Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Torture in the News

Top Stories

A victory for School of the Americas/Assassins Watch. The House of Representatives has approved a report accompanying the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill that demands the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) release to the public the names of all students and instructors who attended the school during the fiscal years of 2005 and 2006. The directive also requires that the same information be available to the public in all future fiscal years.
In the report accompanying HR 3222, the fiscal year 2008 Defense Appropriations bill, the committee declares:

The Committee supports the mandate of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation to be a transparent and democratic institution. To promote such transparency and democratic values, the Committee directs the Institute to release to the public the names of all students and instructors at the Institute for fiscal years 2005 and 2006. The list shall include all names, including but not limited to the first, middle, and maternal and paternal surnames, rank, country of origin, courses taken or taught, and years of attendance. In all future fiscal years, this same information shall be made available and provided to the public no later than 60 days after the end of each fiscal year.


The New Yorker reports that al-Qaeda lieutenant and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was tortured at a "black site" following his 2003 capture. The CIA, of course, responds by saying "the United States does not conduct or condone torture." This and more on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" practices in Jane Mayer's "The Black Sites."

Also in the News

The Los Angeles Times editorializes on the duplicity of the Bush Administration's denial of torture. Meanwhile, the Vero Beach Press-Journal criticizes what it calls the "sort of against torture" policy of the White House.

Bisher al-Rawi and other victims of extraordinary rendition sue Boeing, the parent company of the private airline chartered to fly al-Rawi to imprisonment and torture. The experience, says al-Rawi, was "horrific beyond words."

The Muslim Brotherhood accuses Cairo police of torturing and disappearing three of their members. The Egyptian Interior Ministry refused to comment, but Egypt has a notorious torture record, so the accusation is credible on the surface. The Brotherhood, a Sunni Islamist international organization, publicly denounces violence but has been implicated in several terrorist actions. Elsewhere in Egypt, in the Nile Delta village of Tilbanah, local cops have been accused of torturing Nasr Amed Abdallah to death.

Vagina Monologues author Eve Ensler denounces rape as torture in the Congo, where rape, forced amputation, murder, and lawlessness, despite a 2003 peace agreement, continue.

Torture victim Clement Abaifouta reflects on Chad's "African Pinochet," ousted dictator Hissene Habre's, reign of terror.

Azerbaijani officials announce a criminal investigation into allegations that Baku cops tortured two criminal suspects. Given Azerbaijan's poor human rights record, it's not clear how genuine the investigation will be.

A senior police official in India's Tripura district has been suspended for torturing a criminal suspect while interrogating him. "The police official pierced pins in my nail and thrust chilli powder inside my anus and penis, besides the nose. Then he beat me for the whole night using a thorny branch," Kamal Acharjee, the victim, told journalists at a hospital.

Ten years after his torture by New York City cops, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima reflects on police brutality.