Thursday, April 30, 2009

Obama re torture

Matt Renner,, April 30, 2009: "Obama Confronts Torture Policy in Prime Time: The East Room, the White House - Under the spotlight of his third prime-time press conference, on his 100th day in office, President Barack Obama was unequivocal in his rejection of torture on moral and ethical grounds and said specifically that waterboarding is an illegal torture technique. . . ."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Torture memos ignored precedents

Jason Leopold,, April 27, 2009: "Reagan's DOJ Prosecuted Texas Sheriff for Waterboarding Prisoners": "George W. Bush's Justice Department said subjecting a person to the near drowning of waterboarding was not a crime and didn't even cause pain, but Ronald Reagan's Justice Department thought otherwise, prosecuting a Texas sheriff and three deputies for using the practice to get confessions. . . ."

Marjorie Cohn re why 266 times

Marjorie Cohn, truthout,org, April 26, 2009: "Torture Used to Link Saddam with 9/11." "The president must fulfill his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed. Obama said that 'nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.' He is wrong. There is more to gain from upholding the rule of law. It will make future leaders think twice before they authorize the cruel, illegal treatment of other human beings."

McClatchy series on Guantanamo

McClatchy: "Guantanamo: Beyond the Law," a five-part series: "An eight-month McClatchy investigation of the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Military warned against torture in 2002

"In 2002, military agency warned against 'torture': Extreme duress could yield unreliable information, it said,", Peter Finn and Joby Warrick, April 25, 2009: "The military agency that provided advice on harsh interrogation techniques for use against terrorism suspects referred to the application of extreme duress as 'torture' in a July 2002 document sent to the Pentagon's chief lawyer and warned that it would produce 'unreliable information.'

"'The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel,' says the document. . . ."

"Leads Obtained Without Torture"

"FBI: Key Sept. 11 Leads Obtained Without Torture," NPR, All Things Considered, April 24, 2009.

Re interrogations in Iraq

"Officer 'Unpopular' for Opposing Interrogations," NPR/All Things Considered, April 23, 2009: "An Air Force interrogator tried to stop the harsh techniques he witnessed in Iraq when he went there in 2003. But his efforts to halt abusive interrogations were rebuffed and, in his words, made him 'the most unpopular officer' in Iraq."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Senate Armed Services Committee Report

truthout, Jason Leopold, April 22, 2009: "Senate [Armed Services Committee] Report Details Torture Policy Origins: The seeds for the Bush administration's policy of torture were planted in December 2001, nearly a year before the Justice Department issued its first legal opinion that authorized CIA interrogators to torture 'war on terror' prisoners, and the creation of the policy involved senior White House officials, according to a newly declassified report released late Tuesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee."

For a presidential commission on torture

Thomas R. Pickering and William S. Sessions,, March 23, 2009: "Moving Forward by Looking Back: Why a Presidential Commission on Torture Is Critical to America's Security."

Petition for Commission on Accountability

Sign the petition for a Commission on Accountability
We call on the President of the United States to establish an independent, non-partisan commission to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees in the period since September 11, 2001. The commission, comparable in stature to the 9/11 Commission, should look into the facts and circumstances of such abuses, report on lessons learned, and recommend measures that would prevent any future abuses. We believe that the commission is necessary to reaffirm America ’s commitment to the Constitution, international treaty obligations, and human rights. The report issued by the commission will strengthen U.S. national security and help to re-establish America ’s standing in the world.

Co-Sponsors for
Amnesty International USA
The Brennan Center for Justice
The Carter Center, Human Rights Program
The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University, School of Law
Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, UC Davis
The Center for Victims of Torture
The Constitution Project
Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
International Center for Transitional Justice
International Justice Network
The Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
National Institute of Military Justice
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The Open Society Institute
Physicians for Human Rights
The Rutherford Institute

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Obama Open to Prosecutions"

"Obama Open to Prosecutions in Interrogation Abuses,", April 21, 2009: "President Obama on Tuesday left open the door to creating a bipartisan commission that would investigate the Bush administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects, and he did not rule out taking action against the lawyers who fashioned the legal guidelines for the interrogations."

Monday, April 20, 2009

2 prisoners waterboarded 266 times

"Waterboarding Used 266 Times on 2 Suspects,", Scott Shane, April 19, 2009: "C.I.A. interrogators used waterboarding, the near-drowning technique that top Obama administration officials have described as illegal torture, 266 times on two key prisoners from Al Qaeda, far more than had been previously reported."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"In Brennan, Cheney has a friend"

"In Brennan, Cheney Has a Friend," by Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine, April 5, 2009: "The disclosure of the OLC memoranda presents a key policy fork in the road for Obama. If he is faithful to his commitment to transparency and to end torture, the government will have to come clean with these memos. If Obama keeps them under wraps, the public will have good reason to question his undertaking to end torture–and good reason to question whether a Cheney 'shadow administration' actually has the power to influence policy."

Petition for an independent commission...more

1) We call for the establishment of a nonpartisan, independent commission of distinguished Americans to examine, and provide a comprehensive report on, policies and actions related to the detention, treatment, and transfer of detainees after 9/11 and the consequences of those actions, and to make recommendations for future policy in this area.
2) Official reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross warned senior officials in the U.S. government that the treatment detainees were subjected to in black-site prisons amounted to torture. We call on Attorney General Eric Holder to launch a criminal investigation into the torture and abuse of detainees and to hold those responsible for such conduct accountable.
3) We urge our members of Congress to introduce or support a Dear Colleague letter calling on the administration to immediately produce and publish all the relevant policy memos that argued for and established the basis for coercive interrogation, detainee treatment and policy in the last administration.
Sign AmnestyBucksMont's petition at