Wednesday, June 18, 2008

On CNN: Physicians for Human Rights Report on US Torture

Retired U.S. Major Gen. Antonio Taguba, forced into retirement by the Pentagon after he did his job honorably and truthfully (something the Pentagon and the White House can't stand), investigating the Abu Ghraib prisoner torture - it's torture, not abuse - scandal in 2003, is quoted in today's CNN story from his preface to the PHR report:

"There is no longer any doubt that the current administration committed war crimes," Taguba says. "The only question is whether those who ordered torture will be held to account."

"In a 121-page report, the doctors' group said that it uncovered medical evidence of torture, including beatings, electric shock, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, sodomy and scores of other abuses."


"Among the ex-detainees was an Iraqi in his mid-40s, identified only as Laith, whom U.S. soldiers took into custody in October 2003 and who was released from Abu Ghraib in June 2004. According to the report, Laith was subjected to sleep deprivation, electric shocks and threats of sexual abuse to himself and his family.

"'They took off even my underwear. They asked me to do some movements that make me look in a very bad way so they can take photographs. ... They were trying to make me look like an animal,' Laith told examiners, according to the report.

"According to the report, Laith said the most 'painful' experiences involved threats to his family: 'And they asked me, "Have you ever heard voices of women in this prison?" I answered, "Yes." They were saying, "Then you will hear your mothers and sisters when we are raping them."

"The examiners concluded in the report that 'Laith appears to have suffered severe and lasting physical and psychological injuries as a result of his arrest and incarceration at Abu Ghraib prison.'"


Yesterday, torturer-advocate/architect John Yoo, Professor of [Un]constitutional Law at UC Berkeley, wrote a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed bemoaning the Supreme Court's recognition of habeas corpus rights for detainees. Glenn Greenwald at writes:

"One of the most reliable methods for knowing that a position is unsustainable is that its advocates must employ outright falsehoods in order to support it. In a Wall St. Journal Op-Ed today, John Yoo defends the right of the Bush administration to imprison people at Guantanamo indefinitely with no judicial review and condemns last week's Supreme Court habeas corpus ruling as 'judicial imperialism of the highest order.' To do so, Yoo asserts what have become the now-standard though still-blatant falsehoods on this issue.

"Yoo, for instance, claims that the Supreme Court in Boumediene allows 'an alien who was captured fighting against the U.S. to use our courts to challenge his detention.' But huge numbers of detainees in U.S. custody weren't 'captured fighting against the U.S.' at all. Many were taken from their homes. Others were just snatched off the street while engaged in the most mundane activities. Still others were abducted while in airports or at work."

See the rest of Greenwald's excellent essay here.

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