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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ending Torture, Cruel and Inhuman Treatment, and Impunity

On July 20, President Bush issued an executive order governing CIA interrogation techniques that keeps the door open to torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees in American custody. The order does not clearly and specifically end illegal practices: so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," which have included water boarding, stress positions, hypothermia, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation and isolation, and holding prisoners in secret CIA "black sites" in order to keep them outside the reach of the law. The U.S. military is now following a transparent Army Field Manual that prohibits many of the abusive interrogation techniques previously authorized by the administration but, to put an end to abuse, a single standard of conduct for all U.S. interrogations – including interrogations by the CIA and private contractors – regardless of location or who is being interrogated is necessary.


Interrogation Practices and Policies
Relying on information provided by current and former CIA officials and supervisors, in November 2005 ABC News reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito provided descriptions of several techniques used in CIA interrogations:
• Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, cellophane is wrapped over his face and water is poured over him. causing the prisoner to experience a terrifying fear of drowning.

• The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and is repeatedly doused with cold water.

• Long Time Standing: The prisoner is forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours, causing both extreme pain and sleep deprivation.

• Attention Slap: An open-handed strike aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.

• The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed strike to the stomach. The aim is to cause

pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
Secret Detentions: Over the last several years, the United States has operated a program in which it has held detainees in secret CIA facilities around the world, without acknowledging, even to the detainees’ families, that it has these individuals in custody. The United States has also held prisoners “off the books” in known detention facilities. These practices violate U.S. and international law.

The U.S. Secret Detention Program in Brief:
• According to a number of reports, including an in-depth report by Human Rights

First, the CIA has operated secret detention facilities in a number of places including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Diego Garcia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Macedonia.

• On September 6, 2006, the President publicly acknowledged the existence of the CIA secret detention program, although he has not released the locations of particular facilities to the public or to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It appears the program is currently operational, with at least one detainee having been held in the program before being transported to Guantanamo in April 2007.

• There are dozens of individuals who are believed to have been detained in CIA
secret facilities whose current whereabouts are unknown.

• The United States has also held detainees in known detention facilities (such as Abu Ghraib) while keeping their names off the official prison rolls and failing to report their presence in those facilities to the ICRC. These prisoners have been called “ghost detainees.”

• At least one “ghost detainee,” Manadel al Jamadi, was killed in November 2003 while in U.S. custody in Iraq.


Private Contractors

It is now widely recognized that an accountability crisis has arisen with respect to private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. While contractors are supposedly working under the laws of armed conflict, there are no consistent training requirements for contractors on the laws of war, there is no oversight checking their conduct against these standards, and essentially no realistic criminal justice accountability when criminal violations occur. A number of bills have been introduced in Congress aimed at addressing these problems. Some initial hearings have been held; more are anticipated. Here are some of the facts on private military contractors:

• DOD currently acknowledges roughly 30,000 U.S. security contractors operating in Iraq, including substantial numbers of ex-patriots from the U.K., South Africa, the Philippines, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Chile, and Honduras.

• In concept, these forces are deployed solely for personnel and facility protection, but in one of his final acts as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld issued a determination including U.S. security contractors as an integral part of the "total combat force" deployed in Iraq.

Private contractors were involved in some of the most serious abuses at Abu Ghraib, as reported in the Fay-Jones Report. Similarly, they have been tied to a large number of cases involving assaults on detainees, and homicides and assaults on the ground in Iraq. Only one single case has been prosecuted – involving a CIA contractor in Afghanistan. Over a dozen cases coming out of Abu Ghraib were investigated by the US Army Crime Records Center (CID) and referred to the Department of Justice with a recommendation for prosecution. No action has been taken on these cases even though investigations were completed roughly two years ago.

Over the past five years the U.S. has transferred detainees to other countries that are known to torture and otherwise abuse prisoners. This process, where transfers are carried out without any judicial or administrative process, has been referred to as “extraordinary rendition.”

The U.S. Rendition Program in Brief
• A number of reports, including an in-depth report by the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, have concluded that the U.S. rendition program has sent individuals to countries — such as Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Pakistan, and Russia — which United States acknowledges engage in torture. There are well documented reports that some individuals rendered to these countries by the United States have been tortured.

• Some of these renditions appear to be for the express purpose of subjecting the detainee to interrogation by officials from the destination country.

• Renditions have also been used to transfer people into U.S. custody, sometimes in secret detention facilities run by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

• U.S. renditions have often been based on questionable “diplomatic assurances” from the destination country that the individual being rendered will not be tortured. Such assurances have proven to be unreliable, and rendered detainees have been tortured even after such assurances were given.

• One well-publicized case involved a Canadian citizen named Maher Arar. U.S. officials apprehended Arar at J.F.K. airport in New York. He was sent to Syria, after Syria reportedly assured the United States that Arar would not be tortured. In Syrian custody, Arar was tortured for ten months, including being beaten and subjected to electric shocks. He was subsequently released and is now living in Canada.


I has to share this report with you guys, I was taken from http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/us_law/etn/elect08/issue.aspx.

Just though i would share this bit of information with you guys.I know we all dont read the government websites.And we all need to be aware of things we do here in the Unites States

2 comments:

OmegaRadium said...

I'm actually torn on this issue. While I do believe everyone is entitled to basic human rights, there will come a time where you must do anything possible to defend your family and country.

Like Alfred said in "The Dark Knight," "some men just want to watch the world burn."

Its these men that must sometimes be treated like the animals they are in order to preserve the greater good.

supreme. said...

thanks for the compliment, hun. =]

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