Posts Tagged ‘torture’

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Chicago police allegedly run domestic ‘black site’

Oh who’s the mayor of Chicago again?

That’s right, Rahm Emmanuel.

Reuters/Jim Young

Lawyers describe it as the domestic equivalent to a CIA black site. Their clients “disappeared there” for 12-15 hours before being arraigned. A man died there. Another man left with a head injury. A teenager went missing.

According to a reportpublished in the Guardian, though, this site is being run by the Chicago Police Department out of Homan Square in the city’s west side. And those operating the facility are denying detainees constitutional rights such as access to attorneys and legal counsel.

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Chris Kyle was no hero. John Kiriakou is.

Unbroken, CIA Torture Whistleblower Kiriakou To Finish Sentence Home with Family

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The one CIA officer with integrity — of course he’s in prison now.

“And I would like to know why those officers aren’t being prosecuted when clearly they’ve committed crimes and those crimes were well documented by both the CIA and the Senate Committee of Intelligence.”
-John Kiriakou

PRISON DISPATCHES FROM THE WAR ON TERROR: EX-CIA OFFICER JOHN KIRIAKOU SPEAKS

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Exposing the ‘Unidentified Queen of Torture’ | Interview with Ray Nowosielski

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Sick movie! Sick culture!
by Vic Sadot
“No Evidence that North Korea Hacked Sony”, says Mickey Huff on Project Censored Radio Show on KPFA PACIFICA. Micky Huff and Nolan Higdon 1-09-15 interview with Professor Robin Anderson about her expose of the horribly violent and hateful “propaganda movie” titled “The Interview”. Note: You can move the audio bar in the archives forward to the 30 minute mark to hear about the con-job by Seth Rogan, US media, and CIA as deliberate and planned propaganda. First half of the show is an interview with Sarah Van Gelder of Yes Magazine on “10 Ways Human Rights and Democracy Won”. Second half hour features Professor Robin Anderson and focuses on her recent expose article “Sony, The Interview, and Hollywood Illusions of Creative Expression” about the hype, spin, cries of “censorship” and collaboration with the CIA to make the reprehensible faux comedy propaganda film. US people taken again on lie ride to hate and demonize North Korea. http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/110182

“Sony, The Interview, and Hollywood Illusions of Creative Expression” – Article by Professor Robin Anderson at The Vision Machine on December 26, 2014. http://thevisionmachine.com/2014/12/sony-the-interview-and-hollywood-illusions-of-creative-expression

Excerpts: “US officials claimed that North Korea, angered by Seth Rogan’s film depicting the assassination of Kim Jung-un, was responsible for the cyber attacks against Sony, and amid threats of theater violence, enthusiasm for the film’s release evaporated as potential costs added up. When Sony announced it would cancel the Christmas Day release of The Interview, President Obama chastised Sony saying the company had “made a mistake,” and an earthquake of righteous indignation shook Hollywood… Seth Rogen’s “free speech” rights were never at risk. He’s starred in 67 films. His film got made and was bound to be released eventually. But…Women filmmakers (a measly 6% of directors), Latino filmmakers (a minuscule 2% of directors), Black filmmakers (a tiny 6% of directors) actually face real, constant, systemic threats to their ability to speak. Embedded in those numbers are countless filmmakers who don’t get a shot. The Interview got it’s shot by blowing the head off No.1 US evil enemy Kim Jong Un, but it wasn’t Rogan’s creativity that came up with that plot twist. It came from the CIA. Don’t forget that is was Sony that also brought us Zero Dark Thirty, a film collaboration with the CIA. The torture report shared the news cycle with the Sony hacking story, and it should come as no surprise that CIA Director John Brennan, gave the same specious defense for torture woven into the plot of ZD30; that torture led to information “useful” to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden… The coverage of the cyber attacks against Sony should have prompted an examination of Hollywood’s collaboration with the national security state. Instead, a celebration of freedom of expression denied that the real story of censorship in Hollywood comes from the US Armed Forces.”

Vic Sadot is a singer-songwriter based in Berkeley, CA who is known for his “9/11 Truth & Justice Songs”

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Why “Torture Doesn’t Work” Doesn’t Work, Part 1: Torture and the U.S. Constitution

By Steven Jonas, MD, MPH

URL: http://www.planetarymovement.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=915&Itemid=58

As the world that is interested in such matters knows, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee finally released the (redacted) 524-page Executive Summary of its 6000-page report on torture and the CIA. It is entitled: “Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Terrorism Interrogations.”   But even just the Executive Summary presents a huge amount of horrifying detail about the program. (I need not detail it here; it and a huge amount of commentary has already appeared in The Times and many other news sources, print, electronic and other.  A particularly useful historical analysis has appeared on The Greanville Post.)

 

It happens that a good deal of the information contained in the report has been known, in relative bits and pieces, for quite some time.  What the Senate Committee has done is assemble a huge amount of material in one place, and then put their imprimatur on the information, which it has been collecting in sometimes gruesome detail over the past six years.  The most important conclusion to come away with in examining the Report is the Senate Intelligence Committee’s major finding about the CIA’s torture program:  that is was bad because it didn’t work.  And they produced huge mountains of evidence to support that claim. 

 

The Republicans, who for some time refused to participate in the work of the Committee have reacted in horror, not at the details of the torture itself and the catalog of CIA cover-ups, incompetence, disorganization, amateurism, and what-have-you, but at the fact that they have all been made public.  Most importantly, despite the fact that the Senate Committee assembled an overwhelming amount of evidence, and despite the fact that the Republicans did not avail themselves of it, they claimed that torture does work, in intelligence gathering, and then on, as they so often do, to try to change the subject.  Consider:  “Many Republicans have said that the report is an attempt to smear both the C.I.A. and the Bush White House, and that the report cherry-picked information to support a claim that the C.I.A.’s detention program yielded no valuable information. Former C.I.A. officials quickly began a well-prepared and vigorous public campaign to dispute the report’s findings.”

 

Of course the torturer-in-chief, Dick Cheney, went bananas over the report’s releaseHe argues both that torture works and then (oops!) that what was done wasn’t torture anyway.  So he, and all of his GOP and other cheerleaders, first try to deny reality (just as they do on so many issues, from global warming to racism) and then if that doesn’t work, get the argument onto definitions.  Cheney has also famously said that whatever what was done is or isn’t torture, a), he would authorize it all over again, and b) even if innocent people were picked up and put into the program, that really didn’t matter in the pursuit of its overall goals.  Interestingly enough, I did not hear of anyone asking him, if what the Senate Committee defined as torture wasn’t, what would he define as torture and would he authorize its use if he thought circumstances warranted that intervention.

Demonstrating his complete lack of knowledge of human anatomy and physiology Cheney even claimed that “rectal feeding” was OK, if done for “medical reasons.”  Note to the former Vice-President: the colon a) is not a digestive organ, b) as a physician for over 50 years, I have never heard forced ramming of food into the rectum described as a medical therapy.  Of course if Yoo and Bybee (who defined what the CIA was doing as not torture) were quack physicians instead of quack lawyers they might well have defined “rectal feeding” as a “medical therapy.”   Andy Borowitz tells us (WARNING, satire) that to, in his terms, properly deal with the subject, Cheney has even called for an international ban on the issuance of reports on the use of torture.  Nevertheless, despite what Cheney and his fellow cheer-leaders have said, we know that the CIA has done some very bad things (bad, that is, if you think that torture is bad), fully justified by the Bush Administration.  Indeed, even though the Committee said that it wasn’t, we know, as directly confirmed by Cheney himself, that the program was fully authorized by the Bush Administration.

However, and it’s a big however, the Senate Committee’s whole premise is that: the program was bad because it didn’t work.  Which raises the question: would they have concluded that torture was OK if it had produced useful intelligence?  Uh-oh and Oh my.  If Cheney et al were/are right about the utility of torture, at least as practiced by the CIA, then the Committee’s whole argument against it collapses in a heap.  Indeed by focusing primarily on “torture doesn’t work” for its primary criticism of the program, the Senate Intelligence Committee has let the Republicans and the Right-wing generally off the hook.  For they can simply come back, as they are, as noted, doing vociferously, saying “yes it does.”

The argument should have been based on “it’s wrong,” more importantly, that it violates both domestic and international law, and, most importantly, violates the U.S. Constitution.  The use of torture by U.S. agencies is clearly prohibited by various Federal statutes.   But the central issue here is the violation of Constitutional law.  The use of torture by any signatory to them is found in the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention Against Torture.  The United States is a party to both, and both are signed and ratified U.S. international treaties.  But before considering the Constitutional question, let us consider just what “torture” is, in anybody’s terms other than Cheney’s et al.

The authors of the Geneva Conventions just assumed that everyone “knows” what torture is; they didn’t bother to define it any detail.  The UN Convention defines it in general terms as “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession . . .”   By exclusion, the U.S. Army Field Manual is rather explicit about it.  The Bush Administration’s quack law firm, Bybee and Yoo, tried to define their way out of the quagmire, that “finding” being what Cheney (who probably dictated it to them, or perhaps it was his hatchet man Addington) falls back on.  But no one outside of themselves and the US Right would agree that what was done to numbers of prisoners of the US was not torture.  And the Senate Committee has certainly concluded that it was and uses the term “torture” over-and-over again.

But then comes the truly inconvenient truth that the use of torture by US authorities is simply unconstitutional. Under article VI of the U.S. Constitution, as treaties signed and ratified by the U.S. government, both Conventions are part of “the supreme law of the land and [further] the judges of every state shall be bound by them.”  This, and its illegality under various U.S. statutes and Codes, are the only arguments that one can make against the use of torture by US agencies that can withstand the “but it works” argument, even if the latter were true.  Thus, torture both doesn’t work and is unconstitutional as well as illegal.

The CIA surely knew the first: they haven’t been able to come up with even one provable example of its effectiveness.  (Further, it should be noted that during the Clinton Administration two attempted terrorist attacks that would have produce much larger death tolls even than 9/11 were thwarted, presumably through the use of conventional intelligence/interrogation techniques. The first was the 1998 “25 airliners” plot and the second was “Millennium Bomb Plot” against Los Angeles International Airport.  This was done apparently without using one torturous twitch.)  But the bottom line is that the use of torture by any U.S. agency is unconstitutional, and that, not “it doesn’t work,” is where the argument against such use should start.  Indeed, “it doesn’t work” just doesn’t work in the battle to ban the use of torture by the US government, which, as it happens, may well be renewed if the next President is a Republican.

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American Exceptionalism and American Torture

by William Blum

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds.

That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.

So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.

The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office.

Shortly after Obama’s first inauguration, both he and Leon Panetta, the new Director of the CIA, explicitly stated that “rendition” was not being ended. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time: “Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.”

The English translation of “cooperate” is “torture”. Rendition is simply outsourcing torture. There was no other reason to take prisoners to Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Somalia, Kosovo, or the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, amongst other torture centers employed by the United States. Kosovo and Diego Garcia – both of which house large and very secretive American military bases – if not some of the other locations, may well still be open for torture business, as is the Guantánamo Base in Cuba.

Moreover, the key Executive Order referred to, number 13491, issued January 22, 2009, “Ensuring Lawful Interrogations”, leaves a major loophole. It states repeatedly that humane treatment, including the absence of torture, is applicable only to prisoners detained in an “armed conflict”. Thus, torture by Americans outside an environment of “armed conflict” is not explicitly prohibited. But what about torture within an environment of “counter-terrorism”?

The Executive Order required the CIA to use only the interrogation methods outlined in a revised Army Field Manual. However, using the Army Field Manual as a guide to prisoner treatment and interrogation still allows solitary confinement, perceptual or sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep deprivation, the induction of fear and hopelessness, mind-altering drugs, environmental manipulation such as temperature and noise, and stress positions, amongst other charming examples of American Exceptionalism.

After Panetta was questioned by a Senate panel, the New York Times wrote that he had “left open the possibility that the agency could seek permission to use interrogation methods more aggressive than the limited menu that President Obama authorized under new rules … Mr. Panetta also said the agency would continue the Bush administration practice of ‘rendition’ … But he said the agency would refuse to deliver a suspect into the hands of a country known for torture or other actions ‘that violate our human values’.”

The last sentence is of course childishly absurd. The countries chosen to receive rendition prisoners were chosen precisely and solely because they were willing and able to torture them.

Four months after Obama and Panetta took office, theNew York Times could report that renditions had reached new heights.

The present news reports indicate that Washington’s obsession with torture stems from 9/11, to prevent a repetition. The president speaks of “the fearful excesses of the post-9/11 era”. There’s something to that idea, but not a great deal. Torture in America is actually as old as the country. What government has been intimately involved with that horror more than the United States? Teaching it, supplying the manuals, supplying the equipment, creation of international torture centers, kidnaping people to these places, solitary confinement, forced feeding, Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Chicago … Lord forgive us!

In 2011, Brazil instituted a National Truth Commission to officially investigate the crimes of the military government, which came to an end in 1985. But Mr. Obama has in fact rejected calls for a truth commission concerning CIA torture. On June 17 of this year, however, when Vice President Joseph Biden was in Brazil, he gave the Truth Commission 43 State Department cables and reports concerning the Brazilian military regime, including one entitled “Widespread Arrests and Psychophysical Interrogation of Suspected Subversives.”

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