Archive | Human Rights

Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo Force-Feeding Footage

NOVANEWS

District Judge Gladys Kessler has today ordered that videotapes of Reprieve client Abu Wa’el Dhiab being force-fed in Guantánamo Bay are to be made public.
Around eleven hours of previously secret video is to be redacted for “all identifiers of individuals” other than Mr. Dhiab, and then released to the public. The footage is known to show Mr. Dhiab being hauled from his cell by Guantánamo’s ‘Forcible Cell Extraction’ team – a group of military police in riot gear – and being force-fed.

The decision comes after 16 major US media organizations, including the New York Times, Washington Post, AP, and others, intervened in the litigation seeking to unseal the video tapes. Mr. Dhiab supported the media’s intervention and has specifically stated he wishes as many Americans as possible to see the reality of force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay.

Mr Dhiab said in a statement that is quoted in Judge Kessler’s decision today: “I want Americans to see what is going on at the prison today, so they will understand why we are hunger-striking, and why the prison should be closed. If the American people stand for freedom, they should watch these tapes. If they truly believe in human rights, they need to see these tapes.”

Judge Kessler, in her decision, stated: “In short, it is our responsibility, as judges, as part of our obligation under the Constitution, to ensure that any efforts to limit our FirstAmendment protections are scrutinized with the greatest of care. That responsibility can not be ignored or abdicated.”

She described the Government’s justifications for keeping the video evidence sealed in its entirety as “unacceptably vague, speculative, lack[ing specificity, or… just plain implausible.” She added: “It strains credulity to conclude that release of these videos has a substantial probability of causing the harm the Government predicts.”

Judge Kessler also dismissed out of hand the Government’s claim that release of the videos, because it would impact Mr. Dhiab’s right not to be held up to “public curiosity”, would violate the Geneva Conventions, stating:  ”The Government’s claim, if accepted, would turn the Third Geneva Convention on its head. Rather than a source of rights to humane treatment, Article 13 would become a means to shield from public view treatment that Mr. Dhiab (and undoubtedly other detainees) believe to be inhumane.”

The Judge’s order requires identifying individuals to be redacted, and orders the Government and Petitioner’s counsel to work together to achieve this. The process is likely to take some days; while the redactions are made, Judge Kessler has ordered that the tapes shall remain under seal.

Mr. Dhiab has been waging a high-profile challenge to his abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo since June 2013, represented by attorneys at the human rights organization Reprieve.

His trial, which challenges the government’s current force-feeding practices as cruel and unethical, is due to begin this Monday, October 6, at 10 A.M. in Washington, D.C.

Cori Crider, Reprieve attorney to Mr. Dhiab, stated: “It is high time the bright light of the truth was shone on Guantánamo’s force-feeding practices. It has always been the height of hypocrisy for the Guantánamo authorities to take media groups on ‘show tours’, while forbidding them from talking to prisoners or seeing evidence like this, which shows the grim reality of life at the prison.  I look forward to the day when this evidence is made public, and I believe the outcry that results will hasten the close of Guantánamo Bay.”

Alka Pradhan, Reprieve attorney to Mr Dhiab, said: “This may well be the most significant court decision on Guantanamo Bay in years. No longer does the American public have to rely on propaganda and misinformation, but can finally watch the videotapes and judge for themselves whether this terrible prison should continue to be the image America projects to the world, or whether we should reclaim our values and shut it down for good.”

 

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White House Losing Ground in Bid to Keep Guantanamo Bay Abuse Secret

NOVANEWS

Federal judge rejects Obama administration request for secret trial and demands partial public release of videos showing force-feeding abuse of Guantanamo captive

Protest at the White House against torture and abuse in Guantanamo Bay and Bagram U.S>.military prisons February 27, 2009. (Photo:mike.benedetti/flickr/cc)

Update 3:00 PM EST:

Federal Judge Gladys Kessler on Friday ordered the U.S. government to publicly release videos showing the force-feedings of Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian man held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. However, Kessler ruled that, before releasing the videos, the U.S. government may redact “identifiers of individuals in the videotapes,” including “faces other thatn Mr. Dhiab’s, voices, names, etc.” According to Reprieve, this amounts to approximately 11 hours of redacted tape.

“This may well be the most significant court decision on Guantanamo Bay in years,” said Alka Pradhan, Reprieve attorney to Mr Dhiab. “No longer does the American public have to rely on propaganda and misinformation, but can finally watch the videotapes and judge for themselves whether this terrible prison should continue to be the image America projects to the world, or whether we should reclaim our values and shut it down for good.”

Earlier:

A federal judge on Thursday rejected an Obama administration effort to shut the public out of the first-ever trial for abuse and torture at Guantanamo Bay, slamming the White House push for secrecy as “deeply troubling.”

Judge Gladys Kessler of the Washington DC district court wrote, “With such a long-standing and ongoing public interest at stake, it would be particularly egregious to bar the public from observing the credibility of live witnesses, the substance of their testimony, whether proper procedures are being followed, and whether the court is treating all participants fairly.”

Kessler criticized the Justice Department for filing a motion last Friday to hold the trial almost completely behind closed doors, arguing that the request “appears to have been deliberately made on short notice.” She continued, “[O]ne of the strongest pillars of our system of justice in the United States is the presumption that all judicial proceedings are open to the public whom the judiciary serves.”

The case pertains to Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian man currently who has been held at the U.S. military’s offshore prison since 2002, despite being cleared for release in 2009. Dhiab, who has been on hunger strike off and on for years to protest the conditions of his confinement, is suing the Obama administration for torturous force-feeding practices, which include: forcible removal from his cell to force-feedings by a squad of soldiers donning riot gear; painful tube insertions; and use of a painful restraint chair for the process, according to a statement from Reprieve, the UK-based legal charity representing him. Dhiab’s hearing is slated to take place next Monday and Tuesday in Washington, DC, and expert witnesses are to testify on the man’s abuse.

The government argues that the trial must be held completely behind closed doors, except for opening statements, to protect “national security.” But Dhiab’s lawyers say this argument reeks of a cover-up. “The was a brazen attempt by the Obama Administration to shut the American people out of their own courtroom,”  said Cori Crider, Reprieve director and one of Mr. Dhiab’s attorneys. “And how sad to see our Justice Department deliberately undermining one of the central pillars of our democracy: open justice.”

This is not the first time the U.S. government has sought to hide information about Dhiab’s case. The White House has fought to hide video recordings of the force-feedings of Dhiab and other men held captive at Guantanamo. Dhiab was the first of these prisoners to legally challenge the Obama administration on the videos, resulting in a partial win: Dhiab’s lawyers from Reprieve were permitted to view the tapes, but their content remains classified, effectively gagging the tapes’ viewers. Kessler has agreed with the government’s argument that these videos can remain hidden from the public, which, in the words ofGuardian journalist Spencer Ackerman, means “the most graphic depictions of the force-feedings will remain hidden from view.”

Sixteen major media organizations filed suit in June calling for the public release of the videos on first amendment grounds. In a recent article, Dhiab’s wife Umm Wa’el joined in the call for disclosure of the tapes. She wrote:

America was shocked by the images from Abu Ghraib. These films from Guantanamo threaten to do the same. The American people should be given the chance to see them, and to decide whether they accept what is being done daily to my husband. I am certain that if they are given the chance, they will see the reality: the simple desperation of an innocent man, held without charge or trial, using the only means at his disposal to get back to his wife and children.

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Adalah demands investigations into Nazi killings of 7 children in two different incidents of suspected war crimes in Gaza

NOVANEWS

Last week, Adalah sent two letters to the Minister of Defense, the Military Advocate General, and the Attorney General demanding an immediate investigation into violations of international humanitarian law in two separate incidents in the Gaza Strip. The first event was the killing of four children from the Bakr family – Ahed (10), Zakariya (10), Ismail (10) and Mohammed (11) – and injuries of others by a missile fired by the Israeli Navy while the children were playing football on the fishermen’s beach in Gaza. This event was witnessed by and reported on extensively by the international media. The second event was the killing of three young boys from the Shuhaiber family – Wasim (7), Afnan (8) and Jihad (8) – from an air strike on their home while they were on the roof feeding pigeons.

In the letter about the killings of the four children on the beach, Adalah Attorney Nadeem Shehadeh wrote that, according to the testimony of a child who survived the incident, Nasser Bakr, on 16 July 2014 the Israeli navy fired three missiles against a group of children who were playing on the beach to escape the atmosphere of frequent bombardment in the residential areas. According to Bakr’s account:

“We were so bored from the war and wanted to go to the beach to play; we thought it would be fun. Ismail dared us to pretend to shoot him. And then he ran and hid in a shack. The first explosion occurred. We went towards Ismail and found his body on the ground. He was bleeding everywhere and he was burned. I cried loudly and we ran. I ran fastest and looked back. My friends were running. But a second explosion occurred. I looked back again and saw Zakariya, Ahed, Mohammed and Ramiz all lying on the ground and screaming. Muntaser, Mohammed Khamis and two guys I know from the Abu Watfa beach resort ran towards them to help. But then there was a third explosion and every one of them was then on the ground. I started crying for them.”

The next day, on 17 July 2014, the Israeli Air Force launched a missile at a group of children who were on the roof of their home in the Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City. According to the testimony of Sam Shuhaiber, the father of two of the children killed and uncle of the third, the children had gone to the roof to feed the pigeons. Shortly after they got to the roof, a massive explosion shook the entire building, and the three boys were killed.

Attorney Shehadeh wrote in the letter that these two attacks constitute grave violations of international humanitarian law, especially regarding the need to distinguish between civilians and military targets, and the obligation to protect civilians during the fighting. Attorney Shehadeh stressed that these events must be immediately and independently investigated as required by international law, and the perpetrators must be held to account for these serious suspected crimes.

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

THERE IS NO ‘PUBLIC INTEREST’ FOR PALESTINIAN CITIZENS OF I$RAHELL

NOVANEWS 

 

A few days before the October 2000 anniversary, Meni Mazuz, the Israeli Attorney General from 2004 to 2010, was appointed as a new justice to the Supreme Court. In a cruel twist of history, the same man who closed all the investigation files on the killings of the 13 protestors in 2008, was selected to defend the constitutional rights of all Israeli citizens, including their right to protest.
In Adalah’s view, Mazuz’s appointment does not advance human rights in Israel, especially the rights of Palestinian citizens. The Supreme Court is increasingly legitimizing the Knesset’s discriminatory laws and the Israeli government’s oppressive policies, ignoring Palestinian citizens’ constitutional rights and relegating their just demands for equality and anti-discrimination to procedural questions.This is why the Supreme Court can claim that there is “no public interest” in the demolition of an entire Arab Bedouin village like Umm el-Hieran in the Naqab, and refuse to accept their request to appeal to save their homes. This is also why the Supreme Court can uphold the Admissions Committees Law, which furthers segregation by essentially preventing Palestinian citizens from living in hundreds of small communities built on ‘state land’ in the north and south.

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Nazi Regime: Repressive and Brutal Treatment of Palestinian protesters

NOVANEWS

FROM OCTOBER 2000 TO OCTOBER 2014

 

Another year passes on the anniversary of the October 2000 events, and the murders of 13 young Palestinian citizen protestors by the Israeli police are absent from the minds of the Israeli authorities, as if it they never happened.  In the past year, the police continued its repressive and brutal treatment of Arab protestors, while the Ministry of Justice’s Police Investigation Unit, “Mahash”, continued to cover up cases of police brutality committed by its officers by failing to investigate or prosecute them.

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

Wake Up America ’1′: The Persistence of Mass Incarceration

NOVANEWS
New Stats Show We Have Not Turned the Corner
by JAMES KILGORE

Over the last four years, “we have turned the corner” has become the dominant narrative on mass incarceration. The basis for this optimism appeared sound. From 2009-2012, total prisoner numbers were down nationally for the first time since the late 1970s, with the figures for Blacks behind bars also declining. Moreover, people in surprising places were making conciliatory noises. Attorney General Eric Holder grabbed some new handles- champion of employment access for people with felony convictions and promoter of lighter sentences for those with drug offenses. Some New Jim Crow discourse even crept into his rhetoric. The New York Times consistently peppered their op-ed pages with condemnation of the bloated US carceral state, proclaiming in a May 10 piece that “The American experiment in mass incarceration has been a moral, legal, social and economic disaster. It cannot end soon enough.”

To top it off, the right wing joined the “softer on crime” fray. Grover Norquist and Newt Gingrich sparked a conservative anti-imprisonment drift through their Right on Crime organization which decried the excessive use and cost of punishment. Then Rand Paul followed suit, standing shoulder to shoulder with Cory Booker to back a Redeem Act which would ease criminal penalties for juveniles. In the background a steady stream of popular advocacy combined with legislative and financial re-thinks appeared to be making major inroads into criminal justice orthodoxy. But last week, carceral optimism gave way to a much harsher reality.  The Bureau of Justice’s annual statistical report on national prison population revealed that incarceration numbers were up for the first time since 2009. The rise was a mere 0.3% but even this slight uptick may have burst the bubble of the new paradigm.

In fact, this miniscule upswing in prison population likely highlights much deeper contradictions that were there all along. Fourteen states hit new record high prison populations in 2013, while 31 states recorded an increase in prison admissions. To make matters worse, several icons of decarceration recorded population upturns.  Texas with the largest prison system in the country, has been perhaps the most widely marketed example of decarceration, dropping its prison population by 3.5% from 2011 to 2012 alone.  Yet for 2013 the Lone Star State led the reverse trend, with its count rising from 157,900 to 160,295 prisoners. Similarly, California, the second biggest state system and also a leading driver of population decrease in previous years, showed a slight expansion, from 134,211 to 135,981.

For, Judy Greene, Director of the anti-mass incarceration research group Justice Strategies, the figures for Texas and California reflected that the changes in previous years had been “narrowly felt in a handful of states.” She pointed out that between 2010 and 2012, more than 90% of the prison population reductions took place in three states, California, New York and Texas. With the failure of California and Texas to continue on the path toward decarceration, the rest of the country essentially continued with carceral business as usual. Predictably, the overall racial disproportionality also remained profound, with Black males of all ages still six times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts and two and a half times more likely to be locked up than Latinos.  The racial disparity in incarceration rates for Black women remained less dramatic, registering at about twice that of whites.

Some Good News

Sandwiched between the news of statistical reversal rested a few positive trends.  For the first time in recent years, total population in the Federal prison system declined, falling from 217,815 to 215,866. But the Feds are a small slice of the pie, constituting about 10 % of all those behind bars in the US.

In addition, a few states with consistent records of reducing prison populations continued on track. Star decarceration performers like New York and New Jersey, which have seriously reduced admissions through changes to sentencing and drug policy as well as easing parole conditions, both posted their seventh consecutive year of prison population decline.

Perhaps the other positive was in the realm of immigration. While not covered in the Bureau of Justice report, locking up immigrants has become a key component of mass incarceration in the 2000s.  In that regard, deportations did decline in 2013 after hitting a record level of over 400,000 in 2012. Moreover, felony convictions for immigration offenses also fell slightly, although average daily population in detention centers was up from 32,194 to 33,811. Still, the administration’s failure to implement comprehensive immigration reform, coupled with the 50,000 plus unaccompanied children on the border, hardly makes this issue a source of faith in the process and pace of change.

Concerns About The Change Process

Ultimately, the report along with events like those in Ferguson, Missouri, reinforced the concerns of many anti-mass incarceration campaigners that current changes were not digging deep enough to yield long lasting results.  Peter Wagner, Director of the Massachusetts-based Prison Policy Initiative, highlighted the need for states “to decide whether the people they are sending to prison really need to be there” and the corresponding issue of deciding which people “currently in prison can go home.” Instead, he lamented, states are continuing to hike “the number of people they send to prison for new offenses and violations of parole and decreasing the number of people they let out.”

Author and activist Ruthie Gilmore, who currently is associate director of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at CUNY, argued that the BOJ statistics have exposed the shortcomings of “opportunists” who have “blown up real solidarity.” She maintains that moderate reforms have promoted “the delusion that it’s possible to cherry pick some people from the prison machine” rather than undertake a broad restructuring of the communities which have been devastated by mass incarceration.  Mariame Kaba, head of Project NIA which practices transformative justice as a foil to youth incarceration in Chicago communities, concurred with Gilmore, stressing that “the rationale for and logic of punishment is unchanged. The targets of our punishment mindset also remain overwhelmingly black and poor.”

Kaba points out that the discourse has altered but policy seems to have lagged behind. “Talk and actions are not the same thing,” she said, “there is a need to move beyond awareness and take steps to address mass incarceration in real ways.”

What are the “real ways”?

The question is: what are these “real ways”?  Mainstream reformers have pushed for a number of changes: laws to reform harsh sentencing policies, especially for drug offenses.  Reentry has been another area of emphasis, with the Feds alone having put over $100 million into Second Chance Act initiatives to smooth the return for those coming home from prison. Relaxing drug laws, including the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, may have some impact, especially in the Federal system where more than 50% of the population has drug offenses. But in the state institutions, which hold over 85% of the nation’s prison population, only 16% are locked up for drug convictions while more than 50% have cases involving violence. To date, few reformers want to consider releasing or easing up on sentencing for those convicted of violent crimes.  Even many reentry initiatives avoid people with convictions for violent crimes.

Greene argues that it still boils down to serious sentencing reform which would go beyond merely those with drug convictions. The need, she argues, is to  “both to sharply reduce the number of people we send to prison and to shorten the inordinate amount of time those sent to prison have to serve before they are released.” Gilmore extends the sphere of change to focus on “the foundations on which mass incarceration has been built – structural racism and structural poverty and the capitalism that is devouring the planet.”

Convergence of Agendas?

One certain outcome of this statistical shift will be heightened debate amongst those involved in efforts to roll back the US prison system. As Gilmore put it, “the fact that prison numbers rose in 2013 is a testament to the deep fragmentation of social justice work in the USA.”  While a year ago, a so-called “convergence of agendas” looked a likely prospect, the Bureau of Justice report in the wake of high profile police violence and failed immigration policies, foretell an intensified struggle between those who argue that the system is broken but can be fixed and those who like Mariame Kaba contend that “reform is not enough, that we need much more urgent and radical (as in getting to the root of the problem) solutions. This is the only way that we will successfully address mass criminalization.”

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Family held at gunpoint as Nazi arrests another Palestinian rights defender

NOVANEWS
Submitted by Charlotte Silver

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Israeli soldiers detain Palestinian youths in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron in March 2014.

Israeli soldiers raided the family home of Ayman Nasser, legal coordinator of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, in the middle of the night last Thursday. He is the latest human rights defender in the occupied West Bank to be targeted and detained by the Israeli army.

Nasser’s wife told Addameer that a group of soldiers came to their home in Saffa, near Ramallah, at 1:30am on 18 September. After the soldiers ransacked their home for thirty minutes, Nasser was taken away.

“Fifteen soldiers raided the house and started shouting at me and my children to get out of the rooms, so we stayed in the living room with six soldiers pointing their guns at us,” his wife said in a statement to Addameer.

Nasser, 44, is a longtime human rights activist. In addition to his work with Ramallah-based Addameer, Nasser is the co-founder of the Handala Educational Center in Saffa, which focuses on arts, athletics and education. He has worked with Addameer since 2008.

Nasser was previously arrested in October 2012 and held for 93 days before being sentenced for 13 months; he was released in October 2013. Before his sentencing, Nasser endured weeks of interrogation while blindfolded and shackled. Before that he had spent six years, from 1992 to 1997, in an Israeli prison.

Military court

Nasser appeared in an Israeli military court on Sunday, 21 September, where the judge did not bring formal charges against him. Addameer researcher Murad Jadallah told The Electronic Intifada that he expects Nasser will be placed under administrative detention — Israel’s widespread practice of holding Palestinians without charge or trial, justifying detention on the basis of secret evidence.

Under Israel’s military court regime Palestinians can be held without charge or access to a lawyer for up to ninety days, and detention can be extended for another ninety days on request without any limit on the number of times an order can be renewed. However, even when a detainee is charged, the military court process is slow and arbitrary.

Human rights activist Murad Shtaiwi was arrested on 29 April and charged under Israel’s “protest law” for organizing demonstrations in Kufr Qaddum, a village in the northern West Bank whose land has been expropriated for Israeli settlements. His trial has been repeatedly delayed. If found guilty, Shtaiwi faces a maximum sentence of ten years of imprisonment.

“The practice of arbitrarily prolonging the trial process is not atypical for Palestinians within the Israeli military court system and is incompatible with the fair trial requirement under international human rights law that a defendant should be tried without undue delay,” Addameer stated in a press release on Shtaiwi.

Targeting rights defenders

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Ayman Nasser (Photo courtesy of Addameer)

When Ayman Nasser appeared in an Israeli military court two years ago, Nasser stated that his harsh interrogation sessions lasted up to ten hours and that he was denied the necessary medical treatment he had been receiving prior to detention. The charges brought against Nasser were primarily related to his activism — alleging that he was an activist with the leftist party the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and assisted in the 2012 prisoners’ hunger strike.

Addameer condemns the re-arrest of their colleague, placing it in Israel’s pattern of targeting Palestinian human rights organizations with an “aim to criminalize their work, silence their voices and prevent them from carrying out their work in supporting all Palestinian political prisoners and detainees.”

“Just look at the last three months to see an increase in arresting human rights defenders — whether journalists, PLC [Palestinian Legislative Council] members, writers —we are talking about Palestinian activists in Jerusalem, Hebron, Ramallah and everywhere in the West Bank getting arrested,” Jadallah told The Electronic Intifada.

Meanwhile, the number of Palestinian prisoners as a whole has swelled as well.

Before three Israeli teens went missing in the West Bank last June, giving Israel a pretext to conduct sweeping arrest raids, more than 175 Palestinians were being held under administrative detention; now it’s closer to 500, according to Jadallah. Last May,Addameer reported that more than 5,200 Palestinian poliltial prisoners were being held in Israeli jails.

Arrest and detention is not the only way that Israel violates the rights of Palestinian rights defenders.

Palestinian legislator Khalida Jarrar was issued a military order instructing her to transfer from her home in Ramallah to Jericho, where she would reside under special surveillance for six months. Such forcible transfers are illegal under international law and Jarrar, who serves on Addameer’s board and is a senior member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is currently resisting the forcible transfer and has set up a protest camp outside the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) in Ramallah.

There are currently 36 PLC members being held in Israeli prisons; 28 are being held under administrative detention.

Addameer defines Nasser, Shtaiwi and Jarrar as human rights defenders, a status enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

Systematic arrests

Addameer published a report earlier this year examining Israel’s systematic arrest of Palestinians organizing against Israel’s wall in the West Bank, arguing that since 2009 there has been a clear shift in tactics by the Israeli military to target and arrest human rights activists “in the context of increasing recognition of the legitimacy of the actions by the Palestinian human rights activists.”

Another detained human rights defender who has yet to stand trial is Shireen Issawi, a lawyer from East Jerusalem who was arrested on 6 March 2014 and is being held in pre-trial detention on charges related to cooperating with parties working against the State of Israel.

Twenty-one-year-old Bushra al-Taweel, a student and journalist who has worked for multiple human rights projects, was arrested on 2 July this year and held in military detention on the basis of secret evidence. She is still awaiting a date for a court hearing.

The Palestinian Prisoners Society warned last May that Israeli authorities appear to becracking down on Palestinian lawyers and charging them with relaying information from their clients, alleged Hamas members, to people outside of the prisons. In a spate of arrests, approximately ten Palestinian lawyers, including Issawi, were detained earlier this year.

Al Jazeera English reported that Jawad Boulos of the Palestinian Prisoners Society accused the Israeli authorities of illegally taping and mistranslating conversations between lawyers and their clients in an attempt to “re-draw the map that identifies the interaction between lawyers and detainees.”

Amjad Safadi, who was detained for twenty days in April, committed suicide five days after his release. The Palestinian Prisoners Society claims the suicide was a result of being beaten throughout his detention, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel demanded at the time that an investigation be conducted into the circumstances of Safadi’s death and interrogation.

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

CIA ‘tortured al-Qaeda suspects close to the point of death by drowning them in water-filled baths’

NOVANEWS

Exclusive: As the US Senate prepares to release a report documenting US torture programme after 9/11, Telegraph reveals new details about the scope of CIA excesses

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

The torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding Photo: AP

By , Washington

The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.

The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA.

“They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”

The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents.

Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks.

A second source who is familiar with the Senate report told The Telegraph that it contained several unflinching accounts of some CIA interrogations which – the source predicted – would “deeply shock” the general public.

Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee that authored the report has promised that it will expose “brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation”. The Senate report is understood to accuse the CIA of lying and of grossly exaggerating the usefulness of torture.

It is being angrily opposed by many senior Republicans, former CIA operatives and Bush-era officials, including the former US vice president Dick Cheney, who argue that is it poorly researched and politically motivated.

The CIA has previously admitted that it used black sites to subject at least three high-value al-Qaeda detainees to “enhanced interrogation” – namely Mohammed, the alleged USS Cole bomber Abd al Rahim al Nashiri and alleged senior Bin Laden aide Abu Zubaydah.

An internal report in 2004 by the CIA’s own Office of Inspector General admitted that Mohammed had been “waterboarded” 183 times and Abu Zubaydah 83 times – but actual details of how the interrogations were administered have never been provided.

When the 109-page CIA report was made public in 2009 following a freedom of information lawsuit, large portions of it remained redacted – or blacked out – including all 23 pages that followed the factual admission that interrogators “applied the waterboard technique” to Mohammed.

An official CIA description of waterboarding in the 2004 report says that a cloth is used to cover a subject’s nose and mouth and is saturated with water for “no more than 20 seconds” before being removed. A stream of water is then “directed at the upper lip” in order to prolong “the sense of suffocation”.

However the report also admits that waterboarding was being carried in a “manner different” from that prescribed in the US military’s standard SERE training manual, but details were not revealed, beyond the frequency of the treatment, which was admitted to have broken guidelines.

Among the additional difficulties for investigators seeking the truth about what happened is the fact that in November 2005 the CIA destroyed some 92 video tapes of its waterboarding and interrogation of Mohammed and the others.

The officer responsible, Jose Rodriquez, was reprimanded but justified his actions by arguing that he feared the tapes would eventually leak to the media, provoking a backlash that would endanger officers’ lives.

The White House and the State Department fear that the Senate report could still cause a backlash and have made preparations for increased security at sensitive sites when it is eventually published.

Despite the destruction of video evidence, however, a third source familiar with the still-classified accounts of the most severe of the CIA interrogations, said that the practices were much more brutal than is widely understood.

“They got medieval on his ass, and far more so than people realise,” the source told The Telegraph referring to the treatment of Mohammed and Nashiri, but declined to provide further details because of the still-classified nature of the material.

Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative and the author of Administration of Torture, a book detailing the Bush administration’s torture policy, said the new details of the CIA excesses should not come as a surprise.

“Given the lengths that Bush-era CIA officials went to cover up the truth, including destroying videotapes depicting waterboarding of prisoners, it comes as no surprise that the torture was more brutal than previously revealed.

“It is, however, something that the American public has a right to know about, and an obligation to reckon with, and these revelations only underscore the urgent need for release of the Senate intelligence committee report,” she said.

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CIA ‘tortured al-Qaeda suspects close to the point of death by drowning them in water-filled baths’

NOVANEWS

The Telegraph 

The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph. The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA. “They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.” The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents. Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks. A second source who is familiar with the Senate report told The Telegraph that it contained several unflinching accounts of some CIA interrogations which – the source predicted – would “deeply shock” the general public.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency operations news articles from reliable major media sources.

The CIA’s Mop-Up Man: L.A. Times Reporter Cleared Stories With Agency Before Publication

The Intercept

A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times. Dilanian’s emails were included in hundreds of pages of documents that the CIA turned over in response to two FOIA requests seeking records on the agency’s interactions with reporters. They include email exchanges with reporters for the Associated Press, Washington PostNew York Times,Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. In addition to Dilanian’s deferential relationship with the CIA’s press handlers, the documents show that the agency regularly invites journalists to its McLean, Va., headquarters for briefings and other events.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing major media corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Posted in Human Rights, USA0 Comments

Gaza Nazi Holocaust: This part of my life is called: Running!” ”VIDEO”

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by Nahida Exiled Palestinian

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

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