July 2011 Archives
six feet by ten feet
â€¨wider than a lead coffin
â€¨no natural light
â€¨sometimes only darknessâ€¨
a punishment for survivingâ€¨
so many shades of black
â€¨â€¨or weeks of light bulbâ€¨
days have no rhythm but howls
â€¨torture knows no clocks
â€¨â€¨twenty three hours
â€¨every day alone boxed
â€¨one hour to breathe wind
â€¨â€¨will a cloud drift byâ€¨
a patch of summer blue sky
â€¨a black bird's feather
â€¨arc of sun will show itself
â€¨kiss your skin golden
"I'm glad I didn't have to waste much time researching these experts!! Under the first category, "Law & Human Rights", John Yoo is their expert! Enough research for me!! -- Mike
For journalists covering the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, UC Berkeley has more than 20 available experts on the tragedy's impacts and implications...
Full list here; those wishing to disclaim association with views of the "Torture Professor" are invited to send emails to email@example.com .
(Photo montage: students at the 2008 Berkeley Law graduation raise a banner as an airplane circles overhead.)
A sub-demand is adequate natural sunlight -Â sunlight.Â There are few things more torturous than dying by starvation. These men are killing themselves potentially for fresh air and sunlight, and about a third of California prisoners, 11 out of 33 prisons, have joined them.Â
as both were conceived and are maintained by administrations that have a horrendous disregard for the human rights of prisoners, and an apparent thirst for vengeance, In addition, the violence of successive administrations, and of lawmakers in Congress and also of the judiciary, is reflected in the opinions of the people who vote for hardline lawmakers and apparently support brutalizing, cruel and inhumane prisons, in which isolation has become a key element of a system that can, without exaggeration, be described as one that involves torture. -- Andy Worthington
"Loose lips sink ships", and nobody likes a "tattletale", especially criminals. Inmates have good memories and generous amounts of time to plot revenge. Unless you have a death wish or enjoy high anxiety living, "Keep your mouth shut!"Â -- excerpt from JAIL 101The moral queasiness that we must feel about this method of extracting information from those in our clutches has all but disappeared these days, thanks to the national shame of "enhanced interrogation techniques" at GuantÃ¡namo. Those in isolation can get out by naming names, but if they do so they will likely be killed when returned to a normal facility. To "debrief" is to be targeted for death by gang members, so the prisoners are moved to "protective custody"....Â
Jason Leopold, Truthout | Report
David Hicks, author of "Guantanamo: My Journey." (Image: Random House Australia)
Last week, the Australian governmentÂ announcedÂ that it would initiate legal proceedings to try and seize royalty payments David Hicks has received following the publication of his memoir, "Guantanamo: My Journey," about the five years he spent at the prison facility, charging that he has violated the country's laws byÂ profiting from a crime.
While Hicks' supporters haveÂ deploredÂ the decision by Australia's Commonwealth Director ofÂ Public Prosecutions, the court proceedings scheduled to begin next month could end up being a blessing for the former Guantanamo detainee and his defense team in that it may afford them an opportunity to show how the Bush administration and the government of former Prime Minister John Howard politicized his case, a fact much of the Australian media continues to ignore...
"From Pelican Bay to Guantanamo Bay, the practice of unnecessarily harsh prison conditions, amounting to torture, needs to end. The hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and elsewhere, whether criminals or not, are putting their lives on the line for the sake of basic human dignity. We need to take notice, and then take action... -- psychologist, blogger, and activist Jeffrey KayeIsolation, Indeterminate Sentences Used to Extract Confessions atÂ
What: The 2011 Aspen Security Forum will be live streaming a number of sessions throughout the forum, which runsÂ July 27-30, 2011.
STEPHEN HADLEYÂ July 29,Â 9:00am:Â Reflections on 9/11 and the Decade Since
MICHAEL HAYDENÂ July 29,Â 1:15pm: Cyber Security
ALBERTO GONZALES & JOHN YOOÂ July 30,Â 9:00am: The Rule of Law and the War on Terrorism
MICHAEL CHERTOFF:Â July 30,Â 6:00pm: The Department of Homeland Security at Year Eight
"The use of torture as a function of terror, or its equivalent in sadistic behavior, has been historic de facto U.S. policy... Our European ancestors' shameful, sadistic treatment of the indigenous inhabitants based on an ethos of arrogance and violence has become ingrained in our values. 'Manifest destiny' has rationalized as a religion the elimination or assimilation of those perceived to be blocking American progress--at home or abroad--a belief that expansion of the nation, including subjugation of natives and others, is divinely ordained, that our 'superior race' is obligated to 'civilize' those who stand in the way...
Arrest of government officials outside their home countries became a reality in 1998 when the onetime Chilean dictator General Augusto Pinochet was indicted for human rights violations in Chile by Spanish magistrate Baltasar Garzon... it appears that former Bush officials are aware of the danger.
"That arrest changed everything. It was a moment when international law seemed to plunge forward rather than advance at its more usual lumbering pace. Indeed, the [Pinochet] case transformed the landscape of international law and practice... -- Diane F. Orentlicher, professor of international law and director of the War Crimes Research Office at Washington College of Law
"In the eighteen years since the infamous 'Black Hawk Down' incident in Mogadishu," The Nation's Jeremy Scahill writes in an exclusive report in this week's issue of The Nation, "US policy on Somalia has been marked by neglect, miscalculation and failed attempts to use warlords to build indigenous counterterrorism capacity, many of which have backfired dramatically." But now the US is intensifying its military and intelligence efforts in the country. According to Scahill's on-the-ground investigation in Mogadishu, conducted with filmmaker Richard Rowley, the CIA has not only opened a new base in the capital city, but also uses a secret prison in the basement of Somalia's National Security Agency. (Credit: Richard Rowley, Big Noise Films)
According to the former fellow prisoner, Hassan told him that his captors took him to Wilson Airport: "'They put a bag on my head, GuantÃ¡namo style. They tied my hands behind my back and put me on a plane. In the early hours we landed in Mogadishu. The way I realized I was in Mogadishu was because of the smell of the sea--the runway is just next to the seashore. The plane lands and touches the sea. They took me to this prison, where I have been up to now. I have been here for one year, seven months. I have been interrogated so many times. Interrogated by Somali men and white men. Every day. New faces show up. They have nothing on me. I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal'"....
plus,Â video interview with Edward Corrigan, an international lawyer in London
"From President Barack Obama's inauguration to now, he has treated the issue of torture and the legalization of this supreme violation of human rights as an inconvenience...Â
Human rights groups have been very patient with the administration. Not only has the Obama Administration failed to uphold its duty to investigate and prosecute Bush officials under signed treaties like the Convention against Torture but it has let Bush officials tour around with their memoirs--books which contain prideful admissions of torture...
America purports to have moral authority in the world to push for prosecutions for crimes in Third World countries. It condemns Middle Eastern and African countries (excluding Israel), which do not allow access to their countries for investigations of human rights violations. But, it does not investigate and prosecute its own officials, who are responsible for committing and legalizing torture. -- Kevin Gosztola
Obama's deliberate suppression of this shameful past is wrong. It reflects bad policy, a dereliction of presidential responsibilities and a continuing disregard for international law...Â TheÂ U.N. Convention Against Torture, ratified by the United States and 146 other countries, as well as the Geneva Conventions, do more than prohibit torture at all times, even in war. They also require that torture be investigated and prosecuted. The duty to prosecute is no more optional than the duty not to torture.
The point is...in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That's the real objective: not just to make statements, no matter how noble but to destroy the system that oppresses us. By any means available to us. And to do this, we must be connected, in contact and communication with those in struggle on the outside. We must be mutually supporting because we're all in this together. It's all one struggle at base.
"Lock yourself in your bathroom for the next 10 years and tell me how it will affect your mind.Â --Â CharlesÂ (inÂ Tamms Supermax PrisonÂ for 12 years, from 1998 to 2010)
On Friday July 1 more than 70 people gathered at the California State Building in San Francisco to stand in solidarity with the hunger strike in Pelican Bay Prison.
"We're not a nation you can rely on not to
torture. We're not as much of an outlaw nation as we used
to be, but we are wiling to be an outlaw nation when it suits our ends. It
makes us a hypocritical nation. It makes us a potential outlaw nation. --Â Karen Greenberg, executive director of the New York University Center on
Law and Security
Karen Greenberg, executive director of the New York University Center on Law and Security
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Events & Calendars
Important ReadingPhysicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives
NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...
The President's Executioner
Detention and torture in Guantanamo