Tag Archives | Torture

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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Gitmo Prisoners Stage Violent Rebellion

GuantanamoThe unrest at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a/k/a Gitmo) that has seen brutal force feeding of hunger strikers exploded this weekend as detainees staged a rebellion armed with broomsticks and batons. From AP:

Months of increased tension at the Guantanamo Bay prison boiled over into a clash between guards and detainees Saturday as the military closed a communal section of the facility and moved its inmates into single cells.

The violence erupted during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a weekslong protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Prisoners fought guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles when troops arrived to move them out of a communal wing of the section of the prison known as Camp 6, said Navy Capt.

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Guantanamo Detainees Brutally Force Fed During Hunger Strike

Forced feeding (still from 'Doctors of the Dark Side')

Up to 130 of the 166 detainees left in Guantanamo are reported to be taking part in a hunger strike with at least 11 being force fed (see also this piece by Chris Hayes at MSNBC).

What is not widely reported is the brutal way that detainees have been force fed by the Guantanamo medical staff, a protocol that appears to be in use now.

As detainee lawyer Ramzi Kassen explains in Doctors of the Dark Side, detainees are strapped in a 5-point restraint chair–dubbed by some detainees the “torture” chair–and large tubes that may be left in for days are jammed down their noses without anesthesia or lubricants. When detainees resist the brutal procedure, they are forcibly extracted from their cells by soldiers in full riot gear at the direction of the medical staff.

Lawyers for the despairing detainees, of whom 86 were approved for release over two years ago, are very worried that their clients will die or be permanently injured in the hunger strike.… Read the rest

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Creating torture centers and death squads in Iraq: Allowing psychopaths to abuse and rape children in the United States

via chycho

For me, the most amazing aspect of our society is that we have not yet come to terms with the origin of the horrors that are visited upon us. How is it possible that we do not understand that there are consequences to our actions? That if we do not begin to hold psychopaths responsible for creating death and misery around the world in our name, then how can we hope to have a different fate from those who we have victimized?

I believe the following paint a pretty clear picture, that the old axiom, we reap what we sow, is not just some abstract proverb.

In Iraq

BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus – “A shocking new report by The Guardian and BBC Arabic details how the United States armed and trained Iraqi death squads that ran torture centers.… Read the rest

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The Mass Psychology of Torture

William Mason writes at Counterpunch:

Torture has its gradations: from the most extreme forms (such as waterboarding) to the most subtle expressions (such as passive-aggressive obstructionism in relationships).

In its most heinous forms, torture consists of confining a helpless victim, who is subjected to physical pain and torment, emotional abuse, and various other degrading humiliations.  Prohibited by both international and domestic laws, the torture of suspected “terrorists” is nonetheless now widely condoned by most American citizens (or so it seems).

A kind of  “torture-of-the-week” riveted the audience of the popular TV series 24.  The disturbing film Dark Zero Thirty rationalized and depicted graphic torture—and was praised by critics and the public alike.  Why, so many observers have asked, do Americans today tolerate (or even approve) of the illegal torture so routinely administered by their own government?

Of course, Americans have long been desensitized to violence.  Everyday life is in itself brutalizing to any humane sensibility.  The average U.S.

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Dick Cheney Admits He Lied In 9/11 Testimony

Dissecting the forthcoming Showtime documentary by RJ Cutler, The World According To Dick Cheney, Maureen Dowd points out the unrepentant admission by ex-VP Dick Cheney that he lied when giving testimony before the 9/11 Commission. From her column for the New York Times (read the whole thing for even more lies):

…Did he change, after the shock to his body of so many heart procedures and the shock to his mind of 9/11? Or was he the same person, patiently playing the courtier, once code-named “Backseat” by the Secret Service, until he found the perfect oblivious frontman who would allow him to unleash his harebrained, dictatorial impulses?

Talking to Cutler in his deep headmaster’s monotone, Cheney dispenses with the fig leaf of “we.” He no longer feigns deference to W., whom he now disdains for favoring Condi over him in the second term, and for not pardoning “Cheney’s Cheney,” Scooter Libby.

“I had a job to do,” he said…

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More Than 50 Countries Collaborated With CIA On Extraordinary Rendition Torture Program

Torturing: it brought the United States together with Iran, Syria, Libya, and Zimbabwe. Wired reports:

A new report from the Open Society Foundation details the CIA’s effort to outsource torture since 9/11. Known as “extraordinary rendition,” the practice concerns taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without a legal process and handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture.

The report found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition, and 54 countries were complicit in it. Some were official U.S. adversaries, like Iran and Syria, brought together with the CIA by the shared interest of combating terrorism.

The most famous case involves Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen snatched in 2002 by the U.S. at JFK Airport before the CIA sent him to Syria under the mistaken impression he was a terrorist. In Syrian custody, Arar was “imprisoned for more than ten months in a tiny grave-like cell, beaten with cables, and threatened with electric shocks by the Syrian government.”

The full 54 countries that aided in post-9/11 renditions: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

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Iraq Torture Payoff, Indigenous Fight Back, Truth Seekers Prosecuted, Free Cuban 5

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks about the threat against indigenous sovereignty and the growth of the Idle No More movement beyond Canada; calls out the corporate media for their obsession with supermodels and instead highlights a successful lawsuit against defense contractor L-3 Services for torture at Iraq’s infamous Abu Ghraib Prison; talks to whistleblower and lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, about recent developments in the cases of ex CIA official John Kiriakou, and PFC Bradley Manning; BTS wraps up the show with a look at the Cuban Five, a group of Cuban intelligence agents who have been incarcerated in the US since 1998 as the forgotten political prisoners of the Cold War.

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Obama’s CIA Pick Stinks of Torture, Targeted Killings

Peter Z. Scheer writes at Truthdig:

John Brennan has spent the last four years as President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser and the “architect” of the administration’s expansive drone assassination program. Some time before that, he was a deputy executive director of the CIA when that agency pioneered the use of extradition and torture under President George W. Bush.

Rather than use his electoral victory to shove a dove down the throat of the national security establishment, President Obama seems to be sticking it to the left, by nominating the intelligence veteran to head the CIA. Brennan was prevented from becoming CIA director in Obama’s last term because the former chief of staff to Bush’s CIA director George Tenet had the stink of torture about him. Now, he is the man most credited with an assassination program that features, among other things, a secret presidential kill list.

In his nomination announcement of Brennan, the president spoke of the intelligence officer’s many years of service, his travels in the Arabian Peninsula, and his acknowledgement that we are a nation of laws. Interesting.

Barack Obama via the White House:

There’s another reason I value John so much, and that is his integrity and his commitment to the values that define us as Americans. He has worked to embed our efforts in a strong legal framework. He understands we are a nation of laws. In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough question and he insists on high and rigorous standards. Time and again, he’s spoken to the American people about our counterterrorism policies because he recognizes we have a responsibility to be [as] open and transparent as possible.

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Judge Rules That Any Mention Of Torture In 9/11 Trial Will Be Classified

For its own good, the world can’t know what the CIA has or hasn’t done. Via the Christian Science Monitor:

In a significant victory for government prosecutors, the military judge presiding over the trial of accused 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has granted a government request to treat as classified any testimony or discussion about the alleged torture of Mr. Mohammed and others during CIA interrogations.

Off limits at the military commission trial at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay are any details surrounding the defendants’ capture, detention, and alleged torture by the CIA. It includes “the enhanced interrogation techniques that were applied to an accused … including descriptions of the techniques as applied, the duration, frequency, sequencing, and limitations of those techniques.”

Defense lawyers had challenged the government’s expansive assertion of authority to designate certain subjects as protected secrets in the case, saying it was improper for prosecutors to attempt to censor Mohammed and his four co-defendants from discussing their own personal observations of things they involuntarily endured during years of CIA detention and interrogations.

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