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Convicted Criminal Considers the Cause, the Crime, and the Court

Last week, as prisoners continued to languish in the infamous and illegally-run US concentration camp of Guantanamo, I was fortunate to join 34 fellow criminals in Washington DC at the District of Columbia Superior Court as our case, for an act of peaceful civil resistance, was heard by a judge and prosecuted by one of America‘s officers of the court. Our court experience was far more than our unfortunate brothers in Guantanamo have received after 6 years in their open-ended confinement. Approximately 270 Guantanamo prisoners are held in captivity without charges, Habeas Corpus rights denied, access to civil courts denied, living in conditions of abuse, torture, and with little hope for life or liberty. Some have committed suicide because of their desperate situation.

On January 11, 2008 hundreds of people solemnly processed from The National Mall to The United States Supreme Court marking the 6th year of the prison camp to redress our grievances against the US Government and its use of abusive treatment, torture, and the ending of Habeas Corpus rights for the Guantanamo prisoners. Out of the hundreds who were a part of this assembly, outside and inside the US Supreme Court, I was one of 80 people who ended up being arrested for our nonviolent witness, kneeling and praying, calling for the closing of the Guantanamo detention camp. Those of us who were arrested for our peaceful justice-advocacy for the prisoners were charged with “unlawful free speech” and a second charge, for those inside, of “causing a harangue”. The “harangue” charge was eventually dropped.

After our arrest we were held for over 30 hours in a chain of custody from the US Supreme Court Police to the DC Metropolitan Police, and finally in holding cells below the courtroom by the US Marshals. We chose not to have any identification such as drivers’ licenses and instead told the police that we were there in the name of a specific Guantanamo prisoner. The Guantanamo prisoner I represented is Sahr Fawaz Ahmad. Many of us had been held on January 11 in handcuffs for over 8 hours and some not given any food or water until the next day. The day after our arrest, while still in custody, the US Marshals refused to give us water. Our lawyer had to get the arraignment judge to order the marshals to give us water. On January 12 we were all arraigned late in the day and early evening. We were then free to go until we would be in court to defend ourselves against the charges. Again, this is more than those in Guantanamo have received even after 6 long years of imprisonment without charge or conviction.

On May 27, 2008 we gathered for our trial in the DC Superior Court. As we went to trial our numbers had decreased from 80 initially arrested to 34 prepared for trial. Several of the 80 had made agreements with the government not to get arrested for 6 months and having their records cleared if they maintained this agreement. Others had their charges dropped for no apparent reason just before our trial. Our judge was Wendell P. Gardner Jr. and our US Government prosecutor was Magdelena Acevado. We would defend ourselves Pro Se meaning we would represent ourselves with the assistance of attorney-advisers Mark Goldstone and Anne Wilcox. By going Pro Se we have the chance to introduce our message about the Guantanamo prisoners and what motivated us to take such a dramatic action at The US Supreme Court.

The trial lasted three days ending late on Thursday May 29. During our trial almost half of my fellow co-defendants wore orange jumpsuits and remained silent and would not take an active role in their defense. They did this to be in solidarity with the prisoners of Guantanamo and to illustrate the lack of justice the prisoners have experienced while being held in the US occupied portion of Cuba. The rest of us took on the various roles such as giving opening statements, cross examination of government witnesses, examination of defense witnesses, motion for judgment of acquittal, and closing statements in our defense. We all identified ourselves in court with our own names in addition to naming the Guantanamo prisoner we represented. In naming a Guantanamo prisoner we were in some small symbolic way getting these illegally held captives into the court record, again this is much more than what they have received so far.

During the trial several of my codefendants made deeply moving and passionate statements concerning the rights of the prisoners, about the abuse and torture we know is inflicted upon them, the importance of Habeas Corpus, human rights, and international law. They spoke eloquently about why we were called by conscience and the need to follow a higher law that is above statutes that govern behavior in and around a federal building. We all acted peacefully at the US Supreme Court on January 11, 2008 and firmly believe that we were there to uphold the law.

During the trial the government failed to provide any evidence of our individual guilt. We were identified in court with post-arrest photos by police witnesses. A video depicting some of what happened outside The US Supreme Court was presented without a single police officer identifying any one of us as an individual who committed a crime. Not one person who was inside on that day was ever identified by a police witness as committing any crime. One officer testified that the first time he saw me was on an elevator handcuffed being escorted by another officer after my arrest. Nevertheless we were all found guilty by the judge. We were found guilty by the use of post-arrest photos and guilt by association and not as individuals who each committed a crime. This is significant but not the most important thing for us.

We did what we did and went to trial because of the prisoners of Guantanamo. We were there for them. We were there to speak out for those who cannot. We were there to uphold international law, our constitution, our Bill of Rights, The Geneva Conventions, for justice and humanity. Our government refuses to allow the Guantanamo prisoners into our civil courts to be fairly tried. Instead our government has set up military tribunals where hearsay evidence is permitted, information obtained from those tortured is admitted as evidence, and the military judge picks the defense, prosecution, and jury. This is not justice. We took the names of the prisoners into court with us written on our hearts and minds and we spoke their names. We were subsequently sentenced by Judge Gardiner on May 30.

We now all face one year of probation and a one year order to stay away from the US Supreme Court building, grounds, and the surrounding sidewalk. Some of us have fines of $50 and a few have, including myself, a $100 fine. Some refused to accept probation knowing they may be called by conscience, to witness for justice and peace, to risk arrest again. These people, five of them, received immediate jail time of 10 days and an additional one to 15 days. Another defendant, a retired school teacher in her 70’s, received 5 days, and I was one of three who received 1 day in jail in addition 29 days in jail if we get arrested within the year. Again, this is nothing compared to what our brothers in Guantanamo face every day.

Our judge gave us these punishments because he said he wants us to learn a lesson. But, in reality the government is clamping down on peaceful dissent by jailing us and threatening us with more jail if we continue our nonviolent resistance to injustice. This is the lesson the government wants nonviolent dissenters to learn. The lesson the government needs to learn, however, is that this won’t work with us. We will be back for our brothers in Guantanamo and the estimated 27,000 other prisoners in secret black sites around the world where torture is practiced.

As long as the Guantanamo concentration camp is open and in operation none of us is truly free. As long as the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzalez, and Yoo remain at large ordering, advocating, and approving of torture none of us is safe. As long as the bipartisan US Congress fails to restore Habeas Corpus and close Guantanamo we have lost our republic and tyranny will rule us. We all must work to close this place and bring justice to those held captive. If this means risking arrest for nonviolent symbolic actions of peaceful civil resistance and then enduring a time of incarceration then this must be done for the sake of the higher laws of justice and the leadings of our individual consciences. I urge all people of goodwill to join us in this struggle for justice.

For more information on the campaign to close Guantanamo, our trial, and the work to end torture go to: www.witnesstorture.org

— Malachy Kilbride malachykilbride@yahoo.com

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June 18, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction, Torture News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Google It — We’re #1!

When you google “torture,” the US occupies two of the top three positions:

Torture – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Torture, according to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, is “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torture – 190k – CachedSimilar pagesNote this

Human Rights Watch – Torture – Abuse of Detainees – Iraq – Afghanistan

Human Rights Watch research and advocacy on the torture and mistreatment of US detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanmo Bay.
http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/torture.htm – 24k – CachedSimilar pagesNote this

Annals of National Security: Torture at Abu Ghraib: The New Yorker

In the era of Saddam Hussein, Abu Ghraib, twenty miles west of Baghdad, was one of the world’s most notorious prisons, with torture, weekly executions,

Google It!

If you google:

US + torture, you get 3,430,000 hits.

China + torture gets 349,000 hits

Iran + torture gets 652,000

England + torture gets 573,000

France + torture gets 714,000

June 3, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

50 Bullets

So as we all know the cops who fired 50 shots at Sean Bell and his friends were acquitted of all charges last Friday morning. I went to the protest at the Queens DA after work at 5. Unlike pre-9/11 police brutality protests in New York (the one for Diallo comes to mind) it felt small and defeated. I don’t know if it was the disenfranchisement of the George Bush years, the verdict that there’s no such thing as too many shots or some combination. I don’t think, as the New York Times claimed, that it was that “Black New Yorkers See Nuances That Temper Rage.” Oy. The story went on to infuriatingly claim from those oh-so-scientific person on the street interviews (or probably more accurately the persons on the street interviewed who would substantiate the writer/editor’s thesis) that, “Some also said that after a seven-week trial, the picture of what happened the night Mr. Bell, a black man, was killed was still murky, and so they left the public outcry to a relatively small group of black activists who had been closely monitoring the case.” Oy, oy, oy.

We have a criminal justice system that over-charges, over-convicts and over-punishes defendants. We have a system that locks up people for life without the possibility of freedom for firing a lot less than 50 shots and sometimes for crimes that aren’t homicides. We lock people up for decades for non-violent offenses, for drunken brawls that turned tragic, for violating the baseball rule of 3 strikes, for mental illnesses that resulted in violence… But when three cops kill a Black man in 50 bullets — no time at all.

I found one part of the Judge’s rancid opinion interesting — where he noted that he didn’t trust the State witnesses, with their inconsistencies and criminal records:

We instruct juries that it is expected that multiple witnesses to the same event may vary in their recounting of minor aspects of what had been observed. However, where there are significant inconsistencies related to important facts, they should be considered.

Reference was made earlier to the credibility of witnesses. The court has found that the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt was affected by a combination of the following factors: the prosecution witnesses’ prior inconsistent statements, inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, criminal convictions, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie and the effect it had on the truthfulness of a witness’s testimony. These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of those prosecution witnesses. And, at times, the testimony just didn’t make sense.

I wonder how many jailhouse snitches he’s trusted and used to convict — people who have an incentive to lie and have been a proven factor in wrongful convictions. And inconsistent statements? Well, I have no doubt that the DA threw the case and didn’t properly prepare the witnesses, but we all know, as the judge himself admitted, that three witnesses to the same event will have three different accounts. In fact, a victim after a crime may, and often does, change his or her story over time because it’s a traumatic, bombarding event that can’t be recorded verbatim.

I plan on looking at the now retiring judge‘s Westlaw opinions just to see who he’s convicted on a whole lot less than 50 bullets.

Here is Judge Cooperman’s verdict:

“Before dealing with the business at hand, I would like to remind everyone how important it is to honor the decorum of the court and remain quiet after the verdicts are rendered.

A trial is defined as a formal examination of the facts of a case by a court of law to decide the validity of a charge. It is also defined in the dictionary as a hardship. And, in many ways, this trial was a hardship.

But, it was not a competition. To overreact to the outcome while you are in this courtroom, whether you are satisfied or dissatisfied with the result, would detract from the great effort that was expended to assure a fair trial – by the court personnel and the attorneys who handled their responsibilities with the highest level of professionalism and skill.

Because establishments known as “strip clubs” often generate criminal activity including prostitution and narcotics, the police department Club Enforcement Unit was given the task of infiltrating such places and pursuing violations of law that would lead toward shutting them down.

So it was that the detectives charged in this case found themselves in the vicinity of Club Kalua in the early morning of November 25, 2006.

And as a result of the events of that morning, they are accused of the crimes alleged in the indictment.

Now, after eight weeks of trial, this court has the responsibility of making a determination of guilt or lack of guilt as to each of the charges set forth against each of the defendants.

As the trier of fact, this court must determine what the facts are, apply those facts to the applicable law, and render a verdict.

The court will do so. But before announcing a decision, a brief statement is in order.

In weighing the evidence, the court examined the testimony of the witnesses and the factors to be considered in determining credibility.

An objective consideration of the proof ruled out sympathy and prejudice and any other emotional response to the issues presented. The court did not view the victims or the NYPD as being on trial here.

The burden of proof was on the people to prove each defendant guilty of the crimes of which he was charged, beyond a reasonable doubt. And as with all criminal cases, each defendant was presumed to be innocent.

Because justification was raised as an issue, the people had the burden of proving as an element of each charged crime that each defendant was not justified.

It is important to note that in analyzing what happened here, it was necessary to consider the mind-set of each defendant at the time and place of occurrence, and not the mind-set of the victims. What the victims did was more pertinent to resolving the issues of fact than what may have been in their minds.

Also, carelessness and incompetence are not standards to be applied here, unless the conduct rises to the level of criminal acts, as defined by the law relating to each count charged.

What happened outside the Club Kalua on November 25, 2006, and the ensuing incident that occurred around the corner on Liverpool Street are the two significant events about which proof was elicited.

We instruct juries that it is expected that multiple witnesses to the same event may vary in their recounting of minor aspects of what had been observed. However, where there are significant inconsistencies related to important facts, they should be considered.

Reference was made earlier to the credibility of witnesses. The court has found that the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt was affected by a combination of the following factors: the prosecution witnesses’ prior inconsistent statements, inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, criminal convictions, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie and the effect it had on the truthfulness of a witness’s testimony. These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of those prosecution witnesses. And, at times, the testimony just didn’t make sense.

Yet, it was apparent from the testimony of the participants that the confrontation that took place in front of the club was heated. The SUV owner, Fabio Coicou, gave the impression that he had a gun, causing at least one of the group to threaten to take it away from him.

And, the court finds, another threat was made by Joseph Guzman to retrieve a gun. At that point, nothing of a criminal nature had taken place. But, having witnessed that provocative confrontation between Mr. Coicou and the group, the undercover officers became concerned and followed the group around the corner to Liverpool Street.

Defendant Isnora approached the Nissan Altima into which Mr. Guzman and Sean Bell, two of the more active participants in the heated exchange, entered.

The Altima, which was driven by Mr. Bell, sped away from its parked position, struck defendant Isnora and collided head on with the police van that had entered Liverpool Street. The Altima then went into reverse, backed up onto the sidewalk, struck a gate and then went forward and to the right, striking the police van again. As this was happening, defendant Isnora — who testified in the grand jury –observed Mr. Guzman, the front passenger, move his body as if he were reaching for a weapon.

Defendant Isnora yelled, “gun” and fired.

Other officers, indicted and unindicted, joined in from different locations on the street.

The court has found that the incident lasted just seconds. The officers responded to perceived criminal conduct; the unfortunate consequences of their conduct were tragic.

The police response with respect to each defendant was not proved to be criminal, i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt. Questions of carelessness and incompetence must be left to other forums.

Although there were aspects of defense testimony that were not necessarily credible, the focus must be on the people’s proof to determine whether they have satisfied their burden of proving the defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

To the extent that the defense of justification was applicable to the charged crimes, counts 1, 2, 3, 4 in part, 5 in part, 6, 7, and 8, the people have not proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each defendant was not justified in the actions that each took.

With respect to counts 4 and 5, Trent Benefield, whose credibility was seriously impeached, testified that he was shot while running down liverpool street. Forensic evidence demonstrated otherwise. Thus, although the justification defense would not have applied to that aspect of counts 4 and 5, it was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Accordingly, the court finds each defendant not guilty of each of the respective counts in the indictment of which they were charged.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | , , , | Leave a comment

Innocent in Guantanamo

Murat Kurnaz’s memoir, Five Years of My Life: an Innocent Man in Guantánamo, will soon be published in the United States.

Amnesty International reports:

About two months after the September 11 attacks, Kurnaz was abducted by Pakistani authorities while traveling through Pakistan with a group of tablighis, a sect of missionaries. Sold as a terror suspect to the U.S. military for a $3000 bounty, Kurnaz spent two hellish months in a secret U.S. prison in Afghanistan before he was bundled onto a plane and sent to the U.S. detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There, he endured five years of torture, interrogations and abuse until his 2006 release”prompted by a personal plea by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to President George W. Bush”even though official documents show that U.S. and German authorities had determined in 2002 that he was innocent. His memoir, soon to be published in the United States, has caused a furor in Germany over the role German government and intelligence agencies played in his ordeal.

Below are excerpts of his interview with the German magazine, Stern:

How did you end up being arrested on Dec. 1, 2001?
We were in Peshawar. I had already bought souvenirs to take home. On the way to the airport we went through a checkpoint and I was taken off the bus. I did not think that I was going to be arrested; I thought that the situation would resolve itself. I was taken to the police station, then to a villa and then to a prison. They kept asking me stupid questions: whether I was a cameraman, whether I was from the police. And then they would always say, “No problem, we will take you to the airport tomorrow.”

And instead of that?
The next morning, a sack was put over my head, and I was handcuffed. We traveled for a few hours to a very quiet place. You could not hear any cars, any voices. Many metal doors opened one after another. When I could see again I was in a room without a window, without a toilet, just a hole right above me through which the light came in from a lamp that you could not see.

You were obviously sold–the Americans paid a bounty for terror suspects. Did you know about that?
Only much later. A guard at Guantánamo once complained that I had not given them any new information and had just continued to say the same thing. “You would have surely expected more for your five thousand dollars,” I said to him. “Three thousand,”he replied. “We only paid three thousand for you.”

You were taken to a U.S. camp in Kandahar, in Afghanistan. What did that look like?
A site at the airport. Split into groups of 10 or 20 men, we lay out in the open behind lengths of barbed wire.

That must have been just before Christmas.
It was very cold. On the first night we were naked–they had taken our overalls away from us, and we were not wearing anything underneath. The guards had German and Belgian shepherds, which they would let loose on us every once in a while. In the morning we received new overalls, again with nothing underneath, nothing over the top. We only had blankets for a very short amount of time. And we continued to lie out in the open. My breath froze onto my clothing.

Was there nobody who stood up for you?
After a few days, somebody came from the Red Cross. He was from Germany. He wrote a letter to my family for me. Then, in the night, I was thrown out of my cell. A guard held a shotgun to my head. “You are a terrorist!” he screamed. “What kind of dumb stuff did you write about your treatment here?” My hands and feet were bound, and someone kicked me from behind. I fell. The interrogator pulled me up again by my hair. In Kandahar, I at least found out what I was being accused of: having a fake visa and being a friend of Mohammed Atta, the terrorist pilot. They asked where Osama was, where I had seen him. They claimed that they knew everything already and that I should give evidence to improve my situation.

Did they really have information on you?
They knew a lot–for example, the fact that I had bought my digital camera and my mobile phone before my journey and from whom I had bought them. I was in no doubt that they were working alongside German authorities…

Were you tortured in any other ways?
They called it “showering.” You had to pour cold water over your head. They took me out to do that every day. They prepared me for interrogations by putting electric shocks through my feet. For hours on end they would hang me up by my hands, which were bound behind my back in different positions?and then a break, and then you would be hung up again. A doctor looked in to see if you were still alive. The interrogator came at midday every day, and then you would be taken down for a short while…

Your impressions upon arrival at Guantánamo?
It was warm. I thought it was a U.S. military base in Turkey. They were already beating us a lot on the way to the camp, as a welcoming greeting.

What was Camp X-Ray [the first prison at Guantánamo like?
The cages were so small that I initially thought they were only for getting changed in. You were exposed to everything: sun, rain, snakes, scorpions. I once saw with my own eyes one of the prisoners being stung on the finger by a scorpion. Fat rats walked all over your arms and legs.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | , , , | Leave a comment

At the NYT, soldiers are seen but not heard

Listen to Jeff Cohen on Counterspin discuss the media black-out on Winter Soldier.

Read FAIR’s Action Alert here and the New York Times response here. One infuriating snippet of the NYT response:

News organizations like the Times, with its own substantial investment in independent reporting from Iraq tend to prefer their own on-scene accounts of the war, rather than relying on charges and counter-charges at home by organizations with strongly held political viewpoints about the war.

What a dishonest response. While the New York Times has been featuring several stories about the torment suffered by American veterans of the Iraq war, they chose not to cover the Winter Soldier hearings, where veterans and active duty soldiers detail the tragedy and immorality they witnessed in Iraq. So, according to the NYT, soldiers can be subjects of stories on the “costs of war” but they won’t be covered if they express political views while telling their stories?

They didn’t cover these soldiers because the vets dared to express a political view about the war they fought — a political view that contradicts the corporate media line.

April 9, 2008 Posted by | Media Criticism, Non-Fiction | , , | Leave a comment

Blue coat, purple backpack and PATH searches

So a few years ago, in the wake of Bush’s declaration of a war on terror, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, along with the NYC subway (through the NYPD) started randomly searching passengers before they entered the trains. One could refuse but would have to leave for another station. At the time I wrote a story, urging riders to refuse to be searched. Lawsuits cropped up and courts upheld the illegal searches. And in 2006 the Department of Homeland Security came to the PATH to show off its newest, high-tech equipment to search commuters.

And even though I commute every day on my dear PATH (I really do love it, even though some commuters don’t know to move all the way in) I had never been stopped by the cops who occasionally hung around the station. Until today.

As I was walking to swipe my card, I saw their eyes on me and then heard, “Excuse me miss… we’d like to search your bag.” I looked at them, pissed they were interrupting my morning routine, pissed they were searching me for no reason, other than that I caught their eye, and pissed at the idiocy — and passive acquiescence — to the whole dumb thing. I turned around to leave and walk to the station several blocks down. They told me again they wanted to search my bag.

I told them that they couldn’t search my bag and I was going to another station. They told me the search would take no time (further proof that this whole thing is just a placebo) and I angrily said, “It’s not about that. It’s about civil liberties.” Yeah, all you cynics, I said it. They told me I may be denied entry at another station. Annoyed, I demanded their badge numbers and names, scrawling it on the back of a booklet from work.

I left the station and got on at Exchange Place, adding about 15-20 minutes onto my commute.

During this exchange, one of the officers looked at me and said, “Blue coat, purple backpack.” (I wear a puffy blue coat and a bright purple overstuffed backpack. It’s what a 12-year old wears who wants to make sure traffic can see her at night.)

I know his meaning — I’ll be stopped tomorrow. While I stood up today, I know convenience will win out tomorrow and I’ll acquiesce. Shit, that’s not exactly an inspiring ending, is it?

Postscript: I haven’t entirely given up. I’m researching to see if any organizations are interested in bringing this issue back to court. I’ve e-mailed the NJCLU, filled out their Mass Transit Random Search Report Form and Flex Your Rights to see if I have any recourse. No answer yet but we’ll see.

March 19, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | , , , , , | 5 Comments

Tortured Language: White House Press Briefing

White House Press Briefing
March 6, 2008
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/03/20080306-3.html

Q Does the President realize he’s going to further tarnish our image for humanity if he vetoes a ban on torture?

MS. PERINO: That’s not what he’s suggesting, Helen. You’re talking about the Senate — the intelligence authorization bill?

Q Isn’t he supposed to veto the ban this week, or so?

MS. PERINO: Helen — well, he is going to veto a bill, but it’s not the bill in which you describe. The bill that he is going to veto is the intelligence authorization bill. We’ve had a statement of administration position that has been out for a long time. There are many different reasons he’s going to veto it. One of the main ones is that it would apply the Army Field Manual, which is very good guidance for young soldiers who are out on the field who might capture somebody out on the battlefield, but it is not something that should apply to a terrorist interrogation program that is run by the CIA.

Q Why? It’s torture, isn’t it?

MS. PERINO: It isn’t — no, we are not torturing, and that is not what the bill says.

Q Well, it would ban —

MS. PERINO: Torture is already illegal.

Q — he is vetoing a ban on torture, isn’t he?

MS. PERINO: Torture is already illegal in this country, and the President has already signed a bill reiterating that fact. The simple point of this bill is that the Army Field Manual — the President does not believe, nor does the intelligence community — I’d point you to General Hayden and others who say that it should not —

Q The military certainly believes in it.

MS. PERINO: It is appropriate for the military to have the Army Field Manual as its guidelines. But we do not believe that it should apply to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Q Why? Are they human beings? Are we humane people?

MS. PERINO: We are humane people. We have a terrorist interrogation program that helps make sure that we keep this country safe. We do not torture. But what I will tell you is that you will hear more about this this weekend. The President’s radio address will be on this issue.

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | Leave a comment

Army Generals and Torture: Immoral and Stupid

Amazing interview about torture with retired military generals on Democracy Now!

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/3/6/retired_generals_criticize_president_bush_for

BRIG. GEN. JAMES CULLEN: Well, we hear a lot of arguments to try to justify practices—under newspeak are called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” but we know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s torture in different packaging. We hear the argument, as you mentioned, that we’re in a new paradigm, and the old rules don’t apply. Anyone who managed to stay awake through high school history classes knows, as we have fought other insurgencies, from the Philippines and Vietnam and other places, the rules do apply. We’re not facing something new. As we go back in our history, we look at President Lincoln through General Eisenhower, they all faced far greater threats to our nation than what we’re looking at today. And yet, they held the line, and they were very clear in their direction that we are going to act properly in accordance with the rule of law.

March 11, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | Leave a comment

Father and Son

This photograph was taken in 2003 by AP photographer Jean-Marc Bouju. It depicts a hooded Iraqi prisoner holding his 4-year-old son at a U.S. detention camp. Bouju said that the boy was panicking and crying so an American soldier cut the plastic handcuffs off, according to the AP. (Source: CNN.com, World Press Photo 2003 awards unveiled, 02/14/04)

February 10, 2008 Posted by | Non-Fiction | Leave a comment