Tag Archives: bush administration

Obama’s Preventative Detention – Indefinite and without Charge

60 Minutes: Obama Reiterates Promise To Close Guantanamo Bay, End Torture

Administration Won’t Seek New Detention System

The Obama administration has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 congressional resolution authorizing military force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge, according to administration officials.

Leading congressional Democrats and members of the civil rights community had signaled opposition to any new indefinite-detention regime, fearing that it would expand government powers and undermine the rule of law and U.S. legal traditions.

The administration’s decision avoids a potentially rancorous debate that could alienate key allies at a time when President Obama needs congressional and public support to transfer detainees held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial or continued incarceration.

The administration has concluded that its detention powers, as currently accepted by the federal courts, are adequate to the task of holding some Guantanamo Bay detainees indefinitely. And although legal advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are unhappy with the existing system, they acknowledge that it has enabled some detainees to win their release and limited government power in ways that any new law might not.

“This is very welcome news and very big news,” said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU. “Going to Congress with new detention authority legislation would only have made a bad situation worse. It likely would have triggered a chaotic debate that would have been beyond the ability of the White House to control — and would have put U.S. detention policy even further outside the rule of law.” Full Story

Related Story: The Torture and Killing of Innocent Detainees

Obama Has Fully Embraced Bush Administration Torture

Obama Administration Seeks To Keep Torture Victims From Having Day In Court

torture4

The Justice Department today argued that the victims of the “extraordinary rendition” program should not have their day in court, asking a federal appeals court to block a landmark case the court had earlier ruled could go forward. In April, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen DataPlan Inc., for its role in the Bush administration’s unlawful “extraordinary rendition” program could proceed, but today the government asked the appeals court’s full panel of judges to rehear that decision.

The Obama administration has now fully embraced the Bush administration’s shameful effort to immunize torturers and their enablers from any legal consequences for their actions,” said Ben Wizner, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, who argued the case for the plaintiffs. “The CIA’s rendition and torture program is not a ‘state secret;’ it’s an international scandal. If the Obama administration has its way, no torture victim will ever have his day in court, and future administrations will be free to pursue torture policies without any fear of liability.”

In April, the appeals court reversed a lower court dismissal of the lawsuit, brought on behalf of five men who were kidnapped, forcibly disappeared and secretly transferred to U.S.-run prisons or foreign intelligence agencies overseas where they were interrogated under torture. The Bush administration had intervened, improperly asserting the “state secrets” privilege to have the case thrown out. The appeals court ruled, as the ACLU has argued, that the government must invoke the “state secrets” privilege with respect to specific evidence, not to dismiss the entire suit.

“The extraordinary rendition program is well known throughout the world. The only place it hasn’t been discussed is where it most cries out for examination – in a U.S. court of law,” said Steven Watt, a staff attorney with the ACLU Human Rights Program. “Attempts to keep this case from moving forward fly in the face of Obama’s promise to reaffirm our commitment to domestic and international human rights law and restore an America we can be proud of. Victims of extraordinary rendition deserve their day in court.”

In recent years, the government has asserted the “state secrets” claim with increasing regularity in an attempt to throw out lawsuits and justify withholding information from the public not only about the rendition program, but also about illegal wiretapping, torture and other breaches of U.S. and international law. Full Story

CIA Interrogation: ‘Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment’

dogs2

new-toture2

tort

Red Cross Described ‘Torture’ at CIA Jails

The International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a secret report that the Bush administration’s treatment of al-Qaeda captives “constituted torture,” a finding that strongly implied that CIA interrogation methods violated international law, according to newly published excerpts from the long-concealed 2007 document.

The report, an account alleging physical and psychological brutality inside CIA “black site” prisons, also states that some U.S. practices amounted to “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” Such maltreatment of detainees is expressly prohibited by the Geneva Conventions.

The findings were based on an investigation by ICRC officials, who were granted exclusive access to the CIA’s “high-value” detainees after they were transferred in 2006 to the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The 14 detainees, who had been kept in isolation in CIA prisons overseas, gave remarkably uniform accounts of abuse that included beatings, sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and, in some cases, waterboarding, or simulating drowning.

At least five copies of the report were shared with the CIA and top White House officials in 2007 but barred from public release by ICRC guidelines intended to preserve the humanitarian group’s strict policy of neutrality in conflicts. A copy of the report was obtained by Mark Danner, a journalism professor and author who published extensive excerpts in the April 9 edition of the New York Review of Books, released yesterday. He did not say how he obtained the report.

“The ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture,” Danner quoted the report as saying. Full Story

waterboarding43

wa4

* * * * * *

I recently saw the film Taxi To The Dark Side. It was a very difficult, disturbing film to watch, but an important look at how ‘terrorist suspects’, who are presumed guilty, are tortured by U.S. Soldiers. I urge everyone who cares about this issue to see the film.

“Taxi To The Dark Side” – Trailer

This documentary murder mystery examines the death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Base from injuries inflicted by U.S. soldiers. In an unflinching look at the Bush administration’s policy on torture, the filmmaker behind Enron: the Smartest Guys in the Room takes us from a village in Afghanistan to Guantanamo and straight to the White House.

Taxi to the Dark Side – Falsely Accused

See Also:

‘The News that Didn’t Make the News’

Secret Prison Interrogation Videos Destroyed

Prison Torture in Afghanistan

Obama Refuses to Reverse Bush Policy on Prisoner’s Right to Trial

Soldier Abuse of Guantanamo Inmates

Prisoners Interrogated, Tortured and Killed

Obama Will Continue Use of Renditions

Cheney Thinks Illegal War in Iraq Justifies over 145,000 Deaths

The Bush Administration’s justification of an illegal war cost an untold number of deaths, and the destruction of a country and its peoples.

Cheney On Whether Iraq War Was Worth The 4,500 Americans Killed: ‘I Think So’

In an interview airing tonight on PBS’s Newshour, host Jim Lehrer asks Vice President Cheney about the U.S. soldiers who have lost their lives in the war in Iraq. Cheney shows little remorse:

Q: But Mr. Vice President, getting from there to here, 4,500 Americans have died, at least 100,000 Iraqis have died. Has it been worth that?

CHENEY: I think so.

Q: Why?

CHENEY: Because I believed at the time what Saddam Hussein represented was, especially in the aftermath of 9/11, was a terror-sponsoring state so designated by the State Department. … He had produced and used weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological agents. He’d had a nuclear program in the past. … And he did have a relationship with al Qaeda.< […]

And so I think given the track record of Saddam Hussein, I think we did exactly the right thing. I think the country is better off for it today.

Cheney’s comments mirror those of other conservatives, such as House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), who said that the lives lost in Iraq have been a “small price” to pay, and right-wing commentator Frank Gaffney, who declared that all these troops “did have to die” in Iraq.

Full Transcript