Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NPR and "torture"

"NPR's ombudsman: Why we bar the word 'torture'" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com, June 22, 2009.
Anyone who believes that NPR is a "liberal" media outlet -- and anyone who wants to understand the decay of American journalism -- should read this column by NPR's Ombudsman, Alicia C. Shepard, as she explains and justifies why NPR bars the use of the word "torture" to describe what the Bush administration did. . . .

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Judge rules Yoo can be sued

"Bush-era lawyer could stand trial for penning 'torture memos,'" csmonitor.com, Warren Richey, June 16, 2009: "John Yoo can be held responsible for the alleged torture of detainee Jose Padilla, a judge ruled Friday. . . ."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mohammed El-Gharani finally cleared, released

Andy Worthington: "The Long Ordeal of Mohammed El-Gharani: The long ordeal of Mohammed El-Gharani, Guant√°namo’s youngest prisoner, has finally come to an end. Reprieve, the legal action charity that represents him, reported yesterday that he has been sent back to Chad. A Saudi resident and Chadian national, El-Gharani was just 14 years old [more than seven years ago] when he was seized by Pakistani forces in a random raid on a mosque in Karachi, but was treated appallingly both by the Pakistanis who seized him, and by the U.S. military. . . ."

Monday, June 1, 2009

Letter to Rep. Patrick Murphy

A nine-member delegation including representatives of Amnesty, the ACLU, and the Coalition for Peace Action met with Rep. Patrick Murphy to ask for his support for a commission of inquiry into the treatment of detainees since 9/11 and an investigation by the Justice Department. Following is our thank-you letter:

May 31, 2009

Rep. Patrick Murphy
1609 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Patrick,

Thank you so much for meeting with us on the 27th and being so generous with your time. In response to your request for information about Amnesty, research revealed that there are 1,326 donor members in your district and many more student activists whose contributions are primarily in terms of service hours. Incidentally, there are over 20,000 donor members in PA.

Inquirer columnist Mark Bowden wrote a piece on May 17, "Damage done by allowing torture," that reinforces the argument for a commission of inquiry. There is a link to the whole article on the Opinion page of http://www.amnestybucksmont.org/. The disturbing part is that he is predisposed to believe Cheney's claims about the effectiveness of torturing Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohammed—that it helped gain information that thwarted attacks, though he concedes, "A complete independent investigation is the only way to find out" (italics added).

Bowden's real outrage is directed elsewhere: "We don't know all the facts yet, but the failure to control abuses at Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and other military prisons strikes me as the real horror here." It goes without saying that Guant√°namo is on that list, where Jeremy Scahill (http://www.alternet.org/story/140022/?) reports the abuse continues, at the hands of the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) teams.

One of the goals of http://www.amnestybucksmont.org/ and http://amnestybucksmont.blogspot.com/ is to document the depth and breadth of the anti-torture sentiment in this district and region, as evidenced by the collection of writings at the Opinion tab and the notices of anti-torture events on the homepage, such as the town hall meeting featuring General Richard O'Meara last October.

But again, to have any hope of reaching the vast audience for 24, Congress is going to have to launch an inquiry in one form or another that will finally tell the whole story, and there must be accountability. You will be doing the president and the country a much needed service.