British government not helping Briton tortured in UAE


This video says about itself:

‘Repeatedly interrogated’: Muslim American sues FBI for torture in UAE prison

19 March 2015

An Eritrean-born American citizen is suing the FBI for pressuring him to collaborate and torturing him in a foreign prison when he refused. Yonas Fikre says he was arrested and interrogated in the United Arab Emirates.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

FCO refused to aid tortured student

Tuesday 25th August 2015

Government did not ask United Arab Emirates for a pardon

THE government refused to request a pardon for 22-year-old British student Ahmad Zeidan, who has allegedly been tortured into admitting drugs charges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a human rights charity said yesterday.

Mr Zeidan has been locked up for nearly two years, but his case was not raised during Prime Minister David Cameron’s meeting with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi last month, just before 900 pardons across the UAE were announced, Reprieve said.

He alleges that, in the course of a week, he was hooded, stripped, kept in solitary confinement for two days, beaten and threatened with rape before being forced to sign a “confession” in Arabic, which he cannot read or write.

Reprieve death penalty team leader Maya Foa said Mr Zeidan had suffered a “staggering miscarriage of justice” and urged the government to help him end the “nightmarish ordeal.”

The charity has received an email from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) admitting that it had not sent a letter in support of a pardon scheduled for September, despite it being official policy to do this for British nationals.

British consular staff in UAE have forwarded letters from Mr Zeidan’s father appealing for clemency to the ruler’s court in the emirate of Sharjah and to UAE President Sheikh Khalifa and Interior Minister Sheikh Saif bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, the FCO email added.

The FCO, when contacted by the Star, did not comment on why it has not supported the pardon request.

Mr Zeidan, of Reading in Berkshire, was studying at the Emirates Aviation College in Dubai when he was arrested in December 2013.

Police found 0.04g of cocaine — with a street value of around £3 — in the glove compartment of a car in which he was a passenger.

He always maintained that the drugs were not his, but he was sentenced to nine years in prison last summer. His six non-British co-defendants have been released. He also “narrowly missed a death sentence,” Reprieve said.

His family have twice called on the government to formally petition for his release.

Mr Zeidan, who is being held in Sharjah Central Jail, said he has suffered “a mountain of pain,” with seizures and disturbing flashbacks waking him during the night.

He said: “I’m not coping. I feel like I am going to self-implode. I’m just holding onto a thin line of something and I feel it’s going to run out very soon.”

Canadian family campaigns for release of father detained and tortured in UAE. Salim Alaradi has spent 362 days in a cell in the United Arab Emirates, detained without charge and allegedly tortured as the prisoner of state security agents: here.

United States President Jeb Bush would torture, like his brother


This video from the USA says about itself:

“These Are Crimes”: New Calls to Prosecute Bush Admin as Senate Report Reveals Brutal CIA Torture

10 December 2014

Graphic new details of the post-9/11 U.S. torture program came to light Tuesday when the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 500-page summary of its investigation into the CIA with key parts redacted. The report concludes that the intelligence agency failed to disrupt a single plot despite torturing al-Qaeda and other captives in secret prisons worldwide between 2002 and 2006, and details a list of torture methods used on prisoners, including waterboarding, sexual threats with broomsticks, and medically unnecessary “rectal feeding.”

The report also confirms the CIA ran black sites in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Romania, Poland, Thailand, and a secret site on the Guantánamo Naval Base known as Strawberry Fields. So far no one involved in the CIA interrogation program has been charged with a crime except the whistleblower John Kiriakou.

In 2007, he became the first person with direct knowledge of the program to publicly reveal its existence. He is now serving a 30-month sentence. We speak with Reed Brody, counsel and spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, who has written several reports on prisoner mistreatment in the war on terror, including a 2011 report which called for a criminal investigation of senior Bush administration officials.

Watch all Democracy Now! reports about the U.S. torture program in our archive.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Jeb Bush doesn’t rule out torture

UNITED STATES: Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush refused to rule out a resumption of the use of torture if he becomes president.

At a party campaign rally in Iowa, the former Florida governor said on Thursday that, in general, he believed torture was inappropriate.

But, asked whether he would enforce President Barack Obama’s ban on “enhanced interrogation” practices, he said: “I don’t want to make a definitive, blanket kind of statement.”

Election 2016: Jeb Bush Got $1.3M Job At Lehman After Florida Shifted Pension Cash To Bank: here.

United States psychologists’ convention bans participation in torture


This video, recorded in Canada, says about itself:

Anti-Torture Psychologists Celebrate New APA Interrogation Ban

7 August 2015

Steven Reisner and Stephen Soldz, two founders of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, speak to Amy Goodman in Toronto moments after the American Psychological Association approved a ban on psychologists from taking part in national security interrogations. See full coverage here.

By Tom Carter in the USA:

US psychologists’ convention bans participation in torture

10 August 2015

On Friday, the American Psychological Association overwhelmingly adopted a resolution banning participation by psychologists in national security interrogations, in the face of accusations that the proposed ban on torture was “anti-government” and “anti-military.”

The resolution states that “psychologists shall not conduct, supervise, be in the presence of, or otherwise assist any national security interrogations for any military or intelligence entities, including private contractors working on their behalf, nor advise on conditions of confinement insofar as these might facilitate such an interrogation.”

The resolution was adopted at a convention in Toronto by a vote of 156 council members to one, with seven abstentions and one recusal. Following the successful vote, participants and a crowd of observers rose for a defiant standing ovation. Some wore T-shirts that read, “First, do no harm,” referring to the fundamental concept in medical ethics.

The American Psychological Association is a scientific and professional organization embracing 122,500 professionals. Full membership in the organization requires a doctoral degree.

According to an APA press release, “The new policy does allow for psychologist involvement in general policy consultation regarding humane interrogations. The prohibition does not apply to domestic law enforcement interrogations or domestic detention settings where detainees are under the protection of the U.S. Constitution.”

The vote follows the release of a 542-page independent report last month implicating the APA in the CIA torture program, which was prepared by a team of lawyers led by former federal prosecutor David Hoffman. The Hoffman report, commissioned by the APA, exposed a conspiracy at the top levels of the APA, in collusion with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Department of Defense (DOD), to facilitate the involvement of psychologists in the CIA torture program and later to shield the perpetrators from accountability.

The CIA torture program was the subject of a devastating Senate Intelligence Committee report in December of last year, which shamefully continues to be ignored by the establishment media in the US. The Senate report painted a picture of systematic and shocking brutality, infamously including “rectal feeding” and other practices, with the active oversight of the highest levels of the state. The Senate report found that numerous medical professionals had been accomplices or direct participants in torture, including doctors, nurses and psychologists.

In the period leading up to the APA’s annual conference last week, dissident psychologists opposed to torture were targeted for browbeating and intimidation. Tony Williams, president of the APA’s Society for Military Psychology, characterized the ban on torture that was passed Friday as a “politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance.” He went on to criticize the Hoffman report as serving “an effort to advance an unspoken political agenda.”

In the face of such efforts, the nearly unanimous vote is certainly a welcome repudiation of the criminal torture practices of the American government that were implemented as part of the “war on terror.” The vote vindicates the efforts of those dissident psychologists who have campaigned for years against torture.

At the same time, it is certainly an indication of the present crisis of American society that a vote was even necessary at all. Torture has been clearly illegal for decades, under both international and domestic law.

The involvement of medical professionals in torture is unambiguously prohibited by the Nuremberg Code, which resulted from the trials of Nazi doctors in the aftermath of the Second World War. (See The American Psychological Association, torture and the Nuremberg doctors’ trial.) Under the Nuremberg Code, medical professionals require the voluntary informed consent of their patients, and they are required to minimize harm.

The vote Friday paves the way for ethical complaints to be initiated against the psychologists involved in the CIA torture program, the loss of their licenses, and even prosecutions.

While those psychologists who participated in torture should certainly be held accountable, holding them accountable raises the question of all other civilian, military and intelligence officials and personnel who participated in torture. What about the top officials in the Bush and Obama administrations that orchestrated the program, lied about it, and tried to conceal it?

To date, the Obama administration has consistently refused to hold anyone involved in the criminal torture program accountable, invoking the slogan “looking forward, not backward.” The APA vote on Friday is a reminder that war criminals and torturers remain at large, who have yet to be brought to justice.

Retired Army Colonel Larry James cast the one dissenting vote on Friday. James served as Guantanamo’s chief psychologist in 2003 and as the director of the Abu Ghraib “behavioral science unit” in 2004.

At both Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, according to the Center for Torture Accountability, “James headed teams of ‘mental health’ professionals charged with destroying the mental health of detainees, on the theory that psychologically broken men would provide interrogators with more information.”

James claims that his role was to ensure that the detainees were treated ethically, but the Center indicates that his real function was “to maximize their psychological pain.”

“On his watch, prisoners were threatened with rape and murder, sexually humiliated, left naked in cold cells, chained into uncomfortable ‘stress positions’ for hours on end, and deprived of sleep and human contact, among other psychological regimens,” the Center notes.

In 2008, James became dean of the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. In 2009, he served as president of the American Board of Health Psychology. From 2009 to 2010, he served as president elect of the APA’s Division of Military Psychology.

In 2010, James announced that he had been appointed to a task force headed by Michelle Obama called, “Enhancing the Psychological Well-Being of The Military Family.” In a press release, James emphatically agreed with the Obama administration’s policy of “turning the page” on torture—that is, the policy of zero accountability for torturers and their accomplices.

See also here.

Police investigator fired for not covering up killings in Chicago, USA


Lorenzo Davis, a former Supervising Investigator who was fired from his position at the Independent Police Review Authority poses for a portrait at his home in Chicago, Illinois July 21, 2015. Davis was terminated from his job after his employer said he refused to change his findings in Chicago police officers involved in cases on excessive force and officer involved shootings. (Photo: Joshua Lott for The Daily Beast)

By George Gallanis in the USA:

Chicago police investigator fired for not covering up police killings

3 August 2015

On July 19, Lorenzo Davis, a former supervisor for Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), was fired for failing to falsely exonerate three officers who had killed innocent civilians.

Davis, a former Chicago police officer for 23 years and retired in 2004, was hired to work at IPRA in 2008. Two years later, he was promoted to supervising investigator and led a team of five. According to its web site, Davis served on a review board that “is directly responsible for conducting investigations into allegations of the use of excessive force, police shootings where an officer discharges his/her weapon and strikes someone, deaths in custody, domestic violence, verbal abuse including bias and coercion. IPRA also investigates allegations of off-duty misconduct relating to excessive force and weapon discharge incidents.”

The Chicago Reader reported that during his seven years at IPRA, Davis and his team found six shootings to be unjustified out of a total of 13 investigations. In three of those cases, Davis’ supervisor and IPRA’s chief administrator, Scott V. Ando, ordered Davis to exonerate the officers, despite Davis’ findings. When he refused to falsify the outcome of his investigation, Davis was sacked.

The firing reveals the true character of police investigations that follow killings by officers. Far from offering an independent investigation, the standard operating procedure for these police inquiries is to cover up for police murder.

Davis’s firing came just two weeks after he received a performance review in which he was accused of having a “clear bias against the police” and for being “the only supervisor at IPRA who resists making requested changes as directed by management in order to reflect the correct finding with respect to OIS,” or officer-involved shootings.

In other words, Davis was the only employee who refused to go along with the police department’s efforts to whitewash repeated police killings and protect the perpetrators.

Davis has since openly criticized the CPD and IPRA, stating, “I did not like the direction the police department had taken.”

He continued: “It appeared that officers were doing whatever they wanted to do. The discipline was no longer there.” Moreover, he said, “to me they have a hidden agenda, one that I don’t know about, to decide that virtually all police shootings are justified. That logically cannot be.”

Since the creation of IPRA in 2007, Chicago police have shot nearly 400 civilians. However, only one of these killings has been deemed “unjustified” enough to call for the firing of a police officer by IPRA.

The sole “unjustified” shooting, which took place in 2011, was by an off-duty officer who fired 16 rounds into a car after a drive-by shooting. The driver of the car was an innocent bystander and not involved with the drive-by shooting. IPRA found the off-duty officer guilty of lying to investigators after claiming he fired at the driver of the car responsible for the shooting. Video evidence showed this to be false, and so the review board was forced to act.

IPRA’s investigative results are filled with accounts of officers using violence in one way or another against civilians, yet officers are rarely punished.

In fact, IPRA’s record shows that police terrorize the population with virtual impunity. In its most recent quarterly report, IPRA concluded that only 37 out of 385 investigations required some sort of disciplinary action.

One complaint from 2011 that was recently reviewed includes the following description:

“In an incident involving four on duty CPD [Chicago Police Department] officers (A, B, C, and D), an unknown on-duty CPD officer (E) and five Complainants (1,2,3,4 and 5), Officers A and D were alleged to have directed profanities at the Complainants, knocked Complainant 1’s head on a table, pushed Complainant 1 against a fence several times, punched Complainant 1 several times about the face and body, banged Complainant 1’s head several times against the back window of a police vehicle, entered Complainant 1’s residence without justification, handcuffed Complainant 1 too tightly, punched Complainant 1 in the face and groin several times, and failed to complete a Tactical Response Report.” The report goes to state that the officers allegedly continued punching, kicking and even using objects against the Complainants, all the while using racial slurs.

In spite of this overwhelming evidence, the only allegations which IPRA claims were “supported by sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action” were the allegations that the officers used profanities against the complainants and that they failed to file a Tactical Response Report. All of the other allegations were either considered unfounded, or were deemed “not supported by sufficient evidence which could be used to prove or disprove the allegation.”

Police review boards across the country—including the IPRA—were created for the purpose of fostering the illusion that the police are in some way held accountable for repeated acts of brutality.

But the situation in Chicago is emblematic of the extent to which the police brutalize the population with near complete impunity.

As the World Socialist Web Site reported in May, the Chicago Police operate a torture chamber at the Homan Square “black site,” where “Chicagoans were held for hours and sometimes days in fetid conditions, denied access to lawyers, and physically abused or threatened until they agreed to police demands. In some instances, individuals were forced to participate in petty drug stings or supply the police with off-the-books firearms.”

This revelation came in the wake of the creation of a $5.5 million reparation fund set in place for victims of police carried out over the course of 20 years by former police commander Jon Burge. One of Burge’s victims had a shotgun placed into his mouth, with police pretending to load it and pull the trigger. Police also used a cattle prod to shock one victim’s genitals.

Davis’s firing is a further indication that the American ruling class will tolerate no criticism of its increasingly violent and depraved tactics of repression. More and more, the police treatment of the population domestically mirrors the brutal treatment of the populations of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Indeed, 15 years after the start of the “war on terror,” no aspect of social, political, or cultural life in the United States is immune from the domestic repercussions of the permanent state of war abroad.

See also here. And here.

Twitter Demands To Know What Happened To Sandra Bland. A black woman died in police custody just days before the anniversary of Eric Garner‘s death: here.

CIA Romanian torture prison discovered, 2011


This video says about itself:

AP Exclusive: Inside Romania’s Secret CIA Prison

7 December 2011

For years, the CIA used a government building in Bucharest, Romania as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees.

From Associated Press, 8 December 2011:

Inside Romania’s secret CIA prison

WASHINGTON: In northern Bucharest, in a busy residential neighbourhood minutes from the heart of the capital city, is a secret the Romanian government has long tried to protect.

For years, the CIA used a government building — codenamed “Bright Light” — as a makeshift prison for its most valuable detainees. There it held Al-Qaeda operatives Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, and others in a basement prison before they were ultimately transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006, according to former US intelligence officials familiar with the location and inner workings of the prison.

The existence of a CIA prison in Romania has been widely reported, but its location has never been made public. The Associated Press and German public television ARD located the former prison and learned details of the facility where harsh interrogation tactics were used. ARD’s program on the CIA prison is set to air Thursday.

The Romanian prison was part of a network of so-called black sites that the CIA operated and controlled overseas in Thailand, Lithuania and Poland. …

Unlike the CIA’s facility in Lithuania’s countryside or the one hidden in a Polish military installation, the CIA’s prison in Romania was not in a remote location. It was hidden in plain sight, a couple blocks off a major boulevard on a street lined with trees and homes, along busy train tracks.

The building is used as the National Registry Office for Classified Information, which is also known as ORNISS. Classified information from Nato and the European Union is stored there. Former intelligence officials both described the location of the prison and identified pictures of the building.

In an interview at the building in November, senior ORNISS official Adrian Camarasan said the basement is one of the most secure rooms in all of Romania. But he said Americans never ran a prison there.

“No, no. Impossible, impossible,” he said in an ARD interview for its “Panorama” news broadcast, as a security official monitored the interview.

The CIA prison opened for business in the fall of 2003, after the CIA decided to empty the black site in Poland, according to former US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss the detention program with reporters.

Shuttling detainees into the facility without being seen was relatively easy. After flying into Bucharest, the detainees were brought to the site in vans. CIA operatives then drove down a side road and entered the compound through a rear gate that led to the actual prison.

The detainees could then be unloaded and whisked into the ground floor of the prison and into the basement.

The basement consisted of six prefabricated cells, each with a clock and arrow pointing to Makkah, the officials said. The cells were on springs, keeping them slightly off balance and causing disorientation among some detainees.

The CIA declined to comment on the prison.

During the first month of their detention, the detainees endured sleep deprivation and were doused with water, slapped or forced to stand in painful positions, several former officials said. Waterboarding, the notorious interrogation technique that simulates drowning, was not performed in Romania, they said.

Former US officials said that because the building was a government installation, it provided excellent cover. The prison didn’t need heavy security because area residents knew it was owned by the government. People wouldn’t be inclined to snoop in post-communist Romania, with its extensive security apparatus known for spying on the country’s own citizens.

Human rights activists have urged the Eastern European countries to investigate the roles their governments played in hosting the prisons in which interrogation techniques such as waterboarding were used. Officials from these countries continue to deny these prisons ever existed.

“We know of the criticism, but we have no knowledge of this subject,” Romanian President Traian Basescu said in a September interview with AP.

The CIA has tried to close the book on the detention program, which President Barack Obama ended shortly after taking office.

“That controversy has largely subsided,” the CIA’s top lawyer, Stephen Preston, said at a conference this month.

But details of the prison network continue to trickle out through investigations by international bodies, reporters and human rights groups. “There have been years of official denials,” said Dick Marty, a Swiss lawmaker who led an investigation into the CIA secret prisons for the Council of Europe. “We are at last beginning to learn what really happened in Bucharest.”

During the Council of Europe’s investigation, Romania’s foreign affairs minister assured investigators in a written report that, “No public official or other person acting in an official capacity has been involved in the unacknowledged deprivation of any individual, or transport of any individual while so deprived of their liberty.” That report also described several other government investigations into reports of a secret CIA prison in Romania and said: “No such activities took place on Romanian territory.”

Reporters and human rights investigators have previously used flight records to tie Romania to the secret prison program. Flight records for a Boeing 737 known to be used by the CIA showed a flight from Poland to Bucharest in September 2003. …

Later, other detainees — Ramzi Binalshibh, Abd al-Nashiri and Abu Faraj al-Libi — were also moved to Romania. …

Court documents recently discovered in a lawsuit have also added to the body of evidence pointing to a CIA prison in Romania. The files show CIA contractor Richmor Aviation Inc., a New York-based charter company, operated flights to and from Romania along with other locations including Morocco and the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

For the CIA officers working at the secret prison, the assignment wasn’t glamorous. The officers served 90-day tours, slept on the compound and ate their meals there, too. Officers were prevented from the leaving the base after their presence in the neighbourhood stoked suspicion. One former officer complained that the CIA spent most of its time baby-sitting detainees like Binalshibh and Mohammed whose intelligence value diminished as the years passed.

The Romanian and Lithuanian sites were eventually closed in the first half of 2006 before CIA Director Porter Goss left the job. Some of the detainees were taken to Kabul, where the CIA could legally hold them before they were sent to Guantanamo. Others were sent back to their native countries.

The detailed and engrossing 2008 book, The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, by Hugh Wilford investigates the CIA’s ideological struggle from 1947 to 1967 to win “hearts and minds” for US capitalism and to prosecute the Cold War: here.

Saudi Arabian repression in 2011


This video says about itself:

Torture by Saudi Arabian authorities

30 October 2014

Unfortunately, these acts almost happen every day in Saudi Arabia’s prisons and police stations.

5 December 2011: A report by human rights organization Amnesty International records the wave of repression unleashed by Saudi authorities in response to the “Arab Spring” uprisings: here.