You are hereTorture
For the past year and a half we've watched the White House announce the end of torture and immunity for torturers, two policies that appear incompatible and have proven to be so. We've seen the White House claim the right to torture, and seen that greeted with silence and an averted gaze by those pretending torture is over. We've seen report after report of ongoing torture greeted with silence from the same pretenders, among whom we must include Congress. And we've seen civil liberties and human rights groups that refused to support the impeachment of Bush advocate for prosecutions for a while, but continue to back the wars that create the torture. The ACLU is supporting the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell despite its combination with a war-funding bill. And as the evidence of ongoing torture begins to sink in, we will see anti-torture advocates begin to understand that prosecutions would have to include prosecutions of Democrat
With U.S. approval of Congress holding steady at a whopping 15%, one wonders just who it is the elected representatives are representing. Perhaps we can answer that question, by looking at some of their recent activities, and considering some of the things currently left undone.
The Deepening Shame of Guantanamo
Editor Note: For more than a decade, the Guantanamo Bay prison has been a blot on America’s conscience. President Obama vowed to close it but acceded to congressional demands to keep it open. Now, an emerging humanitarian crisis – a mass hunger strike – is drawing only scant attention.
By Ray McGovern
There have been nine congressional hearings on the Benghazi controversy – with more to come – but almost no one in Congress dares put the spotlight on the unfolding scandal surrounding the Guantanamo Bay prison where most of the remaining 166 inmates have opted to “escape” from indefinite detention via the only way open to them – starving themselves to death.
By Dave Lindorff
The Boston Marathon bombing has already demonstrated the best and the worst of America for all the world to see.
Protest Actions Demand End to Indefinite Detention, Closure of Prison
What: Rallies, Protests, Visual Photo-ops
Where: 16 U.S. Cities including SF Bay Area (more to be announced)
When: Thursday April 11, 2013
San Francisco protest:
4:30 PM rally NEW Federal Building, San Francisco (7th/Mission);
“Prisoners’ Processional” march to Powell/Market
5:30 vigil at Powell/Market
Across the U.S. on Thursday, street protests will support prisoners detained at the U.S. prison in Guantánamo who are engaged in a large-scale hunger strike which began in early February. Some prisoners are now in critical condition.
“The vast majority of the 166 men have been held for more than eleven years without any charge or fair trial, with no end to their detention in sight. The Obama administration must take swift measures to humanely address the immediate causes of the hunger strike and fulfill its promise to close Guantánamo” says a statement from World Can’t Wait andWitness Against Torture.
The prisoners’ action, described by a U.S. military spokesman as an “orchestrated event intended to garner media attention,” has begun to achieve “just that, and we intend to magnify their voices,” say the protesters. The Boston Globehas urged President Obama to close the prison because keeping Guantánamo open is “a challenge to our reputation around the world.” The New York Times said the prisoners’ action is “exposing the lawlessness of the system that marooned them there,” describing the indefinite detention of men long cleared for release as the “essence of what has been wrong with Guantánamo from the start.”
Protesters demand that action be taken by the U.S. government in time to save the lives of the prisoners, with the aim of closing the prison. In Chicago and San Francisco, nine protesters will wear orange jumpsuits to represent the nine men who have already died in Guantánamo waiting for justice.
At noon in Washington, D.C. protesters will gather at the White House to focus on the president’s 2009 promise to close Guantánamo.
Full information on the protests nationwide.
By Dave Lindorff
Thanks to the courageous action of Private Bradley Manning, the young soldier who has been held for over two years by the US military on trumped-up charges including espionage and aiding the enemy, we now have solid evidence that the country’s two leading news organizations, the Washington Post and the New York Times, are not interesting in serious reporting critical of the government.
Debra Sweet, Director, The World Can't Wait It happened on The Hollywood Walk of Shame. World Can't Wait joined with ICUJP and other groups in a march and vigil that took over the intersection at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave for about 45 minutes on Sunday, Feb 17. This is the famous scene where Oscars will be awarded in one week. Actor David Clennon spoke at a nearby church and then led the group of about 40 people, all ages, down to the Avenue of the Stars.
Yale University to Train U.S. Special Forces in Interrogation Techniques by Practicing on Immigrants
The Department of Defense and Yale University have partnered up to train U.S. soldiers in the art of interrogation techniques with the local immigrant community acting as test subjects, reports the Yale Daily News.
As early as this April, Yale plans to welcome a training center for interrogators to its campus.
By Dave Lindorff
If the Constitution is to have any relevance, and if America is to remain a free society, then there is really no alternative: there must be a bill of impeachment drawn up and submitted in the House, and there must at least be a hearing on that bill in the House Judiciary Committee.
British man who 'vanished' after being stripped of citizenship says he was tortured and forced to sign a confession by the CIA
A British man who disappeared after being stripped of his citizenship claims he was tortured in an African prison before being handed over to the CIA and forced to sign a confession.
Mahdi Hashi, who vanished last summer in Somalia, has described for the first time his 'horrific' ordeal at the hands of the secret police in the neighbouring state of Djibouti, who he claims worked closely with US interrogators.
The 23-year-old, who lived in London, alleges that he was stripped and repeatedly slapped before being threatened with electrocution and sexual abuse by officers who were attached to Djibouti's intelligence service.
Speaking from a top security prison in New York, where his family tracked him down just before Christmas, Mr Hashi claims he was so frightened by the threats of torture that he signed the confession demanded by his American interrogators.
In a 35-minute conversation with his British lawyers last week, Mr Hashi also told how he was made to watch as a Swedish detainee was beaten in front of him: '[The man was] stripped to his underwear and hung upside down.
Does every American girl who'd like to be a princess know what that means?
A Bahraini princess is facing charges of torturing pro-democracy activists in the Gulf island kingdom.
Noura Bint Ebrahim al-Khalifa, who serves in Bahrain's Drugs Control Unit, is accused along with another officer of torturing three people in detention.
Hundreds of protesters were detained as Bahrain struggled to put down a popular uprising that began in February 2011.
The uprising, which began peacefully with calls for democratic reform, was crushed by the ruling al-Khalifas.
Noura al-Khalifa, 29, who denies the charges, appeared in court on Sunday and Monday to hear the allegations.
By Ann Wright, OpEdNews
Despite his January 22, 2009 executive order closing Guantanamo Prison in one year, President Obama ensured the continued operation of Guantanamo for another year by signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, and refused to challenge the Congressional mandated ban on transfers from Guantánamo to the federal court and prison system in the United States.
There are 166 out of 779 still imprisoned, including 87 cleared for release, but still held at Guantanamo
The Grilling that Brennan Deserves
Editor Note: When President Obama’s national security nominees reach the Senate, the toughest challenge is expected against Chuck Hagel for Defense, but CIA Director-designee John Brennan has more to explain about his work over the past decade on the terror war’s “dark side,” says ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
As Washington’s pundit class sees it, Defense Secretary-designee Chuck Hagel deserves a tough grilling over his hesitancy to go to war with Iran and his controversial detection of a pro-Israel lobby operating in the U.S. capital, but prospective CIA Director John Brennan should get only a few polite queries about his role helping to create and sustain Dick Cheney’s “dark side.”
Ironies of living in the post-Bush world: by Debra Sweet Director World Can't Wait
1. The only CIA operative connected to waterboarding and torture during the Bush regime to be jailed, John Kiriakou, will go to prison for giving an agent's name to reporters in connection with an investigation aimed at exposing enhanced interrogation techniques. The agents who did the torture face no sanctions at all, and in fact are glorified in popular culture, like the new film Zero Dark Thirty.
From the Bradley Manning Support Network
Only giving 112 days credit off any future prison sentence does little to keep the military from torturing any future soldiers awaiting controversial trials. Write Maj. General Horst, tell him the persecution of Bradley Manning is unnaceptable!
Judge Denise Lind. Sketch by Clark Stoeckley, Bradley Manning Support Network.
After two weeks of intense litigation by Bradley Manning's defense, and hearing how Quantico brig staff blatantly disregarded Navy Rules in their mistreatment of Bradley, military Judge Denise Lind acknowledged that Bradley was punished unlawfully before trial and she has awarded him 118 days sentencing credit.
For nine months in Quantico, VA, Bradley was held isolated in a 6x8 ft cell, and denied access to sunlight and meaningful exercise, conditions called "cruel, inhuman and degrading" by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. It was only after considerable public outcry and coordinated action that Bradley's conditions improved. The 112 days sentencing credit that Bradley has been awarded for being tortured is still vastly overshadowed by the outrageous 150 years in prison Bradley still faces.
Despite Bradley Manning's honorable intentions to blow the whistle on unpunished war crimes, torture and government corruption and the military's failure to show any harm done to the US as a result of his releases, Bradley is facing harsher prosecution (and persecution) than US soldiers who are guilty of murdering civilians in the Middle East. The extremely aggressive charges against him are no accident. They are intended to put a chill on military whistle-blowing. The man who set these charges? Maj. Gen. Karl Horst. Write to tell him that this persecution of an American patriot is unacceptable!
Maj. General Horst
7115 South Boundary Boulevard
MacDill AFB, FL
The hearing continues through Friday, January 11. Bradley Manning’s court-martial trial is scheduled to start March 6, 2013.
Shahid Buttar is the executive director the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and the People’s Campaign for the Constitution which works to defend civil liberties, constitutional rights, and rule of law principles threatened within the United States by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. He is a constitutional lawyer, grassroots organizer, independent columnist, musician, and poet. He discusses President Obama's signing of two new pieces of legislation permitting warrantless spying and indefinite detention. He also discusses rendition, torture, and the new film "Zero Dark Thirty."
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WAT 2013 – “HUNGERING FOR JUSTICE”
DAY 1 – JANUARY 6th
January 11, 2013 marks the eleventh anniversary of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, the seventh anniversary of Witness Against Torture’s January 11 presence in D.C., and our fifth liquids fast. Here we are again, pilgrims from across the country, gathering in D.C. Though it is not to pay homage to the nation’s capital that we come, but to honor a common cause, a divine mandate in fact, “love one another.” Even enemies, even strangers, undoubtedly those unjustly detained.
First Trinity has once again graciously allowed us their space and at a modest rate, though we are still looking to raise funds to cover the cost of rent, as well as liquid sustenance of juice and tea. The fast began this afternoon after a farewell-to-eating feast of pizza. Though it is a somber cause for which we gather, the atmosphere was paradoxically celebratory as many friends who haven’t seen each other for months, or even since last year, are reunited. As this struggle continues, we find joy in community. And it is a community that is continually growing. “We are a large circle,” Matt D. said at our first meeting of fasters, “but our circle is larger than faces you see.” We know many of you across the country (and farther) are joining us, and very much feel your presence here.
These updates are a way of welcoming those of you who are with us, though not among us, into the circle. We will include reflections from fasters present and apart, reports on actions and events, and links to relevant articles. In addition to these updates we intend to connect with those who are interested via “fasters phone calls,” stay tuned for the call-in number!
The public "controversy" whipped up by release of the new torture movie Zero Dark Thirty is actually a re-hash of an argument that had largely been put to bed, that torture works to extract reliable intelligence from suspected terrorists (and even if it did, would that make the practice morally acceptable?) But torture IS effective in getting subjects to say what you want them to say, to fabricate rationale for government venture, such as the ultimate war crime of aggression on sovereign nations that pose no imminent threat.
Film director Kathryn Bigelow's reputation alone promises to draw a sizable audience; her pornographic depictions of CIA brutality may provide the titillation for many additional viewers, including the video game junkies that play Medal of Honor Warfighter. But this may very well not be the blockbuster that the film industry anticipates. Indeed, critical reviews of the movie, and the history of its making, may prove to be its undoing. Hollywood's hard sell might not be able to overcome revulsion to this kind of "entertainment."
I refuse to buy the lie that the Central Intelligence Agency has ever been a force for good, that extra-legal assassination is ever justified, that American lives are worth more than others. So no, I will not be screening this dangerous piece of CIA-friendly propaganda. I will however be outside theaters to protest this movie, of course, but also use this opportunity to promote the truth about the crimes of our government. I encourage readers to do the same. World Can't Wait will be out in orange jumpsuits to represent the Guantanamo prisoners that Obama has failed to release, flyering (download here), holding signs and banners, and loudly proclaiming that NO! Torture is always illegal, immoral, and unacceptable.
Join us for the first of what we hope to be many protests in the Bay Area:
Friday, January 4th
AMC Bay Street 16 Theater
5614 Shellmound Street
11:00 AM to Noon and 6:00 - 7:00 PM
See you there. And plan one for your own neighborhood.
By Charles M. Young
A 21st century psychotherapist steps into a time machine and comes out in Atlanta in 1855. Having no other marketable skills, he hangs out a shingle and promises new remedies for mental illness. A well-dressed gentleman knocks on the door and inquires if the psychotherapist might come to his plantation to examine the slaves.
Resisting the Sirens of Torture: Deconstructing Zero Dark Thirty Response Memes and the Senate Intelligence CommitteeTorture Report
By Benjamin G. Davis, Associate Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law
I. The payback meme (“I am against torture, but…”)
Iraq: General Prosecutor Confirms Torture and Rape of Detained Women. European Court of Human Rights Labels CIA Interrogation Procedures as “Torture”
By Dirk Adriaensens, BRussells Tribunal
Kitabat reports on 18 December. The chairman of the Iraqi List, Hamid al-Mutlaq, said in a press conference in Baghdad on 18 December: " Iraqi prosecutors have submitted today a report to the Chairman of the Iraqi judiciary Medhat al-Mahmoud that confirms the occurrence of torture and violations and rape of women detained in Iraqi prisons. The report is based on confidential testimonies of female prisoners in Iraqi jails."
Mutlaq said that "the report confirms what has been recently stated by some parliamentary committees and human rights organizations, that there is a systematic violation, torture and rape of female prisoners in Iraqi prisons,"
NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE MAIREAD MAGUIRE ACCUSES THE UK/SWEDISH/USA GOVERNMENTS OF COMPLICITY IN MENTAL TORTURE OF JULIAN ASSANGE, WIKILEAKS Co-FOUNDER
On Thursday 13th December, 2012, I visited Julian Assange, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, in the Ecuadorian embassy, Knightsbridge, London. It is six months now since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy and was given political asylum. He entered the embassy after the British Courts shamefully refused his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning accused of sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him).
The Humiliation of Bradley Manning
Editor Note: The pre-trial hearing on Pvt. Bradley Manning’s court martial for leaking classified documents about U.S. government wrongdoing has turned up evidence that even Manning’s Marine jailers were worried about the controversy over his degrading treatment in their custody, reports ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
By Ray McGovern
It is a bitter irony that Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, whose conscience compelled him to leak evidence about the U.S. military brass ignoring evidence of torture in Iraq, was himself the victim of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment while other military officers privately took note but did nothing.
Former CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou is inches away from pleading away years of his life to jail while the former chief of the CIA headquarters-based RDI (Rendition, Detention, Interrogation) group is sitting pretty enjoying his retirement in Virginia.
"Ya Baba! Ya Baba!" Ezzi Deen shouted in Arabic.
The 14-year-old boy was crying out for his father. He last uttered those words as a toddler. Ezzi Deen never received a response then, either.
He remained connected to his father through pictures and letters that trickled into his home from the International Committee of the Red Cross. But it did little to ease his pain. He woke up every morning and imagined, "Today is the day my father will come home."
He had it all planned out: His father would walk through the door and he would leap out of his bed and embrace him. Then he would go outside to play with the other boys in his village, the anguish of the past 11 years gone – just like that.
Ezzi Deen believed in his heart this is exactly how it would play out. He believed this even though his grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins had given up hope that their son and brother would ever return to Yemen.
So, Ezzi Deen wept, dropped to his knees and screamed when his uncle, Muhammed, broke the news on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that the tragedy had claimed his father as its latest victim.