Tag Archives | Torture

Inside The Fortress Of Egypt’s State Security Service

201136184312777150_20In the aftermath of Mubarak’s downfall, Egyptian protesters stormed the headquarters of the feared-and-hated state security service, exposing what lay hidden inside: mountains-worth of shredded documents, endless surveillance footage of ordinary citizens, horrific torture devices, never-seen sex tapes of Arab royalty, and “a closet full of belly-dancing outfits” likely used for psychological torture. Al Jazeera has the story:

The protesters who stormed the offices of Egyptian state security this weekend say the buildings are proof of “the greatest privacy invasion in history”, filled with transcripts of phone conversations, surveillance reports and stark reminders of the torture carried out inside.

Hundreds of protesters seized the state security building – a prominent symbol of the Egyptian government’s brutality – after hours of protests in 6th of October City on Saturday night. The takeover was the climax of several days of protests outside other state security buildings.

One photo from inside the state security building showed a room full of shredded papers, the pile reaching almost to the ceiling.

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Egyptian Google Exec Released After Unlawful Arrest

Photo: Jerry Jackson

Photo: Jerry Jackson (CC)

After Amnesty raised concerns that the Egyptian executive of Google was being held without reason, he was released today, 10 days after his disappearance. CNN reports:

Google executive Wael Ghonim was released Monday in Egypt, the company announced.

“Huge relief — Wael Ghonim has been released. Our love to him and his family,” the company tweeted shortly after 8 p.m. in Cairo (1 p.m. ET).

Ghonim’s Twitter account, which had not had a posting since he went missing January 28, carried a tweet around the same time.

“Freedom is a bless (sic) that deserves fighting for it,” the tweet said, ending with the hashtag “#Jan25,” a reference to the Egypt protests.

Minutes later, Ghonim added this tweet: “Gave my 2 cents to Dr. Hosam Badrawy. who was reason why I am out today. Asked him resign cause that’s the only way I’ll respect him.”

Hossam Badrawi, often described as a relatively liberal politician, was recently elevated to become secretary general of the ruling National Democratic Party.

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“Baby Doc” Duvalier Questioned By Haiti’s Authorities

1AIt didn’t take long after his arrival before “Baby Doc” Duvalier was questioned about his crimes. BBC News reports:

Former Haitian leader Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has been questioned by judicial officials and was later led out of his hotel by police.

He was questioned over claims he stole from the country’s treasury. It is not clear whether he has been arrested.

Haiti’s chief prosecutor and a judge were seen arriving at his hotel in Port-au-Prince earlier on Tuesday.

Mr Duvalier, who ruled the country for 15 years before being ousted in 1986, made a surprise return to Haiti Sunday.

“He will be questioned and he will remain at the disposal of the judicial system,” a senior government official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters news agency earlier.

[Continues at BBC News]… Read the rest

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UN Torture Office Probes Treatment of Bradley Manning

manningAl Jazeera reports:

The United Nations is looking into a complaint on behalf of a US soldier who is said to have been mistreated while held since May in US army custody pending trial.

Bradley Manning, an army private suspected of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website, is being held in solitary confinement at a Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, and faces a court martial sometime in 2011.

The office of Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture in Geneva, received a complaint from one of Manning’s supporters alleging conditions amount to torture. Visitors say he spends at least 23 hours a day alone in a cell.

The UN could ask the US to stop any violations it finds. However, the Pentagon has denied mistreating Manning.

A Marine Corps spokesman says the military is keeping Manning safe, secure and ready for trial.

Political prisoner?

Manning was charged in July with leaking classified material, including a video posted by WikiLeaks of a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed a Reuters news photographer and his driver.

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Arguments Against The Police State at Guantanamo Bay

[disinformation ed.'s note: The Washington Post reports that "Obama administration officials are drafting an executive order that would set up a review process for detainees held indefinitely at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." In a region where both American and Cuban law ceases to exist, does this order follow the procedures set forth in President Obama's May 2009 speech about detainees who would be held indefinitely at that military prison? With that in mind, we thought we'd remind our readers of Russ Kick's "12 Arguments Against the Police State at Guantanamo Bay" in his Book of Lists: Subversive Facts and Hidden Information in Rapid-Fire Format (2004)]:
GB

The 660 or so people being held at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have never been tried or even charged with crimes. They can be held for the rest of their lives at the whim of the government, and the military has floated the possibility of executing some of them. In an effort to remedy this disgraceful destruction of rights and the law, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a petition seeking habeas corpus, which would force the government to Constitutionally process the prisoners (i.e., quick and speedy trials, jury of peers, right to confront accusers, etc.).

A district court refused, buying the feds’ ridiculous argument that because the US military base is located on the island of Cuba, it isn’t subject to US law, though it also is most definitely not subject to Cuban law. Following this line of argument, no law applies there, making it an autonomous zone, as devised by Hakim Bey, or an interzone, from the works of William Burroughs. I’m sure that the men and women stationed at Guantanamo Bay would be surprised to know that they can apparently steal, rape, and kill with impunity. Go ahead, snort coke off your commanding officer’s desk. It’s all right, because US law doesn’t apply…

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The Red Cross Briefed the U.S. on India’s Use of Torture in Kashmir

Red CrossThe AFP reports, via CommonDreams:

The International Committee of the Red Cross provided US diplomats in 2005 with evidence of the systematic use of torture by Indian security forces in Kashmir, leaked US diplomatic cables revealed Friday.

In a confidential briefing, the ICRC told the diplomats of 177 visits it had made to detention centres in Indian Kashmir that revealed “stable trend lines” of prisoner abuses, according to the cables released by website WikiLeaks.

Techniques included electric shock treatment, sexual and water torture and nearly 300 cases of “roller” abuse in which a round metal object is placed on the thighs of a sitting detainee and then sat on by guards to crush the muscles.

The ICRC said it had been “forced to conclude that the (Indian government) condones torture,” the cables said.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused India of abuses in Muslim-majority Indian Kashmir, where it has been fighting an armed separatist insurgency for more than 20 years.

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Italian Court Ups Sentences for 23 CIA Agents

Italy Kicks the CIAThe AFP reports, via Yahoo! News:

An Italian court on Wednesday upped the sentences for 23 CIA agents convicted in absentia of abducting an Egyptian imam in one of the biggest cases against the US “extraordinary rendition” program.

The 23 CIA agents, originally sentenced in November 2009 to five to eight years in prison, had their sentences increased to seven to nine years on appeal in what one of the defence lawyers described as a “shocking blow” for the US.

They were also ordered to pay 1.5 million euros (2.0 million dollars) in damages to the imam and his wife for the 2003 abduction.

Washington has refused to extradite the agents, who all remain at liberty but now risk arrest if they travel to Europe.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, a radical Islamist opposition figure better known as Abu Omar, was snatched from a street in Milan in 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and the Italian military intelligence agency SISMI.

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WikiLeaker Bradley Manning’s Brutal Detention

manningHere’s what America has in store whistle-blowers — Despite not being charged with a crime, 22-year-old Army private and alleged WikiLeaker Bradley Manning has spent the past seventh months imprisoned under some of the most extreme, brutal conditions possible: total isolation for 23 hours a day, every day, while being dosed with antidepressants to prevent his mind from snapping. Salon takes a look at Bradley’s background and his current fate, which it says is undoubtedly torture:

Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.

Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt.

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WikiLeaks Revelation: The U.S. Tortured an Innocent Man and Threatened Germany to Not Prosecute the Torturers

While the U.S. media simultaneously wrings its hands over whether Julian Assange should get life imprisonment or the death penalty and claims WikiLeaks revealed nothing important except about Iran’s WMD ambitions, Scott Horton reports at Harper’s:

Over the Christmas-New Year’s holiday in 2003, Khaled El-Masri traveled by bus to Skopje, Macedonia. There he was apprehended by border guards who noted the similarity of his name to that of Khalid al-Masri, an Al Qaeda agent linked to the Hamburg cell where the 9/11 attacks were plotted. Despite El-Masri’s protests that he was not al-Masri, he was beaten, stripped naked, shot full of drugs, given an enema and a diaper, and flown first to Baghdad and then to the notorious “salt pit,” the CIA’s secret interrogation facility in Afghanistan.

At the salt pit, he was repeatedly beaten, drugged, and subjected to a strange food regime that he supposed was part of an experiment that his captors were performing on him. Throughout this time, El-Masri insisted that he had been falsely imprisoned, and the CIA slowly established that he was who he claimed to be. Over many further weeks of bickering over what to do, a number of CIA figures apparently argued that, though innocent, the best course was to continue to hold him incommunicado because he “knew too much.”…

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WikiLeaks Revelation: The U.S. State Department Obstructed Spanish Torture Investigations

Coat of Arms of SpainMore from Scott Horton at Harper’s:

In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now. The reporting has been led by the level-headed El País, with its nationwide competitor, Público, lagging only a bit behind. Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional: the investigation into the 2003 death of a Spanish cameraman, José Cuoso, as a result of the mistaken shelling of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel by a U.S. tank; an investigation into the torture of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo; and a probe into the use of Spanish bases and airfields for extraordinary renditions flights, including the one which took Khaled El-Masri to Baghdad and then on to Afghanistan in 2003.

These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations. High-ranking U.S. visitors such as former Republican Party Chair Mel Martinez, Senator Judd Gregg, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were corralled into this effort, warning Spanish political leaders that the criminal investigations would “be misunderstood” and would harm bilateral relations.

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