Tag Archives: Torture

Bush Supporters Defend Torture

Top level members of the Bush administration defended physical abuse of prisoners by CIA interrogators that were described in detail by memos released by the Obama administration. General Michael Hayden, former head of the CIA and Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey, blasted Obama for pandering to the media by releasing the memos which they claim undermine the morale of CIA operatives. Of course, the memos caused those who defend human rights to express their dismay at what was reported. Amnesty International expressed its support of releasing the memos but dismay at Obama’s refusal to prosecute anyone. “The release of CIA memos on interrogation methods by the United States Department of Justice appears to have offered a get-out-of jail free card to people involved in torture.”

According to Hayden and Mukasey letting the world know how Americans tortured prisoners will damage the reputation of this nation by admitting we commit crimes. Perhaps, it might do the reverse and gain admiration of those who have doubted America could ever do an honest thing while Bush was president.

American Torture Report Shows Bush As He Really Is!

In the history of the United States there have been few episodes which have matched in disregard for human rights as the story of what has transpired in Guantanamo during the interrogation of prisoners. Aside from flippant remarks from Don Rumsfeld or Dick Cheney about what is the big deal in listening to loud music or standing, no Republican leader who served under George Bush has indicated the slightest understanding of what was done to those imprisoned. And, we cannot forget that few of these men were ever convicted of anything other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, some were part of the Taliban or served with al-Qaeda, but in America we believe people are entitled to a fair trial.

Mark Danner, a journalism professor has released on the web site of the New York Review of Books, the story of interrogation. It doesn’t take much more than reading the Table of Contents to make an American sick to his stomach. Among the headings are; “Suffocation by water, prolonged stress standing, beating by use of a collar, beating and kicking; confinement in a box; prolonged nudity; sleep deprivation; use of loud music; exposure to cold temperatures/cold water; prolonged use of handcuffs and shackles; threats; forced shaving; deprivation/restricted provision of food.”

This is the story of the Bush administration, not the story of America. This nation must place on trial every member of the Bush administration–including the president– who allowed such behavior on the part of Americans. We strongly suggest formation of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the model used in South Africa.

US Coerced Guantanamo Prisoner To Be Quiet

The United States offered Guanatanamo inmate, Binyam Mohamed a plea bargain if he would agree never to discuss the fact he was tortured in the prison and avoided instituting any legal action against the American government. He was assured that if he pleaded guilty to two charges of terrorism he would only serve a three year term. Mr. Mohamed has the strange idea that he is innocent and does not understand why he must plead guilty to something that was never done in order to get American officials off the hook for their disregard for law. His lawyer put it bluntly: “this reflects the way he US government has consistently tried to cover up the truth of Binyam Mohamed’s torture. He was being told he would never leave Guantanamo Bay unless he promised never to discuss his torture, and never sue either the Americans or the British to force disclosure of his mistreatment.

The truth has emerged for the moment but the entire truth will not emerge until the American government institutes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which examines all aspects of the horror that is known as Guantanamo. The Bush legacy must be exposed.

New Torture Guidelines In UK?

At the beginning of the twentieth century there was extensive discussion and moves to mitigate the brutality of war. At the beginning of the twenty first century,so called leaders of democratic nations in the United States and Great Britain sanctioned torture in the name of “security.” The British government is now considering whether or not there is need for new guidelines in dealing with interrogation of prisoners and the manner in which any prisoner is kept. Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was against torture “absolutely,” but apparently he was part of a government that allowed torture. He is now requesting British Intelligence agencies to develop new guidelines for dealing with treatment of prisoners. His comments came after the intelligence and security committee (ISC) has begun to explore the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British citizen, who was sent to be tortured in Pakistan.

British officials are now arguing they had to go along with the lower standards of the Bush administration and that’s how they wound up allowing people to be tortured. Of course, the United Kingdom is an independent nation and it could, at any time, have told Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to go to hell.

The Silence Of The British Foreign Office

The so called “war on terrorism” has produced a great deal of sound and fury concerning allegations, but the sounds of silence are more deafening when it comes to what has happened to individuals who were arrested and tortured. The British Foreign Office has admitted it failed to investigate or pursue complaints by British citizens about the torture they were subjected to while in the custody of foreign interrogators. The list could go on and on as men who were tortured in Pakistan or Egypt found their pleas for help from their native country go unheeded. Azhar Khan was arrested in 2004 and then released but where the war on “terrorism” is concerned if you are arrested that in itself is proof of your guilt. Last year the young man was flown to Cairo where he was brutalized but his government simply ignored what transpired.

The main problem with the “war on terrorism” is the lack of any clear guidelines as to how to separate the innocent from the guilty. Perhaps, it goes further than that because if the only way to secure information is through means of torture one is left with unanswered questions as to whether or not statements made under torture can withstand the glare of truth.

England historically was the bastion of protection for those seeking democracy. Modern day England is complicit in torture and brutality.

Guantanamo Detainee Was Tortured And British Knew

Binyam Mohamed, a British citizen who has just been released from Guantanamo claims he was subjected to terrible torture and the British government knew all about the use of harsh methods of interrogation, but refused to do anything. He was arrested in Pakistan and then flown to Rabat in Morocco where his chest and genitals were repeatedly cut. Human rights groups want Foreign Secretary David Miliband to release all documents related to the imprisonment and methods used in questioning Mr. Mohamed. The detainee says British sources must have provided questions to his interrogators because many related to his specific places of living in London. He claims they had files provided by British sources to use in questioning him.

There are documents which reveal requests from MI5 to the CIA asking that certain questions be posed while he was in Guantanamo. “We would be grateful if the following could be put to Binyam Mohamed, in addition to the questioning above” was a document that has been released.

Isn’t it time for a Truth Commission which examines violations of the law?

British Parliament Wants Answers To Torture Claims

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have refused to appear before Parliamen’s human rights committee to answer questions concerning allegation the UK colluded in the torture of British citizens in Pakistan. The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) wants to know the truth and the Gordon Brown government is pulling a George Bush by refusing to tell the truth. Andrew Dismore, chairman of the Parliamentary committee expressed his disappointment and made clear, “the inquiry isn’t over yet.” He expressed hope that both the government and the committee can use the past in order to move forward in such a manner as to ensure that torture ends. “If people have been tortured, we can’t untorture them, but we can make recommendations about how this it to be avoided in the future.”

The more the Brown government dodges and twists, the more people come to the conclusion that a cover-up is taking place. Ranzieb Ahmed was taken to Pakistan and when he returned three fingernails were gone from his hand. Someone has to answer for such brutality, and if Brown will not respond, perhaps, the British people will in the upcoming election.

Bush Says No Torture–Pentagon Says Yes Torture

President Bush has insisted throughout his presidency that use of torture was never employed against any foreign terrorist who was captured. A Pentagon official, Susan Crawford, a retired judge, admitted that Mohammed al-Qahtani, was subjected to severe torture during his interrogation process by CIA officials. “We tortured Qahtani,”admitted the judge who in May dismissed charges against him because torture rendered invalid any confession. Qahtani’s lawyer, Lt. Col. Bryan Broyles, argued in death sentence cases a confession could not be offered as evidence if there was the slightest possibility it had been obtained due to torture. Mr. Qahtani was subjected to waterboarding, threatened by dogs and made to stay in freezing conditions.

President Clinton was subjected to an impeachment process for lying about sex. Does this mean President Bush should be subjected to an impeachment process for lying about violating international agreements such as the Geneva Convention?

Take Guantanamo Inmates Says UN

Manfred Nowak, the UN’s torture investigator, insisted on Monday that many being held in Guantanamo were there simply because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and had never been guilty of any crime other than being entrapped in the Bush mania to up figures on capturing “terrorists.” Nowak urged nations to put aide their fears and accept those coming out of the infamous American prison in Cuba. “Many (detainees) were clearly in the wrong place at the wrong time, and simply fell into the hands of Pakistani bounty hunters paid by the Americans.” Australia has already refused to take any of the men leaving the prison and according to Nowak this is unfair to those who are innocent of any crime. He even pressed his own native Austria to take up to 250 former prisoners.

The tragedy of Guantanamo prison is that those who created this monstrosity will never be punished. They will live out their lives in peace while those who endured their brutality must spend years trying to explain how an innocent man could wind up in a prison. Perhaps, the best thing any of these men can say is simply, “I am a victim of George Bush’s illegal behavior, are you?”

US Court Hears Rendition Case

Maher Arar was a Canadian citizen who was on his way home when his plane landed at JFK airport in order for him to catch a plane bound for home. Somehow, his name showed up on the computer as the name of a terrorist and he was seized. He was told it was impossible for him to enter America and the police made certain he had no access to a lawyer. Within hours, Mr. Arar was on his way to Syria which had well developed methods of torturing prisoners. He spent ten months in a small cell and was denied access to any contact with relatives let alone legal advice. An earlier case was thrown out by an American court on grounds to hold a trial would “threaten national security.” The court also ruled he had not met conditions of the time period required to request a review of what happened to him. Of course, the Syrian government was not in the habit of allowing anyone access to a court.

The case is now being reviewed by the US Court of Appeals. Judge Sonia Sotomayer asked the government if threats to national security allowed torturing of prisoners and was told by the government not to rule on the case and allow Congress to pass legislation. The evidence is clear, high level government officials knew all about the rendition program and allowed it to proceed. No one in the Bush administration has apologized to Mr. Arar for what he experienced since, most probably, they believe it was his fault for having the same name as a terrorist. At least, his parents should have known better than to give him such a name.

The real tragedy of this case is the wrong man was sent to be tortured instead of those who agreed with torture.