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Torture

US Military Contractor Finally Goes On Trial For Abu Ghraib Torture

A civil trial against CACI Premier Technology, a United States military contractor that allegedly engaged in torture at Abu Ghraib prison, begins today in Alexandria, Virginia. Nearly 16 years ago, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a lawsuit on behalf of four Iraqi torture survivors. CACI repeatedly sought to derail the case through various legal maneuvers. One Iraqi torture survivor was dismissed from the lawsuit, and CACI International successfully had their company removed as a defendant.

West Papua: The Torture Mode Of Governance

Budi Hernawan said it ten years ago: “torture in Papua … has become a mode of governance.” It hasn’t stopped. It’s got worse. It’s got worse precisely because it’s a mode of governance accepted and blessed by the international “community” whose neoliberal politics of extraction means extermination of anything and anyone getting in its way. It’s got worse just now because Israel’s genocide, ecocide, starvation, and torture in Palestine isn’t only distracting attention from these practices in smaller and more remote places but also showing that it’s okay, it’s part of our system, you can do it with impunity because it’s all part of a bigger plan.

Last Days Of Julian Assange In The United States

Babar Ahmad was extradited from Britain to the United States in 2012 on charges of providing material support to terrorism because of two articles published on his website backing the Taliban government in Afghanistan. He spent eight years fighting the extradition, but when it eventually happened he flew across the Atlantic on an executive jet from RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk. He had no idea what was coming next. “I think it was, like, a 12-seater plane,” Ahmad tells me. “Three sections of four seats. So there’s two big seats facing each other. Big, square, comfortable leather seats.” Outside it was pitch black.

Alliance Unites To Free Survivors Of Torture And Wrongful Conviction

Chicago, Illinois – “You can't throw a stone and not hit someone who is affected by police torture and wrongful conviction here in Chicago, the torture capital of the United States,” said Merawi Gerima, a co-chair of the Campaign to Free Incarcerated Survivors of Torture (CFIST.) Gerima was speaking at the annual People's Hearing on Police Crimes on Saturday, February 24, at the office of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) in Woodlawn neighborhood on the predominantly Black South Side.

An Ex-CIA Agent Looks Back At 22 Years Of Torture At Guantanamo Bay

January 11 marks the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the prison component of the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Cuba. The U.S. military has been at Guantánamo for decades, of course, but the idea to use the isolated base as a prison where men — and in some cases boys — who had never been formally accused of a crime could be held forever, came from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney in 2002. In the intervening years, presidents and members of Congress of both parties have ignored civil rights, civil liberties and human rights to keep this abomination open. It’s up to the rest of us to demand its destruction.

I Was The Only US Official Imprisoned Over The Torture Program

I was the only person associated with the CIA’s torture program who was prosecuted and imprisoned.  I never tortured anybody. But I was charged with five felonies, including three counts of espionage, for telling ABC News and the New York Times that the CIA was torturing its prisoners, that torture was official U.S.  government policy, and that the policy had been approved by the president himself.  I served 23 months in a federal prison.  It was worth every minute. There is certainly no easy fix to this situation.  The New York Times reported in March 2022 that prosecutors had opened talks with attorneys representing Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and four co-defendants to negotiate a plea agreement that would drop the death penalty in exchange for sentences of life without parole and promises that the men would be allowed to remain in Guantanamo.

Gitmo’s Permanent Chains

Now comes yet another little-noted report on the continuing excesses and inhumanity at Guantánamo Bay, the post-9/11 American military prison that only two decades ago set the standard for war crimes—a standard that is now being eclipsed by the war in Ukraine. The report’s author is Fionnuala D. Ní Aoláin, the United Nations special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, a law professor at the University of Minnesota and the Queens University in Belfast, and an experienced human rights investigator. She based her report on a four-day visit to the island prison last February.

A Notorious Army School Became US’ Training Ground For Global Torture

Fort Benning, the infamous Georgia U.S. military base, is once again in the news, changing its name to Fort Moore, thereby ditching its Confederate name. Yet none of the media covering the rebranding – not The New York Times, the Associated Press, CNN, ABC, CBS News, USA Today nor The Hill – mentioned the most controversial aspect of the institution. Across Latin America, the very name of Fort Benning is enough to strike terror into the hearts of millions, bringing back visions of massacres and genocides. This is because the fort is home to the School of the Americas (now known as Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC), a shadowy academy where around 84,000 Latin American soldiers and police officers have been taught on the U.S. dime on how to kill, torture and how to stamp out political activists.

UN Expert Demands Immediate Shutting Down Of Guantanamo Prison

UN special rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aoláin on Monday, June 26, asked the US authorities to shut down the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison and apologize for the torture of inmates. She asked that all persons responsible for such abuses in the last 20 years be held accountable. Ní Aoláin was addressing a press conference in New York on the occasion of UN’s International Day in Solidarity with the Victims of Torture. She also released her report on Guantanamo Bay prepared after visiting the prison earlier this year. “The US government must urgently provide judicial resolution, apology and guarantees of non-repetition,” Ní Aoláin said, claiming that the establishment was in violation of international human rights laws.

The Insanity Of Solitary Confinement

Solitary confinement is the practice of isolating a prisoner from all human contact for an extended period of time. It is often used as a form of punishment or to control behavior, but it can have serious negative effects on mental health.  Most countries around the world limit the time that a prisoner can spend in solitary to 15 days.  The United States doesn’t.  There are scores of prisoners across the U.S. who have been in solitary for years and, in some cases, decades.  It should be clear to everybody — the courts, the states, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons — that solitary only worsens already bad situations.  It shouldn’t be in use.

Chechen Torturers From Syria Sign Deal With Ukraine To Fight Russians

In early March, Asia Times reported that the Ukrainian government under Volodymyr Zelensky had signed a deal with newly arrived Chechen fighters from Syria to establish an all-Chechen brigade reporting directly to the Ministry of Defense. Many of the Chechens in Syria had been part of ISIS and other al-Qaeda offshoots like Jabhat al-Nusra, with Chechen commander Abu Omar al-Shishani serving as ISIS Minister of War. The Chechens wanted to directly fight the Russians with whom they have been at war for more than 300 years—and to fight against Chechen forces on the Russian side led by Ramzan Kadyrov, who switched sides after brokering a deal with Russia in 2006.

Global Vigils For The Closure Of Guantánamo On Women’s Day

Monthly vigils — or even weekly vigils — for the closure of Guantánamo were a noticeable feature of the London protest scene for many years, while British prisoners were still held there, although, with the release of Shaker Aamer, the prison’s last British resident, in October 2015, it became impossible to sustain the impetus, and the Trump years, of course, were bleak for protestors, because Trump had tweeted, even before he took office, that “there must be no more releases from Gitmo,” and he was largely true to his word, releasing only one man in his nearly 1,500 days in office.

Lessons From Majid Khan’s Release From Guantánamo

On February 2, U.S. prisoner and former al Qaeda courier Majid Khan was released from the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba after more than sixteen years of imprisonment. “We are very pleased with Majid’s release,” says J. Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney at the New York City-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). “Majid’s transfer to Belize is the culmination of nearly twenty years of work by the CCR and the law firm Jenner & Block,” Dixon tells The Progressive “Our only regret is that he was not released sooner.” On October 7, 2001, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the United States, together with Great Britain, launched “Operation Enduring Freedom,” the war in Afghanistan and the beginning of the “global war on terror.”

CA Governor Vetoes ‘Mandela Act’ To Limit Solitary Confinement, Torture

Sacramento, California – Opponents of solitary confinement said late this week it’s “disappointing” California Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed the “Mandela Act,” a measure that would prevent “the torture of Black and Brown people in jails, prisons and immigration detention facilities.” AB 2632, the California Mandela Act on Solitary Confinement authored by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), would have placed “comprehensive limits on the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons, and is the first bill in the nation to also cover private immigration detention facilities. The legislation would have banned the use of solitary confinement against pregnant people, individuals with certain disabilities, as well as individuals under 26 and over 59, said advocates, defining “solitary confinement” as holding a person in a cell with severe restrictions on physical movement and minimal or zero contact with people for more than 17 hours a day.

Tales From The Parents Of Tortured Palestinian Children

Beit Hanina, Occupied Jerusalem – The United States House of Representatives submission to Israel and Zionism is both pathetic and enraging. This total submission to the will and interests of the Zionist movement and the State of Israel does not serve the interests of the American people, and only goes to support a state that has been recognized as a racist, violent apartheid regime. As one Palestinian said to me recently, U.S. foreign aid for Israel goes towards my oppression and the killing of my people. Nowhere is Congress’ blind support for Israel more heinous, more horrifying and more outrageous than the lack of support for the bill proposed by Representative Betty McCollum and known as, “Defending The Human Rights Of Palestinian Children And Families Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act”, or HR 2590.
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