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No Accountability for Rendition in US, But Maybe in Canada

7:00 am in banality of evil, jerks, Torture by Bill Egnor

There is nothing about torture that is good or positive. The act itself is one of the most brutal and heinous that humans have ever committed. The affect on a society that condones torture is one of rising fear and brutality. The information (if it can be called that) gained under torture is so suspect as to be worthless. Perhaps the worst aspect is that torture, once accepted is used not only on enemies or bad people, but innocent victims as well.

On Monday the United States Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of one such innocent victim of torture, Mr. Maher Arar, a Syrian born Canadian citizen. In 2002 he was returning to Canada from a trip abroad. At a stop over at JFK Airport he was detained by the US Government and held in solitary confinement for two weeks without access to an attorney. Mr. Arar was then deported, not to his nation of citizenship, Canada but, to Syria and put in the hands of the Syrian intelligence services, who are well known for their torture activities.

"Originally posted at"

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Ex-President Brags About Waterboarding

6:23 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

The normalization of torture continued apace yesterday as the criminal President Bush said in a speech in Grand Rapids, MI that if he had it all to do over again he would still order the waterboarding of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. That’s right this unindicted war criminal still thinks that ordering this crime, which produced no actionable intelligence was not only the legal thing to do but the right thing.

Lest we let time wash away our memories KSM was waterboarded 183 times in the course of one month. That is an average of five times a day that they tortured this man and exactly nothing came of it. Sure we got some BS that banks and malls might be attacked, but there were not operations to do that, just the desire on the part of the tortured to say anything, everything to make it stop.

"Originally posted at"

Below is a fictionalized first person account I wrote a couple of years ago, to give everyone a glimpse into what waterboarding is like. I am re-posting it. Warning – To those who have been tortured, this account can be triggering, please read only if you are sure you will not be thrown back to that time.

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Torture Acountabilty Letter 8 – How Will The World Trust Us If We Don’t Investigate

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Happy Monday. Welcome to my weekly letter writing campaign for torture accountability. This campaign is designed to keep the issue of accountability under the law for the Bush administrations torture program alive. Here is how it works, every Monday I write to one of the decision makers on the issue of torture accountability. You get involved (and increase the impact) by either cutting and pasting the letter over your own signature or just writing your own letter. I even provide the e-mail links so you can cc the letter to all the decision makers.

"Originally posted at"

This week we are back to writing the Attorney General, as he has the final say as to whether comprehensive investigations will accrue or not.

Dear Attorney General Holder:

I write you once again to urge your action on the issue of the Bush Administration’s apparent torture program. The legal reasons why you should act are clear. Torture is both a Federal and International crime. Under the International Conventions Against Torture, any signatory has the obligation to investigate every credible allegation of torture.

Further there is an obligation to investigate not just those that carried out the act of torture, but those who ordered it. This is due to the specific exclusion of “action on orders” as a defense for commission of torture.

It is fairly clear that you and the Department of Justice have not acted on these requirements because of domestic political concerns. These concerns are probably quite real. The Republican Party and the conservative base would react vehemently to any serious investigation of the Bush Administrations ordering of torture.

This should not matter, as the rule of law is based on the idea of equal justice, regardless of political position or political calculation.

While upholding the rule of law should be enough to initiate action, it appears it is not. However, there are other considerations that you should be taking into account in making the choice to appoint a Special Prosecutor and allow him or her to fully investigate all aspects of our torture of prisoners.

It is well known, from the under oath testimony, that the Bush Administration ordered the torture of prisoners. That prisoners can not be tried because their treatment has risen to the level of torture, that we waterbaorded at least three prisoners, that we have very harshly treated hundreds more is common knowledge world wide.

Take the case of Aafia Siddiqui. She was recently convicted seven counts including attempted murder. Ms. Siddiqui is a Pakistani citizen who was on the FBI most wanted list for years before her capture. It seems that Ms. Siddiqui is guilty of the crimes she is convicted of, but the issue of United States holding of prisoners in so-called Black Sites and the torture of prisoners has clouded this issue in Pakistan.

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Torture Accountablity Letter 7 – OPR Report

7:00 am in Justice Department by Bill Egnor

Happy Monday and welcome to my letter writing campaign for torture accountability. Last week was not a good week for the cause. The release of the Office of Professional Responsibility report with the conclusion that Mr. Yoo and Judge Bybee showed only poor judgment in their ginning up of legal cover for torture is a travesty. The Associate Attorney General David Margolis overrode the two previous versions of the report which called for them to be referred to their local Bar Associations for professional misconduct. Instead they are very mildly admonished and let go their merry way.

"Originally posted at"

There is still an avenue to pursue and that is House and Senate Judiciary Committee hearings. I would love to tell you this was going to be a place where things will be different, but the reality is that it is likely to be a lot of smoke and very little fire. However giving up is not an option, at least me. So let’s take all the shots we can and keep this issue alive.

Today we will be writing to Judiciary Chair Conyers, below is this weeks letter:

Dear Representative Conyers;

I write you today in the hopes that you, in your role as Judiciary Committee Chairman will act to redress a grave injustice. You are aware of the release of the long awaited Office of Professional Responsibility report in the matter of the so-called Torture Memos.

The conclusion that this report comes to has widely been reported to be the work of Associate Attorney General Margolis. He overrode the conclusion of the report that Judge Bybee and Professor Yoo should be referred to their State Bar Associations for disciplinary action.

Under normal circumstances this might be an acceptable conclusion, if the matter they were being sanctioned for were not so serious. It has become clearer over time that Mr. Yoo and Judge Bybee actions were intended to facilitate the circumvention of Federal Law and International Treaties. There are only two conclusions for the actions of these men, either they are so incompetent as attorneys as to be unfit to be members of the Bar or they acted in a way that was premeditated to provide a particular outcome.

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Mr. President: Don’t Let VP Cheney Brag About Torture

12:00 pm in Government, Torture by Bill Egnor

Dear President Obama;

I wanted to take the occasion of Presidents Day to write to you. Today is the day we celebrate the birthdays of two of our all time great presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

It is fitting that we celebrate the first of our presidents and the president who held the Union together and ended the precious practice of human slavery. These men stand as examples of what America can be and should be.

"Originally posted at"

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British Torture Summary Released – Binyam Mohamed

7:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

One of the reasons I have always argued for a full investigation of the treatment of prisoners by the U.S. government is that the truths is going to come out sooner rather than later. For those who want to hide from accountability under the law later is always the better goal. The longer it takes for the abuses of the Bush Administration torture program to come to light the less likely there is to be an outcry and the more likely those who ordered and carried out torture are to elderly or dead.

Today the British government lost its appeal and was forced to disclose a new piece of the torture puzzle. In 2002 a British subject by the name of Binyam Mohamed was arrested in Pakistan. He claims he was tortured there, then sent to Morocco where he was also beaten and finally in 2004 sent to Guantanamo Bay. If Mr. Mohamed’s name seems familiar to you, it should. He is the man who claims he was tortured by a scalpel slicing his genitals.

What makes Mr. Mohamed’s case particularly galling (as if genital slicing was not enough) is that he has been released without ever being charged either by the British or the U.S.

Mr. Mohamed is one of seven British subjects who are suing their government for its complicity in torture. This new information came from a summary that a judge wrote after reviewing intelligence reports from the United States.

Here are the seven paragraphs, from the Guardian:

It was reported that a new series of interviews was conducted by the United States authorities prior to 17 May 2002 as part of a new strategy designed by an expert interviewer.

v) It was reported that at some stage during that further interview process by the United States authorities, BM had been intentionally subjected to continuous sleep deprivation. The effects of the sleep deprivation were carefully observed.

vi) It was reported that combined with the sleep deprivation, threats and inducements were made to him. His fears of being removed from United States custody and "disappearing" were played upon.

vii) It was reported that the stress brought about by these deliberate tactics was increased by him being shackled in his interviews

viii) It was clear not only from the reports of the content of the interviews but also from the report that he was being kept under self-harm observation, that the interviews were having a marked effect upon him and causing him significant mental stress and suffering.

ix) We regret to have to conclude that the reports provide to the SyS [security services] made clear to anyone reading them that BM was being subjected to the treatment that we have described and the effect upon him of that intentional treatment.

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Torture Accountability Letter 6 – AG Holder, Aren’t You Angry?

7:24 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Happy Monday and welcome to my on-going campaign for torture accountability. The purpose of this series is to keep the issue of accountability under the law for torture alive. To do this every Monday I write a letter to one of the decision to makers who could move the issue of torture accountability forward. You get involved by sending your own letter, you can use the one I write, just pasted over your signature, or you can write your own. The point is to have some notice given that not everyone has forgotten about the issue of torture war crimes in the glare of HCR and the new season of American Idol.

"Originally posted at"

This week we are going to write to the Attorney General, as he is the single person that can really get the ball rolling with full-scale investigations. There will be copies to the President, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate, Judiciary Chairs Leahy and Conyers and ranking Judiciary Committee Member Rep. Jerry Nadler.

This week’s letter:

Dear Attorney General Holder;

I write you this week to ask a simple question; doesn’t it make you angry that you are being made a patsy by war criminals?

I know that is rather blunt, but I have to assume it is what you feel in your heart. The man you were when you went to law school, the man who decided to spend his life in service of the law must be howling with rage at the box in which you now find yourself.

Make no mistake, you have been put in a box. It is crystal clear from the testimony, under oath, of former Bush Administration officials that there was a conspiracy to circumvent the laws on torture and find a justification to use waterboarding on prisoners of the United States. The conspiracy was completed when Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohamed were waterboarded 83 times and 183 times respectively.

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Torture Accountability Letter 5 – How Can There Be Justice For KSM?

9:00 am in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

Happy Monday and welcome to my letter writing campaign for torture accountability. This series is a small attempt to assure the issue of accountability under the law for the apparent Bush administration torture program is not forgotten by those responsible for the investigation and prosecution of such acts. The way this series works is as follows; every Monday I write a letter to one of the decision makers involved and send copies to the rest. You get involved by either cutting and pasting the letter over your own signature or buy using it as inspiration for your own letter. I even provide the e-mail links and where we are writing members of Congress who use filter the way to get past the filters.

"Originally posted at"

This week we will be writing the Attorney General (the fact is he is the sole person who can start and follow through with investigations) with copies to the President, Speaker of the House Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Reid, Judiciary Chairs Leahy and Conyers and Rep. Jerry Nadler of the House Judiciary Committee.

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Torture Accountability Letter 4 – Chair Conyers, Call A Hearing

9:00 am in Justice Department by Bill Egnor

Happy Monday and welcome to my letter writing campaign for accountability under the law for the apparent torture program of the Bush administration. The point of this effort is to keep the issue of accountability alive. We all know there are other critical issues, and the President and many in the Congress would rather deal with those than an issue that is going to be as divisive as this one.

"Originally posted at"

The way it works is every Monday I write a letter to decision makers urging them to fulfill their responsibilities in regards to fully investigation credible allegations of torture. A copy of the letter is sent to the President, the Attorney General, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader, and the Chairs of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. This week we will try something a little different, we are going to write the entire House Judiciary Committee. It is a little more work to contact them all, but I have done the leg work, all you have to do is send the letters. You can either cut and paste the one I worte over your signature or you can use the points presented for your own letter. The important thing is that you act to show this issue is not going to go away just because it is being neglected.

Below is this week”s letter:

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New Reporting Reveal Black Site And Possible Torture Deaths

12:00 pm in Uncategorized by Bill Egnor

I know that today will mostly be consumed with the Massachusetts Senate special election, but there are things going on in the realm of the Bush administrations war crimes that need to be discussed. Yesterday Scott Horton of Harper’s magazine published some new reporting on the June 9th 2006 “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay which highlights the need for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to fully investigate the detention and torture of prisoners.

"Originally posted at"

Something happened on the night of June 9th 2006. Three men died, their deaths were ruled suicides even though a Harper’s says in his article:

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

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