Change This


  • In a statement, the White House said it “thanked the UK government for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information”. It added that this would “preserve the long-standing intelligence sharing relationship that enables both countries to protect their citizens”.
  • President Barack Obama’s pick to head the CIA retreated on Friday from a charge that the United States sent terrorism suspects to other countries so they could be tortured under questioning. “On that particular quote, that people were transferred for purposes of torture, that was not the policy of the United States,” Leon Panetta told a Senate hearing on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency. “To that extent, yes, I would retract that statement.”
  • Although Obama banned the “black site” program, the CIA might continue to send suspects to third countries for questioning, provided there are verifiable assurances they would be treated humanely, Panetta said.
  • Panetta said he would if necessary ask Obama to allow harsher interrogations than those covered by the Army Field Manual, which the president last month set as the government standard. The manual bans techniques such as waterboarding. “I would not hesitate,” to seek broader interrogation authority, Panetta said, adding “I think that this president would do nothing that would violate the laws that are in place.”

{NOTE: The Army Field Manual (AFM) in appendix M does allow for torture anyway, it needs redrafting.}

The Physicians for Human Rights statement is very good (and gives praise where it is due but does not ignore the work yet to be done) and shows an independence sadly lacking from Human Rights Watch who are sold on the AFM and rendition (retooled but still an illegal expression of imperial brute force). Are we now seeing the shaking out of those who opposed Bush for more partisan instincts from those who opposed for reasons of principle that remain to be upheld whomever is in power. The team sports approach to politics will pave the way for torture to continue and I suppose those who opposed Bush do not necessarily oppose Imperial America they just prefer a friendlier management style.

I don’t really give a fuck for your political affiliation, torture’s torture and if you enable it you’re a piece of shit.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) praises President Obama for signing historic executive orders today that end the US’ illegal detention and interrogation program, marking a clear departure from the abuses of the past administration and a return to the rule of law.

“PHR applauds President Obama’s swift action to reclaim America’s legacy as a nation committed to the rule of law,” said Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer of PHR. “The reforms enacted today represents a victory for human rights and a blow against the use of torture.”

Despite today’s major progress, additional work remains to be done.  PHR calls on President Obama and Congress to immediately authorize a non-partisan commission to investigate the authorization, legal justification, and implementation of the Bush Administration’s regime of psychological and physical torture. Any accountability mechanism must include a subgroup tasked with investigating the participation of health professionals in detainee abuse. Additionally, any evidence that U.S. officials violated anti-torture law should be turned over to the Department of Justice.

“The desire to turn the page on the past seven years of detainee abuse and torture by US forces is understandable,” Donaghue said. “However, President Obama, Congress and the health professions will not have fulfilled their obligation to the Constitution and medical ethics if we settle only for reform without accountability.”

PHR urges the Obama Administration to end the use of Behavioral Science Consultants (BSCs) in interrogations. The continued use of BSCs violates medical ethics and subverts the traditions of the healing professions. Any procedures currently in place involving health professionals  in interrogations which violate medical ethics should be prohibited.

“The past administration’s weaponization of the health professions to inflict harm on detainees constitutes a war crime unto itself,” said Donaghue. “Despite all that has been disclosed so far about abuses committed by health professionals, many questions remain, chief among them is whether there will be any accountability for gross violations of medical ethics and the law.”

Additionally, PHR also calls on the task force appointed by the president to review US interrogation and transfer policies to revoke Appendix M of the Army Field Manual. This section allows the use of sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and isolation—tactics which can constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under U.S. and international law. PHR encourages the task force to consult with human rights organizations as part of the review process.

[Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) mobilizes the health professions to advance the health and dignity of all people by protecting human rights. As a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, PHR shared the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.]


4 Responses to “Change This”

  1. ralfast Says:

    I just heard about Panetta backtracking. Coward!

  2. Robert Says:

    You know what the say about scams, if it looks to good to be true then it probably is. I doubt the American government will be running around letting people out of secrets jails, I doubt many people with rise an eye if a few dozen people going missing once or twice a year . I doubt America will stop using torture.

    As for Brown I’m sure if America needs help with torture then the UK is the place, well we need the help of America do we not

  3. Jotman Says:

    Good that you brought up Apx. M. Seems various military regulations were tweaked over the past 8 years, and so nothing is quite what it was.

  4. RickB Says:

    Rafael- Imagine that was the message on the campaign trail- Bush is wrong, but we’ll not disallow ourselves from doing what he did- I expect pols to bend things a bit but not on torture especially when an admin of change was promised.

    Robert- I hope (!) that while the Whitehouse reckon they have used idealistic people to get them elected and can now go on with the business of empire as usual, the real hunger for change that was unleashed cannot be scammed, otherwise this is the terminal stage of utter decadence an empire goes through before violent dissolution.
    Well our UK elite keep telling us we must be best buds with Washington, hmmm… now more than ever they have mutual skeletons in the cupboard to keep hidden. When Bush stole power in 2000 the UK should have walked away (as much as a cyrpto client state can) instead we helped the Bush regime, if I was an American lefty I’d be pretty pissed at the UK for our role in the Bush years.

    Jotman- Yeah, I find it very odd the redrafted manual done under the Bush regime is somehow trusted and appendix M is politely being ignored. I guess some people were just not that against torture as they made out.

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