Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Disappeared

Human Rights Watch says 38 Rendition Victims are 'Missing'

From BBC News,
"Thirty eight people believed to have been held in secret CIA prisons - or black sites - are missing, according to a report by a US human rights group.

The Human Rights Watch (HRW) report also details allegations of torture by a terror suspect who was held in secret custody for more than two years."
I speculated in an earlier post on rendition victims that someone who had been tortured and then proven innocent was more likely to be killed than someone who could be shown to be guilty of involvement in terrorism. Why? Because an innocent victim is more of an embarrassment to the government, more of a legal threat to the torturers (with the potential for both criminal charges and lawsuits), and could 'reveal our methods to the terrorists.' - Bush and his administration don't want their methods revealed, after all. Does anyone really believe that Bush's motive is to protect America, and not to shield himself or others from justice? Because I sure as hell don't. And I'll tell you why.
"In a televised address in September, Mr Bush admitted that 14 detainees had been held at secret CIA prisons that used interrogation methods that were 'tough' but 'lawful and necessary.'

'The United States does not torture,' Mr Bush said at the time. 'It's against our laws, and it's against our values. I have not authorised it - and I will not authorise it.' "
Rii-iight. Anybody remember this gem? These remarks were made by Bush in April, 2004;
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires-a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."
Bush's statements as pResident show the same credibility as that Jon Lovitz character from Saturday Night Live - "Yeah, that's the ticket." - He is, in short, a pathological liar.

This article from The Washington Post gives you some idea of the treatment rendition victims undergo. Marwan Jabour's ordeal,
"...began in May 2004. In interviews, he said he was muscled out of a car as it pulled inside the gates of a secluded villa in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

In the week before his arrival, Jabour said, Pakistani intelligence officers had beaten, abused and burned him at a jailhouse in Lahore, where he was arrested. There two female American interrogators also questioned him and told him he.. ..would vanish for life if he refused. He said he was later blindfolded and driven four hours north to the villa in a wealthy residential neighborhood.. ..Jabour spent five weeks there, chained to a wall and prevented from sleeping more than a few hours at a time. He said he was beaten nightly by Pakistani guards after hours of questions from U.S. interrogators. Then he and others were whisked off to CIA-run sites. Some sites were in Eastern Europe; Jabour went to one in Afghanistan. Interrogators -- whom he described as Americans in their late 20s and early 30s -- told Jabour he would never see his three children again."
In Jabour's case, there was a relatively happy ending - which can't be said for the 38 still missing and unaccounted for.
"On his last day in CIA custody, Marwan Jabour, an accused al-Qaeda paymaster, was stripped naked, seated in a chair and videotaped by agency officers. Afterward, he was shackled and blindfolded, headphones were put over his ears, and he was given an injection that made him groggy. Jabour, 30, was laid down in the back of a van, driven to an airstrip and put on a plane with at least one other prisoner.

His release from a secret facility in Afghanistan on June 30, 2006, was a surprise to Jabour -- and came just after the Supreme Court rejected the Bush administration's assertion that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to prisoners like him."

I've already linked to Maher Arar's first-person account of his rendition to Syria, which follows the same pattern, as does the treatment of Jose Padilla. H. Candace Gorman at Huffington Post has a similarly sickening story of a man named Al-Ghizzawi, who was kept in Guantamo Bay's Camp Six (built by Halliburton at probably obscene profit margins with your tax dollars.) That article has this scathing passage, reminiscent of a recent Jurassic Pork piece. "Mr. Al-Ghizzawi asked me what the American people are doing about Guantánamo. I explained to him that Americans were really busy these days because some two-bit model died and everyone is trying to figure out who the father of her baby is."

Maybe America should spend a little more time on trying to figure out what happened to their democracy, and the rule of law.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

A Ray of Light?

News From the Front in the Real War of Terror

On the thread about Chris Dodd's efforts to restore habeas corpus to the American judicial system, GL responded with, "A ray of light breaking through the clouds?" Perhaps, but it may have been little more than the bright line that one detects along the edge of a closed door in a very dark room. A decision rendered by a federal judge in the Jose Padilla case may signal the opening of that door, if only by the slightest crack. With the light may come some much needed air into the room.

As reported by BBC News,
"A US citizen suspected of being an al-Qaeda conspirator is mentally unfit to stand trial, a psychiatrist for his defence has said.

Speaking at a hearing to determine Jose Padilla's competence, Angela Hegarty said he lacked the capacity to assist his counsel in the case."
Padilla was most recently in the news when he was photographed blindfolded and wearing sound-blocking earmuffs on a trip to the dentist. The inhuman sensory deprivation that he has been subjected to for 3½ years is the direct cause of his current mental incompetence. Naomi Klein of Alternet has more details. This is a link I put up in the hope you will actually click on it and read Naomi's entire shocking post.
"Arrested in May 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare airport, Padilla, a Brooklyn-born former gang member, was classified as an 'enemy combatant' and taken to a navy prison in Charleston, South Carolina. He was kept in a cell 9ft by 7ft, with no natural light, no clock and no calendar. Whenever Padilla left the cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a 'truth serum,' a substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP.. ..These same practices have been documented in dozens of cases of 'extraordinary rendition' carried out by the CIA, as well as in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan"
She observes, "America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court." Let's hope so. The Bush administration has made a habit of ignoring court decisions, including Supreme Court decisions, that didn't go their way. Bu$hCo™ ARE the terrorists, as this case clearly shows, and they are waging a war against the American people and the rule of law. Did I mention, Padilla is an American citizen, arrested on American soil, who has never been anywhere near any armed conflict? His arrest was way before the MCA was passed, and has been a textbook case of abuse of power. For a point of comparison, read Maher Arar's personal account of the way he was treated, in CounterPunch. Clearly this is all part of a wide-ranging program approved at the highest levels of government - they can't blame everything on Lynndie England.

In other related news, the Toronto Star reported Friday on a UNANIMOUS Canadian Supreme Court decision striking down the government's use of so-called 'security certificates' to detain and deport non-citizens suspected of terrorism ties. Turns out the certificate system is in conflict with Canada' Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Kudos to the Supreme Court of Canada - must be all that clean air up here.

In other other news, Les Enragé drew the attention of, and a link from Chris Dodd's blog for a piece we ran about Senator Dodd
sponsoring the Effective Terrorist Prosecution Act, which aims to reverse the worst aspects of the Military Commissions Act (aka The War Criminals' Protection Act.) Kudos again, senator.

To reiterate: Restore Habeas, Repeal the MCA, and defend the Constitution. Dammit!

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Kudos Chris Dodd

Fighting to Restore Habeas Corpus Rights

Chris Dodd (D - no really, a Democrat, honest) is the senior senator from Connecticut. In that capacity he has the unenviable task of trying to provide some balance to the other senator from Connecticut, Joe LIEberman (I - diot.) LIEberman, as you all know, took over the post of senior DINO in Washington with the retirement of Zell Millar (D - ecrepit.) Balancing LIEberman's reprehensible career of deception is a task in itself, but Senator Dodd earns his kudos for sponsoring the Effective Terrorist Prosecution Act, which aims to reverse the worst abuses of the Military Commissions Act (Which we deplore here at Les Enragés as the War Criminals' Protection Act.) Here's Dodd's video to explain.
Restoring the Constitution
Note in particular that Dodd urges everyone to 'become in effect a citizen co-sponsor' of the bill. You can do that by visiting and signing on.
"The bill will restore Habeas Corpus protections to detainees, bar information acquired through torture from being introduced as evidence in trials, and limit presidential authority to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions."
I think this is really important. If the thugs currently in control of the country are allowed to have their way, you are under the thumb of one of the most brutal gang of criminals since Al Capone Atilla the Hun. Do you really think it's safe to let them make up whatever rules they like, then to interpret those rules however they see fit?

BTW, Chris is a 'dark horse' candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. From what I've seen he is showing more substance and integrity than the front runners. It's typical of the MSM to virtually ignore anyone who could actually bring real change to the political morass.

NOTE: belatedly cross-posted from Les Enragés. I've been spending more of my time on that blog lately, and you may have to check over there from time to time to see my newest stuff.

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