Endorsement of Torture, Blight on America
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Powell, Kissinger: Close Gitmo (AP/Raw Story 3/23/08)
Washington Monthly dedicates an entire issue against torture. 35 essays from across the political spectrum (via MParent 3/11/08)
Pentagon cites at least 50 tapes of prisoner interrogations (NYTimes 3/13/08)
“This is not a widespread practice,” said Mr. Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary.
Why Torture Made Me Leave the APA (Alternet 3/6/08)
Jeffrey Kaye left the American Psychological Association over its complicity in torture by the U.S. government. This is his letter of resignation.
Canada tossing CIA torture evidence as tainted (Newsweek 3/5/08)
Errol Morris interviews Abu Ghraib Guards (New Yorker 3/21/08)
CIA Rendition Flights Resume (Raw Story 3/19/08)
Sen. Ted Kennedy asks nicely for all torture tapes (NewsHoggers 3/18/08)
Justice Dept releases 2003 torture memo (Reuters/Yahoo 4/1/08)
EXCERPT: “”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. While the military has banned the use of waterboarding and other harsh methods considered by some rights advocates to be torture, the U.S. Intelligence community has not. Bush authorized the CIA to use waterboarding after the September 11 attacks in 2001 but has repeatedly insisted that the United States does not torture prisoners.”
Sordid details from Diego Garcia Island “black site” come to light (Alternet 3/11/08)
Diego Garcia: The Other Guantanamo (Antiwar 4/4/08)
EXCERPT: “On the small, remote island of Diego Garcia, in the Indian Ocean halfway between Africa and Indonesia, the United States has one of the most secretive military bases in the world. From its position almost 10,000 miles closer to the Persian Gulf than the east coast of the United States, this huge U.S. air and naval base has been a major, if little known, launch pad for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the past year, the Bush administration has made improvements that point toward its use in a possible attack on Iran. The administration recently admitted what it had long denied and what journalists, human rights investigators, and others had long suspected: The island has also been part of the CIA’s secret “rendition” program for captured terrorist suspects.
While few know about the base on Diego Garcia – it has long been off-limits to all non-military personnel – even fewer know how it came into being. To create the base, the United States, with the help of Great Britain, exiled all the indigenous people of Diego Garcia and the surrounding Chagos Archipelago. Between 1968 and 1973, U.S. and U.K. officials forcibly removed around 2,000 people, called Chagossians, 1,200 miles away to islands in the western Indian Ocean. Left on the docks of Mauritius and the Seychelles with no resettlement assistance, the Chagossians, whose ancestry in Chagos dated to the 18th century, have grown deeply impoverished in exile.
Diego Garcia has become another Guantánamo in more ways than one: The product of years of deception and lies, a far more secretive detention facility than the Cuban prison, the cause of immense suffering and pain for an entire people, Diego Garcia has become mark of shame for the United States that must be repaired.”
Torture from the Top Down: Of Memos and Rotting Fish (University of Pittsburgh Jurist 4/7/08)
EXCERPT: “Jurist Special Guest Columnist Shayana Kadidal, senior managing attorney of the Guantanamo project at the Center for Constitutional Rights, says that the recently-released 2003 DOJ memo on military interrogations written by then deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo was no exercise in blue-sky hypothesizing, but rather one of a series of key government memos – many still undisclosed – that gave those at the highest levels of the US government the confidence to put pressure on those at the bottom to adopt abusive interrogation techniques subversive of generations of military culture and sound interrogation practice…”
Torture: The Green Light (Vanity Fair 5/08)
EXCERPTS: “As the first anniversary of 9/11 approached, and a prized Guantánamo detainee wouldn’t talk, the Bush administration’s highest-ranking lawyers argued for extreme interrogation techniques, circumventing international law, the Geneva Conventions, and the army’s own Field Manual. The attorneys would even fly to Guantánamo to ratchet up the pressure—then blame abuses on the military. Philippe Sands follows the torture trail, and holds out the possibility of war crimes charges.” …
“The abuse, rising to the level of torture, of those captured and detained in the war on terror is a defining feature of the presidency of George W. Bush. Its military beginnings, however, lie not in Abu Ghraib, as is commonly thought, or in the “rendition” of prisoners to other countries for questioning, but in the treatment of the very first prisoners at Guantánamo. Starting in late 2002 a detainee bearing the number 063 was tortured over a period of more than seven weeks. In his story lies the answer to a crucial question: How was the decision made to let the U.S. military start using coercive interrogations at Guantánamo?”
“The Bush administration has always taken refuge behind a “trickle up” explanation: that is, the decision was generated by military commanders and interrogators on the ground. This explanation is false. The origins lie in actions taken at the very highest levels of the administration—by some of the most senior personal advisers to the president, the vice president, and the secretary of defense. At the heart of the matter stand several political appointees—lawyers—who, it can be argued, broke their ethical codes of conduct and took themselves into a zone of international criminality, where formal investigation is now a very real option. This is the story of how the torture at Guantánamo began, and how it spread.”
Evidence grows of drug use on detainees (CQPolitics 4/4/08)
‘Permissible assault’ – torture that has been okayed – cited in graphic detail (Washington Post 4/6/08)
EXCERPTS: “Thirty pages into a memorandum discussing the legal boundaries of military interrogations in 2003, senior Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo tackled a question not often asked by American policymakers: Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner’s eyes poked out? Or, for that matter, could he have “scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance” thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting? These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities. The specific prohibitions, he said, depended on the circumstances or which “body part the statute specifies.” But none of that matters in a time of war, Yoo also said, because federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president’s ultimate authority as commander in chief.”…”Having 81 pages of legal analysis with its footnotes and respectable-sounding language makes the reader lose sight of what this is all about,” said Dawn Johnsen, an OLC chief during the Clinton administration who is now a law professor at Indiana University. “He is saying that poking people’s eyes out and pouring acid on them is beyond Congress’s ability to limit a president. It is an unconscionable document.”
Inside Guantanamo with Detainee 061 (Alternet 4/2/08)
“The Pentagon knew that Murat Kurnaz was an innocent man at Guantánamo Bay, but they kept him there for five years anyway. This is his story.”
Mother Jones Exclusive: I was kidnapped by the CIA (MotherJones 3/3/08)
How to Become a Concentration Camp Guard Without Even Trying (Video, Alternet 3/18/08)
“A reluctant Guantanamo Bay jailer, who found himself working in that “legal black hole” at age 19, tells his shocking story.” .. “The video to your right is a brief but telling testimony given by Chris Arendt at the Winter Soldier Hearings in Washington, D.C., on March 15. Arendt, out of options, joined the military at age 17 and soon found himself guarding detainees at the U.S. prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.”
Police State America: Sami Al-Arian’s Long Ordeal (Global Research 3/24/08)
EXCERPT: “Sami Al-Arian is a political prisoner in Police State America. This article reviews his case briefly and updates it to the present.
Because of his faith, ethnicity and political activism, the Bush administration targeted Al-Arian for supporting “terrorism.” In fact, he’s a Palestinian refugee, distinguished professor and scholar, community leader and civil activist. Nonetheless, the FBI harassed him for 11 years, arrested him on February 20, 2003, and falsely accused him of backing organizations fronting for Palestinian Islamic Jihad – a 1997 State Department-designated “Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).” A week later, in spite of his many awards, impeccable credentials and tenured status, University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft fired him under right wing pressure.”
“Since February 20, 2003, Al-Arian has been imprisoned – first at Tampa, Florida’s Orient Road jail, then on to more than a dozen different maximum and other federal prison facilities. He’s currently on hunger strike at Warsaw, Virginia’s Northern Neck Regional jail after being transferred back March 18 from Butner, North Carolina’s medical prison. Al-Arian’s trial began in June 2005 and was a travesty. It lasted six months, cost an estimated $50 million, and the prosecution called 80 witnesses, including Israeli intelligence agents and victims of suicide bombings to prejudice the jury. It introduced portions of hundreds of wiretapped phone calls from over a half million recorded; “evidence” from faxes, emails and what was seized from his home; quotes from his speeches and lectures; conferences, events and rallies he attended; articles he wrote; books he owned; magazines he edited; and various publications he read – all legal and in no way incriminating unless falsely twisted to appear that way.”
“After years of effort and millions spent, Al-Arian was exonerated. On December 6, 2005 after 13 days of deliberation, the jury acquitted him of all (eight) “terrorism” charges. They were deadlocked 10 – 2 for acquittal on nine others. All of them were false and unjust. Nonetheless, within days, the Justice Department said it would re-try him on the lesser charges. His lawyers called it legal but a highly unusual move.”
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