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Senate Report Shows CIA Agents Used Torture Techniques Not Approved By DOJ Or CIA

By Mike Masnick | Techdirt | April 4, 2014

While the Senate Intelligence Committee has finally started the process of declassifying at least some of the $40 million, 6,300 page report about the CIA’s torture efforts, we’re getting more and more leaks about what’s in the report. Previous leaks showed that the torture program was completely useless and that the CIA simply lied about its effectiveness (in fact, taking information gleaned by others through normal interrogations, and claiming they got it via torture). The latest leak highlights how, despite claims by the CIA’s supporters, that the torture was done in “good faith” and was approved by the DOJ and the CIA, it turns out (of course), that the CIA’s torturers actually went much further than they were approved to go.

CIA officers subjected terror suspects it held after the Sept. 11 attacks to methods that were not approved by either the Justice Department or their own headquarters and illegally detained 26 of the 119 in CIA custody, the Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded in its still-secret report, McClatchy has learned.

The spy agency program’s reliance on brutal and harsh techniques _ much more abusive than previously known _ and its failure to gather valuable information from the detainees, harmed the U.S.’s credibility internationally, according to the committee’s findings in its scathing 6,300 page report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program.

So, again, we have evidence that the CIA tortured people, did so beyond any actual authority (as sketchy as such an authority might be), got nothing of value from the torture, and then repeatedly lied about the torture and the value of it to Congress and the American public. And… no one is going to jail over this. Well, except for the guy who blew the whistle. In fact, many of those responsible for the torture program are still in positions of power. This is a total disgrace.

April 5, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bahraini photographer among 29 jailed for up to 10 years

Al-Akhbar | March 26, 2014

A Bahraini court on Wednesday jailed 29 people, including an award winning photographer, for up to 10 years for an alleged attack on a police center in April 2012.

A judicial source and activists said the verdicts were based on defendants’ confessions that were extracted under torture.

Twenty-six of those convicted were handed 10-year prison terms and three others jailed for three years, a source told AFP.

Among those sentenced to 10 years was Ahmed Humaidan, a 26-year-old photojournalist abducted by plainclothes police in late-2012.

Humaidan’s lawyer said the court presented no evidence to suggest that he was involved in any attack against police aside from a confession he made under torture.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights has documented cases of torture against the young photojournalist in prison, which included being blind-folded and told to hold an object for hours that police claimed was a bomb.

The prosecution accused the defendants of attacking a police center in the village of Sitra, south of Manama, with petrol bombs and iron rods, wounding a policeman.

The other defendants also told the court that they were tortured and their confessions obtained under duress, according to the judicial source.

Bahrain, home to the US Fifth Fleet, remains in a constant state of turmoil since authorities launched a bloody crackdown on a popular uprising three years ago, with hundreds of protesters and activists jailed on “terror” charges.

Authorities in the Gulf dictatorship last year increased the penalties for those convicted of violence, introducing the death penalty or life sentences in certain cases.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Report: Israel increases use of torture in interrogation centers

Palestine Information Center – 17/01/2014

d8a7d8b9d8aad982d8a7d984_41GAZA — The Israeli occupation authority escalated its violation of international laws and human rights conventions in its jails and interrogation centers, human rights report said.

Palestine Center for Prisoners’ Studies revealed that many Palestinian prisoners including women and children have been subjected to torture in Israeli jails and interrogation centers.

Israeli torture techniques include beating, blindfolding, hanging, strip search, Shabh (stress position) where prisoners are made to sit on a small chair with their head hooded and hands tied behind their back, pouring hot or very cold water over the head, according to the report.

The human rights center documented several cases of tortured prisoners who were deprived of sleep and forced into painful positions for long periods in addition to many practices that violate Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The report revealed that Israeli doctors are involved in torture practices against prisoners through submitting false medical files that deny torture crimes before courts.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

South Africa: Obama Docket

Muslim Lawyers Association Press Release | June 26, 2013

Lawyers will continue to pursue the case against Obama in the courts

Johannesburg, South Africa – The Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) brought an application to court on Tuesday, 25 June 2013, to charge US President Barack Obama with a number of crimes, before he enters South Africa on Friday, 28 June 2013.

The North Gauteng High Court today found that the merits of the matter could not be heard as it was not deemed to be sufficiently ‘urgent’. This is despite the imminent arrival of Obama in South Africa this week. However, the (MLA) will continue to pursue the matter through the ordinary course of the courts.

Given the sheer magnitude, gravity, extent and degree of these crimes, as well as the unrelenting vigour with which the Obama Administration continues to commit them, the MLA intends to pursue the review application in accordance with the normal court time periods applicable.

“It is regrettable for the court not to have adjudicated on the merits of the ‘Obama Docket’ at an expedient time when Obama’s visit to the Republic is imminent”, states MLA spokesperson, Attorney Yousha Tayob.

The Obama Docket contains:

– evidence of indiscriminate killing of civilians by the use of USA military drones

– a public acknowledgment by Obama that he authorised the extra judicial assassinations of US citizens and that civilians have been killed by drone attacks authorised by him

– evidence of the continued incarceration without trial of persons detained at Guantanamo Bay and other US detention facilities, and

– evidence that the United States has engaged in rendition programmes contrary
to the prescripts of the norms and standards of International Law.

“South Africa has adopted and ratified the Rome Statute into our law and is therefore obliged to fulfil both its domestic and international responsibilities”, adds Tayob.

The MLA remains undeterred in its resolve to pursue all legal avenues to expose the past and ongoing War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Genocide committed by Obama and his administration and is committed to have him brought before a South African court of law or the International Criminal Court to answer the allegations contained in the ‘Obama Docket’.

For more information on the Obama Docket and its contents, or for interviews with an MLA representative, call Attorney Yousha Tayob, + 27 82 926 5408 or email at info@mlajhb.com or visit the MLA website at http:// http://www.mlajhb.com

June 27, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on South Africa: Obama Docket

End Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons, Prepare to Back Hunger Strikers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | May 8, 2013

Another prison hunger strike is looming in California, where more than 200 inmates at the Pelican Bay supermax have been in solitary confinement for between five and ten years and nearly 100 have been shut off from most human contact for 20 years or more. Across the nation, on any given day, more than 100,000 inmates suffer in solitary – about 25,000 in the federal system and another 80,000 or so in state facilities. That’s the equivalent of locking up every man, woman and child in Charleston, South Carolina, in their own little 8 by 12 foot box – for an eternity. Nothing like this American form of mass human torment has ever existed on the face of the earth: systematic, industrial strength torture, multiplied 100,000 times per day. Solitary confinement as a form of routine, mass punishment is beyond barbarity. Nowhere in human history do we find barbarians who tortured hundreds of thousands of people every day for decades at a time. Only in America.

Solitary confinement, by its very nature, is designed to ensure that no one but the torturers hears the cries of the tormented. However, knowledge of such monstrous evil compels decent men and women to action, in solidarity with those who have been wronged. The prisoners of Pelican Bay, who went on hunger strike in 2011, have sent word that they will do so again, on July 8, if the state of California does not meet their core demands. One demand is fundamental: that inmates not be confined to solitary unless they have been charged, “and found guilty of, committing a serious offense… a felony!” Instead, inmates are consigned to a life of oblivion based on anonymous allegations that they are affiliated with a gang, or for exhibiting the slightest hint of political thought – or for no discernable reason, at all. Not only is lengthy solitary confinement unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment, and a form of torture under international law, it is totally arbitrary and capricious.

In California, alone, more than 14,000 prisoners are held in isolation. The Pelican Bay inmates anticipate many of them will join the hunger strike, as thousands did in 2011, when 13 prisons were involved in the protest, and three inmates committed suicide. This time around, prison organizers have invited the participation of “all male and female prisoners across the U.S. prison systems,” both state and federal. Inmates in Georgia went on hunger strike in 2011 and again last year, pressing a range of demands.

If the California prisoners are forced to put their lives on the line again, on July 8, support networks need to be in place, beforehand. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network is putting out the call, so that the inmates at Pelican Bay and throughout the vast U.S. prison gulag will know that folks on the outside have their back. June 21, 22 and 23 have been designated as Days of Solidarity With the Struggle to End Prison Torture, and to immediately disband the torture chambers. You can sign up by going to StopMassIncarceration.org.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

For more information, contact the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at: stopmassincarceration@gmail.com, or by calling (347) 979-SMIN (7646)

May 9, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on End Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons, Prepare to Back Hunger Strikers

Russia Bars Bush-Era Torture Lawyers

By Robert Parry | Consortium News | April 14, 2013

The U.S. government views itself as the global arbiter of human rights, righteously throwing stones at other nations for their misbehavior and most recently imposing sanctions on a group of Russians accused of human rights crimes. That move prompted a tit-for-tat response from Moscow, barring 18 current and former U.S. officials from entering Russia.

The predictable response from the U.S. news media to the Russian retaliation was to liken it to the Cold War days when the United States would catch a Soviet spy and Moscow would retaliate by grabbing an American and arranging a swap.

But several of the Americans targeted by Moscow this time were clearly guilty of human rights crimes. John Yoo and David Addington were former legal advisers to President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, respectively. The two lawyers were famous for inventing new excuses for torture. Two other Americans on Moscow’s list – Major General Geoffrey D. Miller and Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson – commanded the extralegal detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In particular, Yoo and Addington stand out as smug apologists for torture who twisted law and logic to justify waterboarding, painful stress positions, forced nudity, sleep deprivation and other techniques that have been historically defined as torture. In a society that truly respected human rights, they would have been held accountable – along with other practitioners of the “dark side” – but instead have been allowed to walk free and carry on their professional lives almost as if nothing had happened.

The Russians were polite enough only to include on the list these mid-level torture advocates and enablers (as well as some prosecutors who have led legal cases against Russian nationals). They left off the list many culpable former senior officials, such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet, Cheney and Bush. Obviously, the Russian government didn’t want an escalation.

It’s also undeniably true that Moscow does not come to the human rights issue with clean hands. But neither does the United States, a country that for generations has taken pride in its role as the supposed beacon of human rights, the rule of law, and democratic principles.

Acting as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Tribunals after World War II, Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson famously denied that punishing the Nazi leaders as war criminals was simply victor’s justice. He insisted that the same principles would apply to the nations sitting in judgment, including the United States and the Soviet Union. However, that has turned out not to be the case.

The real principles of today’s international law could be described as dragging petty warlords from Africa or Eastern Europe off to The Hague for prosecution by the International Criminal Court, while letting leaders of the Big Powers – with far more blood on their hands – off the hook.  Jackson’s “universal principles” of human rights now only apply to the relatively weak.

A History of Double Standards

Of course, one could argue that double and triple standards have always been the way of the world. What often seems to really matter is who has the most powerful friends, the best P.R. team, and the greatest number of “news” organizations in their pocket. Plus, lots of cognitive dissonance helps, too.

For instance, you must forget the role of the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, the Washington Post’s Fred Hiatt and other mainstream media stars in rallying the American people to get behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2002-2003 – when the same pundits now fold their arms in disgust at some other nation’s violation of international law.

It’s also handy if you can forget much of American history. You can fondly recall the stirring words about liberty from the Founding Fathers, but it’s best to forget that many owned African-Americans as slaves and that their lust for territorial expansion led them and their descendants to wage a cruel genocide against Native Americans.

There also were the repeated military interventions in Latin America and the brutal counterinsurgency campaign in the Philippines (which applied some of the same tactics that the U.S. military had perfected in crushing uprisings by Native Americans). Then, there were the militarily unnecessary atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the mass slaughters in Indochina in the 1960s and 1970s; and the “death squad” operations in South and Central America in the 1970s and 1980s.

One can trace a direct correlation from American sayings like “the only good Indian is a dead Indian” in the 19th Century to “kill them all and let God sort them out” in the 20th Century. And U.S. respect for human rights hasn’t improved much in the new century with George W. Bush’s “war on terror” and his invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and with Barack Obama’s extrajudicial killings by drone attacks.

So, when the United States strides from its glass house to hurl stones at Russians over repression in Chechnya, it’s not at all surprising that the Russians would return the volley by singling out some of the Americans clearly implicated in war crimes under George W. Bush. The only real question is why did the Russians stop with a handful of apparatchiks? Probably they didn’t want to escalate this exchange of Big Power hypocrisies.

The hard truth is that if the United States had a functioning criminal justice system for the powerful – not just for run-of-the-mill offenders – former Vice President Cheney and ex-President Bush would have convicted themselves with their own public comments defending their use of torture.

For instance, in February 2010, on ABC’s “This Week,” Cheney pronounced himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” a near-drowning technique that has been regarded as torture back to the Spanish Inquisition and that has long been treated by U.S. authorities as a serious war crime, such as when Japanese commanders were prosecuted for using it on American prisoners during World War II.

Cheney was unrepentant about his support for the technique. He answered with an emphatic “yes” when asked if he had opposed the Bush administration’s decision to suspend the use of waterboarding. He added that waterboarding should still be “on the table” today.

Admitting the Sham

But Cheney went further. Speaking with a sense of legal impunity, he casually negated a key line of defense that senior Bush officials had hidden behind for years – that the brutal interrogations were okayed by independent Justice Department legal experts who gave the administration a legitimate reason to believe the actions were within the law.

However, in the interview, Cheney acknowledged that the White House had told the Justice Department lawyers what legal opinions to render. In other words, the opinions amounted to ordered-up lawyering to permit the administration to do whatever it wanted.

In responding to a question about why he had so harshly attacked President Obama’s counterterrorism policies, Cheney explained that he was concerned about the new administration prosecuting some CIA operatives who had handled the interrogations and “disbarring lawyers with the Justice Department who had helped us put those policies together. … I thought it was important for some senior person in the administration to stand up and defend those people who’d done what we asked them to do.”

Cheney’s comment about the Justice lawyers who had “done what we asked them to do” was an apparent reference to John Yoo and his boss, Jay Bybee, at the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), a powerful Justice Department agency that advises the President on the limits of his power.

In 2002, Yoo – while working closely with White House officials – drafted legal memos that permitted waterboarding and other brutal techniques by narrowly defining torture. He also authored legal opinions that asserted virtual dictatorial powers for a President during war, even one as vaguely defined as the “war on terror.” Yoo’s key memos were then signed by Bybee.

In 2003, after Yoo left to be a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley and Bybee was elevated to a federal appeals court judgeship in San Francisco, their successors withdrew the memos because of the sloppy scholarship. However, in 2005, President George W. Bush appointed a new acting chief of the OLC, Steven Bradbury, who restored many of the Yoo-Bybee opinions.

In the years that followed, Bush administration officials repeatedly cited the Yoo-Bybee-Bradbury legal guidance when insisting that the “enhanced interrogation” of “war on terror” detainees – as well as prisoners from the Iraq and Afghan wars – did not cross the line into torture.

In essence, the Bush-Cheney defense was that the OLC lawyers offered honest opinions and that everyone from the President and Vice President, who approved use of the interrogation techniques, down to the CIA interrogators, who conducted the torture, operated in good faith.

If, however, that narrative is indeed false – if the lawyers had colluded with the policymakers to create legal excuses for criminal acts – then the Bush-Cheney defense would collapse. Rather than diligent lawyers providing professional advice, the picture would be of Mob consiglieres counseling crime bosses how to skirt the law.

Hand in Glove

Though Bush administration defenders have long denied that the legal opinions were cooked, the evidence has long supported the conspiratorial interpretation. For instance, in his 2006 book War by Other Means, Yoo himself described his involvement in frequent White House meetings regarding what “other means” should receive a legal stamp of approval. Yoo wrote:

“As the White House held its procession of Christmas parties and receptions in December 2001, senior lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, the White House counsel’s office, the Departments of State and Defense and the NSC [National Security Council] met a few floors away to discuss the work on our opinion. … This group of lawyers would meet repeatedly over the next months to develop policy on the war on terrorism.”

Yoo said meetings were usually chaired by Alberto Gonzales, who was then White House counsel and later became Bush’s second Attorney General. Yoo identified other key players as Timothy Flanigan, Gonzales’s deputy; William Howard Taft IV from State; John Bellinger from the NSC; William “Jim” Haynes from the Pentagon; and David Addington, counsel to Cheney.

In his book, Yoo described his work swatting down objections from the State Department’s lawyer and the Pentagon’s judge advocate generals – who feared that waiving the Geneva Conventions in the “war on terror” would endanger U.S. soldiers – Yoo stressed policy concerns, not legal logic.

“It was far from obvious that following the Geneva Conventions in the war against al-Qaeda would be wise,” Yoo wrote. “Our policy makers had to ask whether [compliance] would yield any benefit or act as a hindrance.”

What Yoo’s book and other evidence make clear is that the lawyers from the Justice Department’s OLC weren’t just legal scholars handing down opinions from an ivory tower; they were participants in how to make Bush’s desired actions “legal.” They were the lawyerly equivalents of those U.S. intelligence officials, who – in the words of the British “Downing Street Memo” – “fixed” the facts around Bush’s desire to invade Iraq.

Redefining Torture

In the case of waterboarding and other abusive interrogation tactics, Yoo and Bybee generated a memo, dated Aug. 1, 2002, that came up with a novel and narrow definition of torture, essentially lifting the language from an unrelated law regarding health benefits.

The Yoo-Bybee legal opinion stated that unless the amount of pain administered to a detainee led to injuries that might result in “death, organ failure, or serious impairment of body functions” then the interrogation technique could not be defined as torture. Since waterboarding is not intended to cause death or organ failure – only the panicked gag reflex associated with drowning – it was deemed not to be torture.

The “torture memo” and related legal opinions were considered so unprofessional that Bybee’s replacement to head the OLC, Jack Goldsmith, himself a conservative Republican, took the extraordinary step of withdrawing them after he was appointed in October 2003. However, Goldsmith was pushed out of his job after a confrontation with Cheney’s counsel Addington. Bradbury then enabled the Bush White House to reinstate many of the Yoo-Bybee opinions.

Cheney’s frank comments on “This Week” in 2010 – corroborating that Yoo and Bybee “had done what we asked them to do” – reflected the confidence that former Bush administration officials felt by then that they would face no accountability from the Obama administration for war crimes.

Surely, if a leader of another country had called himself “a big supporter of waterboarding,” there would have been a clamor for his immediate arrest and trial at The Hague. That Cheney felt he could speak so openly and with such impunity was a damning commentary on the rule of law in the United States, at least when it comes to the nation’s elites.

John Yoo apparently shares Cheney’s nonchalance about facing accountability. This weekend, when Yoo was asked about the Russians banning him as a human rights violator, he joked about the athletic skills of Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Darn,” Yoo wrote in an e-mail, “there goes my judo match with Putin.”

Perhaps the ultimate measure of America’s current standing as a promoter of human rights is that it’s difficult to judge which government is the bigger hypocrite: the one in Moscow or the one in Washington.

~

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

April 15, 2013 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia Bars Bush-Era Torture Lawyers

Female Bahraini Doctor ‘Severely’ Tortured in Jail

Al-Manar | March 31, 2013

A female Bahraini doctor says the Al Khalifa regime forces have ‘severely’ tortured her and several other doctors, who treated injured anti-regime protesters, in order to extract false confessions.

“We were forced to sign false confession blindly without reading them and these confessions were taken or extracted by severe torture and I mean by severe torture physical and psychological torture,” Dr. Fatima Haji said in a recent interview with Russia Today.

“We’d been denied sleep for days and had been standing for days. We were not given food or fluids and were hardly allowed to go the toilet,” Haji stated.

She further said the inmates were beaten by wooden sticks and hollow pipes. They were also electrocuted, sexually harassed and threatened with death and rape.

Haji is one of a group of doctors who were sentenced to five years in jail for their role in anti-regime protests. However, they were acquitted in 2012.

The confession they were forced to sign said that they were in possession of arms in the hospital where they worked and that they were trying to topple the Manama regime.

~

March 31, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , | Comments Off on Female Bahraini Doctor ‘Severely’ Tortured in Jail

Gov’t interrogations decision will prompt increased use of torture

A recent decision to prevent the recording of security interrogation means a return to the norms of the witch trials.

Yossi Gurvitz | +972 | March 19 2012

The Israeli government recently made permanent a temporary order – in force for 11 years – that permits the police to avoid documenting security interrogations, Haaretz has reported (Hebrew). Regular criminal interrogations are taped; that will not be the case in matters of suspected security violations. We can safely assume that once the police are allowed not to tape an interrogation, they will not tape it. It saves resources, for starters.

The government’s decision creates a practical distinction between the rights of criminal suspects and security suspects. Criminal suspects have the right to demand, if they are prosecuted, their recorded interrogation which, theoretically, can allow them to prove their confession was forced, or that the description given by the police of what happened in the interrogation room is incorrect. It is a theoretical right because no Israeli court has ever found that such a suspect was tortured – except in very few cases, and almost always after the victims had already been jailed for quite some time.

Security suspects have no such rights. Actually, there will be no independent documentation of their interrogations. The courts will have to take the police’s word for what happened in the interrogation room. This will make it much harder for the accused to prove they were tortured. The problematic history of the police forces prompts a clear conclusion: we will soon have a secret police, whether formal or informal, composed of interrogators whose specialty will be torture.

This has several implications. First, torture leads to more false convictions. It is their function: the torturer is not looking for the truth, he is trying to extract a confession and close the file, and he is indifferent to the question of whether the broken person before him (and breaking a person is what torture is intended to do) is guilty or not. The point of torture, noted Orwell, is torture.

Secondly, such units attract sadists. That the torturer suffers more than the tortured is a myth told to sooth those of anxious conscience. Those sadists will then move on to other positions in the system, taking their unique work ethic with them. Thirdly, the use of torture degenerates the interrogator’s mind. He gets used to thinking that some pain and humiliation will obtain the desired result, and forgets how a true interrogation ought to be carried out. Should one need an example of this process, it is readily available in the abysmal record of the ISA (aka Shin Bet) in fighting Jewish terrorism. If torture is not an option, they can’t get the job done.

Fourth, and most worrying, is the fact that such units tend to expand their activities. The excuse of “public safety” is very wide indeed. After the ISA was denied the right to torture except in the case of “ticking bombs,” there was a dramatic increase in the number of interrogations designated as such – even though the public was never supplied with a full and open description of a single ticking bomb case.

The police – which have for years served as an ISA auxiliary force, with a police interrogator writing down the confession extracted by the ISA officer from a Palestinian detainee as if it was given of his free will – now claims that taping such interrogations may expose “investigative methods.” That’s true. That, however, is also true in the case of criminal investigations. This is the price of the rule of law: it allows the suspect/accused the right to defend himself against the government, and that means that, from time to time, interrogations tricks are exhausted. That’s life. Deal with it. … Full article

March 20, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Gov’t interrogations decision will prompt increased use of torture

Libya: Detainees tortured and denied medical care

Médecins Sans Frontières | January 26, 2012

TRIPOLI/BRUSSELS – Detainees in the Libyan city of Misrata are being tortured and denied urgent medical care, leading the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to suspend its operations in detention centres in Misrata, MSF announced today.

MSF teams began working in Misrata’s detention centres in August, 2011, to treat war-wounded detainees. Since then, MSF doctors were increasingly confronted with patients who suffered injuries caused by torture during interrogation sessions. The interrogations were held outside the detention centres. In total, MSF treated 115 people who had torture-related wounds and reported all the cases to the relevant authorities in Misrata. Since January, several of the patients returned to interrogation centres have even been tortured again.

“Some officials have sought to exploit and obstruct MSF’s medical work,” said MSF General Director Christopher Stokes. “Patients were brought to us in the middle of interrogation for medical care, in order to make them fit for further interrogation. This is unacceptable. Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not to repeatedly treat the same patients between torture sessions.”

MSF medical teams were also asked to treat patients inside the interrogation centres, which was categorically refused by the organisation.

The most alarming case occurred on January 3, when MSF doctors treated a group of 14 detainees returning from an interrogation centre located outside the detention facilities. Despite previous MSF demands for the immediate end of torture, nine of the 14 detainees suffered numerous injuries and displayed obvious signs of torture.

The MSF team informed the National Army Security Service—the agency responsible for interrogations—that a number of patients needed to be transferred to hospitals for urgent and specialised care. All but one of the detainees were again deprived of essential medical care and were subjected to renewed interrogations and torture outside the detention centres.

After meeting with various authorities, MSF sent an official letter on January 9 to the Misrata Military Council, the Misrata Security Committee, the National Army Security Service, and the Misrata Local Civil Council, again demanding an immediate stop to any form of ill treatment of detainees.

“No concrete action has been taken,” said Stokes. “Instead, our team received four new torture cases. We have therefore come to the decision to suspend our medical activities in the detention centres.”

MSF has been present in Misrata since April 2011, in the midst of the Libyan conflict. Since August 2011, MSF has worked in Misrata’s detention centres, treating war wounded, performing surgeries, and providing orthopaedic follow-up care to people who had suffered bone fractures. MSF medical teams have carried out 2,600 consultations, including 311 for violent trauma.

MSF will continue its mental health support activities in schools and health facilities in Misrata, as well as its assistance to 3,000 African migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons in and around Tripoli.

~

MSF is an international humanitarian medical organisation that has worked in Libya since February 25, 2011. To ensure the independence of its medical work, MSF relies solely on private donations to finance its activities in Libya and does not accept any funding from governments, donor agencies, or military or political groups.

January 26, 2012 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Comments Off on Libya: Detainees tortured and denied medical care