Archive for the 'torture' Category

NO ACCOUNTABILITY

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

Prisoner at Guantanamo

A report on this blog about US torture exposed by Andy Worthington, authority on and advocate for those whom the US tortured and imprisoned in Guantanamo, included this statement:

“The Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report…must be the trigger not just for airing of apologies, but for those who instigated and authorized the torture program to be held accountable — up to and including President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.”

That was published in December of 2014.  It is now May of 2017 and no one has been held accountable for US torture.

There are many posts on this blog dealing with ongoing US torture.  Instead of closing the Guantanamo prison, Obama left it open, and torture of prisoners is still going on there now. I see no evidence of anyone in the new administration even considering closure.  I wonder if Trump even knows the prison exists, given his level of ignorance in general.

What can we do to stop all US torture, that in US prisons in this country and in its prisons abroad?

OBAMA DOES NOT CLOSE GUANTANAMO PRISON

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Despite saying that he would since early in his term, President Obama is not going to close the prison at Guantanamo where forty-five prisoners still languish. Below are remarks by Jeremy Varon, a long time advocate of the closing of the prison and torture center.

“The continued existence of the detention facility at Guantanamo is a devastating policy failure for President Obama and stain on his legacy,” stated Jeremy Varon with Witness Against Torture. “The prison never should have existed in the first place, and it should not exist now. It is a place of torture, a giant crime scene with which the United States has never fully reckoned. In Gitmo, America has institutionalized the idea of indefinite detention without charge or trial. Holding exclusively Muslim men, the prison is also the fiercest edge of an Islamophobia that has only gathered steam.”

“And Guantanamo lies at the ready for Trump or even some future president to re-populate with U.S. captives,” he continued. “Sadly, it remains a part of America’s security apparatus, laws, and very soul.” From http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/18/thats-it-eight-years-later-obama-white-house-admits-gitmo-wont-close

For his part Trump not only wants to leave the prisoners there, but to send others to the nefarious prison camp.

This is a shameful and sad step on Obama’s part and will allow Trump to do his worst.

We can write and call both Obama and Trump as well as our representatives in both houses of Congress.  If anything, things under Trump will probably be worse for the remaining prisoners.

Shameful.  Another shameful blot on the United States.

Suleiman Abdullah Salim speaks of The Darkness

Friday, October 14th, 2016

Released by the CIA without having ever had any charges against him and no explanations, Suleiman Abdullah Salim is trying to move on.  He suffers from depression and post-traumatic stress, not surprising after his torture at the hands of the CIA.

A peace loving man, he raises pigeons and stands in this photograph next to their cage.

Read his horrific story told in the NY Times here.

with-pigeons

Suleiman Abdullah Salim

We must not forget the men and boys who were tortured by the US and we must do all we can to keep this from happening again.

Brutality of US Treatment of Prisoners Exposed

Monday, July 4th, 2016

“One of the most severely tortured men in the history of Guantánamo Bay presented his case for freedom on Thursday.” is the opening sentence of an article in the Guardian about Mohamedou Ould Slahi, one of the prisoners at Guantanamo whose lawyers are asking for his release.  As with most of the prisoners there, he has been held without charge for nearly fourteen years.

Mohamedou Slahi

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Unlike most of the other prisoners, however, he published a memoir about his experiences titled Guantanamo Diary which has been a best seller.  Perhaps because of that, the US is not eager to release him.  The US fears he would promote his book globally and thus has not agreed to his release.

His lawyers say he just wants to go home and be reunited with his family.

In my estimation, his detention, as well as that of all the others there, is shameful.  It is even more shameful that the US has not long since released him.

US Torture Confirmed Again

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

An article titled Why Bush, Cheney, and CIA Leaders Should Be Charged With War Crimes was published today.  It brings forward more information about the torture of Guantanamo  prisoners.  The authors say that prisoner Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, better known by his Arabic nickname Abu Zubaydah, who is still held in solitary detention in Guantanamo, was accused of things that are not true.

 

Abu Zubaydah

Abu Zubaydah

Further the article states:

“And even if it had been true, what the CIA did to Abu Zubaydah — with the knowledge and approval of the highest government officials — is a prime example of the kind of still-unpunished crimes that officials like Dick Cheney, George Bush, and Donald Rumsfeld committed in the so-called Global War on Terror.”

Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld were the criminals in this case as in so many others.  We must not forget their egregious crimes against humanity and continue to call for their prosecution as war criminals in US and International Courts.

NEWS OF SHAKER

Friday, September 25th, 2015

I have just had word that Shaker Aamer, the last remaining British subject in the prison at Guantanamo, may have been released.  Pope Francis is currently in the United States and may have had something to do with this.  Let us hope that Shaker is indeed released and on his way home to his family, including a child who was born after his capture and whom he has never seen.

shaker_ammer

And, let us hope that all the remaining prisoners are soon released as well.

GREENWALD: OBAMA “WANTED TO INDEFINITELY IMPRISON THEM SOMEWHERE ELSE”

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Glenn Greenwald, the constitutional lawyer turned journalist, reminds readers at the online site The Intercept that “Obama repeatedly and eloquently railed against the core, defining evil of Guantánamo: indefinite detention,” while campaigning for president.  Yet, seven years later, the torture camp remains open.

prisoner4

prisoner

Prisoners at Guantanamo

Greenwald says Obama actually has demanded the “right to continue to imprison Guantánamo detainees without charges or trial”. And according to Greenwald  this is because he considers that the prisoners “cannot be tried but  [are] too dangerous to release.”  That latter expression is what Greenwald calls “the hideous new phrase”.

Greenwald continues:

“In other words, Obama never sought to close Guantánamo in any meaningful sense but rather wanted to relocate it to a less symbolically upsetting location, with its defining injustice fully intact and, worse, institutionalized domestically.”

You can read the complete article here.

The US, having tortured these men and boys before they left their sites of capture has never been in a position to present them for trial in international courts.  These prisoners remain a serious case of crimes against humanity by the United States.  I continue to say that the only just solution is to release all the prisoners now.

BLACK SITE TRANSLATOR AT GUANTANAMO TRIALS

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015

 

Image4.jpg

I am fortunate to speak a number of languages and I have never been where I do not speak the language.  I would not like having to depend on a translator.  There are, even in the best of circumstances, many things that do not translate well even among the European languages I speak.  The thought of being a foreign prisoner in the US and unable to speak English is terrifying, especially since the translators would be engaged by the US and of dubious objectivity at best.

I read recently that the prisoners are telling their lawyers that the translator was at the black sites (where they were not only interrogated but tortured).

Surely it must be possible to have translators whose impartiality is unquestionable.  One from the black sites, employed at the time by the US which was also the agent of the torture of these men and boys, would certainly not likely inspire their confidence at the very least.  At worst, of course, the translator, who knows on which side his proverbial bread is buttered, could misrepresent what the prisoners say.

The US must let these prisoners free.  There is no other just recourse.

prisoner

 

RELEASE SHAKER AAMER

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Shaker Aamer, the last British subject held by the US in its torture camp at Guantnamo, is very ill.  Long since cleared for release, he remains there for reasons never explained.   There have  been several posts about Shaker, a few of which you can read here, here, and here.

shaker_ammer

Shaker with his children

Andy Worthington, the British authority on the prisoners at Guantanamo, urges us to contact David Cameron, prime minister of the UK and Obama, US president, demanding Shaker’s release.  I post below the facebook page url where there is information.

https://www.facebook.com/WeStandWithShaker?fref=ts

There are links on that post to send letters to both Obama and Cameron.  The one for Cameron worked.  Below is a better one for Obama.  [You will need to copy and paste this address into your browser because the link does not work.]

https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

Please do read about Shaker and write to Cameron and Obama.

And please do comment on this post or post things related to this issue yourself. If you prefer, send things to me and we will load them on the blog for you.

“Together we can do this”.

 

US TORTURE DURING THE VIET NAM WAR

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

A statement by Anthony J. Russo, an employee of the RAND Corporation who was dispatched to Viet Nam to interrogate prisoners there during the US war in that country in the late 60’s, could have been made by US employees who work in Afghanistan and the Middle East now and in the very recent past.

Russo reported in detail the kind of torture and abuse that prisoners he interrogated had endured.  The CIA was putting into practice the methods of torture that exist to this day and that include being suspended by the thumbs or the feet, beatings, rape, electric shock–especially to the genitals–confinement in dark and dirty cells, waterboarding.

http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/ellsberg/russo2.jpg

Anthony Russo

This brave man documented every instance of these atrocities and crimes against humanity that he encountered,  He wrote about the torture of the people he interviewed in the reports he had to file and argued with his superiors who wanted him to suppress that information, which was ultimately removed from the reports by those who controlled the final drafts.

Eventually, he helped Daniel Ellsburg who exposed the “Pentagon Papers” that revealed what the US wanted hidden about the war in Viet Nam.  As Ellsburg was, he was indicted for complicity in that matter.  The Ellsburg trial had huge implications for the war and the early resignation of Richard Nixon in disgrace.  It was another step on the path to the ignominious end of that disastrous war.

Though not so well known as Ellsbrug, Russo was as courageous and acted on principle.  Ellsburg always said that Russo was the first person who recorded the torture of the Vietnamese.  This is not well known largely because the RAND Corporation buried that information quite successfully.

The US has a history of torture.  What can we do now to stop it and ensure that torture will not be used in the future?