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National Religious Campaign Against Torture

By jimstaro - Posted on 28 September 2010


09/27/2010 - Over the past several years, the American people have been confronted with mounting evidence of the use of torture by the previous U.S. administration. People of good will, across the nation and across political lines, have been deeply troubled by each new revelation. As faith leaders, we have felt keenly the need to add our voices to the many calling for a Commission of Inquiry that would investigate U.S. torture practices since 9/11.

A recent discovery of new horrors has only sharpened that sense of responsibility.

Earlier this summer, a report released by Physicians for Human Rights brought to light new evidence, not just of the use of torture, but of medical experimentation intended to make that torture more efficient. Unfortunately, both the Department of Health and Human Services and the CIA have refused to look into PHR's findings on their own, so we have joined with religious institutions and people of faith from a broad range of American faith communities in calling on our elected officials for congressional investigations of the allegations. Through the leadership of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, 20 national faith groups have asked for a governmental investigation of this report.

In the most comprehensive investigation to date of health care professionals' involvement in the CIA's "enhanced interrogation program," PHR found evidence that the Bush administration conducted human experimentation and research on detainees in U.S. custody, apparently to provide legal cover for torture, and to improve the effectiveness of the "enhanced" interrogation techniques. {read rest}

National Religious Campaign Against Torture

This might not include the criminal "medical experimentation", but we know it's torture and that it's extreme; and it's far from over in Iraq.

""New Order, Same Abuses": Amnesty Condemns Iraq for Holding 30,000 Prisoners Without Trial"

Sept. 20th, 2010

Amnesty International is condemning Iraq for holding an estimated 30,000 prisoners without trial, including 10,000 prisoners who were recently transferred from US custody. In a new report, Amnesty documents that Iraqi prisoners are being arbitrarily detained and often beaten to obtain forced confessions.


Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North African program.

One of the related articles linked following the above-quoted or excerpted text is also of Sept. 20th, 2010 and is entitled, "Iraqi Refugee Describes Torture, Imprisonment of Husband Who Returned to Iraq to Free Jailed Son". I think it's surely the same story as the following one, but maybe there's additional information about the case in the other related article.

"Torture in Iraq Continues, Unabated"

Sept. 22nd, 2010


Combat operations in Iraq are over, if you believe President Barack Obama’s rhetoric. But torture in Iraq’s prisons, first exposed during the Abu Ghraib scandal, is thriving, increasingly distant from any scrutiny or accountability. After arresting tens of thousands of Iraqis, often without charge, and holding many for years without trial, the United States has handed over control of Iraqi prisons, and 10,000 prisoners, to the Iraqi government. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Read More

That links to the following article.

"Torture in Iraq Continues, Unabated"

by Amy Goodman, Sept 21st, 2010

Combat operations in Iraq are over, if you believe President Barack Obama’s rhetoric. But torture in Iraq’s prisons, first exposed during the Abu Ghraib scandal, is thriving, .... (snip)

After landing in London late Saturday night, we traveled to the small suburb of Kilburn to speak with Rabiha al-Qassab, an Iraqi refugee who was granted political asylum in Britain after her brother was executed by Saddam Hussein. Her husband, 68-year-old Ramze Shihab Ahmed, was a general in the Iraqi army under Saddam, fought in the Iran-Iraq War and was part of a failed plot to overthrow the Iraqi dictator. The couple was living peacefully for years in London, until September 2009.

It was then that Ramze Ahmed learned his son, Omar, had been arrested in Mosul, Iraq. Ahmed returned to Iraq to find him and was arrested himself.


Ramze Ahmed was being held in a secret prison at the old Muthanna Airport in Baghdad. A recent report from Amnesty International, titled “New Order, Same Abuses,” describes Muthanna as “one of the harshest” prisons in Iraq, the scene of extensive torture and under the control of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

(snip) She wept as she described his account of being sodomized with a stick, suffocated repeatedly with plastic bags placed over his head, and shocked with electricity.

Not surprisingly, as detailed in the Amnesty report, the Iraqi government said that Ramze Shihab Ahmed had confessed to links to al-Qaida in Iraq. In a January 2010 press conference organized by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, videotapes were played showing nine others confessing to crimes, including Ahmed’s son, Omar, who, showing signs of beatings, confessed to “the killing of several Christians in Mosul and the detonation of a bomb in a village near Mosul.”


Sounds like "Salvador Option" in Iraq covert ops, imo. See the index, "Salvador Option and Death Squads" linked in the home page at and you'll thereby see why I suspect the above-mentioned bombing "in a village near Mosul" may very likely be one of these [many] covert black ops during this war on Iraq.

"Thousands of Iraqi detainees at risk of torture after US handover"

by Amnesty International, Sept. 13th, 2010

That seems to have a related video clip and there's a link at the end for a related Sept. 12th article that's entitled, "Stop unlawful detentions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq". And the end of that page has a "Take Action" petition people can join.

The video clip is only for a related "Take Action" ad.

And there's also a download link in the first of the two above AI articles. It's for a PDF of the Sept. 13th report entitled, "Iraq: New order, same abuses: Unlawful detentions and torture in Iraq" (same title as the Dem. Now! interview at the start of this post).

"David Frakt Explains Why Guantánamo Prisoners Have Habeas Corpus Rights"

by Andy Worthington,, Sept. 25th, 2010

CSRTs, btw, are "Combatant Status Review Tribunals".

On September 14, Lt. Col. David Frakt, a law professor and the former military defense attorney for two Guantánamo prisoners, debated whether terror suspects should be treated as "enemy combatants" or as criminals, and won resounding approval from the audience in New York for the arguments that he and attorney Stephen Jones advanced in defense of the law, and in opposition to arguments made by former CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, and torture apologist Marc Thiessen. Last week, I cross-posted — with commentary — a transcript of this debate in two parts (here and here), but was unaware that, at the same time, Lt. Col. Frakt was also posting additional commentary about Guantánamo and habeas corpus on the Huffington Post, following up on points that he didn’t think he had clarified sufficiently at the time. As I’m a great admirer of Lt. Col. Frakt’s knowledge of the law, and his ability to present important information in an accessible manner, I’m cross-posting his article below:

My Debate with Marc Thiessen
By David Frakt, The Huffington Post, September 18, 2010

Earlier this week, I debated General Michael Hayden (USAF, retired), former director of both the CIA and NSA, and Marc Thiessen, former Bush speechwriter and current columnist for the Washington Post, as part of the "Intelligence Squared" Debate series from New York. I was joined by Stephen Jones, an accomplished attorney best known for defending Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber. The specific proposition debated was whether terrorists (or more accurately suspected terrorists) should be treated as enemy combatants, as opposed to handling within the traditional criminal justice system, but the debate covered a wide range of issues in the conduct of the war on terrorism. According to the audience, Stephen and I won the debate handily. For those interested in seeing or hearing the debate, it will be televised on the Bloomberg News Channel starting Monday, and it will also be available soon as a podcast from NPR, or you can watch the unedited version of the debate here.


The article provides all of the required links, but the link for watching the debate (1:42:57) is the following page, which also provides two audio clips for listening to the edited and full unedited radio broadcasts of the debate. The audio clips can be listened to online and/or downloaded.

"Treat Terrorists As Enemy Combatants, Not Criminals"

For the most part, Thiessen and Hayden voiced the usual Bush Administration talking points. (snip) Thiessen failed to note the multiple successful terrorist attacks on our allies, such as the London and Madrid bombings, and the constant assaults on our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, .... He also continues to assert that the US didn’t torture anybody, ....


Re. the London and Madrid bombings:

I'll post what I have to say about this in a separate post, to keep this one shorter.

General Hayden, for his part, kept repeating that the law of armed conflict allows enemy combatants to be removed from the battlefield and detained for the duration of the conflict, a point that was not disputed. Thiessen and Hayden didn’t score many points, but they did make one point that I wished that I had more time to respond to, and that relates to the right of habeas corpus. In the summer of 2008, in Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court ruled that, despite Congress’ and the Administration’s efforts to deny it, Guantánamo detainees did have the right to petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Thiessen and Hayden still just don’t understand why we should be giving "terrorists" the right to challenge the basis for their detention in federal court. (snip)


First, it must be emphasized that detainees are not POWs, or at least the US has not afforded them that status, nor have they been treated in accordance with the Geneva Prisoner of War Convention. (snip) So, even accepting that Guantánamo detainees are getting one right not previously afforded to traditional prisoners of war, on balance, it is far better to be a POW than a detainee. But the right to habeas corpus, to judicial review of the basis for detention, is a significant one. Is it fair that detainees are getting even this one extra right, or is it an affront to both American history and the laws of war, as Thiessen and Hayden believe? In my view, the nature of this particular conflict makes judicial oversight of the detention process an absolute necessity.

All of our major armed conflicts in the past have been against sovereign states, or at least against regular armies, and were confined to specific geographic areas. It was clear who the enemy was because of the uniform they wore, their nationality and language, and because of where they were found. There was little likelihood of error.

But the "Global War on Terror" is quite different. (snip)


(snip) As Justice Kennedy put it, "given that the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore." In affirming the right of Guantánamo detainees to habeas corpus, the Court was responding to the concern that without the format of an adversarial trial with reasonable evidentiary safeguards in front of a neutral fact-finder, an innocent detainee might never leave Guantánamo.

The Court’s wisdom has been borne out in the subsequent habeas litigation. In the cases to reach the merits in the federal district courts, 38 of 55 of the detainees have prevailed and been granted the writ, despite the fact that all of the detainees were at one time found by a CSRT to be enemy combatants. That is, in 70% of cases, the government has failed to meet the modest burden of proving to a federal judge by a preponderance of the evidence that the detainee meets the expansive definition of an enemy combatant. (According to General Hayden, one detainee won his petition because the only way to prove he was an enemy combatant was to reveal an intelligence source, which he declined to do; he had no explanation for the other 36.)

The fundamental difference between people like Marc Thiessen and General Hayden and "terrorist sympathizers" like myself is that they seem to feel that detaining dozens of innocent people potentially for decades is acceptable. (snip)


While I agree with Lt Col Frakt about the detainees having the right to habeas corpus, finding that he has an excellent argument in this respect; I otherwise strongly and wholly disagree with him, as well as Gen. Hayden and Marc Thiessen. Not only does Lt Col Frakt repeat "mainstream" media propaganda or really unproven reports about who the perpetrators of the London and Madrid bombings are or were, he also treats the war on Afghanistan as "just and necessary", which is a totally ludicrous "take" on the war. This war has been and repeatedly can be proven to be absolutely neither just nor necessary. It's been proven and is easily and repeatedly provable that this war is illegal, immoral, unjustifiable, wholly criminal, as well as based on LIES mixed with sparse bits of a [little] truth.

Lt Col. Frakt's argument in defence of the detainees is still very good or excellent; however, it definitely isn't rocket science. It's really rather simple and straightforward. Even bright teenagers who haven't finished high school can easily understand his argument.

I can't say to disagree with Stephen Jones, since the above article doesn't specify what he said in the debate; except for the little we learn about his position in the first paragraph. People who want details about what he said can listen to the audio clips or watch the video for the debate, or can probably get some of the information from the prior articles by Andy Worthington (linked in the first paragraph of the above article).

All real, sound, sane law really is is sound, sane common sense. I read a few or several years ago that around 150 years earlier in U.S. history it was not necessary to have a higher education degree in law to be able to practice law, professionally, for what was deemed to be legal income. All that was necessary to be authorized to practice law legally and for income was to demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the law; and, perhaps anyway, to also demonstrate the ability to argue based on the law or established law(s) in an official court of law.

Law is [common sense], and when it doesn't make sense and the person to whom a law doesn't make sense is sane and intelligent, then there's a strong likelihood that the law is wrong and that the people who established the wrongful law were either idiots, or worse. Well, we don't have to worry about that happening with Gen. Hayden or Marc Thiessen, for they just both failed the bar re-exam(ination), imo. Otoh, that is something to be worried about, because they're officially treated as competent by the government.

Being a defence lawyer and being a real investigator, especially a very competent [and] honest one, are two very different lines of work. Lt Col Frakt evidently wouldn't be a good investigator.

I'll re-excerpt this part from the Uruknet copy of Andy Worthington's article linked in my above post.

The following is from the article by Lt Col Frakt at Huff. Post that Andy Worthington included a copy of (in his article of the above post).

For the most part, Thiessen and Hayden voiced the usual Bush Administration talking points. (snip) Thiessen failed to note the multiple successful terrorist attacks on our allies, such as the London and Madrid bombings, and the constant assaults on our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, .... He also continues to assert that the US didn’t torture anybody, ....

Those were technically successful attacks; sure. Everyone who knows about those attacks knows that they were successful. But there's much about these attacks that many people probably still are unaware of.

People who've only read "mainstream" news media reports and the like from "alternative" news media about these two bombings and what politicians and people of government forces have said need to wake up. These are definitely not sufficient sources of information on these bombings; and the same is true about other attacks, as well as many other important topics.

I think it was one or more journalists of either the Telegraph or another UK news media who wrote and, the online newspaper published, an article (or more than one) maybe two to three years ago about the London Bombing. Based on the article I presently have at the front of my mind, but can't recall the names of the authors, date of publication, or which UK news media it was (but definitely neither the Guardian nor The Independent), the journalists clearly conducted very serious or thorough investigative work on the July 7th, 2005 bombing and what they reported to have discovered would likely (if not definitely) [shock] many readers in the West. There was clearly UK government cover-up, but also worse; however, the best thing to do is to find these articles and read them.

The article was very much about train departure and arrival times, the times that the alleged perpetrators of the bombings purportedly traveled on the trains, and one of the trains the government said was used didn't operate that morning. There was more information in the article, but this part about the trains was entertaining to read, say.

There has been analysis of the bombing in Madrid and, from some of what I've read about it most recently, it looks very much like this was a false flag operation committed by [alleged] perpetrators. I won't say to be sure that false flag has been definitely proven, not recalling enough from the one or two articles, but I think it's still proven to be highly probable; or else really proven. People would need to find the articles and read them.

People should realize that there's a long history of false flag operations covertly conducted by governments; and real cases have been truly proven to be factual. Operation Gladio is one example of multiple false flag operations or attacks committed in Europe by the U.S. and some dirty European authorities that has been proven to be historical fact. The Gulf of Tonkin having been a false flag is another historical fact. The story of the USS Maine, the "mysterious" sinking of which triggered the Spanish-American War, is either proven to have definitely been a false flag by the U.S., or has been shown to be [most] probably one. There were attacks on two Israeli establishments in London, or England anyway, I think one was an embassy, while the other might have been a bank; and these were proven to have been false flag attacks. But there are more examples.

The London and Madrid bombings, continued:

People definitely should not believe that the alleged perpetrators of the bombings in London and Madrid are really the people named in news media reports without having first made sure to much more thoroughly read up from other sources on these bombings. The following website is dedicated, or mostly anyway, to the July 7th, 2005 bombing(s) in London. It's new to me, having just gotten the link from a Web search to try to find the article referred to earlier in this post; the article I don't recall the names of the authors or news media source for. But this website looks like it should be a good resource and it has been maintained to be current. There are 2010 articles and/or brief updates.

I'll excerpt a little from an article for which the Web search returned a link. This article provides links for the supporting resources and articles referred to in this piece.

"J7 7/7 CCTV 'Evidence' Analysis"

Note: This article was originally published before the so-called "7/7 helpers" trial in which the jury were dismissed on 1st August 2008 after failing to reach a decision, despite being given a majority direction by the judge. During this trial additional CCTV images were released, some of which purported to be from the day of 7th July 2005. As such, this page will be updated in due course. However, suffice to say, the CCTV images released during the trial failed to provide conclusive proof, beyond reasonable doubt, of the guilt of the four men accused of perpetrating the attacks. This fact may go some way to explaining why the jury failed to reach a decision and these issues will be addressed when the updated CCTV analysis is published.


Summary and Conclusion

To conclude, all the video and photographs which relate to the alleged perpetrators of the July 7th attacks, for all the reasons outlined above, cannot objectively be taken as proof that the accused actually did carry out the attacks. Considering all the inconsistencies which surround the events of 7/7/, that the official story of 7/7is sparse and contradictory, and that there is no other evidence that attests to the story outlined in the Home Office narrative, this is very unsettling.

The public have only been shown the barest minimum of CCTV images for that day, when the police are apparently still trying to establish the movements of the men in their ongoing investigation.

No credible explanation has ever been given for the lack of disclosure of any of the CCTV evidence that would conclusively prove the account outlined in the Home Office report of the London bombings.

It is perhaps worth comparing the three images released from July 7th with the images released of three of the accused from 28th June (download WMV file of 28 June footage), and with the images released showing the perpetrators of the 'demonstrative act' carried out by the 'no bombs bombers' of July 21st. It is also interesting to note that 43 people were arrested immediately following the non-attack of July 21 when no bombs went off, no one was killed and no one was injured yet, at the time of writing, there have been no arrests in connection the attack on 7/7 which killed 56.

As a brief aside, a J7 researcher highlighted the following:

An interesting exercise is to compare two completely different investigative approaches. Contrast the information released in the quest for July 7th eye-witnesses with the appeals after the shooting of WPC Sharon Beshenivsky. In the latter case, precise details were given of times and locations as well as specifics about the car alleged to have been used, right down to the number plate. Rewards of £50,000 were offered for information about those responsible.

In the case of July 7th, J7 researchers have been advised by a Detective Inspector at the Anti-Terrorist Branch of Scotland Yard that, with regard to July 7th, 'preciseness is not in the public interest'!

Hard to believe, perhaps, in 'the largest criminal inquiry in English history', but here is the full quote:


This, like many aspects of 7/7, is extremely illogical and the July 7th Truth Campaign continues to call on the government and the authorities to RELEASE THE EVIDENCE which conclusively proves, or disproves, the story outlined in the Home Office report.

It's a good analysis and provides important information, but I'd recommend reading more, including from the same website.


As already stated, I wholly agree with Lt. Col. David Frakt about the "War on Terrorism" detainees certainly having habeas corpus rights, but while also strongly disagreeing him about other things he said in the article that Andy Worthington included a copy of in his piece linked in my above post.


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