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Since its founding three years ago, High Road for Human Rights (www.highroadforhumanrights.org) has vigorously advocated for the restoration of the rule of law in the U.S. – for an end to torture, an end to felonious surveillance of U.S. citizens, accountability for illegal conduct by administration officials, and a commitment to a constitutional balance of power, where the courts once again provide a check on abuses of power by the other branches of government.
By Marjorie Cohn, editor
By Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, past president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. Cohn edited The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse, a collection of essays.
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is facing court-martial for leaking military reports and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico brig in Virginia. Each night, he is forced to strip naked and sleep in a gown made of coarse material. He has been made to stand naked in the morning as other inmates walked by and looked. As journalist Lance Tapley documents in his chapter on torture in the supermax prisons in The United States and Torture, solitary confinement can lead to hallucinations and suicide; it is considered to be torture. Manning's forced nudity amounts to humiliating and degrading treatment, in violation of U.S. and international law.
Nevertheless, President Barack Obama defended Manning's treatment, saying, "I've actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures . . . are appropriate. They assured me they are." Obama's deference is reminiscent of President George W. Bush, who asked "the most senior legal officers in the U.S. government" to review the interrogation techniques. "They assured me they did not constitute torture," Bush said.
The order for Manning's nudity apparently followed what he described as a sarcastic comment he made to guards after their repeated harassment of him regarding how he was to salute them. Manning said that if he were intent on strangling himself, he could use his underwear or flip-flops.
"In my 40 years of hospital psychiatric practice, I've never heard of something like this," said Dr. Steven Sharfstein, a former president of the American Psychiatric Association. "In some very unusual circumstances, when people are intensely suicidal, you might put them in a hospital gown. ... But it's very, very unusual to be in that kind of suicide watch for this long a period of time."
Sharfstein also was concerned that military officials appeared to defy the recommendations of mental health professionals. "He's been examined by psychiatrists who said he's not suicidal. ... They are making medical judgments in the face of medical evaluations to the contrary," Sharfstein noted.
After State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley criticized Manning's conditions of confinement, the White House forced him to resign. Crowley had said the restrictions were "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid." It appears that Washington is more intent on sending a message to would-be whistleblowers than on upholding the laws that prohibit torture and abuse.
Torture is commonplace in countries strongly allied with the United States. Vice President Omar Suleiman, Egypt's intelligence chief, was the lynchpin for Egyptian torture when the CIA sent prisoners to Egypt in its extraordinary rendition program. A former CIA agent observed, "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt." In her chapter in The United States and Torture, New Yorker journalist Jane Mayer cites Egypt as the most common destination for suspects rendered by the United States.
She describes the rendering of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi to Egypt, where he was tortured and made a false confession that Colin Powell cited as he importuned the Security Council to approve the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Al-Libi later recanted his confession.
"lived in fear of being killed by them every day."
By their actions, not only in killing civilians but the mistreatment of the bodies of those killed, they raised the bar of more retaliation and blowback, you can't hide atrocities and war crimes in a conflict theater, not only towards them but all the soldiers serving in the occupation as well as a rise in international criminal terrorism, it only takes a few!
March 23, 2011 - Spc. Jeremy Morlock, one of five 5th Stryker Brigade soldiers out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord facing military charges of premeditated murder while deployed in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty in a general court-martial Wednesday and was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Add your name to the Demand for the Restoration of the Rule of Law and Accountability for War Crimes today.
High Road for Human Rights is building a grassroots network that educates and mobilizes people in local communities nationwide to push for changes in human rights policies and practices.
Since its founding three years ago, High Road has vigorously advocated for the restoration of the rule of law in the U.S. – for an end to torture, an end to felonious surveillance of U.S. citizens, accountability for illegal conduct by administration officials, and a commitment to a constitutional balance of power, where the courts once again provide a check on abuses of power by the other branches of government.
By John Grant
A contingent of 20 right-wing veterans with flags and signs declaring their devotion to “our troops,” marched up to the blocked-off Pennsylvania Avenue area in front of the White House. One of the men wore a blue shirt with Army Security Agency printed on it.
“I was in the ASA,” I said to the man, attempting some kind of cordial dialogue. At nineteen, I had been an Army Security Agency radio direction finder in the mountains west of Pleiku.
The heavy-set man glowered at me and said: “I’m sorry to hear that.” It was as if he were somehow the arbiter of who was, and who wasn’t, a good American, as if he alone gave a damn about "our troops."
I shot back at him: “So, what the hell does that mean?” He turned away, and I moved on. So much for dialogue.
If the past decade plus didn't answer that question, after 9/11, as well as the one about our 'freedoms', because you didn't pay attention to what's done in your names over the decades, maybe these very recent news reports will jog that overwhelming arrogance and total apathy embedded in the minds of this country.
A friend of american christianity is back in the news.
Adding to the recruitment by more then just the actions within the occupations and wars of choice, the ongoing hateful actions and rhetoric. The fear from within under the guise of 'religious?' ideology followed by the hateful and intolerant. But this 'preacher?', and those like him, the rehadists (R), aren't 'fighting them over there' nor anywhere, those we send over and over are!!
U.S. and coalition forces launched missiles and bombs at targets in Iraq including a “decapitation attack” aimed at Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and other top members of the country’s leadership.
There were nearly 300,000 American, British and other troops at the border.
President George W. Bush warned Americans that the conflict "could be longer and more difficult than some predict." He assured the nation that “this will not be a campaign of half-measures, and we will accept no outcome except victory.”
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International
Founded by and for People who Have Experienced Torture
The Friends of TASSC
Cordially Invite You to a Fundraising and Recognition Awards Dinner
Featuring Frida Ngwa - “A Survivor’s Perspective”
Coleen Kivlahan, M.D., MSPH, J. Schmidt Free Clinic,
Physicians for Human Rights, and
Witness Against Torture
for Significant Contributions to the Struggle Against Torture and the Treatment and Healing of Torture Survivors
Stephen Xenakis, M.D.
Leading Military Critic of U.S. Torture Policy
Retired Brig. Gen., with a 28-year Army career as a medical corps officer, has written widely on medical ethics, military medicine, and the treatment of detainees.
“The Struggle Against U.S. Sponsored Torture”
Saturday, April 16, 2011, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
(6:00 Drinks; 6:45 Dinner; 7:45 Recognition Awards; 8:00 Keynote Address)
Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
Torturing Bradley Manning - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article discussed him in detail, accessed through the following link:
Another discussed torture as official US policy, institutionalized under Bush II, continued under Obama, practiced despite official denials, accessed below:
Manning, of course, is the courageous Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower, who admitted leaking thousands of diplomatic cables, many others from Iraq and Afghan war databases, as well as two or more explosive videos, showing US air strikes murdering civilians. As a result, he felt obligated to reveal them. They're criminal acts, demanding prosecution of everyone up the chain of command ordering them.
eighth anniversary of America's invasion of Iraq.
Yep, and it seems now that the U.S. media is trying to spin their own rovian revisionist history as to why they didn't do their jobs, eight years later!
And after all this time, questions still remain as to why the United States launched the war in the first place.
Really Simon, questions? Seems hundreds of thousands here with added millions, us 'focus groups', around this planet were questioning before, on the day the invasion started and all these years later, as well as paying attention to the better late then never Inquiries held as well as all the proof then and through these eight years. Where have all of you been?
This is how we treat a lower rank soldier suspect, as the leaders walk free with no worries, apparently, as to accountability of what they did In Our Names!!
by Debra Sweet
On March 2, the U.S. military announced 22 more charges against Bradley Manning, the accused Army Private imprisoned in solitary confinement since May 2010. One of the new charges, “aiding the enemy,” is potentially punishable with death. This a most outrageous development, echoing the months of right-wingers screaming for his death. View the charges. Word comes that Brad is now held naked overnight, and forced to stand at attention that way.
The system holding him is nakedly unjust!
The charges themselves expose the extent to which the U.S. military is spread across the world is involved in actions with names like “Operation Hammer,” detailed in tens of thousands of reports stored in the internet. I am not the first to point out the irony that the Obama administration offered praise — growing fainter by the day — to those protesting in streets in Egypt and Tunisia with outrage fueled by the very revelations Manning faces death for exposing.
Brilliant and humane playwright Karen Malpede has produced another play that grabs this country by the lapels, shakes it, caresses its cheek, and kicks its ass. The play is called "Another Life" and the life it leaves me thinking about is the life of our dreams.
The play is not so much a national nightmare or a national fantasy as a surreal reproduction of the mixture of horrors and hopes that most dreaming is: the most gruesome and graphic and taboo of our collective fears without exactly the fear itself, the deepest of longings and desires in immediate and mundane form but recognizable as revelations upon awakened reflection.
We will never have any type of full accountability of the deaths of the civilians in Iraq as to the invasion and long occupation, still ongoing, what we do know is the possibility of tens of thousands killed, tens of thousands maimed, unknown numbers of physiological damaged Iraqi's living in the death and destruction of almost daily 9/11's especially in the cities destroyed, millions made into refugee's both inside the country and to neighboring countries and beyond, a country totally destroyed and changed forever! Done In Our Names!
By John Grant
Stripping before men still clothed is the first step toward weakening the prisoner’s psychological defense. … But stripping is also sexually laden. It transposes sexual gestures, acts and innuendo from a strip club to the torture chamber. Thus sex is always present in the torture chamber whether the victim is a man or a woman. The sexing of torture is deeply grounded in the recesses of the torturer’s psyche.
-Marnia Lazreg, Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algeria to Baghdad
The process – employed in the name of “security” – which involves the mutual destruction of human dignity, seems to be an integral part of most police and specialized agency methods.
-Breyten Breytenbach, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist
by Orla Guerin, BBC
Every other night Saad Iqbal Madni wakes up screaming. For more than five years the Pakistani Islamic scholar was one ghost among many - Prisoner Number 746 in Guantanamo Bay.
In terror-filled moments, in the dead of night, he still is.
"Since they arrest me, up to today, every second night I wake up screaming, yelling and crying," he said, breaking down in tears.
"I can't forget what they did to me. No one can do that with the animals. I don't know how they can do that with human beings."
Mar 2nd, 2011 - On Friday, the Spanish National Court (Audiencia Nacional) gave hope to those seeking to hold accountable the Bush administration officials and lawyers who authorized torture by agreeing to continue investigating allegations made by a Moroccan-born Spanish resident, Lahcen Ikassrien, that he was tortured at Guantánamo, where he was held from 2002 to 2005.
March 2, 2011 - In an effort to hold Libya accountable  for its violent crackdown on protesters, the U.S. and other members of the United Nations Security Council voted in favor of a resolution  asking the International Criminal Court to investigate whether the Libyan government has committed crimes against humanity. The ICC announced today that an investigation was found to be warranted and would proceed.
As the Associated Press has noted, it’s the first time that the U.S. has voted in favor of the war crimes court but in keeping with its longtime fear of being prosecuted by the ICC, the U.S also included in the resolution a carve-out  for itself. The AP reports that the provision was a "deal breaker" for the U.S.:
February 27, 2011 - THE former lawyer for convicted terrorism supporter David Hicks is now acting for Sydney man Mamdouh Habib in his quest to sue the US over his CIA-engineered rendition and torture in Egypt.
Stephen Kenny told The Sun-Herald he had already held talks with American lawyers about the best way to proceed with the action in the US courts. ''We need to keep pursuing these matters, otherwise in the future others could be at risk of it happening to them,'' he said.
By Henry A. Giroux, From Truthout
The following essay is excerpted from the preface to Henry Giroux's "Hearts of Darkness: Torturing Children in the War on Terror" (Paradigm Publishers 2010).
Group Takes on Case Against Rumsfeld and Others Seeking Accountability for Unlawful Detention and Abuse of U.S. Citizen
February 10 - The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal court in Charleston Monday at 10:00 a.m. EST to argue that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of a U.S. citizen should not be thrown out. The ACLU was recently retained to represent Jose Padilla and his mother in the lawsuit.
This aired yesterday, 11 February 2011, morning prior to the results later in the day, night there, of the total collapse of the Mubarak reign of rule, but is pretty much spot on about us and especially that whole region of the planet and it's free people under autocratic rule supported by us.
"The great danger to the administration right now is that they might end up losing influence on both sides. They might lose influence with the autocrats we've been supporting for so long, but they might also lose influence with the protesters and the forces for democracy in freedom."
- Amjad Atallah, New America Foundation
If you've wanted to be part of a powerful effort to bring Bush-era officials to justice for their crimes, now is your chance. We've joined a national effort to reach out to the people of Spain, whose courts are considering prosecuting six of Bush's lawyers under international law. Our campaign includes an open letter and ads in prominent Spanish newspapers and billboards.
Even though the Obama administration has been working hard behind the scenes to stop this, our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights have already submitted proof to the Spanish courts that our government is not taking action under international law and treaties. Now is our chance - we can keep the wheels of justice turning by doing people-to-people diplomacy now.
Here's what you do: Read and sign the letter to the Spanish people at http://rootsaction.org
WarIsACrime.org's name is behind it. The letter will go to the Spanish embassy and consulates across the country on Monday - Valentine's Day. We'll also bring Spanish officials flowers and invite the media. You can join us in these events. Get details at http://rootsaction.org
But we can't stop there. We've designed a billboard and newspaper advertisement that says in Spanish, "Please do what the U.S. won't. Prosecute torturers." We are raising money to place ads and billboards around Madrid where the country's leaders will see that there are Americans who want the case to continue.
We need to raise $30k to make this happen, so please consider a generous donation toward bringing the message directly to the Spanish people. Read and sign the letter at http://rootsaction.org
George Bush: Preliminary Indictment for Torture - by Stephen Lendman
A previous article addressed torture as official US policy under Bush, accessed through the following link:
It remains so under Obama, authorized at the highest levels of government as part of America's bogus war on terror to instill fear and target suspected political opponents globally, including at home. No matter that it violates US and international law that prohibits torture at all times under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.
On February 7, 2011, the ninth anniversary of the day former president George W. Bush decided the Geneva Conventions did not apply to so-called “unlawful combatants,” CCR released a Bush Torture Indictment. The Indictment provides a strong factual and legal basis to hold Bush accountable--in any of the 147 countries which have ratified the Convention Against Torture (CAT)--for having authorized torture . Learn about it, tell others, and help us build pressure to secure accountability for torture by top U.S. officials.
By Dave Lindorff
It is pathetic and even laughable to hear American leaders, and the leaders of the other Western democracies in Europe, cautioning that Egypt’s revolution needs to move slowly, as they call for a “transition” government that would be gently guided to elections by the very man, Omar Suleiman, who for years has headed the dreaded Mukhabarat, the Egyptian secret police, all under the protective umbrella of the Egyptian military.
What is this nonsense?
No Immunity for Former Presidents Under Law
This is born out in the testimony of the Brit Iraq War Inquiry especially in the early testimony!
I used the following, and there were other references, in a post during the early phase of the Inquiry, day nine to be exact:
ScienceDaily (Feb. 2, 2011) — Even the most horrible criminals feel guilt, and according to new research from the University of Montreal, playing on that sentiment might be a good way to extract a confession. In order to gain a better understanding of why and how criminals admit to their crimes, Michel St-Yves, a forensic psychologist and lecturer, and lead author Nadine Deslauriers-Varin, both of the university's School of Criminology, worked with 221 prisoners from a federal penitentiary, analyzing the conditions under which they did or didn't confess.