Tag: Black Holes

Gitmo: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

cross posted at The Dream Antilles

This morning’s New York Times reports that Spain will investigate whether a previous government permitted Spanish territory to be used in transporting prisoners to Gitmo.  One thing is obvious.  Yes, Spain permitted its territory to be used to transport prisoners.

According to The Times

Spain will investigate whether a previous government allowed Spanish territory to be used to transport captured terrorism suspects to Guantanamo Bay, the Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry said in a statement it had not been informed whether the government of Jose Maria Aznar, in power from 1996 to 2004, allowed CIA flights carrying captured foreigners to use Spanish air space or runways.

The newspaper El Pais said in a report Sunday that it had obtained a government document showing that a U.S. official asked the Foreign Ministry for such access in January 2002. El Pais published the document — labeled MUY SECRETO, or top secret — in its paper and Web site editions.

The request was communicated to Josep Pique, who was foreign minister, hours before a CIA flight landed at Moron air base in southwest Spain, the El Pais report said.

Torture: “The Twentieth Hijacker’s” Case

AP reports that charges have been dropped against the alleged “Twentieth Hijacker”, Mohammed al-Qahtani:

The Pentagon has dropped charges against a Saudi at Guantanamo who was alleged to have been the so-called “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11 attacks, his U.S. military defense lawyer said Monday.

Mohammed al-Qahtani was one of six men charged by the military in February with murder and war crimes for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks. Authorities say al-Qahtani missed out on taking part in the attacks because he was denied entry to the U.S. by an immigration agent.

But in reviewing the case, the convening authority for military commissions, Susan Crawford, decided to dismiss the charges against al-Qahtani and proceed with the arraignment for the other five, said Army Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, the Saudi’s military lawyer.

The charges were dropped without prejudice, meaning that they could be reinstated.  al-Qahtani was to face the death penalty, along with five others, in trials before Military Commissions at Guantanamo.

Why were the charges dropped?  Because al-Qahtani had been tortured. Of course, Crawford did not say.  And his lawyer couldn’t comment yet.  

Officials previously said al-Qahtani had been subjected to a harsh interrogation authorized by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. /snip

U.S. authorities have acknowledged that Mohammed was subjected to waterboarding by CIA interrogators and that al-Qahtani was treated harshly at Guantanamo.

Al-Qahtani last fall recanted a confession he said he made after he was tortured and humiliated at Guantanamo.

The alleged torture, which he detailed in a written statement, included being beaten, restrained for long periods in uncomfortable positions, threatened with dogs, exposed to loud music and freezing temperatures and stripped nude in front of female personnel.

Department Of Irony: Lawlessness On Law Day

cross posted from The Dream Antilles

Today, May 1, 2008, in addition to everything else is Law Day in the United States:

Fifty years ago President Eisenhower proclaimed the first Law Day a “day of national dedication to the principle of government under law.” The ABA [the American Bar Association] invites you to celebrate this enduring principle during the 50th anniversary of Law Day.

Law Day 2008 will explore the meaning of the rule of law, fostering public understanding of the rule of law through discussion of its role in a free society.

The Rule of Law.  How interesting that the Bush Administration would today inform us that one of the functions of law is to keep certain laws secret from the public.  Don’t bang your head on the desk.  You read that properly.  On Law Day the Bush Administration announced that it could enact laws and keep them a secret from you.  That’s in your very own best interest, of course.

Join me in the Irony Corner.  

A Day Late And More Than A Dollar Short: The Torture Memo Inquiry

The New York Times today reports that Justice Department is going to investigate the Justice Department’s approval of the CIA’s use of waterboarding torture:

The Justice Department revealed Friday that its internal ethics office was investigating the department’s legal approval for waterboarding of Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency and was likely to make public an unclassified version of its report.

The disclosure by H. Marshall Jarrett, the head of the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, was the first official acknowledgment of an internal review of the legal memorandums the department has issued since 2002 that authorized waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods.

Mr. Jarrett’s report could become the first public accounting for legal advice that endorsed methods widely denounced as torture by human rights groups and legal authorities. His office can refer matters for criminal prosecution; legal experts said the most likely outcome was a public critique of the legal opinions on interrogation, noting that Mr. Jarrett had the power to reprimand or to seek the disbarment of current or former Justice Department lawyers.

You’ll pardon me, please, for not dancing in the streets.  “Waterboarding” shouldn’t be the focus of the inquiry.  The focus should be on torture in all of its forms and in all of the locations where it might be practiced (including Gitmo, Black Sites, Diego Garcia) and all of the agencies of the Governmetn and their contractors who might be using it.  And we don’t really need an “unclassified version of a report” about how torture was approved.  We need an end to torture. Period.  And we need criminal prosecution of all of those who approved it.

Some context, if you will:

*C.I.A. director Michael V. Hayden admitted a couple of weeks ago that the CIA used waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 on 3 prisoners but claimed that the CIA didn’t do that any more and that the legality of what it did was “uncertain.”

*Attorney General Mukasey refused to launch a criminal investigation of those who used torture waterboarding or of their superiors, because CIA employees couldn’t be prosecuted for things Justice had told them were legal.  Jarrett’s review focuses on the government lawyers who gave that advice.

*According to the Times, prosecutors and F.B.I. agents have launched a criminal investigation of the C.I.A.’s destruction in 2005 of videotapes of harsh interrogations torture and a week after Congress passed a ban on coercive interrogations, which President Bush has said he will veto.

According to the Times:

In a letter to two Democratic senators, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Mr. Jarrett wrote that the legal advice approving waterboarding was one subject of an investigation into “the circumstances surrounding the drafting” of a Justice legal memorandum dated Aug. 1, 2002.

The document declared that interrogation methods were not torture unless they produced pain equivalent to that produced by organ failure or death. The memorandum, drafted by a Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, and signed by Jay S. Bybee, then head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, was withdrawn in 2004.

Mr. Jarrett said the investigation was also covering “related” legal memorandums prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel since 2002. That suggested the investigation would address still-secret legal opinions written in 2005 by Steven G. Bradbury, then and now the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, that gave legal approval for waterboarding and other tough methods, even when used in combination.

We know about the Yoo and Bybee memoranda and how they were altered in 2004.  We know about the Bradbury opinions.  Doubtless there are others as well. Don’t we know that those reached barbaric, incorrect conclusions about the legality of torture?

Mr. Jarrett said his office was “examining whether the legal advice in these memoranda was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys.”

Doh.  We don’t need a further, public investigation of these opinions that might endanger prosecution of these individuals.  We need to prosecute them.  The public investigation is a day late and more than a dollar short.

Torture: Where In The World Is Diego Garcia?

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


A Map

Today UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband apologized to parliament.  He admitted that US “special rendition” illegal extradition flights had landed on British soil despite earlier assurances that they hadn’t.

Join me in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  

McTorture: It’s A Whopper

This is how republican politicians make nice to their torture loving base.  The New York Times reports:

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said President Bush should veto a measure that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

McCain voted against the bill, which would restrict the CIA to using only the 19 interrogation techniques listed in the Army field manual.

His vote was controversial because the manual prohibits waterboarding — a simulated drowning technique that McCain also opposes — yet McCain doesn’t want the CIA bound by the manual and its prohibitions.

Hmmm.  McCain voted against a measure– an inadequate measure imo because among the 19 permitted “techniques” are some that amount to torture– that would forbid any “innovations” not in the 19 listed techniques.  These “innovations” include waterboarding.  And how does McTorture explain the brilliant logic of that?

‘I knew I would be criticized for it,” McCain told reporters Wednesday in Ohio. ”I think I can show my record is clear. I said there should be additional techniques allowed to other agencies of government as long as they were not” torture.

”I was on the record as saying that they could use additional techniques as long as they were not cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment,” McCain said. ”So the vote was in keeping with my clear record of saying that they could have additional techniques, but those techniques could not violate international rules against torture.”

What, pray tell, are the magical, non-torture “additional techniques” beyond the 19 in the manual and waterboarding?  F*ck if I know.  Do you know?  Does anybody?  Are there such things?  You know what?  It doesn’t matter because this vote isn’t about the content of the bill.  No, it’s about rallying the Torquemadas around this candidate’s willingness to torture.

McTorture wants all of the little torture happy rethuglicans in the base to know that he’s the true successor to Flyboy McCodpiece and that he, too, will use “other techniques” (we cannot tell you what they are because that would give it away).  And just as W says that waterboarding isn’t torture, so too the undisclosed additional techniques aren’t torture, also. And how do we know that?  Because the US doesn’t torture.  Did he tell us that already?  

What slime.

Outsourcing Torture? It Depends.

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Torture At Abu Ghraib

It depends on what you mean by “outsourcing.”  If, like me, you’ve been assuming that “interrogations” of detainees prisoners at Guantanamo and the “black sites” were all being conducted only by CIA employees or uniformed armed forces personnel or at the very least US government employees, you’re probably making a mistake.  The facts seem to be that “interrogations” have frequently been conducted by “contractors” and not by government employees.  That’s right.  Arguments about what the CIA’s employees can and cannot do don’t directly address what contractors can do any more than US law determines how prisoners are to be interrogated after they are extraordinarily renditioned illegally extradited to other countries.

Follow me behind the facade.

More Lies About Torture In Guantanamo

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


This Is What Torture Looks Like

How gullible are we?  How much nonsense will we consider truthful?  How many lies and contradictions and just plain nonsense about torture do we need to be told before we say, “Basta ya!  Enough already!”  The photo clearly depicts the torture of detainees prisoners at Guantanamo: stress positions and sensory deprivation.  But today the WaPo reports that Bushco says its activities don’t really cross the line and aren’t quite torture.

Join me behind the razor wire.

Torture, Lies and Videotape At Gitmo

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Still Guantanamo

Every day it just gets worse.  Today (h/t to Smintheus at dKos), Prof Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University Law School (with assistance from many others) released a report (pdf format) on interrogations at Gitmo.  It’s a shocker.  Among other things it says that there have been 24,000 “interrogations” at Gitmo and that all of them have been videotaped.

Join me inside the wire.  

Contradictions About Torture

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


The Original Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy

This is really fascinating.  And short.  Whoever is playing Edgar Bergen has apparently temporarily lost control of his sockpuppet Charlie McCarthy.  The story is that the voices of Bushco apparently don’t agree today on the legality of waterboarding torture.

Join me on stage.

To Avoid Judicial Review, Executions At Gitmo

cross posted from The Dream Antilles


Guantanamo Detainee

Yesterday the US announced that 6 Gitmo detainees prisoners would face the death penalty after bogus  “trials” with unfair and untested procedures.  I wrote an essay explaining why this was an outrage and a disgrace.  Today, to my shock and surprise, I discovered an even greater outrage: that the US plans to conduct executions of these detainees prisoners at Gitmo so that the detainees prisoners will be denied any judicial review in the US Courts.  If yesterday’s news was dreadful, today’s is even more cynical and and even greater disgrace.

Join me behind the wire.

Show Trials: 6 Gitmo Detainees Face Death


A Gitmo Detainee

Let the Gitmo show “trials” begin.  Let the Bushites promote fear of “terrorism” in behalf of McCain.  Let those who have been waterboarded be convicted on statements they made under torture.  Let the US show the entire world that it’s mired in its barbarianism and that it will kill to advance a partisan political agenda.  Let yet another national disgrace unfold.

Join me across the wire.

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