Category Archives: Torture

The CIA’s first captive after 9/11 describes his years of torture

Jason Leopold reports for VICE News:

[…] Abu Zubaydah, 45, a Saudi national who was the CIA’s first captive following the 9/11 attacks, served as the guinea pig for what the CIA euphemistically referred to as its “enhanced interrogation” program. The details about Abu Zubaydah’s treatment were revealed in a sworn, eight-page declaration [PDF at the end of this story] he provided to his attorney in 2009 that was filed under seal in US District Court in Washington, DC seven years ago in his habeas corpus case in which his attorneys have argued for his release.

That declaration was unsealed one week ago, prepared for public release in response to a motion filed earlier this year by investigative journalist Raymond Bonner, who convinced the federal judge presiding over Abu Zubaydah’s case to unseal dozens of court filings that have been shrouded in secrecy since 2008.

The judge who previously oversaw the case, Richard Roberts, failed to rule on nearly every motion Abu Zubaydah’s attorneys have filed over the past seven years. He abruptly retired from the bench as chief judge of the US District Court for the District of Columbia on March 16, the same day a woman filed a lawsuit accusing him of sexually assaulting her more than three decades ago when she was 16 years old.

The partially redacted declaration was attached as an exhibit to a 21-page motion his attorneys filed on September 21, 2009 asking the court to impose sanctions against the government for destroying “material evidence” — nearly 100 interrogation videotapes, at least one of which showed Abu Zubaydah being waterboarded.

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CIA Knew it Had the Wrong Man, but Kept Him Anyway

Matthew Schofield reports for McClatchy:

German of Lebanese descent Khaleed al Masri reads German newspapers covering his arrest by the CIA in Stuttgart, Germany, on Dec. 6, 2005.By January of 2004, when German citizen Khaleed al Masri arrived at the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prison in Afghanistan, agency officials were pretty sure he wasn’t a terrorist. They also knew he didn’t know any terrorists, or much about anything in the world of international terror.

In short, they suspected they’d nabbed the wrong man.

Still, the agency continued to imprison and interrogate him, according to a recently released internal CIA report on Masri’s arrest. The report claims that Masri suffered no physical abuse during his wrongful imprisonment, though it acknowledges that for months he was kept in a “small cell with some clothing, bedding and a bucket for his waste.” Masri says he was tortured, specifically that a medical examination against his will constituted sodomy.

The embarrassing, and horrifying, case of Masri is hardly new. It has been known for a decade as a colossal example of CIA error in the agency’s pursuit of terrorists during the administration of President George W. Bush.

But the recently released internal report makes it clear that the CIA’s failures in the Masri case were even more outrageous than previous accounts have suggested.

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European Parliament Calls for Investigation of Secret CIA Torture Sites

Alex Emmons reports for The Intercept:

The European Parliament on Wednesday condemned the “apathy shown by member states and EU institutions” over torture in secret CIA prisons in Europe.

A non-binding resolution, which passed 329-299, urged member states to “investigate, insuring full transparency, the allegations that there were secret prisons on their territory in which people were held under the CIA programme.” It also called on the European Union to undertake fact-finding missions into countries that were known to house American black sites.

The resolution named Lithuania, Poland, Italy, and the United Kingdom as countries complicit in CIA operations.

The Parliament also expressed “regret” that none of the architects of the U.S. torture program faced criminal charges, and that the U.S. has failed to cooperate with European criminal probes.

Despite banning torture when he came into office, President Obama has fought all attempts to hold Bush administration officials accountable, including by invoking the state secrets privilege to block lawsuits and delaying the release of the Senate Torture Report.

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Judge Criticizes Pentagon Suppression of Hundreds of Bush-era Torture Photos

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

A federal judge has sharply rebuked the Pentagon for the process by which it concealed hundreds of Bush-era photos showing US military personnel torturing detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, suggesting Barack Obama may have to release even more graphic imagery of abuse.

Alvin Hellerstein, the senior judge who has presided over a transparency lawsuit for the photos that has lasted more than 12 years, expressed dissatisfaction over the Pentagon’s compliance with an order he issued last year requiring a case-by-case ruling that release of an estimated 1,800 photographs would endanger US troops.

“We don’t know the methodology, we don’t know what was reviewed, we don’t know the criteria, we don’t know the numbers,” Hellerstein said during an hour-long hearing on Wednesday.

Hellerstein said he would formally rule on the matter in the “near future”, a process that may compel the Pentagon to disclose additional photographs.

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The CIA Naked Photos Scandal is a Wake-Up Call

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

Just as the ugly spectre of torture has reared its head once again in the US presidential race, the Guardian has revealed shocking new details of the US government’s brutality during the Bush era.

As the Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman reported today, the CIA took photographs of its prisoners while they were naked, bound and some bruised, just before they were to be shipped off to some of the world’s worst dictators at the time – which included Assad, Mubarak and Gaddafi – for torture. The photos were described by a former US official as “very gruesome”.

The report is a stark reminder that the US continues to keep secret, to this day, some of the worst actions of the Bush administration. And it’s all the more relevant given that after the tragic terrorist attack in Brussels, torture has once again become central to the US political debate. On national television immediately following the attacks, the Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump again called for waterboarding – a war crime Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for after the second world war. Trump has also repeatedly claimed he would do “much worse” than waterboarding to captives as president.

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Obama in Cuba: Pro-Torture Pundits Suddenly Concerned With Human Rights

Adam Johnson writes for Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting:

US President Barack Obama landed in Havana [last] Sunday to great fanfare, both in Cuba and stateside. His visit marks a significant shift of the United States’ approach towards the socialist state, and the possibility of cooperation after decades of hostility. US media generally struck a hopeful tone, with a surprisingly nuanced mix of positive and critical stories about Cuba.

Some Cold War hold-outs in the media just weren’t having it, though, taking the occasion to feign outrage that Obama could visit a country with such a terrible human rights record. While American human-rights hypocrisy is nothing new, a string of Bush-era, pro-torture, pro-Guantánamo pundits expressing indignation at Cuba’s human rights failings was still remarkable.

[…] Human rights are important. Human Rights™, as arbitrary tools of Western propaganda, are dangerous. Not only because they serve to bully unfriendly nations with cheap sloganeering, but they also, in the long run, undermine the otherwise noble and well-intentioned enterprise of establishing international norms.

“The problem with living outside the law,” Truman Capote once quipped, “is that you no longer have its protection.” The same is true for every Bush-era pundit who served as ideological shock troops in one of the more shameful episodes of American history. These talking heads can criticize Cuba’s controlled economy, they can criticize its leadership, they can criticize its immigration policy—but they have no grounding, intellectually or morally, to criticize its human rights record.

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Former CIA Analyst and Whistleblower John Kiriakou on Why You Shouldn’t Back Hillary Clinton

Afshin Rattansi talks to John Kiriakou, a former analyst at the CIA and a former senior investigator for the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Kiriakou goes over the UK-US torture collaboration, why you shouldn’t back Hillary Clinton and how when it comes to whistleblowers, President Obama is the worst president in the U.S. history. (Going Underground)

Imagine Obama’s National Security Policies In Trump’s Hands

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

As Donald Trump gets closer to locking up the Republican nomination and therefore one step closer to the presidency, it’s worth looking back at one of the Obama administration’s most troubling legacies. Specifically, the national security precedents that have allowed the US to spy on countless people and kill without accountability. The prospect now – a terrifying one – is of Trump in charge of this vast apparatus.

Civil liberties advocates have been warning of a scenario like this for more than six years. The extraordinary national security powers George W Bush pioneered and Obama shamefully entrenched could now fall into the hands of someone many people consider a madman. Someone whose opinion changes with the wind – or the sound of the crowd – and whose entire candidacy is based around personal vendettas.

Trump’s abhorrent daily pronouncements about what he would do as president come at such a rate that we have become numb to them. We’ve lost count of the amount of times he’s claimed he’ll bring back waterboarding, or some forms of torture that are “so much worse” (something that would constitute a war crime). Or that he’ll not only kill terrorists, but members of their families as well – another war crime. (After some backlash for these statements, Trump claimed on Friday that he would still “obey the law”.)

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Donald Trump’s Policies Are Not Anathema to U.S. Mainstream, but an Uncomfortable Reflection of It

Glenn Greenwald writes for The Intercept:

The political and media establishments in the U.S. — which have jointly wrought so much destruction, decay, and decadence — recently decided to unite against Donald Trump. Their central claim is that the real estate mogul and longtime NBC reality TV star advocates morally reprehensible positions that are far outside the bounds of decency; relatedly, they argue, he is so personally repellent that his empowerment would degrade both the country and the presidency.

In some instances, their claim is plausible: There is at least genuine embarrassment if not revulsion even among America’s political class over Trump’s proposed mass deportation of 11 million human beings, banning of all Muslims from entering the country, and new laws to enable him to more easily sue (and thus destroy) media outlets that “falsely” criticize him. And his signature personality brew of deep-seated insecurities, vindictive narcissism, channeling of the darkest impulses, and gaudy, petty boasting is indeed uniquely grotesque.

But in many cases, probably most, the flamboyant denunciations of Trump by establishment figures make no sense except as self-aggrandizing pretense, because those condemning him have long tolerated if not outright advocated very similar ideas, albeit with less rhetorical candor. Trump is self-evidently a toxic authoritarian demagogue advocating morally monstrous positions, but in most cases where elite outrage is being vented, he is merely a natural extension of the mainstream rhetorical and policy framework that has been laid, not some radical departure from it. He’s their id. What establishment mavens most resent is not what Trump is, does, or says, but what he reflects: the unmistakable, undeniable signs of late-stage imperial collapse, along with the resentments and hatreds they have long deliberately and self-servingly stoked but which are now raging out of their control.

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GOP Candidates Compete Over Who Will Commit Most War Crimes Once Elected

Murtaza Hussain and Dan Froomkin report for The Intercept:

At a rally in New Hampshire on Monday night, Donald Trump was criticizing Ted Cruz for having insufficiently endorsed torture – Cruz had said two nights earlier that he would bring back waterboarding, but not “in any sort of widespread use” – when someone in the audience yelled out that Cruz was a “pussy”. Trump, in faux outrage, reprimanded the supporter, repeating the allegation for the assembled crowd: “She said he’s a pussy. That’s terrible. Terrible.”

The spectacle of one Republican presidential candidate being identified by another as a “pussy” for failing to sufficiently endorse an archetypal form of torture exemplifies the moral state of the current race for the GOP nomination.

The Republican candidates have seemingly been competing with one another over who would commit the gravest war crimes if elected. In recent months, one or another has promised to waterboard, do a “helluva lot worse than waterboarding,” repopulate Guantanamo, engage in wars of aggressionkill families of suspected terrorists and “carpet bomb” Middle Eastern countries until we find out if “sand can glow in the dark.”

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Pentagon Releases Photos of Detainee Abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan

Cora Currier reports for The Intercept:

detainee-photos-3The Pentagon today released 198 photos related to its investigations into abuse of detainees by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The photos are mainly close-up shots of arms, feet, heads, hands, or joints, sometimes showing bruises or scabs. Faces are redacted with black bars. It’s not always clear where each of the photos was taken, but they come from internal military investigations and have dates ranging from 2003 to 2006. Sometimes the marks on the prisoners’ skin are labeled with tape measuring the size of the wound, or a coin or pen for comparison.

These photos appear to be the most innocuous of the more than 2,000 images that the government has fought for years to keep secret. Lawyers for the government have long maintained that the photos, if released, could cause grievous harm to national security because they could be used for propaganda by groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State. The legal case has stretched on for more than a decade, since 2004, when the American Civil Liberties Union firstsued to obtain photos beyond the notorious images that had been leaked from the prison at Abu Ghraib.

It has been reported that some of the 2,000 imagesshow soldiers posing with dead bodies, kicking and punching detainees or posing them stripped naked next to female guards. The 198 photos that were released today do not show any of this.

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Brutal Repression in Egypt Exceeds Conditions Under Mubarak: Interview with Noha Radwan

Sharmini Peries talks to Noha Radwan, an associate professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature at UC Davis. Radwan discusses the conditions facing political prisoners, where as many as seventy people are crammed into 15×15 spaces, while calling on the international community for assistance. (The Real News)

Campaign to Close Guantánamo During Obama’s Last Year in Office: Interview with Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters and Andy Worthington

On the day that marked seven years since President Obama signed an executive order calling for the closure of Guantánamo Bay within one year, Juan Gonzalez and Amy Goodman spoke to Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, and Andy Worthington, a British activist and investigative journalist who co-founded the “Countdown to Close Guantánamo” campaign. (Democracy Now!)

ISIS Recruitment Thrives in Brutal Prisons Run By US-Backed Egypt

Murtaza Hussain reports for The Intercept:

For nearly two years, Mohamed Soltan, a 26-year-old citizen of both Egypt and America, endured torture, deprivation, and cruelty while locked in the prisons of Egyptian military dictator Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. In 2013, he was among thousands arrested in a country-wide crackdown on civil society activists, journalists, and members of the deposed government following Sisi’s coup and massacre of protestors in Cairo’s Raba’a Adawiya Square.

Soltan was released this year after a 400-day hunger strike in which he lost over 130 pounds and nearly died, saved only by the intervention of the American government on his behalf. Despite bending to pressure in his case, the Egyptian regime continues to hold as many as 41,000 political prisoners, recent Human Rights Watch estimates suggest. And Soltan worries that extremism is incubating in those facilities, where he witnessed and experienced torture. Today, he says that, through its oppressive practices, the Sisi government is effectively acting as a “recruiting agent” for extremist groups like the Islamic State.

“The regime is fostering an environment in their prisons that makes them a fertile ground for that kind of ideology to flourish,” Soltan says. “The brutality and the overwhelming loss of hope is creating a situation which fits [the Islamic State’s] narrative, and they’re using it to try and recruit people and spread their message.”

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Last British Prisoner Released From Guantanamo: Interview with Shayana Kadidal

Sharmini Peries talks to Shayana Kadidal, senior attorney with the Centre for Constitutional Rights. Kadidal discusses how Shaker Aamer was cleared for release in 2007, but US military officials held him all these years because he was a charismatic leader and negotiator. (The Real News)

Andy Worthington on Shaker Aamer finally being released from Guantanamo

From the Scott Horton Show:

Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, discusses British resident Shaker Aamer’s reunion with his family in the UK after his long-delayed release from Guantanamo, and how he survived being locked away for 14 years without charge or trial, often in solitary confinement.

LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW…

Homan Square: How Chicago police ‘disappeared’ 7,000 people

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal.

From August 2004 to June 2015, nearly 6,000 of those held at the facility were black, which represents more than twice the proportion of the city’s population. But only 68 of those held were allowed access to attorneys or a public notice of their whereabouts, internal police records show.

The new disclosures, the result of an ongoing Guardian transparency lawsuit and investigation, provide the most detailed, full-scale portrait yet of the truth about Homan Square, a secretive facility that Chicago police have described as little more than a low-level narcotics crime outpost where the mayor has said police “follow all the rules”.

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FIFA needs change, but this democracy-crushing choice is grim

Marina Hyde writes for The Guardian:

In any sane world, the spectacle of a man from one of Earth’s most oppressive regimes pontificating about a presidential election would be regarded as so obviously absurd as to be self-satirising. And yet, as hardly needs explaining, Fifa is not a sane world. Never mind Kansas, Toto – I don’t think we’re even in Oz anymore. Is there a world beyond even the world that’s through the looking glass, a place where the Red Queen and Humpty Dumpty actually seem quite rational compared to some monstrous arsehole from the Bahraini royal family presenting himself as a change candidate?

The monstrous arsehole in question is Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al-Khalifa, whose ascent to football primacy has been a classic riches-to-riches story. Wondering what he might have achieved had he not been held back by his connections is one for another day. He can only play it as it lays, and Sheikh Salman currently declares himself under increasingly heavy pressure to stand as a candidate in Fifa’s presidential election.

According to his good self, he is being urged to stand “by a growing number of senior football administrators, Fifa members and personalities of public life”. And shame on all of them – but we’ll come to that shortly.

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The Empire Files: Enter the World’s Biggest Prison

The American Empire holds more prisoners than any other country on earth, both in total numbers and per capita. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin explores the dark reality of the U.S. prison system: the conditions, who is held in them, and the roots of mass incarceration. (The Empire Files)

DSEI weapons fair: Authoritarian regimes descend on London

Richard Norton-Taylor reports for The Guardian:

Authoritarian regimes including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and Azerbaijan are among the official guests invited by the UK government to one of the world’s largest arms bazaars, opening in London’s Docklands this week.

The biennial weapons fair, which opens on Tuesday, is the focus of an increasingly heated debate between those who say major weapons producers such as Britain cannot claim at the same time to defend human rights, and those who say the arms industry provides tens of thousands of jobs and valuable exports.

This year’s Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) exhibition coincides with a government drive to increase arms sales to countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, by far its most lucrative single market for weapons.

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Never Forget That 9/11 Justifies…

Never Forget

The Google Search That Made the CIA Spy on the US Senate

Jason Leopold reports for VICE News:

John Brennan was about to say he was sorry.

On July 28, 2014, the CIA director wrote a letter to senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss — the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SSCI) and the panel’s ranking Republican, respectively. In it, he admitted that the CIA’s penetration of the computer network used by committee staffers reviewing the agency’s torture program — a breach for which Feinstein and Chambliss had long demanded accountability — was improper and violated agreements the Intelligence Committee had made with the CIA.

The letter was notable in part because Brennan initially denied the January 2014 search of the Senate’s computer network even took place. And later, when it became clear that it had — and that he had known of it while publicly denying that it happened — he refused to acknowledge that it was wrong. For months, Feinstein and other committee members were clamoring for a written apology to make part of the official record.

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Who is to blame for the rise of the Islamic State? Interview with former DIA head Michael T. Flynn

Editor’s Note: The discussion regarding the 2012 DIA document begins around the 9:00 mark.

Fascinating interview with Michael T. Flynn, the former head of the U.S. Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and a commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). (Al Jazeera)

Retired General: Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS

Murtaza Hussain reports for The Intercept:

Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testifies during a hearing before the House (Select) Intelligence Committee February 4, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to examine threats to the U.S. from all around the world.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in a forthcoming interview on Al Jazeera English that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State and that U.S. soldiers involved in torturing detainees need to be held legally accountable for their actions.

Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, calling for a more hawkish approach to the Islamic State and Iran.

But his enthusiasm for the application of force doesn’t extend to the use of drones. In the interview with Al Jazeera presenter Mehdi Hasan, set to air July 31, the former three star general says: “When you drop a bomb from a drone … you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good.” Pressed by Hasan as to whether drone strikes are creating more terrorists than they kill, Flynn says, “I don’t disagree with that.” He describes the present approach of drone warfare as “a failed strategy.”

“What we have is this continued investment in conflict,” the retired general says. “The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that just … fuels the conflict.”’

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Interview with James G. Connell III, the Attorney Representing Aamar al-Baluchi

James G. Connell III is an attorney at the U.S Defence Department. He represents Aamar al-Baluchi, a man who stands accused of financing 9/11. The CIA-backed movie Zero Dark Thirty based a character on al-Baluchi. In this interview with Going Underground, Mr. Connell explains how Hollywood producers and directors work with the CIA, and why the U.S considers itself to be exempt from many human rights treaties. (Going Underground)

In Historic Ruling, Bush Officials Can Be Sued for Post-9/11 Roundups

Nadia Prupis reports for Common Dreams:

Victims of post-9/11 racial profiling, illegal detention, and abuse in the U.S. may have the chance to sue high-level Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a U.S. federal court ruled on Wednesday in what the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called an “exceedingly rare” decision.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday [17th June] found that Ashcroft, former FBI director Robert Mueller, and former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner James Ziglar, who are all defendants in the case of Turkmen v. Ashcroft,“exceeded the bounds of the [U.S.] Constitution in the wake of 9/11” by profiling, detaining, abusing, and deporting numerous Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men based on nothing more than their race or religion.

“[T]here is no legitimate governmental purpose in holding someone as if he were a terrorist simply because he happens to be, or appears to be, Arab or Muslim,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision. “We simply cannot conclude at this stage that concern for the safety of our nation justified the violation of the constitutional rights on which this nation was built.”

CCR, which brought the case in 2002, said the ruling was historic and served as a reminder that “the rule of law and the rights of human beings, whether citizens or not, must not be sacrificed in the face of national security hysteria.”‘

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Torture is a war crime the government treats like a policy debate

Trevor Timm writes for The Guardian:

GUANTANAMOThe Senate commendably passed an amendment “outlawing” torture by a wide margin on Monday, but given that torture is already against the law – both through existing US statute and by international treaty – what does that really mean?

The bill, a response by lawmakers to last year’s devastating CIA torture report that exposed the agency’s rampant illegal conduct and subsequent cover-up in the years after 9/11, would force all US agencies – including the CIA, finally – to comply with the Pentagon’s rulebook on interrogations. It would also forbid any of the Pentagon’s interrogation rules from being secret and give the Red Cross access to all detainees held by the US, no matter where.

One would’ve thought pre-9/11 that it would be hard to write the current law prohibiting torture any more clearly. Nothing should have allowed the Bush administration to get away with secretly interpreting laws out of existence or given the CIA authority to act with impunity. The only reason a host of current and former CIA officials aren’t already in jail is because of cowardice on the Obama administration, which refused to prosecute Bush administration officialswho authorized the torture program, those who destroyed evidence of it after the fact or even those who went beyond the brutal torture techniques that the administration shamefully did authorize.

Since the Senate’ report reinvigorated the torture debate six months ago, Obama officials have continued to try their hardest to make the controversy go away by stifling Freedom of Information Act requests for the full report and, in many cases, refusing to even read it. And Bush-era law-breakers were even given the courtesy of having their names redacted from the report, sparing them of public shaming or criticism, despite clear public interest to the contrary.’

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CIA torture appears to have broken spy agency rule on human experimentation

Spencer Ackerman reports for The Guardian:

cia human experimentation illustrationThe Central Intelligence Agency had explicit guidelines for “human experimentation” – before, during and after its post-9/11 torture of terrorism detainees – that raise new questions about the limits on the agency’s in-house and contracted medical research.

Sections of a previously classified CIA document, made public by the Guardian on Monday, empower the agency’s director to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The leeway provides the director, who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor, with significant influence over limitations the US government sets to preserve safe, humane and ethical procedures on people.

CIA director George Tenet approved abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, designed by CIA contractor psychologists. He further instructed the agency’s health personnel to oversee the brutal interrogations – the beginning of years of controversy, still ongoing, about US torture as a violation of medical ethics.

But the revelation of the guidelines has prompted critics of CIA torture to question how the agency could have ever implemented what it calls “enhanced interrogation techniques” – despite apparently having rules against “research on human subjects” without their informed consent.’

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As Chicago Pays Victims of Past Torture, Police Face New Allegations of Abuse at Homan Square: Interview with Spencer Ackerman

‘More victims have come forward to detail recent abuse inside Homan Square, a secret compound used by Chicago police for incommunicado interrogations and detentions which some have described as the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site overseas. Exclusive video obtained by The Guardian shows a Chicago man named Angel Perez being taken inside a “prisoner entrance.” Perez says police handcuffed his right wrist to a metal bar and then sexually assaulted him with a metal object, believed to be a handgun barrel. Perez says the officers also threatened to “go after” his family members, including his father who is battling cancer. Perez is now the 13th person to describe his detainment at the secret police site to The Guardian. Like many detainees, he apparently was never formally arrested — neither booked, nor permitted access to an attorney, nor charged. Now, Perez and four others have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department. We are joined by the reporter who broke the Homan Square story, Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.’ (Democracy Now!)

The United States Considers Itself a Human Rights Champion. The World Begs to Differ.

Jamil Dakwar writes for the American Civil Liberties Union:

UN Building; Photo Source: Jamil DakwarStarting Monday, the United States’ human rights record will be subject to international scrutiny by the U.N. Human Rights Council. It may just be the perfect catalyst for the Obama administration to make good on past and present wrongs that should never be associated with a liberal democracy predicated on respect for human rights.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of a regular examination of the human rights records of all 193 U.N. member countries and will be the second review of its kind for the U.S. since 2010.  The review comes at a critical time when the U.S. human rights record has been criticized for falling short of meeting international human rights standards. From racially biased policing and excessive use of force by law enforcement to the expansion of migrant family detention and from the lack of accountability for the CIA torture program to the use of armed drones abroad, the U.S. has a lot to answer for.’

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