Four Things You Need to Know About Barack Obama and U.S. Torture & Detention
May 27, 2009
by the writing team at World Can’t Wait.org
1. Barack Obama did NOT end torture.
Many people think that, upon taking office, Barack Obama ended torture. This is just not true. Under Obama, the U.S has continued to torture prisoners at Guantánamo, where more than 200 detainees are still being held without charge or trial.
According to a February 2009 report by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Guantánamo guards routinely subject detainees to vicious beatings, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, suffocation, repeated use of tear gas, and the force-feeding of tubes through the nasal passages of hunger strikers. Much of this torture is committed by Guantánamo’s Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) teams, which CCR president Michael Ratner has described as the “black shirts of Guantánamo.”
Quoting from the CCR report: “Detainees are subjected to brutal physical assaults by the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF), a team of military guards comparable to a riot squad, who are trained to respond to alleged ‘disciplinary infractions’ with overwhelming force.” And later in the report: “In Camps 5, 6 and Echo, detainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation.”
In fact, conditions at Guantánamo have gotten even worse since Obama became president. “Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration,” Ahmed Ghappour, a lawyer representing several Guantánamo detainees, told Reuters in February.1
And, contrary to popular belief and to his own statements, Obama’s executive orders do not ban torture either; they contain several loopholes that allow it to continue. For instance, the order states that interrogation techniques must conform to the Army Field Manual, but Annex M of that manual allows for prolonged solitary confinement and sleep deprivation.The order also established a task force that includes Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Attorney General Eric Holder that is charged with determining whether to implement techniques that go beyond the Army Field Manual. Finally, the order states that prisoners shall be treated humanely, “whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States.”
This raises the obvious question: What about the many instances when the U.S. hands detainees over to other countries–or to prisons run by its puppet governments in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Protests This Week Throughout U.S. Demand Release of Torture Photos
by Obama Administration,
Prosecution of Bush Era War Crimes
What: Highly Visual, Dramatic Protest Demonstrations/Photo
When: May 26-27-28
Where: 15 cities: New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San
Francisco; Boston; Seattle; Atlanta; Houston; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Honolulu;
Fresno; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR; Benton Harbor, MI
(New York City, NY) In the face of the Obama administration’s refusal
to release a reported 2,000 additional photographs of detainee abuse, in spite
of being ordered by a federal court to do so, torture opponents will hold visible
protests to demand that the government make the photos public.…
By Thomas C. Fletcher
Review of new book by David Ray Griffin, Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?
OSAMA BIN LADEN: DEAD OR ALIVE? by David Ray Griffin is a crucially important and timely examination of the whole range of evidence bearing on the question, is Osama bin Laden still alive? The importance of this question for the present comes from the fact that the United States under its new president is escalating its offensive in Afghanistan and expanding the war into Pakistan, and has claimed that the “hunt for bin Laden” is one of its principal motivations for doing so.…
May 20, 2009
INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION: Islamist dies in Tripoli shortly after human
rights group visit from Fred Bridgland in Libya
THE ISLAMIST terrorist who was the key source of the false intelligence used
to trigger the US and UK 2003 military invasion of Iraq has been found dead
in a Libyan prison cell.t
Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi allegedly committed suicide by hanging in the prison where
he was being held in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. His death followed a visit
by a team from Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading independent organisations
dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.…
Should the members of the 9/11 Presidential Commission not have been informed
that two of the “key witnesses” upon whom their report was based
had provided the information critical to the report’s conclusions only
after being waterboarded a total of 266 times? … In short, the basic narrative
of the origins and conduct of the 9/11 attack that so fundamentally perverted
American politics relied on cherry-picked information that the White House and
its operative in the field chose to release to the commission.…
May 11, 2009
The Red Cross is the organization charged with deciding what is torture and
The International Committee of the Red Cross interviewed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
– the alleged 9/11 mastermind – at Guantánamo Bay.
Here’s what KSM
told the Red Cross (see below for more from a review of this report):
… Continue reading
During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information
in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order
to make the ill-treatment stop.
May 10, 2009
by Andy Worthington
The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp — whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq — has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) “was found dead of suicide in his cell,” and noted that the newspaper had reported the story “without specifying the date or method of suicide.”
This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible, questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of “America’s Disappeared” — prisoners seized in the “War on Terror,” who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries — often their own — where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again.…Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
May 8, 2009
One of the most frustrating features of observing American foreign policy is to see the gap between the encapsulated thinking of the national security bureaucracy and the sensible unfettered observations of the experts outside. In the case of Afghanistan, outside commentators have called for terminating current specific American policies and tactics — many reminiscent of the US in Vietnam.
Observers decry the use of air strikes to decapitate the Taliban and al Qaeda, usually resulting in the death of other civilians.…
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
Intellectual Dishonesty In The Age Of Universal Deceit:
a message to the corporate media and our elected officials.
By Daniel Sunjata – May 4, 2009
“The inert masses are mentally and spiritually ill equipped to deal with reality, so they block it out of their minds – aided of course, by the corporate media and the propaganda apparatus of the government itself. This is why fantasy is frequently substituted for reality, plutocracy is mistaken for democracy, and the majority of the people do not know the difference.
by Ken Jenkins
How many times has this happened to you? You are explaining to someone some of the rational, logical reasons why the official story of 9/11 can’t be true, perhaps explaining how WTC 7 fell in the exact manner of a professionally planned controlled demolition — a job which would typically take weeks to prepare — when out comes a ‘thought stopper’ phrase like:
“That’s just another conspiracy theory !” or …
“Do you also believe in Big Foot and tin foil hats?”
Or perhaps the person gets angry and/or agitated.…
April 23, 2009
by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zabaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla.…
By Mathis Chiroux
WCW Editor’s note: Mathis Chiroux recently was called to appear before a board of U.S. Army officers in St. Louis, Missouri, and answer for his public refusal to participate in the activation and deployment orders for Iraq he had received in the summer of 2008. Mathis’ hearing resulted in a “general discharge under honorable conditions.” The following is a statement Mathis issued shortly after the hearing concluded.
On Apr. 21, I stood before the Army.…
April 22, 2009
By Chris Floyd
With the release of the U.S. Senate’s report on the Bush Administration torture program, it is now incontrovertibly clear — and officially established by the highest, most respectable Establishment institutions — that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other top officials deliberately, willingly, and with malice aforethought, established a system of interrogation using brutal techniques that they knew were against the law. Hence the need for the torture memos that attempted to give retroactive legal cover for atrocities that were already taking place at the orders of the White House and the Pentagon.…
April 21, 2009
by George Washington
5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.
And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.…
Images and Words
Anthony Hall is like many other 9/11 skeptics. At some point, after examining the events of 9/11 and the international consequences of that foul deed, (particularly the
consequences that befell countries with a predominantly Arab/Muslim population), Mr. Hall decided to speak out. The difference between Hall and most 9/11 skeptics, is that Mr. Hall is a sitting academic at a university in Lethbridge, Alberta, in Canada.
Hall joined a growing list of Canadian academics who have chosen to speak out publicly; John McMurtry , Graeme MacQueen , Michael Keefer , and of course, Michel Chossudovsky , a pioneer in 9/11 skepticism.…
by Dave Lindorff
For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.
There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).…Continue reading
April 20, 2009
by Kevin Fenton
History Commons Groups
Former 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton recently made some bizarre comments about the Zacarias Moussaoui case in an interview for Vanity Fair. The interview was used for a wide-ranging and very interesting oral history of the Bush White House. Hamilton’s comments appear to show complete ignorance of a key aspect of the investigation of which he was vice chair.
Moussaoui was arrested on an immigration violation due to suspicions he was planning to hijack an aircraft by the Minneapolis FBI on 16 August 2001, nearly four weeks before 9/11.…