Guantanamo Bay torture, stop cover up

This video from human rights organisation Reprieve says about itself:

The footage the U.S. Government doesn’t want you to see

19 January 2016

The real footage of abusive force-feeding at Guantánamo Bay could finally be released to the public, but only if we fight for it.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

US ‘must’ publish torture videos

Thursday 21st January 2016

Reprieve urges supporters to lobby for the release of horrific force-feeding footage

A BRITISH charity urged its US supporters yesterday to lobby their government to release disturbing top-secret footage of a hunger-striking Guantanamo Bay prisoner being force-fed.

Reprieve, which campaigned for the release of British detainee Shaker Aamer, wants people to “act quickly” in order to expose harrowing prison camp torture.

US Solicitor General Don Verrilli will decide tomorrow, seven years after President Barack Obama vowed to close the prison in Cuba, whether to lodge an appeal to block anyone from viewing the evidence of abuse.

Reprieve’s website offers a template email to send to Mr Verrilli to encourage him to “drop the appeal and release as much of the footage as is feasible to the general public.”

Hours of redacted footage shows former Guantanamo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab — held for 12 years without charge or trial — dragged from his cell by guards in riot gear and force-fed.

Only the US government and Reprieve lawyers have ever been able to view the tapes.

Mr Dhiab, who has been wheelchair-bound since being released to Uruguay in 2014, was routinely abused and had unsanitary tubes pushed into his throat by medics, while one of the six riot gear-clad guards filmed everything.

Save Shaker Aamer Campaign chairwoman Joy Hurcombe said it’s “essential” that the public witnesses how prisoners on hunger strike are tortured on a daily basis.

She told the Star: “They are dragged from their cells and brutally strapped in and fed in the most inhumane fashion. It is a crime against humanity, illegal and a form of torture.”

Ms Hurcombe added that she watched “unspeakably violent” simulated footage demonstrating methods designed to “dehumanise prisoners, destroy their bodies and crush their will.”

This is because hunger strikes are the only form of peaceful protest that detainees have, she said.

She continued: “The tubes are harshly entered through the nose and mouth, although they are often much too big and have not been cleaned after being used on other prisoners.

“Prisoners are in pain and choking. The tubes are yanked out and, if they vomit, they are subjected to more force-feeding and are not allowed any water.”

The US government is “deeply ashamed” of the events — despite insisting that no torture occurs — and “will try every way to stop people seeing the footage,” according to Ms Hurcombe.

Sixteen media organisations — including the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times Company and Bloomberg — intervened in the legal case to lobby for the release of the footage.

Last January, they criticised the US government’s “absolutist position” in blocking access to court evidence that “violates constitutional access rights and the separation of powers.”

Reprieve lawyers had won a legal battle to obtain the footage and a judge has already ordered the US government to release the tapes — but Mr Verrilli could still block it.

Lawyer Cori Crider said: “[The footage] is disturbing and will make anyone who watches it lose sleep. But that’s exactly why the public needs to see it.

“If Obama is going to make meaningful progress in keeping his promise to shut Guantanamo, all of us need to know what the daily reality of the prison is like.”

ACTIVISTS in Britain launched a Close Guantanamo campaign yesterday, calling on Barack Obama to shut down the prison within the year he has left in office: here.

‘British government never tortured’. Yeah, right

This video says about itself:

“We Don’t Torture

Torture, according to international law, is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person…”

This song is called “Armagh.” It’s cut down from the 1981 album “Playing with a Different Sex” by the greatly influential post-punk British band, Au Pairs.

Bush and torture, cartoon

From the Google cache, of when my Dear Kitty blog was still at Modblog.

Date: 7 November 2005 at 6:51PM

According to the BBC, George W. Bush said: “We Do Not Torture“.

Probably Bush was inspired here by the chorus of a 25-years-old song by British band the Au Pairs.

It is called Armagh (in Northern Ireland; on the British women’s prison there):

We don’t torture, we’re a civilized nation
We’re avoiding any confrontation
We don’t torture, we don’t torture

American hostages in Iran
Heard daily on the news
forget about Vietnam

You can ignore the 32
There are 32 women in Armagh jail
political prisoners here at home
the British state’s got nothing to lose
It’s a subject better left alone –

We don’t torture
we’re a civilized nation
We’re avoiding any confrontation
We don’t torture, we don’t torture

Alleged crimes withheld information
She gets no sanitation
dries her shit on her cell wall
feeling cold and sick
She gets a couple of valium
Now she’s relaxed for the next interrogation
naked spreadeagled on her back

it’s a better position for internal examination
it’s a better position for giving information
An armed guard squad she gets a beating
bleeding and wounded she’s stopped eating
has a baby gets nothing for pain
they came and took her baby away

Now, to December 2015.

By Will Stone in Britain:

‘Britain has never been complicit in torture

Tuesday 15th December 2015

Jack Straw accused of ‘rewriting history’

JACK STRAW was reminded yesterday that a pregnant woman and four children were seized and forcibly flown to Colonel Muammar Gadaffi’s Libya on his watch after he denied British complicity in torture.

The former foreign secretary had claimed: “The British government never condoned nor was complicit in the torture or ill-treatment of detainees, wherever they were held.”

Mr Straw made the “outlandish” claim while desperately trying to defend himself against allegations made by former Guantanamo Bay inmate Shaker Aamer.

Mr Aamer, who was held in the prison camp without charge for 14 years, argued that both Mr Straw and former prime minister Tony Blair knew while they were in office that he was being tortured.

Human rights charity Reprieve has now highlighted MI6 correspondence, a High Court judgement and admissions by Mr Straw’s own cabinet colleagues proving British government complicity in torture during his time as foreign secretary.

M16 director of counterterrorism Sir Mark Allen wrote a letter to Libyan spy chief Moussa Koussa in 2004 in which he took credit for an operation with the CIA.

The operation saw Libyan dissident Abdul-hakim Belhadj and his five months’ pregnant wife Fatima Boudchar kidnapped and flown to Col Gadaffi’s prisons where they were subsequently tortured.

Alongside them were Sami al-Saadi’s family, including his four children aged 12, 11, nine and six.

The Saadi family accepted a substantial out-of-court settlement in 2013.

Mr Allen wrote that while “I did not pay for the air cargo … the intelligence was British.”

He added: “This was the least we could do for you and for Libya to demonstrate the remarkable relationship we have built over the years. I am so glad.”

The operation, which took place while Mr Straw was foreign secretary with responsibility for MI6, is now the subject of a Metropolitan Police investigation.

Files have been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is considering charges.

A CPS spokeswoman told the Star it was “continuing to advise the police and to look at all the evidence in relation to what is a very large and complex investigation.”

However, she couldn’t say when there would be sufficient evidence to make a final decision.

Reprieve director Cori Crider said: “Mr Straw’s claims seem to be an attempt to rewrite history.

“We already know that Britain was complicit in the US torture programme — the only questions remaining are how far this went, who knew about it, and who signed it off.

“As the minister responsible for MI6 when it helped render a pregnant woman and four young children to Gadaffi’s prisons, maybe Mr Straw could start giving us some answers.”

A High Court ruling in 2009 in the case of Binyam Mohamed, who in 2002 was captured and sent to a secret prison in Morocco where he was extensively tortured, also flies in the face of Mr Straw’s claim, the charity said.

Mr Mohamed claims that interrogators repeatedly cut his penis and chest using scalpels and razor blades.

Judges found “the relationship of the United Kingdom government to the United States authorities in connection with Binyam Mohamed was far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing.”

The British government awarded him £1 million in compensation in 2011.

And two of Mr Straw’s cabinet colleagues in 2008 admitted that British personnel and territory had been involved in the US rendition programme, under which detainees were flown to secret prisons around the world to be tortured.

Then foreign secretary David Miliband acknowledged that CIA rendition flights, carrying prisoners, had used the British territory of Diego Garcia on two occasions in 2002.

And then defence secretary John Hutton admitted that, in 2004, British personnel had captured people in Iraq and handed them to the US, which then sent them to a secret prison in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they were tortured.

Bahrain dictatorship punishes anti-torture, pro-peace free speech

This video says about itself:

No End to Torture in Bahrain

22 November 2015

Bahraini security forces are torturing detainees during interrogation. Institutions set up after 2011 to receive and investigate complaints lack independence and transparency.

From Human Rights Watch:

December 14, 2015

Bahrain: Travel Ban on Rights Activist

Criticized Torture, Yemen Bombing Campaign

(Beirut) – An arbitrary travel ban is preventing a prominent rights activist from leaving Bahrain. The ban against Nabeel Rajab is based on charges that violate his right to free expression. Prosecutors should immediately drop the charges and lift the travel ban.

Rajab’s lawyers told Human Rights Watch that because prosecutors have not formally closed the investigation into these charges, Rajab could be arrested at any time and face a criminal trial. Rajab’s lawyers have filed appeals to the travel ban with the investigating prosecutor on September 2, 2015, the attorney general on September 16, and the office of the Public Prosecution on October 1. After receiving no responses, the lawyers submitted a second appeal to the attorney general on December 3.

“Nabeel Rajab is not at liberty to speak his mind or to leave the country,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “This travel ban against Rajab is just the latest unlawful effort by Bahrain’s government to keep a critic quiet.”

A public prosecutor imposed the travel ban on Rajab on July 13, the day Bahrain’s King Hamad-Bin-Isa-Al-Khalifa pardoned and released him for “offending national institutions” by criticizing the government on social media. The travel ban is based on two speech-related charges that led to his arrest on April 2, which prosecutors have not dropped.

One of the outstanding charges is for insulting a statutory body, under article 216 of Bahrain’s penal code, based on his social media comments about the alleged torture of detainees in Jaw Prison. The second accuses him of “disseminating false rumours in times of war,” under article 133, based on social media posts criticizing Saudi-led coalition air strikes in Yemen. Violations of articles 133 and 216 carry maximum sentences of 10 and three years in prison, respectively.

Rajab posted numerous tweets about the violence in Jaw Prison. On March 17, Rajab tweeted that he had met with a recently released inmate. The photographs accompanying the tweet “will tell you how they were treated,” he wrote. They show abrasions and contusions on the man’s back and injuries to his right arm.

In the weeks before his arrest, Rajab also posted numerous tweets purporting to show the effect of Saudi Arabian air-strikes in Yemen. On March 26, the Interior Ministry cautioned against criticism of the government’s decision to send eight fighter jets to take part in air-strikes in Yemen as part of a Saudi Arabia-led, US-backed coalition against Houthi forces. It warned against “any attempt to exploit the situation through division or sedition, or issuance of statements against the approach Bahrain has taken.” The ministry “would take appropriate steps against individuals that put the safety and security of the country at risk,” the statement said.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, the body of independent experts that monitors state compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Bahrain has ratified, issued an authoritative interpretation on the scope of the right to freedom of expression and opinion. In its General Comment 34, the committee stated that, “In circumstances of public debate concerning public figures in the political domain and public institutions, the value placed by the Covenant upon uninhibited expression is particularly high.” It also stated that “states parties should not prohibit criticism of institutions, such as the army or the administration.”

Article 12(3) of the covenant states that the right of any person to leave their country, provided for in article 12(2), can be restricted to protect “national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others,” or if the restriction is “consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.” Given that the charges on which the travel ban is based manifestly violate Rajab’s right to free expression under article 19 of the convention, the travel ban violates his right to free movement, and Bahraini authorities should lift it immediately, Human Rights Watch said.

Rajab is a member of the Human Rights Watch Middle East and North Africa advisory committee.

The International Center for Supporting Rights and Freedoms (ICSRF) called on the Coalition for the International Criminal Court to urge the Bahraini authorities to allow detainee Ali Abduljalil to attend his mother’s funeral. Abduljalil’s mother passed away on December 9, 2015, and her funeral ceremony was postponed, as the family awaits the authorities’ decision on allowing her detained son to attend the funeral: here.

The undersigned organisations condemn the practice of capital punishment in Bahrain and urge the Government of Bahrain to commute any and all death sentences issued by its courts: here.

Bahraini human rights defender Mohammed Al-Maskati faces prison if his sentence is upheld in December; NGOs call for his sentence to be overturned: here.

‘Tony Blair complicit in torturing innocent Guantanamo prisoner’

This video from Britain says about itself:

Marr Show: Alex Salmond on British illegal kidnap+torture, Gitmo (13 December 2015)

SNP’s Alex Salmond talks about the British government’s illegal kidnap and torture of people like ex-Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainee Shaker Aamer.

By Luke James in Britain:

Aamer suffered ‘to save Blair

Monday 14th December 2015

SNP’s Salmond backs claim that Blair knew of torture

SHAKER AAMER’S Guantanamo Bay hell may have been prolonged to protect Tony Blair from claims he “collaborated” in torture, former first minister of Scotland Alex Salmond said yesterday.

Speaking about his almost 14-year ordeal at the notorious US prison for the first time since being released in October, Mr Aamer alleged at the weekend that Mr Blair and former home secretary Jack Straw were aware that he was being tortured.

Now SNP MP Mr Salmond, the former first minister of Scotland, has backed his claim that the pair must have known about the “illegal abduction” and “torture.”

“As in so many things Messrs Blair and Straw have a great deal to answer for,” he told the Andrew Marr Show.

“They have to be asked a straight question: How could they possibly not have known about the fate that had befallen a British citizen?

“The prime responsibility of all governments is to keep their own citizens safe from harm.

“Governments are not meant to collaborate on the illegal abduction and then the torture of one of their own citizens.”

He went further, suggesting that concerns Mr Aamer would implicate the pair in his torture was behind the delay in his release.

The British resident was twice cleared for release from the gulag by a panel of US intelligence officers, most recently in 2009.

Yet he spent another six years in the camp, being placed in solitary confinement, suffering sleep deprivation and interrogations.

Mr Aamer has claimed that British intelligence officers witnessed this torture first-hand at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2002, where he was held before being tranferred to Guantanamo.

Mr Salmond pointed out that the spooks flew into the base on the same flight as Mr Blair, who was visiting British troops.

“One of the suspicions that people who have been campaigning for his release have had is that there had to be a reason for him not being released despite being cleared for release twice over that period.

“It’s obviously centred on the revelations he would have on what’s been going on at Guantanamo Bay.

“It now appears a reason might have been on what had gone on in January 2002 at Bagram air base.”

Mr Aamer demonstrated how he was “hog-tied” for almost an hour by US troops at the air base as part of the Mail on Sunday interview.

“It kills you, man. You cry, the pain is so bad,” he said.

“They were kicking me at the same time. I thought I was going to lose my legs.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Blair insisted he had “never condoned” the use of torture.

Mr Straw also refuted Mr Salmond’s allegations, ludicrously claiming: “I spent a large part of my time as foreign secretary making strong representations to the US government to get British detainees out of Guantanamo Bay and the US government’s ill-treatment and torture of detainees remains a terrible stain on its record.”

The Save Shaker Aamer Campaign called for their claims to be tested by a public inquiry.

Chair Joy Hurcombe told the Star: “I think they were party to it and therefor they should be made accountable for their involvement.”

Ms Hurcombe, who is one of the few people to have met Mr Aamer since his return, also called for him to be granted British citizenship immediately.

Forty-eight-year-old Mr Aamer also opened up this weekend about his new challenge of resuming normal family life.

He said: “I’m finally living. I’m here with my kids, trying to learn to be a father.”

CIA torturers and accomplices still not prosecuted

This video from the USA says about itself:

How The CIA Tortured Terror Suspects In Uzbekistan

9 December 2014

The West’s Torture Farm (2005) – How the United States shipped terror suspects to Uzbekistan

Watch Torturing Democracy, Journeyman’s collected playlist on CIA torture.

It’s one of the nastiest, most repressive dictatorships in Asia but its relationship with Washington has helped it avoid censure. Just how valuable an ally is Uzbekistan in the War on Terror?

Critics of the government risk being tortured to death, there’s no freedom of speech and all opposition parties are banned. “This is not a government. It’s a monster against its own people,” laments Prof Mirsaidov. In the name of fighting Islamic terror, Uzbekistan has jailed thousands of members of Hiz-but-Tahrir. The problem is, many claim they are innocent and confessions are extracted under torture. But despite its appalling human rights record, few Western governments seem willing to criticise it. Uzbekistan is now regarded as a key ally in the War on Terror.

It allows the US to use its airbases to support operations in Afghanistan and American agents are believed to have ‘rendered’ terrorist suspects to Uzbekistan to be tortured. However, there are growing fears that siding with this repressive regime to fight terrorism is counter productive. As former British Ambassador Craig Murray states: “Our short sighted policy in Asia is creating the terrorism we claim we are fighting.”

By Tom Carter in the USA:

Report makes case for prosecuting US war criminals

5 December 2015

This week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a 159-page report titled, “No More Excuses: A Roadmap to Justice for CIA Torture.” This detailed report sets forth a compelling legal case for the criminal prosecution of senior US officials for their roles as conspirators and accomplices in the illegal Central Intelligence Agency torture program (2001-2009).

The report names names: “US officials who created, authorized, and implemented the CIA program should be among those investigated for conspiracy to torture as well as other crimes. They include: Acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo, Assistant Attorney General for Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) Jay Bybee, OLC Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo, an individual identified as ‘CTC Legal’ in the Senate Summary, CIA Director George Tenet, National Security Legal Advisor John Bellinger, Attorney General John Ashcroft, White House Counsel Legal Advisor Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the Vice President David Addington, Deputy White House Counsel Timothy Flanigan, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Defense Department General Counsel William Haynes II, Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush. In addition, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, CIA psychologist contractors who devised the program, proposed it to the CIA, and helped carry it out, should also be investigated for their role in the initial conspiracy.”

“We believe there is also sufficient evidence to investigate others who were not necessarily part of the initial conspiracy but who later joined it,” the report states. “Others should not only be investigated for torture but also for offenses such as war crimes, assault, and sexual abuse.”

The report reads like a criminal indictment. It provides point-by-point highlights of the CIA program in all its depraved and sadistic detail. The report also covers the attempts by the Bush administration to provide a pseudo-legal cover for the program, as well as attempts by the Obama administration to cover it up and shield the perpetrators from liability.

The report identifies specific US officials, victims, dates, documents, and other particulars, with emphasis on the roles of the senior officials who orchestrated the program. The report brings together material from numerous sources, including the heavily redacted executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA torture program, media reports, internal executive department memoranda, investigations by Human Rights Watch and other institutions, and even chilling hand-drawn images of the implements of torture by the victims themselves.

Entrance to CIA Black Site near Kiejkuty Village, Poland

It is difficult to find words to describe the CIA’s crimes. In November 2002, the CIA murdered Gul Rahman at the COBALT “black site” facility in Afghanistan by shackling him naked so that his body lay on a cold concrete floor. His corpse was covered in bruises and abrasions, and the cause of death was determined to be hypothermia. Rahman, who left behind a wife and four children, was likely innocent, a case of mistaken identity.

To punish hunger strikers, which were a constant problem at its various torture compounds, the CIA retaliated with a form of torture/rape that was euphemistically termed “rectal feeding.” This involved reducing a tray full of food to a puree and then injecting it into the victim’s rectum, “without evidence of medical necessity,” as the Senate report diplomatically describes it. (One imagines the guards’ scatological banter: “Oh, you don’t want to eat your lunch, do you. .. ?”)

As a result of this form of torture, Guantanamo prisoner Mustafa al-Hawsawi developed medical conditions described as an “anal fissure” and “symptomatic rectal prolapse.” In other words, he was bleeding and part of his large intestine was protruding outside his body.

The most imaginative horror film director could not conceive of the sheer lunacy of the CIA torturers, who apparently were given free rein to act on every sadistic whim. In his book Guantanamo Diary, current inmate Mohamedou Ould Slahi describes being locked in a specially prepared freezing cold room “full of pictures showing the glories of the US: weapons arsenals, planes, and pictures of George Bush… For the whole night I had to listen to the US anthem… All I can remember was the beginning, ‘Oh say can you see…’ over and over.”

Narrow windowless box with speakers on each side of victim's ears (Copyright 2012 Ben Soud)

Shackling in “stress positions” reminiscent of the medieval Inquisition, the use of insects, sexual humiliation and assault, forced nudity, female guards smearing menstrual blood on prisoners, asphyxiation, sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation, lack of sanitation, beatings, loud music, blowing cigar smoke in prisoners’ faces, sleep deprivation, mock executions, threats to rape and kill family members—the list of depravities goes on for page after page. At least one prisoner tried to kill himself by chewing into a vein on his arm.

“Many detainees were held by the CIA in pitch-dark windowless cells, chained to walls, naked or diapered, for weeks or months at a time,” the report states. “The CIA forced them into painful stress positions that made it impossible for them to lie down or sleep for days, to the point where many hallucinated or begged to be killed to end their misery. It used ‘waterboarding’ and similar techniques to cause near suffocation or drowning, crammed detainees naked into tiny boxes, and prevented them from bathing, using toilets, or cutting their hair or nails for months. ‘We looked like monsters,’ one detainee said of his appearance while in CIA custody.”

The Human Rights Watch report demonstrates the extent to which the Senate report, in all its horror, actually understates the CIA’s crimes. For example, the Senate report mentions Adnan al-Libi being tortured with sleep deprivation for “46.5 hours, 24 hours, and 48 hours, with a combined three hours of sleep between sessions.”

Small wooden box in which victims would be locked (Copyright 2012 Ben Soud)

“When Human Rights Watch interviewed al-Libi, long before the Senate Summary was released,” the report states, “he said he thought one of his sleep deprivation episodes lasted for more like 15 days, though he said he was in a windowless cell with little ability to track time with great accuracy. He also said the sleep deprivation was accomplished by forcing him to stand all those days with his hands chained above his head, feet shackled to the ground so that if his legs buckled, he would have to hang from his arms in order to try and sleep—something impossible to do. He endured this while diapered and otherwise naked. Once released from the standing sleep deprivation position and allowed to shower, al-Libi said he could not move his arms and so guards had to bathe him. ‘I was there for 15 days, hanging from my arms, another chain from the ground. They put a diaper on me but it overflowed so there was every type of stool everywhere.’ He said he had hallucinations and felt like he was going insane and was going to die.”

Other prisoners reported hearing al-Libi’s screams while he was being tortured.

The Senate report last year revealed that the CIA did not actually obtain any significant intelligence through the torture program. While this does not make the torture any more or less criminal, it constitutes what a future war crimes tribunal might call an “aggravating factor.” In other words, the CIA was more or less doing it for fun.

In addition to a concentrated synopsis of the CIA’s crimes, the Human Rights Watch report also cites an impressive battery of international legal treaties as well as domestic statutes and precedents that outlaw torture. These include the Geneva Conventions of 1949, the international Convention against Torture, and other treaties. Under American law, the torturers and their enablers could be prosecuted under the federal Torture Statute.

Human Right Watch cites a 1983 case where a ten-year sentence was handed down to a Texas sheriff for torturing six prisoners. “The method of torture was to handcuff the detainees ‘to a table or chair with the face wrapped tightly with a towel. The head would be pulled back, they said, and water would be poured over the towel until, fearing drowning, they would talk,’” (citing a New York Times report).

Wooden board for water torture (Copyright 2012 Ben Soud)

The Human Rights Watch report also refers to the precedent set by the Nuremberg prosecutions of leading Nazis after the Second World War, which “held that torture and war crimes cannot be legitimate functions of a government official.” Finally, CIA agents or US officials traveling abroad could be arrested and investigated by foreign governments for their roles in the torture program.

With all this material collected in one place and rigorously presented, the Human Rights Watch report makes an overwhelming case. It is clear that there are numerous high-level war criminals residing in the United States who deserve to be arrested, indicted, and prosecuted. These individuals committed shocking crimes, and yet the whole American political establishment has united to cover up their crimes and shield them from accountability.

Indeed, the establishment media in the US has almost completely buried this week’s Human Rights Watch report, just as it has buried the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, published a year ago this month. None of the presidential candidates from either of the big-business parties has made a serious demand for the prosecution of US war criminals, from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump. Nor have they demanded the release of the full Senate report.

Indeed, Trump has openly presented himself as a proponent of “enhanced interrogation”—a term that closely resembles the euphemism “Verschärfte Vernehmung” (intensified/sharpened questioning) employed by the Gestapo. This state of affairs is made possible by the cowardice and complicity of the Democrats and the Obama administration, which have gone out of their way to coddle and shield Bush-era torturers. …

Before the Senate report was released, Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry called Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein to discourage her from publishing it. …

Nevertheless, the inclusion of the demand for prosecutions in the Human Rights Watch report is a significant event.

The recipient of a $100 million donation from George Soros in 2010, Human Rights Watch has a history of tacit support for “human rights imperialism” around the world. The organization’s dispatches from Iraq under headlines like “Help Yezidi Survivors” (which were used as justification for US military escalation), its support for the fascist-led “Maidan” coup in the Ukraine, and its declaration that the January Charlie Hebdo attacks were an attack on “freedom of expression” are all indicative of a certain role the organization plays in bourgeois politics.

In this light, the demand for prosecutions is an expression of the glaring contradictions and hypocrisy of American foreign policy, which commits the most heinous violations of human rights in the name of human rights.

There is a concern in some sections of the political establishment that the example of CIA torture, without even so much as a token prosecution, will render Washington’s claim to be the self-appointed guarantor of human rights around the world even more unbelievable than it already is. These concerns, to a certain extent, motivated the Senate Intelligence Committee’s original investigation into the program.

In this week’s report, Human Rights Watch states: “Globally, the US unwillingness to prosecute CIA torture weakens US authority to oppose torture and other abuses abroad, provides a ready excuse for countries unwilling to prevent or prosecute torture in their own countries, and undermines global respect for the rule of law.”

The socialist demand for the prosecution of US war criminals is not aimed at promoting illusions in any section of the American political establishment, the US justice system, or international judicial bodies, which have already proved themselves incapable of timely bringing US war criminals to justice. In the event that any US war criminals are ever prosecuted within the framework of bourgeois politics, it will be only to that token extent deemed necessary to placate popular anger.

The de facto immunity enjoyed by US war criminals is an expression of class justice, which is in turn a product of class society. In America, a worker can be fired, losing his livelihood and access to food and shelter, for the infraction of “stealing” $2 worth of empty pop bottles abandoned in a WalMart parking lot.

Meanwhile, torturers and mass murderers, corporate looters, financial parasites who steal billions, political perjurers, killer cops and their lying accomplices, in effect, the entire ruling class and its political agents, are free to commit crimes with impunity.

Any genuine demand for the prosecution of US war criminals must be a demand for an end to class justice and class society. The abandonment by the American ruling class of the rule of law and democratic norms is bound up with the growth of social inequality and the crisis of capitalism. Driven to pursue more and more unpopular policies to defend its privileges, the capitalist class jettisons democracy and the rule of law and turns to dictatorship.

The CIA torture program (which officially ended in 2009) did not occur in a vacuum, but took place simultaneously with the massive expansion of the coercive power of the state apparatus, the outbreak and escalation of aggressive war, the speculative frenzy preceding the financial crash of 2008, and the assault on democratic rights. The same years saw the militarization of police domestically, the establishment of the Department of Homeland Security, the introduction of massive illegal domestic surveillance programs, attacks on workers’ wages and living standards across the board, the assertion of the president’s power to jail US citizens without charges or trial, and so forth.

The breakdown of democracy and the rule of law, together with the turn to dictatorship, represents in every country the social interests and objective historical trajectory of the capitalist class. However, there remains a long tradition and historical impulse for democracy in the working class. Only the powerful intervention of the international working class, on the basis of a socialist program, will see America’s war criminals brought to justice.

INSIDE THE CIA’S PLAN TO TRICK ITS OWN EMPLOYEES “Senior CIA officials have for years intentionally deceived parts of the agency workforce by transmitting internal memos that contain false information about operations and sources overseas, according to current and former U.S. officials who said the practice is known by the term ‘eyewash.'” [WaPo]

Bahraini governmental torture update

Bahrain, capital of torture, demonstration signs

Bahrain torture report undermines UK’s reform claims. New accounts of prisoner mistreatment documented in Human Rights Watch report, undermining British claims that Gulf ally has reformed security services: here.

Bahrain’s security forces torture detainees using electric shocks, beatings and sexual abuse, despite a public pledge by the king of Bahrain four years ago to end such practices, according to a report released on Monday by the New York-based Human Rights Watch: here.

Bahrain tortured detainees years after 2011 protests, Human Rights Watch says: here.

Torture still happening in Bahrain jails: HRW: here.

Bahrain sexually abuses detainees, still ‘capital of torture’ despite UK support – HRW: here.

Bahrain security forces ‘continue to torture detainees‘: here.

Bahrain refuses to prosecute police who tortured journalist: here.

Human Rights First today urged the U.S. government to increase pressure on the Bahraini regime to implement all 26 recommendations from the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) four years after the report’s release: here.

Bahrain authorities violate the rights of hundreds of children against the convention on the Rights of the Child: here.

The one-year-old daughter of Sheikh Ali Salman, the secretary general of Bahrain’s main opposition party, al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, has been deprived of Bahraini citizenship on political grounds, Salman’s wife announced: here.

Donald Trump wants to bring back Bush’s waterboarding torture

This video from the USA says about itself:

US executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding

25 April 2009

CNN interview with Paul Begala and Ari Fleischer [of the George W Bush administration], leaving the latter dumbstruck when Begala reveals that the US executed Japanese soldiers for waterboarding US soldiers.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Donald Trump would bring back waterboarding because it is ‘peanuts compared to chopping off heads

Who chops off heads? ISIS terrorists do: sometimes, they chop off heads of prisoners sold to them by ‘moderate’ Syrian insurgents, mentioned so often in Western regime change war propaganda.

Which government chops off heads? Only one government. No, not ISIS, as their ‘Islamic State’ is neither Islamic nor a state with a government. The only government in the world practicing death penalty by beheading is the kingdom of Saudi Arabia; in many respects, including cruel punishment, the role model for ISIS. But I don’t think that Donald Trump minds beheadings in Saudi Arabia. Like many people in government in the USA don’t mind beheadings when their Saudi royal allies do it.

Trump also continues to support the concept of a database for Muslims, despite comparisons to Nazi Germany

Adam Withnall

Donald Trump has said he would bring back waterboarding if he was made President.

Speaking in an interview with ABC News on Sunday, the would-be Republican candidate said the interrogation technique, widely considered to be a form of torture, was “peanuts compared to chopping off people’s heads”.

The billionaire businessman sparked controversy at the end of last week by suggesting he would have all Muslims living on the US register on a database.

Mr Trump has since suggested the database would be “just for Syrian refugees”, but when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he would unequivocally rule out a database on all Muslims, he replied: “No, not at all.”

The US should “be very, very vigilant” of any refugees it accepted from Syria, he said, adding: “They should not come in, by the way. They should not be allowed to come in.”

“That’s a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation.”

During the interview, Stephanopoulos pressed Trump on his support of the Second Amendment – the right to bear arms – and the fact that he would have a watchlist for Muslims.

Asked if he accepted the fact that “under current law, individuals on the terror watchlist and the no-fly list have been allowed to buy guns and explosives”, Mr Trump said: “We have to have a watchlist, and if that watchlist has somebody that’s — you know, we have — you know, we have the laws right now. We have the laws already on the books as far as Second Amendment for guns, and as you know I’m a big, big, really big proponent of the Second Amendment.”

Trump did back away from comments on closing mosques. In an interview on Tuesday, he said the United States was “going to have no choice” but to close mosques.

But on Sunday, Trump said: “I don’t want to close mosques; I want to surveil mosques.”

Ben Carson, who faced criticism this week for comparing Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs”, wouldn’t say whether he would reinstate the use of waterboarding.

Trump also approved of a Black Lives Matter protester getting roughed up at one of his rallies, and tweeted this wildly inaccurate graphic on racial violence.

Donald Trump embraces open racism: here. And here.

Donald Trump’s white fascist brigade: His rallies are now a safe space for racism. An activist is beaten and taunted with racial slurs at a Trump rally in Alabama. This is just the beginning: here.

Paris attacks: Women targeted as hate crime against British Muslims soars following terrorist atrocity. Figures show 115 Islamophobic attacks in the week following the Paris killings, a spike of more than 300%: here.

Nearly 200 images released by US military depict Bush-era detainee abuse. Court ruling forces Pentagon to release photos after 12-year legal battle of abuse at military sites around Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Guantánamo Bay: here.