Archive for Guantanamo Bay – Page 2

Nonpartisan, independent review: "Indisputable" that U.S. under Bush practiced torture, had "no justification"

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

torture cartoon

The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment had no access to classified records. It was led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — Asa Hutchinson (Republican) and James R. Jones (Democrat) and concluded that the use of torture had “no justification,” “damaged the standing of our nation” and “potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel.”

There is another report by the Senate Intelligence Committee, 6,000 pages long, that covers the CIA’s record and is based on agency records, rather than interviews, but that one is still classified.

Here are some excerpts that confirm what many of us already knew: That the Bush administration should be prosecuted for what they did to human beings who they renditioned to secret black sites and then abused and tortured.

Via the New York Times:

A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning. [...]

The task force found “no firm or persuasive evidence” that these interrogation methods produced valuable information that could not have been obtained by other means. While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says [...]

But the report’s main significance may be its attempt to assess what the United States government did in the years after 2001 and how it should be judged. The C.I.A. not only waterboarded prisoners, but slammed them into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing and kept them awake for days on end.

It also confirms a report by Human Rights Watch that at least one Libyan militant was waterboarded by the C.I.A. The CIA has said that they only waterboarded three Al Qaeda detainees.

By the way, Asa Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, was a torture denier... until now. But he still believes BushCo "acted in good faith." Someone please tell me how one tortures "in good faith."

torture methods bush

So, President Obama, do you still want to “look forward, not backward”? Maybe this is why he is reluctant to check the ol' rearview mirror:

While the Constitution Project report covers mainly the Bush years, it is critical of some Obama administration policies, especially what it calls excessive secrecy.

Citing state secrets to block lawsuits by former detainees is part of that secrecy.

This article is a must-read. Please link over. And while you're at it, imagine your child being tortured...for years.

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

What I will not write about today

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

frustrated10

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health.

 

  • Harvard study: "Racial animus in the United States appears to have cost Obama roughly four percentage points of the national popular vote in both 2008 and 2012."| Must have been all that GOP outreach.
  • Man whose handgun carry permit was suspended after he threatened to "start killing people" if President Obama took executive action on guns -- has his gun license back, WBBJ-TV reported| #ProtectingTheFamily #Responsible #YouDontUnderstand #AmericanTradition #SelfProtection

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk guide

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

UN human rights chief: Guantánamo Bay is in “clear breach” of international law and should be closed

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare
 via ACLU.org

via ACLU.org

I’ve written about Guantanamo Bay for years, specifically about Lt. Col. Barry Wingard who represents Kuwaiti detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. Fayiz is not a terrorist, yet he’s been abused, held without charges, and imprisoned for eleven years, but has done nothing wrong. Barry stands by his innocence, and he is one very principled, extremely smart lawyer who knows what he’s talking about.

My last post, an interview with Barry, titled, No charges, no trials: “After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages… essentially dead men who just happen to breathe,” is a must-read.

I've also written endlessly about the injustice of indefinite detention and torture. Finally... finally... because of the hunger strike, the horrific situation there is getting some real attention. Both Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry have reported on it recently, and now this from the top human rights official at the United Nations, from The Hill:

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said she was “deeply disappointed” that the Obama administration had yet to close it.

The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention and is in clear breach of international law,” Pillay said in a statement Friday. “Allegedly, around half of the 166 detainees still being held in detention have been cleared for transfer to either home countries or third countries for resettlement... this systemic abuse of individuals’ human rights continues year after year... We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold.”

Pillay said that “as a first step,” the U.S. government at least should release the detainees who have been cleared for transfer.

While it's true that Congress has restricted the Obama administration's ability to release detainees, Barry Wingard has written countless op-eds about a potential agreement to send Fayiz to Kuwait's rehab center, so there are other options. Barry Wingard, viaTruthout:

On various occasions since 2002, Kuwait has politely asked the United States to return Fayiz and the other remaining Kuwaiti detainee to Kuwaiti control. Each time, the United States has refused Kuwait’s polite request, citing concerns about Kuwait’s ability to monitor or rehabilitate its returned citizens. In response, Kuwait has constructed a multi-million dollar rehabilitation center, has diligently monitored the detainees that have previously been returned, and has taken action to address each of the United States’ concerns. Still, the answer remains the same.

Enough already.

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

VIDEO-- Melissa Harris-Perry: "While Congress continues to make it impossible to close Gitmo, human lives are hanging in the balance."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

gitmo mhp showI cannot thank Melissa Harris-Perry enough for including this segment on her show. Regular readers know I've been covering Guantanamo Bay detainee/torture/indefinite detention stories for years, focusing primarily on one innocent, non-terrorist detainee, Fayiz Al-Kandari, and his attorney, Lt. Col. Barry Wingard.

Please, please read and share this post: No charges, no trials: “After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages… essentially dead men who just happen to breathe.”

Now please watch this report:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Melissa Harris-Perry:

"...Make no mistake, political prisoners are not a thing of the past. Currently 166 prisoners remain detained at Gitmo, the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo, Cuba. In February, detainees began a hunger strike, protesting searches and seemingly unending detention. The official number of hunger strikers stands at 37 with 11 of them being force-fed through tubes. while the Pentagon  remains mute about the situation, the White House had this to say on Wednesday..."

Joshua Earnest, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary:

"I can tell you that the White House and the president's team is closely monitoring the hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay. For details about what is actually happening there I would refer you to the Department of Defense. But I can tell you that the administration remains committed to closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay. Progress has been made under this and the previous administration, but given the legislation that Congress has put in place, it's clear that it's going to take some time to fully close the facility."

MHP:

"So while Congress continues to make it impossible to close Gitmo, human lives are hanging in the balance."

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

No charges, no trials: "After 11 1/2 years, these men live in animal cages... essentially dead men who just happen to breathe."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

barry wingard RT tv gitmo hunger strike

There is a video at the RT site that I hope you'll watch. Since it's not embeddable, all I can do is transcribe it.

My longtime buddy Lt. Col. Barry Wingard was interviewed about the hunger strike by detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and it deserves a lot more attention. It is getting next to none here in the U.S., so I'm doing what little I can to share it and I hope you will, too.

Barry is my dear friend Marcy Bruno's (R.I.P.) son, and the military attorney I've written about for years who represents Kuwaiti detainee Fayiz Al-Kandari. Fayiz is not a terrorist, yet he's been abused, held without charges, and imprisoned for eleven years, but has done nothing wrong. Barry stands by his innocence, and he is one very principled, extremely smart lawyer who knows what he's talking about.

This brief interview needs no further comment from me. Barry's own words speak volumes:

RT: I understand you do have access to your clients in Guantanamo, apparently. When was the last time you saw them and what state were they in?

Lt. Col Barry Wingard: The last time that I saw my clients was between the 25th of February and the 8th of March. I visited with them multiple times. I was shocked at the condition they're in. In fact, we were the first people who broke the story that the hunger strike had begun around February 6th or 7th and had continued on. My client at that point had lost 26 pounds and at this point it’s official that he has lost almost 40 pounds – one third of his body weight from 147 pounds. The hunger strike is still ongoing...

RT: How long can they go on like that?

Barry: I can imagine we’re getting near to the end when something serious is going to happen. The administration down in Guantanamo Bay initially denied the report that the hunger strike was occurring. They then said it was seven, then 14, then 21 [people]. They then said it wasn’t the largest hunger strike in history. Then they came out and said it’s 24, 25, and today 26. So the story is getting more and more accurate as we go, but we’re running out of time, as you point out.

RT: Do you think it really will take that?

Barry: Well, I’m here to tell you that after 11 1/2 years, these men that live in animal cages in America’s offshore prison in Guantanamo Bay, they ask for justice. They’ve been there 11 1/2 years. Ninety per cent of them have no charges. I can tell you having looked at my clients’ cases, they will never get a trial based upon the evidence that is against them, so if their home countries are not willing to intervene and do something, I don’t see it coming from Washington. Washington seems to take the position that we don’t have the time to deal with these 166 condemned men in our offshore prison.

RT: How’s Washington going to deal with the PR if someone does die?

Barry: Well, I mean, you’re going to have to answer that as far as a political question. I’m a lawyer. I’m here to look at the facts and tell you that I’ve reviewed these cases and I'm here to tell you that these guys will never get trials. If they’re never getting trials, then we have to go by what the president said in March of 2011, when he said indefinite detention will be implemented in Guantanamo Bay and will be the law of the United States. Forty-eight men will be condemned to die never being given a trial or given an opportunity to defend themselves. They are essentially dead men who just happen to breathe.

RT: For the people you’ve spoken to there – including your clients – what was their mindset? Is it the same as when they started 45-46 days ago, as it is now? Did they think they’d have to maybe take this through to the bitter end, or did they think something would give beforehand?

Barry: I can’t speak for what every man down there thought, but what I can tell you is the vast majority of people in Guantanamo Bay are cleared for release. They’re cleared to go home. The United States acknowledges that they’ve committed no crime, yet we still continue to house them in a penal colony in Guantanamo Bay. Imagine if the situation were reversed and the US had 166 citizens held in some other country’s offshore prison. I don’t want to go into what happened in the early years as far as enhanced interrogation, but the situation isn’t getting any better. These men have figured out that probably the only way for them to go home, cleared or not, is in a wooden box. I mean, 7 proceedings in...

RT: Do you take any comfort at all in this US military plan to spend $49 million upgrading the facility, making it more comfortable for the inmates?

Barry: This is not about soccer fields or food or anything else. This is about justice and freedom. This is a bigger concept. This is what the US stands for. Not more servings of food and not more soccer fields to play on. This is a matter of getting these men home or giving them trials. And that's the answer.

"These men have figured out that probably the only way for them to go home, cleared or not, is in a wooden box... This is not about soccer fields or food or anything else. This is about justice and freedom. This is a bigger concept. This is what the US stands for."

'Nuff said.

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

New horrifying report-- 2004: Rumsfeld, Cheney, Col. Jim Steele, secret detention centers, and of course, torture

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

jim steele torture iraq war

Please, just go read the entire article at The Guardian. It's substantive, it's a little long, but it's a must-read.There's video there, too. Two of the videos are only seconds long:

On the 10th anniversary of the Iraq invasion, the allegations of American links to the units that eventually accelerated Iraq's descent into civil war cast the US occupation in a new and even more controversial light. The investigation was sparked over a year ago by millions of classified US military documents dumped onto the internet and their mysterious references to US soldiers ordered to ignore torture. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a 20-year sentence, accused of leaking military secrets.

Steele's contribution was pivotal. He was the covert US figure behind the intelligence gathering of the new commando units. [...]

Steele's career hit an unexpected buffer when he was embroiled in the Iran-Contra affair. ... While the congressional inquiry that followed put an end to Steele's military ambitions, it did win him the admiration of then congressman Dick Cheney who sat on the committee and admired Steele's efforts fighting leftists in both Nicaragua and El Salvador. [...]

But it was the actions of the commandos inside the detention centres that raises the most troubling questions for their American masters. Desperate for information, the commandos set up a network of secret detention centres where insurgents could be brought and information extracted from them.

The commandos used the most brutal methods to make detainees talk. ... [T]hey knew exactly what was going on and were even supplying the commandos with lists of people they wanted brought in. [...]

"We were having lunch. Col Steele, Col Coffman, and the door opened and Captain Jabr was there torturing a prisoner. He [the victim] was hanging upside down and Steele got up and just closed the door, he didn't say anything – it was just normal for him."

David Petraeus's name pops up a lot in the piece, too.

Will someone explain to me why there have been no prosecutions of Bush administration participants in these crimes? The details in the Guardian article are horrifying.

A terrible precedent has been set, and nobody has been held legally responsible. Rachel Maddow sure tried to make waves, but it seems that moment came and went pretty quickly.

Back to Dick Cheney, who tried to promote Jim Steele to general back in 1991:

The leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, questioning the truthfulness of his testimony, refused to act on the Army`s request to promote Steele to brigadier general in 1988.

Defense Secretary Dick Cheney`s office then delayed a second attempt to promote Steele for more than 1 1/2 years while Iran-contra special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh also scrutinized Steele`s actions, several sources said. [...]

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who opposed Steele`s promotion in 1988, said he plans to urge Sens. Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John Warner (R-Va.), the committee`s ranking minority member, to stop it again...  "Serious questions about Col. Steele`s role in the (contra supply) operations and his association with Oliver North have yet to be answered," Harkin said.

If all this isn't getting your blood boiling, check out these two posts. One is by my dear friend Jason Leopold: EXCLUSIVE: Mystery Behind Guantanamo Prisoner's Suicide Endures, Despite Release of Autopsy Report.

The other is by another pal, Jeff Kaye: “A growing feeling here that death is the road out of Guantanamo”, which starts out with this:

“What would you do if your brother or uncle was kidnapped, sold, and beaten in a prison for 11 years without charge?”

Here's my own recent update on Fayiz Al-Kandari: After 11 years, still no justice for this Kuwaiti Gitmo prisoner. #FreeFayiz.

I also covered the hunger strike here: Gitmo “is forgotten and its condemned men will never get an opportunity to prove their innocence or be free.”

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

Gitmo "is forgotten and its condemned men will never get an opportunity to prove their innocence or be free."

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare

fayiz gitmo art

I recently posted After 11 years, still no justice for this Kuwaiti Gitmo prisoner. #FreeFayiz about Lt. Col. Barry Wingard's client, Fayiz Al-Kandari. I've been writing about Fayiz's story for years. Barry is convinced beyond a doubt that Fayiz is innocent, and yet he's been imprisoned all this time without so much as a trial.

The latest development in this endless saga is another disturbing one. You can read it here on the Free Fayiz and Fawzi Facebook page. In case you can't access it, here you go:

Fayiz has lost more than twenty pounds and lacks the ability to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time due to a camp wide hunger strike. Apparently there is a dispute over searches and the confiscations. We believe there is a desperation setting amongst the prisoners whereby GTMO is forgotten and its condemned men will never get an opportunity to prove their innocence or be free. We have more meetings scheduled over the next two weeks.

______________________________________________

here; That link includes one specific to only *Fayiz al-Kandari’s story here.

Here are audio and video interviews with Lt. Col. Wingard, one by David Shuster, one by Ana Marie Cox, and more. My guest commentary at BuzzFlash is here.

Lt. Col. Barry Wingard is a military attorney who represents Fayiz Al-Kandari in the Military Commission process and in no way represents the opinions of his home state. When not on active duty, Colonel Wingard is a public defender in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to see ways you can take action, go here and scroll down to the end of the article.

Then read Jane Mayer’s book The Dark Side. You’ll have a much greater understanding of why I post endlessly about this, and why I’m all over the CIA deception issues, too.

More of Fayiz’s story here, at Answers.com.

FacebookTwitterRedditDiggStumbleUponTumblrLinkedInPinterestEmailShare