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Resisting the Sirens of Torture: Deconstructing Zero Dark Thirty Response Memes and the Senate Intelligence CommitteeTorture Report

By Benjamin Davis,    SALT

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).  

Kangaroos Missing Tuesday at Court for Bradley Manning Trial

The Humiliation of Bradley Manning

November 28, 2012

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.

CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Inches From Jail So CIA Can Protect Torture Kingpin Thomas Fletcher

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.

READ MORE FROM Kiriakou's lawyer Jesselyn Radack.

Sold Into "a Piece of Hell:" A Death of Innocence at Gitmo

By Jason Leopold, Truthout

"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.

READ THE REST AT TRUTHOUT.

Talk Nation Radio: Kucinich Says Failure to Impeach Bush Has Allowed Obama to Intensify Bush's Policies

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who led failed efforts to impeach then President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney, says that failure to hold them accountable has allowed the continuation and intensification of their war policies under President Obama.  Kucinich believes that, more than anything else, a truth and reconcilation process is needed.

Total run time: 29:00

Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.

Download or get embed code from Archive or  AudioPort or LetsTryDemocracy.

Syndicated by Pacifica Network.

Please encourage your local radio stations to carry this program every week!

Embed on your own site with this code:

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Past Talk Nation Radio shows are all available free and complete at http://davidswanson.org/talknationradio

Cari Italiani, aiutateci a combattere la tortura in Usa

English version below.

MicroMega

Con la condanna degli agenti della Cia coinvolti nell'illegale sequestro dell'imam Abu Omar il sistema giudiziario italiano ha dimostrato che davvero la legge può essere “uguale per tutti”. Ora, quasi diecimila cittadini americani chiedono all'Italia di andare oltre.

di David Swanson*, traduzione di Patrick Boylan

Quasi diecimila americani hanno già inviato i loro ringraziamenti all'Ambasciata italiana a Washington in seguito alle condanne definitive inflitte in Italia dalla Cassazione, lo scorso 19 settembre, ai 23 agenti della Cia rei di aver rapito l'ex imam di Milano il 17 febbraio, 2003, e di averlo mandato in Egitto per essere interrogato sotto tortura. Noi di RootsAction.org, movimento di cittadinanza tra i più attivi negli USA, abbiamo promosso una raccolta di ringraziamenti per dire al governo italiano che esiste un'America felice della sentenza della Cassazione e che ora vuole l'estradizione in Italia dei 23 condannati che altrimenti continuerebbero a vivere liberi e impuniti negli Stati Uniti.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Assange Labeled an 'Enemy' of the US in Secret Pentagon Documents

 

By Dave Lindorff


An investigative arm of the Pentagon has termed Wikileaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, currently holed up and claiming asylum in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London for fear he will be deported to Sweden and thence to the US, and his organization, both “enemies” of the United States.

Teaching Torture

Michael Collins
Texas School District(s) Allow Male Administrators to Paddle Female Students

Sometimes keeping up with our societal decline becomes a bit too much. For example:

SPRINGTOWN, Texas — Like many schools in Texas, “spare the rod and spoil the child” might be considered the motto at Springtown High School.

But when two teenage girls there reportedly suffered bruises after being paddled by male assistant principals, some parents complained. They weren’t upset about the punishment itself, but instead that the school violated the policy requiring an educator of the same sex as the student to dole out the paddling. Associated Press, September 24 2012

The school board for Sprigtown, Texas responded by expanding official policy to allow male administrators to paddle female students. There were no restrictions on prurient motives or sexual arousal by male administrators while administering the structured beatings. AP failed to report any serious questioning of the process save those by People Opposed to Paddling Students, a Texas-wide organization opposed to corporal punishment. Seventy-five percent of Texas school districts allow paddling as punishment, some for minor offenses up the line of disciplinary. (Image:  The Faculty)

Italy court affirms convictions of 23 Americans in CIA case

ROME — The Associated Press

Italy's highest criminal court on Wednesday upheld the convictions of 23 Americans in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect as part of the CIA's extraordinary rendition program.

The ruling marks the final appeal in the first trial anywhere in the world involving the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture is permitted.

The 23 Americans all were convicted in absentia following a three-and-a-half-year trial, and have never been in Italian custody. They risk arrest if they travel to Europe and one of their court-appointed lawyers suggested that the final verdict would open the way for the Italian government to seek their extradition.

`'It went badly. It went very badly,” lawyer Alessia Sorgato said. `'Now they will ask for extradition.”

The Americans and two Italians were convicted last year of involvement in the kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 — the first convictions anywhere in the world against people involved in the CIA's practice of abducting terror suspects and transferring them to third countries where torture was permitted. The cleric was transferred to U.S. military bases in Italy and Germany before being moved to Egypt, where he says he was tortured. He has since been released.

Those convicted include the former Milan CIA station chief, Robert Seldon Lady, whose original seven-year sentence was raised to nine years on appeal. The other 22 Americans, all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents, face seven-year terms.

Previous Italian governments had declined to act on prosecutors' request to extradite the American suspects, most of whom had court-appointed lawyers the defendants never met. While some of the defendants in the case were known figures attached to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Milan, many of those named in the trial are believed to have been aliases, impeding any formal extradition.

Among those whose sentence was upheld was Air Force Col. Joseph Romano, who was head of security at the Aviano Air Force base where the Egyptian cleric was driven from Milan before being taken by plane to Germany and eventually Egypt.

Romano's lawyer, Cesare Bulgheroni, said he would appeal the verdict to the EU human rights court in Strasbourg on the basis that Romano was never formally notified of the charges against him, and that lower courts had rejected some witnesses. Romano was one of only two Americans who received permission to hire his own lawyer during the original trial.

The court also ordered new appeals trials for five Italian intelligence agents, including the former head of military intelligence, Nicolo Pollari. They had been acquitted by lower courts because of state secrets.

During the original trial, three other Americans were acquitted: the then-Rome CIA station chief Jeffrey Castelli and two other diplomats formerly assigned to the Rome Embassy. Prosecutors appealed the acquittal, as they can in Italy. The appeal is still pending in Milan.

Nazi Human Drugging Experiments at Guantanamo Must Not Be Prosecuted While We're Looking Forward

Nonetheless, there's this:

Long-held claims by the former detainee David Hicks that he was drugged against his will have been backed by evidence from a prominent attorney, independent investigations and previously secret reports.

Details of the mistreatment of the former Guantanamo Bay inmate were set to emerge publicly for the first time in the Australian government's proceeds of crime action against him - until the government abandoned its case. It would have been Mr Hicks's first day in a properly constituted court. But Commonwealth prosecutors decided that their case to seize revenue from his book about his Guantanamo experience would not stand up.

Mr Hicks's lawyers would have used new evidence from US authorities that would then have become public. By dropping the case, the shutters have been brought down on what happened, and some documents are to be kept secret.

The Sun-Herald understands that these documents were expected to shed light on the appalling treatment of detainees. The Sun-Herald has also been given affidavits that were to be presented in court confirming that Mr Hicks had been drugged against his will.

Other investigations show that Guantanamo Bay detainees, including David Hicks, were forced to take high dosages of the controversial anti-malaria drug mefloquine despite showing no signs of the disease, an unprecedented practice that has been likened to ''pharmacologic waterboarding'' by a US military doctor.

Questions have been raised about whether the mass administration of the drug to detainees was a secret, illegal experiment after a medical journal article last month by an army doctor, Major Remington Nevin, highlighted the ''inappropriate use'' of the drug, asking if its use had been motivated by its psychotic side effects. The US Centre for Disease Control has issued a warning against the use of mefloquine on anyone suffering psychiatric disturbances or having a history of depression. Dr Nevin has also warned that high doses of the drug can cause brain injuries.

Evidence including previously secret reports and witnesses including a Guantanamo guard, and New York lawyer, Josh Dratel, support Mr Hicks's claims that he was drugged. Mr Dratel, who has top secret security clearance from the US Department of Justice and has acted for a number of detainees including Mr Hicks, was to give direct evidence of the ''non-therapeutic'' drugging. In an affidavit prepared for the trial, Mr Dratel revealed that US prosecutors had admitted that Mr Hicks's claims that ''guards had forced him to eat a meal which contained a sedative before they read him the charges'' were true. He was told it had been done to protect the officers from his reactions.

Former Guantanamo guard Brandon Neely also supplied an affidavit for the trial saying that detainees were regularly beaten for refusing to take the medications.

Mr Neely has also said that the doctors never told the detainees what drugs they were being given.

No Accountability for Torturers

By Marjorie Cohn

The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those
who violated our laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and
abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Last year, Attorney General Eric
Holder announced that his office would investigate only two incidents,
in which CIA interrogations ended in deaths. He said the Justice
Department “has determined that an expanded criminal investigation of
the remaining matters is not warranted.” With that decision, Holder
conferred amnesty on countless Bush officials, lawyers and
interrogators who set and carried out a policy of cruel treatment.

Tenth Anniversary of John Yoo/Alberto Gonzales Torture Memos

Click to download image: share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I’ve got to confess… when I connected to World Can’t Wait in 2006, some prisoners at Guantanamo had been tortured for four years. I had other things on my mind and, probably more important, people to blame for the crimes of our government.

The blame game was easy, and disguised responsibility for the evil being done in my name. But it didn’t close Guantanamo. Or release survivors of that hellhole. 

Bahrain: British arms used to crush peaceful demonstrators as regime’s sadistic torturer allowed to attend Olympics

As efforts to ban the notorious torturer, Nasser bin Ahmad from attending the London Olympics continue, it has transpired that the UK Government has ignored several requests and pleas supported by irrefutable evidence against him. Despite the Foreign Secretary’s assertion that anyone proven to have engaged in torture would not be granted a visa, the Alkhalifa dictators have boasted of sending one of the most sadistic torturers Bahrain has seen to London. There are now mounting fears for the lives of three prominent detainees who had testified that Nasser, the son of Bahrain’s dictator, had personally tortured them. Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al Miqdad, Sheikh Mirza Al Mahroos and Mohammad Hassan Jawad said that Nasser had hurled verbal abuses as he punched and kicked them in the Spring of 2011.

The Egyptian Torture Chief Who Knew Too Much?

Omar Suleiman has died, apparently in Cleveland, Ohio, while undergoing medical tests, with no cause of death reported.

Suleiman personally oversaw the torture of al Libi that successfully elicited the false claim that Iraq was tied to al Qaeda.  Al Libi himself died under suspicious circumstances.

Is Suleiman on any of Obama's kill lists? 

Do not let the body leave.

Get an autopsy at once.

No "Muslim sea burial."

One Nobel Laureate Blasts Another -- And They’re Both Americans

 

By Dave Lindorff


There are two US presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now one of those Nobel laureate leaders is accusing the other, though without naming him, of actions that qualify as war crimes and impeachable crimes against the US Constitution.


Ecuador (What the Hell Took So Long?) Stops Sending Troops to the School of the Americas

We have some exciting news to share with you! The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, his Minister of Defense and other high-ranking Ecuadoran officials met with members of the SOA Watch Delegation. We are delighted that we can inform you that earlier today, President Correa started the meeting at the Presidential Palace in Quito, Ecuador, by announcing that Ecuador will no longer send its soldiers to the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). This is a tremendous victory for the human rights community across the Americas!

The press in Latin America has already picked up the story. Click here for the coverage of the announcement in Spanish.

We are extremely happy about this new development that will give us additional momentum in our efforts to shut down the SOA for good and to end U.S. militarization in the Americas. Stay tuned for a detailed report back from the delegation and from the meeting with President Correa in the next couple days.

Let's celebrate the resistance to militarization in the Americas!

Alison, Becca, Hendrik, Lisa, Marlin, Nico, Pablo and Father Roy
The SOA Watch staff

Visit SOAW.org for updates from SOA Watch!

Canadian Watchdog clears troops, slams brass in Afghan torture case

From The Globe and Mail:

A military watchdog has rendered its long-awaited verdict on transfers of Canada’s battlefield prisoners to torture-prone jails in Afghanistan, saying eight soldiers can’t be held responsible because they were largely kept in the dark by senior Canadian Forces brass.

The Military Police Complaints Commission fought a losing battle with Defence Minister Peter MacKay and the rest of the Harper government as it tried to investigate allegations the military knew the detainees it turned over to Afghan officials would face abuse and mistreatment.

Mr. MacKay’s Conservatives battled the watchdog in court and succeeded in significantly limiting the scope of its investigation. The Defence Minister also refused to extend the term of the original chair of the commission so he could finish his probe.

We've come a long way from the Magna Carta to legalizing torture and "kill lists"!

Friday June 15, 2012, happened to be the 797th anniversary of the day certain feudal barons in England confronted King John and asked him to guarantee a "charter of liberties" which eventually became the Magna Carta. So it was an appropriate day in June 2012: Torture Awareness Month, to think about the legal issues that have emerged with Eric Holder's and other Obama lawyers' equating of "due process" with the latest CIA and Pentagon "baseball cards kill list". Passers-by marked the Magna Carta anniversary from 11 am to 1 pm outside the Federal Courthouse in Minneapolis by taking a look at our well-footnoted display of visual panels tracing this once-proud history and contemplating some of the hard legal questions that naturally arise.   

The ACLU has brought an active FOIA lawsuit seeking release of the recent Office of Legal Counsel memo that, according to Attorney General Holder, somehow gamely opines that "due process" can be any process that we do.  It does not have to be "judicial process" but can instead be a CIA or Pentagon Power-Point as long as it's carefully and secretly compiled and put on glossy baseball cards.  But some of us who didn't go to Harvard or Yale might question the soundness of this new-fangled targeted killing doctrine that seems to turn the Magna Carta on its head!

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/49024523/120611%20TORTURE-TIMELINE-COMPLETE-LARGE-FILE.pdf
 

Supreme Court OKs Torture on U.S. Soil (or anywhere else)

Or at least makes sure no one can be punished for it.  From Wired:

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court decision that said federal officials cannot be sued for damages for the torture of Americans on U.S. soil.

Without comment, the justices set aside a petition (.pdf) from Jose Padilla, the so-called “dirty bomber.” Padilla claims high-ranking Defense Department officials and others are liable for developing “the global detention and interrogation policies” that paved the way for his torture while he was secretly held without charges at a Navy brig in South Carolina for more than three years.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January ruled that the judiciary had no role in the matter.

Special factors do counsel judicial hesitation in implying causes of action for enemy combatants held in military detention. First, the Constitution delegates authority over military affairs to Congress and to the president as commander in chief. It contemplates no comparable role for the judiciary. Second, judicial review of military decisions would stray from the traditional subjects of judicial competence. Litigation of the sort proposed thus risks impingement on explicit constitutional assignments of responsibility to the coordinate branches of our government.

Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Padilla, said the high court’s move gives the government a blank check “to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison.”

National Week of Action Against Torture - June 2012

gitmo2012_protesters_at_whThe National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is joining with a national coalition of religious and human rights groups in a National Week of Action Against Torture, Guantanamo and the NDAA. Co-sponsoring organizations are listed below. 

Share this promotional video to encourage others to join us in June.

Friday, June 22: National Call-in Day to the White House & Congress

Saturday, June 23: National Tweet-in Day to the White House & Congress

Sunday, June 24: DC March Against Torture, Guantanamo & NDAA - Coalition Demonstration

tam2012_june24signup

Solidarity events being planned for Chicago and San Francisco (details TBA)

Tuesday, June 26: International Day in Support of Victims of Torture tam2012_registervigil

List of co-sponsoring organizations (as of 5/25/12):
Amnesty International
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Witness Against Torture

 America Come Home
American Civil Liberties Union

Anti-War.com
Bellevue/NYU Center for Survivors of Torture
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Center for Constitutional Rights
CODEPINK
Council on American Islamic Relations
Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
Liberty Coalition
Midwest Antiwar Mobilization
NC Stop Torture Now
Pax Christi USA
PEN American Center
Physicians for Human Rights
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Refuge Media Project
September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
United Nations Association - USA East Bay Chapter
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
WarIsACrime.org
War Criminals Watch
World Can't Wait

See the list of other NRCAT Torture Awareness Month activities

Victim of Torture and CIA Rendition Gets His First Day in Court — in Europe

By Jamil Dakwar, Director, Human Rights Program at ACLU
 

Tomorrow, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), Europe's top human rights court based in Strasbourg, France, will hear arguments in El-Masri v. "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." Tomorrow's hearing marks the first case to come before the court against a European nation for complicity in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program.

The case was brought against Macedonia by the Open Society Justice Initiative on behalf of Khaled El-Masri. El-Masri, a German citizen, who was abducted by Macedonian authorities at a border crossing in December 2003 and held incommunicado for 23 days. He was then handed over to CIA operatives who drugged, hooded, and strip-searched him before putting him on a secret flight to Afghanistan where he was secretly held, tortured and abused for about four months, only for the U.S. government to realize that they had the wrong person. Instead of acknowledging their mistake and sending him back to Germany with an apology, CIA operatives put El-Masri on another secret flight and dumped him on a hill in Albania, leaving him to make his own way home to Germany.

READ THE REST.

Gory Glory at Fordham Commencement (Be There, If You Can)

Honoring a ‘Terror War’ Architect

May 12, 2012

Editor Note: In this season of graduations – and the rush to bestow honorary degrees on the “great and powerful” – one ironic moment will play out at Fordham University, where Jesuits are giving top billing among its honorees to White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan, notes Fordham grad (and ex-CIA analyst) Ray McGovern.

 

By Ray McGovern

Bush & Associates Found Guilty of Torture

http://mathaba.net/news/?x=630404

 

So then Who in the Hell Are We?

 

By Dan De Walt

 

“This is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.” 

       -- Jeff Gearhart, Wall-Mart general counsel, on the firm’s Mexico bribery 

 

[Torture] “is not the norm.” 

       -- Mike Pannek, Abu Ghraib prison warden.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

       -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

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