April 2012 Archives

one viewer's response to "Hard Measures": 

"I am deeply disturbed that you have chosen to give a platform to ex-CIA director Jose Rodriguez to defend the practice of water boarding and the destruction of 92 videos in which this torture practice is used. While it is your right to have this individual on your show I'd like to point out that the record of the mainstream covering the stories of those who have endured torture and indefinite detention has been sorely lacking. For example a large number of the American public has been kept from the fact that the torture and indefinite detention of many under the Global War On Terrorism was done so under erroneous and suspect circumstances. Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld all knew that most of those detained were innocent. Wilkerson is quoted as saying,  "more and more clear many of the men were innocent, or at a minimum their guilt was impossible to determine let alone prove in any court of law, civilian or military." . And yet nearly 200 remain in Guantanamo and over 2000 in Bagram under the Obama Presidency.

That the debate over torture is reduced to whether it works or not with regard to national security is a travesty and is as unconscionable as the torture and indefinite detention inflicted upon those captured. It is inhumane and immoral...period. Furthermore I should hope you would ask Jose Rodriguez that if there was nothing wrong with water boarding then why feel compelled to destroy the 92 videos? I shall also hope that in the near future you choose to interview those who have been detained and tortured.


Jill McLaughlin, World Can't Wait National Steering Committee


The so-called "debate" about whether torture helped to keep us safe is reemerging... Washington's Blog quotes top military and intelligence interrogation experts who posit that not only does torture not "work" in terms of providing truthful information, torture has been continuing under President Obama.

see No Defending the Indefensible

The time has come to finally say loud and clear: the same things that were crimes under Bush are crimes under Obama. Outrages under Bush are outrages under Obama.  All this MUST STOP.  And all this MUST BE RESISTED by anyone who claims a shred of conscience or integrity...

"count me in another group that says I don't care if it [torture] works 100 percent of the time. Chemical weapons work 100 percent of the time and we don't use those, even though (as the torture advocates assert), they would save lives. Flamethrowers are another weapon that work very effectively and could save lives, especially when clearing houses with suicide bombers, but we don't use those either. Not because it wouldn't save lives, but because these weapons cause unnecessary human suffering and the international community, led by the U.S., decided that they weren't worth the moral cost...

America Is Morally Bipolar

clock.jpg"The upcoming November elections present Republicans with an opportunity to draw a sharp contrast with Obama's withdrawal of American leadership from the world. They can begin by making a powerful political and legal case for unilateral military action against the dictators in Syria and Iran... 

dismissing international law

Monsters among us

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There remains one simple truth: Torture is wrong. Period. There is a reason why we signed on to laws banning it. There is a reason why the folks working for C-Plus Augustus had to tear up the language in order to find a way to describe what they were doing without saying what it actually was. There is a reason why all the alibis were prepared in advance...

excerpted from Esquire magazine commentary

see also Free the Senate Torture Report

Torture trio reunited

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Together again. Former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, after a detour through the Obama administration, announced Wednesday that he was joining former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Stephen J. Hadley, a former national security adviser, in their strategic consulting firm. The move reunites the Bush-era foreign policy team...


no glory in torture

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On Monday, the latest installment in the defense of torture -- Hard Measures, by Jose Rodriguez -- will hit bookshelves. Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and its former Deputy Director of Operations, will also appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday night. Like many of torture's outspoken proponents, Rodriguez has a personal stake in defending torture: he was intimately involved in the CIA's brutal "enhanced interrogation" regime...

New Book by CIA Spy Who Destroyed Torture Tapes

The retired CIA officer describes his action as "just getting rid of some ugly visuals." 

looking back

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On the issue of accountability for torture, Obama has insisted that we should look forward, not back. But this is a subject that will not go away.

"Today, Jay Bybee is a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. John Yoo is a tenured law professor at the University of California at Berkeley. And no one responsible for authorizing these tactics has been held to account: not Yoo, not Bybee, not Daniel Levin and Stephen Bradbury, the Justice Department lawyers who succeeded them and continued to authorize brutal techniques until President Obama took office, and not former president George W. Bush and former vice president Dick Cheney, both of whom have, since leaving office, admitted in public statements to giving these tactics the green light...  
David Cole, Washington Post

May federal officials be sued for damages "for the torture of an American citizen on American soil"? 

Padilla torture claim reaches the Supreme Court

The outcome of the case may also affect Padilla's attempt to hold a former high-ranking Justice Department official, John Yoo, legally accountable for what happened to Padilla in captivity -- a case still awaiting a ruling in the Ninth Circuit Court (Padilla, et al., v. Yoo, Circuit docket 09-16478).

President Obama's determination to excuse the crimes of the Bush regime gives rise to a multitude of nightmare scenarios.


new survey from CNN/ORC International offers no clear consensus on who Republican and conservative-leaning voters want to see fill out the ticket, but among the names at the top of the list are former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Rick Santorum...

Former Secretary of State tops choice of conservative voters

"On Saturday March 31, I was delighted to be asked to speak at a demonstration outside the US Embassy marking the 9th anniversary of the disappearance of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist who vanished with her three children in Karachi on March 30, 2003. It took nearly five and a half years until she reappeared in Afghanistan, where she was arrested by Afghan soldiers, and where, after apparently trying and failing to shoot at the US soldiers to whose custody she had been transferred, she was flown to the United States -- rendered, one might say -- where she was tried in New York, and, in September 2010, sentenced to 86 years in prison...

action against an ally of former Prime Minister Tony Blair ups the stakes in a debate over Britain's role in helping the United States to spirit suspected Islamist fighters across borders, often to face torture or ill treatment...

partners in torture

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alg_guantanamo_bay-1.jpgA judge in Washington, DC has allowed the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency to keep information secret regarding the complicity of British authorities in extraordinary rendition...

World Without Torture

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A new blog I came across is looking for additions to their "reading list," Torture in black and white: books on tortureI can think of a couple right off the bat, from fiction:

Barry Eisler's Inside Out

and Mario Benedetti's Pedro and the Captain, translated by Adrianne Aron

to biography:

Murat Kurnaz's Five Years of My Life

and documented stories of prisoners themselves:

Andy Worthington's The Guantanamo Files.

A plethora of non-fiction accounts includes:

Alfred McCoy's A Question of Torture

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh's Administration of Torture

Charles and Gregory Fried's Because It Is Wrong

GeoffreyRobertson's Crimes Against Humanity

Stephen Grey's Ghost Plane

Joseph Margulies Guantanamo and the Abuse of Presidential Power

Mark Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz's Guantanamo Lawyers

Steven Wax's Kafka Comes to America 

Peter Jan Honigsberg's Our Nation Unhinged

William Schulz's The Phenomenon of Torture

Rita Maran's Torture: The Role of Ideology in the French-Algerian War

Karen Greenberg and Joshua Dratel's The Torture Papers

Trevor Paglen and A.C. Thompson's Torture Taxi

Justine Sharrock's Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things

and Marjorie Cohn's The United States of Torture.

I'm sure I've missed a lot in my list, and am eager to check out new suggestions; please forward those to the World Without Torture webpage so we all can share.

Thumbnail image for -john6.gif

"We know the government wants to send a signal to the lawyers representing prisoners at Guantanamo that the U.S. is intent on protecting its secrets from disclosure in cases relating to torture, and wants to chill further disclosures by anyone. But this is a case that should never have been brought anywhere - let alone in a country that values free speech and the protections of the First Amendment...

Defend John Kiriakou.

Obama has adamantly refused to prosecute clear, credible and copious allegations of war crimes by his predecessor. He is now applying acknowledged torture techniques to the general American population. And as William Blum reminds us in his latest "Anti-Empire Report," Obama is still carrying out torture on a massive, systematic scale in the gulag he commands -- despite the pervasive progressive myth that he has formally ended "torture" in the American system...

see The Lawless Roads: America's Ever-Expanding Torture Matrix

APA repackaging torture

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A newly hatched "Member-Initiated Task Force to Reconcile Policies Related to Psychologists' Involvement in Nation Security Settings" seeks to postpone indefinitely any careful examination of the ethics of 'aggressive operational psychology.' 


Former State Department lawyer Philip Zelikow testifies before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee On Administrative Oversight and the Courts during a hearing May 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.


Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Philip Zelikow, the former executive director of the 9/11 Commission who went on to become counsellor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, described a "collective failure" on the part of the entire Bush administration. It was certainly a government-wide breakdown, but Zelikow directed significant ire at Bush administration lawyers, whose interpretation of US law was "indefensible in a whole variety of ways", and produced an "unprecedented programme in American history of cruelly calculated, dehumanising abuse and physical torment to extract information."

Full text of Zelikow memo here; thanks Henry.


Prosecutors have introduced criminal charges against former chief of Polish intelligence services Zbigniew Siematkowski for his role in setting up CIA black sites in that country. 

'where we all at?'

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gty_obama_clinton_bush_ll_110503_wg.jpg"not only is the United States a nation that engages in torture, but the United States is the primary nation that trains other governments in the torture of their citizens.

The title of Wednesday's House Judiciary hearing was not cute -- or funny.

"Far from being 'hospitality guidelines,' in Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith's distortion, ICE's standards respond to a crisis of human rights abuses in the increasingly privatized immigration detention system... Chris Rickerd, ACLU

Letters from a Detainee

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

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Events & Calendars

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Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

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