- 5/21, Jason Leopold, Al Jazeera, Physician dismisses force-feeding concerns
- 5/21, Steve Horn and Chris Geovanis, TruthOut, Undercover: Police Officer Connected to “NATO 5″ Case Still Spying on Protest in Chicago Undercover: Police Officer Connected to “NATO 5″ Case Still Spying on Protest in Chicago
- 5/20, Raha Wala, The Hill, Help fight torture — release the CIA report
- 5/20, Eugene Robinson, Washington Post, Obama administration mistakes journalism for espionage
- 5/20, Tabassum Zakaria and Mark Hosenball, U.S. News and World Report, Pentagon to take over some CIA drone operations
- 5/20, Erin Lahman, PolicyMic, 5 Topics President Obama Won’t Dare Address Thursday When Discussing Drones
Posts Tagged ‘torture’
- 5/12, Richard Parker, New York Times, Pilotless Planes, Pacific Tensions
- 5/10, Marjorie Cohn, Huffington Post, Death is Preferable to Life at Obama’s Guantanamo
- 5/10, Jack Cloonan, The Hill, It’s time for the truth on ‘enhanced interrogation’
- 5/10, David Kravetz, Wired, Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform
- 5/8, VOAvideo, Voice of America News, Guantanamo Prison Hunger Strike Grows
5/8, Laurie Jo Reynolds and Stephen F. Eisenman , Creative Time Reports, TruthOut, Tamms Is Torture: The Campaign to Close an Illinois Supermax Prison
5/8, Scott Thistle, Bangor (ME) Daily News, Bill to allow police to use drones without search warrant heads to Maine Senate
5/7, Erin Durkin, Daily News (NY), On Muslim Surveillance, Bloomberg Questions Mayoral Candidates’ Intelligence
5/7, Charlie Savage, New York Times, U.S. Weighs Wide Overhaul of Wiretap Laws
5/7, Staff, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, After Boston, Little Change in Views of Islam and Violence
5/6, John Knefel, Rolling Stone Magazine, Everything You’ve Been Told About Radicalization Is Wrong
As the hunger strike at Guantánamo has widened to include all of the men held there, President Obama recently announced that he would renew a push on Congress to close the prison and examine his administrative options. However, the implication that Congress is preventing the closure of Guantánamo is at best disingenuous.
Obama has the power to transfer prisoners from Guantánamo right now. The president himself has placed a uniform ban on transferring any prisoners to Yemen, a collective punishment policy that he could reverse immediately. He could also release prisoners by issuing a certification through the Department of Defense and State that the administration has steps to assure the secure release and monitoring of the prisoners.
Moreover, President Obama’s seemingly newfound rhetorical opposition to indefinite detention runs counter to the policies of his administration. While he may have tried to move the prisoners to the United States, he still wanted them indefinitely detained, in violation of the Constitution and International Law. This has left even supporters of his detention policy befuddled.
The Guantánamo hunger strike can only be ended by the administration taking meaningful steps to close the prison. Those steps can begin immediately by releasing the 86 men who have been cleared for release by the government itself. The remaining men should either be given a speedy and fair trial or released as well.
The men at Guantánamo are resolute to peacefully protest through a hunger strike until they receive justice. One of them, Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi put it this way:
I do not want to kill myself. My religion prohibits suicide. But I will not eat or drink until I die, if necessary, to protest the injustice of this place. We want to get out of this place. It is as though this government wishes to smother us in this injustice, to kill us slowly here, indirectly, without trying us or executing us.
Currently, 21 of the men, including Mr. al-Alwi, are bring force-fed in violation of medical ethics. The force-feeding process is brutal, as was described by one prisoner in an New York Times op-ed and can constitute torture, if undertaken as a form of punishment.
As the hunger strike continues, people across the world are pushing for the closure of Guantánamo and an end to indefinite detention. A change.org petition started by a former Guantánamo prosecutor, calling for the prison’s closure, has gained over 100,000 signers in less that two days. From May 17-19, people of conscience will stand together to demand that President Obama close the United States’ forever prison.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum opened to the public this week, a great unveiling that has reignited the debate about the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques” (read: torture). One of the most controversial elements of the new museum is a video narrated by former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. The video explains that President Bush asked two “very important” questions in his decision to use torture in the post-9/11 “War on Terror”: was it legal? And was it necessary? When allegedly answered “yes” to both of these questions, President Bush proceeded in making detention and torture an instrumental part of his administration’s work.
The real surprise of the video, though, is in Rice’s suggestion that the United States was spared further terrorist attacks because of Bush’s detention and torture policies. Rice argues that, “The fact that we have not had a successful attack on our territory traces directly to those difficult decisions in a new kind of war after September 11th.” This is a dangerous allegation to make, and it underscores the need for our government to reconsider the effectiveness of detention and torture, a fight of which Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) has been at the forefront.
Udall correctly commented that the video in the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum “could potentially leave thousands of visitors to the library with the false impression that this wrongheaded program prevented terrorist attacks here in the United States.” Udall seeks to correct the record on the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation program and to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence more than 6,000 page report on that program.
Understanding the effectiveness of Bush’s detention and interrogation programs is particularly crucial as the U.S. now faces a new moral dilemma posed by the Obama administration’s drone programs and the new executive power to legally authorize the targeted killing of American citizens. To move forward without rectifying past misuses of executive power would likely make any hope of future executive accountability unattainable. In order to hold the Obama administration to a higher humanitarian standard and reject the executive power to assassinate American citizens, we must demand truth and accountability from past administrations as well. It is for this reason that Udall’s push to correct the record on the post-9/11 detention and interrogation programs and declassify the 6,000 plus page report is so crucial. You can support Senator Udall’s fight by signing BORDC’s petition to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report.
A coalition of religious leaders and human rights groups are protesting the possible promotion of a CIA official who was allegedly involved in the destruction of several videos showing US officials torturing detainees. The coalition against her promotion is led by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, and also includes the Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights Watch, Open Society Policy Center, and Physicians for Human Rights.
The group sent a letter to the CIA Director, John Brennan, calling on him not to promote anyone involved in torture “black sites,” or in the destruction of the torture tapes. The letter says, “Promoting such an individual would compound the existing impunity for torture, by suggesting that such actions are in fact rewarded.”
Although the name of the CIA official has not been made public, the Washington Post has reported a few things on her: she would be the first woman to lead the clandestine services area of the CIA, she is highly respected within the agency for her work, and she was a very strong advocate for the use of torture during interrogations after 9/11.
In 2002, this CIA operative helped run a “black site” in Thailand. It is widely acknowledged that the CIA was torturing detainees at these secret prisons. According to a report on US torture after 9/11 published by the Constitution Project, “many lower level troops believed ‘the gloves were off’ regarding treatment of prisoners.” At the CIA location in Thailand, 92 tapes of interrogation were recorded, reportedly including agents waterboarding a prisoner to the point of “screaming and vomiting.”
In 2004, a US court ordered the government to turn over or preserve all evidence in relation to its secret interrogation programs. In 2005, all 92 of the tapes were destroyed against court orders, allegedly at the request of this CIA official as well as CIA’s head of counterterrorism, Jose Rodriguez. The videos were destroyed the same month that Dana Priest wrote a exhaustive article about the CIA’s black sites, leading to increased public scrutiny of the practice.
This official is already acting as head of the clandestine operations, but John Brennan has hesitated in making her the permanent leader of that office. Clandestine operations oversees sending spies abroad and the CIA’s drone program, which has faced its own criticism lately over transparency.
Marc Thiessen, a former Bush administration official, wrote a defense of the agent, in which he worries that demoting this official could “send a chilling message through the ranks of the CIA…It would push the agency back into a risk-averse, pre-Sept 11, 2001, mindset.”
If the risks that the CIA is taking involves torturing people, then that is exactly the kind of message we should be sending. Depriving people of their rights from the Geneva Convention is not a “risk” we should ever be willing to take. So far, there has been no punishment for those involved in the destruction of the tapes. How can we hold the government accountable when they are destroying all of the evidence against themselves?
- 4/30, Noa Yachot, ACLU, Guantánamo Prisoner’s Memoirs Offer Rare First-Person Account of Torture
- 4/30, Editors, Slate, The Guantánamo Memoirs of Mohamedou Ould Slahi
- 4/30, David Cloud and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times, Obama renews call to close Guantanamo prison
- 4/29, Jerry Markon, Washington Post, As cyberthreats mount, hacker’s conviction underscores criticism of government overreach
- 4/29, Jason Liu, The Daily Californian, 10 protest on campus in support of Guantanamo Bay hunger strike
- 4/29, The Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 30 arrested in NY during rally against drones
- 4/29, Ryan Gallagher, Staten Island (NY) Advance, More surveillance is not the answer (Commentary)
- 4/28, Sen. Rand Paul, Wall Street Journal, Rand Paul Replies on Combatants
- 4/27, Niels Lesniewski, Roll Call, Biden Backs Public Disclosure of Torture Report
- 4/26, Alex Marthews, Warrantless, Drowning in Data, Starved for Wisdom: The surveillance state cannot meaningfully assess terrorism risks
- 4/26, Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post, White House backs off mandatory cybersecurity standards for companies
- 4/25, Editorial Board, New York Times, The Guantánamo Stain
- 4/25, Jason Koebler, U.S. News and World Report, ACLU: CISPA Is Dead (For Now)
- 4/25, Danny Yadron, Wall Street Journal, Warrant Needed To Access Email, Says Senate Judiciary Committee
- 4/25, John Hudson, Foreign Policy, At Bush library, Condoleezza Rice to defend enhanced interrogation practices
- 4/25, Max Fisher, Washington Post, Kafka at Gitmo: Why 86 prisoners are cleared for release but might never get it
- 4/25, Zack Whittaker, CNET, CISPA suffers setback in Senate citing privacy concerns
- 4/25, Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, Mayor Bloomberg Is a Surveillance-State Extremist, Not a Pragmatic Centrist
- 4/18, Editor, ThinkProgress, National Security Brief: Pressure Mounts On Obama To Investigate Torture
- 4/17, Kenneth Lipp, Philly Declaration, Military Contracting Giant Implicated in Iraq Prisoner Abuse Plays Major Role in Philly’s New Fusion Center
- 4/17, The Associated Press, Washington Post, Judge OKs delay in Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo over Pentagon data breach
- 4/17, Adam Serwer, Mother Jones, The Gitmo Hunger Strike May Be the Biggest Act of Civil Disobedience in the Camp’s History
- 4/17, James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, The Privilege of Not Belonging
- 4/17, Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post, CISPA critics bolstered by Obama veto threat
- 4/17, Editor, The Economist, From SOPA to CISPA