Category: Torture / Water-boarding


Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009. Photo Saudi Arabia Embassy.

Obama: ‘Remaking The Middle East’: The American Gulag – OpEd

Introduction:

During the beginning of his first term in office President Obama promised “to remake the Middle East into a region of prosperity and freedom”. Six years later the reality is totally the contrary: the Middle East is ruled by despotic regimes whose jails are overflowing with political prisoners.

The vast majority of pro-democracy activists who have been incarcerated, have been subject to harsh torture and are serving long prison sentences. The rulers lack legitimacy, having seized power and maintained their rule through a centralized police state and military repression.Direct US military and CIA intervention, massive shipments of arms,military bases, training missions and Special Forces are decisive in the construction of the Gulag chain from North Africa to the Gulf States.

We will proceed by documenting the scale and scope of political repression in each US backed police state. We will then describe the scale and scope of US military aid buttressing the “remaking of the Middle East” into a chain of political prisons run by and for the US Empire.

The countries and regimes include Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Jordan and Turkey . . . all of which promote and defend US imperial interests against the pro-democracy majority, represented by their independent social-political movements.

Egypt: Strategic Vassal State

A longtime vassal state and the largest Arab country in the Middle East, Egypt’s current military dictatorship, product of a coup in July 2013, launched a savage wave of repression

subsequent to seizing power. According to the Egyptian Center for Social and Economic Rights, between July and December 2013, 21,317 pro-democracy demonstrators were arrested. As of April 2014, over 16,000 political prisoners are incarcerated. Most have been tortured. The summary trials, by kangaroo courts, have resulted in death sentences for hundreds and long prison terms for most. The Obama regime has refused to call the military’s overthrow of the democratically elected Morsi government a coup in order to continue providing military aid to the junta.In exchange the military dictatorship continues to back the Israeli blockade of Gaza and support US military operations throughout the Middle East.

Israel: The Region’s Biggest Jailer

Israel, whose supporters in the US dub it the “only democracy in the Middle East”, is in fact the largest jailer in the region.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’Tselm, between 1967 and December 2012, 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned at some point, over 20% of the population. Over 100,000 have been held in “administrative detention” without charges or trial. Almost all have been tortured and brutalized. Currently Israel has 4,881 political prisoners in jail. What makes the Jewish state God’s chosen… premier jailer, however, is the holding of 1.82 million Palestinians living in Gaza in a virtual open air prison. Israel restricts travel, trade, fishing, building , manufacturing and farming through air, sea and ground policing and blockades. In addition, 2.7 million Palestinians in the Occupied Territories (West Bank) are surrounded by prison-like walls, subject to daily military incursions, arbitrary arrests and violent assaults by the Israeli armed forces and Jewish vigilante settlers engaged in perpetual dispossession of Palestinian inhabitants.

Saudi Arabia: Absolutist Monarchy

According to President Obama’s ‘remaking of Middle East’ Saudi Arabia stands as Washington’s “staunchest ally in the Arab world”. As a loyal vassal state, its jails overflow with pro-democracy dissidents incarcerated for seeking free elections, civil liberties and an end to misogynist policies. According to the Islamic Human Rights Commission the Saudis are holding 30,000 political prisoners, most arbitrarily detained without charges or trial.

The Saudi dictatorship plays a major role bankrolling police state regimes throughout the region. They have poured $15 billion into the coffers of the Egyptian junta subsequent to the military coup, as a reward for its massive bloody purge of elected officials and their pro-democracy supporters. Saudi Arabia plays a big role in sustaining Washington’s dominance, by financing and arming ‘jailer-regimes’ in Pakistan, Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.

Bahrain: Small Country – Many Jails

According to the local respected Center for Human Rights, Bahrain has the dubious distinction of being the “top country globally in the number of political prisoners per capita”. According to the Economist (4/2/14) Bahrain has 4,000 political prisoners out of a population of 750,000. According to the Pentagon, Bahrain’s absolutist dictatorship plays a vital role in providing the US with air and maritime bases, for attacking Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. The majority of pro-democracy dissidents are jailed for seeking to end vassalage , autocracy, and servility to US imperial interest and the Saudi dictatorship.

Iraq: Abu Ghraib with Arab Characters

Beginning with the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003 and continuing under its proxy vassal Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have been tortured, jailed and murdered. Iraq’s ruling junta, has continued to rely on US military and Special Forces and to engage in the same kinds of military and police ‘sweeps’ which eviscerate any democratic pretensions. Al-Maliki relies on special branches of his secret police, the notorious Brigade 56, to assault opposition communities and dissident strongholds. Both the Shi’a regime and Sunni opposition engage in ongoing terror-warfare. Both have served as close collaborators with Washington at different moments.

The weekly death toll runs in the hundreds. The Al-Maliki regime has taken over the torture centers (including Abu Ghraib), techniques and jails previously headed and run by the US and have retained US ‘Special Forces’ advisers, overseeing the round-up of human rights critics, trade unionists and democratic dissidents.

Yemen: A Joint US-Saudi Satellite

Yemen has been ruled by US-Saudi client dictators for decades. The autocratic rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh was accompanied by the jailing and torture of thousands of pro-democracy activists, secular and religious, as well as serving as a clandestine torture center for political dissidents kidnapped and transported by the CIA under its so-called “rendition” program. In 2011 despite prolonged and violent repression by the US backed Saleh regime, a mass rebellion exploded threatening the existence of the state and its ties to the US and Saudi regimes. In order to preserve their dominance and ties to the military, Washington and Saudi orchestrated a ‘reshuffle’ of the regime: rigged elections were held and one Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a loyal crony of Saleh and servant of Washington, took power. Hadi continued where Saleh left off: kidnapping, torturing, killing pro-democracy protestors… Washington chose to call Hadi’s rule “a transition to democracy”. According to the Yemen Times (4/5/14) over 3,000 political prisoners fill the Yemen prisons. “Jailhouse democracy” serves to consolidate the US military presence in the Arabian Peninsula.

Jordan: A Client Police State of Longstanding Duration

For over a half century, three generations of reigning Jordanian absolutist monarchs have been on the CIA payroll and have served US interests in the Middle East. Jordan’s vassal rulers savage Arab nationalists and Palestinian resistance movements; signed off on a so-called “peace agreement” with Israel to repress any cross-border support for Palestine; provide military bases in support of US, Saudi and EU training, arming and financing of mercenaries invading Syria.

The corrupt monarchy and its crony oligarchy oversee an economy perpetually dependent on foreign subsidies to keep it afloat: unemployment is running over 25% and half the population is subsisting in poverty. The regime has jailed thousands of peaceful protestors. According to a recent Amnesty International Report (Jordan 2013), King Abdullah’s dictatorship “has detained thousands without charges”. The jailhouse monarchy plays a central role in buttressing US empire-building in the Middle East and facilitating Israeli land grabbing in Palestine.

Turkey: NATO Bulwark and Jailhouse Democracy

Under the reign of the self-styled “Justice and Development Party” led by Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey has evolved into a major military operational base for the NATO backed invasion of Syria. Erdoğan has had his differences with the US; especially Turkey’s cooling relations with Israel over the latters’ seizure of a Turkish ship in international waters and the slaughter of nine unarmed Turkish humanitarian activists. But as Turkey has turned toward greater dependence on international capital flows and integration into NATO’s international wars, Erdoğan has become more authoritarian. Facing large scale public challenges to his arbitrary privatization of public spaces and dispossession of households in working class neighborhoods, Erdoğan launched a purge of civil society ,class based movements and state institutions. In the face of large scale pro-democracy demonstrations in the summer of 2013, Erdoğan launched a savage assault on the dissidents. According to human rights groups over 5,000 were arrested and 8,000 were injured during the Gezi Park protests. Earlier Erdoğan established “Special Authorized Courts” which organized political show trials based on falsified evidence which facilitated the arrest and imprisonment of hundreds of military officers, party activists, trade unionists, human rights lawyers and journalists, particularly those critical of his support for the war against Syria. Despite conciliatory rhetoric, Erdogan’s jails contain several thousand Kurdish dissidents, including electoral activists and legislators (Global Views 10/17/12).

 

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Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, is seen in this booking photo released by the Delaware State Police August 9, 2012.

Melvin Morse, 60, faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and conspiracy.

GEORGETOWN, Del. — A Delaware pediatrician force-fed his 11-year-old stepdaughter, forbade her from using the bathroom and used “waterboarding” in attempts to discipline the child, a prosecutor said during opening statements on Tuesday.

Dr. Melvin Morse’s defense lawyer told jurors in the child endangerment trial that the girl has a long history of lying to adults, including to counselors who have documented the dishonesty.

Morse, 60, faces charges of endangering the welfare of a child, reckless endangerment and conspiracy. He was arrested in 2012 after the girl, then 11, told authorities she had been waterboarded on four occasions.

The prosecutor, Melanie Withers, said he held the girl face-up under a running kitchen faucet until she was unable to breathe. Morse “called it waterboarding,” Withers said.

Defense lawyer Joe Hurley said his client was joking when he used the term “waterboarding” and that the incidents had been attempts to wash the girl’s hair – an activity she hated.

Waterboarding is a controversial technique typically associated with the interrogation of terrorism suspects and involves forcibly holding a cloth over a person’s face and flooding it with water to simulate drowning.

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Related: Jurors being chosen in doctor’s trial over waterboarding claims

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US paediatrician Melvin Morse ‘waterboarded’ stepdaughter

Booking photo of Melvin Morse August 2012
Melvin Morse is accused of holding the victim’s face under a tap multiple times

A former paediatrician has gone on trial accused of waterboarding an 11-year-old girl in the US state of Delaware.

Melvin Morse, 60, is said to have held the face of his female companion’s daughter under a tap several times.

Mr Morse has written several books on children’s near-death experiences and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

He has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and assault charges against him.

The 12-person jury was chosen on Monday for the trial stemming from the alleged 2012 incidents.

‘Force-feeding’

The BBC’s Kate Dailey, who is attending the court hearing in the town of Georgetown, says a clean-shaven Mr Morse shook his head vigorously as the prosecution claimed he had controlled every aspect of the girl’s life.

It is alleged that the accused decided what the girl should wear, when she could use the bathroom and what she should eat, starving her sometimes and force-feeding her at other times.

Mr Morse was initially accused of grabbing the girl by the ankle and dragging her across a gravel driveway in July 2012.

When the victim was later interviewed, she reportedly told authorities Mr Morse had held her face under a tap at least four times since 2009.

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Complaint dropped against John Leso, involved in brutal interrogation of suspected 9/11 hijacker Mohammed al-Qahtani

• APA: ‘We cannot proceed with formal charges’ – full letter

Mohammed al-Qahtani
Mohammed al-Qahtani was twice charged by the Pentagon in 2008 with war crimes related to 9/11. Photograph: motesjj

America’s professional association of psychologists has quietly declined to rebuke one of its members, a retired US army reserve officer, for his role in one of the most brutal interrogations known to have to taken place at Guantánamo Bay, the Guardian has learned.

The decision not to pursue any disciplinary measure against John Leso, a former army reserve major, is the latest case in which someone involved in the post-9/11 torture of detainees has faced no legal or even professional consequences.

In a 31 December letter obtained by the Guardian, the American Psychological Association said it had “determined that we cannot proceed with formal charges in this matter. Consequently the complaint against Dr Leso has been closed.”

But the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

At one point, Qahtani was instructed to bark like a dog.

“Dog tricks continued and detainee stated he should be treated like a man,” the log records. “Detainee was told he would have to learn who to defend and who to attack.”

During an interrogation on 27 November 2002, the log records a direct intervention by Leso: “Control puts detainee in swivel chair at MAJ L’s suggestion to keep him awake and stop him from fixing his eyes on one spot in booth.”

The APA’s move concludes a years-long effort within the organization to get the association to condemn members who took part in torture. Those who argued for censuring Leso said that the organization has opened the door to future wartime violations of its central do-no-harm ethos.

“With Leso, the evidence of his participation is so explicit and so incontrovertible, the APA had to go to great lengths to dismiss it,” said Steven Reisner, a New York clinical psychologist who unsuccessfully ran for the APA presidency last year. “The precedent is that APA is not going to hold any psychologist accountable in any circumstance.”

Trudy Bond, an Ohio psychologist who filed the complaint against Leso, cited APA’s policy on interrogations and torture as she said the organization had sent the message that “psychologists are free to violate our ethical code, perhaps, in certain situations”.

The APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman, told the Guardian that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

“A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture,” Farberman said.

Documents that emerged from a Senate armed services committee torture inquiry detailed Leso’s involvement in an early “Behavioral Science Consultation Team” at Guantánamo, which was instrumental in crafting torture techniques out of measures taught to US troops to withstand brutal treatment.

Leso, whose name is redacted in a lengthy report produced by the committee in 2008, helped write a memorandum in October 2002, “Counter-Resistance Strategies”, for Guantánamo staff who were under pressure from the chain of command to produce intelligence from the detainee population.

The memorandum detailed the use of abusive conditions and techniques on the detainees, including isolation, “stress positions”, sensory and sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and exposure to extreme cold. Those techniques migrated through the Pentagon bureaucracy and were ultimately used at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003.

“Counter-Resistance Strategies” also recommended manipulating the living conditions of detainees outside the interrogation chambers, such as limiting “resistant” detainees to four hours of sleep daily, depriving them of “comfort items” like sheets and mattresses and controlling access to their Qur’ans.

 

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APA member John Leso dodges professional consequences for brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani

- Common Dreams staff

Guantánamo Bay’s Camp Delta. (Photo: Bob Strong/Reuters)The American Psychological Association is protecting one of its members from formal rebuke for his role in torturing a Guantanamo Bay inmate.

The esteemed professional association stated in a December 31 confidential letter, obtained by Guardian reporters and released publicly on Wednesday, that it is declining to rebuke member John Leso.

“[W]e have determined that we cannot proceed in this matter,” write APA officials in response to a complaint. “Consequently, the complaint against Dr. Leso has been closed.”

Leso, a former Army reserve major, participated in the brutal interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani that even a Pentagon official acknowledged amounts to torture, reports Spencer Ackerman for The Guardian.

Ackerman continues:

Leso was identified as “MAJ L” in a leaked log, published by Time magazine in 2005, of Qahtani’s marathon interrogation in November 2002. With Leso recorded as present for at least some of the session, Qahtani was forcibly hydrated through intravenous drips and prevented from using the bathroom until he urinated on himself, subjected to loud music, and repeatedly kept awake while being “told he can go to sleep when he tells the truth”.

In the letter, the APA officials do not deny Leso’s participation in the torture.

_____________________

 

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Gibson inquiry concludes UK government and intelligence agencies had been involved in so-called rendition operations
Andrew Tyrie

Andrew Tyrie, Conservative MP: ‘It is deeply shocking that Britain facilitated kidnap and torture’. Photograph: Felix Clay

Former government ministers and intelligence chiefs face a series of disturbing questions over the UK’s involvement in the abduction and torture of terrorism suspects after 9/11, an official inquiry has concluded.

In a damning report that swept aside years of denials, the Gibson inquiry concluded that the British government and its intelligence agencies had been involved in so-called rendition operations, in which detainees were kidnapped and flown around the globe, and had interrogated detainees who they knew were being mistreated.

MI6 officers were informed that they were under no obligation to report breaches of the Geneva conventions; intelligence officers appear to have taken advantage of the abuse of detainees; and Jack Straw, as foreign secretary, had suggested that the law might be amended to allow suspects to be rendered to the UK.

After examining about 20,000 documents which outlined allegations involving around 200 detainees, the chair of the inquiry, Sir Peter Gibson, and his team raised 27 questions that they said would need to be answered if the full truth about the way in which Britain waged its so-called war on terror was to be established – and the heads of MI5 and MI6 were told they have a month to respond.

The questions include:

• Did UK intelligence officers turn a blind eye to “specific, inappropriate techniques or threats” used by others and use this to their advantage in interrogations?

• If so, was there “a deliberate or agreed policy” between UK officers and overseas intelligence officers?

• Did the government and its agencies become “inappropriately involved in some renditions”?

• Was there a willingness, “at least at some levels within the agencies, to condone, encourage or take advantage of a rendition operation”?

The report also questions whether MI5 and MI6 provided the intelligence and security committee (ISC) with accurate, complete information about the mistreatment of detainees in the past, “or sometimes whether they were notified at all”.

However, the answers will be provided not to Gibson, but to the ISC, the secretive Westminster cross-party body that is supposed to provide oversight of the agencies. After promising for more than three years that an independent judge-led inquiry would examine the many allegations that the intelligence agencies face, the government announced on Thursday that it was handing the investigation over to the ISC.

That decision was immediately condemned by human rights groups who said that instead of drawing a line under the episode, the government was exposing itself to the allegation that it was engaging in a cover-up.

As a result of the decision to hand over to the ISC, it remains unclear whether any of the answers to Gibson’s 27 questions will ever be made public. The committee’s hearings are almost always behind closed doors, and its reports are censored before publication, in consultation with the agencies upon which it reports.

“It is deeply shocking that Britain facilitated kidnap and torture,” Andrew Tyrie, a Tory backbencher and chairman of the Treasury select committee, told MPs. “The decision to abandon this judge-led inquiry will come to be seen as a mistake.”

Tyrie said that an investigation by the ISC will never command public confidence, a criticism that was echoed by human rights groups. Amnesty International said: “Handing the investigation over to the ISC raises the prospect that much of the truth may remain buried.” Human Rights Watch said: “The ISC has neither the independence nor the transparency to carry out such an important task.”

Cabinet minister Kenneth Clarke told MPs that the inquiry’s report paints a picture of government and intelligence agencies struggling to adapt to the new realities faced in the wake of 9/11 and said it was a matter of “sincere regret” if “mistakes and failures were made”.

“It is now clear that our agencies and their staff were in some respects not prepared for the extreme demands suddenly placed upon them,” he said.

 

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Published time: November 04, 2013 14:32
Edited time: November 04, 2013 21:23

A US Navy doctor shows the feeding tubes and cans of Ensure nutritional liquid given to detainees on hunger strikes or not eating inside Camp Delta in the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)

A US Navy doctor shows the feeding tubes and cans of Ensure nutritional liquid given to detainees on hunger strikes or not eating inside Camp Delta in the Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (AFP Photo / Paul J. Richards)

An independent report has charged that medical personnel, working under the direction of the Department of Defense and CIA in military defense facilities, violated medical ethics by participating in the torture of detainees.

The services provided by American doctors and psychologists included “designing, participating in, and enabling torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of detainees, according to the report.

The 19-member task force concluded that since September 11, 2001, the Department of Defense (DoD) and CIA ordered medical professionals to assist in intelligence gathering, as well as forced-feeding of hunger strikers, in a way that inflicted “severe harm” on detainees in US custody.

The authors of the 269-page report, entitled “Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the ‘War on Terror’” is based on information from unclassified, publicly available information.

The task force revealed that a “theory of interrogation” emerged in US detention facilities, including Guantanamo Bay detention camp, that was based on “personality disintegration” as a means of breaking down the resistance of the detainees in an effort to extract confessions and information.

Over time, new interrogation methods were developed by interrogators and psychologists from techniques used in the pre-9/11 Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) program that was designed for training US troops to withstand interrogation and mistreatment techniques in the event they were captured.

The interrogators and medical professionals transformed torture-resistant tactics into abusive methods of interrogation, which they employed on detainees. This included so-called ‘enhanced interrogation’ techniques, such as waterboarding, which involves covering a restrained detainee’s face with a towel and then soaking it with water. The technique is said to induce a feeling of drowning and complete helplessness.

The detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for the mental anguish caused by their torture.

The report also gave special mention to the Bush administration, which declared that the legal safeguards regarding the treatment of prisoners of war set down in the Geneva Convention did not apply to the “unlawful combatants” (i.e. terrorists) in the War on Terror.

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CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds

Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds

An al-Qaida detainee at Guantanamo Bay in 2002: the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at the prison in recent years. Photograph: Shane T Mccoy/PA

Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.

The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees”.

Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra “first do no harm” did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.

The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.

The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those involved in interrogation “safety officers” rather than doctors. Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner’s physical and psychological condition with interrogators and were used as interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of detainees.

The CIA’s office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that “enhanced interrogation” methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

 

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Poland asks European court to hide CIA secret torture prison case from public

Published time: October 30, 2013 22:50
Edited time: November 01, 2013 11:16

An aerial view shows a watch tower of an airport in Szymany, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland, September 9, 2008. It was identified as a potential site which the CIA used to transfer Al-Qaeda suspects to a nearby prison. (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

An aerial view shows a watch tower of an airport in Szymany, close to Szczytno in northeastern Poland, September 9, 2008. It was identified as a potential site which the CIA used to transfer Al-Qaeda suspects to a nearby prison. (Reuters / Kacper Pempel)

The public hearing in Strasbourg, France, scheduled for Dec. 3, will be the first arguments testing allegations that the Polish government allowed the CIA to operate a jail for supposed Al-Qaeda fighters in Poland.

The request for a private hearing “will be examined by the court shortly,” a court spokesperson told Reuters.

Poland cited national security concerns as to why it wants the hearing to remain confidential. The Polish government would not comment on the story.

A Polish human rights group criticized the request for privacy, saying the public deserves to know whether Poland allowed the CIA to hide prisoners from the American court system.

“We should have the right to review this case in public,” said Adam Bodnar, vice president of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights. “I do not see a reason for confidentiality of proceedings.”

 

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breakingtheset

Published on Sep 24, 2013

Abby Martin calls out Judge Gerald Bruce Lee as the day’s villain, for ruling in favor of the defense contractor CACI International in a lawsuit brought by former Abu Ghraib torture victims, citing the two tiered justice of forcing torture victims to pay their torturers for legal fees.

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Our Government Is Withholding Documents Concerning the Torture of Native Children

By Dave Dean


A class picture from St. Paul’s Indian Industrial School in Middlechurch, Manitoba. via WikiCommons.

In the early 1990s an affiliation of Cochrane, Kapuskasing and James Bay’s OPP detectives were assigned to investigate one of the largest claims of sexual and physical abuse against children in Canadian history. The testimony they amassed by talking to hundreds of survivors of St. Anne’s Residential School in Fort Albany Ontario was horrifying.  Residential Schools were a form of genocide—and the OPP’s special investigation into St. Anne’s provided 7,000 pages of stories that wouldn’t be out of place in memoirs of concentration camp survivors, or of individuals trapped in a country where ethnic cleansing is a government policy.

The accounts of physical and sexual abuse are brutal and numerous—hetero and homosexual child rape, children being stropped and beaten with rudimentary whips, forced ingestion of noxious substances (rotten porridge that children would throw up, then subsequently be forced to eat), sexual fondling, and forced masturbation… the list goes on and on. But one of the most appalling and debasing examples of the indignity and the abuse suffered by children at St. Anne’s is that of being strapped down and tortured in a homemade electric chair—sometimes as a form of punishment—but other times just as a form the amusement for the missionaries, who, while committing these acts, were supposedly the ones “civilizing” the “Indians”.

Edmund Metatawabin was the chief of the Fort Albany First Nation in the 1990s, and the man who first brought these allegations to the attention of the OPP. Both he and his peers had been strapped down in the electric chair and he recalled the experiences as such: “Small boys used to have their legs flying in front of them… the sight of a child being electrocuted and their legs flying out in front was a funny sight for the missionaries and they’d all be laughing… the cranking of the machine would be longer and harder. Now you’re inflicted with real pain. Some of them passed out.”

 

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democracynow democracynow

Published on Apr 19, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – In 1982, investigative journalist Allan Nairn interviewed a Guatemalan general named “Tito” on camera during the height of the indigenous massacres. It turns out the man was actually Otto Pérez Molina, the current Guatemalan president. We air the original interview footage and speak to Nairn about the U.S. role backing the Guatemalan dictatorship. Last week, Nairn flew to Guatemala where he had been scheduled to testify in the trial of former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala President Gen. Otto Pérez Molina was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that Pérez Molina, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Maya Ixil area in the 1980s.

Exclusive: Allan Nairn Exposes Role of U.S., New Guatemalan President in Indigenous Massacres 2 of 2

democracynow democracynow

Published on Apr 19, 2013

http://www.democracynow.org – In 1982, investigative journalist Allan Nairn interviewed a Guatemalan general named “Tito” on camera during the height of the indigenous massacres. It turns out the man was actually Otto Pérez Molina, the current Guatemalan president. We air the original interview footage and speak to Nairn about the U.S. role backing the Guatemalan dictatorship. Last week, Nairn flew to Guatemala where he had been scheduled to testify in the trial of former U.S.-backed dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Ríos Montt was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. The trial took a surprising turn last week when Guatemala President Gen. Otto Pérez Molina was directly accused of ordering executions. A former military mechanic named Hugo Reyes told the court that Pérez Molina, then serving as an army major and using the name Tito Arias, ordered soldiers to burn and pillage a Maya Ixil area in the 1980s.

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