Tag Archives | Torture

U.S. Senate Releases ‘Torture’ Report

The much anticipated United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s so-called torture report has finally been released after six years (or more accurately, they released a 500-page declassified summary of a 6,200-page report). It’s available as a PDF here. Dissections by critics are all across the media and largely follow political party lines. Disinfonauts should review it for themselves.

torture report

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CIA Won’t Defend Its Torturers

The CIA’s torture program has been well documented in the media and in films like Doctors of the Dark Side, so the only likely surprise when the Senate Intelligence Committee releases it’s expected “torture report” is that the CIA won’t defend itself too vigorously. Story from Daily Beast:

There may have been bourbon punch and festive lights at the CIA’s holiday party Friday night, but a frosty gloom hung in the air.

As everyone in the agency’s Langley, Va., headquarters knew, the long-awaited “torture report” from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Democrats was set to drop early the next week, perhaps as soon as Monday morning. It seemed a rather awkward time for a party.

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The CIA’s response to the report will be muted. The agency will neither defend the so-called rendition, detention, and interrogation programs. Nor will the CIA disavow those controversial efforts entirely. According to current and former officials familiar with the higher-ups’ thinking, CIA Director John Brennan is likely to keep his powder dry and essentially agree to disagree with the agency’s critics.

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Is Obama Covering Up the Scope of CIA Torture?

Central_Intelligence_Agency_logoJon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

“The public has to know about it. They don’t want the public to know about it.”

That’s what Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told the Huffington Post on Thursday night regarding continued White House stalling over release of a report that catalogs the internal investigation of CIA torture during the Bush years. The comments followed a close-door meeting between Senate Democrats and Obama administration officials that took place just hours before the president gave a much-anticipated speech on another subject, immigration reform.

Rockefeller said the torture report is “being slow-walked to death” by the administration and told the HuffPost, “They’re doing everything they can not to release it.”

“[The report] makes a lot of people who did really bad things look really bad,” Rockefeller continued, “which is the only way not to repeat those mistakes in the future.”

Though the report has been completed for many months, the members of the Senate Intelligence committee have been fighting with the White House, which allowed CIA officials to review its findings, over the scope of redactions to the report’s summary before it’s made public.

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American Psychological Association Investigates Role Psychologists Played in US Torture Program

On Friday, The Intercept reported that the American Psychological Association (APA) is launching an independent investigation into the role that psychologists (and its members) played in the U.S. torture program under the Bush administration. The role of doctors and clinical psychologists is not new to the awareness of the public, the administration or the APA. The question, really, is “what took so long?” for the self-regulated organization to open their own eyes to the activities of its members and the psychology community at large.

via The Intercept:

The top professional organization for psychologists is launching an independent investigation over how it may have sanctioned the brutal interrogation methods used against terror suspects by the Bush administration. The American Psychological Association announced this week that it has tapped an unaffiliated lawyer, David Hoffman, to lead the review.

In 2002, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its code of ethics to allow practitioners to follow the “governing legal authority” in situations that seemed at odds with their duties as health professionals. Many argue that the revision, as well as a task force report in 2005 that affirmed that the code allowed psychologists to participate in national security interrogations, gave the Bush administration critical legal cover for torture.

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An Innocent Man, Tortured by the US, Asks the UN: Where’s the Accountability?

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay via Wikimedia Commons.

Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay via Wikimedia Commons.

via The Intercept:

U.S. officials are in for a serious grilling on Wednesday as they get hauled before the U.N. Committee against Torture and questioned about about a multitude of ways in which the U.S. appears to be failing to comply with the anti-torture treaty it ratified 20 years ago.

As Jamil Dakwar, director of the ACLU Human Rights Program noted on Monday:

This marks the first U.N. review of the United States’ torture record since President Obama took office in 2009, and much is at stake. The review will test the pledges President Obama made to reverse disastrous Bush-era policies that led to gross violations of human rights, like torture, secret and incommunicado detention, “extraordinary renditions,” unfair trials, and more. It is also likely to examine practices that emerged or became entrenched during Obama’s time in office, such as indefinite detention at Guantánamo, immigration detention and deportations, and the militarization of the police, as witnessed by the world during this summer’s events in Ferguson.

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Burma: Body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing found with possible evidence of torture

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via Front Line Defenders:

On 5 November 2014, during the exhumation of the body of human rights journalist Mr Aung Kyaw Naing, witnesses observed clear signs of torture which are believed to have been committed by the Burmese military forces during the time the journalist was held in incommunicado detention. He was later killed on 4 October 2014.

Aung Kyaw Naing, a freelance journalist from the city of Rangoon, regularly reported on human rights and ethnic issues along the Burma-Thai border and was a contributor for several local media groups, includingThe Voice, Eleven Media, and Yangon Times. On 30 September 2014 he was detained by governmental military forces in the Kyaikmayaw Township of Mon State, south-eastern Burma, when he returned there from insurgent-controlled territory. Prior to his detention the journalist was covering armed clashes in a region between Karen ethnic insurgents and the Burmese state army.

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Obama’s Support of Torture

Norman Pollack writes at CounterPunch:

And we thought the cold-blooded planning and execution of armed drone assassination vitiated any claim to moral character, a POTUS swaggering around on Air Force One methodically using drones and air power to destroy civilian targets and, as in the recent attacks on UN schools/shelters in Gaza, countenance—if not encourage-the same among friends and allies (Israel), now it is revealed by Charlie Savage of the New York Times, in an article, “Obama Could Reaffirm a Bush-Era Reading of a Treaty on Torture,” (Oct. 19), that our Nobelist Warrior is exquisitely parsing international treaties to allow for US TORTURE abroad, so long as not on the Homeland. Whether the program of torture or the rationale for its authorization is the greater Evil I leave to the professional philosophers to determine. But from here, America’s vanguard role, already the purveyor of global counterrevolution by all means possible, in this latest chapter of structural-political sadism, smells to high heavens.

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Guantanamo Force-Feeding Trial is a Breakthrough

Interrogation still 2Accountability for those responsible for the post 9/11 US torture program is a very slow process, but a new federal trial is a major step forward.

Judge Gladys Kessler of the DC District Court is hearing a case brought by Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab and his lawyers against the very brutal method of force feeding used on the hunger strikers. Mr. Dhiab has been on hunger strike for over six years and was cleared for release in 2009, but is still in Guantanamo.

The case is about the method itself. Riot squads violently “extract” the detainee from his cell, strap him in a chair with five-point restraints and insert the tube in especially painful ways. (This procedure was shown in Doctors of the Dark Side with a description by a lawyer who succeeded in getting a more humane force feeding method for his client in a 2008 case.)

Judge Kessler recently ruled that videotapes of the force feeding procedure must be made public.… Read the rest

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