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Posts Tagged ‘prisoners’

By Danielle Kurtzleben, Inter Press Service News

WASHINGTON, Aug 14 (IPS) – The U.S. government continues to withhold even the most basic information about prisoners in the Bagram detention facility in Afghanistan, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a New York-based legal rights organisation.

An April 2009 ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents and information about the detainment of prisoners at Bagram has yielded dead ends with both the Department of Defence (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The ACLU wants the Obama Administration to make these records public, including information about “the number of people currently detained at Bagram, their names, citizenship, place of capture and length of detention, as well as records pertaining to the process afforded those prisoners to challenge their detention and designation as ‘enemy combatants.’”

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Jan Egeland, Mariano Aguirre| openDemocracy, June 17, 2009

The degrading treatment meted out to prisoners of the United States-led “war on terror” over seven years has yet to be subject to proper legal scrutiny and accountability. But the responsibility is Europe’s too, say Jan Egeland & Mariano Aguirre.

In the very heart of the western world, Europe’s major ally has tortured prisoners to death – in an operation that we Europeans too were involved in. The fourteen “techniques” authorised by the George W Bush administration include semi-drowning (”waterboarding’), confinement in cramped and dark boxes, psychological torture and deprivation of sleep for up to eleven days and nights (see Mark Danner, US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites” [New York Review of Books, 9 April & 30 April 2009]).

An undefined number of prisoners have died or committed suicide as a result of mistreatment in interrogation chambers run by the United States and its allies (the last one was a Yemeni in Guantánamo). It may be recalled that Japanese military jailors who employed these techniques during the second world war were adjudged war criminals by the US’s own military-legal experts.

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By Linda S. Heard | Online Journal, Apr 22, 2009

Imagine this! One day, you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. You are kidnapped by a foreign intelligence agency, strip-searched, hooded, blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled before being flown to an incarceration centre. Once there, you are interrogated about subjects and individuals you know nothing about. You loudly proclaim your innocence but your interrogators become angry.

Before long, you suffer the indignity of enforced nudity, which may painfully violate your religious or cultural beliefs. Perhaps you are stuffed into a tiny dark space in which you cannot stand. All you want to do is sleep but every time you close your eyes you are dowsed with cold water. This goes on for up to 120 hours.

If you are still unable to tell them what they want to know, you are deprived of food, slapped, made to hold painful stress positions for hours on end, such as kneeling while leaning back at a 45-degree angle, and if you have a phobia concerning insects you will be placed into a box with one. You might be prevented from visiting the bathroom and made to wear nappies.

Lastly, you will be subjected to a process that simulates drowning, whereby you feel your very life is ebbing away — waterboarding. Imagine that you endure this suffering for seven years and all the while you are being told that you will never ever be free or free of it.

All the above was authorised by the Bush administration’s Justice Department. In reality, detainees endured far worse under George W. Bush’s watch with the White House’s full knowledge.

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Robert Parry | Consortiumnews.com, April 17, 2009

Almost as disturbing as reading the Bush administration’s approved menu of brutal interrogation techniques is recognizing how President George W. Bush successfully shopped for government attorneys willing to render American laws meaningless by turning words inside out.

The four “torture” memos, released Thursday, revealed not just that the stomach-turning reports about CIA interrogators abusing “war on terror” suspects were true, but that the United States had gone from a “nation of laws” to a “nation of legal sophistry” – where conclusions on law are politically preordained and the legal analysis is made to fit.

You have passages like this in the May 10, 2005, memo by Steven Bradbury, then acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel:

“Another question is whether the requirement of ‘prolonged mental harm’ caused by or resulting from one of the enumerated predicate acts is a separate requirement, or whether such ‘prolonged mental harm’ is to be presumed any time one of the predicate acts occurs.”

As each phrase in the Convention Against Torture was held up to such narrow examination, the forest of criminal torture was lost in the trees of arcane legal jargon. Collectively, the memos leave a disorienting sense that any ambiguity in words can be twisted to justify almost anything.

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