Tag Archives: interrogation

U.S. Government is “Proud” to Torture

Rove – Proud of Water-Boarding

Waterboarding for dummies

Internal CIA documents reveal a meticulous protocol that was far more brutal than Dick Cheney’s “dunk in the water”

Self-proclaimed waterboarding fan Dick Cheney called it a no-brainer in a 2006 radio interview: Terror suspects should get a “a dunk in the water.” But recently released internal documents reveal the controversial “enhanced interrogation” practice was far more brutal on detainees than Cheney’s description sounds, and was administered with meticulous cruelty.

Interrogators pumped detainees full of so much water that the CIA turned to a special saline solution to minimize the risk of death, the documents show. The agency used a gurney “specially designed” to tilt backwards at a perfect angle to maximize the water entering the prisoner’s nose and mouth, intensifying the sense of choking – and to be lifted upright quickly in the event that a prisoner stopped breathing.

The documents also lay out, in chilling detail, exactly what should occur in each two-hour waterboarding “session.” Interrogators were instructed to start pouring water right after a detainee exhaled, to ensure he inhaled water, not air, in his next breath. They could use their hands to “dam the runoff” and prevent water from spilling out of a detainee’s mouth. They were allowed six separate 40-second “applications” of liquid in each two-hour session – and could dump water over a detainee’s nose and mouth for a total of 12 minutes a day. Finally, to keep detainees alive even if they inhaled their own vomit during a session – a not-uncommon side effect of waterboarding – the prisoners were kept on a liquid diet. The agency recommended Ensure Plus.

“This is revolting and it is deeply disturbing,” said Dr. Scott Allen, co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University who has reviewed all of the documents for Physicians for Human Rights. “The so-called science here is a total departure from any ethics or any legitimate purpose. They are saying, ‘This is how risky and harmful the procedure is, but we are still going to do it.’ It just sounds like lunacy,” he said. “This fine-tuning of torture is unethical, incompetent and a disgrace to medicine.” Full Story

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The Torture and Killing of Innocent Detainees

Ex-Bush Official: Many at Guantanamo Bay Are Innocent

Many detainees locked up at Guantanamo were innocent men swept up by U.S. forces unable to distinguish enemies from noncombatants, a former Bush administration official said Thursday.

“There are still innocent people there,” Lawrence B. Wilkerson, a Republican who was chief of staff to then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, told The Associated Press. “Some have been there six or seven years.”

Wilkerson, who first made the assertions in an Internet posting on Tuesday, told the AP he learned from briefings and by communicating with military commanders that the U.S. soon realized many Guantanamo detainees were innocent but nevertheless held them in hopes they could provide information for a “mosaic” of intelligence.

“It did not matter if a detainee were innocent. Indeed, because he lived in Afghanistan and was captured on or near the battle area, he must know something of importance,” Wilkerson wrote in the blog. He said intelligence analysts hoped to gather “sufficient information about a village, a region, or a group of individuals, that dots could be connected and terrorists or their plots could be identified.” Full Story

Did Media Ignore Autopsy Reports on Iraqi Prisoners?

Professor Peter Phillips reprimands mainstream media for underreporting autopsy reports released in 2006 that listed homicide as the cause of death for dozens of Iraqi and Afghani civilians held in U.S. military custody. “This is killing people; this is murder,” he says.

Murder of detainees confirmed!

Innocent Gitmo Detainee Says He Was Tortured, Holds Bush and Cheney Responsible

Lakhdar Boumediene was locked up at Guantanimo Bay prison for 7 1/2 years for a crime he didn’t commit and says he was tortured while he was there, including one episode where he was forced to go without sleep for 16 days straight. He cries because he doesn’t even know his own daughters anymore, and may sue the US government.

U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases

The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.

The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.

The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. People who have read or been briefed on it said it had been presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by an administration task force on detention. Full Story

Obama’s Threats to Protect Torture

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Obama administration threatens Britain to keep torture evidence concealed

Ever since he was released from Guantanamo in February after six years of due-process-less detention and brutal torture, Binyam Mohamed has been attempting to obtain justice for what was done to him. But his torturers have been continuously protected, and Mohamed’s quest for a day in court repeatedly thwarted, by one individual: Barack Obama. Today, there is new and graphic evidence of just how far the Obama administration is going to prevent evidence of the Bush administration’s torture program from becoming public.

In February, Obama’s DOJ demanded dismissal of Mohamed’s lawsuit against the company which helped “render” him to be tortured on the ground that national security would be harmed if the lawsuit continued. Then, after a British High Court ruled that there was credible evidence that Mohamed was subjected to brutal torture and was entitled to obtain evidence in the possession of the British government which detailed the CIA’s treatment of Mohamed, and after a formal police inquiry began into allegations that British agents collaborated in his torture, the British government cited threats from the U.S. government that it would no longer engage in intelligence-sharing with Britain — i.e., it would no longer pass on information about terrorist threats aimed at British citizens — if the British court disclosed the facts of Mohamed’s torture.

As I wrote about in February, those threats from the U.S. caused the British High Court to reverse itself and rule that, in light of these threats from the U.S., it would keep seven paragraphs detailing Mohamed’s torture concealed. From the British court’s ruling:

The United States Government’s position is that, if the redacted paragraphs are made public, then the United States will re-evaluate its intelligence-sharing relationship with the United Kingdom with the real risk that it would reduce the intelligence it provided (para. 62) . . . . [and] there is a real risk, if we restored the redacted paragraphs, the United States Government, by its review of the shared intelligence arrangements, could inflict on the citizens of the United Kingdom a very considerable increase in the dangers they face at a time when a serious terrorist threat still pertains (para. 106).

Just think how despicable that threat is: if your court describes the torture to which one of your residents was subjected while in U.S. custody, we will withhold information from you that could enable you to break up terrorist plots aimed at your citizens. Full Story

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Gitmo Detainee’s ‘Genitals Were Sliced With A Scalpel,’ Waterboarding ‘Far Down The List Of Things They Did

Last week, two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. The judges said the Bush administration “had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public.”

But The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the documents actually “contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to [Mohamed’s] captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured.” In fact, it was British officials, not the Americans, who pressured Foreign Secretary David Miliband “to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution.” According to the Telegraph’s sources, the documents describe particularly gruesome interrogation tactics:

The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed’s genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.

Another source familiar with the case said: “British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn’t do anything about it.”

“It is very clear who stands to be embarrassed by this and who is being protected by this secrecy. It is not the Americans, it is Labour ministers,” former shadow home secretary David Davis said. But one unnamed U.S. House Judiciary Committee member told the Telegraph that if President Obama “doesn’t act we could hold a hearing or write to subpoena the documents. We need to know what’s in those documents.”

Mohamed remains at Guantanamo Bay and “is currently on hunger strike.” “All terror charges against him were dropped last year,” the Telegraph reported.

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John Sifton: Torture Investigation Should Focus on Est. 100 Prisoner Deaths

Obama on Torture: ‘Democracy must reject false choice between our security and our ideals’

President Obama Releases “Torture Memos” by President Bush’s Administration

Administration to release Bush-era interrogation memos

The Obama administration released four Bush-era memos on terror interrogations Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that CIA officials will not be prosecuted for waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics that had been sanctioned during the Bush administration.

The memos, written by a top Justice Department lawyer, provided legal guidance to the entire executive branch, including the intelligence agencies, on permissible “enhanced interrogation techniques” that could be used against suspected terrorists taken into custody.

“My judgment on the content of these memos is a matter of record,” President Obama said Thursday.

“Enlisting our values in the protection of our people makes us stronger and more secure. A democracy as resilient as ours must reject the false choice between our security and our ideals.”

…He added that the officials involved in the questionable interrogations would not be subject to prosecution because the intelligence community must be provided “with the confidence” it needs to do its job.

“This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past,” Obama concluded. Full Story

CIA Memos
FACTBOX: Waterboarding and other interrogation methods

See:
CIA Interrogation: ‘Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment’
Obama Refuses to Reverse Bush Policy on Prisoner’s Right to Trial
Obama Will Continue Use of Renditions

CIA Interrogation: ‘Cruel, Inhuman, Degrading Treatment’

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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

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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

Secret Prison Interrogation Videos Destroyed

CIA destroyed 92 interrogation videos : “An investigation into the serious abuses of the ’War on Terror’ is imperative”

Federal authorities confirmed on 2 March that 92 videotapes showing the interrogation of detainees at secret prisons were destroyed in 2005 by the CIA. Reporters Without Borders asks that the new Obama administration lead an investigation into this infringement of the American people’s constitutional rights and punish those who are responsible.

“The sheer number of videotapes destroyed by the CIA confirms that the agency systematically tried to hide from the public the illegal interrogation techniques used by the previous administration. The public has the right to know what the government is doing and be confident that those in power are upholding the democratic values upon which this country is based,” the worldwide press freedom organization said.

“We hope that the secrecy and lack of transparency that prevailed during the beginning of this decade will be replaced with freer access to information and clear visibility of current governmental practices. The government must thoroughly investigate this breach of access to information and hold accountable those responsible. American society cannot hold back as it investigates these grave violations committed under the presidency of George W. Bush in the name of the ’war on terror.’ This investigation into the former administration’s actions will be debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 4 March. The credibility of the United States’ stance on human rights hangs in the balance over this,” added the organization.

Full Story

CIA destroyed 92 terror interrogation records