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Exonerated but helpless: 4 years at Guantanamo Bay

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I post dozens of newsbits at Clipmarks. This one brought a comment that I wanted you to see. First, the clip:

clipped from www.democracynow.org
Newly-revealed documents show the U.S. held a German prisoner at Guantanamo Bay despite privately acknowledging his innocence just months after his capture. Murat Kurnaz was kidnapped and handed over to U.S. forces in Pakistan in December 2001. Four weeks later he became one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo—where he would spend the next four years. Declassified documents show U.S. and German intelligence officials concluded he had no links to terrorism as early as September 2002. A newly-formed military tribunal finally took up his case in 2004. But the panel ignored the intelligence assessments and twice ordered his ongoing imprisonment. During this time Kurnaz says he suffered severe torture. He says he was beaten, given electric shocks, submerged in water, starved, and chained to a ceiling for days. Kurnaz says he saw several people die and often thought he would die himself. He was finally released in August 2006—nearly five years after his capture.

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Gitmoljsdesign just killed me with this comment:

What gets me is those people who are willing to turn a blind eye. It’s the only way, it’s for the greater good, we’re just protecting ourselves. The ends justify the means.

We will ALL have to account for this. One day our children will come to us and ask “why did this happen? How could we have done these things? How could you allow it to happen?”

What explanation could we ever give them that would justify it. How would we explain away our own responsibility for why we let it happen and let it continue?

Ah, that’s the awful truth about governments: They do it because we let them do it.

Raise your voice, won’t you?


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Written by Monte

December 6, 2007 at 1:35 pm

Posted in Iraq, News, Terrorism

Are they less than dogs?

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Why is it that good kids get prison for pot, but wicked presidents go free after ordering torture?

Why is it that “just following orders” was no excuse at Nuremberg, but the Obama justice department finds it adequate for military abusers in the USA?

clipped from takeaction.amnestyusa.org

Take Action On This Issue

Prosecute torturers

The recent release of memos has made all the more clear what we had previously heard about the last administration’s torture policies. Forced nudity. Slamming detainees into walls. Forced sleep deprivation for days of shackled prisoners, standing in diapers in excruciating pain and filth. Although Attorney General Holder, on April 16, suggested that the Obama administration would not prosecute intelligence agents who carried out interrogations following legal advice, both those who authored the policy and those who executed it must be held accountable. Press your representatives to help establish or support a non-partisan independent commission and urge them to help expose and prosecute those responsible for abuses. Background Information

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As the Michael Vick case demonstrates, we don’t allow most Americans to practice this level of cruelty against dogs. What reason is there for excusing it against fellow human beings?

Is it because they are Muslims that torturing them has no penalty?  Is it because they are not white?  Is it because they are not US citizens?  Is a Muslim life worth less than a Christian or a Jewish or an atheist life? Is a Pakistani or a Uighur less than a dog under American law?

Is it because we don’t really expect presidents to respect the Constitution they swear to defend?  But what good is constitutional government if the privileged are not equally restrained by it?

This ruin of innocent lives will never be addressed unless Americans demand it.  It can be demanded by following the “take action” link, where there is a simple way to email Senators and Representatives.

No life can be trashed at will by lawless government.  Write.  Write until the least influential have equal justice with privileged politicians.

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Do coercive interrogation methods work?

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Ask counter-terrorism experts –
clipped from www.iamprogress.org

"Who Would Jesus Torture?" Sign At The Interna...

Image by takomabibelot via Flickr

Quote of the Day

Their conclusion is unanimous: not only have coercive methods failed to generate significant and actionable intelligence, they have also caused the squandering of resources on a massive scale through false leads, chimerical plots, and unnecessary safety alerts.

– — Vanity Fair December 2008, talking to top counterterrorism officials

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Written by Monte

February 1, 2009 at 8:24 pm

U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture: US “has a clear obligation” to prosecute Bush, Rumsfeld

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Apparently, international law (which is, in this case, US law as well) is pretty clear.
clipped from thinkprogress.org
In remarks that aired on German television last night, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, urged the U.S. to pursue former President George W. Bush and defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld on charges that they authorized torture and other harsh interrogation techniques:

bushrummyweb.jpg

Rumsfeld, Bush

“Judicially speaking, the United States has a clear obligation” to bring proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld. […] He noted Washington had ratified the UN convention on torture which required “all means, particularly penal law” to be used to bring proceedings against those violating it. […]

Indeed, a bipartisan Senate report released last month found that Rumsfeld “bore major responsibility” for abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military detention centers […]

[L]ast week, a Bush administration official overseeing Gitmo trials said Rumsfeld approved the torture of one particular detainee.

Bush himself said last year that […] he personally authorized waterboarding Kalid Sheik Muhammad […]

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I wonder how the USA could demand compliance by any nation to any treaty obligation if it doesn’t fulfill its own solemn obligations in this case.

If we can look away when torture suits the leaders of the moment, can’t everyone? If we can find lawyers who’ll write opinions excusing our leaders when they feel torture appropriate, can’t everyone?

Robert Mugabe will see himself and the USA as birds of a feather.


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Obama, day 1: Intervention at Gitmo

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Only hours into his presidency, Obama moves to begin untangling the Gitmo debacle.
clipped from www.dailykos.com
President Obama requested a 120 day suspension in the military commissions trial pending this week.

The instruction came in a motion filed with a military court in the case of five defendants accused of organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. The motion called for “a continuance of the proceedings” until May 20 so that “the newly inaugurated president and his administration [can] review the military commissions process, generally, and the cases currently pending before military commissions, specifically.” […]

“We welcome our new commander-in-chief and this first step towards restoring the rule of law,” said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, a military defense attorney […]
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BarackMichelleWalk_Inauguration
Image by dalesun via Flickr

This preliminary step would delay trials 120 days to give the Obama administration time to plan the next step. Judges are not obliged to grant the motion, but should rule quickly on it.

According to Kos, the ACLU is calling for “the withdrawal of charges and an end to the military commissions process, with cases that warrant prosecution proceeding in regular federal criminal courts.”

I am glad for this quick start.  Decisive action is an important step toward regaining an America that walks its talk: that all “are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”


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