Obama Protects The Empire’s Torturers

Might makes right. Funereal disappointment at what I had hoped would not happen (though reasoned it probably would) render me finding typing rather pointless right now. Invictus has the goods.

Honestly what is there to say? The lowest form of human behaviour excused, protected and (in parts) praised. No Change, No Hope, nothing I can see to Believe In.

It’s the Imperialism stupid.

This means the UK now has a precedent, pressure and encouragement to cover up its torture, the Atlanticist & Anglosphere numpties –call any moral rejection of pre-emptive war and torture ‘anti-Americanism’– will keep the faith.

ACLU has the OLC torture memos.

Also see Glenn Greenwald.

PS. and Chris Floyd.

‘A doctor was usually also present’

Uncle Sam is way kinky…and rapey-

I was taken to another room where I was made to stand on tiptoes for about two hours during questioning. Approximately thirteen persons were in the room. These included the head interrogator (a man) and two female interrogators, plus about ten muscle guys wearing masks. I think they were all Americans. From time to time one of the muscle guys would punch me in the chest and stomach. Here cold water from buckets was thrown onto me for about forty minutes. Not constantly as it took time to refill the buckets. After which I would be taken back to the interrogation room.

On one occasion during the interrogation I was offered water to drink, when I refused I was again taken to another room where I was made to lie [on] the floor with three persons holding me down. A tube was inserted into my anus and water poured inside. Afterwards I wanted to go to the toilet as I had a feeling as if I had diarrhoea. No toilet access was provided until four hours later when I was given a bucket to use. Whenever I was returned to my cell I was always kept in the standing position with my hands cuffed and chained to a bar above my head.

New York Review of Books- US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites
By Mark Danner
ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross

Also see Invictus.

7 Years of Gitmo

Andy Worthington marks seven years since Gitmo began operating as a concentration camp outside of the law, that is slowly coming to an end, perhaps… he also notes the more secret legal black holes-

Disturbingly, the three foreign prisoners seem to have spent time in secret CIA prisons before ending up at Bagram, but what is also disturbing about their cases is that there seems to be no distinction between these prisoners and others who were transferred to Guantánamo, except, of course, that the Bagram prisoners continue to have no rights whatsoever, and the government intends to make sure that they never do.

According to SCOTUSblog, which reports on significant court cases in the United States, Judge Bates appeared to recognize this discrepancy, as he “voic[ed] some concern over the government creating a ‘black hole’ for detainees in a ‘law-free zone’” at Bagram, and “hinted” that he may allow some of the prisoners to file court cases to challenge the basis of their imprisonment.

Everyone concerned with the exercise of justice must hope that Judge Bates will indeed grant habeas rights to prisoners like Haji Wazir, Redha al-Najar, Amin al-Bakri, Fadi al-Maqalah, and, in due course, to others — also held for years — whose identities are either completely unknown or only suspected. Anything less, and Bagram will indeed remain a law-free black hole, even as plans move ahead to close Guantánamo.

Just today though noises emerged from the Obama camp that indicate they will not be pursuing torturers and will in fact negate the principles established at the Nuremberg trials, they were only following orders-

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein told The Associated Press in an interview this week that there is a clear distinction between policymakers and those who execute the policy. “They (the CIA) carry out orders and the orders come from the (National Security Council) and the White House, so there’s not a lot of policy debate that goes on there,” said Feinstein, D-Calif. “We’re going to continue our looking into the situation and I think that is up to the administration and the director.”

“The men and women of the intelligence community have been on the front lines in this world of new and evolving dangers,” he [Obama] said. “They have served in the shadows, saved American lives, advanced our interests, and earned the respect of a grateful nation.”

So just how far away are they from the Bybee excuse for crime-

All that is required to avoid prosecution is a CIA agent’s “good faith belief” that his actions will not cause torturous pain and suffering. Such a belief “need not be reasonable,” Bybee writes.

Change, Hope, blah blah blah.

Posted in Bush Crime Family, CIA, Human Rights. Tags: , . Comments Off on 7 Years of Gitmo

6 to 1

The Truth & Reconciliation process continues in South Korea, largely ignored by the West, and here is why-

SEOUL, South Korea – Government investigators digging into the grim hidden history of mass political executions in South Korea have confirmed that dozens of children were among many thousands shot by their own government early in the Korean War. The investigative Truth and Reconciliation Commission has thus far verified more than two dozen mass killings of leftists and supposed sympathizers, among at least 100,000 people estimated to have been hastily shot and dumped into makeshift trenches, abandoned mines or the sea after communist North Korea invaded the south in June 1950.

The killings, details of which were buried in classified U.S. files for a half-century, were intended to keep southern leftists from aiding the invaders at a time when the rightist, U.S.-allied government was in danger of being overrun by communist forces. Family survivors last month met with the U.S. Embassy for the first time, saying afterward they demanded an apology for alleged “direct and indirect” American involvement in the killings.

The AP has reported that declassified U.S. military documents show U.S. Army officers took photos of the assembly line-style executions outside the central city of Daejeon, where the commission believes between 3,000 and 7,000 people were shot and dumped into mass graves in early July 1950.

The reporting is good but deference to the powerful and editors are avoiding the ‘genocide’ word that if a less favoured nation were involved would be bandied around much more easily. Very polite-

Although at the time U.S. diplomats reported confidentially they had urged restraint on the South Koreans, there was no sign the U.S. military, with formal command over the southerners, tried to halt the mass executions.

Other once-secret files show that a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel reported giving approval to the killing of 3,500 political prisoners by a South Korean army unit he was advising in Busan, if the North Koreans approached that southern port city, formerly spelled Pusan.

In other words genocide was committed under US command, and now to the 6 to 1-

Similarly, the North Korean occupiers and their southern comrades at times killed policemen and others associated with the rightist regime after summary “trials.” But the commission says petitions relating to executions of leftists outnumber by 6-to-1 those dealing with right-wingers’ deaths.

These were cold warriors who implemented literally ‘Better Dead than Red’ it was not just a motto it was a policy of extermination. 58 years later and it is still ignored even as the current media coverage denies the deaths in Iraq.

Posted in CIA, Human Rights, Imperialism, Iraq, Media, Militarism. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on 6 to 1

Bipartisan Covert War With Iran

Seymour Hersh’s latest [here] details an expanded program of covert US activities against Iran, what is also important to note is-

Under federal law, a Presidential Finding, which is highly classified, must be issued when a covert intelligence operation gets under way and, at a minimum, must be made known to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and the Senate and to the ranking members of their respective intelligence committees—the so-called Gang of Eight. Money for the operation can then be reprogrammed from previous appropriations, as needed, by the relevant congressional committees, which also can be briefed. “The Finding was focussed on undermining Iran’s nuclear ambitions and trying to undermine the government through regime change,” a person familiar with its contents said, and involved “working with opposition groups and passing money.” The Finding provided for a whole new range of activities in southern Iran and in the areas, in the east, where Baluchi political opposition is strong, he said.

Although some legislators were troubled by aspects of the Finding, and “there was a significant amount of high-level discussion” about it, according to the source familiar with it, the funding for the escalation was approved. In other words, some members of the Democratic leadership—Congress has been under Democratic control since the 2006 elections—were willing, in secret, to go along with the Administration in expanding covert activities directed at Iran, while the Party’s presumptive candidate for President, Barack Obama, has said that he favors direct talks and diplomacy. (ht2 People’s Geography)

And both are keeping tight lipped-

Reuters- Many of these activities are not specified in the new finding, and some congressional leaders have had serious questions about their nature, it said. Among groups inside Iran benefiting from U.S. support is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People’s Resistance Movement, according to former CIA officer Robert Baer. Council on Foreign Relations analyst Vali Nasr described it to Hersh as a vicious organization suspected of links to al Qaeda.

The article said U.S. support for the dissident groups could prompt a violent crackdown by Iran, which could give the Bush administration a reason to intervene. None of the Democratic leaders in Congress would comment on the finding, the article said. The White House, which has repeatedly denied preparing for military action against Iran, and the CIA also declined comment.

Maybe, maybe the Democratic leadership have a faulty dictionary with incorrect definitions of- opposition, democracy, honesty and spine. Or it further confirms the leadership cynically co-opted anti-war feelings to get votes with no intention of actually fulfilling that role. Which leaves the election seeming an even weaker version of the least-worse-choice every day. You can vote empire, or you can vote empire, your choice! The real issue as Cyrus Safdari @ Iran Affairs says-

The “Iranian nuclear threat” talk is a pretext, a distraction and a smokescreeen. “Wmds in Iraq” was the pretext to invade Iraq, and “Communism” was the same pretextual justification for the CIA’s 1953 coup in Iran to secure oil. Bloggers should not allow themselves to be distracted into that debate, and should keep the focus on the real issue.

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THAT is really what is behind this nonsense about “nuclear weapons” — a battle by developing nations with the rich to control their access to energy by monopolizing nuclear enrichment technology under the guise of non-proliferation. In the particular case of Iran, the Bush administration is also seeking to keep Iran economically deprived and backward, to suit Israel and thereby help secure Israel’s dominant position in the Mideast while also creating a pretext for implementing a policy of regime change.

Afghanistan- The Dirty War

Hat tip to Bob Kincaid @ HeadOn Radio. UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions Prof. Philip G. Alston released a statement containing his findings and recommendations following a visit to Afghanistan. Amazingly -not- it’s a little less tabloid rosy than a ginger prince ‘getting some’, ahem. He did fail to talk to all forces, which he regrets, nevertheless it is less one sided than most appraisals and the related articles [CIA death squads killing with “impunity” in Afghanistan & Afghan death squads ‘acting on foreign orders] detail more on the apparent ‘Salvador’ option counter insurgency doctrine now in full swing. Excerpts-

“I received a very clear message from most of those with whom I spoke that neither the Government nor the international community are doing all that they could do to protect the right to life of Afghans”, he said. He was also harshly critical of the high level of civilian killing carried out by the Taliban and other anti-government elements.

“Afghanistan is enveloped in an armed conflict. But that does not mean that large numbers of avoidable killings of civilians must be tolerated. The level of complacency in response to these killings is staggeringly high. In a nutshell: police killings must cease; widespread impunity within the legal system for killing must be rejected; the killing of women and girls must end; the international military forces must ensure real accountability for their actions; and the United Nations should give greater prominence to the role of human rights in its activities. Read the rest of this entry »

Aribert Heim, the ‘lucky’ Nazi

Not quite a paperclip, but maybe he helped develop those ‘enhanced interrogations‘.

It was 1941, and an 18-year-old Jew had been sent to the clinic with a foot inflammation. Heim asked him about himself and why he was so fit. The young man said he had been a soccer player and swimmer.

Then, instead of treating the prisoner’s foot, Heim anesthetized him, cut him open, castrated him, took apart one kidney and removed the second, Lotter said. The victim’s head was removed and the flesh boiled off so that Heim could keep it on display.

Born June 28, 1914 in Radkersburg, Austria, Heim joined the local Nazi party in 1935, three years before Austria was bloodlessly annexed by Germany.

He later joined the Waffen SS and was assigned to Mauthausen, a concentration camp near Linz, Austria, as a camp doctor in October and November 1941.

While there, witnesses told investigators, he worked closely with SS pharmacist Erich Wasicky on such gruesome experiments as injecting various solutions into Jewish prisoners’ hearts to see which killed them the fastest.

But while Wasicky was brought to trial by an American Military Tribunal in 1946 and sentenced to death, along with other camp medical personnel and commanders, Heim, who was a POW in American custody, was not among them.

Heim’s file in the Berlin Document Center, the then-U.S.-run depot for Nazi-era papers, was apparently altered to obliterate any mention of Mauthausen, according to his 1979 German indictment, obtained by the AP. Instead, for the period he was known to be at the concentration camp, he was listed as having a different SS assignment.

This “cannot be correct,” the indictment says. “It is possible that through data manipulation the short assignment at the same time to the (concentration camp) was concealed.”

There is no indication who might have been responsible.

The U.S. Army Intelligence file on Heim could shed light on his wartime and postwar activities, and is among hundreds of thousands transferred to the U.S. National Archives. But the Army’s electronic format is such that staff have so far only been able to access about half of them, and these don’t include the file requested by the AP.

Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department’s Nazi-hunting Office of Special Investigations, declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

“I don’t believe there is anything appropriate for Mr. Rosenbaum to add,” said Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney in an e-mail. Read the rest of this entry »