Monday, September 25, 2006

Open Letter To Democrats In Congress

Dear Democrats,

This is going to be the most important week of your careers. You, and you alone carry the burden of determining whether or not our country retains its moral authority. The Republicans have already cast their lot with legislation that will allow several methods of torture that, although they violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, will be permitted by the current administration.

Our nation was founded on the premise that there's "liberty and justice for all." The United States I grew up in stands for the protection of human rights. This legislation will not only allow torture, but in the future could put our armed forces at risk. How would you feel if a country that held our troops as prisoners of war used our new guidelines as a basis to use torture methods against them? I hope you think about that because that is what you're also voting for this week.

It is not enough for you to vote no on this legislation. Now is the time to take a public stance on this issue. Your constituents will judge you by what you do this week. If you choose to filibuster this measure and/or tell the American public that the Bush administration is steering the country away from its moral compass, we will see that Barbara Boxer isn't the only Democrat with a backbone. If you continue to hide behind John McCain's pant leg like a timid four-year-old and allow him to speak for you, then you will be seen as weak, incompetent and complicit in the war crimes the Bush administration and its subordinates have already committed in our country's name in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay.

So before cat killer Bill Frist or another high-ranking member of the GOP drags you down a Capitol Hill stairwell by your hair, throws you into a darkened meeting room and waterboards you until you either drown or give them your vote, do the right thing and say no to torture.

El Mas Chingón

Friday, September 22, 2006

Call to Congress

Thanks Robbie for being so vigilant. I just read Gary's post tonight and hopefully it is not too late to post. It's another angle to what Robbie wrote about in the previous post. This is cross posted on my own blog:
I know that Gary (Withinsight) won't mind my copying the letter he received from a collegue from Amnesty International, US division:
Dear Gary

Yesterday, President Bush and several members of the Senate struck a deal on human rights. In the process, they dealt away America's commitment to fundamental human rights principles.

Make no mistake about it, this deal is a betrayal of the America we believe in. No human rights activist can remain on the sidelines in the days ahead. Call on your Senator to oppose these dangerous provisions. We are literally days away from action in Congress on a proposal to:

Abandon the rule of law and give the President the freedom to interpret the Geneva Conventions any way he sees fit.
Provide immunity to those responsible for past human rights abuses.
Exempt from prosecution those who authorize treatment traditionally considered torture.
Strip detainees of access to US courts.

The soul of our nation is in jeopardy. Everything we believe in is on the line. That's why we're mobilizing the entire Amnesty community. We're going into action today and we won't stop until every last Senator has made it clear whether he or she is willing to stand up for the America we believe in.

Please act today. Those behind this dangerous deal are doing everything they can to quickly build momentum. We have to break that momentum and we have to do it now.

We implore you to call Congress immediately.

If America renounces the Geneva Conventions like President Bush wants to do, nations all over the world will follow. American soldiers will be placed in greater threat of torture and cruel treatment when captured, not just by one or two rogue nations, but by many nations that follow America's lead.

Call 1 800 AMNESTY and our operators will connect you to your official or call the Congressional switch board directly at 202-224-3121. Let the person on the phone know that you are a constituent, and tell them that the deal President Bush has struck is a betrayal of the America you believe in. Ask your Senators and Representative to stand firm in defense of human rights.

After you've made your call, report back on how it went.

Thank you.

Larry Cox
Executive Director
Amnesty International USA

Mash, if you're reading this, pls copy and paste as well, I know you get quite a few more readers than I do, and anyone else for that matter:spread the word! Bloggers against Torture: you know what you've been writing against, pick up the phone and make your voices heard!

What Yesterday's Compromise Means

I was watching the recording of CBS Evening News with Katie Couric a few minutes ago and I heard most of the details of today's compromise.

The lowdown: Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions stays intact. Now the Bush administration will try to manipulate the War Crimes Act of 1996 to suit their purpose. Count on Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez to pull some maneuver to get it done in the coming days.

You know what to do. It's time to get the word out and put an end to this madness once and for all. Call your Representatives and Senators and let them know modifying the War Crimes Act of 1996 is unacceptable.

NOTE: My profile and blog names have changed. Click here to visit my new and improved blog on Blogger Beta.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Regarding Jamal Palooka

[The following is taken from the responses of Approved Media in the Third Galaxy to the testimony of Jamal Palooka after his release from a Mobile Torture Wagon.]

"The whole point of the Mobile Torture Wagons is to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture – bruises heal after a week – but the other stuff stays with you." – Jamal Palooka.

The above "quote" is a typical example of the kind of inflammatory hearsay and uncorroborated statements served up as if it were truth and certainty by irresponsible elements of the press outside the Arrogant State.

First of all, official records show that Mr. Palooka was "detained" for little more than two weeks. This claim of a two-year Detainment is as much a fantasy foster as the rest of the ridiculous allegations he has made to gullible persons associated with foreign "news-agencies" to which the title of "journalist" can hardly be applied in any meaningful way.

Secondly, there is absolutely no record anywhere that a "Mobile Torture Wagon" has ever existed let alone been used by the Armed Forces of the Arrogant State. How could they? Torture is abhorrent to the very ideals of Democracy, Liberty and Freedom upon which the Arrogant State was founded!

It is possible – through some gross and perhaps willful misunderstanding – that this disgusting term refers to something else entirely: the Mobile Interrogation Aggregate On Wheels – also known as a MIAOW.

However, a MIAOW is not a "torture wagon"!

These vehicles were designed and built to facilitate Coercive Interrogation in the difficult environment of a newly declared War Zone.

Coercive Interrogation is not torture, it is the careful, scientific and, most important, humane gathering of important intelligence through a series of controlled conversations with a few selected detainees.

Interrogations are necessary and critical to the gathering of intelligence needed to be able to effectively fight and eventually win the War to Eliminate the Need for War Zones.
Are we supposed to just sit back and wait for terrorists to send us a post card?

It is true that Requested Individuals are usually detained at night. There is nothing strange about this! We are not trying to hide anything which could not stand the light of day!

It is for their own safety that a Requested Individual is usually detained at night before being rendered to a MIAOW. The fact is that everything humanly possible is done to ensure the safety and rights of each and every RI, before, during and after interrogation!

Detaining Requested Individuals during the day or letting them go home while interrogation was in progress, would put them in clear and imminent danger of grave bodily harm or even death from terrorists!

We have mentioned earlier the questions of "innocent" and "guilty" and in this context, therefore we must ask just who is this Jamal Palooka?

"Jamal" is a rather strange fellow, a misfit who, some years ago, while in prison for a minor narcotics crime converted to Masherism and changed his given name from Joe to Jamal. Turning his back on the Great Potato, he embraced the muddled and plagiarist teachings of that false prophet, the so-called, "Mashed Potato".

As freedom of religion is one of the corner stones of democracy in the Arrogant State, no one holds that error against him.

But when we discuss the questions of guilty and innocent, we think it only fair that honest persons know the kind of person Mr. Palooka really is.

True, many Mashers are decent, law-abiding citizens. But "Jamal" is shiftless, often unemployed and has committed his loyalty to the teachings of a strange sect which has produced many terrorists.

One of the guiding principles of our Arrogant Democracy is "innocent until proven guilty". God forbid we should ever relinquish or deny this or any of the other high ideals on which Democracy in based!

That said, these people who shout so loud and seem to be so concerned about the "rights" of Mr. Palooka, have they ever paused to take a moment to consider the nature of the charges and crimes of which Mr. Palooka has never been accused?

True, Mr. Palooka has never been formally accused of any wrong doing other than a minor narcotics crime. On the other hand, just because he has never been charged with or proven to be one, does not mean Jamal Palooka is not, in fact, a hard-core pedophile!

The crimes we cannot mention here are far worse, crimes are so horrible and despicable that "unspeakable" is exactly the word to describe them -- that is, we cannot say what these crimes are without endangering NationalSecurity!

Therefore, although not actually charged with any crime, the crimes of which he could have been charged are so evil that not being charged with them is enough to leave a lasting and disgusting odor clinging to both his name and reputation.

In all honesty, we must conclude that all of his so-called "testimony" is unreliable and suspect as well as irrelevant.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Truth About Torture: Part Six

This is the final installment of The Truth About Torture series. This video clip is a brief one that outlines President Bush’s request for Congress to clarify what constitutes torture. There are three main talking points in this video, so play the clip and we’ll review them one by one.

"First, I'm asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offense that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act so our personnel could know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies."

Think about this scenario. We are at war with either a foreign country or a terrorist group and they take American soldiers hostage. If Congress outlines what is considered torture, then our enemies could turn around and perform acts of torture not listed in their legislation and argue that we believe it’s acceptable. You don’t want that to happen, do you?

"Second, I'm asking that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee Treatment Act that our personnel are fulfilling America's obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions."

He's asking for this because the Graham-Levin Amendment would deny Guantanamo Bay detainees the ability to bring legal action seeking relief from the use of torture or cruel and inhumane treatment. It implicitly authorizes the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through the use of torture or other inhumane treatment in assessing the status of detainees held in Guantanamo Bay. Finally, it redefines the United States to explicitly exclude Guantanamo Bay to ensure that constitutional protections do not extend to detainees held at the facility. The original intention of the McCain Detainee Treatment Act did not contain those provisions.

In other words, there’s no reason to have secret prisons throughout Europe anymore if we can have protections against war crimes right here in our own backyard.

"Third, I'm asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorist cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts --in U.S. courts. The men and women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because their doing their jobs."

Translation: Please modify the War Crimes Act of 1996 so our personnel all the way up the chain of command are not subjected to penalties, including life imprisonment or death.

As you can tell, President Bush’s speech was more than just a rallying cry to whip up the conservatives in time for the midterm elections. Wednesday’s speech was also a ploy designed to absolve the Bush administration from responsibility for its actions in the war on terror. Don’t let these war criminals put the lives of our troops in danger by letting them get a free pass.

What you can do about it:

  • Amnesty International USA has a letter-writing campaign underway. Click here to participate and feel free to incorporate any of the talking point I've used during the past five days.

  • Write your elected officials and tell them not to vote in favor of President Bush's military commissions

  • Tell a friend. The portion of the general public that does not go online to get their news needs to know all the facts about President Bush's military commissions before forming an opinion.

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Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Truth About Torture: Part Five

This is the next-to-last post in the series of posts debunking the talking points made by President Bush in Wednesday’s speech, and we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Click on the video to watch it, and when you’re done let’s discuss some of President Bush’s talking points.

"But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information."

This sounds like a noble reason to explain the existence of the CIA program, but it doesn’t excuse the mounting evidence that U.S. personnel used questionable, if not illegal, methods to obtain information from detainees.

"Some ask why we're you're acknowledging this program now."

According to my calendar, Monday is the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and there’s just over eight weeks left before the midterm elections. Just a coincidence, right?

"There are two reasons why I'm making these limited disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of the men, and to start the process for bringing them to trial we must bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions and has put in question the future of the CIA program."

First, if the Bush administration was serious about bringing these men to trial it would’ve happened on American soil already. They had no problem giving Zacarias Moussaoui a fair trial for his role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Why not the detainees at Gitmo?

Second, let’s discuss the Supreme Court decision and the Bush administration’s reaction. The Supreme Court ruled that the military commissions originally proposed by the Bush administration were under the jurisdiction of Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Instead of complying with that order, the Bush administration is trying to find ways to circumvent the Supreme Court ruling, get their military commissions and provide U.S. personnel protections against the War Crimes Act of 1996. That’s all that this maneuver by the Bush administration is.

I almost forgot to ask: How many terrorists did we capture from obtaining information through the CIA program? How many terrorist plots did we stop?

"In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as Common Article 3 applies to our war with al-Qaeda."

Actually, it applies to our detainment of suspected terrorists, with emphasis on suspected since none of them have been charged with a crime in nearly five years of internment.

"This article includes provisions that prohibit outrages upon personal dignity and humiliating and degrading treatment. The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article 3 are vague and undefined, and each can be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges."

The real problem for the Bush administration is that other countries that signed the agreement in 1949 don’t have the same problem. The last thing the United States needs is for Congress to determine what constitutes torture because whatever coercion methods not listed in an updated War Crimes Act can and will be used by other countries against our troops if captured and detained.

Do you really want to support your troops like that? I didn’t think so. Please contact your elected officials and tell them not to approve President Bush’s legislation on military commissions because they should not have to shoulder the burden of determining what is torture. It is up to the Bush administration to follow the rule of law, even if it’s an international law.

"And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved and capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act, simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way. This is unacceptable."

I would not call torture a professional way of obtaining information. That is unacceptable, and so is the fact that President Bush is whining about the War Crimes Act, especially since it’s been the law for a decade. Maybe U.S. personnel and their supervisors should have thought of that before interrogation methods were approved.

To be continued...

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The Truth About Torture: Part Four

Please play the video clip before reading the following post.

There is no argument with President Bush during the first twenty-six seconds of this video clip taken from Wednesday’s speech. It’s what follows that has to be debunked.

"They are provided the same quality of medical care as the medical service members who guard them."

Remember Juma Al Dossary from yesterday? All I need to ask you is one question: If one of our service members were given a tainted blood transfusion and as a result had severe stomach problems that made them go to the bathroom up to fourteen times a day, what are the odds he or she would be evacuated to a military hospital on American soil?

"The international committee of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are held there."

It’s been nearly two months and Al Dossary is still waiting for independent medical experts to arrive in Guantanamo Bay to give him a check up and verify that 1.) our personnel did not purposely make him ill due to the blood transfusion he received on March 11, and 2.) does not carry the HIV virus.

"After the Organization For Security and Co-operation in Europe came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo a model prison where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country."

Alain Grignard, the deputy head of Brussels’ federal police anti-terrorism unit, did make that remark when he visited the Guantanamo Bay prison in late February/early March of this year. However, President Bush and his administration failed to mention that Grignard also stated that holding people for many years without telling them what would happen to them is in itself "mental torture". You can read the full text of the article here, here and here.

Grignard’s comments were made less than a month after the UN called for the closure of the facility. Keep in mind that Belgian prisons are not subject to Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, so this talking point made by President Bush to prove that detainees are being held in a humane manner is not only disingenuous, but also isn’t an apples to apples comparison to similar prisons unless we’re talking about the similarities between Guantanamo Bay and the "Salt Mine" in Kabul or Camp Nama in Baghdad.

To be continued... 

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The Truth About Torture: Part Three

Today, I must announce that this series will be shortened to six parts. The fact that Part Six may be posted on the morning of September 11th is just a coincidence.

I’ve copied from the source recording the above video clip, which was originally going to be two separate video clips. Please play the video and then read how President Bush lied to the American public during Wednesday’s speech.

"...those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys, who will help them prepare their defense and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care and opportunities for worship as other detainees."

This quote from Wednesday's speech should have you deeply concerned. Those of you who read the Bloggers Against Torture blog during Blogathon 2006 probably remember the post I made at the 9:30am PST mark on a Bahraini detainee named Juma Al Dossary and the following post that detailed his claims of torture and accusations levied against him. I'll use him as a case study to discuss the remarks President Bush made in the above video clip.

Three months ago, Al Dossary made an appeal through a letter to Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, his American attorney, for the Bahrain government to send a medical delegation to give him a physical in order to confirm that U.S. military doctors did not transfer dangerous diseases through blood transfusions.

Since that time, there have been rumors that Al Dossary's blood infection may be HIV. However, there is no independent report to confirm this. An independent medical delegation has not been sent to Guantanamo Bay to check on the health of Al Dossary or Salah Abdulrasool Al Bloushi and Isa Al Murbati, the other Bahraini detainees who have been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years without trial or being charged with a crime. As I've said before, it's impossible to be considered innocent when you're detained without charges.

Al Dossary is being held in a concrete cell at the mental health unit with the air conditioning running all the time. The lights inside are turned off at night, while the ones outside the cell are always turned off so Al Dossary cannot read the clock on the wall and know the proper time to pray, The combination of the running air conditioner and the absence of lighting lower the temperatures inside the cell to the point where the concrete walls and floor nearly mimic freezing conditions. In a similar case, another detainee held at Guantanamo nearly died when his heart rate dropped due to the colder temperatures.

This "cold" treatment is reportedly one of the sanctioned coercion techniques practiced by the guards at Guantanamo Bay.

"..and they will be continued to be treated with the humanity they denied others."

55-page report by Human Rights Watch called No Blood, No Foul details many cases of detainee abuse by U.S. personnel against detainees. That doesn't sound very humanitarian, does it?

"...but one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated, or they will not return to the battlefield as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have."

This was not a reason given by President Bush in May when quoted by German television. In fact, he stated his desire to close Guantanamo Bay and was awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether detainees should go before a civil or military court. The Supreme Court ruled against the military courts and instead of complying with the decision, the Bush administration is trying to find a way to circumvent the ruling and the War Crimes Act of 1996.

Despite Saudi Arabia's spotty record on human rights abuses, the United States transferred several former Guantanamo Bay detainees on May 18th.

"..and we will move towards the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."

It has nearly been five years since the opening of the Guantanamo Bay prison and not only are we no closer to closing the facility now than we were back in 2002, but the detainees held there have yet to be charged with a crime.

To be continued...

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Friday, September 08, 2006

The Truth About Torture: Part Two

Today’s video clip is from the speech President Bush delivered Wednesday afternoon to selected families of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Please play it before reading the rest of this post.

Video Talking Points: 14 terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay. The men responsible for the 9/11 attacks can face justice once Congress authorizes the military commissions President Bush proposed.

The Truth: This revelation should not surprise the American public. For over a year, we’ve known about the existence of "black sites" --the CIA’s secret prisons-- thanks to two articles written by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Dana Priest.

On March 3, 2005, The Washington Post published CIA Avoids Scrutiny of Detainee Treatment, which established the existence of "The Salt Pit" --a secret prison located north of Kabul. In the article, it detailed the circumstances behind an alleged incident in which an Afghan detainee froze to death after receiving improper treatment by guards, and how the prison was established as a "host nation" facility so U.S. personnel could escape responsibility for actions taken by Afghan guards against detainees.

Later that year, Priest wrote CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons, a piece that detailed the CIA’s network of secret prisons in Eastern Europe and interrogation tactics that would be considered torture. It also reported the mistreatment of detainees at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, yet there was no public outcry and scant mainstream media coverage of these incidents. The story died as soon as it was published, but Wednesday’s speech validates Priest’s excellent reporting. I invite you to please read them so you can become more familiar with the basis of my arguments against President Bush’s speech in the coming days.

Besides the discussion of secret prisons, the real issue here is President Bush’s decision to leave it up to Congress to approve the military commissions he proposed. You can count on rubber-stamping Congresspersons to give him the thumbs-up, but Democrats must be careful how they word their disapproval. A vote against Bush’s legislation could be viewed by conservatives as weakness in the war on terror, but that shouldn’t be the case. Here’s why:

There should be no argument between both political parties on this issue. Both Democrats and Republicans must reject this legislation on the grounds that it still violates General Article 3 of the Geneva Convention and the guidelines set forth by the Supreme Court. Any elected official who votes in favor of this revised legislation should not be viewed as strong on terror. Their rubber stamp signifies their weakness to stand up against human rights violations and to uphold the rule of law, something conservatives remind us to do on a daily basis.

To be continued...

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Secret Prisons are Empty!

I hope my lightheaded attempt at satire here doesn't put readers off from reading the excellent and well-researched post Robbie has on the 6 September speech -- whether or not you read this, please scroll down to it!

[It was kind of wierd, I knew with my rational mind that I was listening to the President of the United States, but kept grabbing my self in thinking I was listening to Ronald Rexona...]

I'm bringing all 14 prisoners we had in our secret prisons to Git-mo.

See, we had some secret prisons and some secret prisoners. But now I've emptied them so you can see there really wasn't all that many. So, what was all the fuss about when I said we didn't have any secret prisons or secret prisoners? See, saying that we did when I said we didn't was almost kind of like treason.

Anyway having them prisoners helped us fight the War on Terra.

These 14 guys told us lots of stuff when we did things to them that wasn't torture but made them tell the things we wanted to know so that we would stop not torturing them. There has been no terra attacks on us which proves the good job we're doing in fighting terra.

I might send some more bad guys to the empty secret prisons if I need to to fight terra. So, if one of these nosy journalists pokes around and finds there are a bunch more secret prisoners, that is only because I decided to do some deciding again.

These 14 bad guys are going to stand trial and be found guilty before a military tribunal just as soon as Congress passes a law making it legal. If Congress doesn't pass the law I want, I'll find them guilty some other way.

But more important, if Congress doesn't pass the law we want, we're going to call the Democrats wimps who are Soft on Terror, who don't have the resolve to do what a man's gotta do to keep us safe from the terrorists.

That's about what I got from listening to bits of the speech given by Mr. Codpiece and some of the expert analysis given by talking heads in split-screen interviews on American television last night.

Later, I saw this CSI in Miami program and it struck me all of a sudden that there is this theme running through all of these law enforcement series. Law enforcement, although it does a good job in catching bad guys, is hampered by the judicial system in general and laws and lawyers in particular.

Maybe that's why hearing Bush sometimes seems so surrealistic to me -- I get the message, "I could do a better job if I don't follow the rules I don't like."

It's not a conspiracy, it's just the sort of incompetence created in situations where otherwise competent hacks have to grind out series after series that will titillate us and keep us glued so that we'll sit through the next block of commercials or remember to vote like we are supposed to at the next election.

The Truth About Torture: Part One

Note: This is the first of a seven-part series I will write for the Bloggers Against Torture and Greetings From America’s Finest City blogs in response to President Bush’s speech on September 6, 2006.

Yesterday, President Bush presented a nearly thirty-minute speech to disclose the existence of secret prisons, the CIA program used to interrogate suspected terrorists and the introduction of legislation to develop military tribunals in accordance with General Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Although many people believe the timing of this speech was done to generate support for a failing war on terror program, I will not concentrate on that issue. I will use these series of reports to debunk several talking points made in the second half of the speech because you deserve to know the truth.

Before we begin, please take a few seconds to view the following video clip.

Video Talking Points: The United States does not torture, President Bush signed the McCain Detainee Amendment and suspected terrorists with little or not intelligence value are returned to their countries of origin for prosecution.

The Truth: President Bush’s comments on the use of torture aren’t accurate. has a listing of important events that took place since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the following:

President Bush signed the McCain Detainee Amendment but did not mention he issued a signing statement that lays out his own interpretation of the law. He also did not disclose how the Graham- Levin Amendment modified the original intention of the McCain Amendment so that the Department of Defense can consider evidence obtained through torture of Guantanamo Bay detainees and expands the prohibition of habeas corpus for redetainees, leaving them no legal recourse if they’re tortured.

When former detainees are released from CIA secret prisons or "black sites", they are not always returned to their home country. During Blogathon 2006, I shared the story of Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen who was mistakenly detained, flown to Afghanistan and interrogated by the CIA for several months before they discovered he was not the al-Qaeda operative with a similar name. He was not returned to his homeland upon his release. Instead, El-Masri was dumped on an Albanian roadside and is currently appealing the ruling on his civil lawsuit against the CIA, former director George Tenet and several private firms.

If detainees are transferred to their home countries for prosecution and detention, there’s no guarantee they will be given a fair trial. According to Human Rights Watch, a group of former Guantanamo Bay detainees that were returned to Saudi Arabia on May 18th are unlikely to receive a fair trial and are also at further risk of torture, further proving that President Bush misled the American public when he stated that the United States does not torture and he does not authorize torture.

To be continued...

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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Am I Dreaming? Did We Accomplish This?

Note: This was cross-posted at Greetings From America’s Finest City. Click here to visit my new home on Blogger.

For those of you who joined Bloggers Against Torture a few months back and/or participated in Blogathon 2006, I hope you get a chance to read this post. I just tuned in to CNN International (the one-hour feed I get on CNN at 9am PST) and I’ll let the following screenshots spread the good news.


According to a report by CNN’s Jamie McIntyre, all U.S. laws and procedures regarding the detention of detainees are now publicly available. In addition, President Bush will be speaking at about 10:45am PST about the tribunals, which are also supposed to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and comply with Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. If this is true, then every one of you deserves a pat on the back or a high-five for a job well done. I’m proud to be a member of the Bloggers Against Torture alliance, and I’m certain you’re all feeling that same sense of pride knowing that you helped make a difference. I’ll have more later today/this evening. For now, tune into the speech in about an hour and let’s see what happens.

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