February 2011 Archives
Spanish Judges Rule Case on US Torture Can Continue
February 25, 2011, New YorkÂ - In response to news that the full panel of Judges of the Audencia Nacional (Spain's High Court) rejected a Spanish prosecutor's effort to stop an investigation into the role of Â US officials for torture on Guantanamo, the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has submitted many papers in this and a related case in Spain, released the following statement:
This is a monumental decision that will enable a Spanish judge to continue a case on the "authorized and systematic plan of torture and ill treatment" by U.S. officials at Guantanamo. Geoffrey Miller, the former commanding officer at GuantÃ¡namo, has already been implicated, and the case will surely move up the chain of command.Â Since the U.S. government has not only failed to investigate the illegal actions of its own officials and, according to diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, Â also sought to interfere in the Spanish judicial process and stop the case from proceeding, this will be the first real investigation of the U.S. torture program. This is a victory for accountability and a blow against impunity. The Center for Constitutional Rights applauds the Spanish courts for not bowing to political pressure and for undertaking what may be the most important investigation in decades. Â
An ongoing crime of U.S. imperialism.Â Who should be behind bars?
By Kenneth J. Theisen
One of the ongoing crimes of the U.S. government is the existence and running of the U.S. military prison at the notorious Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.Â Like the better known GuantÃ¡namo Prison known as Gitmo, the Bagram prison is a hell hole where prisoners of the U.S. war of terror are held. These prisoners face torture, death and other human rights abuses. They are denied fundamental legal rights including the right to challenge their incarceration, known as habeas corpus...
Wednesday 16 February 2011
by Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t Investigative Reporter
I've been struggling these past few weeks.
I read a book written by a former Guantanamo detainee named David Hicks titled "Guantanamo: My Journey." It's a powerful and heartbreaking memoir and it made a profound impact on me emotionally.
I interviewed Hicks after I read his book. We spoke about a half-dozen times over the past two months. This is the first interview he's granted since he was released from the "least worst place" in 2007. ClickÂ hereÂ to read the full Q&A.
Hicks is the Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan the US government said was linked to al-Qaeda, one of which was visited by Osama bin Laden several times. Hicks was picked up at a taxi stand by the Northern Alliance in November 2001 and sold to US forces for about $1,500. Hicks was detainee 002, the second person processed into Guantanamo on January 11, 2002, the day the facility opened.
Hicks was brutally tortured. Psychologically and physically for four years, maybe longer. He was injected in the back of his neck with unknown drugs. He was sodomized with a foreign object. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. He was beaten once for ten hours. He was threatened with death. He was placed in painful stress positions. He was exposed to extremely cold temperatures, loud music and strobe lights designed to disorient his senses.
I've been obsessed with the torture and rendition program since details of it first surfaced nearly a decade ago. I'm not exactly sure why I'm so fascinated and outraged by every tiny detail, every new document dump or why I chase every new lead as if I were paparazzi trying to get a shot of Lindsay Lohan. What I do know is that there's something about the crimes committed by the Bush administration in our name that haunts me.
I have never spoken to a former detainee before I phoned Hicks at his home in Sydney, Australia, a few days before the New Year. There was something surreal about listening to Hicks' voice as he described his suffering in painstaking detail. Maybe it was the fact that there was a real person on the other end of the receiver and not just a name on a charge sheet. I found it incredibly difficult to separate the reporter from the human being once Hicks stopped speaking. Before I hung up the phone after our first conversation, I told Hicks I was sorry.
"I'm sorry my government tortured you, David," I said.
"Thanks, mate," Hicks said, his voice cracking....
With no consequences -- not even ostracism -- for those involved in facilitating torture, they simply reappear, recast as book authors, experts and even potential heads of state. And each time we accept these individuals in their new guise, we mire ourselves further in the dirty business of torture, colluding in what has been a conspiracy of silence about the most heinous of human rights violations, and further undermining our international credibility.
Among the most devastating consequences of the U.S. failure to confront and punish torture is the way in which torture -- long considered beyond the pale -- has now been mainstreamed....
UPDATE: "Between The Lines" Scott Harris speaks with Claire Tixeire fromÂ the Center for Constitutional Rights about the basis for the Bush torture indictment and plans to pursue the case around the world. Listen in here
Nine years ago today, the Bush administration decided that international law does not apply to prisoners of war. It was a watershed moment in US history, resulting in a policy of torture that pervaded and darkened the Bush years, and inflamed anti-American sentiment abroad.
To mark that grim anniversary, two men who claim to have been victims of torture filed official complaints in Geneva, Switzerland, seeking a ruling on universal jurisdiction...
"I thought the US Government sent the discredited law professor John Yoo back to Berkeley. Yet somehow his tortured approach to constitutional law is now back at work in the Obama Administration... - Stephen Diamond
5 February 2011, Geneva -Â Just days before George W. Bush's scheduled arrival to Geneva, the former United States President decided to cancel his trip. The New York-basedÂ Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)Â sent the following statement:
"CCR, with the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), have spent weeks preparing a 2,500 page torture case against Bush that would have been filed on Monday, February 7 - the anniversary of the day, nine years ago, when Bush decided the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to 'enemy combatants.' Bush was due to be in Geneva on the 12th, and his presence on Swiss territory is required for the prosecutor to take action.
"The complaint, brought under the Convention Against Torture with the support of 50 NGOs, two former UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and two Nobel Prize winners, was on behalf of two torture victims, one who is still at GuantÃ¡namo.
"Whatever Bush or his hosts say, we have no doubt he cancelled his trip to avoid our case. The message from civil society is clear - If you're a torturer, be careful in your travel plans. It's a slow process for accountability, but we keep going."
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Important ReadingPhysicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives
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ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...
The President's Executioner
Detention and torture in Guantanamo