Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama Sounding Like Dick Cheney & Jeremy Scahill On Goon Squads Abusing & torturing " Detainees " Prisoners at Gitmo

"We hope that the release of these photographs will bring about further pressure to hold high-ranking officials accountable for what we now know to have been systemic and widespread abuse occurring throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay."


"The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals."

..."They are the Black Shirts of Guantánamo," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented the most Guantánamo prisoners. "IRFs can't be separated from torture. They are a part of the brutalization of humans treated as less than human."

Quotes by Jeremy Scahill, May 15, 2009

Items for your consideration:

Obama to use Military Tribunals / aka Kangaroo Courts main aim convictions at any cost for Detainees-
Obama refuses to release photos of detainee abuse -the excuse "National Security"
Obama calls abuse at Abu Ghraib an isolated incident " a few bad apples" ala Cheney
Obama denies there was systematic abuse & torture of "detainees" at US facilities in Iraq & Afghanistan WTF.
Video of systematic detainee abuse and torture ordered by the White House
Obama doesn't want to upset Americans who believe America is a bastion of freedom , justice & basic human decency

Anyway here is a video from 2006 of Abu Ghraib which show evidence of systematic abuse & torture of so called " detainees" - this may contain images which may be disturbing to some though they may delight your average Pro-Torture advocate & lovers of Jack Bauer of "24" who believes these prisoners deserve whatever happens to them & believe these actions are justified - typical American Wild West Justice or like the justice carried out by Lynch mobs in the Southern United States - now Obama erroneously & repeatedly says the abuse was just a matter of "a few bad apples"- yet the evidence proves otherwise-

Abu Ghraib - Iraq- The Bush/Obama administration does not want Americans to see what American personnel have done and are continuing to do to those captured by US personnel ie C.I.A. , US military or Private Contractors-

White House Asked About Military Tribunals For Gitmo Detainees

Note even Gibbs once again refers to those held at guantanamo and elsewhere as " detainees" not as POWs or Enemy Combatants therefore given thes "detainees " any rights is not an obligation for the United States or the President but are seen as being a result of America's good will & generosity - No the obligation on the US is to treat these prisoners in a humane fashion . Gibbs also doesn't even bother to mention if these prisoners are still being abused nor does he say that if there was abuse and torture will these things be presented & taken into account at trial openly & publicly acknowledged . For instance if a prisoner has been held for seven years or so and were abused and tortured maybe this should be taken into consideration in the event of a guilty verdict- ie time served - will they or their families receive some sort of apology or reparations for abuse & torture etc.

Gibbs also says that Obama is only concerned about the security of America and implies his lack of interest in International Agreements ie the Geneva Conventions etc. since only unpatriotic Americans would dare to use arguments from the International Court or the Geneva Conventions-America has the right to act according to how it sees fit - which is again Cheney & Bush's Neocon argument that no other country or International body has any jurisdiction over America.

Gibbs also unbelievably mentions victims of 9/11 & their suffering (Or does he mean those innocents incarcerated & abused & tortured or does he mean Americans killed in 9/11 attacks) which should have led to swift and certain justice in dealing with those who took part in the attacks of 9/11 or one assumes any US soldier or civilian killed in Iraq or Afghanistan since anyone who kills an American soldier by definition is a " terrorist". The Americans it appears have adopted the Arab notion of the Blood Feud which is never-ending -the more people killed the more deaths to be avenged and of course the otherside wants revenge for those deaths & so we have Perpetual War. (Of course Gibbs & Obama are still not willing to accept the invasion & ongoing Occupation of Iraq as a War Crime so one wonders who are Americans among the Evil-doers Obama talks about ) Gibbs & Obama like Bush & Cheney have little interest in discussing the half million dead Iraqis since according to their logic all Iraqis who have been killed or incarcerated are " terrorists" or Evil men doing evil things in order to destroy America. So the mindset of the Obama administration is now the same as the Bush/Cheney mindset of "us against them" of "Good Versus Evil" and anyone who criticizes America's approach to the so called War On Terror is Anti-American and therefore pro-Terrorist.

Gitmo Detainee Lawyer Slams Military Tribunals

A lawyer who represents a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, says military tribunals be restarted by President Barack Obama are a bad idea and provide 'substandard justice.' (May 15)

The Pro-Torture Lobby & Fox News and Dick Cheney are jubilant this week as Obama backs down on his promise to be a more open & accountable administration. Obama is now recycling Cheney & Karl Roves "Talking Points" - the need to protect National Security & US Troops . It is not that surprising that he would move in this direction which is not in fact forward but backward as he reminds Americans & the world that the War on Terror is still a fact of life and therefore he is forced to act accordingly. So he refuses to release more photos of detainee abuse because these pictures might cause blow back from the enemy . Well if he doesn't want people to be upset over detainee abuse then take action to stop the on going detainee abuse by US personnel. But no Obama has planned to expand Bagram prison in Afghanistan so prisoners could be held there without being granted any legal rights and that any rights under the Geneva Conventions for Prisoners of War are to be denied to them along with any right to be treated in a humane fashion. So abuse of detainees will continue while Obama's team of lawyers will do as Bush's Team of lawyers and just write opinions for him which support his case no matter how bogus. This should please many Americans but will not play well outside America and especially will not go down well in the Arab Street.

One of the things most disturbing about Obama's decision this week is his erroneous characterization of the Abu Ghraib abuses as an isolated incident committed by " a few bad apples". The thing of it is that I thought the Cheney/ Fox News notion of " a few bad apples " had been undermined and shown to be completely false with all of the evidence which has become public in the last month or so. But there's Obama recycling this notion of " a few bad apples" did he fall asleep at some point and dream that up this little nugget. The abuse and torture of detainees was part of a program and was policy which came straight from the White House. Those so called " enhanced Interrogation Techniques " are just a rebranding of what ordinary people used to call " torture". Is this Obama's idea of change to merely rebrand things so they sound more reasonable & acceptable while sweeping the crimes & horrors of the last eight years under the rug or down the old Memory Hole.

Now Obama has also said he will revert to using the infamous and notorious military tribunals which most legal experts claim is a sham process in which the US governments interest is not fair trials but rather convictions. They don't care if the person is innocent or guilty as long as they are convicted. Once convicted whatever that individuals says will be seen as questionable & unreliable because the individual has been convicted of a crime. So whatever he says about his mistreatment & abuse at the hands of US personnel at Guantanamo or other places where he may have been held will be seen as self-serving . So whatever charges of abuse such a detainee makes whether to his own lawyer or a member of the ACLU or Human Rights Watch , or the International Committee of the Red Cross or to the media will be undermined by the fact that he was found guilty of some terrorist act . So Obama's way of dealing with the charges of detainee abuse is to find ways to make their claims appear implausible or merely self-serving. So Obama is buying into the Fox News characterization of all detainees as liars and evil men who are dedicated to destroying American at any cost.

So is Obama's view now similar to Cheney & Bush that anyone killed or capture by American troops are guilty and are therefore evil terrorists . If this is the case then US troops can continue to act as they have since 1911 to treat all the people of Iraq & Afghanistan & now Pakistan as being the enemy who can be shot on sight. So its just like the good old days in Vietnam & Cambodia when these countries were turned into free-fire zones and for those who know their history of America once again the Seventh Calvary have the right to kill all so called " hostiles " ie Native Americans including the old, women & children since children eventually just grow up to be terrorists who want to destroy America. As for the women they just breed more Hostiles or more enemies of America.

Is Obama aware of on-going abuse at Guantanamo or is he keeping himself as little informed as possible so he can have "plausible Deniability- haven't we seen this before. Bush claimed "America does not torture" he could say this because Cheney and their lackey lawyers told them these "enhanced Interrogation Techniques did not constitute " torture" & were legal under US law. So one can twist the laws anyway one wants to get the desired outcome and even a lawyer like Obama sees that as OK since all he now cares about are the fine points of the law or such liberal & leftists notions such as morality or human rights . So how far down this slippery slope is Obama willing to go. It seems he will do whatever the US military , the Pentagon, Homeland Security & the National Security establishment including the C.I.A. insist.

Feces Smeared into Detainees Face Approved By Cheney et al & now Obama like Peggy Noonan chooses to "just walk on by "- More Evidence that Guantanamo & other U.S. Prison facilities were run like those in a Banana Republic- Bush & Cheney and now Obama have classified these prisoners in such a way that U.S. laws & the dictates of humane treatment & the dictates of Common Decency do not apply -Yet most Americans approve of these barbaric tactics because they are still seeking revenge & blood for the 9/11 attacks - so why do Americans at the same time claim to be a superior civilized State when in fact it operates in the most barbaric , Brutal & ruthless fashion in its treatment of POWs and its wanton disregard of civilians in its attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Is Obama now defending the abuse and torture of detainees in order to have leeway for U.S. interrogators and guards at Bagram and other U.S. prison facilities to do as they see fir in the name of the holies of holies "National Security trumps legal & quaint moral concerns. -

Gitmo's Goon Squads Authorized at The Highest Levels:
Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. May 15, 2009.

The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals.

As the Obama administration continues to fight the release of some 2,000 photos that graphically document U.S. military abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, an ongoing Spanish investigation is adding harrowing details to the ever-emerging portrait of the torture inside and outside Guantánamo. Among them: "blows to [the] testicles;" "detention underground in total darkness for three weeks with deprivation of food and sleep;" being "inoculated … through injection with 'a disease for dog cysts;'" the smearing of feces on prisoners; and waterboarding. The torture, according to the Spanish investigation, all occurred "under the authority of American military personnel" and was sometimes conducted in the presence of medical professionals.

More significantly, however, the investigation could for the first time place an intense focus on a notorious, but seldom discussed, thug squad deployed by the U.S. military to retaliate with excessive violence to the slightest resistance by prisoners at Guantánamo.

The force is officially known as the the Immediate Reaction Force or Emergency Reaction Force, but inside the walls of Guantánamo, it is known to the prisoners as the Extreme Repression Force. Despite President Barack Obama's publicized pledge to close the prison camp and end torture -- and analysis from human rights lawyers who call these forces' actions illegal -- IRFs remain very much active at Guantánamo.

IRF: An Extrajudicial Terror Squad

The existence of these forces has been documented since the early days of Guantánamo, but it has rarely been mentioned in the U.S. media or in congressional inquiries into torture. On paper, IRF teams are made up of five military police officers who are on constant stand-by to respond to emergencies. "The IRF team is intended to be used primarily as a forced-extraction team, specializing in the extraction of a detainee who is combative, resistive, or if the possibility of a weapon is in the cell at the time of the extraction," according to a declassified copy of the Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta at Guantánamo. The document was signed on March 27, 2003, by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the man credited with eventually "Gitmoizing" Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons and who reportedly ordered subordinates to treat prisoners "like dogs." Gen. Miller ran Guantánamo from November 2002 until August 2003 before moving to Iraq in 2004.

..."They are the Black Shirts of Guantánamo," says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has represented the most Guantánamo prisoners. "IRFs can't be separated from torture. They are a part of the brutalization of humans treated as less than human."

Clive Stafford Smith, who has represented 50 Guantánamo prisoners, including 31 still imprisoned there, has seen the IRF teams up close. "They're goons," he says. "They've played a huge role."

While much of the "torture debate" has emphasized the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" defined by the twisted legal framework of the Office of Legal Council memos, IRF teams in effect operate at Guantánamo as an extrajudicial terror squad that has regularly brutalized prisoners outside of the interrogation room, gang beating them, forcing their heads into toilets, breaking bones, gouging their eyes, squeezing their testicles, urinating on a prisoner's head, banging their heads on concrete floors and hog-tying them -- sometimes leaving prisoners tied in excruciating positions for hours on end.

The IRF teams "were fully approved at the highest levels [of the Bush administration], including the Secretary of Defense and with outside consultation of the Justice Department," says Scott Horton, one of the leading experts on U.S. Military and Constitutional law. This force "was designed to disabuse the prisoners of any idea that they would be free from physical assault while in U.S. custody," he says. "They were trained to brutally punish prisoners in a brief period of time, and ridiculous pretexts were taken to justify" the beatings.

...Former Guantánamo Army Chaplain James Yee, who witnessed IRFings, described "the seemingly harmless behaviors that brought it on [like] not responding when a guard spoke." Yee said he believed that during daily cell sweeps, guards would intentionally do invasive searches of the Muslim prisoners' "private areas" and Korans to "rile the detainees," saying it "seemed like harassment for the sake of harassment, and the prisoners fought it. Those who did were always IRFed."

"I'll put it like this," Stafford Smith says. "My clients are afraid of them."

"Up to 15 people attempted to commit suicide at Camp Delta due to the abuses of the IRF officials," according to the Spanish investigation. Combined with other documentation, including prisoner testimony and legal memos, the IRF teams appear to be one of the most significant forces in the abuse of prisoners at Guantánamo, worthy of an investigation by U.S. prosecutors in and of themselves.

More evidence of wanton abuse and torture:

The Spanish investigation into Deghayes' torture draws much from the March 2005 memo, which described several acts of abuse of Deghayes at the hands of the IRF teams. (The memo refers to IRF by its alternative acronym ERF):

ERF-ing Omar -- The Feces Incident

On one of the ERF-ing incidents where Omar was abused, the officer in charge himself came into the cell with the feces of another prisoners [sic] and smeared it onto Omar's face. While some prisoners had thrown feces at the abusive guards, Omar had always emphatically refused to sink to this level. The experience was one of the most disgusting in Omar's life.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Toilet Incident

In April or May 2004, when the Guantánamo administration insisted on taking Omar's English-language Quran, he objected. The ERF team came into Omar's cell and put him in shackles. He was not resisting. They then put his head in the toilet, pressed his face into the water. They repeatedly flushed it.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Beating

In one ERF-ing incident, Omar was shackled by three American soldiers in their black Darth Vader Star Wars uniforms. The first was going to punch Omar, but before he could, the second kneed Omar in the nose, trying to break it. The third queried this, and the second said, "If his nose is broken, that's good. We want to break his ******* nose." The third soldier then took him to hospital.

ERF-ing Omar -- The Drowning

The ERF team came into the cell with a water hose under very high pressure. He was totally shackled, and they would hold his head fixed still. They would force water up his nose until he was suffocating and would scream for them to stop. This was done with medical staff present, and they would join in. Omar is particularly affected by the fact that there was one nurse who "had been very beautiful and kind" to him to [sic] took part in the process. This happened three times.

ERF-ing Omar -- Tango Block

Omar was out on the Tango block rec yard when 15 ERF soldiers came, with two other soldiers in the towers, armed with guns. They grabbed him (and others) and sprayed him.

They then pulled him up into the air and slammed his face down, on the left side, on the concrete. They had someone from the hospital there, and she just watched. She then came up to him and asked whether he was OK. He was taken off to isolation

...Binyam Mohamed, released in February, has also described an IRF assault: "They nearly broke my back. The guy on top was twisting me one way, the guys on my legs the other. They marched me out of the cell to the fingerprint room, still cuffed. I clenched my fists behind me so they couldn't take [finger]prints, so they tried to take them by force. The guy at my head sticks his fingers up my nose and wrenches my head back, jerking it around by the nostrils. Then he put his fingers in my eyes. It felt as if he was trying to gouge them out. Another guy was punching my ribs, and another was squeezing my testicles. Finally, I couldn't take it any more. I let them take the prints."

A report prepared by British human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, documents the alleged abuse of a Bahraini citizen, Jumah al Dousari by an IRF team. Before being taken to Guantánamo, al Dousari was widely known to be "mentally ill." On one occasion, the IRF Team was called into his cell after al Dousari allegedly insulted a female soldier. Another prisoner who witnessed the incident described what happened:

"There were usually five people on an ERF team. On this occasion there were eight of them. When Jumah saw them coming, he realized something was wrong and was lying on the floor with his head in his hands. If you're on the floor with your hands on your head, then you would hope that all they would do would be to come in and put the chains on you. That is what they're supposed to do.

"The first man is meant to go in with a shield. On this occasion, the man with the shield threw the shield away, took his helmet off, when the door was unlocked ran in and did a knee drop onto Jumah's back just between his shoulder blades with his full weight. He must have been about 240 pounds in weight. His name was Smith. He was a sergeant E-5. Once he had done that, the others came in and were punching and kicking Jumah. While they were doing that the female officer then came in and was kicking his stomach. Jumah had had an operation and had metal rods in his stomach clamped together in the operation.

"The officer Smith was the MP sergeant who was punching him. He grabbed his head with one hand and with the other hand punched him repeatedly in the face. His nose was broken. He pushed his face, and he smashed it into the concrete floor. All of this should be on video. There was blood everywhere. When they took him out, they hosed the cell down and the water ran red with blood. We all saw it."

...on Jan. 22, newly inaugurated President Obama issued an executive order requiring the closure of Guantánamo within a year and also ordered a review of the status of the prisoners held there, requiring "humane standards of confinement" in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

But one month later, the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report titled "Conditions of Confinement at Guantánamo: Still In Violation of the Law," which found that abuses continued. In fact, one Guantanamo lawyer, Ahmed Ghappour, said that his clients were reporting "a ramping up in abuse" since Obama was elected, including "beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-force feeding detainees who are on hunger strike," according to Reuters.

"Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration," Ghappour said.

While the dominant media coverage of the U.S. torture apparatus has portrayed these tactics as part of a "Bush era" system that Obama has now ended, when it comes to the IRF teams, that is simply not true. "[D]etainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation," according to CCR.

In early February 2009, at least 16 men were on hunger strike at Guantanamo's Camp 6 and refused to leave their cells for "force feeding." IRF teams violently extracted them from their cells with the "men being dragged, beaten and stepped on, and their arms and fingers twisted painfully." Tubes were then forced down their noses, which one prisoner described as "torture, torture, torture."

In April, Mohammad al-Qurani, a 21-year-old Guantánamo prisoner from Chad managed to call Al-Jazeera and described a recent beating: "This treatment started about 20 days before Obama came into power, and since then I've been subjected to it almost every day," he said. "Since Obama took charge, he has not shown us that anything will change."

also see: " Contoversy Over Torture Photos and Military Commissions Heats Up in Washington " By Liliana Segura, AlterNet. May 16, 2009.

and check out:

" We Wouldn't Want to Inflame Anti-American Sentiment " by Glenn Greenwald at &,May 14,2009

The Politics of Excusing Torture in the Name of National Security by John W. Dean May 15, 2009 & Common

"Howard Zinn: Changing Obama's Military Mindset" By Howard Zinn, The Progressive. May 15, 2009.

Who Are the Real Psychopaths in Afghanistan? By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. May 11, 2009.

" Torture Report Contradicts Cheney; White House Preparing to Release 'Holy Grail' Report " by Sam Stein, Huffington Post May 11, 2009.

and so it goes,

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