Guantanamo Prison’s True Secret

andy worthinton

“There had been 65 prisoners still held, who had been cleared for release by military review boards under the Bush administration. When Obama came into office, he could have released some of those guys easily. But he did nothing,”

Done Biting My Tongue: An Open Letter to President Obama

obama peacenik

Miles Blue: I bit my tongue when the national economy was placed in the hands of the very people who were largely responsible for the recent economic debacle, with absolutely no explanation as to why such appointments were warranted.

Wikileaks Meets Guantanamo

wikileaks

Tom Hall: So the Tea Bag Republicans have pivoted. No longer are they demanding transparency and openness. No longer do they want people to know what government is doing with their resources.

‘No Drama Obama’ Needs a Strong Second Act

walter m. brasch

Walter M. Basch: The Obama administration is a welcome change from the Bush–Cheney years. However, much of what President Obama is doing appears to be an extension of Bush–Cheney values.

CIA Crucified Captive in Abu Ghraib Prison

abu graib

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine. “A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s [...]

Community Organizer Obama Asks Activists: “Where’s Your Base”?

organizer_obama

Some activists excited about Barack Obama’s community organizing background forget what this fully means – namely, that he expects groups seeking progressive measures to mobilize their base. Community organizers do not expect politicians to challenge entrenched interests absent grassroots pressure, and President Obama is not about to spend political capital on issues like Afghanistan, the [...]

Tortured Reasoning and Tortured Results

cheney

Each day the evidence piles up – highlighted by the unconvincing rants of Dick Cheney. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, said, “the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002 — well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion — its principal priority for intelligence was not [...]

Was Abu Ghraib Worse Than We Could Have Imagined

The president has stated that he will continue to block the release of additional Abu Ghraib photos depicting torture or “troop abuse” as it is now being referred to in some mainstream media outlets. What could be driving the 180 degree turn in the president’s decision to release the Abu Ghraib photos?

American Torture: No Knowledge of History, No Sense of Tragedy

"Judgement at Nuremberg" Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich 1961 U/A Photo by Al St. Hilaire - Image courtesy mptvimages.com

Recently in the New York Times, Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti showed that the Bush Administration, the CIA, and the Senate and House Intelligence Committees failed to ask for any historical context before approving so-called “harsh interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, in 2002. No one apparently knew, or wanted to know, that the U.S. had defined [...]

Geneva Convention Requirements About Prisoners

mccain-graham

Muddled thinking characterizes a May 6 Wall Street Journal column by Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain about those confined in American-run prisons abroad. They reject Geneva Convention trial requirements and even military courts-martial, preferring to have Congress write new guidelines for their imprisonment and trials beyond those in the untested and possibly unconstitutional Military [...]

A Worse Bybee Memo

declaration of independence

Jay Bybee wrote another memo that nobody has noticed, one purporting to authorize crimes far worse than torture, the same crimes the torture was itself intended to create false justifications for. On October 23, 2002, Assistant Attorney General Bybee signed a 48-page memo to the “counsel to the president” (Alberto Gonzales) titled “Authority of the [...]

Torture: It’s Perfectly Legal — But We Don’t Do It

cheney bush

Liz and Dick Cheney, Bill Bennett, Ari Fleischer, and countless other commentators have saturated the public airwaves of late ever since the Obama Administration decided to make public the Bush torture memos. These apologists for war crimes have been jawboning the issue from every conceivable angle. Why are these barbarians who defend torturing other human [...]

Tortured Posturing on Harsh Interrogation Techniques

torture1

Although Barack Obama should be applauded for stopping torture by the U.S. government and pledging to close the infamous Guantanamo and worldwide CIA secret prisons, he is nevertheless playing politics with the issue to get the best of both worlds. To poke his predecessor, Obama released graphic memos from the Bush Justice Department that appallingly [...]

Torture Memos: Don’t Prosecute, But Change Law

what-me-worry

The recent release of memoranda used by the Bush administration to justify various aggressive interrogation techniques for use on suspected terrorists has led to widespread calls for prosecution, either against those who wrote the memos, those who approved them, or those who carried them out. The grounds for such prosecutions would be that the techniques [...]

Reader Feedback: Moral Crossroads

reader-feedback

Weekly the LA Progressive features a comment that was particularly noteworthy. This week we are featuring a comment submitted by Michael, commenting on Please Investigate War Crimes Now: Please by Charley James. Michael writes: I think you are exactly right. Without acknowledging the problem and making sure that the people who caused the problem are [...]

We Don’t Torture But Here Are the Things We Do Do

Jon Stewart really hits the ball out of the park with this one. He asks, “does our country torture people?” Looks like we don’t torture but Jon Stewart provides us with a list of the things we do do thanks to the memos released by the Obama administration. This is a humorous look at a [...]

Please Investigate War Crimes Now: Please

General Michael Hayden

The Obama Administration is beginning to remind me of a woman I dated some years ago who developed a drinking problem. Not only did she refuse to admit having trouble, discussing her addiction was taboo, off-the-table, “it’s not up for discussion” and, once, even pleading with me, “Let’s just think about the future.” But her [...]

The Spanish Fly In Obama’s Ointment

Baltasar Garzón

When Barack Obama meets Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in London this week at the G20 summit, it will be perversely interesting to see if Zapatero is greeted with the famous Obama smile or a less-often-seen, steely-eyed glare. Spanish investigating magistrate Baltazar Garzon – the man who arrested former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet [...]

Canada To Bush: Y’all Don’t Come Back Soon!

calgary_bush

A few weeks ago, George W. Bush slunk into Calgary, Alberta where he was paid a reported $50,000 to address a gathering of oil men; in Alberta, there’s no such thing as oil women because, even in the 21st century, the province still revels in its rough-n’-ready, real cowboys are men, way of thinking. It [...]

Hypocrisy in Government

broken-liberty

Recent statements by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, admitting that they were going to use the economic crisis to get other things done, is at least surprisingly honest. But it is also hypocritical. Remember when some of these same people criticized George W. Bush [...]

Detainee Rights: Make a Clean Break

chopping-bush

After the shameful, embarrassing performance of the Bush administration in denying the most basic human rights to detainees at Guantánamo, Bagram, Afghanistan, and at CIA black sites elsewhere, the record of the Obama admininstration on this issue has been mixed at best. Initially, Obama canceled Bush executive orders that permitted torture (while denying such a [...]

One Step Forward, Two Steps Toward Monarchy

bush-torture

It has become almost commonplace, since the release last week of seven “legal” opinions written in 2001 and 2002 by the Justice Department, to remark that unbeknownst to us we came within an inch of dictatorship. And with President Obama announcing an end to torture and a new policy on signing statements, it is extremely [...]

Obama’s Policy on Civil Liberties: Bush Lite?

waterboarding

Barack Obama entered the presidency as one of the most rhetorically pro-civil liberties politicians in recent memory. And shortly after taking office, he drew applause from friends of liberty for promulgating executive orders closing Guantanamo and CIA secret prisons, ending CIA torture, suspending kangaroo proceedings at military tribunals, and pledging more openness than the secretive [...]

War Criminals, Including Their Lawyers, Must Be Prosecuted

world-torture

Since he took office, President Obama has instituted many changes that break with the policies of the Bush administration. The new president has ordered that no government agency will be allowed to torture, that the U.S. prison at Guantánamo will be shuttered, and that the CIA’s secret black sites will be closed down. But Obama [...]

After Guantánamo: The Crisis of U.S. Prisons and Lessons from the Medieval Past

sos

The incoming Administration is to be lauded for its intention to dismantle the Guantánamo Bay prison, whose very existence, let alone the activities reportedly carried out within it, undermine the U.S.’s claim of promoting democracy and human rights. But if prisoners’ rights are evidently so important, and if we seem to agree that we are [...]

What Took You So Long to Figure It Out? Bush Has Always Been Rotten Even When He Had a 91% Approval Rating

bush_obama_ladyliberty

They are trying so very hard it is almost sad, in a way—were it not for all the broke people, and scared people. And dead people. It’s the Bush people, including Mr. Bush himself, trying to gather up some shreds of dignity before they are out the door. Their final con game: “We did a [...]

Essential Questions from Ft. Benning and from Putumayo

Now that President-elect Obama has pledged to shut down the detention camp at Guantanamo, will the infamous School of the Americas be next? And what about Plan Colombia–that other blot on US honor in the Western Hemisphere? This weekend, November 21-23, thousands of activists gather at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia, as they do [...]

The Great Writ Preserved

William Watkins

In Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court gave the Bush administration a black eye in its controversial war-on-terrorism policies. The Court held that the Guantanamo detainees have a right to pursue habeas corpus challenges to their detention. The alternative procedures to habeas review crafted by the government under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the [...]

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