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Foreign Office Link to Torture Cover-up

Foreign Office link to torture cover-up
By Paul Harris and Mark Townsend | UK Guardian

Clive Stafford Smith, director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: "With each twist and turn, it becomes obvious that the US and the UK have to release this information."

The Foreign Office (FCO) solicited the letter from the US State Department that forced British judges to block the disclosure of CIA files documenting the torture of a British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, the Observer can reveal.

The letter said that the release of papers relating to Binyam Mohamed would damage future intelligence sharing between the two countries.

Greetings from Guantanamo Bay

Greetings from Guantanamo Bay
By The Talking Dog | The Moderate Voice

As “closing Guantanamo” looms as one of President Obama’s most visible campaign promises (backed up with executive orders to complete the task within a year), more and more snapshots emerge as to what has been happening in the little sliver of American society at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And in what was once a rarity, soldiers who have served there are now coming forward to tell their stories.

Ron Paul: What If? ... The American People Learn the Truth!

Ron Paul: What If? ... The American People Learn the Truth!

Statement of Congressman Ron Paul
February 12, 2009

Human Rights Organization Organizing Call-in Week Beginning February 17 to Urge Congress to Fully Investigate Past Abuses

Human Rights Organization Organizing Call-in Week Beginning February 17 to Urge Congress to Fully Investigate Past Abuses
Amnesty International Members to Urge Their U.S. Senators to Push for Accountability in the War on Terror

WASHINGTON - February 12 - Amnesty International members and other activists will be burning up the phone lines during the week of February 17 to urge their senators to fully investigate the U.S. government's abuses in the war on terror and hold accountable those responsible. The human rights organization is calling on President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress to create an independent and impartial commission to examine the use of torture, indefinite detention, secret renditions and other illegal U.S. counterterrorism policies.

Top Obama Aides Embrace Bush’s War on Terror Rhetoric and Enemy Combatant Policy

Top Obama Aides Embrace Bush’s War on Terror Rhetoric and Enemy Combatant Policy | Jonathan Turley | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

This has been a uniquely bad week for civil libertarians. The Obama Administration appears to be rushing to dispel any notions that Obama will fight for civil liberties or war crimes investigations. After Eric Holder allegedly assured a senator that there would be no war crimes investigation and seemed to defend Bush policies, Harvard Law Dean Elena Kagan, Obama’s Solicitor General nominee, reportedly told a Republican senator that the Administration agreed with Bush that we are “at war” and therefore can hold enemy combatants indefinitely. In the meantime, Obama himself seemed to tie himself in knots when asked about investigating war crimes and leading democrats are again pushing for a symbolic “truth commission.” I discussed these issues in this segment of Countdown this week.

Female FBI officer 'tortured Mumbai terror attacks suspect with sex'

A female FBI officer tortured a suspect in the Mumbai terrorist attacks by performing a sex act on him during interrogation, it has been claimed.

By Ben Leach, Telegraph

Fahim Ansari is accused of helping to plan the attacks in which 173 people were killed in November.

His lawyer, Ejaz Naqvi, has filed legal papers with Mumbai magistrate's court, claiming the "white woman" removed all his clothes and showed him pornographic films.

In the papers, he claims that three foreigners, including the woman, sexually abused him, causing him "severe itching and wounds" on his body, including his genitals.

Mr Ansari, a devout Muslim, claims this amounts to torture because it is against his religion, The Sun newspaper has reported.

CIA Torture Program Corrupted the Pentagon

Rights Groups Release Documents Obtained in FOIA Case Relating to Secret Detention, Extraordinary Rendition, and Torture Program

New Evidence of DOD Cooperation with CIA Ghost Detention Program

February 12, 2009, New York and Washington, DC-Documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit confirm Department of Defense involvement in the CIA's ghost detention program, revealed three prominent human rights groups today. The groups - Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) - today released documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and U.S. Department of State (DOS), resulting from their lawsuit seeking the disclosure of government documents that relate to secret detention, extraordinary rendition, and torture.

Bill to Stop Bogus "State Secrets" Claims Now Reintroduced in Both Houses

URGENT ACTION:
--Tell Justice Department Not to Coverup Torture With "State Secrets" Claim
--Support New Legislation Just Introduced in Both Houses

On Monday the new U.S. Justice Department urged a federal appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the extraordinary rendition program. Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were tortured. The Bush administration asserted the "state secrets" privilege, claiming the case would undermine national security. The Obama administration has now done the same, arguing that the president can block prosecutions at will because commissions can serve as a substitute.

Last Wednesday, Britain's High Court of Justice ruled evidence in the U.K. civil case of Binyam Mohamed, one of the plaintiffs in the Jeppesen case, must remain secret because of U.S. threats to cut off intelligence sharing. On Saturday Britain's Telegraph reported that "Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, 'is very far down the list of things they did'." On Sunday Britain's Daily Mail reported that Mohamed "was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a 'joke' website on how to build a nuclear weapon. ... [He] admitted to having read the 'instructions' after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail."

Please phone and Email Attorney General Eric Holder right now to ask him not to coverup torture and prevent prosecutions. Ask him instead to appoint a special prosecutor: 202-514-2001 AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

In the House and Senate, Congress members Nadler, Petri, Conyers, Delahunt, and Lofgren, and Senators Leahy, Specter, Feingold, McCaskill, Whitehouse and Kennedy have just reintroduced the State Secrets Protection Act, requiring court review of any "state secrets" claims. Ask your Congress member and senators to sign on and to encourage the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor: 202-224-3121.

Senator Russ Feingold has requested a classified briefing to explain the "state secrets" claim. Encourage him to pursue the matter and to encourage the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor: Feingold, (202) 224-5323.

Anti-torture group seeks to sway commissioners

By Andrew Kenney, The Herald

SMITHFIELD — North Carolina Stop Torture Now took its case to the Johnston County Board of Commissioners last week.

On Monday, about 25 members of the group held a vigil outside the courthouse. Later, they asked commissioners to end the county airport’s role in alleged “extraordinary rendition” flights by Aero Contractors Ltd.

Stop Torture Now claims that Aero Contractors flies terror suspects around the globe for torture and interrogation at CIA “black sites” and in Third World countries. The group asked commissioners to require the Johnston County Airport Authority to sign an anti-rendition-flight pledge. Under the pledge, the authority would bar the use of the airport for rendition flights and refer the matter to law enforcement.

Hearings on Torture Underway ... In the UK

Human rights committee calls Miliband and Smith for questioning over torture claims
By The Guardian

David Miliband has been asked to join Jacqui Smith in appearing before parliament's human rights committee amid growing concern that the government may have breached international law by colluding in the alleged torture of British citizens in Pakistan.

MPs and peers from the joint committee on human rights (JCHR) have also asked the attorney general, Lady Scotland, to explain by the end of next week what action she has taken to investigate allegations of "possible criminal wrongdoing by the intelligence and security service personnel" in Pakistan.

Newly Released Documents Show That U.S. Prisoners Were Killed By Torture Within Two Days of Rumsfeld's Authorization

Read this. NOW can we stop the damn "waterboarding" debate and talk about the sorts of torture primarily engaged in by our taxpayer funded murderers?

Tell the Media About Torture

By Katheryn Smith

a) Write the papers demanding full, untrunctated and unbiased coverage including about torture techniques making waterboarding look pale by comparison, also that more than 75% of detainees at Guantanamo are innocent (as you know, and that the ACLU states that it's about 99%)
b) Tell the papers that if they don't give this full coverage, we will not only pull the plug on our patronage, but will spread word on the internet, dial in to radio talk shows, etc
c) Spread the phrase "No Crime on My Dime" all around the country. As you know, word phrases work.

DC Events Tonight, 7 PM and Tomorrow in DC: Phyllis Bennis Speaks Tonight; Lincoln Memorial Action Tomorrow

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute For Policy Studies will be speaking at American University’s WARD HALL (Ward 1 – T Floor) tonight, February 11th at 7 PM.

Come to hear Phyllis, a leading peace advocate, talk about peace efforts with a new U.S. administration.

Sponsored by Witness Against Torture and American University’s Amnesty International chapter.

Thursday, February 12 - 8am
As part of the 100 Days Campaign, we have been holding a daily vigil from 11am-1pm, Monday thru Friday, at the White House.

On February 12 at 8 a.m, we will gather for a presence at the Lincoln Memorial. Every year since the Memorial was dedicated, dignitaries, diplomats, and citizens have assembled in the chamber to honor Abraham Lincoln on the day of his birth.

URGENT ACTION: Tell Justice Department Not to Coverup Torture With "State Secrets" Claim

On Monday the new U.S. Justice Department urged a federal appeals court to dismiss a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the extraordinary rendition program. Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were tortured. The Bush administration asserted the "state secrets" privilege, claiming the case would undermine national security. The Obama administration has now done the same.

Last Wednesday, Britain's High Court of Justice ruled evidence in the U.K. civil case of Binyam Mohamed, one of the plaintiffs in the Jeppesen case, must remain secret because of U.S. threats to cut off intelligence sharing. On Saturday Britain's Telegraph reported that "Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, 'is very far down the list of things they did'." On Sunday Britain's Daily Mail reported that Mohamed "was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a 'joke' website on how to build a nuclear weapon. ... [He] admitted to having read the 'instructions' after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail."

Please phone and Email Attorney General Eric Holder right now to ask him not to coverup torture: 202-514-2001 AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

Last year, Senators Edward Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, and Arlen Specter, introduced the State Secrets Protection Act, which would severely limit the use of the "state secrets" claim. Please call and ask them to reintroduce this bill right away:
Kennedy, 202-224-4543; Leahy, 202-224-4242; Specter, 202-224-4254.

In the House, Congress members Nadler, Petri, Conyers, Delahunt, and Lofgren have just reintroduced the State Secrets Protection Act. Ask your Congress member to sign on: 202-224-3121.

Senator Russ Feingold has requested a classified briefing to explain the "state secrets" claim. Encourage him to pursue the matter and to encourage the Attorney General to appoint a Special Prosecutor: Feingold, (202) 224-5323.

A Call to End All Renditions

By Marjorie Cohn, Jurist

Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian residing in Britain, said he was tortured after being sent to Morocco and Afghanistan in 2002 by the U.S. government. Mohamed was transferred to Guantánamo in 2004 and all terrorism charges against him were dismissed last year. Mohamed was a victim of extraordinary rendition, in which a person is abducted without any legal proceedings and transferred to a foreign country for detention and interrogation, often tortured.

Mohamed and four other plaintiffs are accusing Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. of flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured. In Mohamed’s case, two British justices accused the Bush administration of pressuring the British government to block the release of evidence that was “relevant to allegations of torture” of Mohamed.

D.C. Appeals Court to Rule on CACI and L-3 Complicity in Abu Ghraib Torture

From Center for Constitutional Rights

February 10, 2009, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, attorneys for torture victims abused in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in Iraq asked the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to affirm a lower court ruling letting the lawsuit proceed to trial against CACI International Inc. and overturn as premature the summary judgment granted to L-3.

The court heard arguments in Saleh v. CACI et al., the federal litigation brought by Iraqis against the publicly-traded companies, CACI International Inc. and L-3 over human rights abuses committed in Iraq.

Filed in June 2004, Saleh v. CACI et al. charged the companies with torture and other heinous and illegal acts while they provided interrogation and translation services, respectively, at detention facilities in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib.

Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on 'Extraordinary Rendition' Lawsuit

Obama Administration Maintains Bush Position on 'Extraordinary Rendition' Lawsuit
From Jake Tapper and Ariane de Vogue | ABCNews.com | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com

The Obama Administration today announced that it would keep the same position as the Bush Administration in the lawsuit Mohamed et al v Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc.

The case involves five men who claim to have been victims of extraordinary rendition -- including current Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, another plaintiff in jail in Egypt, one in jail in Morocco, and two now free. They sued a San Jose Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, accusing the flight-planning company of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and secret CIA camps where they were tortured.

Sen. Leahy's and Rep. Conyers' Truth Commission Could Work but...

By Dave Lindorff

The similar calls by Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and House Judiciary Chair Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the crimes of the Bush/Cheney administration are potentially a terrible idea, but one that could turn out to be an excellent one, if handled correctly.

It would be a terrible idea if a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was just another 9-11-type body. That commission turned out to be worse than nothing, given that it was manipulated by the Bush administration to be toothless and that it ended up covering up more than it uncovered. Aside from the behind the scenes manipulation, the biggest problem with the 9-11 commission, though, was that is was not linked to any attempt to prosecute official wrong-doing.

Justice Department Stands Behind Bush Secrecy In Extraordinary Rendition Case

aclu.org

NEW YORK – The Justice Department today repeated Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in the extraordinary rendition program. Mohamed et al. v. Jeppesen was brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were interrogated under torture. The Bush administration intervened in the case, inappropriately asserting the "state secrets" privilege and claiming the case would undermine national security. Oral arguments were presented today in the American Civil Liberties Union's appeal of the dismissal, and the Obama administration opted not to change the government position in the case, instead reasserting that the entire subject matter of the case is a state secret.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU:

Abandoning Torture But What About War?

By David Swanson

If we can move beyond torture, do we not have a responsibility also to think for a moment about the obvious fact that torture is not the cruelest thing we do? Torture offends us, in part, because the torturer is not at risk, but neither are most pilots dropping bombs. And how exactly does the risk taken by ground troops mitigate the suffering of those they wound, kill, and terrorize? Hanging someone by the wrists offends us, and yet we might rather have it done to us than be kept in 23-hours-a-day isolation for a decade, a practice that is part of our accepted justice system. Clearly our morality is a scrambled hodge-podge of reactions that could use some improvement.

Top US Lawyer Warns of Deaths at Guantánamo

Top US lawyer warns of deaths at Guantánamo
By Mark Townsend and Paul Harris | Guardian UK

Lieutenant-Colonel Yvonne Bradley, an American military lawyer, will step through the grand entrance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London tomorrow and demand the release of her client - a British resident who claims he was repeatedly tortured at the behest of US intelligence officials - from Guantánamo Bay. Bradley will also request the disclosure of 42 secret documents that allegedly chronicle not only how Binyam Mohamed was tortured, but may also corroborate claims that Britain was complicit in his treatment.

Panetta: No prosecution for CIA interrogators

By PAMELA HESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will not prosecute CIA officers who participated in harsh interrogations that critics say crossed the line into torture, CIA Director-nominee Leon Panetta said Friday.

Asked by The Associated Press if that was official policy, Panetta said, "That is the case."

It was the clearest statement yet on what Panetta and other Democratic officials had only strongly suggested: CIA officers who acted on legal orders from the Bush administration would not be held responsible for those policies. On Thursday, he told senators that the Obama administration had no intention of seeking prosecutions for that reason.

Panetta, in an interview with the AP after a second day of confirmation hearings with the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that he arrived at that conclusion even before he began meeting with CIA officials.

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Cheney Doing the Work of Terrorists

Keith Olbermann Special Comment: Cheney Doing the Work of Terrorists

10:53 mins.

Despite Celebrated Orders Closing Gitmo and Banning Torture, Has Obama Kept Rendition Intact?

When President Obama signed executive orders to end torture and shut down Guantanamo, did he leave open the controversial rendition policy of kidnapping foreigners abroad? We host a debate between human rights attorneys Michael Ratner and Scott Horton.

Listen/Watch/Read.

Obama Supports Bush Secrecy About U.S.-Sponsored Torture

Obama Supports Bush Secrecy About U.S.-Sponsored Torture
By Daphne Eviatar | Washington Independent

The Obama administration may have just failed the first big test of its promises to end unwarranted government secrecy.

According to a decision issued Wednesday by the High Court in Great Britain, the court will not publish its summary of the alleged torture of Guantanamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed because the U.S. government threatened to end intelligence cooperation with the British if it did.

Mohamed, a lawful U.K. resident, claims he was seized by U.S. agents in Pakistan and tortured before being “extraordinarily rendered” to Morocco to be tortured some more.

Evidence of Torture 'Buried by Ministers'

Evidence of torture 'buried by ministers'
Judges condemn secrecy over files detailing treatment of suspect by CIA
Richard Norton-Taylor | The Guardian

Clive Stafford Smith, director of Reprieve, the legal charity and human rights group which acted for Mohamed, said last night: "The US is under a legal duty to investigate the crime of torture, not to suppress evidence that it happened ... For the foreign secretary to give in to these illegal demands by the Bush administration is capitulation to blackmail, pure and simple."

The government was accused last night of hiding behind claims of a threat to national security to suppress evidence of torture by the CIA on a prisoner still held in Guantánamo Bay.

An unprecedented high court ruling yesterday blamed the US, with British connivance, for keeping the "powerful evidence" secret, sparking criticism from lawyers, campaigners and MPs, who claimed the government had capitulated to American bullying.

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