It’s been about ten weeks since I fell and broke both wrists on August 18th. I am just now finally almost back to normal functioning. Whatever that means. While there has not been a whole lot going on in my visible outer world, there’s a lot going on in my own little mind. Still churning and brewing.

Meanwhile. August on, it’s been Health Care Insurance Not Reform farce and the rise of Grayson and lots of other fun stuff.

Guess what has been churning and brewing behind the MSM radar scenes in torture/justice news? I don’t know, somehow I quit paying attention. Thank goodness, the usual suspects did not.

First up, ACLU has this new video up. Go to their site to view it.

The men in this video were held at Guantanamo for years without charge and denied any meaningful opportunity to challenge the legality of their detention. But now they are finally free. This is their story.

(ACLU adds this note: “Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube’s privacy statement on their website and Google’s privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU’s privacy statement, click here.”

Beyond Yoo: Army Field Manual Allows Torture with Drugs

Adapted from original post at Firedoglake

Sometimes people can be too smart for their own good.

According to recent news stories (see Spencer Ackerman’s article in the Washington Independent), the Obama administration task force on interrogations is likely to recommend “small, mixed-agency teams for interviewing the most important terrorist targets.” Moreover, according to former Deputy Attorney General  and Intelligence Science Board member Philip Heymann:

… interrogators from across the military, CIA, and FBI, would be charged with creating a “syllabus” of best interrogation practices that fall within the boundaries of the U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogations, which complies with the Geneva Conventions.

CIA Crucified Prisoner In Abu Ghraib

from Sherwood Ross, June 28, 2009

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Forced to drop abuse charges or face indefinite detention

Please support Torture Awareness Day

Simulposted at Daily Kos


Medical reports corroborated the detainee’s account, stating that the detainee had a broken nose, fractured leg, and scars on his stomach. In addition, soldiers confirmed that Task Force 20 interrogators wearing civilian clothing had interrogated the detainee. However, after initially reporting the abuse, the detainee said that he was forced by an American soldier to sign a statement denouncing the claims or else be kept in detention indefinitely. He agreed.

    An investigator who reviewed the signed statement concluded that “[t]his statement, alone, is a prima facie indication of threats.” However, despite the medical report and testimony from other soldiers, the criminal file was ultimately closed on the grounds that the investigation had “failed to prove or disprove” the offenses.


    Does anything stand against the American concept of the rule of law more than this?

Torture News Roundup: U.S. Held al-Queda Torture Victim at Gitmo for 7 Years

Originally posted at Daily Kos

June 25 is Torture Accountability Day. At the close of this diary, you will learn how you can submit evidence of torture to the Department of Justice. You will also learn how you can help initiate a California State Bar investigation of Donald Rumsfeld's torture lawyer, William Haynes.

In today's TNR, we will cover breaking news on a Guantanamo detainee release, and ongoing revelations about the mysterious death of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi in a Libyan jail, a story first announced in the U.S. by Daily Kos Torture News Roundup on May 10, following a report by UK journalist Andy Worthington. Meanwhile, the long-awaited release of the CIA's Inspector General report on torture was delayed another week. Other revelations this past week include new information about a leading psychologist working for both the CIA and the Mitchell-Jessen torture firm; a British policy of covering up U.S. torture; ongoing political shenanigans over releasing hundreds of torture photos; human rights reports on torture centers in Zimbabwe; and more.

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Global War on Terror: How Long, at What Cost?

War Without End?

Is this Global War on Terror going to last forever? Has it already changed our nation from an historically defensive Athens to an offensive Sparta whose military looks everywhere for trouble and finds it? Who is calculating the cost-to-benefit ratio of sending Green Berets and other Special Operations troopers into remote corners of the world to assassinate suspected terrorists?

Ever since the Vietnam War, our presidents have ushered members of Congress into the grandstand where they can boo or cheer military decisions but not make them, despite what the Constitution says right there in Article 1, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to provide for the common defense.”

Philip Gourevitch sells transparency down the river.

I originally posted this here at the Great Orange Satan. I stated then and I will state now that my rights are not for sale. Now, Philip Gourevitch seeks to sell my right to know what is being done in my name down the river in the New York Times. I will repost here and then add a rebuttal to Mr. Gourevitch down below.

Crazed & Confused thinks that Obama was right not to release the torture photos. But he ignores the basic problems with Obama’s rationale — transparency is essential to a functioning democracy. It was the clear intent of the Founding Fathers that the government follow a policy of transparency — in fact, the Constitution requires that Congress publish a journal of its proceedings. If we do not have maximum transparency in our government, then how will we know if we are still a functioning democracy? How will we know if our elected officials are following the Constitution? This is the very sort of thing that Obama ran on. I suggest that he do what he was elected to do and provide more transparency in government by releasing these pictures.  

Jason Leopold Exclusive: “Army Documents Describe Prisoner Abuse Photos Obama is Withholding”

Barack Obama backflipped on his promise to make public photos depicting detainee abuse by U.S. personnel overseas, however one intrepid independent reporter has managed, digging through government files obtained through an ACLU FOIA request, to unearth detailed documents describing the photographs.

U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan took dozens of pictures of their colleagues pointing assault rifles and pistols at the heads and backs of hooded and bound detainees and another photograph showed two male soldiers and one female solider pointing a broom to one detainee “as if I was sticking the end of a broom stick into [his] rectum,” according to the female soldier’s account as told to an Army criminal investigator.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday he would not release these photographs, reversing a promise he made a month ago, fearing it would stoke anti-American sentiment and endanger U.S. troops.

I found the documents that describes the photographs on the website of the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU obtained the files, but not the photographs, in 2005 as part of the organization’s wide-ranging Freedom of information Act lawsuit against the federal government related to the Bush administration’s treatment of “war on terror” prisoners in U.S. custody.

Read the entire article at The Public Record…

To Clothe the Naked

(crossposted from orange)

(h/t to Lady Libertine, who got me thinking about this)

The ACLU fought and won the case to force the Department of Defense to make public by May 28, 2009 “photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel.”

There’s been a lot of pushback regarding the release of these photos.  I have no reason to believe otherwise, yet I wonder if those who are part of this pushback will succeed in keeping the pictures from being released.  Guess we’ll find out by May 28.

And when they are released, what will we do?  How are we to look at these pictures?  How can we prepare ourselves so that this is not just some sensational political event, but a somber confrontation of man’s inhumanity to man?

Released FBI Memo Documents Bush Ordering Torture (updated)

For the Soldier who fights for Truth, calls his enemy his brother. — William Blake

Jason Leopold had an amazing find when perusing a new released FBI document the ACLU posted on their site earlier this week. [Update: Leopold informs me that the document was released in Dec. 2004, but he caught the info while perusing the ACLU collection over these past months.]

Senior FBI agents stationed in Iraq in 2004 claimed in an e-mail that President George W. Bush signed an executive order approving the use of military dogs, sleep deprivation and other harsh tactics to intimidate Iraqi detainees.

The FBI e-mail — dated May 22, 2004 — followed disclosures about abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and sought guidance on whether FBI agents in Iraq were obligated to report the U.S. military’s harsh interrogation of inmates when that treatment violated FBI standards but fit within the guidelines of a presidential executive order.

Gitmo Attys Advise Panetta: Preserve Torture Evidence

My ex-wife has been representing a Guantanamo detainee for a few years now.  She took a case she couldn’t afford and has devoted a significant portion of her resources the last few years to seeking justice for a foreign stranger accused of committing terrorist acts.  The struggle has been difficult, because her opponent has been the richest, most powerful country in the world–the government of the United States of America.  Her inability to sleep well while someone tortured in her name is the reason I fell in love with her forty years ago.  We scarcely communicate, now that our wonderful children are grown, but we did exchange emails today.  The impersonal letter she forwarded to me, the subject of this diary, brought me to tears.  This diary is to share one small development in a long, difficult struggle being carried forward by a few Americans who stand up for human rights.

A step forward!

In an effort to derive some direction and a way forward to accountability, on March 20, 2009, Colleen Costello of the World Organization for Human Rights USA, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union, spoke before the Inter-American Commission Human Rights, in  Washington D.C.  The issue:  “Accountability for Violations of Human Rights in the United States.”

Colleen Costello laid forth the details of our torture, including the waterboarding of Sheik Khalid Mohamed, our detention systems, renditions, and secret prisons.

Michael Ratner spoke with passion concerning the many obstacles confronting our efforts to achieve accountability, including some of the “legal” ones put in place by the Bush Administration, such as the Military Commissions Act, a lack of habeas corpus and how all efforts, thus far, have been thwarted by the Obama administration.  That Sen. Leahy has called for a “truth commission” with immunity provisions, but would not lead necessarily to criminal prosecutions.  He spoke with a sense of urgency and there truly is one, in terms of the U.S. statute of limitations on torture, we have a window of one and half years to prosecute.  Moreover, Ratner pointed out that an Executive Order banning torture can easily be reversed by the next President and thus, accountability is the only conceivable way to assure that the U.S. is no longer a party to torture.  One of the panel members of the IACHR reminded Ratner that there was no statute of limitations on the torture in international terms.

Jamil Dakwar spoke concerning the difficulty in obtaining documents because of the “state secrecy” stance, and that they (the UCLA) were able to obtain some documentation through the Freedom of Information Act.

Also speaking was Lewis Amselem, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the Organization of American States (OAS).  He spoke about the immediate steps of President Obama to end torture, close down Guantanamo, close CIA prisons by his Executive Orders.  He went on and on about these accomplishments without really confronting the issue of accountability.  

A Sarah Paoletti, Division of the Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, also spoke briefly.

In the proceedings, and at the conclusion various members of the IACHR, i.e., Paulo Sergio Pinheiro, Commissioner of the CIDH, asked what the Commission could do.  Santiago A. Canton, Executive Secretary of the CIDH, spoke and asked that documents be produced to the Commission, as well as any cases that have been brought for trial on torture.

The entire video may be seen here.  It is about an hour long and very worth while seeing.  (Home)

Also, written complaints filed with the IACHR will be posted here.

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