Mike Pence Refuses To Rule Out Torture In A Trump Administration
By Kim Bellware November 20, 2016
Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Sunday did not rule out the U.S. using torture tactics like waterboarding to combat terrorism.
“We’re going to have a president again who will never say what we’ll never do,” Pence said of President-elect Donald Trump during an interview with “Face the Nation.”
Trump and others in his nascent administration have carved out a clear stance in support of torture as an intelligence-gathering or counterterrorism tool.
Trump himself has stated explicit support for waterboarding and torture.
During a Republican candidate’s debate in February, Trump said he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” In March, he said he would seek to “broaden” laws to allow torture in order for the U.S. to “better compete” with tactics used by terrorist groups like the Islamic State.
To stay safe, the U.S. is “going to have to do things that are unthinkable almost,” Trump told a New Hampshire news station during a one-on-one interview in June.
READ MORE: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mike-pence-waterboarding_us_5831e4c4e4b030997bbffa1d
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Thanks to a handwritten diary penned by her son, she lived long enough to read a breathless and heart-rending account of the sexual violence, psychological abuse, savage beatings, and outright torture suffered by her boy.
After a six-year dispute with the U.S. government, his powerful words were published in London on the very day Obama re-made his tired old pledge.
The Guantanamo Diary is heavily redacted but for the first time a detainee’s story has been told publicly by a captive still held inside the camp. The book is a shocking first-hand account of what happened when former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally designated you as a candidate for America’s "special interrogation techniques."
In between the beatings, the threats against his mother, the staged kidnappings, forced-feeding and exposure to extreme cold, Slahi says he was sexually assaulted by female interrogators at the base. Some of the details are redacted, but the attempt to humiliate a man, who considers himself a strict adherent to the teaching of Islam, is clear enough:
“Today, we're gonna teach you about great American sex. Get up!” he wrote. “The two _______ took off their blouses, and started to talk all kind of dirty stuff you can imagine, which I minded less. What hurt me most was them forcing me to take part in a sexual threesome in the most degrading manner. What many _______ don’t realize is that men get hurt the same as women if they’re forced to have sex, maybe more due to the traditional position of the man."
He tried to recite prayers while the women molested him. "Stop the fuck praying! You're having sex with American _______ and you're praying? What a hypocrite you are!" said ______________ angrily, entering the room,” he wrote. “I refused to stop speaking my prayers, and after that, I was forbidden to perform my ritual prayers for about one year to come.”
He claimed one of the women told him: “If you start to cooperate, I’m gonna stop harassing you. Otherwise I’ll be doing the same with you and worse every day... Having sex with somebody is not considered torture.”
READ MORE: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/21/guantanamo-detainee-i-was-gang-raped-by-female-interrogators.html
Former Gitmo detainee alleges torture, rape threats
By Rebecca Kheel, The Hill December 14, 1015
A British resident released from the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in October is alleging he was tortured there, as well as at Bagram Air Base and Kandahar Airfield, where he says interrogators threatened to rape his then 5-year-old daughter.
“That was the hardest thing, the hardest thing that I ever hear,” Shaker Aamer told the BBC in an interview released Monday. “’If you don't start talking, we will rape your daughter and you will hear her crying daddy, daddy.’ That was completely inhumane. It was worse than the beating as well, worse than everything, just thinking of my daughter, and I just sat there silent completely."
After being detained at Guantánamo for 13 years, Aamer, a Saudi Arabian citizen, was released and returned to his wife and four children in Britain.
Aamer was captured in Aghanistan in 2001 and transferred to Guantánamo in 2002. He was alleged to have been a close associate of Osama bin Laden’s and a “recruiter, financier and facilitator with a history of participating in jihadist combat,” according to military files published by The New York Times.
But he was never charged with a crime and has maintained he was in Afghanistan volunteering to open schools for girls.
READ MORE: http://thehill.com/policy/defense/263185-former-guantanamo-detainee-alleges-torture-compares-to-harry-potter-prison
Sex used to break Muslim prisoners, interrogator says
By AP January 27, 2005
Female interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by sexual touching, wearing miniskirts and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man’s face with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider’s written account.
A draft manuscript obtained by the Associated Press is classified as secret pending a Pentagon review for a planned book that details ways the U.S. military used women as part of tougher physical and psychological interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.
It’s the most revealing account so far of interrogations at the secretive detention camp, where officials say they have halted some controversial techniques.
Dick Cheney says that torturing detainees has saved American lives. That claim is patently false. Cheney's torture policy was directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of American servicemen and women.
Matthew Alexander was the senior military interrogator for the task force that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq and, at the time, a higher priority target than Osama bin Laden. Mr. Alexander has personally conducted hundreds of interrogations and supervised over a thousand of them.
Inside Guantanamo Bay: Horrifying pictures show the restraint chairs, feeding tubes and operating theatre used on inmates in terror prison
By Tom Leonard DailyMail June 27, 2013
Pictured is the notorious restraint chair at Guantanamo Bay, where former inmates claim they were subjected to long hours of agonizing forced feeding.
Medical experts have described the practice as unethical and dangerous.
But officials insist ‘enteral feeding’ is considered safe and its use has been upheld by the courts.
Under the procedure, an inmate who refuses nine successive meals or whose body weight drops significantly is offered a twice-daily can of a nutritional supplement, Ensure, whose flavours include butter pecan. If he refuses, guards shackle him into the chair by his arms, head and feet, and a nurse inserts the tube up his nose, down the back of his throat and into his stomach.
Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a Yemeni who has been on hunger strike since February after 11 years at Guantanamo, recently described how he wanted to vomit when the feeding tube was first stuck up his nose. ‘There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach,’ he said.
Ahmed Zuhair, a 47-year-old former inmate, recently described how four years of being regularly strapped to what he dubbed the ‘torture chair’ had damaged his back and nasal passages.
Zuhair, a Saudi former sheep trader who was never charged with any crime during a seven-year stretch at Guantanamo which ended in 2009, said his nose would bleed during each force-feeding. He claims he would be forced roughly into the chair and left there much longer than the official two-hour maximum. ‘The pain from each force-feeding is so excruciating that I am unable to sleep at night because of the pain in my throat,’ he said in a sworn statement.
US military officials have acknowledged a ‘forced cell extraction team’ was repeatedly used to move Zuhair when he refused to walk on his own to where hunger striking detainees were fed.
Three doctors writing this month in the New England Journal of Medicine called Guantanamo a ‘medical ethics-free zone’ and urged doctors there to speak out. ‘Force-feeding a competent person is not the practice of medicine; it is aggravated assault,’ they said.
In April, the American Medical Association said force-feeding detainees violated the profession’s ‘core ethical values’.
READ MORE: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2349693/Inside-Guantanamo-Bay-Horrifying-pictures-restraint-chairs-feeding-tubes-operating-theatre-used-inmates-terror-prison.html
Guantanamo Bay staff sergeant claims three men believed to have committed suicide were actually tortured to death
By Sherryl Connelly January 17, 2015
It was murder.
A staff sergeant at Guantanamo Bay claims to have solved one of the military prison’s greatest mysteries: Three men the Pentagon says killed themselves were actually tortured to death by the CIA.
The official government line was that Yasser Talal al-Zahrani of Yemen, and Salah Ahmed al-Salami and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi, both of Saudi Arabia, killed themselves in 2006 in a suicide pact.
Rear Adm. Harry Harris, the commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, called the deaths “an asymmetric warfare committed against us.” The men were said to have hanged themselves.
Staff Sgt. Joseph Hickman, a Marine veteran who reenlisted in the Maryland National Guard after 9/11, contradicts the military version of events in his new book, “Murder at Camp Delta: A Staff Sergeant’s Pursuit of the Truth About Guantanamo Bay.” And he paints a sinister picture of the government’s use of the prison as a “battle lab” for cruelly inventive, experimental torture tactics.
“It is my informed opinion that there were three wrongful deaths at Gitmo on June 9, 2006, while I was on duty,” Hickman wrote.
The deaths of the three men — ages, 20, 30 and 37 — were a low point for Hickman, who was excited when his 629th Military Intelligence Battalion was deployed to Gitmo.
“Finally, at 41, I had my chance to meet the enemy,” he wrote.
Hickman was awarded a commendation for “exemplary leadership.”
But, Hickman wrote, he was already disturbed by conditions at the prison where Navy guards would routinely taunt the prisoners into a frenzy. While he harbored little innate sympathy for the detainees, whom he saw as America’s enemies, the “racism, the brutality, the chaos,” got to him.
“I have really struggled with this because the detainees, their families and much of the world will think this is a religious war based on some of the techniques used, even though it is not the case,” the author, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar, 29, told AP.
Saar didn’t provide the manuscript or approach AP, but confirmed the authenticity of nine draft pages AP obtained. He requested his hometown remain private so he wouldn’t be harassed.
Saar, who is neither Muslim nor of Arab descent, worked as an Arabic translator at the U.S. camp in eastern Cuba from December 2002 to June 2003. At the time, it was under the command of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who had a mandate to get better intelligence from prisoners, including alleged al-Qaida members caught in Afghanistan.
Saar said he witnessed about 20 interrogations and about three months after his arrival at the remote U.S. base he started noticing “disturbing” practices.
One female civilian contractor used a special outfit that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra during late-night interrogations with prisoners, mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close contact with women who aren’t their wives.
Beginning in April 2003, “there hung a short skirt and thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door” of one interrogation team’s office, he writes. “Later I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a team which conducted interrogations in the middle of the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk.”
Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say they were tormented by “prostitutes.”
In another case, Saar describes a female military interrogator questioning an uncooperative 21-year-old Saudi detainee who allegedly had taken flying lessons in Arizona before the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Suspected Sept. 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour received pilot instruction for three months in 1996 and in December 1997 at a flight school in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“His female interrogator decided that she needed to turn up the heat,” Saar writes, saying she repeatedly asked the detainee who had sent him to Arizona, telling him he could “cooperate” or “have no hope whatsoever of ever leaving this place or talking to a lawyer.”’
The man closed his eyes and began to pray, Saar writes.
The female interrogator wanted to “break him,” Saar adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against the prisoner’s back and commenting on his apparent erection.
READ MORE: http://www.nbcnews.com/id/6876549/ns/us_news-security/t/sex-used-break-muslim-prisoners-book-says/#.WMMccJUizIU
We've only talked about rape so far but how much do you suppose all of this rape and torture is costing US taxpayers?
Gitmo Inmates Cost US $900K Each Per Year
READ MORE: http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/05/20/gitmo-inmates-cost-us-900k-each-per-year.html
Torture, Cover-Up At Gitmo?
By Rebecca Leung, 60 Minutes April 25, 2005
The story that Sgt. Erik Saar, a soldier who spent three months in the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tells paints a picture of bizarre, even sadistic, treatment of detainees in the American prison camp.
Experts in intelligence tell 60 Minutes that if what Saar says is true, some soldiers at Guantanamo have undermined the war on terror, bungling the interrogation of important prisoners.
60 Minutes also reveals previously secret emails from FBI agents at Guantanamo that warn FBI headquarters that prisoners are being tortured.
"I think the harm we are doing there far outweighs the good, and I believe it's inconsistent with American values," says Saar. "In fact, I think it's fair to say that it's the moral antithesis of what we want to stand for as a country."
Saar volunteered for Guantanamo Bay in 2002. He was a U.S. Army linguist, an expert in Arabic, with a top-secret security clearance. He was assigned to translate during interrogations. The prisoners, about 600 in all, were mostly from the battlefields of Afghanistan. And Saar couldn't wait to get at them after what the administration said: the men were "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth."
With that in mind, Saar went to work, but he was surprised by what he found.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday that the draft order was "not a White House document" but would not provide further comment.
“I’m in support of enhanced interrogation, I think it’s something that has clearly helped us in the past to prevent attacks and save lives,” Republican Rep. Liz Cheney said at an annual gathering of GOP lawmakers. “Frankly, I think it’s the responsibility of any chief executive, any commander in chief, to use any tool at our disposal to make sure we save lives.”
This political time travel was brought to you by a draft presidential order that is circulating inside the Trump administration, and obtained by The Washington Post and New York Times.
Serious abuses occurred the last time the United States used secret black sites to interrogate suspected terrorists. A years-long Senate investigation culminated in the “Torture Report,” which revealed that detainees were waterboarded, subjected to forced “rectal feeding,” made to stand on broken legs, kept in prolonged periods of darkness, held in stress positions, and compelled to walk around naked.
These brutal techniques never yielded any intelligence about imminent terrorist attacks, and information gained through the program could have been obtained through other means, the Senate report concluded.
The president campaigned on reintroducing waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” to America’s interrogation techniques. And he continued to make his position clear in an interview on Wednesday. Citing unnamed experts, which may not exist, he said that “torture”—not the wishy-washy term of “enhanced interrogation techniques”—was an effective tool.
READ MORE: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/01/25/with-donald-trump-in-charge-gop-warms-to-torture-again.html
Trump ‘Fine’ With Sending American Citizens to Guantanamo Bay
By Ali Vitali, NBC News August 11, 2016
Donald Trump said he'd be "fine" with American citizens accused of terrorism being tried in a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay.
In an interview with the Miami Herald that covered Gitmo to Zika funding, Trump said, "I would say [Americans] could be tried there, that would be fine."
Trump has previously come out against closing Guantanamo, forcefully promising to keep it open.
While Trump made no news at his Orlando evening rally, some of his supporters lashed out against the media.
"You should be ashamed of yourselves," one hissed for reasons that weren't exactly clear.
Moments earlier a campaign volunteer stationed outside the media pen instructed condescendingly "don't print any lies!"
As the rally ended, supporters approached the pen to shout at journalists and give middle fingers.
READ MORE: http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/trump-fine-sending-american-citizens-guantanamo-bay-n628861
"Torture does not save lives. Torture costs us lives," Mr. Alexander said in an exclusive interview at Brave New Studios. "And the reason why is that our enemies use it, number one, as a recruiting tool...These same foreign fighters who came to Iraq to fight because of torture and abuse....literally cost us hundreds if not thousands of American lives."
(How to) Bomb making
U.S. Holds 60 Children at Gitmo
By Maia Szalavitz May 28, 2006
On April 24, 2011, the transparency organization Wikileaks began to release Detainee Assessment Briefs and other classified documents for all 779 Guantánamo prisoners. This revealed that military authorities have acknowledged that Mr. Abdul Samad, Mr. Ibrahim Umar al Umar, Mr. Khalil Rahman Hafez, and Mr. Abdullah R. Razzaq were all imprisoned at Guantánamo as children.
As a consequence of the WikiLeak releases, military documents in the public domain now acknowledge that fifteen children were imprisoned, at some time or another, at Guantánamo (see table below). This is three more than the twelve the State Department acknowledged to the public after our earlier report on the subject, and seven more than the eight the State Department reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
In short, military documents released by WikiLeaks indicate that the number of children that have been imprisoned at Guantanamo is one-and-a-quarter times what the State Department has admitted to the public and almost twice as many as it reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child.
All of the testimonies we have considered thus far are domestic. If we were to take into account the testimonies of former prisoners, the Red Cross, and other international sources, then, the estimates of the number of children at Guantánamo raise significantly. Thus, according to a study by Andy Worthington, the number of individuals entering Guantánamo as boys is 22. And, according to the British charity Reprieve (personal communication), this number would exceed 46.
According to the U.K’s Independent on Sunday, more than 60 of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay *were* actually teenagers, some as young as 14 when they were first brought in.
Fourteen of the individuals have now been released—one of them being the first child in history to have been convicted of war crimes (Omar Ahmed Khadr). The fifteenth (Yasser Talal al Zahrani) allegedly killed himself in his Guantánamo cell at age 21.
READ MORE: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/reports/guantanamos-children-the-wikileaked-testimonies/guantanamos-children-the-wikileaked-testimonies
With Donald Trump in Charge, GOP Warms to Torture Again
By Tim Mak, The Daily Beast January 25, 2017
Trump said of Mattis and Pompeo. "I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question 'Does it work? Does torture work?' And the answer was 'Yes, absolutely.'"
Trump's comments come amid reports of an administration draft order indicating that he is considering a review of terrorism interrogations and the potential reopening of CIA black site prisons outside the U.S.
Rape, Torture and Murder at Guantanamo Bay
By Christopher R Rice
Not my Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has no qualms sending newly-captured terror suspects to the Guantanamo Bay detention center, describing it as a "very fine place."
During an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Sessions was asked if either he or President Trump intend to shut down the facility.
"Well, I have not favored that," Sessions said. "I've been there a number of times as a Senator, and it's just a very fine place for holding these kind of dangerous criminals. We've spent a lot of money fixing it up. And I'm inclined to the view that it remains a perfectly acceptable place. And I think the fact that a lot of the criticisms have just been totally exaggerated."
Sessions said "there's plenty of space" at Guantanamo Bay, adding he would advise the president to send American and foreign suspects to the facility. "We are well equipped for it," he said. "It's a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department. But I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that."
READ MORE: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/jeff-sessions-guantanamo-bay-nice-place-holding-terror/story?id=46035561
S.A. soldier admits to Gitmo sex harassment, denies rape
By Guillermo Contreras April 3, 2014
A soldier stationed in San Antonio admitted that he sexually harassed and had sex with three women he supervised in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but denied the most serious charge of raping one of them.
As his court-martial began at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Army 1st Sgt. Richard A. Smith, 45, pleaded guilty to several specifications in charges outlining misconduct with the three women — a sergeant, a corporal and a specialist — all junior soldiers under his command while they served as guards at the Gitmo prison.
Smith, who is from Orlando, Fla., and has been married since 2001, admitted rubbing the corporal's thigh and biting her neck, and having affairs with the sergeant and specialist — who is married to someone else — at separate times between 2012 and 2013.
He also admitted lying to investigators looking into the incidents.
READ MORE: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/
Guantanamo Detainee: I Was Gang-Raped by Female Interrogators
By Nico Hines, The Daily Beast January 21, 2105
(Former) President Obama’s promise to close Guantanamo Bay sounded terribly hollow during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, six years after he first pledged to shut down the military detention center.
One of those who has waited most desperately to discover the camp’s fate was the mother of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a detainee, who was taken from the sandy streets outside their home in Mauritania on November 20, 2001. As he was led away for questioning, he said: "Don't worry mom, I'll be back soon."
He has been charged with no crime, but Slahi never returned. He remains locked inside the notorious naval base on Cuba’s east coast despite a 2010 judicial ruling that he should be released.
If Obama were inclined to apologize for his failure to shut the facility, it would be too late for Slahi’s mother. She died in 2013.
How many prisoners did he think were the worst of the worst – real terrorists?
"At best, I would say there were a few dozen," says Saar. "A few dozen [out of 600]."
Who were the rest of the guys? "Some of them were conscripts who actually were forced to fight for the Taliban, so actually had taken up arms against us, but had little or no choice in the matter," says Saar. "Some of them were individuals who were picked up by the Northern Alliance, and we have no idea why they were there, and we didn't know exactly what their connections were to terrorism."
However they got there, Saar and the rest of Guantanamo's intelligence personnel were told that the captives were not prisoners of war, and therefore, were not protected by the Geneva Convention.
The FBI does its own questioning of prisoners at Guantanamo, and those agents have been writing emails, classified secret, to FBI headquarters. They detail abuse by military interrogators. The agents wrote of finding prisoners "chained hand and foot in a fetal position" for up to 24 hours at a time, and of prisoners who had "urinated or defecated on themselves."
Another FBI document says an interrogator grabbed a detainee's thumbs and "bent them backwards" and "grabbed his genitals." One FBI agent reported that he saw a detainee had been "gagged with duct tape that covered much of his head." The interrogator explained that the prisoner had been "chanting the Koran and would not stop."
FBI agents at Guantanamo call it "torture". He warned FBI headquarters the military was using "torture techniques." The FBI emails were uncovered and declassified in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. The head of the ACLU, Anthony Romero, says that the FBI agents were worried that military interrogators were ruining any chance of getting reliable intelligence.
Based on the FBI emails, and Saar's story, the Pentagon's southern command is now investigating whether prisoners have been tortured or subjected to sexual tactics at Guantanamo Bay.
If all this was well known on the base, how could it have been kept largely under wraps for three years, especially when congressmen and senators often inspected the camp? Well, Saar said it may be in part because those inspections were rigged to fool the visiting VIPs.
"Interrogations were set up so the VIPs could come and witness an interrogation, and in fact the interrogation would be a mock interrogation, basically," says Saar.
"They would find a detainee that they knew to have been cooperative. They would ask the interrogator to go back over the same information that they reviewed on whatever date they had previously interrogated the detainee," says Saar. "And they would sit across a table and talk as though you and I are talking, and this was a fictitious world that they would create for these VIP visits, because in fact, it's not what generally took place in Guantanamo Bay."
60 Minutes asked the Army to comment on Saar's story, or provide someone to talk about Guantanamo Bay. The Army declined.
Vice Admiral Albert Church was ordered to inspect U.S. military detention centers worldwide, and he praised Guantanamo Bay's military police and interrogators, writing that Guantanamo has: "… an effective model that greatly enhances intelligence collection and does not lead to detainee abuse. . ."
He also wrote: " . . . It is a model that should be considered for use in other interrogation operations in the global war on terror."
READ MORE: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/torture-cover-up-at-gitmo/
The night the prisoners died, Hickman headed the platoon guarding Camp Delta. At 6:30 p.m., standing in a north tower, he saw a prisoner escorted from Alpha Block into a white van with blackened windows. The van soon returned for another detainee.
When the van returned a third time, Hickman raced to a vantage point where he could see where the van was going. Rather than turn right to the naval station, the van took the road leading to Camp No.
At 11:30 p.m., the van returned, this time heading for the medical clinic.
“Everything changed,” he wrote.
Hickman ran into a friend of his, a Navy guard, walking away from the clinic. Shaken, she told him that three detainees had just killed themselves. It was then she added a pertinent detail: “They had rags stuffed down their throats. And one of them was badly bruised.”
Hickman surmised the three dead men had to be the ones he saw picked up earlier. There had been no other activity at the prison camp throughout the night. He and his men were in position, in fact charged with observing anything that went on.
He learned from news reports that the official story was that the three men had hanged themselves in their cells in Alpha Block.
The five guards assigned that night to patrol a 120-foot hallway were under routine orders to check the 27 detainees there every three minutes. Standard operating procedure, Hickman wrote, demanded that through the night they make visual contact with prisoners and determine if they were breathing. If any of those rules had been violated, cellblock guards should have been punished for dereliction in the aftermath. None were.
Hickman presents compelling proof that the detainees had no means of hoarding the materials to fashion nooses, bindings or dummies. Nor could they have hanged for two hours unobserved.
READ MORE: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/guantanamo-bay-sergeant-claims-cia-tortured-3-men-death-article-1.2082610
Gitmo’s cover-up court
By Anthony Romero The Guardian November 7, 2014
When President Bush created the military commissions, their purpose was to ensure the conviction of detainees on the basis of evidence obtained through torture. The due process enshrined in our constitution was essentially replaced by a kangaroo court: the military obstructed defendants’ access to counsel; it restricted their ability to see the evidence against them; and prosecutors were allowed to introduce hearsay evidence as well as statements obtained through coercion and torture.
Torture is so endemic to the prosecutions undertaken by the US military commissions that the military designed and built a special courtroom just to limit any outside access to unredacted testimony given at the commission: court and legal observers are relegated to “censorship chambers” attached to the courtroom, where they can only view the proceedings behind soundproof glass with a 40-second audio delay.
And just to make certain that no one will hear if the defendants or their lawyers mention torture outright, the military judge and commission’s security officer have a button to unilaterally cut that audio feed when they believe discussion might veer into dangerous territory. When the government can silence the truth about its own crimes in a single click, it’s the very negation of justice.
The US constitution guarantees that even those accused of the most monstrous crimes will be afforded a fair trial. The founders learned that lesson from one of their own, John Adams, who decided at great risk to his career and reputation to defend the British soldiers accused of murdering five Americans in the Boston Massacre. Afterward, he remarked that it was “one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country”.
The military commissions fall disastrously short of the rights the constitution guarantees the accused. The United States has quite openly sacrificed its founding principles and replaced justice with torture.
READ MORE: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/07/torture-obama-end-guantanamo-military-commissions
How many children does the US hold at Gitmo?