Tag Archives: Torture

Report Vindicates Innocence Of Canadian Muslims

A report issued by a Canadian inquiry vindicated the innocence of three Canadian Muslims who were tortured and abused overseas. The report slams foreign officials for failing to provide consular services to its citizens who were in their countries. The overall conclusion was that Canadian actions and inactions “indirectly” or “likely contributed” to the detentions of two and the torture suffered of the other at the hands of Syrian interrogators who mistakenly thought the detainee was somehow connected to a terrorist organization. A difficulty cited in the report in determining the actions of the men is failure on the part of anyone to conduct a trial, present evidence, allow cross examination or even allow the men to present their defense after unilaterally charged with crimes.

Critics who charged their government failed to protect the rights of its citizens were concerned that no names of Canadian officials appear in the report. Of course, the Canadian government never apologized for allowing a foreign nation to imprison and torture its citizens.

Turkish Activist Killed In Police Station

Nineteen Turkish police officers are confused how a prisoner who was in their custody somehow wound up dying of a cerebral hemorrhage. They told investigators the death of the prisoner was a mystery and it was unfair pointing in their direction. Engin Ceber, was beaten to death in the police station according to medical staff who examined his body. Ceber and three of his friends were arrested by police for the crime of distributing a left-wing journal on the street. The gallant nineteen insisted all they had done was to use “proportional force” in dealing with the violent men who were armed with journals!

Ceber’s friends told the media they had been threatened and beaten by police officers. However, a policeman identified as Officer A.B. said: “we didn’t beat these individuals during that time. We intervened only within the bounds of due force under the law. I do not know how Engin Ceber died.” The three men say they were beaten by a fat policeman. I am certain Turkish police officials will insist there are no fat policemen in the force.

The Minister of Justice did admit that Ceber had been beaten to death. At least one police official can tell the truth.

Bush Administration Endorsed Torture

A Washington Post story made clear the Bush administration endorsed the idea of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods against al-Qadea suspects. A pair of secret memos previously unclassified were requested by then CIA Director George Tenet more than a year after the start of secret interrogations. According to the Post story, intelligence officials sought cover from the White House because they were worried about a possible backlash if details of the interrogation program became public. Justice Department lawyers signed off on the agency’s interrogation methods beginning in 2002, but senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policy makers had never endorsed the program in writing.

It is quite apparent that CIA officials wanted a paper trail to cover their butts if at some future time the sleazy President Bush might turn around and deny he had ever authorized torture. Tenet finally received in June, 2003, a written assurance his agency could violate international and national standards of democracy and the rights of individuals.

A White House spokesman had no comment on the report. Hopefully, a new president in January will initiate an investigation which results in a prison sentence for George Bush and his cronies in crime.

Turkish Government Finally Apologizes About Torture

Turkey is a democratic society, but it has long been noted for a police force which resorts to brutality and torture when those suspected of being”leftists”are seized. In a surprising turn of events, the justice minister apologized to the family of Engin Ceber, a leftist author, who allegedly died in prison due to injuries sustained while he was being interrogated. “I, in the name of my state and government, apologize to his loved ones. We will leave no stone unturned in finding all those responsible. No one should doubt that.” Ahmet Hakan, a columnist, noted, “this is a first in turkish political history, that the justice minister directly apologized in the name of the state and his government” over the use of torture against leftist individuals.

Turkey aspires to become a member of the European Union and this apology will be recognized by the EU as evidence the Turkish government is prepared to function as a 21st century nation. The rule of torture must give way to the rule of law and order and it begins with ending torture. Now, is it possible the government of George Bush can also enter the 21st century?

Torture In Turkey Arouses Opposition

Turkish prisons have always been noted for brutal behavior on the part of police and prison guards, and it is not surprising that new allegations of such behavior have surfaced. Members of the opposition Republican People’s Party(CHP) denounced the Interior Minister Begir Atalay for failure to prevent the death of leftist activist, Engin Ceber, who was beaten to death last week while in prison. His crime was participating in demonstrations against the government. CHP deputy, Canan Antman, demanded an investigation into the death because, “only in this way can the government be persuasive in its so-called discourse about respect for human rights and zero tolerance of torture.”

Ironically, Ceber and several of his friends were engaged in demonstrations against the shooting by police of a friend who was selling leftist newspapers. Ceber was arrested and taken to prison where authorities a few days later said he had died of a bran hemorrhage. He was not the first political prisoner to be beaten in a Turkish prison.

Turkey Slammed For Human Rights Violations

A European Commission is meeting with Turkish officials to discuss the presence of extensive torture and abuse of people in prisons as well as the general population. The EU commission was told there had been a significant increase in reports of violations of human rights and people being subject to torture. A major factor is the lack of reform of the judicial process as well as insufficient supervision of police. A law passed in 2007 gave police leeway in having the power to stop and search people and there is limited impartial supervision of police abuses. It was noted during demonstrations police are known to use rough tactics including beating and torturing suspects. Of the 96,000 people in prison, only 40% have been tried and found guilty which suggests the need for extensive reform of the judicial system.

A survey undertaken by the Turkish Daily News reveals only 36% of Turks are completely against any form of torture while half agree with moderate torture of terrorist suspects. About 18% police do not believe any bars should be placed in an interrogation of terrorists.

It would be interesting to find out what people mean by “limited torture.”

German Foreign Ministry Report Blasts China!

A new German Foreign Ministry report on China’s human rights situation blasted its leaders for a systemaized process of abusing the rights of those who express disagreement with government policies. Although the report noted some improvement in the human rights situation, it listed criticisms such as laws that are introduced and then ignored for political reasons, holding dissidents in custody for as long as necessary, censoring the media, controlling Internet access, trials held in secret at which defendants are not even provided lelgal representation, torture, lack of freedom of speech, assembly and religion.

Defenders of China will no doubt point to America’s large prison population and its government sanctioned torture program in order to excuse away Chinese behavior. The essential difference is that in America, critics operate freely in the media and on Internet to attack the government for incorrect policies.

Thailand-Torture, Fear And Southern Distrust

The southern region of Thailand has always been inhabited by people who are of the Muslim faith unlike the majority of Bhuddist Thais. The nation’s new Interior Minister, Chalerm Yubamrung, recently floated the idea of granting semi-autonomy to the deep South in a clear break from past administrations who have resorted to war, terror and torture to break insurgencies in that area of the country. Over 3,000 lives have been lost since January, 2004 when a group of armed men raided a military camp and killed several soldiers.

A common complaint of Muslims is the use of torture against those who express anger toward the government. Aninudin Kaji, an Islamic teacher, described being beaten while in detention because someone had named him as an insurgent. Anantachai Thaiprathan, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, claims his group has uncovered at least 30 torture cases that took place in the deep South. He believes the use of torture against Muslim suspects has created anger and distrust of the national government.

A common complaint among Thai human rights groups is reliance on force rather than diplomacy and conciliation to win over the hearts of Muslim Thais. They need greater self autonomy and a more active participation in government. Torture is never the way to gain respect in the world.

Saga Of Waterboardgate Unfolds!

Several US senators and congressmen are demanding a criminal investigation into the CIA’s obstruction of justice by destroying videotapes depicting the use of torture on prisoners. The digital recordings apparently show a team of CIA agents subjecting Abu Zubayadh, the agency’s first detainee, and another person to abusive interrogation. Seantor Edward Kennedy commented, “we haven’t seen anything like this since the 18 minute gap on the tapes of Richard Nixon.” He called on newly installed Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate the situation. Congresswoman Jan Haman said that in early 2003 she had warned the CIA not to destroy any videotapes dealing with interrogation practices. Senator John Rockefeller, head of the “Senate Intelligence Committee wants a review of “the full history and chronology of the tapes, how they were used, and the reasons for destroying them.”

Mason Nance, who advises Homeland Security on terrorism, says the interrogation using waterboarding techniques would have been conducted in Jordan or Egypt, but there would have been a video link to the CIA’s directorate of operations in Langley, Virginia. It would have been observed by the director of the CIA, along with a team of interrogation experts, including a psychologist and doctor. According to Nance, “they start by slapping the prisoner around, putting him in stress positions and finally strapping him on the waterboard where he is bound down and has water poured into his lungs. It’s very hard to watch people going through this form of torture.” Nance believes an individual subjected to such torture will “get hysterical and whatever they say is of no value anyway.”

The White House has no comment on the destruction of videotapes or the lame excuse they had to be done in order to protect the identify of the torturers. It would be a simple task to hide the identity of those doing the interrogation as is so commonly done when television covers up the face of someone who is talking. Perhaps, it is time for concerned American congressmen to consider the possibility of impeaching President Bush and Vice President Cheney, two men who have done worse than destroy video tapes, they have destroyed the reputation of this nation.

US Army Bans Waterboarding

The United States army reiterated that it would not allow the use of waterboarding interrogation techniques used on prisoners. “The U.S. Armyu strictly prohibits the use of waterboarding during intelligence investigations by any of its members. It is specifically prohibited by Field Manual 2-22-3 and is not a sanctioned interrogation technique in any training manual or any instructions to soldiers in the field.” During hearings into the nomination of Michael Muskasey he continually refused to respond to questions concerning use of waterboarding on grounds it might result in punishment for those who used such approaches. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates when asked if such techniques could be construed as “torture” responded, “I am not going to wander into that legal thicket.”

It is rather confusing why Gates claims he does not wish to “wander into that legal thicket” when the American armed forces have already stated waterboarding is NOT an acceptable technique. Obviously, the American military regards waterboarding as illegal because it constitutes torturing of prisoners.