Revolutionary News

‘Astronomical costs’: Gitmo consumes $900,000 per prisoner annually

Maintenance of Guantanamo has been revealed to cost over $150 million each year, with immediate estimates citing it one of the most expensive prisons in the world. This comes as the hunger strike at the detention facility is far from over.
Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.
The prison camp situated at the US naval base in Cuba costs over $900,000 annually per prisoner, placing it far above the country’s maximum security prisons, which in comparison, cost $60,000 to $70,000 per prisoner. With 166 detainees, Gitmo devours over $150 million each year.
“That ... may be what finally get us to actually close the prison. I mean the costs are astronomical, when you compare them to what it would cost to detain somebody in the United States,” Ken Gude, chief of staff and vice president at the liberal Center for American Progress think tank told Reuters.
The expense of maintaining the camp has led Obama to reiterate the necessity to close the prison, instated during the Republican presidency of George W. Bush, after having failed to fulfill his initial election promise to close the prison within a year of taking office as he had promised.
The cost of the camp is so astronomical because the offshore location of the detention center and weak international ties between Cuba and America, mean that food, construction materials and other goods have to be shipped in from outside.

Debate over the prison’s expenses has peaked during the course of budget battles between Obama and the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. Broad-scale spending cuts and the ‘sequestration’ of $109 billion have been set in place.
 

Reuters / Bob Strong

The $900,000 annual cost per prisoner equates to the pay that was allocated to nearly seven states to help serve home delivered meals to the elderly, reports Reuters. Some $129,497 per state has been cut through sequestration.
“No one has any particular affection for Guantanamo Bay, but no one has come up with a practical solution that's better,” a Republican aide with the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee observed.
Out of 166 detainees, as many as 130 are now currently taking part in a mass hunger-strike, their lawyers say. Official reports state that one hundred have joined the action.
The strike began around February 6 and was instigated by widespread searches of detainees’ Korans – perceived as religious desecration – as well as searches and confiscation of other personal items, according to the strikers’ lawyers. Later, it grew into a protest against indefinite detention.
The weakened state of the inmates has led to the authorities force-feeding them through nasal tubes – a practice which was condemned by the UN’s human rights office as a form of torture earlier this week.
“If it's perceived as torture or inhuman treatment – and it's the case, it's painful – then it is prohibited by international law,” Rupert Coville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights told AFP on Wednesday.
American officials themselves have spoken out against the way in which the prison is administered.
“Our taskforce was unanimous – we just do not believe that it fits into the laws and the ethics and the values of America to have indefinite detention, and to not allow a court of law – an adjudication of the charges against a person – to go through an orderly process,” Ambassador James Jones told RT late on Friday.
He later pointed out that officials in charge have no reason to be holding more than half of the detainees.
“We have actually prosecuted similar cases against other countries who have not followed what we say we ought to do, and we’re not following and practicing what we are preaching,” he said.

Israel bombs missile shipment in Syria - reports

Israeli sources confirm that the Air Force has conducted an airstrike on Syrian territory. Anonymous officials said the strikes targeted a shipment of advanced missiles.
The unnamed officials told AP and Reuters the target weapons were not chemical, but were bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement and were sophisticated enough to prompt the Israeli strike on early Friday.
But Amos Gilad, a senior Israeli defense official, denied reports of the strike. 
"I don’t know what or who confirmed, who are these sources? In my book only the IDF's spokesperson unit is official," he told Ynetnews.
In a similar airstrike in January, Israeli warplanes destroyed what was reported as a convoy of advanced air defense missiles that Syria wanted to hand over to Hezbollah. Damascus said the target was a military research facility and denied trying to transfer advanced weapons to its ally. The surface-to-air missiles would compromise Israel’s ability to enter Lebanon’s airspace unhindered.
On Friday media in Lebanon reported that Israeli jets conducted several sorties into Lebanese airspace, with some of them flying in circles over the capital, Beirut. Lebanon’s army website had listed an unusual 16 flights by Israeli warplanes penetrating Lebanese airspace from Thursday evening through Friday afternoon local time. Lebanon's President Michel Suleiman condemned the flyovers, branding them a “continuation of Israel's policy of aggression” and called on the international community to put pressure on Tel Aviv to stop this practice.
Israeli Embassy spokesman Aaron Sagui did not comment Friday night specifically on the report of an Israeli strike.

Fire and smoke rise after shells exploded in the Syrian village of Bariqa, close to the ceasefire line between Israel and Syria, near Alonei Habashan on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights November 7, 2012 (Reuters / Baz Ratner)

"What we can say is that Israel is determined to prevent the transfer of chemical weapons or other game-changing weaponry by the Syrian regime to terrorists, especially to Hezbollah in Lebanon," Sagui said via email to the AP.
Journalist and Middle East analyst Kris Janssen contends that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s weapons transfer to Hezbollah because “from the tactical point of view it makes no sense.” He argues that instead the purpose of the attack was to slow down the Syrian national army in its operations against the armed groups on the border with Lebanon.
“During the last few weeks the Syrian national army was very successful against the armed groups on the Lebanese border,” Janssen told RT. “The army retained a lot of territory and destroyed command infrastructure of armed groups. This is not what Israel and its Western allies expected and the reason for this attack, if it indeed took place, was to slow down the Syrian army or even stop the Syrian army in its progress against the armed groups on the Lebanese border.”
The alleged overnight strike comes days after Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah voiced support of the Syrian government in a televised speech. The militant movement has significant political influence in neighboring Lebanon.
But the country itself has a significant Sunni population, and many of those people sympathize with the Syrian rebels. The argument over which side in the Syrian civil war Lebanon should support has sparked violent clashes in Lebanon on several occasions.
Israel has largely avoided interfering in the Syrian conflict, which has cost many thousands of lives. The government of Bashar Assad is technically at war with the Jewish state, inheriting the unresolved conflict from the 1967 War, in which Israel captured the Syrian Golan Heights. Syria has been allied with anti-Israel forces in the region for decades.
However, many of the rebels trying to oust Assad are hardcore Islamists and enemies of Israel. Israel’s involvement on one side of the conflict is likely to give credibility to the other and spark anti-Israeli sentiments in the war-torn country.
The strike "places a very different view on the civil war in Syria. At this point the Syrians are not going to do anything physically, but they will say politically that the Israelis are trying to overthrow the Assad government and therefore anybody who supports the overthrow of the Assad government is in alignment with Tel Aviv," Conn Hallinan, contributing editor for the US think tank Foreign Policy in Focus explained to RT.
The January strike was not publicly confirmed by Israel, with Israeli officials each time stopping short of direct acknowledgement. In one of the most recent statements, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told journalists that delivery of Syrian weapons to Hezbollah was considered a "red line." Ya'alon then said Israel would not permit "sophisticated weapons" to fall into the hands of "Hezbollah or other rogue elements."
"When they crossed this red line, we acted," Ya'alon said on April 22 in what was regarded as a reference to the alleged Israeli airstrike in January.

Alain de Benoist: Sarkozy blames the Africans for the reason I congratulate them!

by Alain de Benoist
Interview by Nicolas Gauthier.
Translated by Venator for Open Revolt
You have been in favor of building a federal Europe for a long time. But the Europe they sell us today is more in line with Jacobinism. Your opinion ?
Those who describe the European Union as a “federal Europe” show that they haven’t got a clue what federalism is, especially total federalism, as defined by Alexandre Marc, Robert Aron and Denis de Rougemont. In a federal system, the problems should be solved at the lowest level possible, only the decisions that cannot be made at the lower levels should go back up. This is called the principle of subsidiarity or sufficient competence. The European Union is organized on the opposite principle, a principle of omnicompetence: a Brussels Commission whose members have no democratic legitimacy decides independently on almost everything from top to bottom. This is why Europe is deeply Jacobin.
From the beginning, European integration has taken place in spite of common sense. It was started by focusing on trade and industry instead of focusing on politics and culture. After the fall of the Soviet system, instead of seeking to deepen its political structures, the European Union decided to extend itself to countries mostly wishing to get closer to NATO, which resulted in it’s impotence and paralysis. The people were never really associated with the process of European integration. Finally, the purposes of this construction have never been clearly defined. Is it to create a European power, with well-defined borders, who can play its role in a multipolar world, or a European-market embedded in a large area of ​​free trade, with no concern for geopolitical data ? The euro crisis has made ​​matters even worse. The nations (and regions) are gradually dispossessed of their sovereignty, which is disappearing into a black hole, while no European sovereignty is emerging.
You were also in favor of a union between Europe and what used to be called the “third world”, that is to say those nations we refer to today as “emerging”. Looking backwards, do you still hold this position, and what do you think of the last summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa)?
My book “Europe, Tiers monde, même combat”, published by Robert Laffont in 1986, defended the idea of ​​an autonomous Europe, relying on third-world countries who also wanted their own independence from the blocks. It was the era of the “non-aligned”. I wanted that Europe not align itself with the Soviet sphere of influence or and the American sphere of influence. I also had sympathy for countries that, contrary to what happened to us, had not wiped out their traditional societies. You’ll recall that in his speech in Dakar, the abominable Sarkozy, proud heir of the Enlightenment, criticized Africans for wanting to be “in harmony with nature” and giving no place in their imagination to the “idea of progress.” I would rather tend to congratulate them for that. Today, the world has changed, but my intuition is still the same. I see with sympathy the rise of “emerging” countries, whose last summit of BRICS – an alternative to Bretton Woods and Davos – provides confirmation. The big question today is whether the new “Nomos of the Earth” will be a universum or a pluriversum, that is to say, are we moving towards a unipolar world submitted to the American thalassocracy, or towards a multipolar world where the great centers of culture and civilization will act as poles of regulation versus globalization. The eradication of collective singularities, the phasing out of peoples and cultures in favor of a large homogeneous global market, is in my opinion one of the greatest current threats. Humanity is only really rich of it’s diversity. The “emerging” of the countries of the former Third World can help us preserve that.
Similarly, the current European Commission seems impregnated with Nordic spirit, being at the same time Puritan – politically correct – ; decadent – for societal progress – ; and libertarian, as the capitalist Anglo-Saxon tradition requires. And gives, in effect, the impression that its attacks are focused against the “PIGS” (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), the people of Catholic and Orthodox culture, in which we work to live, while others prefer to live to work . Are we mistaken ?
What you say is not totally false, but still a little sketchy. As Voltaire said, “when it comes to money, everyone is of the same religion.” Unfortunately, many people believe that money and currency are one and the same. Money is the universal equivalent that can reduce any quality to a quantity of the order of more or less. In a world where one produces things only to be bought or sold, the rule of money is inseparable from the anthropological model of Homo economicus, who is only driven by the desire to continuously maximize his best material interest. The dominant type of our time, the narcissistic immature type, relies naturally on the axiomatic of interest, which tends to reduce all values to the exchange value. However, be it in the South or the North of Europe, I think the popular classes remain convinced that the ability of human beings to act independently of their own self-interest remains the foundation of any respectable attitude. On this point, I refer you to the last book of Jean-Claude Michéa.

Eurozone unemployment rate hits record 12.1 percent in March

The Eurostat data agency says that the eurozone's unemployment rate hits a record 12.1 percent in March.

According to the data, some 19.2 million people in the eurozone are receiving government financial assistance.

As the jobless rate in the 17-nation eurozone climbed for the 23rd consecutive month, 62,000 people lost their jobs in March.

A total of 26.5 million people were unemployed in March.

In January, the Eurostat agency said that the jobless rate in the eurozone had reached 11.9 percent.

The jobless rate in the 27-member European Union also rose to 10.8 percent in January, from 10.7 percent in December 2012, with 26.2 million people unemployed.

Europe plunged into financial crisis in early 2008. Insolvency now threatens heavily debt-ridden countries such as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain.

The worsening debt crisis has forced the governments of European Union states to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered massive demonstrations in many European countries.

SZH/JR

More Americans falling prey to US capitalism

The United States’ principal economic system of capitalism seems to be working but only for a chosen few. According to the latest research, billionaires control most of the world’s wealth while the income of Americans has stagnated.

The number of Forbes GLOBAL Billionaires were counted at 322 in the year 2000 and that number is at 1,426. Yet, a billion people across the world live on less than two dollars a day. Experts say with the global population exploding to 10 billion by 2050, the inequality gap will grow.

Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel, author of What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” analyzes the evils of capitalism and how it rocks the moral fiber of the US. For more than thirty year Sandel has discussed how capitalism undermines America’s moral values and why most people are in denial of the impact. But if current trends demonstrate the problem, one doesn’t need a Harvard degree to see the discrepancy.

According to the Urban Institute’s analysis of Federal Reserve data before the recession, white families were about four times as wealthy as nonwhite families. By 2010, whites were about six times as wealthy.

Experts who are able to critically analyze the US’ capitalist system--considered the backbone of US economics say that anything in the US can be bought and sold for the right price. This mentality puts money first and people second, corrupting senses of morality and compassion.

Sandel argues that many Americans are in denial about the impact of capitalism in the US. But its impact is growing increasingly more profound as more people become dependent on government subsidies and fall into lower socioeconomic brackets and billionaires become richer.

‘US, European leaders in denial about human cost of austerity’

Austerity in healthcare is a false economy as the immediate savings are outweighed by the huge spending required to cover the damage to people’s heath in the future, Dr. David Stuckler of Oxford University told RT.
Scientists at Oxford and Stanford Universities have brought to light the negative effect austerity measures have on health. They say spending cuts and mass lay-offs across Europe and North America are fueling a spike in suicide and depression. The academics behind the study believe the global financial crisis has caused as many as 10,000 to take their own lives.

Stuckler, who is leading the research into the impact of austerity economics on public health, says that health and education are the best channels to speed up the economic recovery, therefore cuts in the those sectors should be avoided.

RT: The situation was already extremely difficult for millions of people because of the economy. Why have you singled out austerity as a factor?

David Stuckler: What we’ve seen in studying recessions over the past century and with the focus on the present crisis is that recessions hurt. But when politicians with deep cuts to vital social supports, they can turn those recessions lethal. In the worst case we’ve seen Greece - after it cut its malaria prevention budget we saw the return of outbreaks that the country has kept under control over the past four decades. We’ve seen HIV infection spike by 200 per cent at a time when the HIV budget was cut. Similarly, we’ve seen across Europe austerity breed a series of epidemics – from suicide to foregone access to healthcare to tuberculosis outbreak and even dengue fever.

Health workers and supporters carry a banner reading: "No to budget cuts and privatizations, Yes to public health system and services" during a protest against the Madrid regional government's Health Sustainability Plan (Reuters/Juan Medina)

RT: According to your theory countries that did not pursue austerity cuts, like Iceland, should be doing much better in health terms than those that did, is that the case?

DS: That’s a very good point because Iceland suffered the worst banking crisis in history – all of its biggest banks failed and its debt jumped to over 800 per cent of GDP. But its people voted against austerity and instead shored up support in its health system. No one lost access to healthcare and, in fact, this country, which was once the happiest society in the world, again in 2011 was ranked as the happiest society in the world.   

RT: 10,000 is a lot of people. What do you think is the likely reaction from governments around the world to that and how do you think they should react?

DS: So far Europe’s leaders have been in denial about the human cost of the austerity policies that have been pursued across Europe and pursued in North America, with the sequester recently passed. What we need to do is take into account the health effects of economic policies. Had austerity been run like any other drug trial it would’ve been discontinued because of its deadly side effects.   

RT: Many leaders claim by making these cuts it is the only way to end the crisis. Are you of the same opinion?

DS: First, the tuberculosis outbreaks, for example, that New York suffered in the mid-1990s ended up costing millions to control. So austerity in health is a false economy. But also we’ve looked at something called the fiscal multiplier this is the effect of government spending on the economy. It’s been subject of much debate lately. And what we’ve found is that investments in health and education as well are two of the best channels with large and positive fiscal multipliers that boost employment and spending power and help spur recovery. If you are going to make cuts there are other areas that have less damaging effects on the economy. So there’s a case in economic argument for protecting health, not only for its long-term social and health benefits, but also as strategy to spur recovery.

Chemical arms claims no excuse to attack Syria: Russia

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says claims about use of chemical weapons in Syria should not be used as pretext for military intervention in the country.

"We must know the truth and have proof and not rely on information reported in the media which is not supported by facts," Bogdanov said on Saturday.

He added that the claims should be dealt with “in conformity with international criteria” and should not not used to “achieve other objectives. It must not be a pretext for an intervention in Syria.”

"We have the past experience of another violent intervention in Iraqi affairs under the pretext of the presence of nuclear weapons, and it turned out in the end that there was nothing," the Russian official said.

The remarks by the Russian official come two days after US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel claimed that the American intelligence community had made an assessment “with varying degrees of confidence” that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on a small scale.

On Friday, an unnamed Syrian official denied the accusations by saying that Damascus was capable of reaching any area of Syria by relaying on traditional weapons and that it would not use chemical arms "even if it had them."

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government security forces and army personnel, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.

Several international human rights organizations have accused the militants operating in Syria of committing war crimes.

SZH/SS

Official number of Guantanamo Bay hunger strikers jumps to 100

The official number of hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay reached 100 on Saturday – three more than the day before. Twenty of the detainees are receiving enteral feeds, five of whom are being observed in a detainee hospital.
Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline on Gitmo hunger strike
Lawyers for the detainees contest the official numbers, saying that some 130 prisoners are actually taking part in the protest. The hunger strike began around February 6, when detainees claimed prison officials searched their copies of the Koran for contraband, according to their attorneys.

Prisoners are also protesting their extrajudicial incarceration at the prison. Most of Guantanamo Bay’s 166 detainees have been cleared for release or were never charged, a situation that has prompted criticism from human rights organizations.

“The illegal detentions without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay have gone on for more than a decade with no end in sight, so it’s not surprising that detainees feel desperate,” counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch, Laura Pitter, said in a statement.

AFP Photo / Virginie Montet

As the number of detainees being fed by tubes continues to grow, so does the criticism surrounding the practice of force-feeding. The Constitution Project, a non-profit group that promotes bipartisan consensus on legal reform, concluded in a recent report that
“forced feeding of detainees is a form of abuse and must end.” However, Guantanamo authorities have offered a different assessment:
“I refuse to say ‘force-feeding.’ It refers to a cartoon where individuals are strapped, yelling, screaming, mouth open and food is dumped down the person’s throat and that is not the case,” Guantanamo spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Samuel House said, as quoted by AFP.
“We will continue to prevent people from starving. It is by all means the rights of detainees to protest, however it is our mission to provide a safe, secure and human environment and we will not allow our detainees to starve themselves to death,” House added.
Meanwhile, Pitter has urged the Obama administration to do more to end the
“unlawful practice that will forever be a black mark on US history.”

AFP Photo / John Moore

White House spokesperson Jay Carney argued that Congress is to blame for the failure to close Guantanamo, not the Obama administration.
“The president remains committed to closing the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay,” Carney said in a statement.
“A fundamental obstacle to closing this detention facility…remains in Congress." President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo as he assumed office in 2009. However, he was unable to act on his promise after Congress imposed restrictions on Gitmo detainee transfers.
RT is currently on a waiting list for a media visit to Guantanamo Bay.

Anti-drone protest in UK over domestic opening of Reaper control center

Anti-war groups have held a protest at a UK airbase from which the country has begun controlling its fleet of assassination drones in Afghanistan. Previously, the remote pilots were deployed only in the US.
Four anti-war groups – including CND, the Drone Campaign Network, Stop the War and War on Want – are staging a nonviolent protest on Saturday over drone use by the Waddington base in Lincolnshire.
About four hundred peace campaigners marched from the city of Lincoln to RAF Waddington.
The British Royal Air Force (RAF) has opened drone control stations at the base located south of Lincoln this week to work in tandem with those already in place at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. In 2010, the Ministry of Defence decided it needs the capability to remotely operate its armed drones from its own soil following a strategic security review.
Waddington is home to the new 13 squadron created for this purpose in October last year. The unit consists of about 100 personnel, including pilots, systems operators and engineers.
Together with the Nevada unit, the squadron will be remotely controlling UK's drones, including the armed Reaper drones, which can drop laser-guided bombs and launch Hellfire missiles.
"We aren't flying any more operations than we were before, but with the time differences between the US, Afghanistan and the UK, it is now possible for pilots at Waddington to work in relay with the those in the US," a source told the Guardian while explaining the rationale behind the new unit.
The UK deploys a relatively small, but still sizable, drone fleet in Afghanistan, mostly consisting of surveillance aircraft. There are five British Reapers deployed in the region, and the MoD plans to double that number this year.
Protesters expressed fears over the UK's development of the drone program, which is marred by its association with its US counterpart. Washington uses CIA-operated drones in the targeted killings of suspected militants, which critics say results in an unacceptable number of civilian deaths and has shaky legal and moral grounds.
"Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians' decisions to launch military strikes and order extra-judicial assassinations, without democratic oversight or accountability to the public," Rafeef Ziadah, War on Want senior campaign manager said. "Now is the time to ban killer drones – before it is too late."
The British military insist that their use of drones saves soldiers' and civilians' lives, and is no different from that of piloted aircraft.
"UK Reaper aircraft are piloted by highly trained professional military pilots who adhere strictly to the same laws of armed conflict and are bound by the same clearly defined rules of engagement which apply to traditionally manned RAF aircraft," an MoD spokesman said.

Torture Remains Official US Policy

Stephen Lendman
Activist Post

International law is clear and unequivocal. Torture is illegal at all times, under all circumstances with no allowed exceptions.

It violates constitutional protections. They include the 8th Amendment's guarantee against "cruel and unusual punishments."

Treaties America signed prohibit torture and other forms of ill-treatment. They're binding under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.

It states:

"….all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding."

Earlier Supreme Court rulings condemned force and other forms of ill-treatment amounting to torture. They include harsh interrogations, threats, sleep and food deprivation, prolonged isolation, whipping, slapping, beatings, and other forms of abuse.

Laws prohibiting torture are jus cogens. They're higher, compelling laws. No nation may pass legislation permitting it. No courts may justify it. Jus cogens prohibitions allow no immunity from criminal liability.

On April 16, The New York Times headlined "US Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes," saying:

The Constitution Project's (CP) "sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been 'the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.' "
 

 

It's "indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture."

CP's report is titled "Task Force on Detainee Treatment." It followed "two years of intensive study, investigation and deliberation."

It was undertaken "to provide an accurate and authoritative account of how the United States treated people its forces held in custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist threat."

"The events examined in this report are unprecedented in US history."

"In the course of the nation’s many previous conflicts, there is little doubt that some US personnel committed brutal acts against captives, as have armies and governments throughout history."

Nothing matched post-9/11 policies. They were authorized at the highest levels of government. Bush, Cheney and others around them did so.

Despite this extraordinary aspect, the Obama administration declined, as a matter of policy, to undertake or commission an official study of what happened, saying it was 'unproductive' to 'look backwards' rather than forward.

Crimes of war and against humanity were committed during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Extraordinary renditions began on Clinton's watch.

Courts, including the nation's highest, largely looked the other way. Instead of condemning war on terror lawlessness, they did little judicially to stop it.

On June 11, the Supreme Court denied certiorati for seven Guantanamo detainees. Doing so violated the Constitution's Article 1, Section 9, Clause 2. It states:

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public safety may require it.

CP's report said it's "indisputable" that America practices torture. The nation's highest officials bear full responsibility. What began earlier continues. Torture is globalized. Snatch and grab is policy.

In Afghanistan, dozens of abductions occur monthly. Imprisonment and torture follow. Guantanamo represents America's public face. It's the tip of the iceberg. It symbolizes US lawlessness.

Dozens of "black sites" operate globally. They do so extrajudicially. They do it out of sight and mind. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" became code language for torture and other forms of abuse.

Suspects are snatched and disappeared. Foreign governments are complicit. What began under Clinton intensified under Bush. Obama continues the worst of his practices.

CP discussed the following topics:

  • Detention at Guantanamo
  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Washington's Post-9/11 "Legal Process"
  • Rendition and "black sites"
  • Medical professionals' involvement in detention and interrogation practices
  • True and false confessions - most are forcibly extracted
  • Effects and consequences of US policies
  • Recidivism
  • The Obama administration
  • The role of Congress

Guilt at the highest levels of government is shared. They include the executive, congressional and judicial branches. The CIA and Pentagon are complicit. Torture and other forms of abuse became official policy. It remains so extrajudicially.

America crossed the line. CP called doing so unjustifiable. It violated fundamental rule of law principles. It damaged the nation's standing. It's legally, morally and ethically compromised.

It "reduced our capacity to convey moral censure. (It) potentially increased the danger to US military personnel taken captive."

On April 14, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel explained his ordeal. "Gitmo is killing me," he said. He's been there 11 years and three months.

He threatens no one. He committed no crime. He hasn't been charged or tried. He never should have been abducted in the first place. He should have been released long ago.

Military officials said he was a "guard" for bin Laden. Samir called saying so "nonsense." He thinks his captors no longer believe it. "But they don't seem to care how long I sit here, either," he explained.

He remains because Yemeni prisoners aren't sent home. "This makes no sense," said Samir. "I am a human being, not a passport, and I deserve to be treated like one."

He's aged 35. He wants to go home and see his family. He wants one of his own. Conditions are "desperate," he said. Detainees are suffering horrifically. There's no end in sight to their imprisonment.

He and around 130 others are hunger striking for justice. He's being force-fed. He described the ordeal. He's bound hands and feet to his bed.

An IV is forcibly inserted into his hand. He spent 26 hours this way "tied to his bed." He was denied permission to go to the toilet. He wasn't allowed to pray.

He'll "never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up (his) nose. I can't describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way," he said.

As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone. 

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping. 

During one force-feeding the nurse pushed the tube about 18 inches into my stomach, hurting me more than usual, because she was doing things so hastily. 

I called the interpreter to ask the doctor if the procedure was being done correctly or not. 

It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. 

As they were finishing, some of the 'food' spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.

He hopes because of what all detainees suffer, "the eyes of the world will once again look to Guantanamo before it's too late."

The Times gave Samir op-ed space. Two days later, its own editorial followed. It headlined "Indisputable Torture," saying:

CP’s report confirmed it. It's "the fullest independent effort so far to assess the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the CIA's secret prisons."

Defending or denying it doesn't wash. A detailed appendix includes dozens of legal cases. They provide clear evidence that Washington prosecuted similar treatment or denounced what other countries commit.

CP's assessment "is a good step in (the right) direction," said Times editors. A separate 6,000-page Senate Intelligence Committee report remains classified.

The next step should be its release. There is no excuse for further delay.

Current and former Times editors have much to answer for. They've been far less than forthright on torture. Harvard JFK School of Government students explained. Their paper was titled "Torture at Times: Waterboarding in the Media."

It's cruel and inhuman punishment. It's indisputably torture. Harvard students called it:

"....the practice of intentionally inducing the sensation of drowning in the victim."

It's "achieved in a number of ways, including but not limited to (1) placing a cloth or plastic wrap, (2) pouring water directly into the mouth and nose of the victim, (3) placing a stick between the victim's teeth and pouring water into his or her mouth, often until the victim's stomach becomes distended, then forcing the water back out of the victim's mouth, and (4) dunking and holding the victim's head under water."

They documented how America's four largest broadsheets covered the practice over the past century. They included the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, USA Today (because it's the nation’s most widely circulated newspaper), and The New York Times.

From 1901 - 1925, Times editors, columnists and contributors seldom called it torture. They did so in 11.9% of their articles.

From 1931 - 2002, they affirmed or implied torture in 81.5% of them.

From 2002 - 2008, they did so twice. It reflected 1.4% of published columns or commentaries. Neither one discussed America.

Bush administration torture was sanitized. Occasionally it was called "harsh" or "coercive." The word "torture" was systematically avoided.

It wasn't admitted or denounced. It continues under Obama. It remains official policy. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Pages