Archive for the ‘Torture’ Category
This is from the Washington Times – we can’t even bring ourselves to comment on it.
By Jeffrey Denning
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers.
This bracelet would:
• take the place of an airline boarding pass
• contain personal information about the traveler
• be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
• shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to as, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and that it would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if he/she got out of line?
Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is an euphuism for the EMD Safety Bracelet, or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability, thus the term ID Bracelet is ambiguous at best. EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according to the promotional video the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer for several minutes.
So is the government really that interested in this bracelet? Yes!
According to a letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, to the inventor whom he had previously met with, he wrote, “To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in…the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.” The letterhead, in case you were wondering, came from the DHS office at the William J. Hughes Technical Center at the Atlantic City International Airport, or the Federal Aviation Administration headquarters.
In another part of the letter, Mr. Ruwaldt confirmed, “It is conceivable to envision a use to improve air security, on passenger planes.”
Would every paying airline passenger flying on a commercial airplane be mandated to wear one of these devices? I cringe at the thought. Not only could it be used as a physical restraining device, but also as a method of interrogation, according to the same aforementioned letter from Mr. Ruwaldt.
Would you let them put one of those on your wrist? Would you allow the airline employees, which would be mandated by the government, to place such a bracelet on any member of your family?
Why are tax dollars being spent on something like this? Is this a police state or is it America?
As we approach July 4th, Independence Day, I can’t help but think of the blessing we have of living in America and being free from hostile government forces. It calls to mind on of my favorite speeches given by an American Founding Forefather, Patrick Henry, who said,
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former terrorist suspects detained by the United States were tortured, according to medical examinations detailed in a report released Wednesday by a human rights group.
The Massachusetts-based Physicians for Human Rights reached that conclusion after two-day clinical evaluations of 11 former detainees, who had been held at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan.
The detainees were never charged with crimes.
“We found clear physical and psychological evidence of torture and abuse, often causing lasting suffering,” said Dr. Allen Keller, a medical evaluator for the study.
In a 121-page report, the doctors’ group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses.
The report is prefaced by retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the Army’s investigation into the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2003.
“There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes,” Taguba says. “The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account.”
Over the years, reports of abuses at Abu Ghraib and allegations of torture at Guantanamo prompted the Bush administration to deny that the U.S. military tortures detainees.
Since only 11 detainees were examined “the findings of this assessment cannot be generalized to the treatment of all detainees in U.S. custody,” the report says.
However, the incidents documented are consistent with findings of other investigations into government treatment, “making it reasonable to conclude that these detainees were not the only ones abused, but are representative of a much larger number of detainees subjected to torture and ill treatment while in U.S. custody.”
Four of the men evaluated were arrested in or taken to Afghanistan between late 2001 and early 2003 and later were sent to Guantanamo Bay, where they were held for an average of three years before being released without charge, the report says. The other seven were detained in Iraq in 2003 and released within a year, the report says.
All the subjects told examiners that they were subjected to multiple forms of torture or ill treatment that “often occurred in combination over a long period of time,” the report says.
While the report presents synopses of the detainees’ backgrounds based on interviews with them, the authors did not have access to the detainees’ medical histories. Therefore, there’s no way to know whether any of the inmates may have had medical or mental problems before being detained.
Among the ex-detainees was an Iraqi in his mid-40s, identified only as Laith, whom U.S. soldiers took into custody in October 2003 and who was released from Abu Ghraib in June 2004. According to the report, Laith was subjected to sleep deprivation, electric shocks and threats of sexual abuse to himself and his family.
“They took off even my underwear. They asked me to do some movements that make me look in a very bad way so they can take photographs. … They were trying to make me look like an animal,” Laith told examiners, according to the report.
According to the report, Laith said the most “painful” experiences involved threats to his family: “And they asked me, ‘Have you ever heard voices of women in this prison?’ I answered, ‘Yes.’ They were saying, ‘Then you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them.’ ”
The examiners concluded in the report that “Laith appears to have suffered severe and lasting physical and psychological injuries as a result of his arrest and incarceration at Abu Ghraib prison.”
Another detainee, Youssef, was detained by U.S. soldiers nearly seven years ago when he tried to enter Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan without a passport, the report says. He initially was held in an Afghan prison, where he describes “being stripped naked, being intimidated by dogs, being hooded and being thrown against the wall on repeated occasions,” the report says.
A few months later, he was taken to the Guantanamo Bay facility, where he was subjected to interrogators who would enter his cell and force him to lie on the floor with his hands tied behind his back to his feet, the report says.
Youssef said the interrogators wanted him to confess of involvement with the Taliban, the report says.
Based on its investigation, the report calls on the U.S. government to issue a formal apology to detainees subject to torture and ill treatment by the military since fall 2001 in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
The rights group also demands that the Bush administration:
• “Repudiate all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”;
• Establish an independent commission to investigate and report publicly the circumstances of detention and interrogation at U.S.-run prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay;
• Hold individuals involved in torturing detainees accountable through criminal and civil processes; and
• Monitor thoroughly the conditions at U.S.-run prisons all over the world.
Please take the time to watch these videos – it’s what’s necessary for all of this to change.
By Bill Quigley
t r u t h o u t | Report
Wednesday 24 October 2007
Louis Vitale, 75, a Franciscan priest, and Steve Kelly, 58, a Jesuit priest, were sentenced to five months each in federal prison for attempting to deliver a letter opposing the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca in Arizona. Both priests were taken directly into jail from the courtroom after sentencing.
Fort Huachuca is the headquarters of military intelligence in the US and the place where military and civilian interrogators are taught how to extract information from prisoners. The priests attempted to deliver their letter to Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, commander of Fort Huachuca. Fast was previously the head of all military intelligence in Iraq during the atrocities of Abu Ghraib.
The priests were arrested while kneeling in prayer halfway up the driveway to Fort Huachuca in November 2006. Both priests were charged with trespassing on a military base and resisting orders of an officer to stop.
In a pre-trial hearing, the priests attempted to introduce evidence of torture, murder and gross violations of human rights in Afghanistan, at Abu Ghraib in Iraq and at Guantanamo. The priests offered investigative reports from the FBI, the US Army, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Physicians for Social Responsibility documenting hundreds of incidents of human rights violations. Despite increasing evidence of the use of torture by US forces sanctioned by President Bush and others, the federal court in Tucson refused to allow any evidence of torture, the legality of the invasion of Iraq, or international law to be a part of the trial.
Outside the courthouse, before the judge ordered them to prison, the priests explained their actions: “The real crime here has always been the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca and the practice of torture around the world. We tried to deliver a letter asking that the teaching of torture be stopped and were arrested. We tried to put the evidence of torture on full and honest display in the courthouse and were denied. We were prepared to put on evidence about the widespread use of torture and human rights abuses committed during interrogations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo in Iraq and Afghanistan. This evidence was gathered by the military itself and by governmental and human rights investigations.”
Fr. Vitale, a longtime justice and peace activist in San Francisco and Nevada, said, “Because the court will not allow the truth of torture to be a part of our trial, we plead no contest. We are uninterested in a court hearing limited to who was walking where and how many steps it was to the gate. History will judge whether silencing the facts of torture is just or not. Far too many people have died because of our national silence about torture. Far too many of our young people in the military have been permanently damaged after following orders to torture and violate the human rights of other humans.”
Fr. Kelly, who walked to the gates of Guantanamo with the Catholic Worker group in December of 2005, concluded, “We will keep trying to stop the teaching and practice of torture whether we are sent to jail or out. We have done our part for now. Now it is up to every woman and man of conscience to do their part to stop the injustice of torture.”
The priests were prompted to protest by continuing revelations about the practice of torture by US military and intelligence officers. The priests were also deeply concerned after learning of the suicide in Iraq of a young, devout, female military interrogator, Alyssa Peterson of Arizona, shortly after arriving in Iraq. Peterson was reported to be horrified by the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners.
Investigation also revealed Fort Huachuca was the source of infamous “torture manuals” distributed to hundreds of Latin American graduates of the US Army School of Americas at Fort Benning, GA. Demonstrations against the teaching of torture at Fort Huachuca have been occurring for the past several years each November and are scheduled again for November 16 and 17 this year.
Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He served as counsel for Frs. Vitale and Kelly. You can reach Bill at Quigley@loyno.edu. For more about their trial, see http://tortureontrial.org.
By Scott Shane, David Johnston and James Risen in Washington
Reports of unacceptable interrogation techniques led to a shake up in policy and staff at the Justice Department in 2004. After Alberto Gonzales’ arrival, the public started hearing things had changed, but new reports claim that things remained the same — or worsened.
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.
The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.
Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.
Read the rest of the article at Spiegel Online
And if you still think “they” don’t like us because of our freedoms and lifestyle, we think you need to open your eyes and look at what your government is doing in your name.
You MUST watch this – if you have any questions about the motives of this administration, they will be gone by the end of this 2 minute clip.