Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Iraq: Detainees Describe Torture in Secret Jail"

Human Rights Watch, April 27, 2010: "Detainees in a secret Baghdad detention facility were hung upside-down, deprived of air, kicked, whipped, beaten, given electric shocks, and sodomized, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraq should thoroughly investigate and prosecute all government and security officials responsible, Human Rights Watch said. . . ."

John Cole, April 28, 2010: "Oh. Hey! Look Who Discovered the 'T-Word' . . ."

June is Torture Awareness Month

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is already gearing up for two primary efforts:
Passing federal legislation granting the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) access to all detainees in U.S. custody.

Securing a comprehensive investigation, a Commission of Inquiry, into the use of torture by the United States since September 11, 2001 - learning from the past is the best way to build a torture-free future.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Glenn Greenwald & Larry Siems re the Torture Report

"'s Glenn Greenwald and Torture Report author Larry Siems discuss the Torture Report, an online, interactive website that is building a documentary record of the Bush administration torture program."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Bush Insider Reveals Guantanamo Deception: Hundreds of Innocents Jailed"

By Bill Quigley,, April 20, 2010:
Colonel Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, provided shocking new testimony from inside the Bush Administration that hundreds of the men jailed at Guantanamo were innocent, the top people in the Bush Administration knew full well they were innocent, and that information was kept from the public.

Wilkerson said President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld "indefinitely detained the innocent for political reasons" and many in the administration knew it. The wrongfully held prisoners were not released because of political maneuverings aimed in part to cover up the mistakes of the administration.

Colonel Wilkerson, who served in the U.S. Army for over thirty years, signed a sworn declaration for an Oregon federal court case stating that he found out in August 2002 that the US knew that many of the prisoners at Guantanamo were not enemy combatants. Wilkerson also discussed this in a revealing and critical article on Guantanamo for the Washington Note. . . . [continued]

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Guantánamo Habeas Week: Exposing Torture, Misconceptions and Government Incompetence"

By Andy Worthington, April 19, 2010:
In an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of the rulings being made in US courts on the habeas corpus petitions of the prisoners held at Guantánamo (as authorized by a significant Supreme Court ruling in June 2008), I’m devoting most of my work this week to articles covering the 47 cases decided to date (34 of which have been won by the prisoners), as a series entitled, “Guantánamo Habeas Week.”

Although I have covered the 47 cases in detail over the last 19 months, I had not, until now, followed the example of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Washington Independent and the Miami Herald, who have all produced “Habeas Corpus Scorecards.” As a result, this series kicks off with my own list, providing links to my analyses of the rulings, to the judges’ own unclassified opinions, and, where relevant, to my articles covering the prisoners’ release from Guantánamo, and progress reports on a handful of appeals. . . . [continued]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Emptywheel's series begins

"'High Side' Cables and FOIA Responses," April 8, 2010:
As you’ll no doubt understand over the next week or so, bmaz and I have been comparing the case of David Passaro, the only CIA-related person to be prosecuted for detainee abuse, with what happened in Gul Rahman’s death at the Salt Pit. Passaro, a CIA contractor obviously trained in SERE-based interrogation techniques, was convicted of assaulting an Afghan, Abdul Wali, with his hand, foot, and flashlight, while interrogating him at the Asadabad firebase in Eastern Afghanistan in June 2003.

I’ll have a lot more to say about Passaro’s case in upcoming posts (short story, though, is his defense tested many of John Yoo’s favorite theories and lost). But for now, I wanted to point to two passages in this filing, which requests electronic communications evidence related to Wali’s interrogation and death. One thing it requests are transcripts of satellite phone calls from the Field. . . .(continued)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Guantanamo: Beyond the Law"

"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. . . ."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Court asked to decide: Was Rumsfeld a torturer?"

By Nat Hentoff, March 26, 2010:
. . . [I]n an unexpected and historic ruling on March 5 of this year, federal District Judge Wayne Andersen in Chicago allowed the continuance of a lawsuit — “Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel v. Donald Rumsfeld, United States of America and Unidentified Agents.” It is the first continuance of a torture case against a senior Bush official.

The charge against Rumsfeld is that he was the authorizing source and therefore personally responsible for the torture in 2006 by U.S. forces in Iraq of American citizens Vance and Ertel, members of a private security firm. They had become unpaid informants for the FBI when they suspected their employer of illegal activities in Iraq. Nonetheless, they were imprisoned and tortured by American forces. . . .

"US Recants Claims on 'High-Value' Detainee Abu Zubaydah"

By Jason Leopold,, March 30, 2010:
The Justice Department has quietly recanted nearly every major claim the Bush administration made about Abu Zubaydah, the alleged al-Qaeda leader who was the first suspected terrorist subjected to the torture of waterboarding and other White House-approved “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In a federal court filing, Justice backed away from the Bush administration’s statements that Zubaydah had helped plan the 9/11 attacks and was a close confidant to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, as well as even earlier claims from the Clinton administration that he was directly involved in planning the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa. . . .