Doubling Down On Failure At Guantanamo

There are still 172 detainees held at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre © Amnesty International

Released just as President Obama seems to have washed his hands of closing Guantanamo, a new batch of leaked government documents provide fresh insight into just how inadequate, iniquitous and ultimately counterproductive, the US foray into indefinite detention has been.

The new document cache consists of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) – essentially case summaries – produced by intelligence analysts at Guantanamo between 2002 and 2009 that were first leaked to Wikileaks and then by someone in the Wikileaks community to the press.

The picture of Guantanamo that emerges from these new documents is of an arbitrary review process, operating from a presumption of guilt not innocence, thrown together on the fly, and overseen by individuals with so little understanding of cultural nuance that they might as well have been drafted in from Mars.

The New York Times points out that the qualification “possibly” appears 387 times about intelligence used in the files, with the qualifiers “unknown” and “deceptive” appearing 188 times and 85 times respectively. Further proof that the intelligence business is anything but a precise science.

The leaked material also highlights that adverse testimony from just eight inmates was cited in the files of 255 Guantanamo detainees. One inmate, Mohammed Basardah, alone provided ‘intel’ on 131 detainees. Abu Zubaydeh who was water-boarded at least eighty-three times, subsequently commented adversely on 127 inmates. Material from Fawaz Naman Hamoud Abdullah Mahdi was cited in six cases despite the fact that he suffered from severe psychiatric disorders.

The files reveal that intelligence analysts came to regard most of this testimony as unreliable.

Perhaps most shocking of all, it emerges from the documents that at least 150 of those detained in Guantanamo – twenty percent of the total inmate population – had no demonstrable connection whatsoever to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any other armed group. So, not exactly ‘the worst of the worst’ after all.

These individuals were held unlawfully – in some cases for many years – before being released with no apology or compensation for their ordeal. As a signatory to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights – an international instrument the United States promotes around the world – the US has an obligation to provide remedy to these individuals.

This is far from a small point – lives have been ruined.  A study conducted by Lauren Fletcher and Eric Stover of UC Berkeley into the post-detention lives of sixty-two former detainees found that only six had been able to find permanent jobs since their release and that almost two thirds reported having emotional difficulties broadly consistent with PTSD. Furthermore, in the absence of their primary breadwinner many detainee families had been plunged into serious debt.

How long are American politicians going to keep doubling down on the disastrous policies of the Bush administration? Guantanamo has no international legitimacy, it has produced no intelligence of any value, and it has radicalized far more people than it has deterred.

Yes, there are undoubtedly some unpleasant people held in Guantanamo. Like a broken clock even US intelligence might actually be right twice a day and some inmates, like Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, have boasted openly about their role in terrorist attacks. However, Guantanamo was never the only option for dealing with them.

At this point, there really can’t be any doubt that the criminal justice system would have done a vastly better job. The innocent would likely have been processed and released, the guilty tried and convicted years ago if we had chosen this path instead. The evidential standard required by real courts protects us from acting precipitously on lies, half-truths and innuendo parsed inexpertly by the intelligence community.

This isn’t old news. Instead, of trying to fix the problem the Obama administration has now effectively embarked on a rebranding campaign. The Combatant Status Review Tribunals for which the Detainee Assessment Briefs were written have reappeared as Periodic Review Boards. Military Commissions are getting a lick of paint and a ‘new and improved’ sticker.

However, the reality is that Guantanamo is so broken it can’t be fixed – it needs to be condemned and shut down. It is an affront to every American who ever recited the Pledge of Allegiance and it is, as these new documents make clear, even by its own terms, a colossal failure.

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82 thoughts on “Doubling Down On Failure At Guantanamo

  1. you wrote above:
    "twenty percent of the total inmate population – had no demonstrable connection whatsoever to Al Qaeda,",

    - So by your own words you mean that 80% DO have a demonstrable connection to Al Qaeda, correct?

    you also wrote above
    "almost two thirds reported having emotional difficulties broadly consistent with PTSD."

    We of course all feel so much sympathy for all these poor little fellows just like the GB inmates themselves of course all felt sympathy for those innocents who suffered and died in the twin towers. (sarcasm)

    But putting the two statements you made above together, I am just wondering if the 2/3 you claim suffer PTSD could be also mostly from the 80% of these cases you admit held previous voluntary membership in Al Qeda, which as everyone on earth knows is an evil criminal mafia dedicated to the mass murder of civilians.

    I mean, would not the 80% of GD inmates you admit happily joined and probably participated in murder and atrocities for a group dedicated to destroying everything Amnesty International stands for, namely Al Qeda, be assumed to be already previously suffering PTSD even before arrival in GB?

    I know I would suffer PTSD after membership in and participation in terrorist actions for Al Qeda. Wouldn't you or any normal human ?

    Or did these 80% of GD inmates you yourself admit are dedicated Al Qeda baby killers participate in all that brutality and crushing under boot heal of innocents simply for pure giggles and laughs with no ill side effects, similar in mentality to how WWII SS concentration camp guards enjoyed their work?

    But then these gentle harmless creatures, 80% of them veteran terroristic killers, began suffering PTSD only **after** capture and arrival at GB?

  2. 20% were said to have 'had NO demonstrable connection WHATSOEVER to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any other armed group.' [emphasis added]. To jump to the conclusion that '80% of GD inmates … are dedicated Al Qeda baby killers' and '80% of them veteran terroristic killers' is ridiculous.

    80% may have had some, or questionable or indeed a demonstrable connection to Al Qaeda. But this article does not explain how much, or how strong the evidence was against the 80%.

    It sounds to me that you (judonimh) would like to be subject to a justice system that is based on 'guilty until proven innocent'. Well, actually I don't think anyone really would, you just think that certain swathes of the human race (but not yourself) do not deserve 'innocent until proven guilty.'

    Are you in favor of a return to the Inquisition of the Dark Ages? (I hope you know something about history, if not, look it up. It really is worth learning from. There are unfortunately many more recent examples in history of similar unjust 'justice' systems too…)

    It is evil when the guilty get away with their crimes, without punishment. But it is also evil when innocent people are convicted and punished. Our justice system is designed to protect us from both evils, and there is a constant balancing act to be kept between the two. GB doesn't seem to be very effective at either, and certainly not the latter.

    Why were the innocent not given compensation? They will of course recount their negative experiences at the hands of the US, fueling anti-US sentiment. Really, I wonder if people are just stupid, not seeing the logical consequences of this, or they intentionally want to keep Al Qaeda recruitment and hatred of the US up?

  3. you wrote above:
    “twenty percent of the total inmate population – had no demonstrable connection whatsoever to Al Qaeda,”,

    - So by your own words you mean that 80% DO have a demonstrable connection to Al Qaeda, correct?

    you also wrote above
    “almost two thirds reported having emotional difficulties broadly consistent with PTSD.”

    We of course all feel so much sympathy for all these poor little fellows just like the GB inmates themselves of course all felt sympathy for those innocents who suffered and died in the twin towers. (sarcasm)

    But putting the two statements you made above together, I am just wondering if the 2/3 you claim suffer PTSD could be also mostly from the 80% of these cases you admit held previous voluntary membership in Al Qeda, which as everyone on earth knows is an evil criminal mafia dedicated to the mass murder of civilians.

    I mean, would not the 80% of GD inmates you admit happily joined and probably participated in murder and atrocities for a group dedicated to destroying everything Amnesty International stands for, namely Al Qeda, be assumed to be already previously suffering PTSD even before arrival in GB?

    I know I would suffer PTSD after membership in and participation in terrorist actions for Al Qeda. Wouldn’t you or any normal human ?

    Or did these 80% of GD inmates you yourself admit are dedicated Al Qeda baby killers participate in all that brutality and crushing under boot heal of innocents simply for pure giggles and laughs with no ill side effects, similar in mentality to how WWII SS concentration camp guards enjoyed their work?

    But then these gentle harmless creatures, 80% of them veteran terroristic killers, began suffering PTSD only **after** capture and arrival at GB?

  4. The US constitution's justice system is for American criminal matters, not illegal terrorist groups attacking US civilians from foreign soil. The US constitution was never intended to govern this situation and no US court has ever once ruled foreign captured Al Qeda terrorists are protected by the US constitution.

    Look, I know some misguided people may seriously actually believe the US Army should have to get American court ordered wiretap warrants showing probable cause before so much as listening in to Osama Bin Laden's telephone order of a pizza delivery to his cave but the vast majority of the world would say people who think this way are pretty much idiots.

    For countries that signed the Geneva Convention and have legally declared war on one another and fight soldier to soldier in uniform on the battlefield, the captured become prisoners of war under the rules of the Geneva convention, with the whole POW works including Red Cross inspections, but get held indefinitely until the end of the conflict. But the Geneva Convention has less than zero to do with illegal criminal terrorist groups attacking US civilians from foreign soil.

    So for the GB inmates they get no US constitutional rights and they get no Geneva Convention either. In fact they have no rights under international law at all other than universal human rights like not being tortured (water boarding which is wrong I agree), or execution without trial. Certainly no GB inmate has any right to civilian trial under any US or international law.

    I guess this is the take home message for the day, If you really do not want to end up for decades or even the whole rest of your life rotting away in a place like GB, without trial, then you should not voluntarily join a criminal terrorist group that believes as its only goal and ideology the killing of as many foreign civilians as possible, such as you yourself admit at least 80% of GB inmates did do in fact.

  5. There isn't much to add to Anna's comment.

    The 150 individuals referenced in the post are those against whom there was simply no intelligence of involvement with Al Qaeda at all. As the post goes on to note much of the so-called 'intelligence' offered against many of the other detainees came from circular reporting, unsubstantiated gossip or flawed analysis. This is not proof of their guilt – quite the contrary, most have already been released and after almost 10 years of effort the US government has only been able to pull together cases against 36 inmates with any confidence that they might withstand the scrutiny of the even the desperately flawed Military Commissions process.

    The United States has international legal obligations that govern its treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and it is in breach of them. The most fundamental of these obligations is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which applies to all detainees of whatever provinance in all circumstances relating to armed conflict international or otherwise – as the Supreme Court of the United States has acknowledged. This includes those designated as non-privileged belligerents or, as the Bush administration put it, unlawful combatants.

    The 'take home message for the day' is that Guatanamo has been a failure no matter what criteria you judge it by. Judo is right in one respect – Al Qaeda is an illegal criminal group. We would have been better served if it had been treated as one. Instead, we have undermined the values we profess to believe in, empowered those who wish to stir up hatred of the United States, and we are not one iota safer as a consequence.

  6. 20% were said to have ‘had NO demonstrable connection WHATSOEVER to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any other armed group.’ [emphasis added]. To jump to the conclusion that ’80% of GD inmates … are dedicated Al Qeda baby killers’ and ’80% of them veteran terroristic killers’ is ridiculous.

    80% may have had some, or questionable or indeed a demonstrable connection to Al Qaeda. But this article does not explain how much, or how strong the evidence was against the 80%.

    It sounds to me that you (judonimh) would like to be subject to a justice system that is based on ‘guilty until proven innocent’. Well, actually I don’t think anyone really would, you just think that certain swathes of the human race (but not yourself) do not deserve ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    Are you in favor of a return to the Inquisition of the Dark Ages? (I hope you know something about history, if not, look it up. It really is worth learning from. There are unfortunately many more recent examples in history of similar unjust ‘justice’ systems too…)

    It is evil when the guilty get away with their crimes, without punishment. But it is also evil when innocent people are convicted and punished. Our justice system is designed to protect us from both evils, and there is a constant balancing act to be kept between the two. GB doesn’t seem to be very effective at either, and certainly not the latter.

    Why were the innocent not given compensation? They will of course recount their negative experiences at the hands of the US, fueling anti-US sentiment. Really, I wonder if people are just stupid, not seeing the logical consequences of this, or they intentionally want to keep Al Qaeda recruitment and hatred of the US up?

  7. The US constitution’s justice system is for American criminal matters, not illegal terrorist groups attacking US civilians from foreign soil. The US constitution was never intended to govern this situation and no US court has ever once ruled foreign captured Al Qeda terrorists are protected by the US constitution.

    Look, I know some misguided people may seriously actually believe the US Army should have to get American court ordered wiretap warrants showing probable cause before so much as listening in to Osama Bin Laden’s telephone order of a pizza delivery to his cave but the vast majority of the world would say people who think this way are pretty much idiots.

    For countries that signed the Geneva Convention and have legally declared war on one another and fight soldier to soldier in uniform on the battlefield, the captured become prisoners of war under the rules of the Geneva convention, with the whole POW works including Red Cross inspections, but get held indefinitely until the end of the conflict. But the Geneva Convention has less than zero to do with illegal criminal terrorist groups attacking US civilians from foreign soil.

    So for the GB inmates they get no US constitutional rights and they get no Geneva Convention either. In fact they have no rights under international law at all other than universal human rights like not being tortured (water boarding which is wrong I agree), or execution without trial. Certainly no GB inmate has any right to civilian trial under any US or international law.

    I guess this is the take home message for the day, If you really do not want to end up for decades or even the whole rest of your life rotting away in a place like GB, without trial, then you should not voluntarily join a criminal terrorist group that believes as its only goal and ideology the killing of as many foreign civilians as possible, such as you yourself admit at least 80% of GB inmates did do in fact.

  8. Judonimh comes along with his usual big, broad, tarring brush.

    He finds 80 % of the inmates to be guilty of murder & atrocities !

    No proof needed or shown.He just knows it .

    These 80 % all have "voluntary memberships" in al Qaeda, he asserts.

    They "happily joined" al Qaeda ! he maintains.

    At first, he's more cautious.

    They "probably participated in murder …", he ventures.

    Then he throws caution to the winds.

    They are all "dedicated al Qaeda baby killers" ! he drumthumps

    They kill for "pure giggles & laughs" ! he unleashes.

    Is there a lynch mob listening here somewhere ?

    He's certainly more graphic in his cartoonish comic book caricaturing than the US government .

    In his devils' gallery they are, all of them, al Qaeda.

    What about the Taliban detainees ?

    What about the Taliban rank & file detainees, who went to fight the Northern Alliance before 9 / 11 ever happened ?

    Ohh, forget about them ! Al Qaeda make for more delicious demons at whom you can chuck 9 / 11, even when the detainees concerned may not have been part of that particular plot !

    & yet, according to the US government's own figures, 86 % of the Guantanamo detainees were captured, not on any battlefield, but by bounty hunters or unscrupulous Northern Alliance or Pak allies.

    According to US government figures, 56 % of the detainees were determined not to have committed any hostile acts against the US or its allies.

    & only 8 % were found to have any kind of affiliation with al Qaeda ( & later that percentage was found to be an overestimation ! ).

    So what ? ?

    The US, like Judonimh, initially decided 73 % of the detainees were a "demonstrated threat".

    & 95 % were a "potential threat".

    &, after maintaining such figures before all the world, the same US had to release, or clear for release, SEVENTY FIVE PER CENT of the same "demonstrated" or "potentially" threatening detainees as being " not or no longer a threat" ! ! !

    & that's not counting 207 detainees freed before the tribunal process began !

    By the US' own statistics, an overwhelming majority of Guantanamo detainees were truly innocent !

    When the fog of disinformation cleared, 310 detainees remained in Guantanamo.

    Of these, the US admitted it would try ONLY EIGHTY before the Military Commissions ! ! !

    The US further declared it would continue to imprison 50 more detainees … for being too dangerous to be freed … but not dangerous enough to be tried ! ! !

    TOO DANGEROUS TO BE FREED …. BUT NOT DANGEROUS ENOUGH TO BE TRIED ? ? ?

    Where IS the law that contains this RIDICULOUS provision ? ? ?

  9. There isn’t much to add to Anna’s comment.

    The 150 individuals referenced in the post are those against whom there was simply no intelligence of involvement with Al Qaeda at all. As the post goes on to note much of the so-called ‘intelligence’ offered against many of the other detainees came from circular reporting, unsubstantiated gossip or flawed analysis. This is not proof of their guilt – quite the contrary, most have already been released and after almost 10 years of effort the US government has only been able to pull together cases against 36 inmates with any confidence that they might withstand the scrutiny of the even the desperately flawed Military Commissions process.

    The United States has international legal obligations that govern its treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and it is in breach of them. The most fundamental of these obligations is Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which applies to all detainees of whatever provinance in all circumstances relating to armed conflict international or otherwise – as the Supreme Court of the United States has acknowledged. This includes those designated as non-privileged belligerents or, as the Bush administration put it, unlawful combatants.

    The ‘take home message for the day’ is that Guatanamo has been a failure no matter what criteria you judge it by. Judo is right in one respect – Al Qaeda is an illegal criminal group. We would have been better served if it had been treated as one. Instead, we have undermined the values we profess to believe in, empowered those who wish to stir up hatred of the United States, and we are not one iota safer as a consequence.

  10. Judonimh says "terrorists" don't deserve constitutional protections in captivity.

    Nor to be treated as POWs, which status he says would apply ONLY to uniformed soldiers in a war where states "legally declare war" on one another.

    William Goodman, Legal Director of the New York – based Center for Constitutional Rights, a leading group on constitutional rights & international human rights law, has this to say on such a view :

    "Picture this : Russian soldiers capture CIA – trained Afghani Mujahedin circa 1980 & send them to Cuba where they are held in cages. It doesn't take much imagination to conjure the State Department's forceful response :Obey the Geneva Conventions & treat these men as Prisoners of War."

    The Judonimhs in the Soviet or Russian armies wouldn't heed such a demand, either in Afghanistan or Chechnya.

    Judonimh himself presumably doesn't heed this demand made on behalf of stateless or nongovernmental forces anywhere ….

    ….Be they Kurds, or Libyan rebels, or any such.

    Nor, by his own definition, would he heed it for US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Yemen, where the invaded countries didn't declare war on America, or where US personnel fight covertly without any such declaration.

    Where does that lead him ? ? ?

  11. Michael Ratner, the VP of the Center for Constitutional Rights & himself an international rights attorney, cites Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention.

    This article stipulates that if there is "any doubt" about prisoners' status in wartime, they must be treated as Prisoners of War "until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

    The US Army indeed has regulations to set up such a tribunal.

    But it didn't, when it invaded Afghanistan.

    Instead, the US government made an illegal blanket ruling that the prisoners in Afghanistan were not POWs.

    & that itself constitutes a war crime in wartime.

  12. ps.

    Libyan rebels are perhaps different in status from the Afghan prisoners of war we're talking here, where a country has invaded another.

    i'd agree with Mr Parker on that.

  13. Again I wish to ask AI,

    If not for places like Guantanamo, how can we ever stop terrorists and terrorism??

    When you try to get rid of anything bad, there also could be a few good things that get caught in the filter process unfortunately. But, leaving the bad just to save the few good that would get washed off, you make the whole thing bad and rotten – this is something we have to accept if we want a better world for at least our children to live in.

  14. Judonimh comes along with his usual big, broad, tarring brush.

    He finds 80 % of the inmates to be guilty of murder & atrocities !

    No proof needed or shown.He just knows it .

    These 80 % all have “voluntary memberships” in al Qaeda, he asserts.

    They “happily joined” al Qaeda ! he maintains.

    At first, he’s more cautious.

    They “probably participated in murder …”, he ventures.

    Then he throws caution to the winds.

    They are all “dedicated al Qaeda baby killers” ! he drumthumps

    They kill for “pure giggles & laughs” ! he unleashes.

    Is there a lynch mob listening here somewhere ?

    He’s certainly more graphic in his cartoonish comic book caricaturing than the US government .

    In his devils’ gallery they are, all of them, al Qaeda.

    What about the Taliban detainees ?

    What about the Taliban rank & file detainees, who went to fight the Northern Alliance before 9 / 11 ever happened ?

    Ohh, forget about them ! Al Qaeda make for more delicious demons at whom you can chuck 9 / 11, even when the detainees concerned may not have been part of that particular plot !

    & yet, according to the US government’s own figures, 86 % of the Guantanamo detainees were captured, not on any battlefield, but by bounty hunters or unscrupulous Northern Alliance or Pak allies.

    According to US government figures, 56 % of the detainees were determined not to have committed any hostile acts against the US or its allies.

    & only 8 % were found to have any kind of affiliation with al Qaeda ( & later that percentage was found to be an overestimation ! ).

    So what ? ?

    The US, like Judonimh, initially decided 73 % of the detainees were a “demonstrated threat”.

    & 95 % were a “potential threat”.

    &, after maintaining such figures before all the world, the same US had to release, or clear for release, SEVENTY FIVE PER CENT of the same “demonstrated” or “potentially” threatening detainees as being ” not or no longer a threat” ! ! !

    & that’s not counting 207 detainees freed before the tribunal process began !

    By the US’ own statistics, an overwhelming majority of Guantanamo detainees were truly innocent !

    When the fog of disinformation cleared, 310 detainees remained in Guantanamo.

    Of these, the US admitted it would try ONLY EIGHTY before the Military Commissions ! ! !

    The US further declared it would continue to imprison 50 more detainees … for being too dangerous to be freed … but not dangerous enough to be tried ! ! !

    TOO DANGEROUS TO BE FREED …. BUT NOT DANGEROUS ENOUGH TO BE TRIED ? ? ?

    Where IS the law that contains this RIDICULOUS provision ? ? ?

  15. Judonimh says “terrorists” don’t deserve constitutional protections in captivity.

    Nor to be treated as POWs, which status he says would apply ONLY to uniformed soldiers in a war where states “legally declare war” on one another.

    William Goodman, Legal Director of the New York – based Center for Constitutional Rights, a leading group on constitutional rights & international human rights law, has this to say on such a view :

    “Picture this : Russian soldiers capture CIA – trained Afghani Mujahedin circa 1980 & send them to Cuba where they are held in cages. It doesn’t take much imagination to conjure the State Department’s forceful response :Obey the Geneva Conventions & treat these men as Prisoners of War.”

    The Judonimhs in the Soviet or Russian armies wouldn’t heed such a demand, either in Afghanistan or Chechnya.

    Judonimh himself presumably doesn’t heed this demand made on behalf of stateless or nongovernmental forces anywhere ….

    ….Be they Kurds, or Libyan rebels, or any such.

    Nor, by his own definition, would he heed it for US soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Yemen, where the invaded countries didn’t declare war on America, or where US personnel fight covertly without any such declaration.

    Where does that lead him ? ? ?

  16. Michael Ratner, the VP of the Center for Constitutional Rights & himself an international rights attorney, cites Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention.

    This article stipulates that if there is “any doubt” about prisoners’ status in wartime, they must be treated as Prisoners of War “until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal.”

    The US Army indeed has regulations to set up such a tribunal.

    But it didn’t, when it invaded Afghanistan.

    Instead, the US government made an illegal blanket ruling that the prisoners in Afghanistan were not POWs.

    & that itself constitutes a war crime in wartime.

  17. ps.

    Libyan rebels are perhaps different in status from the Afghan prisoners of war we’re talking here, where a country has invaded another.

    i’d agree with Mr Parker on that.

  18. Well, there's only one solution to this.

    Ask for an immediate UN investigation, followed by war crimes trials against any USn, UK & EU leaders/citizens complicit in torture, illegal detention, assassination etc.

    Oh, and not forgetting to impose sanctions, travel bans, banking and financial bans against these same leaders, companies etc.

    We await the AI's brave HR warriors to declare a sustained and unreleting campaign to ensure that immediate investigations are started, NOW!

    …… odd… I don't hear anything….. hmmmmm….. uncharacteristic silence from AI, HRW, ICG etc… :) :) :)

  19. Again I wish to ask AI,

    If not for places like Guantanamo, how can we ever stop terrorists and terrorism??

    When you try to get rid of anything bad, there also could be a few good things that get caught in the filter process unfortunately. But, leaving the bad just to save the few good that would get washed off, you make the whole thing bad and rotten – this is something we have to accept if we want a better world for at least our children to live in.

  20. Members of the illegal criminal group Al Qeda captured on foreign land illegally fighting the US military are

    1) not POWs

    and also

    2) not simple criminals deserving of US constitutional protection

    But, I do agree with Tom Parker that they legally have at least the most minimal of basic human rights as described in the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, one of which should have prevented water boarding which is torture, maybe not as bad as the disfiguring midevil type tortures, beatings, rapes, and summary executions so many that the US renditioned/outsourced to Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian secret police dungeons received, but still water boarding is a type of torture never the less.

    Countries like Israel put complete bans on torture decades ago because first of all it is a morally wrong violation of the basic human rights that even the "worst of the worst" terrorist killer still retains, but also because they came to the conclusion that the intelligence gained is often just made up false stories told only to get the torture to stop.

    In any event there are psychological means of interrogating suspects that are not illegal but often succeed where torture fails. For just one example If I were forced to read any more of A. Savage's posts I would quickly divulge everything I know just in order to be allowed to stop.

  21. Well, there’s only one solution to this.

    Ask for an immediate UN investigation, followed by war crimes trials against any USn, UK & EU leaders/citizens complicit in torture, illegal detention, assassination etc.

    Oh, and not forgetting to impose sanctions, travel bans, banking and financial bans against these same leaders, companies etc.

    We await the AI’s brave HR warriors to declare a sustained and unreleting campaign to ensure that immediate investigations are started, NOW!

    …… odd… I don’t hear anything….. hmmmmm….. uncharacteristic silence from AI, HRW, ICG etc… :) :) :)

  22. Members of the illegal criminal group Al Qeda captured on foreign land illegally fighting the US military are

    1) not POWs

    and also

    2) not simple criminals deserving of US constitutional protection

    But, I do agree with Tom Parker that they legally have at least the most minimal of basic human rights as described in the Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, one of which should have prevented water boarding which is torture, maybe not as bad as the disfiguring midevil type tortures, beatings, rapes, and summary executions so many that the US renditioned/outsourced to Jordanian, Egyptian and Syrian secret police dungeons received, but still water boarding is a type of torture never the less.

    Countries like Israel put complete bans on torture decades ago because first of all it is a morally wrong violation of the basic human rights that even the “worst of the worst” terrorist killer still retains, but also because they came to the conclusion that the intelligence gained is often just made up false stories told only to get the torture to stop.

    In any event there are psychological means of interrogating suspects that are not illegal but often succeed where torture fails. For just one example If I were forced to read any more of A. Savage’s posts I would quickly divulge everything I know just in order to be allowed to stop.

  23. There's so much that my country has done since 9/11 that I'm ashamed of. When they first started with this 'enhanced interrogation' I was like "but isn't that just going to mean innocent people being tortured?" And its not like i'm a softy either. I have no sympathy for terrorists whatsoever. But if we're going to go medeival we can at least use it as a punishment or deterent once we've proven their guilt in the court of law. Or if thats too shocking than maybe we should act like a 21st century superpower and abandon torture and ID all together.

  24. There’s so much that my country has done since 9/11 that I’m ashamed of. When they first started with this ‘enhanced interrogation’ I was like “but isn’t that just going to mean innocent people being tortured?” And its not like i’m a softy either. I have no sympathy for terrorists whatsoever. But if we’re going to go medeival we can at least use it as a punishment or deterent once we’ve proven their guilt in the court of law. Or if thats too shocking than maybe we should act like a 21st century superpower and abandon torture and ID all together.

  25. I urge you all to watch a superb two-part BBC documentary called "The Secret War On Terror" by Peter Taylor's and credit to the US spokesmen for being honest – unlike the slimy, dissembling Brits who pretend that they haven't used information gained through torture. :)

    Both episodes are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOXLJTiEU68

    Best quote (for me), is Phil Mudd, CIA “… identify the target and eliminate them so more people don’t die.” Other senior US intel people honestly admit that torture works.

  26. I urge you all to watch a superb two-part BBC documentary called "The Secret War On Terror" by Peter Taylor's and credit to the US spokesmen for being honest – unlike the slimy, dissembling Brits who pretend that they haven't used information gained through torture. :)

    Both episodes are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOXLJTiEU68

    Best quote (for me), is Phil Mudd, CIA “… identify the target and eliminate them so more people don’t die.” Other senior US intel people honestly admit that torture works.

  27. I urge you all to watch a superb two-part BBC documentary called "The Secret War On Terror" by Peter Taylor's and credit to the US spokesmen for being honest – unlike the slimy, dissembling Brits who pretend that they haven't used information gained through torture. :)

    Both episodes are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOXLJTiEU68

    Best quote (for me), is Phil Mudd, CIA “… identify the target and eliminate them so more people don’t die.” Other senior US intel people honestly admit that torture works.

  28. I urge you all to watch a superb two-part BBC documentary called “The Secret War On Terror” by Peter Taylor’s and credit to the US spokesmen for being honest – unlike the slimy, dissembling Brits who pretend that they haven’t used information gained through torture. :)

    Both episodes are here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOXLJTiEU68

    Best quote (for me), is Phil Mudd, CIA “… identify the target and eliminate them so more people don’t die.” Other senior US intel people honestly admit that torture works.

  29. I really must commend the US govt for re-defining the meaning of impunity with the goings on at Guantanamo Bay.

    The entire operations's been ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court, declared a violation of the Geneva Conventions and is still allowed to be run by the US government, funded by US taxpayers.

    Bravo! Now that’s what I call impunity. Being a super-power certainly has its' advantages.

  30. I really must commend the US govt for re-defining the meaning of impunity with the goings on at Guantanamo Bay.

    The entire operations’s been ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court, declared a violation of the Geneva Conventions and is still allowed to be run by the US government, funded by US taxpayers.

    Bravo! Now that’s what I call impunity. Being a super-power certainly has its’ advantages.

  31. Osama dead – and without a federal conviction! Were his rights read to him before being killed? Fire up the violin AI

  32. Osama dead – and without a federal conviction! Were his rights read to him before being killed? Fire up the violin AI

  33. URGENT – War Crime Alert!

    Why wasn’t Bin Laden captured (alive) to stand trial for his many terrorist attacks and crimes?

    Human Rights groups will be appalled that Osama was simply shot in the head, along with one of his sons, in a dusty town in Pakistan. The US forces also mercilessly shot a woman used by Bin Laden as a human shield.

    To battle, brave human rights warriors. Demand accountability and a full UN investigation, NOW!

    AI. Don't fail us in this hour!! :) :) :)
    http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011

    p.s. Tom: if you think that the US didn't use info gleaned from torture and other illegal methods, I've got a bridge to sell. It's going cheap!

  34. Think about this? What would you have the US do if bin laden had only been injured or otherwise captured alive? Your misguided crusade had traction at one point – but it is as dead as bin laden. Citizens of the US recognize this, the enemy and the threat. Those remaining at gtmo belong there… and not enough people are up in arms cause the three worst (like ksm whose hobbies include slowly severing the head off a living journalist) and 3 with the most info were waterboarded. Better luck with the Next "human rights violation". Wrong side of history? No sir that belongs to Obama when he signed that laughable executive order 2 1/2 years ago….and all those so excited they probably wet the pants.

  35. URGENT – War Crime Alert!

    Why wasn’t Bin Laden captured (alive) to stand trial for his many terrorist attacks and crimes?

    Human Rights groups will be appalled that Osama was simply shot in the head, along with one of his sons, in a dusty town in Pakistan. The US forces also mercilessly shot a woman used by Bin Laden as a human shield.

    To battle, brave human rights warriors. Demand accountability and a full UN investigation, NOW!

    AI. Don't fail us in this hour!! :) :) :)
    http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011

    p.s. Tom: if you think that the US didn't use info gleaned from torture and other illegal methods, I've got a bridge to sell. It's going cheap!

  36. URGENT – War Crime Alert!

    Why wasn’t Bin Laden captured (alive) to stand trial for his many terrorist attacks and crimes?

    Human Rights groups will be appalled that Osama was simply shot in the head, along with one of his sons, in a dusty town in Pakistan. The US forces also mercilessly shot a woman used by Bin Laden as a human shield.

    To battle, brave human rights warriors. Demand accountability and a full UN investigation, NOW!

    AI. Don't fail us in this hour!! :) :) :)
    http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011

    p.s. Tom: if you think that the US didn't use info gleaned from torture and other illegal methods, I've got a bridge to sell. It's going cheap!

  37. I wanted to add:

    Congratulations to the US forces for finally getting rid of OBL.

    It's worth remembering that before he attacked the US in 2001, in 1998 he murdered over 200 poor Kenyans bombing the US embassy in Nairobi.

    Don't forget to help the Kenyans, as you rightly celebrate OBL's death. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13257645

  38. I wanted to add:

    Congratulations to the US forces for finally getting rid of OBL.

    It's worth remembering that before he attacked the US in 2001, in 1998 he murdered over 200 poor Kenyans bombing the US embassy in Nairobi.

    Don't forget to help the Kenyans, as you rightly celebrate OBL's death. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13257645

  39. I wanted to add:

    Congratulations to the US forces for finally getting rid of OBL.

    It's worth remembering that before he attacked the US in 2001, in 1998 he murdered over 200 poor Kenyans bombing the US embassy in Nairobi.

    Don't forget to help the Kenyans, as you rightly celebrate OBL's death. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13257645

  40. Think about this? What would you have the US do if bin laden had only been injured or otherwise captured alive? Your misguided crusade had traction at one point – but it is as dead as bin laden. Citizens of the US recognize this, the enemy and the threat. Those remaining at gtmo belong there… and not enough people are up in arms cause the three worst (like ksm whose hobbies include slowly severing the head off a living journalist) and 3 with the most info were waterboarded. Better luck with the Next “human rights violation”. Wrong side of history? No sir that belongs to Obama when he signed that laughable executive order 2 1/2 years ago….and all those so excited they probably wet the pants.

  41. URGENT – War Crime Alert!

    Why wasn’t Bin Laden captured (alive) to stand trial for his many terrorist attacks and crimes?

    Human Rights groups will be appalled that Osama was simply shot in the head, along with one of his sons, in a dusty town in Pakistan. The US forces also mercilessly shot a woman used by Bin Laden as a human shield.

    To battle, brave human rights warriors. Demand accountability and a full UN investigation, NOW!

    AI. Don’t fail us in this hour!! :) :) :)

    http://thecarthaginiansolution.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/bin-laden’s-death-a-war-crime-immediate-un-investigation-demanded/

    p.s. Tom: if you think that the US didn’t use info gleaned from torture and other illegal methods, I’ve got a bridge to sell. It’s going cheap!

  42. I wanted to add:

    Congratulations to the US forces for finally getting rid of OBL.

    It’s worth remembering that before he attacked the US in 2001, in 1998 he murdered over 200 poor Kenyans bombing the US embassy in Nairobi.

    Don’t forget to help the Kenyans, as you rightly celebrate OBL’s death.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13257645

  43. Amnesty International is a spineless Organization – we will never hear them pressurizing UN to action against USA not tell the USA government to be responsible for their acts – AI is a Puppet Organization and a waste of Money.

  44. Hi Tom,

    According to the US, info gleaned through errr…. 'special measures' was vital.

    "… intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden."

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382893/O

    Since the US declared war on an abstract noun (i.e. Terror), and it has no end date, it looks like the torturers and their apprentices at Guantanamo will be gainfully employed for many more years to come.

    Still, it's not all bad news. It also means that HR researchers will also be gainfully employed keeping track of all this torture.

    Like I've said before, (sometimes) torture works. Even the West does it, despite pretending to act like shocked virgins at a Chippendales concert :)

  45. Hi Tom,

    According to the US, info gleaned through errr…. 'special measures' was vital.

    "… intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden."

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382893/O

    Since the US declared war on an abstract noun (i.e. Terror), and it has no end date, it looks like the torturers and their apprentices at Guantanamo will be gainfully employed for many more years to come.

    Still, it's not all bad news. It also means that HR researchers will also be gainfully employed keeping track of all this torture.

    Like I've said before, (sometimes) torture works. Even the West does it, despite pretending to act like shocked virgins at a Chippendales concert :)

  46. Hi Tom,

    According to the US, info gleaned through errr…. 'special measures' was vital.

    "… intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden."

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382893/O

    Since the US declared war on an abstract noun (i.e. Terror), and it has no end date, it looks like the torturers and their apprentices at Guantanamo will be gainfully employed for many more years to come.

    Still, it's not all bad news. It also means that HR researchers will also be gainfully employed keeping track of all this torture.

    Like I've said before, (sometimes) torture works. Even the West does it, despite pretending to act like shocked virgins at a Chippendales concert :)

  47. You removed your comment. Is that an indication you have learned a valueable lesson? I hope so and congrats if that is the case.

  48. Amnesty International is a spineless Organization – we will never hear them pressurizing UN to action against USA not tell the USA government to be responsible for their acts – AI is a Puppet Organization and a waste of Money.

  49. As Brian noted, we did indeed take down my last post. The facts changed and we strive for accuracy – I did indeed learn an important lesson about posting too precipitously. We still do not know the exact facts surrounding the development of the initial lead intelligence for this operation – it does appear to have emerged from detainee interviews in 2004-2005 but these took many forms and at this point we know nothing more.

    However, the larger issue has not changed. Torture is fatal to the counter-terrorism operations of democracies – as it proved to the French in Algeria and the British in Northern Ireland. I served in Iraq as rumors began to leak out of abuses of detainees in US custody and experienced firsthand the upsurge in violence against coalition forces that resulted.

    Unfortunately, bin Laden’s demise does not mean the end of Al Qaeda or its sympathizers around the world. We will undoubtedly see more attacks and many more casualties in the years ahead. Pursuing security within the framework of human rights is our best long-term guarantee of separating terrorists from their constituencies and ultimately bringing them to justice.

  50. Hi Tom,

    According to the US, info gleaned through errr…. ‘special measures’ was vital.

    “… intelligence gained from interrogations at the U.S. base was directly responsible for helping security forces track down and kill Bin Laden.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382893/Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-Guantanamo-detainees-led-CIA-Abbottabad-hideout.html#ixzz1LHO1VAVO

    Since the US declared war on an abstract noun (i.e. Terror), and it has no end date, it looks like the torturers and their apprentices at Guantanamo will be gainfully employed for many more years to come.

    Still, it’s not all bad news. It also means that HR researchers will also be gainfully employed keeping track of all this torture.

    Like I’ve said before, (sometimes) torture works. Even the West does it, despite pretending to act like shocked virgins at a Chippendales concert :)

  51. You removed your comment. Is that an indication you have learned a valueable lesson? I hope so and congrats if that is the case.

  52. Thank you for the follow up Mr. Parker.

    Do you really want to equate the detention of enemy combatants and enhanced interrogations with hundreds upon hundreds of prisoners feet being covered in concrete and thrown/pushed into the sea…. or the non-stop mass rapes…. or drowning (not simulated) in human excrement?

    And though it is veering off subject – your use of the word "torture" does not apply to the british in Northern Ireland… So said the European Convention/
    Protection of human rights sometime in the 1970s.

    Whether it is a cartoon, the detention of enemy combatants, Baywatch, Koran burning or the death of UBL – radical islam and those wishing to fuel the flames will find a way. I'd rather the USA not appease.

    Looking forward to AI's "findings" concerning UBLs demise.

    Good day sir,

  53. As Brian noted, we did indeed take down my last post. The facts changed and we strive for accuracy – I did indeed learn an important lesson about posting too precipitously. We still do not know the exact facts surrounding the development of the initial lead intelligence for this operation – it does appear to have emerged from detainee interviews in 2004-2005 but these took many forms and at this point we know nothing more.

    However, the larger issue has not changed. Torture is fatal to the counter-terrorism operations of democracies – as it proved to the French in Algeria and the British in Northern Ireland. I served in Iraq as rumors began to leak out of abuses of detainees in US custody and experienced firsthand the upsurge in violence against coalition forces that resulted.

    Unfortunately, bin Laden’s demise does not mean the end of Al Qaeda or its sympathizers around the world. We will undoubtedly see more attacks and many more casualties in the years ahead. Pursuing security within the framework of human rights is our best long-term guarantee of separating terrorists from their constituencies and ultimately bringing them to justice.

  54. The European Commission on Human Rights described the system of "interrogation-in-depth" used by the British in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s as "a modern system of torture" and referred the case (United Kingdom v. Ireland) to the European Court of Human Rights. The court described the techniques as "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and found the UK to be in breach of its international legal obligations. Both torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are outlawed by the UN Convention against Torture of which both the UK and US are signatories.

  55. Thank you for the follow up Mr. Parker.

    Do you really want to equate the detention of enemy combatants and enhanced interrogations with hundreds upon hundreds of prisoners feet being covered in concrete and thrown/pushed into the sea…. or the non-stop mass rapes…. or drowning (not simulated) in human excrement?

    And though it is veering off subject – your use of the word “torture” does not apply to the british in Northern Ireland… So said the European Convention/
    Protection of human rights sometime in the 1970s.

    Whether it is a cartoon, the detention of enemy combatants, Baywatch, Koran burning or the death of UBL – radical islam and those wishing to fuel the flames will find a way. I’d rather the USA not appease.

    Looking forward to AI’s “findings” concerning UBLs demise.

    Good day sir,

  56. The European Commission on Human Rights described the system of “interrogation-in-depth” used by the British in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s as “a modern system of torture” and referred the case (United Kingdom v. Ireland) to the European Court of Human Rights. The court described the techniques as “cruel, inhuman and degrading” and found the UK to be in breach of its international legal obligations. Both torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment are outlawed by the UN Convention against Torture of which both the UK and US are signatories.

  57. Tom,
    An excellent point. You should also know that the UK has made extensive use of intel obtained through torture, where the torture has taken place in other countries and through rendition programs. ex-Pakistani PM Musharaff confirms it beyond reasonable doubt.

    It's their version of 'don't ask and don't tell'. I suppose it's case of selective use of torture. i.e. use it as a last resort after everything else's been tried.

  58. Tom,
    An excellent point. You should also know that the UK has made extensive use of intel obtained through torture, where the torture has taken place in other countries and through rendition programs. ex-Pakistani PM Musharaff confirms it beyond reasonable doubt.

    It’s their version of ‘don’t ask and don’t tell’. I suppose it’s case of selective use of torture. i.e. use it as a last resort after everything else’s been tried.

  59. You conveniently left out that the European Court of Human Rights specifically ruled in UK v. Ireland that the five techniques "did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word TORTURE"

    Words like torture and racism/bigotry/prejudice is so over-used they have lost meaning. "Human Rights" is another word in jeopardy of losing its meaning.

  60. You conveniently left out that the European Court of Human Rights specifically ruled in UK v. Ireland that the five techniques “did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word TORTURE”

    Words like torture and racism/bigotry/prejudice is so over-used they have lost meaning. “Human Rights” is another word in jeopardy of losing its meaning.

  61. @brian
    Abu Omar was an islamic militant living in italy in 2003 when he was snatched up by the CIA and sent to Egypt where for seven months he was repeatedly raped, electrocuted and beaten until he was released since there was nothing to connect him with any specific act of terrorism (although he did belong to a group he himself wasn't a terrorist). He didn't even know anything. He wasn't alowed to call his wife and when he did anyway they dragged him back to jail. this time for three years. Today he has hearing loss from the beatings and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming.

    Now does this fit the traditional definition of torture? or has it 'lost it's meaning'

  62. Johnchuk-

    Yes, based on that account/description Abu Omar was TORTURED by Egyptian officials.

    And question concerning "Human Rights" – I don't believe they are violated when Enemy Combatants are detained or interrogated. I don't believe "Human Rights" extend to sparing a convicted murderer from the dealth penalty. Ending the life of a defenseless, innocent unborn HUMAN child is not a "Human Right". Enforcing immigration laws is not a "Human Right" violation. And GOV Scott Walker hasn't violated anyone's "Human Right" when attempting to limit the collective bargaining of civil service employees.

    THAT is exactly what I mean when I say the word "Human Right" is in jeopardy of losing its meaning.

  63. If you think stress positions and sleep deprivation for example are torture don't ever enlist in the greatest military in the world… and certainly don't attempt to push yourself to join any elite organizations like Rangers/Special Forces/Delta Force/Navy Seals etc…

    Think a barking dog is scary? Try a Marine Corps drill instructor in your face at Parris Island.

    By the way – way to go Navy Seals.

  64. @brian
    Abu Omar was an islamic militant living in italy in 2003 when he was snatched up by the CIA and sent to Egypt where for seven months he was repeatedly raped, electrocuted and beaten until he was released since there was nothing to connect him with any specific act of terrorism (although he did belong to a group he himself wasn’t a terrorist). He didn’t even know anything. He wasn’t alowed to call his wife and when he did anyway they dragged him back to jail. this time for three years. Today he has hearing loss from the beatings and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming.

    Now does this fit the traditional definition of torture? or has it ‘lost it’s meaning’

  65. Johnchuk-

    Yes, based on that account/description Abu Omar was TORTURED by Egyptian officials.

    And question concerning “Human Rights” – I don’t believe they are violated when Enemy Combatants are detained or interrogated. I don’t believe “Human Rights” extend to sparing a convicted murderer from the dealth penalty. Ending the life of a defenseless, innocent unborn HUMAN child is not a “Human Right”. Enforcing immigration laws is not a “Human Right” violation. And GOV Scott Walker hasn’t violated anyone’s “Human Right” when attempting to limit the collective bargaining of civil service employees.

    THAT is exactly what I mean when I say the word “Human Right” is in jeopardy of losing its meaning.

  66. If you think stress positions and sleep deprivation for example are torture don’t ever enlist in the greatest military in the world… and certainly don’t attempt to push yourself to join any elite organizations like Rangers/Special Forces/Delta Force/Navy Seals etc…

    Think a barking dog is scary? Try a Marine Corps drill instructor in your face at Parris Island.

    By the way – way to go Navy Seals.