Archive for the ‘torture’ Category

Official: 4 Guantanamo Prisoners Transferred to Iraq

February 9, 2009

A senior Iraqi security official says that four prisoners have been transferred from the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay to Iraqi custody.

The security official says the men, Iraqis who were arrested in Afghanistan, have been interrogated by Iraqi authorities.

The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, added that one Iraqi remained in Guantanamo.

The family of one of the prisoners, Hassan Abdul Hadi al-Jawhar, says the International Red Cross confirmed to them their son had been released.

Neda Abdul Hadi, Hassan’s sister, said her brother disappeared in 1999 while doing military service and later they received a letter from him in 2004 saying he was in Guantanamo.

–Associated Press

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Torture, Murder of Top Mexican Anti-Drug Man; “Out of Control” Drug War

February 4, 2009

The ugly nature of the drug war in Mexico will not subside.

Retired Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñonez, his aide and a driver were tortured.  They had many broken bones, bruises and burn marks on their skin.

State prosecutor of Quintana Roo, Bello Melchor Rodriguez y Carrillo, said “The general was the most mistreated.  He had burns on his skin and bones in his hands and wrists were broken.”

The general took over as the top anti-drug man in the area just 24 hours before his death.

A U.S. FBI agent that advises the Mexican Police told us, “The drug war is out of control here.  No rules.”

The U.S. military said recently said the drug war could cause the Mexican government to collapse.  There is now a rising tide of dead judges, mayors and police — all killed by drug cartels and many tortured.

According to official figures, at least 72 military officers have died in anti-drug raids in Mexico since December 2006, when President Felipe Calderon declared war against drug trafficking.

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/americas
/02/04/mexico.general/index.html

America Closer To A Lawless Neighbor, Drug Cartel Rules Border

 Mexico: Top Cops Bribed By Drug Cartel

 Mexico: “under sustained assault”; Could “collapse” — U.S. Military

Cheney: Obama Could Easily Risk “catastrophic nuclear or biological attack”

February 4, 2009

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris, Mike Allen
Politico

Google Maps has a clear satellite view of the US vice president's ... 
Dick Cheney.(AFP/File/Mandel Ngan)

In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects. 

And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the country at risk in ways more severe than most Americans—and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team—understand. 

“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said. 

Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.” 

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20090
204/pl_politico/18390

Gallup Poll: Obama Good on Gitmo, Bad on Abortion

February 3, 2009

The public is most supportive of his decisions to name special envoys to oversee the administration’s efforts in the Middle East, and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to tighten rules on people working as lobbyists either before or after serving in his administration. Both of these moves are favored by 76% of Americans.

Americans are nearly as supportive of Obama’s actions to limit the interrogation methods that can be used on military prisoners — actions designed to ensure the United States does not resort to torture to find out information from prisoners. Seventy-four percent of Americans favor that decision, the same percentage who favor his executive order to institute higher fuel efficiency standards.

Two in three Americans approve of his signing a bill to make it easier for workers to sue for pay discrimination, the first legislation he has signed into law as president.

The public does not agree with everything Obama has done, however. For example, more Americans say they disapprove (50%) than approve (44%) of his decision to order the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terrorist suspects in Cuba within a year.

Further, Obama’s decision to reverse the prohibition on funding for overseas family-planning providers may be the least popular thing he has done so far. This was an executive order that forbade federal government money from going to overseas family-planning groups that provide abortions or offer abortion counseling. Fifty-eight percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s decision to lift this ban, while only 35% approve of it. The ban on federal funds to these groups was put in place by Ronald Reagan, but lifted by Bill Clinton. George W. Bush re-instituted the ban after taking office in 2001, but Obama has once again lifted it.

Read the rest on the Gallup Poll:
http://www.gallup.com/poll/114091/Ame
ricans-Approve-Obama-Actions-Date.aspx

Obama’s new rules have loopholes

February 2, 2009

President Obama’s first moves earned him triumphant headlines: “Obama Freezes Pay, Toughens Ethics and Lobbying Rules,” and “Obama sets new course.”

But some of his biggest accomplishments are twinned with the word “but”: Lobbyists are banned, but exceptions can and will be made; orders on ending torture and secret prisons contain loopholes and provisos.

By Christina Bellantoni
The Washington Times

Call it the fine print, an exception, a waiver, but there have been caveats to many of Mr. Obama’s first actions.

The lobbying issue has drawn the most ire, especially since Mr. Obama spent so much time blasting lobbyists on the campaign trail.

“Change we can believe in, as long as we pay attention to the disappointing asterisk on the word ‘change,’ ” complained Rachel Maddow, a liberal talk-show host for MSNBC.

Miss Maddow on Friday night blasted Mr. Obama for having former lobbyists in his administration, saying that his campaign-trail promise that lobbyists would not run his White House “sounded great; too great to be entirely true, it turns out.”

White House aides suggest the criticism is nonsense, since even transition officials warned months ago there would be exceptions to lobbying bans for people they consider exceptionally talented. Others point out that so many people leave government to earn money with consulting and lobbying that it would be tough to staff any administration without needing to bend the rules.

But Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, ripped into the new administration for so quickly bending the lobbying rules.

“He got the good headlines, and their intentions were really good, but carving out so many exceptions is silly. They should stop pretending they are following the rule when they are not,” she said. “They say they have a policy of no lobbyists, and yet every day we hear about a new lobbyist.”

Nearly two dozen executive-branch hires, all the way up to Cabinet level, have been registered federal lobbyists, with the most-prominent being Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and William Lynn, the No. 2 man at the Pentagon.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/
02/early-obama-loopholes-are-drawing-fire/

Obama Told His Actions On Gitmo Could “jeopardize those who are fighting the war on terror”

January 30, 2009

“We shouldn’t make policy decisions based on human rights and legal advocacy groups,” retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kurt Lippold said in a telephone interview. “We should consider what is best for the American people, which is not to jeopardize those who are fighting the war on terror — or even more adversely impact the families who have already suffered losses as a result of the war.”

The former commander of the USS Cole, the American war ship that was struck by a suicide boat in Yemeni waters more than eight years ago, on Thursday slammed President Barack Obama’s orders to close the Guantanamo detention center and reassess the prisoners being held there.

By Carol Rosenberg
McClatchy Newspapers

Lippold also spoke about the trial….

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2009/j
an/30/former-uss-cole-commander-slams-ob
ama-guantanamo/

Related from CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/0
1/29/cole.charges/index.html

Related:
Obama’s Unnecessary Muslim Apolo
gia; Misguided on al-Qaeda

Former Gitmo Detainee Hailed as ‘Fomenter of War’

January 29, 2009

Before he was released from Guantanamo, a Saudi detainee insisted he had only wanted to help refugees and was not a fighter. Now, as an Al Qaeda field commander sporting a bandolier of bullets, he is threatening the United States and has been hailed by a militant Web site as a veteran guerrilla and “a fomenter of war.”

Fox News

The story of Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi underscores the dilemma Barack Obama’s administration finds itself in: Keeping men locked up without trials invites global criticism but releasing them without a fair and diligent process to distinguish enemies from noncombatants exposes the U.S. and its allies to danger. It also shows how hard it is to separate truth from lies.

Al-Oufi was one of two former Saudi detainees at Guantanamo, the U.S. military prison in Cuba, who resurfaced last week in video clips as Al Qaeda fighters in Yemen. Their identities were confirmed in recent days by a U.S. counterterror official. Al-Oufi was detainee number 333 at Guantanamo.

On Wednesday, the SITE Intelligence Group, an organization that monitors extremist Web sites, provided a translation of al-Oufi’s biography contained in an online militant forum. The personal history was completely at odds with how al-Oufi had characterized himself as he tried to convince a panel of U.S. military officers at Guantanamo that he was an innocent man who had been swept up in Pakistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,
484829,00.html

Obama Completes Spectacular First Week

January 28, 2009

Barack Obama’s first week in the White House has been spectacular.

He was greated by the largest live crowds ever, perhaps, to attend an inauguration.

He has appointed special envoys in the Middle East (George Mitchell) and for Afghanistan and Pakistan (Richard Holbrooke).

Like Karl Wallenda, the father of the famed high wire act, he pleased liberals with his proclamation on torture and Gitmo without really closing the detention facility and angering conservatives.

He has reached out to everyone: Republicans, Iran, Russia, Muslims, Israelis, Pakistan and everyone in between.

He has launch “policy reviews” all over the map: on Irag and Afghanistan; and on energy and the environment.

He’s gone to Republican lawmakers to hear their concerns — part photo op certainly but also part necessity and conviction.

“Mr. Obama doesn’t have to do that. He could get a stimulus bill passed almost entirely with Democratic votes. But Obama doesn’t want to be yet another president who divides the country,” said Bill Schneider of CNN.

Tonight he will host a “social hour” at the White House to include Republicans and Democrats.

Not a bad first week.

John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Related:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/0
1/28/obama.first.week/index.html

Related:
 Russia ’stops missile deployment in Europe because of Obama’

Obama Envoy in Israel, Seeks End To Hamas Tunnels, Smuggling

Obama: Muslims not America’s enemy, “I have Muslim members of my family”

More Refugees Land in Thailand Amid Abuse, Human Rights Furor

January 27, 2009

 A new boatload of Rohingya refugees washed up on the shores of Thailand early Tuesday, raising questions about the type of treatment they would receive.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says previous boat loads of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar have been beated, whiped and pushed back to sea by Thais.

Male refugees show scars they say were caused by beatings at the hands of the Myanmar navy.

Male refugees show scars they say were caused by beatings at the hands of the Myanmar navy.
A recent CNN investigation found evidence that the Thai military towed hundreds of refugees into open waters only to abandon them.

CNN obtained several photos of this activity including one photo that shows the Thai army towing a boatload of some 190 refugees far out to sea. CNN also interviewed a refugee who said he was one of the few that survived after his group of six rickety boats were towed back to sea and abandoned by Thai authorities in January.

Related:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORL
D/asiapcf/01/27/thailand.ref
ugees/index.html

Reviews of United Nations records and media reports show a patters of questionable if not barbaric treatment of refugees in Thailand.  Currently, there are at least two regugee abuse situation inside Thailand and not just one…..

Thailand’s Questionable Talk On Stopping Abuse of Refugees

A group of Rohingya migrants are seen in a boat at sea off of ... 
A group of Rohingya migrants are seen in a boat at sea off of Koh Sai Daeng in southwest Thailand in this undated photo obtained by CNN. Pressure mounted on Thailand on January 26, 2009 to come clean on allegations the army towed Rohingya refugees out to sea and abandoned them in engine-less boats, after CNN showed pictures depicting exactly that.

This picture provided to CNN is said to show refugees being towed out to sea by the Thai army.

This picture provided to CNN is said to show refugees being towed out to sea by the Thai army.

Gitmo, Human Rights, Legalities and Terrorist: Will This Be the Bipartisan Test for Obama?

January 25, 2009

Senator John McCain is a former prisoner of war (POW).  A tortured prisoner of war.

Senator Lindsey Graham is a lawyer.  A military lawyer.

Both these allies could be just the help President Barack Obama needs as he tries to navigate the difficult waters of the prisoner, legal, human rights and torture issues surrounding the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The president has asked that the issue be handled with bipartisan resolve and principled care.

“We look forward to working with the president and his administration on these issues, keeping in mind that the first priority of the U.S. government is to guarantee the security of the American people,” McCain  said in a joint statement with Graham.

“This is a tough battleground to determine if we can work in a bipartisan manner,” said one old U.S. Senate hand.  “But the economic stimulus bill will be tough too.”

In this Jan. 11, 2002 file photo, released by the Department ... 
In this Jan. 11, 2002 file photo, released by the Department of Defense, detainees wearing orange jump suits sit in a holding area as military police patrol during in-processing at the temporary detention facility Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Shane T.McCoy, File)

*******

From Senator John Kerry:

Thursday was an important day for the rule of law in the United States of America.

With a handful of signatures to executive orders, President Obama ordered the eventual closure of Guantanamo Bay prison and CIA “black site” prisons, and placed interrogation in all American facilities by all U.S. personnel under the guidelines of the Army Field Manual.

In a season of transformational changes, these are among the most meaningful, because they send a powerful message that America’s struggle against terrorism will once against honor some of the most cherished ideals of our republic: respect for the rule of law, individual rights, and America’s moral leadership.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/25/k
erry.guantanamo/index.html?iref=newssearch

John Kerry says Barack Obama sent a message that fight against terror will respect America's values.

John Kerry says Barack Obama sent a message that fight against terror will respect America’s values.

********************

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

President Barack Obama‘s pledge of bipartisan cooperation with Congress will be tested as he tries to fulfill a campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay and establish a new system for prosecuting suspected terrorists.

The undertaking is an ambitious one. Fraught with legal complexities, it gives Republicans ample opportunity to score political points if he doesn’t get it right. There’s also the liklihood of a run-in with his former rival, Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war who before running for president staked his career on overhauling the nation’s detainee policies.

“We look forward to working with the president and his administration on these issues, keeping in mind that the first priority of the U.S. government is to guarantee the security of the American people,” McCain, R-Ariz., said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The statement seemed aimed at putting Obama on notice that he must deal with Congress on the matter.

In his first week in office, Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be closed within a year, CIA secret prisons shuttered and abusive interrogations ended.

So far, Obama’s team has given every indication it will engage lawmakers, including Republicans, on the issue. Graham and McCain were among several Republicans briefed last week by White House counsel Greg Craig and handed drafts of the executive orders.

But once the two sides begin delving into details, there will be ample room for dispute.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090125/a
p_on_go_pr_wh/guantanamo_politics

McCain on working with Democrats:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politi
cs/2009/01/22/sot.lkl.mccain.inauguration.cnn

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/0
1/25/mccain-i-wont-be-a-rubber-stamp-for-obama/