Tag Archives | Torture

Abu Ghraib Victims to Pay Their Torturers | Heroes and Villains

Abby Martin calls out Judge Gerald Bruce Lee as the day’s villain, for ruling in favor of the defense contractor CACI International in a lawsuit brought by former Abu Ghraib torture victims, citing the two tiered justice of forcing torture victims to pay their torturers for legal fees.

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We Don’t Torture People

Psychologists for Social Responsibility is an independent, non-profit organization that applies psychological knowledge and expertise to promote peace, social justice, human rights, and sustainability. Members are psychologists, students, and other advocates for social change in the United States and around the world. Appalled by the torture program at Guantanamo Bay, they are appealing to other health care professionals to join them in signing a letter of protest addressed to President Obama (below).

One of the main signatories is Martha Davis, director of Doctors of the Dark Side, who has just released this video of actress Mercedes Ruehl and attorney Kristine Huskey in a reprise of ex-CIA Director George Tenet’s extraordinary argument about torture with Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes:

Dear Colleagues,

Attached and pasted below is a letter to President Obama that is being sponsored by Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR).

Because the hunger strike at Guantanamo is a medical emergency, and the result of intolerable delays in closing the detention facility, health care professionals and human rights advocates bring a special voice to this crisis.

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The Rapper Formerly Known As Mos Def Undergoes Force-Feeding In Protest Of Guantanamo

The pressure is being mounted on President Obama to take steps to end the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Wondering just how brutal force-feeding is? Yasiin Bey (better known as Mos Def) collaborated with the human rights organization Reprieve and filmmaker Asif Kapadia to document himself actually undergoing the procedure, in accordance with the standard operating guidelines found in leaked military documents. The resulting four-minute film is extremely disturbing:
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Guantanamo Bay Recommends Using Drug With Severe Neurological Effects On Detainees

Metoclopramide_ampuleAs if torturing the seemingly permanent detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were not bad enough, it has now been revealed by Al-Jazeera that an official manual recommends use of Reglan, a drug known to cause neurological disorders, to hunger striking detainees:

A new policy for force feeding hunger strikers at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay includes the recommended use of a controversial drug that may cause serious neurological disorders, including one that mimics Parkinson’s disease.

The UK-based human rights group, Reprieve, filed an incident report this week with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanding an immediate investigation into the use of the brain-altering drug, and asking the agency “to take all possible measures to prevent further use of metoclopramide in force-feeding at Guantanamo”.

Al Jazeera first documented the use of metoclopramide last month in an exclusive report about the government’s revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to deal with a massive hunger strike entering its fifth month.

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Three lectures for our time: Philip Zimbardo, Jacob Appelbaum, Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, and William Binney

via chycho

The following lectures by Philip Zimbardo, Jacob Appelbaum, Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Andrews Drake, and William Binney are well worth the time. They provide an excellent summery of what ails our society, as it relates to atrocities and privacy.

Journey From the Psychology of Evil to the Psychology of Heroism

Jacob Appelbaum 29C3 Keynote: Not My Department

29C3 Panel: Jesselyn Radack, Thomas Drake, William Binney on whistleblowing and surveillance


Q&A at: Enemies of the State [29C3]

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The President’s Hunger Strike

Still from "Doctors of the Dark Side"

Still from “Doctors of the Dark Side”

With 100 detainees on hunger strike, some near organ failure or death, the President and media have renewed talk of closing Guantanamo.   This is not the first time detainees have struck to protest their abuse and indefinite detention.   Some, like Ahmed Zuhair (detained without charge 2002-2008), spent years on hunger strike.   In 2005 officials used force and isolation to break the solidarity of the hunger strikers.  Then and now, the reactions of Guantanamo officials have been predictable.   What is different today is the resolve of the hungers strikers and the greater number of Americans sadder and wiser about administration spin on who the detainees are, how they are being treated, and what they deserve.

You wouldn’t know from media coverage of the 2005 hunger strike that there was a crisis in Guantanamo.  Judging from official comments just a few “bad apples” were causing the trouble, and the Command had everything under humane control.… Read the rest

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Is the Portrayal of Torture on TV Changing?

24-TV-Series-LogoAlyssa Rosenberg writes at ThinkProgress:

When Fox announced that it was bringing back 24, its serialized drama about counterterrorist federal agent Jack Bauer that finished its initial run in 2010, as a limited-episode special event in 2014, much of the commentary about the news focused on questions of structure, rather than content. Time Magazine television critic James Poniewozik argued that 24′s resurrection was part of an exciting move by Fox to make more limited series and more special events, a strategy that includes a shorter run for its serial killer hit The Following, a move that both was meant to accomodate star Kevin Bacon’s schedule and to ape the success of dark cable dramas with shorter runs, and an order of limited-run series Wayward Pines. Others saw it as part of Fox’s decision to walk away from a focus on female-focused comedies and return to an old, reliable—and male-centered—hit from its past.

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U.S. Military’s Guantanamo Bay Force Feeding Document Leaked

Screen Shot 2013-05-13 at 7.54.15 PMThe brutal force feeding of hunger striking Guantanamo Bay detainees by US medical personnel has been well described in the documentary Doctors of the Dark Side, but the vivid and gruesome procedures are now confirmed in an official US military document obtained by Al-Jazeera:

Hunger striking Guantanamo prisoners who are force-fed a liquid nutritional supplement undergo a brutal and dehumanising medical procedure that requires them to wear masks over their mouths while they sit shackled in a restraint chair for as long as two hours, according to documentation obtained by Al Jazeera. The prisoners remain this way, with a 61cm – or longer – tube snaked through their nostril until a chest X-ray, or a test dose of water, confirms it has reached their stomach.

At the end of the feeding, the prisoner is removed from the restraint chair and placed into a “dry cell” with no running water.

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“It is Indisputable that the United States Engaged in the Practice of Torture”

Still from "Doctors of the Dark Side"

Still from “Doctors of the Dark Side”

For those who have any doubt that the United States government has sanctioned the use of torture in recent years, Ritika Singh, a research assistant at the Brookings Institution, reports for Lawfare that,

The Constitution Project has released the results of its Task Force on Detainee Treatment in the form of this 577-page report—which concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that “the nation’s highest officials bear some responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of torture.”

The people who create and run the torture programs are oftentimes doctors, as depicted in the new documentary Doctors of the Dark Side.

Lawfare provides the Statement of the Task Force:

This report of The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment is the result of almost two years of intensive study, investigation and deliberation.

The project was undertaken with the belief that it was important to provide an accurate and authoritative account of how the United States treated people its forces held in custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist threat.

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Guantanamo Hunger Striker Tells His Story

SamirThis may be the most important report out of Gitmo ever. If it doesn’t cause Americans to seriously question the indefinite detention of prisoners without trial, what will? (Not to mention the brutal “medical” treatment at the hands of American doctors.) Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantánamo Bay since 2002, told this story to his lawyers at the legal charity Reprieve in an unclassified telephone call (in Arabic, translated to English):

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here.

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