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Category Archives: Torture

Guantanamo lawyers’ letter urges Obama to declassify CIA torture program details


Camp Justice, GTMO (Photo Credit: mine)

Camp Justice, GTMO (Photo Credit: mine)

All 5 defense lawyers in 9/11 case have sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the executive branch to declassify information relating to the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) program as it applies to the accused. Under this program, people suspected of terrorist ties were snatched by the U.S. government and sent to CIA “black sites” — secret prisons — or third-party countries to be interrogated and tortured. The defendants in question — Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Walid bin Attash, Ammar al-Baluchi, and Mustafa al-Hawsawi  — were all sent to CIA black sites before being transferred to Guantanamo in 2006. They are accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

U.S. Navy Commander Walter Ruiz, defense counsel to Mr. al-Baluchi and one of the signatories, commented on the letter, “Today uniformed officers and our civilian colleagues join in asking our president president to uphold our obligations under the convention against torture, and remove improper classification restrictions which are preventing the pursuit of truth and meaningful justice,” according to a press release.

The press release also states: “Evidence of war crimes must not be classified. For decades now, the United States, by Executive Order, has banned the use of classification rules to conceal violations of law. President Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture in 1988, and the United States Senate ratified the Convention in 1994. As such, according to the U.S. Constitution, it is part of United States law.”

The five men are being tried in a military commission at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There is a protective order that places severe restrictions on lawyers from disclosing details of how their clients were treated by CIA black sites to the accused and to outside press or human rights organizations. In essence, it conceals many details of torture and undermines the ability of the lawyers to provide adequate defense.

A copy of the letter is linked below.

US v KSM et al LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT

 

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Reporting from Guantanamo (June 10 — June 22)


Guantanamo Camp X-Ray, taken June 15, 2013. Photo Credit: mine

Guantanamo Camp X-Ray, taken June 15, 2013. Photo Credit: mine

From June 10 to June 22, 2013, I was in Guantanamo Bay Naval Station reporting for Truthout. I covered the military commissions of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. To make it easy, I decided to create a blog post with all six of my articles. You can also see them in the “Published Works” section of my site. All of my pieces are below:

  • “The Imperialist and Racist Origins of the Guantánamo Penal Colony”, Truthout, June 12, 2013. Read here.
  • “US Cold War Ally in the Docks at Guantanamo for USS Cole Bombing”, Truthout, June 17, 2013. Read here.
  • “Contention and Confusion in Guantanamo Pre-Trial Hearings for Al-Nashiri Military Commissions”, Truthout, June 18, 2013. Read here.
  • “Pretrial Hearings of 5 Suspects in 9/11 Face Challenge of Torture-Obtained Evidence”, Truthout, June 21, 2013. Read here.
  • “Military Commission Pre-Trial Hearings for Alleged 9/11 ‘Plotters’ Focus on Gitmo Conditions”, Truthout, June 28, 2013. Read here.
  • “Guantanamo and Permanent War: The View From Camp X-Ray”, Truthout, July 3, 2013. Read here.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Liberal support for war and human rights abuses


Guantanamo X-Ray prison at dusk, January 2002 (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals something quite depressing. The poll shows that a majority of Americans, including many Democrats, support President Obama’s counterterrorism policies of keeping Guantanamo Bay prison open and drone strikes against suspected terrorists abroad. These are policies that Obama and many liberals criticized Bush for doing. But now that Obama is carrying them out, there’s ample support these policies.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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Osama bin Laden’s death does not vindicate the use of torture


My first article for Examiner.com was published on Monday. Read it here or below.

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The death of Osama bin Laden, at the hands of U.S. special operations forces in Pakistan, has reignited the debate about torture. Those who support the use of torture (or “enhanced interrogation techniques”), claim that vital evidence which led U.S. special forces to successfully finding and killing bin Laden was produced through torture. The key piece of evidence that led to bin Laden’s death was the nom de guerre of his courier Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. If the Bush administration did not implement its torture program, they argue, Osama bin Laden would still be alive and inspiring al-Qaeda to commit acts of terrorism. This argument is wrong on multiple levels. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Speech: “Imperialism, racism, and torture”


This is the text of a speech I gave at a panel Stanford Says No to War hosted called “It’s All About U.S.: Questioning U.S. Militarism”. This speech was given on May 26th, 2010 and is the last speech I gave at Stanford.

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During the Nuremberg Trials, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, famously stated: “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” America has a long history of war and its accumulated evils. It began as thirteen small colonies that sat along the Atlantic coast. In over a century, the United States expanded all the way to the Pacific Ocean – from sea to shining sea. The process was not pretty. It involved the genocide of the native Americans and the enslavement of millions of black Africans whose free labor was needed to fuel the American capitalist economy. At the dawn of the twentieth century, the United States began to colonize other lands, such as Hawaii, the Philippines and Cuba. Since then, it has occupied and militarily intervened in several parts of the globe, such as in Latin America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. And let’s not forget the many democratically-elected leaders America overthrew in places like Chile and Iran. The United States currently occupies two countries – Iraq and Afghanistan – and has a network of over 700 bases across the planet. Thus, the United States is an empire. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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