Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: What everyone already knew is now official: US tortures prisoners

15 January 2009

What everyone already knew is now official: US tortures prisoners


From the Washington Post:

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantanamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.

It's important that a Bush administration official has finally confirmed that the US tortures prisoners, but I think at this point you'd have to be dumber than six cans of dirt to believe otherwise.

You'd also have to be pretty stupid to miss the fact that our treatment of prisoners is hampering the fight against terrorism. A former military prosecutor confirms that treatment of prisoners is one of the reasons that prosecutors may
not be able to secure convictions against detainees:

A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay is so chaotic that it is impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution.

Darrel Vandeveld, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, filed the declaration in support of a petition seeking the release of Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who has been held at the military prison in Cuba for six years. Jawad was a juvenile when he was detained in Kabul in 2002 after a grenade attack that severely wounded two U.S. Special Forces soldiers and their interpreter.

Vandeveld, who has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the lead prosecutor against Jawad until he asked to be relieved of his duties last year, citing a crisis of conscience. He said the case has been riddled with problems, including alleged physical and psychological abuse of Jawad by Afghan police and the U.S. military, as well as reliance on evidence that was later found to be missing, false or unreliable.

In his declaration, Vandeveld said Afghan police had made Jawad place his thumbprint on a statement written in Farsi, a language that the defendant, who is functionally illiterate, does not speak. To extract an admission, and before he was turned over to U.S. forces, the Afghans allegedly threatened to kill Jawad and his family, Vandeveld said in the declaration.

Later, Jawad also made a statement to U.S. interrogators, which was recorded, Vandeveld said. But despite an extensive search, Vandeveld said, he was not able to obtain the videotape.

A military judge last year threw out Jawad's statement to U.S. forces, saying it was tainted as a result of his treatment at the hands of the Afghans. The government the appealed decision, and the U.S. Court of Military Commission Review heard arguments on the matter yesterday. A decision is expected within 30 days.

Vandeveld and Jawad's attorneys have catalogued a pattern of abuse in the case, including an incident in June in which Jawad was said to have been "beaten, kicked and pepper-sprayed while he was on the ground with his feet and hands in shackles, for allegedly not complying with guards' instructions," according to a filing in federal court.
So some of the detainees who may have been connected to acts of terror may walk free because the US has been torturing prisoners, including juveniles. Did I say that you'd have to be an idiot not to see that this is hurting America's efforts to fight terrorism? It seems that Glenn Beckkk and Fox News' lobotomy trio are determined to prove me right:

Yes, they really said that we should keep torturing people because it works on TV. And they said that calling for the prosecution of torturers is the same as McCarthyism.

(cross posted at appletree)



Blogger Gert said...

Kiefer Sutherland should in any case be deeply ashamed to be in a 'show' that promulgates such extremist behaviour on the part of a government. I always thought both father and son were quite liberal but '24' really is the darling of the Ultra Far Right blogosphere, the sort that come here and post abusive comments. Course he'll say: 'hey, it's just a show!'

The US is like a country that can be carbon-dated back to last Tuesday: they are making all the mistakes that were made during Europe's long and dark history (and from which we had to learn). Trouble is that each time they make a mistake the world shakes, see also now 'super-capitalism'.

3:58 pm  
Blogger Nevin said...

I am sick to my stomach watching that video you posted about the show 24...

Those commentators who were sitting around discussing torture; have no souls, no humanity, no dignity, no sense of shame or compassion!

When did they become so inhuman, so cold, so power hungry that they lost all sense of perspective...

I can only shake my head in despair...

5:03 pm  

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