A high-level Spanish court
has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, on whether they violated international law
. The officials named in this present case include the most senior legal minds in the Bush administration. They are: Alberto Gonzales, a former White House counsel and attorney general; David Addington, former vice-president Dick Cheney’s chief of staff; Douglas Feith, who was under-secretary of defence; William Haynes, formerly the Pentagon’s general counsel; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, who were both senior justice department legal advisers. If America won’t have a Truth Commission
maybe someone else will have to kick start it for them.
posted by adamvasco
on Mar 30, 2009 -
Binyam Mohamed will shortly be released from Guantanamo, where hunger strikes
attempts to assesses the level of President Obama's apparent commitment to transparency, accountability for Bush administration officials who may have committed crimes, and adhering to the rule of law. It highlights Glenn Greenwald's recent article
There is simply no way to argue that our leaders should be immunized from criminal investigations for torture and other war crimes without believing that (a) the U.S. is and should be immune from the principles we've long demanded other nations obey and (b) we are free to ignore our treaty obligations any time it suits us.
posted by adamvasco
on Feb 22, 2009 -
Awakening on a mattress atop a wooden slab, the bare walls of your 7' x 12' cell
come into focus, illuminated by the constant glare of an overhead light. Through the narrow window in the back of your cell, you can peer out into the prison yard. In the window in the reinforced steel door, you can catch an occasional glimpse of a prison guard as they bring your meals, usually the only interruption of the silence and isolation that pervade your living conditions. Those walls are the boundaries of your world for 23 hours a day in the Departmental Disciplinary Unit
-- the supermax
prison maintained in Walpole, Massachusetts, one of dozens
of such institutions currently operated in the United States, in spite of growing outcry
based on human rights violations. [more inside]
posted by Law Talkin' Guy
on Feb 15, 2009 -
"The Department of Defense claimed in a dramatic press briefing on January 13 that “61 in all former Guantanamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight” of terrorism."
...troubling is the Defense Department’s listing of the released Uighurs, who were completely exonerated by an internal military hearing. They’ve done nothing wrong. However, one of them wrote an op-ed column for the New York Times proclaiming that “I was locked up and mistreated for being in the wrong place at the wrong time during America's war in Afghanistan.” He also said in the same editorial: “The United States [is] a country I deeply admire.”
That’s “suspected of going back into the battlefield”? Only if you are delusional. [more inside]
posted by 445supermag
on Jan 29, 2009 -
"George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn’t work. Delving into two high-profile cases, the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse."
posted by homunculus
on Dec 18, 2008 -
World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King
expansion involves a quest titled The Art of Persuasion
. Richard Bartle
, co-author of MUD (and pioneer of MMO gaming)
, speaks out against this
: "Basically, you have to take some kind of cow poke and zap a prisoner until he talks. I'm not at all happy with this. I was expecting for there to be some way to tell the guy who gave you the quest that no, actually I don't want to torture a prisoner, but there didn't seem to be any way to do that..." (via
) [more inside]
posted by tybeet
on Nov 27, 2008 -
What killed Sgt. Gray?
"He survived the war only to die at home. An exploration of his death and his combat unit's activities reveals what can happen to soldiers who feel the freedom -- or the pressure -- to do things in war they can't live with later." -- An American Radioworks documentary.
posted by empath
on Nov 11, 2008 -
For many people who lived in Houston in the early 1970s, trick or treat brings up memories of "The Candy Man," serial killer Dean Corll
. He, along with accomplices David Brooks and Wayne Henley (YouTube)
, kidnapped, raped, and tortured to death 27 boys between the ages of thirteen and eighteen between 1970 and 1973. Thirty-seven years after the bodies of their victims were discovered in mass graves in southwest Houston and the Bolivar Peninsula, three still were unidentified until recently when the efforts of forensic anthropologist Sharon Derrick
identified victim ML73-3349, now known to be Randall Lee Harvey
posted by WolfDaddy
on Oct 31, 2008 -
The TV cameraman, 38, was never charged with any crime, nor was he put on trial; his testimony makes it clear that he was held in three prisons for six-and-a-half years – repeatedly beaten and force-fed – not because he was a suspected "terrorist" but because he refused to become an American spy. There is the worrying fact of medical complicity
in his torture. (previously 1, 2
) [more inside]
posted by adamvasco
on Sep 27, 2008 -
Presidential Crimes: Moving on is not an option.
"In deciding about legal redress, we need to be clear about the large stakes in our decision. The very multiplicity of the apparent crimes, the sheer array of arguably broken laws, is dizzying. But that multiplicity must be faced, for in it we will see that what got in President Bush’s way was not any one law but the rule of law itself. It is the rule of law that has been put in jeopardy by a project of executive domination; it is the rule of law that will continue to be in peril; and it is only, therefore, by addressing the crimes through legal instruments—through a formal, legal arena, and not simply through the electoral repudiation of bad policy—that the grave and widespread damage stands a chance of being repaired."
posted by homunculus
on Sep 8, 2008 -
You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure.
Christopher Hitchens, Iraq War supporter, militant atheist, and now volunteer subject of waterboarding.
posted by orthogonality
on Jul 2, 2008 -
The "a few bad eggs" theory crushed
- ACLU summarizes the Justice Department Inspector General's report. "This new report should become exhibit A at the next congressional hearing on the Bush administration's use of torture," said Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel to the ACLU. ... "The questions are who did what and what crimes were committed. This Justice Department report helps answer both questions." [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson
on May 22, 2008 -
Beyond the Torture Debate
On May 6th the American Strategy Program hosted an event with Philippe Sands, Professor of International Law at University College London and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Colon Powell. Mr. Sands was in DC to testify to the House Judiciary Committee about the findings in his new book, Torture Team, which examines the legal implications of the Bush administration's policy of torture. Col. Wilkerson was on hand for commentary on the subject. The event was moderated by Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the American Strategy program.
The event was recorded and posted by the New America Foundation to YouTube.
It is 1 hr 31 minutes long, but well worth it. [more inside]
posted by dougzilla
on May 16, 2008 -
Amnesty International recently staged a real waterboarding session
to reinforce its campaign to get this type of torture stopped.
Amnesty claims its commercial is the "video the CIA doesn’t want you to see”.
Starting this month the commercial
will show in Britain in movie theaters during the previews. Possibly NSFW.
posted by misanthropicsarah
on May 1, 2008 -
“You could almost see their dicks getting hard as they got new ideas."
A Vanity Fair
reporter investigates the chain of command that tossed out the Geneva Conventions and instituted coercive interrogation techniques -- some might call them torture or even war crimes
-- in Bush's Global War on Terror. UC Berkeley law professor John Yoo's now-obsolete 81-page memo to the Pentagon in 2003 [available as PDFs here and here
] was crucial, offering a broad range of legal justifications and deniability for disregarding international law in the name of "self-defense."
that Yoo was just making "a clear point about the limits of Congress to intrude on the executive branch in its exercise of duties as Commander in Chief." [previously here
posted by digaman
on Apr 3, 2008 -
During the Philippine-American War at the turn of the 20th century, American soldiers used a torture method called "the water cure
" to extract information from Filipino fighters. [via brijit]
posted by AceRock
on Feb 21, 2008 -
Five myths about torture
In a Washington Post column, Darius Rejali
, author of Torture and Democracy, explains why five beliefs about torture are wrong. In a Harper's interview
, he answers six questions. "Yes, torture does migrate, and there are some good examples of it both in American and French history. The basic idea here is that soldiers who get ahead torturing come back and take jobs as policemen, and private security, and they get ahead doing the same things they did in the army. And so torture comes home. Everyone knows waterboarding, but no one remembers that it was American soldiers coming back from the Philippines that introduced it to police in the early twentieth century." [more inside]
posted by Kirth Gerson
on Feb 20, 2008 -
I Waterboard! If I had the choice of being waterboarded by a third party or having my fingers smashed one at a time by a sledgehammer, I'd take the fingers, no question.
posted by telstar
on Dec 22, 2007 -
Last week, the Chicago Reader laid off four of its best journalists:
John Conroy (previously)
, Harold Henderson, Tori Marlan, and Steve Bogira. The cuts almost certainly mark the beginning of the end of the paper's role in Chicago as an investigative force and a corruption watchdog. The New York Times responds
with a salute to Conroy and a defense of muckraking's relevance. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Dec 11, 2007 -
Al Odah v. U.S. and Boumediene v. Bush go before SCOTUS Streaming on C-Span today.
The Center for Constitutional Rights (great podcast
) will argue before the Supreme Court today:
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, The Center for Constitutional Rights and cooperating counsel filed 11 new habeas petitions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of over 70 detainees. These cases eventually became the consolidated cases of Al Odah v. United Statesand Boumediene v. Bush, the leading cases determining the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision in Rasul, the rights of non-citizens to challenge the legality of their detention in an offshore U.S. military base, and the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.
posted by ao4047
on Dec 5, 2007 -
John Ashcroft stands up to prove
waterboarding isn't torture, by offering to lie down for his own waterboarding. Well, that is, he offers he'd do it if it were necessary, and if he could survive the torture.
Is that a brave offer, an admission that US has resulted in deaths
, or both? Daniel Levin,
one of Ashcroft's subordinates at the Department of Justice, went further, actually undergoing waterboarding himself. He survived it -- but his career didn't, after he he concluded torture was "abhorrent". [more inside]
posted by orthogonality
on Nov 28, 2007 -