You are hereTorture
Dennis Loo has the story.
The internment and severe interrogation of 13-year-old Omar Khadir at Guantanamo Bay raises serious ethical issues. His interrogators at the notorious camp have used snarling dogs against him. He was also placed in "stress positions," upended and used as a human mop to clean the floor. The U.S. forces were convinced he had thrown a grenade that killed an American soldier.
Omar Khadir, originally hailing from Canada, is one of the 19 Guantanamo prisoners charged with war crimes. His fellow prisoner, Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan, is a year younger. These two of the lot were juveniles at the time of their alleged offenses, it may be noted.
Note: This report is 3 months old, but is re-published for its' first hand account of US treatment of Iraqi detainees. ~Chip :)
This story was written in the early days of September, 2008; about the night that I encountered questionable treatment of Iraqi prisoners, while flying in a U.S. Army CH-47 helicopter from Fallujah, to Balad, Iraq.
I have delayed publishing it, but more revelations today about the authorized torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq by Bush Administration officials caused us to make the decision to release this.
Groups want Obama to investigate Bush for war crimes
But prosecution would be difficult
By Marissa Taylor | Freep.com | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
Emboldened by a Democratic win of the White House, civil libertarians and human-rights groups want the incoming Obama administration to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes. They don't just want low-level CIA interrogators, either. They want President George W. Bush on down.
In the past eight years, administration critics have demanded that top officials be held accountable for a host of expansive assertions of executive powers, from eavesdropping without warrants to detaining suspected enemy combatants indefinitely at the Guantánamo Bay military prison.
By Richard Norton-Taylor, The Guardian/UK
Lawyers for a British resident held at Guantánamo Bay have accused Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, of signing a "flagrantly false" affidavit to avoid having to disclose evidence of torture.
In a sworn affidavit to a district court in Washington, Gates says the US authorities have provided Binyam Mohamed's lawyers and the British government with all the information they possess relating to Mohamed's treatment while held in secret prisons. Gates declared his affidavit to be the truth "under penalty of perjury".
Bush shoe-thrower tells of ordeal
By Ernesto Londoño, Financial Times
Muntadar al-Zaidi, the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W. Bush of the US during a Baghdad press conference last week, spent his first days behind bars believing his family and colleagues would shun him, the man's brother said yesterday.
Those guarding the 29-year-old journalist at a detention centre in Baghdad's high security Green Zone forced him to watch a television channel run by Sunni extremists loyal to Saddam Hussein. They told him it was the only outlet in the world applauding his act, the journalist's brother, Oday al-Zaidi, said yesterday after being allowed to visit him on Sunday.
Prisoners can be tried in civilian courts with due process or freed to European nations offering to accept them. Watch this Michael Ratner video.
European nations consider taking Guantanamo detainees
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half dozen European countries are considering resettling detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a gesture to the incoming Obama administration, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
Citing senior European officials and U.S. diplomats, the newspaper said European officials have put out tentative feelers to President-elect Barack Obama's team. But Obama advisers said they could only discuss the issue after the January 20 inauguration.
Sen Durbin Questions AG Mukasey on Torture & War Crimes Prosecution
The Institute for Public Accountability issued this press release on Pardons and Accountability.
Parry, editor of ConsortiumNews.com, a reader-supported investigative webpage, has written a number of pieces about accountability for White House officials. He wrote: "During George W. Bush's presidency alone, language has been routinely twisted to justify everything from aggressive war to torture. Those two international crimes were turned into 'preventive war' and 'alternative interrogation techniques.'"
The Current Detainee Population of Guantánamo: An Empirical Study
By Benjamin Wittes and Zaahira Wyne | Brookings Institution
Introduction - The following report represents an effort both to document and to describe in as much detail as the public record will permit the current detainee population in American military custody at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba. Since the military brought the first detainees to Guantánamo in January 2002, the Pentagon has consistently refused to comprehensively identify those it holds. While it has, at various times, released information about individuals who have been detained at Guantánamo, it has always maintained ambiguity about the population of the facility at any given moment, declining even to specify precisely the number of detainees held at the base.
Rumsfeld's "authorisation of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody," the report said. The report added that Rumsfeld's authorisation of aggressive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay "was a direct cause of detainee abuse there."
By Coleen Rowley and Ray McGovern
"First, let's kill all the lawyers" may have made sense in that Shakespearian scene, but there is a far simpler solution to the legal ambiguities regarding what to do now about the torture approved by President George W. Bush. We suggest this variant: First, let's have the lawyers review their notes from Criminal Justice 101.
The professor whom Coleen Rowley had for that course at the University of Iowa was the consummate curmudgeon. He kept repeating himself. It is now clear why. The old fellow hammered home the basic purposes of the criminal justice system and the various kinds and degrees of criminal intent. For Rowley, 24 years as a FBI special agent and attorney helped make it all real.
By David Rose, Vanity Fair
George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn't work. Delving into two high-profile cases, the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse.
A bipartisan congressional report traces the U.S. abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib to President George W. Bush’s Feb. 7, 2002, action memorandum that excluded “war on terror” suspects from Geneva Convention protections.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s report said Bush’s memo opened the door to “considering aggressive techniques,” which were then developed with the complicity of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and other senior officials.
By Dave Lindorff
A month before he takes office, it has become the conventional wisdom in our conventional media that Barack “No Drama” Obama will not seek or even allow any prosecution of Bush administration officials for crimes committed over the past eight years—not even for authorizing and promoting the illegal use of torture on captives of America’s wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and “terror.”
I'll close down Guantanamo in two years, says Obama
By Paul Thompson, Evening Standard
BARACK Obama has said he plans to close the Guantanamo Bay detention centre and mark a "clear end" to torture in the US within two years of becoming president.
The president-elect told Time magazine he hopes to restore the balance between US security needs and the country's constitution.
In an interview with Time magazine, Mr Obama listed a series of benchmarks his team had set during his presidential campaign. Asked how voters would know whether his administration was succeeding in two years, he said: "On foreign policy, have we closed down Guantanamo in a responsible way, put a clear end to torture and restored a balance between the demands of our security and our constitution?"
An Algerian-born man who has just been freed from Guantanamo Bay has described the US "war on terror" camp as the worst place on Earth, in an interview published in a Bosnian newspaper.
"For almost seven years, I was at the end of the world, at the worst place in the world,'' Mustafa Ait Idir told the Dnevni Avaz a day after arriving back in his adopted homeland of Bosnia.
"It would have been hard even if I had done something wrong (but) it is much harder if one is totally innocent,'' he said.
Mr Idir, along with two other detainees released from Guantanamo, Mohamed Nechla and Hadji Boudella, arrived in Bosnia yesterday.
The three, who were held at Guantanamo for almost seven years, were the first inmates to have been released by the US administration of President George W. Bush under a judge's orders.
CIA Embedded in Every State Government
Our now legacy-conscious president made what should be his final surprise visit to Iraq this weekend, and lo and behold, left us with what I predict will be the defining moment of his presidency. As he was giving a talk side by side with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki, an Iraqi journalist named Muntazer al-Zaidi threw first one shoe, and then the other at the “leader of the free world.” As he did so, he shouted,
“It is the farewell kiss, you dog.”
Though both shoes missed the U.S. president—he ducked the first, and Maliki deflected the second—the report of the double insult rocketed around the world. For the reporter had not only called Iraq’s self-proclaimed liberator a “dog,” itself an insult, but threw his shoes in a culture where such an act is considered the ultimate insult. Or rather, the soles of shoes are the ultimate insult; after Saddam Hussein’s statue was torn down in Baghdad, some Iraqis slapped its severed head with the soles of their shoes.
President Bush, of course, was quick to dismiss the incident as bizarre and limited, saying “I don’t think you can take one guy throwing shoes and say, this represents a broad movement in Iraq.” But the damage has been done. Bush has taken the reputation of the United States to such abysmal depths that even a common reporter, one from a country we are told should be grateful for the sacrifice of U.S. lives and U.S. treasure, dares to hurl public insults at its most exalted figure.
AMMAN: A Jordan-based Iraqi rights group said on Monday it has filed 200 lawsuits against US former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and American security firms for their alleged role in torturing Iraqis.
Cheney says he had key role in interrogation methods
By Greg Miller, Baltimore Sun
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney said yesterday that he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA and that the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should remain open indefinitely.
Cheney's remarks on Guantanamo appear to put him at odds with President George W. Bush, who has expressed a desire to close the prison, though the decision is expected to be left to the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
Cheney's comments also mark the first time that he has acknowledged playing a central role in clearing the CIA's use of an array of controversial interrogation tactics, including a simulated drowning method known as "waterboarding."
Senate report links Bush to detainee homicides; media yawns
By Glenn Greenwald | Salon.com
The bipartisan Senate Armed Services Committee report issued on Thursday -- which documents that "former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other senior U.S. officials share much of the blame for detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba" and "that Rumsfeld's actions were 'a direct cause of detainee abuse' at Guantanamo and 'influenced and contributed to the use of abusive techniques ... in Afghanistan and Iraq'" -- raises an obvious and glaring question: how can it possibly be justified that the low-level Army personnel carrying out these policies at Abu Ghraib have been charged, convicted and imprisoned, while the high-level political officials and lawyers who directed and authorized these same policies remain free of any risk of prosecution? The culpability which the Report assigns for these war crimes is vast in scope and unambiguous:
In an exclusive interview Monday with ABC News, Vice President Dick Cheney issued an unapologetic defense of the Bush administration's anti-terror policies, including the use of waterboarding, and said the prison at Guantanamo Bay should remain open as long as there's a war on terror.
In his first exit interview and first television interview since the November election, Cheney held fast to his views on coercing information out of alleged terrorists, saying waterboarding was an appropriate means of getting information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Cheney was key in clearing CIA interrogation tactics
By Greg Miller | LATimes.com
The vice president says the use of waterboarding was appropriate and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should stay open until 'the end of the war on terror.'
Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he was directly involved in approving severe interrogation methods used by the CIA, and that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba should remain open indefinitely.
Cheney's remarks on Guantanamo appear to put him at odds with President Bush, who has expressed a desire to close the prison, although the decision is expected to be left to the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama.
High at the top of my wish list - the things I hope Barack Obama does immediately upon assuming the presidency - is mount an investigation into the Bush Administration's implementation and use of torture. We know from Congressional testimony, second hand accounts and exhaustive journalistic chronicles that torture was not, in fact, carried out by some out of control nightshift staffed with bad apples, It was orchestrated in a systematic, sanctioned program approved at the highest levels of our government. The recent news President-elect Obama intends to close Guantanamo is a hopeful sign that Mr. Obama will address, at least tangentially, the issue of war on terror detentions.
In August, Salon wrote about an Obama plan to investigate the Administration, should he be elected. Obama has said "If crimes have been committed, they should be investigated." Salon reported this week that Obama advisors are developing plans for investigating abuse during Bush's tenure.
By Michael Ratner & Jules Lobel
This article appeared in the December 15, 2008 edition of The Nation.
President-elect Obama should be applauded for reiterating his promise to close the prison camp at Guantánamo. It has been a national embarrassment and a symbol of everything the Bush administration has done wrong in the "war on terror": detention without charges or trial, torture, and the establishment of military commissions in which handpicked military judges, not civil courts, try people on the basis of coerced evidence and hearsay. Shutting it down is important. However, we do not know what will be done with the 255 prisoners still detained there. Most of them will probably be sent back to their home countries, or else given asylum if it seems likely that repatriation will result in torture.