Monday, August 20, 2007

Torture in the News

Lead Story
Convicted "terrorist" Jose Padilla may be permanently damaged by US enhanced interrogation techniques.

Other Torture News

The Uganda Human Rights Commission orders the Ugandan government to compensate two victims of illegal detention and torture. An international legal precedent for Guantanamo suits...?

"Because of its power and global interest U.S. leaders have committed crimes as a matter of course and structural necessity. A strict application of international law would have given every U.S. president of the past 50 years Nuremberg treatment." (Edward Herman, Z Magazine, Dec.1999, p.38) Ethiopian columnist Tesfaye H.H. agrees. reports the discovery of an insurgent "torture house" near Mahmudiya A few "wire whips" and a "short handled maul" were the give-away. Sounds a bit flimsy--the Pentagon wants to document insurgent atrocities in the worst way--so the Maiden will keep an eye on whether this story develops.

In Sydney, Australia, a man named Saleh Jamal has been sentenced to a prison term for a gangland shooting. His story is unremarkable except for the account he gave during his trial of being tortured by Syrian and Lebanese authorities during an earlier imprisonment in Lebanon.

Following the revelation that American psychologists have participated in US-sponsored torture, and responding in part to an ACLU call, the 148,000-member American Psychological Association bans members from taking part in over a dozen "interrogation" techniques, but stops short of a complete ban on all techniques. The APA is the largest professional organization in the mental health field. Now, what about the American Medical Association?

Guantanamo prisoner Omar Deghayes, who also happens to be a British citizen, alleges that he and others are tortured by US guards and interrogators. Deghayes charges are made in testimony to an attorney seeking his release.

In her recent New Yorker piece on CIA torture tactics, Jane Mayer mentions an International Committee of the Red Cross report on the US interrogation of prisoners at CIA "black sites." University of Toledo law professor Benjamin Davis calls for the public release of the report.

Torturers are nothing if not inventive. The Pakistan Supreme Court has ordered an investigation into allegations that cops recently forced suspects in a robbery case to strip naked and bite one another "in a replay of traditional dog-and-bear fight — a common sport in some parts of the country."

Chicago's finest have a sorry history of torturing criminal suspects. The latest chapter revolves around allegations that James Andrews, convicted of a couple of murders in 1984, confessed under torture.

Alas. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been corrupted by the CIA. Released documents indicate that the RCMP cooperated with US authorities in the 2002 extraordinary rendition and subsequent torture of Maher Arar. Arar, a Canadian citizen, was kidnapped in New York City during a flight stop and whisked off to Syria. His lawsuit against the US was dismissed in 2006 on national security grounds.