterboarding, if waterboarding constitutes torture.
That's one reason Attorney General Michael Mukasey refuses to admit waterboarding is torture. The other is that torture is considered a war crime under the U.S. War Crimes Act. Mukasey would be calling Dick Cheney a war criminal if the former admitted waterboarding is torture.
Mukasey met with prosecutoes during his first Guantanamo visit (for 6 hours), The Jurist reported on 27 February.
US: CIA Likely Let Contractors Perform Waterboarding
08.02.08. S. Gorman, Wall Street Journal/corpwatch. The broader involvement of contractors, and the likelihood they partook in waterboarding, raises new legal questions about the Central Intelligence Agency's use of the practice, which is designed to simulate drowning. It also will fuel the contentious debate over the administration's use of harsh interrogation techniques. The role of contractors in sensitive security programs has become a hot issue on Capitol Hill. It isn't clear what laws govern their work and who is accountable when activities go awry, as they did when employees of the security firm Blackwater allegedly killed 17 Iraqi civilians and wounded 24 others in September. An investigation of that is under way; Blackwater continues to provide security services to State Department employees in Iraq.
Waterboarders for God
08.02.08. Ray McGovern, consortium. As George W. Bush reminded the National Prayer Breakfast to treat all God's creatures as "precious," his subordinates around Washington defended the use of waterboarding on terror suspects. The juxtaposition stunned former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
CIA veteran calls for Bush's impeachment
09.02.08. chrisgelken / ICH. Former CIA analyst rips into Bush over torture, Iraq and Iran
Bill Curbing Terror Interrogators Is Sent to Bush, Who Has Vowed to Veto It
14.02.08. NY Times.
Senate Passes Ban on Waterboarding, Other Techniques
14.02.08. D. Eggen, Washington Post, truthout. The Senate voted yesterday to ban waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics used by the CIA, matching a previous House vote and putting Congress on a collision course with the White House over a pivotal national security issue.
US official admits waterboarding presently illegal
14.02.08. Guardian. The waterboarding remarks by Stephen Bradbury, head of the justice department office of legal counsel, caused a stir in America because they go further than more uncertain opinions on the legality of the tactic voiced by the CIA director and attorney general.
McCAIN: PRO TORTURE
(Send him to jail too, Robicheaux?)
John McCain Sells His Soul: Backs Off on Torture Ban
14.02.08. A. Huffington, Huffington Post. Has there ever been a more repugnant example of political pandering than John McCain's decision to vote against a bill banning waterboarding, putting hoods on prisoners, forcing them to perform sex acts, subjecting them to mock executions, or depriving them of food, water, and medical treatment?
McCain: Bush should veto bill banning torture
20.02.08. Huffington Post
McCain Torture Endorsement Lost Amid Media Sex Scandal Frenzy
22.02.08. L. Segura, AlterNet.
White House Claims Congress Is Caving to "Left Wing Bloggers" by Opposing Torture
15.02.08. S. Khanna, Think Progress/alternet Peek. Congress's priorities are reflected by the will of the public. A recent CNN poll showed tha 68 percent of Americans said waterboarding was torture.
London bombs justify 'torture', says Bush
15.02.08. Ewen MacAskill, Guardian.
Unforgivable Behavior, Inadmissible Evidence
17.02.08. MORRIS DAVIS, NY Times. There are some bad men at Guantánamo Bay and a few deserve death, but only after trials we can truthfully call full, fair and open. In that service, we must declare that evidence obtained by waterboarding be banned in every American system of justice. We must restore our reputation as the good guys who refuse to stoop to the level of our adversaries. We are Americans, and we should be able to state with conviction, We dont do stuff like that.
Bush Ignores the Law Against Using Evidence Obtained from Torture in Gitmo Trials
18.02.08. Marjorie Cohn, Jurist/alternet. The federal government is working overtime to try and clean up the legal mess made by the use of illegal interrogation methods.
Rigged Trials at Guantanamo
20.02.08. Ross Tuttle, The Nation/truthout. Secret evidence. Denial of habeas corpus. Evidence obtained by waterboarding. Indefinite detention. The litany of complaints about the legal treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay is long, disturbing and by now familiar. Nonetheless, a new wave of shock and criticism greeted the Pentagon's announcement on February 11 that it was charging six Guantánamo detainees, including alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with war crimes - and seeking the death penalty for all of them. Now, as the murky, quasi-legal staging of the Bush Administration's military commissions unfolds, a key official has told The Nation that the trials are rigged from the start. According to Col. Morris Davis, former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo's military commissions, the process has been manipulated by Administration appointees in an attempt to foreclose the possibility of acquittal.
Ex-Guantanamo captive 'who was tortured'
21.02.08. Richard Edwards, Telegraph / legitgov. Iraqi born businessman Bisher al-Rawi claims he was beaten and interrogated for four years after being arrested and flown to Afghanistan, then Guantanamo Bay. Mr al-Rawi was rendered into detention in "the dark prison" in Kabul, Afghanistan. He claims he was denied food, water and light. He was then taken to Bagram airbase, where he said he was beaten up and then on to Guantanamo Bay in early 2003, where he was interrogated for four years before finally being released in March 2006. .. Lawyer Rabinder Singh has said the arrests were "far from any theatre of war". .. the British government apparently now accepts that he was helping MI5 to keep watch on Abu Qatada.
Guantanamo Bay ex-prosecutor to testify for Hamdan defense
21.02.08. Jurist. Former Guantanamo Bay chief military prosecutor Col. Morris Davis [official profile, PDF] told AP Thursday that he has agreed to appear as a defense witness in the military commission trial of Guantanamo detainee Salim Ahmed Hamdan [DOD materials; JURIST news archive]. In October 2007, Davis resigned [JURIST report; JURIST op-ed] from his position at Guantanamo Bay, saying that politics were interfering with the prosecutions process. In a Wednesday interview [text] with The Nation, Morris alleged that Pentagon general counsel William Haynes [official profile] told him that none of the detainees could be acquitted, implying that the tribunal process may be rigged. Hamdan's lawyers plan to argue at a preliminary hearing in April that this alleged political interference violates the rules governing war crimes trials established by the 2006 Military Commissions Act [PDF text].
Justice Reviews Role in Waterboarding
22.02.08. AP/ truthout. "The Justice Department has opened an internal investigation into whether its top officials improperly authorized or reviewed the CIA's use of waterboarding when interrogating terror suspects, according to documents released Friday." .. Questions about waterboarding are part of a larger Justice probe of the so-called Bybee memo [see references below], wrote Marshall Jarrett, head of the department's Office of Professional Responsibility, in a Feb. 18 letter to the two senators. The CIA banned its personnel from using waterboarding in 2006. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has refused to publicly discuss whether waterboarding is currently legal since it is no longer used by CIA interrogators.
Waterboarding Focus of Inquiry by Justice Department
23.02.08. Scott Shane, New York Times/truthout. The Justice Department revealed Friday that its internal ethics office was investigating the department's legal approval for waterboarding of Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency and was likely to make public an unclassified version of its report. Mr. Jarrett's report could become the first public accounting for legal advice that endorsed methods widely denounced as torture by human rights groups and legal authorities. His office can refer matters for criminal prosecution; legal experts said the most likely outcome was a public critique of the legal opinions on interrogation, noting that Mr. Jarrett had the power to reprimand or to seek the disbarment of current or former Justice Department lawyers.
The cloak of secrecy that long concealed the C.I.A.'s secret interrogation program and its legal underpinnings has gradually broken down.
Also see The Jurist. (23.02.08. The case is Gates v. Bismullah, 07-1054)
Former officer implicates top UK officials in torture
27.02.08. Australian.news. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his predecessor, Tony Blair, should stand trial for breaking international law over the torture of detainees from conflicts in Iraq an Afghanistan, a former UK special services officer said yesterday. The former SAS soldier, 29-year-old Ben Griffin, told a press conference in London that the British secret service had been involved in a secret joint squad with the US in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001 and that UK operatives knew detainees were being tortured by the US. He said political leaders would have known what was happening in the unit. (See Rendition above, 26.02)
Faith leaders implore Bush to end torture
28.02.08. wfn. Four faith group leaders are urging President Bush to change his mind and sign the Intelligence Authorization Act, which would prohibit the use of torture as an interrogation tool. The signers represent an unusual consensus of ecumenical, evangelical, Jewish and Islamic communities.
European Court reaffirms ban on torture
28.02.08. Amnesty Int. The European Court of Human Rights has re-affirmed the absolute prohibition of torture and other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. In the court's ruling in the case of Saadi v Italy on Thursday, it found "substantial grounds had been shown for believing that there is a real risk" that Nassim Saadi would be subjected to torture or other ill-treatment if he were deported, relying heavily on reports by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Senate clears bill on torture of animals
28.02.08. Salt Lake Tribune.
Visiting the Torture Museum: Barbarism Then and Now
22.02.08. tomdispatch: KAREN GREENBERG. Sometimes a little stroll through history can have its uses. Take, as an example, the continuing debate over torture in post-9/11 America. [Bradbury] claimed that the CIA's waterboarding of at least three of its prisoners bore "no resemblance" to what torturers in the Spanish Inquisition had done when they used what was then called "the Water Torture." The similarity in methods across a torture gulf of at least four centuries would have been but the first of many striking lessons for our modern moment from a tour of [The Torture] museum in Prague]. Perhaps the eeriest lesson would be just how many of the torture techniques illustrated in these rooms are still painfully recognizable, are, in fact but minor variations on those practiced today in America's name. If this isn't a moving example of the brotherhood of torturers across the centuries, what is? After all, just as in the distant past, there has, in recent years, been purpose behind the seeming madness with which the Bush administration embraced torture and then repeatedly insisted on calling it not-torture. The purpose centuries ago was to have any confessions admissible in court and this, certainly, was what Yoo and his colleagues must have been hoping for all along. In the specific cases of the three detainees whom top administration officials have recently admitted were waterboarded -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ibn al Shayk al-Libbi, and Abu Zubaydah -- their confessions, obtained by a range of "enhanced interrogation techniques," have repeatedly been called trustworthy, valuable, and conclusive as to guilt by administration spokespeople.
Someday, our children may travel to Washington and somewhere near the Smithsonian and the Holocaust Museum, perhaps they, like the Czechs and other Europeans, will be able to visit their own official torture museum. There, a step from the Potomac River, they will be able to view strange instruments for inflicting pain and perhaps even watch horrifying videos of torture happening. And they may wonder how we ever faltered so miserably when it came to a war that was supposed to be on terror, but ended up adopting the worst traditions of terror in the Age of Barbarism Lite.
The Water Cure
25.02.08. P. Kramer, The New Yorker. Many Americans were puzzled by the news, in 1902, that United States soldiers were torturing Filipinos with water. The United States, throughout its emergence as a world power, had spoken the language of liberation, rescue, and freedom. This was the language that, when coupled with expanding military and commercial ambitions, had helped launch two very different wars. Now, this is the way we give them the water cure, he explained. Lay them on their backs, a man standing on each hand and each foot, then put a round stick in the mouth and pour a pail of water in the mouth and nose, and if they dont give up pour in another pail. They swell up like toads. Ill tell you it is a terrible torture.
Military Commissions Act of 2006. Wikipedia
THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION TORTURE MEMO SCANDAL
Texscience.org. 8 pdf memos & Reports from the Bush administration; 5 articles about these memos and reports; 2 articles on legal opinions; 1 Memorandum; 5 Further memos; Word for Word
Secrets and Lies: Uncovering the Truth About Torture
Amrit Singh. (pdf) Introduction; Legal Prescriptions against Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Rendition; Documents that are more of an embarrassment than a secret; Disclosures thus far; Conclusion and Endnotes.
Karen J. Greenberg
Executive Director of the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law; editor of the Torture Debate in America and, with Joshua Dratel, author of The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib as well as the forthcoming The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts and the War on Terror (Cambridge University Press, April 2008).
U.S. Dept. of Justice Memo from Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo To Alberto R. Gonzales, White House Counsel
01.08.02. FindLaw. on interrogation methods that do not violate prohibitions against torture.
And The Torture Memo By Judge Jay S. Bybee That Haunted Alberto Gonzales's Confirmation Hearings 14.01.05. J. Dean, FindLaw.
John Yoo, Wikipedia
Tout Torture, Get Promoted
16.06.04. R. Sheer, The Nation.
WHAT IS TORTURE
26.05.05. SLATE. An interactive primer on American interrogation. Introduction by Emily Bazelon, Phillip Carter, and Dahlia Lithwick; *** The Chain of Command: Who the players are, by Phillip Carter; Legal Memos: How the rules were rewritten by Dahlia Lithwick; Taxonomy of Torture:The facts and the law by Phillip Carter; The Military Reports: What Army and Pentagon Investigators Found by Emily Bazelon; Conclusion: Beyond the Bounds; What's lost when exceptions become the norm by Emily Bazelon, Phillip Carter, and Dahlia Lithwick
Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program
Stephen Grey, St. Martin's Press (October 17, 2006)
Taxi to the Dark Side
Taxi won documentary academy award.
Oscar winner Eva Orner: US are war criminals
Anything Goes: "Taxi to the Dark Side"
25.02.08. C. Fuchs, Pop Matters / ICH. How Did America Become a Country That Tortures? As detailed in Alex Gibneys devastating documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, Dilawars demise was officially termed a homicide, like the first detainee to die at Bagram, Habibullah.
Video: Alex Gibney in Conversation With Robert Scheer. With Transcript.
interesting background info on Diliwar / Bagram
DoD News Briefing with Gen. McNeill from the Pentagon
06.02.08. defenselink. [McNeill] commanded NATO's operations in Afghanistan since February of last year. And General McNeill, of course, as many of you know, previously served in Afghanistan as commander of Operation Enduring Freedom, Combined Task Force-180. McNeill also presided over Bagram Prison, an infamous torture centre in Afghanistan.
KEITH OLBERMANN SPECIAL COMMENT ON WATERBOARDING (05.11.07)
Water Boarding Demonstration
*WATERBOARDING 101* ~OLBERMANN (09.11.07)
The Who's Who of Gratuitous Torture
"Soldier" Brags of Torture, Rape & Murder
TED 2008: How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib
28.02.08. three-minute video, obtained by Wired.com, that features many previously unseen photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (disturbing content).
As an expert witness in the defense of an Abu Ghraib guard, Philip Zimbardo had access to many images (NSFW) of abuse taken by the guards. His TED presentation puts together a short video of some of the unpublished photos, with sound effects added by Zimbardo. Many of the images are explicit and gruesome, depicting nudity, degradation, simulated sex acts and guards posing with corpses. Viewer discretion is advised.
Courtesy Philip Zimbardo
Leaked Torture Memo: Full Text
UPDATES APRIL 2008
The Torture Memo
Secret Bush Administration Torture Memo Released Today in Response to ACLU Lawsuit
01.04.08. ACLU/uruknet. A secret memo authored by the Department of Justice (DOJ) asserting that President Bush has unlimited power to order brutal interrogations to extract information from detainees was declassified today as a result of an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The memo, written by John Yoo, then a deputy at the DOJs Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), was sent to the Defense Department in March 2003./ "Senior officials at the Justice Department gave the Pentagon the green light to torture prisoners," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney. "It is outrageous that none of these high-level officials have been brought to task yet for their role in authorizing prisoner abuse." / "Senior officials at the Justice Department gave the Pentagon the green light to torture prisoners," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU staff attorney. "It is outrageous that none of these high-level officials have been brought to task yet for their role in authorizing prisoner abuse."
The Green Light
02.04.08. Scott Horton. OUTSTANDING ARTICLE, MUST READ. Yesterday the public finally got to see the full text of an infamous Department of Justice memorandum from March 2003 designed to authorize torture. I will have some more comments on this odious document authored by John Yoo, a man who (amazingly) teaches at a prominent law school. But this disclosure serves as a fitting introduction for the publication today of Philippe Sandss article The Green Light in Vanity Fair. The article is a teaser for Sandss forthcoming book, set for release later this month, The Torture Team . / Weve all heard ad nauseam the Administrations official torture narrative. This is a different kind of war, they argue. Each invocation of different is to a clear point: the Administration wishes to pursue its war unfettered by the laws of war. Unfettered, indeed, by any form or notion of law. But Sandss work is important because he has looked carefully at the chronology: what came first, the decision to use torture techniques, or the legal rationale for them?
Memo: Laws Didn't Apply to Interrogators
02.04.08. Dan Eggen / Josh White, Washington Post / ICH. Justice Dept. Official in 2003 Said President's Wartime Authority Trumped Many Statutes. John C. Yoo, now a law professor in Berkeley, Calif., defended his memo, saying, "Our legal advice to the President, in fact, was near boilerplate." The 81-page memo, which was declassified and released publicly yesterday, argues that poking, slapping or shoving detainees would not give rise to criminal liability. The document also appears to defend the use of mind-altering drugs that do not produce "an extreme effect" calculated to "cause a profound disruption of the senses or personality." Although the existence of the memo has long been known, its contents have not been previously disclosed. To read the memo, see two pdf files here.
Top White House officials approved harsh interrogation methods: reports
11.04.08. Jurist. US Vice President Dick Cheney and other top White House officials approved controversial interrogation methods, including waterboarding [JURIST news archive], in secret meetings, AP reported Friday. An unnamed former senior intelligence official confirmed an earlier ABC News report [text] that the officials asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to sign off on the lawfulness of the techniques before approving them for use during CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists.
Bush: "I Was Aware" of Harsh Tactics
11.04.08. Jan Crawford Greenberg, Howard L. Rosenberg, Ariane de Vogue, ABC / Truthout. President says he knew his senior advisors approved tough interrogation methods.
Bush admits waterboarding approval
12.04.08. Jazeera. George Bush has admitted that senior US officials including Dick Cheney had approved CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on key al-Qaedasuspects. The US president told ABC News there was no problem with using the methods and that legal advice the government received allowed the interrogations.
"History Will not Judge this kindly" -- Torture Was Approved at Highest Levels of Bush Admin
12.04.08. Pam Spaulding, Pam's House Blend/alternet. Bush's Torture U.S.A -- they all knew. /You'll find out the one member of the administration who made the above statement below the fold. It's hard to find any words to describe how sick this is. The ABC headline says it all: "Top Bush Advisors Approved "Enhanced Interrogation".
John Yoo: Spearhead or scapegoat?
12.04.08. John Greenwald, The Nation. In response to mounting criticisms of its ongoing employment of John Yoo, UC Berkeley School of Law's Dean Christopher Edley issued a Memorandum -- entitled "The Torture Memos and Academic Freedom" -- citing the "near absolute" values of academic freedom and tenure to explain why the law school will not dismiss Yoo nor even initiate an inquiry into whether action ought to be taken against him. Some of those commentators argue -- persuasively -- that mere citation to "academic freedom" does not resolve the question, since Yoo is charged not merely with advocating repellent ideas (something that should never result in dismissal), but far beyond that, was acting as an architect of an actual torture regime. Others raise the concern that Yoo should be entitled to full due process, that all facts ought to be fully investigated and disclosed before one can determine what, if any, action is appropriate. I think all of those concerns are valid, though ultimately, what matters most is that some important American institution -- somewhere -- meaningfully demonstrate that perpetrating systematic torture and committing war crimes renders one beyond the pale in the United States. / Yoo's defense that he was merely offering legal opinions, not making any policy decisions, is absurd, since, as he surely knew at the time, the purpose of those opinions was to enable and legally authorize savage and illegal acts. ... read on!
Tell the Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law to Fire John Yoo
email campaign, American Freedom Campaign
Documents Obtained By ACLU Describe Charges Of Murder And Torture Of Prisoners In U.S. Custody
16.04.08. ACLU. The American Civil Liberties Union obtained documents today from the Department of Defense confirming the militarys use of unlawful interrogation methods on detainees held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan. The documents from the militarys Criminal Investigation Division (CID), obtained as a result of the ACLUs Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, include the first on-the-ground reports of torture in Gardez, Afghanistan to be publicly released. These documents make it clear that the military was using unlawful interrogation techniques in Afghanistan, said Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU. Rather than putting a stop to these systemic abuses, senior officials appear to have turned a blind eye to them. / Todays documents reveal charges that Special Forces beat, burned, and doused eight prisoners with cold water before sending them into freezing weather conditions. One of the eight prisoners, Jamal Naseer, died in U.S. custody in March 2003. In late 2004, the military opened a criminal investigation into charges of torture at Gardez. Despite numerous witness statements describing the evidence of torture, the militarys investigation concluded that the charges of torture were unsupported. It also concluded that Naseers death was the result of a stomach ailment, even though no autopsy had been conducted in his case. Documents uncovered today also refer to sodomy committed by prison guards; the victims identities are redacted
Stress hooding noise nudity dogs
19.04.08. Philippe Sands, Guardian. It was the young officials at Guantánamo who dreamed up a list of new aggressive interrogation techniques, inspired by Jack Bauer from the TV series, 24.
Top Bush aides pushed for Guantánamo torture
19.04.08. R. Norton-Taylor, Guardian
John Yoo: The President's Executioner
22.04.08. Jennifer Van Bergen. global research. The title of this article The President's Executioner is a play on words. It refers to professor John Yoo, who teaches law at Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley. But this man mild-mannered by all appearances is not what he seems. He is the man who was, more often than nearly any other, behind the White House decisions to violate the international laws of war. He was the one who told the White House how to get away with committing war crimes. While he may have been a henchman for others who instructed him to make the arguments he did, he repeatedly refused to reverse himself, both while he worked in the Department of Justice and after he left that office and returned to academia. / But it was also during this time period, as we now know, that the Department of Justice became politicized. Instead of executing the laws as it should have been doing, the Justice Department became an instrument of President Bush, executing his wishes. / And John Yoo executed White House wishes to twist the law into something it was not and was not meant to be. / Yoo, however, did more than execute orders. The so-called Torture Memos, in the writing of which Yoo was an active and primary participant, opened the door to such abuse of the laws that some detainees were actually murdered. For all practical purposes, they were executed, without a trial or guilty verdict. / Thus, the President's Executioner; Yoo & the Unlimited Executive; The Yoo Memos; Media and Legal Experts on Yoo's Memos; Interrogation Documents; Yoo's Most Recently-Revealed Memo; According to Vincent Warren; Crimes
The Torture Memo
28.04.08. Stephen Gillers, The Nation / Truthout. "The Justice Department is investigating the lawyers whose memos gave the Bush administration the legal support it needed for waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques. We are 'examining whether the legal advice in these memoranda was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys,' H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, wrote to two Democratic senators in February."
Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by Philippe Sands, QC. Palgrave Macmillan, May 2008
US Secretary of State Rice defends torture at Google event
24.05.08. Bill Van Auken, wsws. The fact is that after September 11 [we did] whatever was legal [sic] in the face of not just the attacks of September 11, but the [never properly investigated] anthrax attacks that followed, she said. We were in an environment in which saving America from the next attack was of paramount concern; but even in that environment President Bush made it very clear that we were going to live up to our legal responsibilities at home and to our treaty obligations abroad. ... / Rice was one of those directly involved in crafting and directing the methods of physical brutality, mental torture and sexual sadism that were employed over and over again against detainees held by the US in prisons from Guantánamo to Abu Ghraib. ... / In other words, Condoleezza Rice sat around the table with Vice President Cheney, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Powell, CIA Director Tenet, Attorney General Ashcroft and others, discussing and approving methods that included waterboarding, beatings, the prolonged shackling of prisoners in painful positions, use of attack dogs in interrogation, draping detainees in womens underwear, forced nudity and other forms of sexual humiliation, sleep and sensory deprivation and holding detainees in isolation for months on end.
Memorial Day Memo: Honor Those Who Stood Up Against Torture
25.05.08. Benjamin Davis, The Jurist Forum. Over this past week we have been provided the U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General's Report on the FBI's role in detainee interrogations, we've heard Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a speech at Google admitting that "enhanced" interrogation techniques were authorized out of necessity, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey exhorting Boston College Law School graduates - law school graduates!! - to be more forgiving to the lawyers like Jack Goldsmith who enabled torture. ... / Rice and Mukasey ask us to take pity on the legal advisors who enabled torture. That is like taking pity on the sheriff who hands over the prison and the prisoners to the lynch mob. Why not take pity on the deputy who stands in the door and refuses the rule of the jungle? ... / If we want to change from a cycle of timidity and aggression, then let us do that this time by trying something new that we do not do in this country: criminally prosecute the high-level civilians - the OLC lawyers and White House lawyers, the principals of the National Security Principals meetings, the General Counsels and Intelligence types at the Defense Department and CIA. Criminally prosecute them for conspiring to torture and a whole list of other crimes. Do the same for the generals like General Miller who made sure the bidding of these high-level criminals was done.
UPDATES JUNE 2008
Documents Confirm US Hid Detainees From Red Cross
17.06.08. nWarren P. Strobel, McClatchy/truthout: "The US military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday. 'We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques,' Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who's since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture."
US Special Forces counter-insurgency manual FM 31-20-3
18.06.08. Wikileaks. US Special Forces counterinsurgency manual leaked. Summary.
US Army Field Manual FM 31-20-3, Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces; 2004 edition. Made US Army doctrine (policy) on 20 September 1994; 219 printed pages. Written at the sensitive but unclassified level. / This sensitive US military counterinsurgency manual could be critically described as "What we learned about running death squads and propping up corrupt government in Latin America and how to apply it to other places". Its contents are both history defining for Latin America and, given the continued role of US Special Forces in the suppression of insurgencies and guerilla movements world wide, history making. / The document, which is official US Special Forces policy, directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control, restrictions on labor unions & political parties, suspending habeas corpus, warrantless searches, detainment without charge, bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations, concealing human rights abuses from journalists, and extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures palatable.
Report: Exams reveal abuse, torture of detainees
18.06.08. CNN. The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan. / The detainees were never charged with crimes. / "We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering," said Dr. Allen Keller, a medical evaluator for the study. / In a 121-page report, the doctors' group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.
General Accuses WH of War Crimes
18.06.08. Dan Froomkin, Washington Post. The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability. In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation. The new report, he writes, "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individual's lives on their bodies and minds... In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. . . . After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts, and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes.
Torturegate: Truth, But No Consequences
19.06.08. Chris Floyd, uruknet. This has been one of the most extraordinary weeks in modern American history. The many isolated streams of evidence about the Bush Administration's torture system and the direct responsibility of the Administration's highest officials for this vast crime have now converged into a mighty flood: undeniable, unignorable, pouring through the halls of Congress and media newsrooms, lashing at the walls of the White House itself. In the course of the past few days, a series of events has laid bare the stinking sepsis at the heart of the Bush Regime for all to see. / It began last Sunday with the launch of a remarkable series by McClatchy Newspapers, detailing the torture, brutality, injustice and murder that has riddled the Bush gulag from top to bottom. ... [also fully detailed in Philippe Sands book, Torture Team] ... / By week's end, the evidence that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other top government officials had deliberately created a system of torture which they knew was illegal indeed, a capital crime under U.S. law was so plain, so overwhelming, and so handily concentrated that it broke through the levees of institutional cover-up and media complicity that had held this clear truth at bay for so long. / And yet, even as this new consensus was forming, you could see the sandbags piling up in the background to make sure that the water didn't reach too far.
The Semantics of Bush's Torture Policy
19.06.08. Jason Leopold, uruknet. The Bush administration built a legal framework relying on semantics and secrecy to subject detainees at Guantanamo Bay to brutal interrogation techniques and then to hide the reality from human rights observers, according to internal government documents.
'Communist torture' used at Guantanamo Bay
03.07.08. Australian news / legitgov. A CHART outlining "coercive management techniques" for US interrogators at Guantanamo Bay was copied verbatim from a 1957 US Air Force study of Chinese communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions - many of them false - from US prisoners. / http://feeds.bignewsnetwork.com/index.php?sid=377619 The New York Times reported the chart listed techniques for use on prisoners including "sleep deprivation", "prolonged constraint" and "exposure". / Reporting the origins of the chart, the paper said it was the latest and most vivid evidence of the way communist interrogation methods the US has long condemned as torture became the basis for interrogations by the military at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, and by the Central Intelligence Agency.
How Britain Wages War
11/07.08. John Pilger. ICH. The military has created a wall of silence around its frequent resort to barbaric practices, including torture, and goes out of its way to avoid legal scrutiny. / Five photographs together break a silence. ... / Shiner and his colleagues have witness statements and corroborations of prima facie crimes of an especially atrocious kind usually associated with the Americans. "The more cases I am dealing with, the worse it gets," he says. These include an "incident" near the town of Majar al-Kabir in 2004, when British soldiers executed as many as 20 Iraqi prisoners after mutilating them. The latest is that of a 14-year-old boy who was forced to simulate anal and oral sex over a prolonged period. / "At the heart of the US and UK project," says Shiner, "is a desire to avoid accountability for what they want to do. Guantanamo Bay and extraordinary renditions are part of the same struggle to avoid accountability through jurisdiction." British soldiers, he says, use the same torture techniques as the Americans and deny that the European Convention on Human Rights, the Human Rights Act and the UN Convention on Torture apply to them. And British torture is "commonplace": so much so, that "the routine nature of this ill-treatment helps to explain why, despite the abuse of the soldiers and cries of the detainees being clearly audible, nobody, particularly in authority, took any notice". ... / Shiner is working on 46 horrific cases.
Book Cites Secret Red Cross Report of C.I.A. Torture of Qaeda Captives
11.07.08. S. Shane. NY Times. Red Cross investigators concluded last year in a secret report that the Central Intelligence Agencys interrogation methods for high-level Qaeda prisoners constituted torture and could make the Bush administration officials who approved them guilty of war crimes, according to a new book on counterterrorism efforts since 2001. / The book says that the International Committee of the Red Cross declared in the report, given to the C.I.A. last year, that the methods used on Abu Zubaydah, the first major Qaeda figure the United States captured, were categorically torture, which is illegal under both American and international law.
FOR ALL FEBRUARY 2009 UPDATES, PLEASE SEE Obama's Rhetoric Vs.Damning Evidence on Guantanamo, Rendition, Torture
Dr. Gideon Polya on Genocide & the Geneva Conventions
GENEVA CONVENTIONS & GROSS UK-US WAR CRIMES
26.07.05. Dr. Gideon Polya, MWCNNEWS. DECENT PEOPLE know that things are awfully wrong in Occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. As the pathologically dishonest Coalition Administrations soften their citizens up for further attacks on domestic civil and human rights - notably "free speech" and "due process" - it is vital that we make qualitative and quantitative reality checks on the dishonestly-named War on Terror.
Fundamentally, we should ask key questions about the prosecution and human consequences of the War on Terror. Specifically, are the UK, the US, Australia and their Coalition allies adhering to the Geneva Conventions?
Bush & Blair Holocaust Commission
31.10.07. Gideon Polya, MWC news / uruknet. HOLOCAUST DENIAL is repugnant because it denies the horrendous suffering of those who died; adds to the continuing suffering of their surviving families and descendants; and threatens repetition of like atrocities. The post-1950 Muslim Holocaust involving 0.6 billion post-1950 excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that did not have to happen) in the Muslim World (as estimated from UN Population Division data ) is of course IGNORED by the First World-dominated world, as is the post-1950 Third World Holocaust involving 1.1 billion avoidable deaths. These horrendous excess death statistics for Spaceship Earth make a compelling case for sanctions against holocaust denial in general. Bush & Blair Holocaust Commission; Article 55; Article 56; Bush & Blair Holocaust Denial; Bush & Blair invite arraignment for Holocaust Commission and Holocaust Denial: Bush and Blair and their confrres such as Rumsfeld, Cheney, Dr Rice (Dr Death, the Wicked Witch of the West) and White Australias John Howard - invite arraignment for Holocaust Commission AND Holocaust Denial.
Top US Lawyer And UNICEF Data Reveal Afghan Genocide
Dr Gideon Polya, Countercurrents / ICH.
As of February 2008, analysis of UNICEF data: UNICEF statistics on Occupied Afghanistan allows the following estimate of 3.3-6.6 million post-invasion excess deaths (avoidable deaths, deaths that should not have happened) in Occupied Afghanistan:
1. annual under-5 infant deaths 370,000.
2. post-invasion under-5 infant deaths 2.3 million (90% avoidable).
3. post-invasion avoidable under-5 infant deaths 2.1 million.
4. post-invasion non-violent excess deaths 3.2 million (2.3 million /0.7 = 3.3 million; for impoverished, worst case Third world countries the under-5 infant deaths are about 0.7 of total non-violent excess deaths. (see A Laypersons Guide to counting Iraq deaths)
5. post-invasion violent deaths about 3.3 million (assuming roughly 1 violent death for every non-violent avoidable death i.e. roughly as in US-occupied Occupied Iraq where the ratio of violent deaths to non-violent excess deaths is 0.8-1.2 million to 0.7-0.8 million; see Continued Australian and US Coalition war crimes in Occupied Iraq).
6. upper estimate of non-violent plus violent post-invasion excess deaths 3.3 million + 3.3 million = 6.6 million excess deaths.
For detailed documentation of the above see Australian complicity in continuing Afghan genocide: A major cause of the carnage is revealed by WHO the total annual per capita medical expenditure permitted by the Occupiers in Occupied Afghanistan is a mere $19 as compared to as compared to $2,560 (the UK), $3,123 (Australia) and $6,096 (the US). This is in gross contravention of Articles 55 and 56 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (see here ) which unequivocally demands that the Occupier must provide life-sustaining food and medical requisites to its Conquered Subjects to the fullest extent of the means available to it. Compounding this is the appalling reality of 4 million Afghan refugees.
What is happening in Afghanistan is an Afghan Holocaust.
Winter Soldiers: 12 16 March, Washington, D.C.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to Detail War Crimes in Upcoming Hearings
06.02.08. Dennis Rahkonen, uruknet. This spring, Iraq Veterans Against the War is revealing the reality of the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. In what will be historys largest gathering of U.S. veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as Iraqi and Afghan survivors, eyewitnesses will share their experiences in a public investigation called Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan.
Vets Break Silence on War Crimes
29.02.08. Aaron Glantz, anti-war.com. US veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are planning to descend on Washington from Mar. 13-16 to testify about war crimes they committed or personally witnessed in those countries. .. "The majority of the American people are very dissatisfied with the Iraq war now and would be happy to get out of it. But Americans are bred deep into their psyches to think of America as a good country and, I think, much harder than just the hurdle of getting troops out of Iraq is to get Americans to realize the terrible things we do in the name of the United States."
Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan
UPDATE: LISTEN TO WINTER SOLDIERS LIVE HERE
The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.
In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The following acts shall be punishable:
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d ) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.
Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.
The Contracting Parties undertake to enact, in accordance with their respective Constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention, and, in particular, to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.
Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.
Genocide and the other acts enumerated in article III shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition.
The Contracting Parties pledge themselves in such cases to grant extradition in accordance with their laws and treaties in force.
Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.
He was wearing an expensive, well - cut dark suit with a royal blue tie and sported a stars and stripes lapel pin. His grey hair had been carefully groomed by a makeup person. He grinned a lot; seemed wanting to please. There were books in the background, though he is not known as a reading person. He opens his arms and waves his hands to reinforce what he is saying.
The person watching dials 911 ,
thinking it strange that this emergency number was the date of another emergency never properly investigated.
And then? The next president should open up the Bush Administration's record, writes Stephen Aftergood.
Index Research References
The chapter headings, Rendition, Guantanamo and Torture can also be read in most Index on Afghanistan research under the section Human Rights. Bagram Prison was also covered - mentioned below. I first started tracking the US "war on terror" in Afghanistan on 26 May 2005. The first research also included all PNAC involvement with Afghanistan prior to the US invasion.
Index on Afghanistan May to August 2006. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : September 2006. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : October 2006. Bagram Prison, Habibullah mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : November 2006. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : December 2006
Index on Afghanistan : January 2007. Bagram Prison and Dilawar mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : February 2007. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Index on Afghanistan : March 2007
Index on Afghanistan: April 2007: Murder in Nangarhar. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Dead in Afghanistan: May 2007
Index on Afghanistan: May 2007 Part I
Index on Afghanistan: May 2007: Part II - NATO; Human Rights
Schisms: Index on Afghanistan, August 2007. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Autumn '07 in Afghanistan . Bagram Prison mentioned.
NATO is now US-ATO 03.10.06
Afghanistan: Cleared of Wrongdoing. *Bagram Prison mentioned.
Afghanistan: Cleared of Wrongdoing. Bagram Prison mentioned.
Security Companies in Afghanistan , 7 November 2007
PRISONS AND TORTURE IN IRAQ 22.01.07
Security Company Death Squads Timeline 29.09.07
Sarah Meyer is a researcher living in the UK
The url for 'Robicheaux's Nightmare: US Rendition, Guantanamo, Torture in February 2008' : http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/2008/02/robicheauxs-nightmare-us-rendition.html
Shorter url: http://tinyurl.com/ynqbax
I am grateful to Ragnar at The Peoples Voice and Jennifer van Bergen for their advice/encouragement.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Tags: Index Research, Politics, rendition, Guantanamo, torture, DETAINEES, BUSH, CHENEY, GENEVA CONVENTIONS, Bagram Prison, James Lee Burke.