Archive | Human Rights

One year since Michael Brown’s death: movement grows, confronts challenges

NOVANEWS
One year since Michael Brown’s death: movement grows, confronts challenges

Eugene Puryear is a community and anti-war activist based in Washington D.C, and is the 2016 Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, running with Gloria La Riva for President. Learn more about the candidates, their 10-Point Program and how to get involved in the PSL’s “Vote Socialist in 2016!” campaign at www.VotePSL.org.

A year ago it would have been tough to predict what was going to become of the firestorm of protest that erupted in Ferguson, Mo. after the killing of Michael Brown. Perhaps one way to sum it up is with the words uttered by Eric Garner before he was murdered: “This stops today.” While the obvious fact, that police terrorism is still with us, may seem to invalidate this, there is no doubt it’s an entirely new day. Having been involved in a number of major uprisings against racism, in particular the Jena 6 struggle, it is notable that this is the most significant national movement against racist brutality for some time, at least the last decade.

At the outset it seems important not to lose the forest for the trees; whatever else may be said about the movement there is no doubt that it has put the issue of racism or (in communist terms, national oppression) in the forefront of the political conversation. The Occupy Movement similarly gave voice to the deep dissatisfaction over the distribution of wealth in society, but was repressed and undermined by its own contradictions before it could congeal into a larger movement.

What has become known as the Black Lives Matter movement seems to have much more permanence.

While there are most likely a number of reasons for this, the primary one seems to be its general accordance with the political circumstances of Black people. Anger against the general state of the economy is powerful and visceral but not coherent. The same anger that drove Occupy also had a serious effect in putting wind in the sails of the Tea Party whose harangues against “crony capitalism,” while superficial, certainly had the intended effect.

The struggle against racism, (discriminatory practices that are both easy to identify and unlike wealth inequality don’t find satisfactory justification in the official creation myths of capitalist America), produces diverse responses but ones that all move in the same direction, in parallel fashion, at least for now.

To obtain the ultimate “Black First,” the Presidency, Barack Obama had to essentially deny his Blackness, not in the most obvious way of course, but by divorcing himself from any connection to the historical Black Liberation Movement, even its more liberal factions. He had to fashion himself into a “post-racial” figure that didn’t–as one commentator claimed in 2008–“carry the baggage of slavery.”

This carried over to almost his entire presidency as Obama sought to downplay “racial” issues to maintain a broad appeal, using phrases like “I am not the President of Black America, but the United States of America.” Thus the struggle against racism became the most muted during the term of the first Black President, even when conditions of oppression were just as sharp.

Further, given the both implicitly and explicitly racist elements of the Republican strategy of blocking the Obama agenda, large sections of the Black community went out of their way not to criticize Obama for fear of offering him up on the altar of white supremacy in the 2012 election.

The murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, however, came at a time when clearly Obama’s presidency was past its sell-by date and “protecting” him became less relevant, and when the pent up anger of roughly six years of submissiveness without much tangible progress had clearly primed people for an explosion.

This explains why “Black Lives Matter” became such an electric slogan. It wasn’t about police terror per se, but about police terror as a sign of the general and brutal oppression of the majority of Black Americans in a variety of ways. It was simply indicative of what Black America had been wanting to scream for half a “post-racial” decade.

Moving forward

Going into the next year however, there are some major challenges. First and foremost going into the 2016 election cycle there is a very real danger of being co-opted. The easiest way to avoid co-option, however, is to stand very clearly for something.

If we are going to be taking stages then, the movement must use that platform to articulate a radical counter-vision to that presented by mainstream political candidates. These candidates have already accepted the capitalist system that is at the root of oppression and exploitation amongst the mass of Black America. To the extent we put the onus on them to develop programs that we then approve or disapprove they can only come back with empty slogans and various reforms that simply rearrange the furniture inside the capitalist system.

None of the candidates of the capitalist parties speak to the scale of the problems we face: the literally tens of millions of jobs needed now; the dire need for millions upon millions of units of decent housing; public health crises; the need to radically overhaul the way we live to save our planet; the deeply ingrained biases and manifested bigotry. There is no way to meet the challenges posed us, not only around simply living standards but about the existence of humanity– without transcending the system.

Any real movement for Black Liberation should be in the business of defining its own reality and goals and presenting them to the masses of people; let the politicians accept or reject them as they will. If we are going to break through the media blockade, let’s not do it to provide platforms for candidates to seek our favor but to expose the system of candidates and elections as entirely inadequate.

Developing ideas, platforms and procedures need not be one hegemonic process, nor must there be “one organization” for the entire “Black Lives Matter” movement. However poles need to start forming and organizations cohering. But to more deeply engage the masses of Black people, primarily poor and working class, we need concrete structures with multiple levels of engagement to maximize everyone’s time and skills and to concentrate and coordinate our forces.

“State violence” has become a buzzword in the movement, and fair enough. However the capitalist state is one of the most centralized, murderous regimes to ever exist. To think it can be destroyed through spontaneity is folly.

We have to become clear that our struggle is not a struggle to “make space” for ourselves. If we really want to win, our struggle has to be a struggle for power over those who oppress us by uprooting them from society and building a new one free from the hatred, violence and fear that capitalist exploitation and racist bigotry has wrought.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

A national hero’: psychologist who warned of torture collusion gets her due

NOVANEWS

Senate report on CIA tortures

http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jul/13/psychologist-torture-doctors…

Jean Maria Arrigo’s inbox is filling up with apologies. For a decade, colleagues of the 71-year-old psychologist ignored, derided and in some cases attacked Arrigo for sounding alarms that the American Psychological Association was implicated in US torture. But now … a devastating report has exposed deep APA complicity with brutal CIA and US military interrogations – and a smear campaign against Arrigo herself. David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, confirmed what she has crusaded against for a decade: the APA’s institutional involvement with torture led to a concerted effort to quash dissent, lie to the public, and silence people like her.

In 2005, Arrigo … was a member of an internal panel, known as the Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (Pens), that greenlit psychologist participation in national-security interrogations. The taskforce was intentionally weighted in favor of the US department of defense, through stacking it with representatives from the military and CIA. It rejected efforts … to include references to the Geneva Convention and specific interrogation techniques that psychologists could not be involved in. Arrigo took her concerns public. In response, [Gerald] Koocher … who served as APA president in 2006, [launched] “a highly personal attack.” Arrigo said she was untroubled by Koocher’s “idiotic” broadside. What was more troubling to her, she said, were the well-meaning members of APA who did not challenge the attacks.

Note: Read an article on how military psychologists are fighting against torture reforms. For more, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.

 

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

How mass incarceration creates ‘million dollar blocks’ in poor neighborhoods

NOVANEWS

Ferguson


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/07/30/how-mass-incarceration…

[There is a] perverse form that public investment takes in many poor, minority neighborhoods: “million dollar blocks.” Our penchant for incarcerating people has grown so strong that, in many cities, taxpayers frequently spend more than a million dollars locking away residents of a single city block. There are 851 blocks in Chicago where the public has committed more than a million dollars to sentencing residents to state prison. The total tops a million dollars for nonviolent drug offenses alone in 121 of those blocks. Most of Chicago’s incarcerated residents come from and return to a small number of places. And in those places, the consequences of incarceration on everyone else — children who are missing their parents, households that are missing their breadwinners, families who must support returning offenders who are now much harder to employ — are concentrated, too. Million-dollar blocks exist too in New York and New Orleans and many big cities. When the spatial concentration of all this money is mapped … the picture poses a critical question:

What would happen if we poured the same resources into these same struggling parts of any city in very different ways? What if we spent $2.2 million dollars not removing residents from the corner of West Madison and Cicero but investing in the people who live there? Evidence suggests that such investments could do more to deter crime than locking people away.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corrupt prison industry.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

Training Officers to Shoot First, and He Will Answer Questions Later

NOVANEWS

Police Brutality United States Ferguson

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/02/us/training-officers-to-shoot-first-and-he-will…

When police officers shoot people under questionable circumstances, Dr. Lewinski is often there to defend their actions. He has testified in or consulted in nearly 200 cases over the last decade. His conclusions are consistent: The officer acted appropriately, even when shooting an unarmed person. Even when shooting someone in the back. Even when witness testimony, forensic evidence or video footage contradicts the officer’s story. He has appeared as an expert witness in criminal trials, civil cases and disciplinary hearings, and before grand juries. In addition, his company, the Force Science Institute, has trained tens of thousands of police officers.

His research has been roundly criticized by experts. An editor for The American Journal of Psychology called his work “pseudoscience.” The Justice Department denounced his findings as “lacking in both foundation and reliability.” Civil rights lawyers say he is selling dangerous ideas. In the protests that have followed police shootings, demonstrators have often asked why officers are so rarely punished for shootings that seem unwarranted. Dr. Lewinski is part of the answer. In testimony on the stand, for which he charges nearly $1,000 an hour, he … sprinkles scientific explanations with sports analogies. Dr. Lewinski and his company have provided training for dozens of departments. His messages often conflict, in both substance and tone, with the training now recommended by the Justice Department and police organizations.

Note: An article in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, titled The Uncounted, describes why the U.S. government claims it is unable to keep track of killings by police, but does not mention that police shootings rise as crime falls. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Posted in Human Rights, USAComments Off

Amnesty defends senior official’s anti-I$raHell tweets

NOVANEWS

Israeli soldiers should kill terrorists 'in their beds' following Shalit deal, former IDF rabbi says

‘Palestinian baby burned to death in Nazi Jewish settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.’ ‘SHOAH’

JEWISH CHRONICLE

Amnesty International has defended their campaigns manager after the Israeli embassy complained about alleged anti-Israel tweets, saying the posts highlighted “the need for justice and accountability”.

Kristyan Benedict posted messages about the arson attack on a Palestinian home in the village of Douma in July, which resulted in two deaths.

One of the tweets read: “Palestinian baby burned to death in settler attack. They see their government getting away with murder every day.”

Mr Benedict also retweeted a post by Hamas relating to “Israel’s war crimes”

Eitan Na’eh, charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy, complained about the tweets to Amnesty UK director Kate Allen.

In response Fionna Smyth, Amnesty’s head of priority campaigns, said Mr Benedict’s tweet on the arson attack highlighted a “lack of accountability” over “settler violence” on the West Bank.

In a statement, she wrote: “Our work is focused on exposing human rights violations by all parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in working toward justice and accountability.

“Kristyan Benedict’s tweet concerning an Amnesty report on Rafah clearly conveyed a message about the need for justice and accountability, including through the International Criminal Court.

“Kristyan’s tweet on the dreadful killing of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha referred to a past history of a lack of accountability over so-called “Price Tag” attacks and settler violence in the West Bank.

“We condemn human rights abuses committed by all parties, whether Hamas, by other armed Palestinian groups, or indeed Israeli forces.

“This year we’ve published a major report condemning Palestinian armed groups’ indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on civilian areas in Israel during the conflict last July and August, a report on how Hamas tortured and killed Palestinian ‘collaborators’ during the conflict, and also a report on Israel’s attack on Rafah in July 2014.

“We have responded in writing to the Israeli embassy, making some of these points.”

A report in Monday’s The Times claimed Senior Amnesty official Yasmin Hussein had undeclared private links to Islamists.

Ms Hussein, the charity’s faith and human rights director, was claimed to have connections to the Muslim Brotherhood.

She denied the claim, and was reported as telling the charity that the alleged connections were purely circumstantial.

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, UK, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

Mother of slain Palestinian toddler may have gone brain dead

NOVANEWS
An image released by Palestinian news agency Ma’an shows 18-month-old Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh, who was killed in an arson attack by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank on July 31, 2015, with his parents.

An image released by Palestinian news agency Ma’an shows 18-month-old Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh, who was killed in an arson attack by Nazi Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank on July 31, 2015, with his parents.

The mother of the 18-month-old Palestinian baby boy killed in a recent arson attack on his home by Nazi Jewish settlers in the West Bank may have gone brain dead, a report says.

Riham Dawabsheh, Ali’s mother, who was herself injured and who also lost her husband in the arson attack, was put on a respirator at the Chaim Sheba Medical Center, also known as Tel HaShomer Hospital, in the occupied Palestinian territories on Monday, Arabic-language Akhbaar 24 news website reported on Tuesday.

The decision to put her on a respirator came after her general health condition deteriorated, and some of her organs stopped functioning, according to the report.

Some doctors and medical officials have also suggested that she might be brain dead.

Her 32-year-old husband, Sa’ad Dawabsheh, died at a medical center early on Saturday.

The picture, taken on July 31, 2015, shows Palestinians looking at the house set on fire by Nazi Jewish settlers and where 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh died in the occupied West Bank town of Duma. (© AFP)

He had been left with second-degree burns over more than 80 percent of his body following the late July firebombing, which killed his son.

On July 31, a large fire broke out after extremist Nazi Jewish settlers threw firebombs and Molotov cocktails into two Palestinian houses – including that of the Dawabshehs – in the town of Duma, located 25 kilometers (15 miles) southeast of Nablus.

The incident sparked angry reactions from Palestinians, including political and resistance groups.

United-Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon censured the arson attack as a “terrorist act,” calling for the perpetrators to be promptly brought to justice.

Relatives carry the body of 18-month-old Palestinian toddler Ali Sa’ad Dawabsheh, who died on July 31, 2015. (© AFP)

“Continued failures to effectively address impunity for repeated acts of [Israeli] settler violence have led to another horrific incident involving the death of an innocent life. This must end,” Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Nazi Jewish settlers have in recent years carried out various attacks, including arson attacks, on Palestinian property in the West Bank and al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Posted in Human Rights, Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

‘We Can’t Prove Sex With Children Does Them Harm’ Says Labour-Linked NCCL

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EVIDENCE has emerged that the views of the Paedophile Information Exchange influenced policy-making at the National Council for Civil Liberties when it was run by former Labour Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt.

UK

PIE members were lobbying NCCL officials for the age of consent to be reduced and campaigning for “paedophile love”.

Their view that children were not harmed by having sex with adults appears to have been adopted by those at the top of the civil liberties group.

Today we publish extracts from an NCCL report written for the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976 when Mrs Hewitt was general secretary.

It says: “Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence. As the age of consent is arbitrary, we propose an overlap of two years on either side of 14.

“Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage.

“The Criminal Law Commission should be prepared to accept the evidence from follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’.

“The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage.

“The present legal penalties are too high and reinforce the misinformation and prejudice. The duty of the court should be to inquire into all the relevant circumstances with the intention, not of meting out severe punishment, but of determining the best solution in the interests of both child and paedophile.”

Mrs Hewitt, 65, was general secretary between 1974 and 1983. After days of intense pressure, the former Labour MP for Leicester West finally admitted last week the NCCL was “naive and wrong” over its ties to PIE.

Where both partners are aged 10 or over, but under 14, a consenting sexual act should not be an offence.

The NCCL Report

She said: “Any suggestion that I supported or condoned the vile crimes of child abusers is completely untrue.

“As the NCCL archives demonstrate, I consistently distinguished between consenting relationships between homosexual men, on the one hand, and the abuse of children on the other.

“When Jack Dromey, as NCCL chairman in 1976, vigorously opposed PIE at the NCCL AGM, he did so with the full support of the executive committee and myself as general secretary.”

However Labour MP Dromey’s opposition to PIE has been questioned by its former chairman, convicted paedophile Tom O’Carroll, who claims he felt “welcome” at NCCL meetings where he sat on the gay rights sub-committee.

Mr O’Carroll said: “While they did not like PIE and did nothing to support our objectives, they were afraid of appearing insufficiently ‘right on’.

“Consequently they were nothing like as strenuous and public in their efforts to distance themselves from PIE as they are now claiming.

“Dromey is quoted as saying ‘I was at the forefront of repeated public condemnations of PIE and their despicable views’. That’s news to me. Maybe by ‘public’ he meant imprecations muttered to cronies at his local pub.”

Posted in Human Rights, UK0 Comments

When the NSA tells journalists things, those things are not necessarily true

NOVANEWS
Image result for NASA LOGO
PrivacySOS 

If you find yourself reading a story about US war or spying that contains a variation on the phrase “according to US officials” in the top paragraph, you are likely biting into a whopper of state propaganda and lies. Today’s NYT reporting on Snowden documents provides just the latest example.

Back in February 2014, the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal published big time stories under the bylines of two of those newspapers’ most respected ‘national security’ and surveillance journalists. The Post story started like this:

The National Security Agency is collecting less than 30 percent of all Americans’ call records because of an inability to keep pace with the explosion in cellphone use, according to current and former U.S. officials.

Here’s the first paragraph of the Wall Street Journal story, reporting the same official claims:

The National Security Agency’s collection of phone data, at the center of the controversy over U.S. surveillance operations, gathers information from about 20% or less of all U.S. calls—much less than previously thought,according to people familiar with the NSA program.

AP’s Phillip Bump ran a story based on the Post’s version. Troublingly, his first paragraph dispensed entirely with the origin of the information. In Bump’s retelling, the information appears to have come from God—or at least is as good as The Word.

The NSA’s vaunted cell phone metadata collection program, often defended on the grounds that its comprehensive sweep of information allows the government to uncover unseen connections, only collected about 30 percent of all such information as of last summer.

The problem with these stories? Actual NSA documents (read: not NSA employee claims to journalists) show they are false.

The New York Times reports on documents disclosed by former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden:

In 2011, AT&T began handing over 1.1 billion domestic cellphone calling records a day to the N.S.A. after “a push to get this flow operational prior to the 10th anniversary of 9/11,” according to an internal agency newsletter. This revelation is striking because after Mr. Snowden disclosed the program of collecting the records of Americans’ phone calls, intelligence officials told reporters that, for technical reasons, it consisted mostly of landline phone records.

I must quibble a bit with the New York Times excellent reporting here, only to suggest that what’s “striking” about the discrepancy between what journalists reported and the truth isn’t the fact that the NSA would lie to journalists. What’s striking is that journalists continue to print official, often anonymous, claims about government surveillance programs without a shred of evidence that those claims are true.

In February 2014, the NSA must have decided—perhaps in consultation with other parts of the US security state establishment—to lie to a few key journalists in order to propagate the myth that the all powerful intelligence agency couldn’t figure out how to obtain cell phone call records. At the time, not everyone believed it (myself included). But two powerful US newspapers were credulous, and printed the NSA’s claims as if they were fact—in the apparent absence of any documentation or other confirmation.

Everyone, including media consumers, needs to remember a very simple thing about intelligence agencies: they are professionals in deceit and manipulation. A good spy must be able to lie and connive in order to achieve their goals.

You wouldn’t expect a car mechanic to be a good oral surgeon. You also shouldn’t expect spies to tell the truth. Remember that the next time you read a newspaper article based off of undocumented, unproven “official” claims.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

US refuses to free ‘near death’ Gitmo hunger striker weighing 33 kg

NOVANEWS

A prisoner of US military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay may soon starve to death, as after more than eight years of force-feeding his body is said to be unable to take the nutrients he is pumped with. The DoD opposed the ailing man’s release.

Tariq Ba Odah, a Saudi resident of Yemeni descent, was captured in Pakistan and held in Guantanamo facility since 2002. In 2009 he was cleared for release by the Obama administration, but remains in US custody. In 2007 he went on a hunger strike to protest his indefinite detention without charges. After more than eight years without taking food voluntarily, he weighs less than 34 kilograms and may soon die, his lawyer says.

“Common sense dictates that Mr. Ba Odah is starving because his body is failing to properly absorb and process the liquid calories and nutrients he is being force fed. No other conclusion is viable unless one presumes the government intends to maintain him at just 56 percent of his ideal body weight while he is on hunger strike,” Omar Farah, his lawyer provided by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), wrote in a legal memorandum.

The CCR sought to secure Ba Odah’s transfer on humanitarian grounds through a US federal court. But the habeas corpus petition has been opposed by the Department of Justice, which late on Friday submitted a filing opposing it. The filing was kept under seal, which is “rare and unnecessary,” as CCR’s Wells Dixon told the Guardian newspaper

Ba Odah’s lawyer Farah said the rights group was “deeply disappointed by this secret filing.”

“It is a transparent attempt to hide the fact that the Obama administration’s interagency process for closing Guantánamo is an incoherent mess, and it is plainly intended to conceal the inconsistency between the administration’s stated intention to close Guantánamo and the steps taken to transfer cleared men. The administration simply wants to avoid public criticism and accountability,” he said.

An anonymous US official confirmed the assessment to the British newspaper, saying the government wants to avoid embarrassment rather than protect classified information by sealing the motion. The source added that hardliners in the Pentagon, who consider hunger striking a form of warfare, would not allow Ba Odah’s struggle for release to be unchallenged. Otherwise it would encourage other hunger strikers and make the DoD appear suffering a substantive defeat, the reasoning goes.

The US mishandles the hunger strike issue at Guantanamo bay, a problem that is far from being unique to that facility, RT was told by Scott Allen, professor of medicine at the University of California, who was part of a task force that examined force feeding procedures that are carried out at detention centers.

“The key mistake that the Department of Defense has made in its approach to hunger strikes is that it thinks of them too often collectively,” he said. “If they are concerned about the life of this individual, which is what they had stated the goal was all along, they need to focus on his case and his case alone and develop a plan that would preserve his life and his dignity.”

President Barack Obama made shutting down Guantanamo Bay prison a campaign issue during his first campaign, but failed to deliver on the promise. The latest move by his administration is to speed up transfer of roughly half of the prison’s 116 inmate population to other countries and have the rest relocated into high security prisons on US soil.

The plan was criticized by rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it fails to address the wider issue with keeping people detained for decades without charges in a denial of core western values.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

We Learned a Lot From the Senate Torture Report. Including What We Still Don’t Know

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Image result for CIA's prisons PHOTO
By Eliza Relman 

The executive summary of the Senate torture report, released last December, exposed a system of abuse that was far more brutal than the CIA ever admitted to the White House, Congress, the courts, or the American public. But for all its revelatory, gruesome details, it also revealed more about what we don’t know.

The 525-page summary released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence references documents detailing secret legal defenses for torture, attempts at covering up illegality, indications of dissent from within the CIA, and more. To fill in the blanks, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request today for 77 documents, most of which are referenced in the report.

The ACLU has previously acquired and made public redacted versions of some of those documents (see, for example, the OLC memos that were released to us in April 2009). Others have been totally hidden from Americans and deserve to see the light. We’re submitting this new request because we think the public is entitled to a full account of what happened in the CIA’s black sites, and why.

Some details about the still-withheld documents are provided in the Senate’s report and give us a partial understanding as to what the documents contain. In one email referenced by the Senate report, Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center Jose Rodriguez instructed CIA personnel to suppress their doubts about the legality of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used on detainee Abu Zubaydah. Personnel involved in Abu Zubaydah’s torture wrote headquarters that they believed his interrogations were “approach[ing] the legal limit.”

Rodriguez responded:

[I] strongly urge that any speculative language as to the legality of given activities or, more precisely, judgment calls as to their legality vis-à-vis operational guidelines for this activity agreed upon and vetted at the most senior levels of the agency, be refrained from in written traffic. Such language is not helpful.

Another classified email, written by CIA torture contractor James Mitchell, provides a glimpse of President Bush’s “discomfort” with an “image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself.”

According to the Senate report, the still-withheld documents also tell another story: one about those within the government who objected to torture even when it tarnished their reputations or derailed their careers. One email referenced in the Senate report was written by the CIA’s chief of interrogations after he received the interrogation plan for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a former CIA detainee currently being held at Guantánamo Bay. The CIA chief wrote that he would “no longer be associated in any way with the interrogation program due to serious reservation[s]” and that he would be “retiring shortly.” Among other things, the report quotes him as writing, “[t]his is a train wreck [sic] waiting to happen and I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.”

The ACLU has worked to expose the details of the torture program for more than a decade. As a result of our previous FOIA requests and ensuing litigation, the government has released more than 100,000 pages of torture-related documents. But while the ACLU has received a great deal of information on the Department of Defense’s torture of detainees, some of the critical documents relating to the CIA’s torture program have remained partially or fully hidden. Our fight for transparency continues with this request, along with our ongoing battles for the release of the SSCI’s full 6,900-page report and photographic evidence of torturein two separate cases pending before federal appeals courts.

The release of the executive summary should be a turning point — not the endpoint — for transparency.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

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