Torture

Submitted by tnjp on August 4, 2013 - 8:38pm.

PJ Harvey releases Guantánamo song for Shaker Aamer


Shaker Aamer

No water for three days.
I cannot sleep, or stay awake.

Four months hunger strike.
Am I dead, or am I alive?

With metal tubes we are force fed.
I honestly wish I was dead.

Strapped in the restraining chair.
Shaker Aamer, your friend.

In camp 5, eleven years.
Never Charged. Six years cleared.

They took away my one note pad,
and then refused to give it back.

I can't think straight, I write, then stop.
Your friend, Shaker Aamer. Lost.

The guards just do what they're told,
the doctors just do what they're told.

Like an old car I'm rusting away.
Your friend, Shaker, Guantanamo Bay.

Don't forget.

Submitted by tnjp on July 8, 2013 - 3:07pm.


Yasiin Bey appears in a video launched today demonstrating the Standard Operating Procedure for force-feeding prisoners on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.

Made by human rights charity Reprieve and Bafta-award winning director Asif Kapadia, the film shows US actor and rapper formerly known as Mos Def experiencing the procedure. You can watch it above, or online, here.

The video launches a campaign to rally support for Guantanamo prisoners who are on hunger-strike in protest against their detention without charge or trial. The campaign asks members of the public to undertake their own short-term hunger-strikes in solidarity with the prisoners, and donate the time to support them, while also raising the issue with their political representatives. The website [http://www.standfastforjustice.org/] consolidates the total number of hours of hunger-striking undertaken in this way.

Prisoners in Guantanamo have been hunger-striking since February this year, with the total number involved now well over 100. The strike is in protest against their ongoing detention, despite the vast majority of prisoners never having been charged or tried, and over half the remaining population having even been cleared for release by the US Government. However, their peaceful protest has met with an increasingly aggressive response from camp authorities, including force-feeding and violent procedures known as 'forcible cell extractions’ (FCEs).

Commenting, Reprieve's Director and attorney for Guantanamo prisoners Clive Stafford Smith, said: "President Obama could take the steps needed to release cleared prisoners from Guantanamo any time he likes, but so far has lacked the political courage to do so. We hope that public solidarity with the hunger-strikers in Guantanamo will persuade him to change his mind."

Submitted by tnjp on May 26, 2013 - 3:52pm.

Why I Spoke Out at Obama's Foreign Policy Speech
On topics from Guantánamo to drone strikes, I couldn’t let the president act as if he were some helpless official at the mercy of Congress.
Medea Benjamin
May 24, 2013

Having worked for years on the issues of drones and Guantánamo, I was delighted to get a pass (the source will remain anonymous) to attend President Obama’s speech at the National Defense University. I had read many press reports anticipating what the president might say. There was much talk about major policy shifts that would include transparency with the public, new guidelines for the use of drones, taking lethal drones out of the purview of the CIA, and in the case of Guantánamo, invoking the “waiver system” to begin the transfer of prisoners already cleared for release.

Sitting at the back of the auditorium, I hung on every word the president said. I kept waiting to hear an announcement about changes that would represent a significant shift in policy. Unfortunately, I heard nice words, not the resetting of failed policies.

Instead of announcing the transfer of drone strikes from the CIA to the exclusive domain of the military, Obama never even mentioned the CIA—much less acknowledge the killing spree that the CIA has been carrying out in Pakistan during his administration. While there were predictions that he would declare an end to signature strikes, strikes based merely on suspicious behavior that have been responsible for so many civilian casualties, no such announcement was made.

The bulk of the president’s speech was devoted to justifying drone strikes. I was shocked when the president claimed that his administration did everything it could to capture suspects instead of killing them. That is just not true.

Submitted by tnjp on May 23, 2013 - 9:21pm.

New light shed on US government's extraordinary rendition programme

Online project uncovers details of way in which CIA carried out kidnaps and secret detentions following September 11 attacks

The Rendition Project interactive
CIA rendition flights explained

Ian Cobain and James Ball
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 22 May 2013

A groundbreaking research project has mapped the US government's global kidnap and secret detention programme, shedding unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years.

The interactive online project – by two British universities and a legal charity – has uncovered new details of the way in which the so-called extraordinary rendition programme operated for years in the wake of the September 11 attacks, and the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to avoid detection in the face of growing public concern.

The Rendition Project website is intended to serve as a research tool that not only collates all the publicly available data about the programme, but can continue to be updated as further information comes to light.

Data already collated shows the full extent of the UK's logistical support for the programme: aircraft associated with rendition operations landed at British airports more than 1,600 times.

Although no detainees are known to have been aboard the aircraft while they were landing in the UK, the CIA was able to refuel during operations that involved some of the most notorious renditions of the post-September 11 years, including one in which two men were kidnapped in Sweden and flown to Egypt, where they suffered years of torture, and others that involved detainees being flown to and from a secret prison in Romania...

Submitted by tnjp on March 16, 2013 - 10:12pm.

Take Action - Sign the letter to Sec. Hagel

Dear Secretary Hagel,

Congratulations on your confirmation to the office of Secretary of Defense. As you take the reins of this new position, Veterans For Peace would like to express to you some ideas about what we would like to see from this office. Veterans For Peace (VFP) has been around since 1985 and was formed by a Viet Nam veteran with the intention of creating a bridge between the peace movement and veterans. VFP members believe that our collective experience as veterans allows us to speak about the true costs and consequences of war and militarism with a voice of credibility and true standing. We feel a responsibility to speak out against war and militarism, particularly when it is manifested in illegal and immoral wars of choice and aggression. We appreciate very much that President Obama has chosen you--someone who has seen first-hand the horrors of combat--to fill the position of Secretary of Defense. Like the members of VFP, your voice will carry an extraordinary credibility, because you understand war in a way that a civilian cannot. It will not be easy to dismiss your words when you caution against military force, or speak in favor of abiding by the Geneva Conventions. We hope that you will become a force for reshaping the Department of Defense, by consideration of the following:

1. Refuse to put troops into harm’s way as part of an illegal, immoral war of aggression. The 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), signed as a knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 has been used, first by the Bush administration, and now by the Obama administration, as a blank check for perpetual war. As the Secretary of Defense, you should refuse to deploy any combat troops until Congress provides a legally binding authorization to do so. As a combat veteran, you truly understand that no one should be asked to kill or be killed for a war of choice, particularly one that has not even been legally authorized. Demand adherence to the War Powers Act.

2. Take responsibility for the deaths, damage and harm done by the U.S. The “Collateral Murder” video leaked to Wikileaks showed the world just one instance of war crimes conducted by U.S. forces. For the United States to have any moral credibility whatsoever, we must take responsibility for our actions.

3. State unequivocally that the U.S. will abide by the Geneva Conventions and will not torture, or participate in the extraordinary rendition of prisoners.

4. Stop the illegal use of combat drones that are responsible the extrajudicial assassinations of thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

5. Call for the closure of all U.S. military bases in foreign countries. The U.S. currently has military troops stationed in more than 150 countries around the world. Bringing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan and around the world back to the U.S. will send a strong message to the international community that the U.S. is not interested in hegemony, or in being the world’s policeman.

6. Call for the dismantlement of all nuclear weapons, and immediately take nuclear weapons off of naval vessels. There can never be a justified use of a nuclear weapon and if the U.S. is going to demand that other countries refrain from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities, then it needs to lead the way in disarmament.

7. Stop the use of Depleted Uranium weapons. “DU” weapons violate the Geneva Conventions. Once exploded, DU particulates enter ground water, travel on air currents, and are inhaled by innocent civilians. DU weapons are responsible for a huge spike in deformities, birth defects and other ailments in Iraq where they were widely used.

8. End foreign military sales to countries who violate international laws and basic human rights, and who have child soldiers.

9. Push to become a signatory to the Land Mine treaty. The international community recognizes land mines and cluster bombs as weapons that kill a high number of civilians, often long after the “official” conflict is over.

10. Slash the Pentagon budget. The U.S. spends more on the military and war than the rest of the world combined.

Submitted by tnjp on March 10, 2013 - 4:46pm.

A Low, Dishonest Decade: New Details for the Iraq War Crime Mosaic

Written by Chris Floyd
Thursday, 07 March 2013

The truth-telling of the imprisoned Bradley Manning continues to bear rich fruit, even as he faces a lifetime in prison for acting on principle to save innocent lives and prevent his country from staining itself further with war crimes. This week, the Guardian released a special investigation into the hideous regime of torture that the United States imposed and empowered during its years-long rape of Iraq.

The Guardian report draws on the trove of documents that Manning gave to Wikileaks (and the now diplomatically "sequestered" Julian Assange) to provide new details on the direct links of America's highest officials -- including the bipartisanly adored and now much mourned retired apparatchik David Petraeus -- to the torture of tens of thousands of Iraqis.

In many ways, of course, it's hardly a revelation that American forces were deeply involved in torture during the "extraordinary achievement" (B. Obama) in Iraq. Some cranks have been writing about it since the earliest days of the invasion -- as in this piece, from August 2003:

Here's a headline you don't see every day: "War Criminals Hire War Criminals to Hunt Down War Criminals."

Perhaps that's not the precise wording used by the Washington Post this week, but it is the absolute essence of its story about the Bush Regime's new campaign to put Saddam's murderous security forces on America's payroll.

Yes, the sahibs in Bush's Iraqi Raj are now doling out American tax dollars to hire the murderers of the infamous Mukhabarat and other agents of the Baathist Gestapo – perhaps hundreds of them. The logic, if that's the word, seems to be that these bloodstained "insiders" will lead their new imperial masters to other bloodstained "insiders" responsible for bombing the UN headquarters in Baghdad – and killing another dozen American soldiers while Little George was playing with his putts during his month-long Texas siesta.

Naturally, the Iraqi people – even the Bush-appointed leaders of the Potemkin "Governing Council" – aren't exactly overjoyed at seeing Saddam's goons return, flush with American money and firepower. And they're certainly not reassured by the fact that the Bushists have also re-opened Saddam's most notorious prison, the dread Abu Ghraib, and are now, Mukhabarat-like, filling it with Iraqis – men, women and children as young as 11 – seized from their homes or plucked off the street to be held incommunicado, indefinitely, without due process, just like the old days. As The Times reports, weeping relatives who dare approach the gleaming American razor-wire in search of their "disappeared" loved ones are referred to a crude, hand-written sign pinned to a spike: "No visits are allowed, no information will be given and you must leave." Perhaps an Iraqi Akhmatova will do justice to these scenes one day.

Submitted by tnjp on December 14, 2012 - 9:35pm.

Round-up of latest US/CIA/UK torture reports.... makes u wannu puke!

It's WAY PAST TIME to gather up ALL the various psychopathic torturing bastages to have them sent to the International Criminal Court to be tried for crimes against humanity. It'd go a long way towards re-establishing the rule of law, dammit...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/dec/13/cia-tortured-sodomised-terror-...

CIA 'tortured and sodomised' terror suspect, human rights court rules

Landmark European court of human rights judgment says CIA tortured wrongly detained German citizen
Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian, Thursday 13 December 2012 13.54 EST

CIA agents tortured a German citizen, sodomising, shackling, and beating him, as Macedonian state police looked on, the European court of human rights said in a historic judgment released on Thursday.

In a unanimous ruling, it also found Macedonia guilty of torturing, abusing, and secretly imprisoning Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin allegedly linked to terrorist organisations.

Masri was seized in Macedonia in December 2003 and handed over to a CIA "rendition team" at Skopje airport and secretly flown to Afghanistan.

It is the first time the court has described CIA treatment meted out to terror suspects as torture.

"The grand chamber of the European court of human rights unanimously found that Mr el-Masri was subjected to forced disappearance, unlawful detention, extraordinary rendition outside any judicial process, and inhuman and degrading treatment," said James Goldston, executive director of the Open Society Justice Initiative.

He described the judgment as "an authoritative condemnation of some of the most objectionable tactics employed in the post-9/11 war on terror". It should be a wake-up call for the Obama administration and US courts, he told the Guardian. For them to continue to avoid serious scrutiny of CIA activities was "simply unacceptable", he said............

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2011 - 4:10pm.

Well, there goes year eight of war and occupation in Iraq, welcome to YEAR NINE!

We, the few, the proud, the PEACEMAKERS commemorated the passing with a Free Bradley Manning solidarity demo and anti-war vigil in front of the old Capital in Tallahassee.

Obligatory group shot -

The Peace Hounds made another appearance. These dogs have protested for peace hundreds of times during the past ten years. How 'bout you?...

There was also a rare sighting of long lost peacemaker and friend Ed

Submitted by tnjp on March 20, 2011 - 11:36am.

Eight Years of War: What WikiLeaks Has Revealed on the US Occupation of Iraq
By Kevin Gosztola
March 19, 2011 at 09:24:02

This date, March 19, 2011, marks the beginning of the ninth year of the US war in Iraq. The war, which began in 2003 with a bombing campaign of "shock and awe," has for years been more of an occupation than a war. Despite the fact that many believe the war is over (especially Americans), the US still has 47,000 troops in Iraq and, despite a 2011 withdrawal date, will likely continue to have tens of thousands of soldiers based in Iraq for years to come.

The past year has seen the world learn a great deal about the US war and occupation of Iraq. With the WikiLeaks release of US State Cables, the Iraq War Logs, and a "Collateral Murder" video showing US soldiers firing on journalists and innocent civilians from an Apache helicopter, the criminal nature of the war and occupation has become more evident. To mark the end of eight years of US troops in Iraq and the beginning of a ninth year, it is worth noting the many revelations on Iraq that have become known thanks to WikiLeaks.

On October 22, 2010, 390,000 field reports, which became known as the Iraq War Logs, showed the regular use of abuse, brutality and torture used on Iraqis by Iraqi Police and Iraqi Security Forces. The logs revealed, despite US claims, a tracking of civilian deaths had been going on, and, in fact, 66,000 civilian deaths (15,000 which were previously unknown) had occurred.

Submitted by tnjp on November 12, 2010 - 2:57pm.


George W. Bush: Torturer-in-Chief
David Cole
November 10, 2010
In an uncoerced confession in his new memoir, Decision Points, former President George W. Bush proudly admits that he personally signed off on the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in 2003. Former Vice President Dick Cheney made the same admission in a televised interview shortly before he left office. In one sense, this is nothing new. It had long been reported that the CIA's use of what the Bush administration euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques" had been approved at the highest levels of the administration. But now both Bush and Cheney have publicly admitted to specifically signing off on the CIA's torture tactics. Their direct personal admissions now seal the case against them.

What case, you might ask? There is in fact no criminal or civil case against the former president or vice president for these actions. And both men no doubt felt comfortable admitting they had authorized what the world recognizes as torture because they believe they are politically immune from being held accountable. Even before the midterm elections, Barack Obama had insisted that he wanted only to look forward, not backward. With a strengthened Republican Party after the elections, it is even less likely that Bush or Cheney will be held accountable by the Obama administration. On November 9 the Justice Department announced that no criminal charges would be brought against the CIA agents who destroyed videotapes of the torture interrogations; that part of the cover-up, it seems, has succeeded...

Submitted by tnjp on November 10, 2010 - 4:36pm.

No charges for CIA tape destruction: Justice Dept
By Jeremy Pelofsky
Tue Nov 9, 2010 5:16pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No CIA personnel will face criminal charges for destroying videotapes of harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

While the decision will spare the CIA and the Obama administration the potential backlash and embarrassment that a trial could have generated, another federal probe continues into possible abuse of detainees by CIA personnel.

The videotapes probe was launched in January 2008 by then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey after revelations that the CIA in 2005 had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes of the interrogations of terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Zubaydah was one of three terrorism suspects who was subjected to waterboarding, a procedure in which the person experiences simulated drowning. It was believed that the tapes included footage of the waterboarding...

Submitted by tnjp on November 2, 2010 - 2:09pm.


War Crimes of General Stanley McChrystal - #24 of the top 25 Censored news stories of 2011

Sources:

Seymour Hersh, "Secret US Forces Carried Out Assassinations in a Dozen Countries, Including in Latin America," Democracy Now!, March 31, 2009

Seymour Hersh, "You Can't Authorise Murder," interview with Abbas Al Lawati, Gulf News, May 12, 2009

PressTV, "McChrystal Was Cheney's Chief Assassin," May 16, 2009

A little more than a year before he was fired on June 23, 2010, for making potentially insubordinate remarks in a Rolling Stone profile, General Stanley McChrystal was appointed by President Barack Obama as commander in charge of the war in Afghanistan. He had been formerly in charge of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headed by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Most of what General McChrystal has done over a thirty-three-year career remains classified, including service between 2003 and 2008 as commander of the JSOC, a special black operations commando unit of the Navy Seals and Delta Force so clandestine that the Pentagon for years refused to acknowledge its existence.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claims that the Bush administration ran an executive assassination ring that reported directly to former Vice President Dick Cheney, and that Congress had no oversight of it whatsoever. The JSOC team would go into countries, without talking to the ambassador or to the CIA station chief, find people on a to-be-killed list, execute them, and leave. There was an ongoing list of targeted people, cleared by Vice President Cheney's office, who had committed acts of war or were suspected of planning operations of war against the United States. Hersh asserts that there have been assassinations in a dozen countries in the Middle East and Latin America. "There's an executive order, signed by President Ford, in the '70s, forbidding such action. It's not only contrary-it's illegal, it's immoral, it's counterproductive," he added...

Submitted by tnjp on October 27, 2010 - 9:47pm.

from www.IndictBushNow.org -
UN calls on Obama to Investigate and Prosecute U.S. Torture Charges
Wikileaks Documents Prove Torture, Abuse and Criminal Acts Were Systematic


In the wake of the release of 400,000 documents by Wikileaks, the United Nations has called on U.S. President Barack Obama to order a full investigation of crimes committed against the Iraqi people following the invasion and occupation that was directed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak declared that the Obama administration had a legal and moral obligation to fully investigate credible claims of US forces' complicity in torture. Nick Clegg, the deputy Prime Minister in the UK has, in the wake of the recent revelations, also called for an investigation into the reports of mass torture disclosed in the newly released documents...

Submitted by tnjp on October 26, 2010 - 12:03am.

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose US-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok

Iraq War-logs
The online whistleblower WikiLeaks has released some 390,000 classified US documents on the Iraq war—the largest intelligence leak in US history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US invasion. Despite US government claims to the contrary, the war logs show the Pentagon kept tallies of civilian deaths in Iraq. The group Iraq Body Count says the files contain evidence of an additional 15,000 previously unknown Iraqi civilian casualties. The number is likely far higher as the war logs omit many instances where US forces killed Iraqi civilians, including the US assault on Fallujah in 2004. The war logs also show the US imposed a formal policy to ignore human rights abuses committed by the Iraqi military. Under an order known as "Frago 242" issued in June 2004, coalition troops were barred from investigating any violations committed by Iraqi troops against other Iraqis...

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