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 -
Secret U. S. Endorsement of Severe Interrogations
. The New York Times has a 4000-word report today on secret Justice Department opinions--never previously disclosed--authorizing severe interrogation methods. Congress has outlawed cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; in response, Justice declared that the CIA's most extreme interrogation methods are not cruel, inhuman, and degrading. These secret opinions, issued in 2005, are still in effect. Most lawmakers did not know they existed. White House response
: "This country does not torture."
posted by russilwvong
on Oct 4, 2007 -
, an essay in The London Review of Books by UCLA history professor Perry Anderson, criticizes the European Union as a neo-liberal economist's wet dream and unthinking lackey of the United States. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 19, 2007 -
Rorschach and Awe.
"America's coercive interrogation methods were reverse-engineered by two C.I.A. psychologists who had spent their careers training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques. The spread of these tactics was fueled by a myth about a critical 'black site' operation."
posted by homunculus
on Jul 31, 2007 -
"REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony"
debuts tomorrow night in New York. South African composer Philip Miller listened to hundreds of hours of audio cassettes from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings - the testimonies of torture victims, as well as their torturers who were given pardon in exchange for their testimony - and composed music around the samples he selected. It premiered in Capetown in late 2006; utterly haunting excerpts available here
posted by jbickers
on Jul 5, 2007 -
How General Antonio Taguba, who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal, became one of its casualties. Whether the President was told about Abu Ghraib in January (when e-mails informed the Pentagon of the seriousness of the abuses and of the existence of photographs) or in March (when Taguba filed his report), Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, or to reëvaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President’s failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command: aggressive prosecution of crimes against detainees was not conducive to a successful career.
In January of 2006, Taguba received a telephone call from General Richard Cody, the Army’s Vice-Chief of Staff. “This is your Vice,” he told Taguba. “I need you to retire by January of 2007.” No pleasantries were exchanged, although the two generals had known each other for years, and, Taguba said, “He offered no reason.” (A spokesperson for Cody said, “Conversations regarding general officer management are considered private personnel discussions. General Cody has great respect for Major General Taguba as an officer, leader, and American patriot.”)
“They always shoot the messenger,” Taguba told me. “To be accused of being overzealous and disloyal—that cuts deep into me. I was being ostracized for doing what I was asked to do.”
posted by caddis
on Jun 16, 2007 -
Reaping What We Sow? Right now, White House lawyers are working up new rules that will govern what CIA interrogators can do to prisoners in secret. Those rules will set the standard not only for the CIA but also for what kind of treatment captured American soldiers can expect from their captors, now and in future wars. Before the president once again approves a policy of official cruelty, he should reflect on that.Charles C. Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999. Joseph P. Hoar was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994. (Washington Post)
Some other opinions. (youtube) Thoughtful commentary. More.
posted by spitbull
on May 17, 2007 -
Clinicians regularly visited the interrogation cell to assess and treat the prisoner. Medics and a female "medical representative" checked vital signs several times per day; they assessed for dehydration and suggested enemas for constipation or intravenous fluids for dehydration. The prisoner’s hands and feet became swollen as he was restrained in a chair. These extremities were inspected and wrapped by medics and a physician. One entry describes a physician checking "for abrasions from sitting in the metal chair for long periods of time. The doctor said everything was good."...Medical Ethics and the Interrogation of Guantanamo 063
See also US now detaining 18,000 prisoners in Iraq
posted by y2karl
on Apr 16, 2007 -
Iranian envoy wounds 'confirmed':
The head of the International Red Cross in Tehran, Peter Stoeker, says he saw wounds on an Iranian diplomat who has alleged that US forces in Iraq tortured him. There were marks on Jalal Sharafi's feet, legs, back and nose. [photos
On 4 February soldiers from the Iraqi army 36th Commando battalion in Baghdad, considered to be under American control, had seized Jalal Sharafi, while he was carrying a videogame
, a gift for his daughter. Read more about the US secret operations against Iranians in Iraq in an exclusive report
by The Independent.
posted by hoder
on Apr 11, 2007 -
Detainees are confined for 22 hours a day to individual, enclosed, steel cells where they are almost completely cut off from human contact. The cells have no windows to the outside or access to natural light or fresh air. No activities are provided, and detainees are subjected to 24 hour lighting and constant observation by guards through the narrow windows in the cell doors. They exercise alone in a high-walled yard where little sunlight filters through; detainees are often only offered exercise at night and may not see daylight for days at a time... It appears that around 80 per cent of the approximately 385 men currently held at Guantánamo are in isolation – a reversal of earlier moves to ease conditions and allow more socialising among detainees. Cruel and Inhuman: Conditions of isolation for detainees at Guantánamo Bay Red Cross chief raises Guantánamo issue in D.C.Guantánamo follies
posted by y2karl
on Apr 8, 2007 -
Gitmo in Black and White.
Some great photography with narration and chilling stories from the Gulag at Guantanamo Bay. (Has sound. Maybe NSFW, if your workplace is squeamish about our foreign policy)
posted by nevercalm
on Mar 22, 2007 -
"Dear Mr. Prime minister haper,
I don’t like to stay in this jail. I’m only nine years old. I want to go to my school in Canada. I’m sleeping beside the wall. Please Mr. Priminister haper give visa for my family. This place is not good for me."
Two Iranian parents and their Canadian-born son Kevin have been detained in a Texas detention centre after trying to escape their torturous and dangerous situation in Iran.
posted by Menomena
on Mar 5, 2007 -
From Human Rights Watch:
...He had spent a year and a half in captivity without even a glimpse of natural light. One day the Americans opened up a skylight in his building. “They brought me a chair and let me sit under the skylight,” he remembered. “I was so happy. I joked with them, pretending to call outside, ‘Help! Someone help me! Let me out!’” ...One photo that surprised Jabour was of a boy named Talha, who appeared to be nine or ten years old. His father was said to be Hamza al-Jofi, a militant leader in Waziristan. When Jabour saw the photo of Talha, who was apparently in custody, he expressed amazement that the United States was holding someone so young.The Case of Marwan JabourUS: Secret CIA Prisoners Still Missing
posted by y2karl
on Feb 27, 2007 -
What Brazil tells us about torture today.
A thoughtful discussion by Clive James of torture in the context of the movies in general and Terry Gilliam's Brazil
in particular. Warning: occasional descriptions of awful behavior, and the reader may have his opinion of humanity lowered. "The historical evidence suggests that on the rare occasions when a state begins again in what a fond humanitarian might think of as a condition of innocence, a supply of young torturers is the first thing it produces... In the Nazi and Soviet cellars and camps, people were regularly tortured for information they did not possess: i.e., they were tortured just for the hell of it."
posted by languagehat
on Feb 25, 2007 -
Sixty-seven scenes of torture in five seasons. Is 24 responsible
for an increase
in real-life torture? They at least feel guilty enough to meet up
with some actual interrogators encouraging them to make their torture scenes more authentic. But it's not just 24
- torture is becoming more prevalent
on all American television.
posted by meech
on Feb 12, 2007 -
"I failed to disobey a meritless order, I failed to protect a prisoner in my custody, and I failed to uphold the standards of human decency. Instead, I intimidated, degraded and humiliated a man who could not defend himself. I compromised my values. I will never forgive myself.
posted by empath
on Feb 9, 2007 -
Last week a video was posted to YouTube and linked to by the Iraqslogger site.
The YouTube account ("Deathlyillington") is now defunct but the video survives and purports to show a former guard from Abu Ghraib talking about torture techniques employed at the American-run prison. The man recounts the gang rape of a female teenage detainee, in which one guard "pimped" the girl to others for $50 each. As he recalls, "I think at the end of the day he'd made like 500 bucks before she hung herself." The US Army's Criminal Investigation Department has now launched an investigation, but the question remains, is the video real, or is it a hoax along the lines of Jesse Macbeth
, the Daily Mirror fake torture photos
or the fake beheading video
. The video
contains few clues to the identity of the alleged soldier, who is shown in silhouette but seems potentially recognizable. A transcript
posted by unSane
on Feb 1, 2007 -
Donald Rumsfeld: The War Crimes Case
and TIME: A lawsuit to be filed on Nov. 14th in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo
. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski… has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: “It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ”. . . . Rumsfeld's resignation, they say, means that the former Defense Secretary will lose the legal immunity usually accorded high government officials.
Previously: Chain of Command
, (May 9, 2004); Interview with Abu Ghraib general,
(November 8, 2005)
posted by spock
on Nov 11, 2006 -
His fog, his amphetamines and his pearls
Lofi shot off the monitor at the recent EMP exhibit, the entire footage of an Eat The Document
outtake recently edited by Martin Scorcese for No Direction Home
. I don't entirely get the Chaplinesque--To paraphrase crunchland, Hey, Skeezix--it's a talkie...
posted by y2karl
on Oct 27, 2006 -