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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Torture: The Prisoner's Reality and International Law

Live streamed on Saturday October 9 (12pm Central time) at http://www.veteransforpeace.org

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Betsy Reznicek, Veterans for Peace

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

http://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/Image/tortureperspectives2.jpg

Phil Butler:  Phil graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, class of 1961. Flew the A4C with VA-22 aboard the USS Midway. On April 20, 1965 his aircraft went down over Vinh from malfunctioning VT fused bombs. Spent 4 days and nights  attempting to evade capture but was finally tracked down by two well-trained german shepherd dogs. He was repatriated eight years later on February 12, 1973.  He is also the author of  an incredible  book: "Three Lives of a Warrior."

Moazzam Begg - Moazzam Begg was seized by the DIA in Islamabad in February of 2002.  He was flown to the U.S. detention facility at Kandahar then Bagram where he was held for a year before being transferred to Guantanamo.  He was labeled as an "enemy combatant" but never charged with a crime.  In all, Moazzam spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.  He was subjected to over three hundred interrogations as well as death threats and torture.  He was released in January of 2005 along with three other British citizens.  He is the author of "Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar."  Begg will be joining us from England via web cast.

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Moderator: Jean Abbott - Jean is Clinical Director of the Center for Survivors of Torture and War Trauma in St. Louis, Missouri. The center provides free counseling for refugee and immigrant survivors of torture and war trauma.

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The CIA and Secrecy


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  • Torture gets a free pass
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  • The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo
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  • ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies
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Boston Globe | MA

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Boston Globe Staff Photo Illustration

A government fighting terrorists and overseas wars has a right to some secrets. At times, the revelation of a specific piece of information -- a name, a location, a date -- could thwart antiterror efforts. But the last two presidential administrations have made a broader argument: plaintiffs who claim they were tortured as a result of illegal CIA kidnappings can't have their cases heard in court, because simply hearing the cases could cast unwanted light on valuable state secrets.

This standard is far too sweeping, because there's a way to honor both the government's need for secrecy and plaintiffs' rights to have their allegations heard. Cases could proceed, but with judges privately evaluating individual pieces of evidence the government claims to be secret and determining on a case-by-case basis which should be admitted. Such a system had already been endorsed by a three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, after a razor-thin ruling by 11 members of that same court, the broader interpretation of the so-called state secrets doctrine will prevail -- unless the Supreme Court decides otherwise.

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Related:

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The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo, Andy Worthington, Common Dreams
On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

ACLU Report: Obama Continuing Bush-Era Torture Policies, Deborah Weinstein,  TruthOut.org/AlterNet

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  • Fear of an unchecked, unaccountable government permeates the report, particularly in the section about targeted killings.
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  • On torture, U.S. must clean house
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Summary: Immigration Reform | Week of September 19

4 New Items including:

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  • The 'Great Wall of America' and the Threat From Within
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  • Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible
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David Culver, ed., Evergreene Digest

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Deng Coy Miel

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The 'Great Wall of America' and the Threat From Within, Richard Rodriguez, New America Media
The irony remains: The land of the free that the wall was built to protect — the literal "homeland," soil so infused with sacred legend it was deemed by the makers of the Constitution more important than blood in determining citizenship — is threatened from within. And the wall that is supposed to proscribe the beginning of America becomes the place where America ends.
Great empires expand beyond their own borders. Empires in decline build walls.

Why Becoming a Legal Immigrant Is Next to Impossible, Mari Herreras  Tucson Weekly| AZ

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  • Many wrongly assume there is a process you can easily go through to become legal. In reality, our immigration system is a bureaucratic nightmare.
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  • No One is “Illegal”
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, The Progress Report, Think Progress

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  • The DREAM Act was specifically cited in the Department of Defense's FY2010-12 Strategic Plan to help the military "shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force."
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  • Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!
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  • US eyes more troops for Afghanistan
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Revised: Stop the Militarization of the DREAM Act!, Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI)/Change.org

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  • Comite Anti-Militarizacion (CAMI) supports higher education for all students both documented and undocumented; however, we denounce the military component of the DREAM ACT. Unfortunately, this deadly component is strategically excluded from the debate by many Democrats and organizations who support the DREAM ACT.
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  • Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act
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Rallies of Misinformation

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  • In the months leading up to the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, conservatives, right-wing media, and Republican lawmakers have led a campaign of misinformation, paranoia, fear, and anger toward Muslims.
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  • News Bias' and the Media Battle over the Meaning of 9/11
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The Progress Report, Think Progress

In the months leading up to the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, conservatives, right-wing media, and Republican lawmakers have led a campaign of misinformation, paranoia, fear, and anger toward Muslims, sparked by the recent hysteria over a hate pastor's plan to burn the Quran (which he thankfully never carried out) and outrage over an organization's plan to build a mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero in Manhattan. A recent Washington Post poll found that a plurality of Americans now have an unfavorable view of Islam, "the most negative split on the question" since Oct. 2001.

Commemorating the 9/11 attacks, President Obama urged tolerance toward Muslims. "As Americans we are not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam," he said. "It was not a religion that attacked us that September day -- it was al Qaida, a sorry band of men which perverts religion." Yet rhetoric from conservatives who gathered this weekend in New York City to protest the Park51 community center, and in Washington, D.C. for the Tea Party "9/12" rally was steeped in Islamophobia and general misinformation about the President, leading Democrats, and their policies.

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News Bias' and the Media Battle over the Meaning of 9/11, Rory O'Connor,  RoryOConnor.org, in AlterNet

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  • Nine years after 9/11, the battle over the meaning of what happened to our city, our country and our world on that fateful blue-crystal morning continues unabated.
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  • Media rife with anti-Muslim bigotry in lead up to 9-11 anniversary
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The Bleaker Truth of Anti-Americanism: Torture, Rendition, and Guantánamo

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On the 9th Anniversary of 9/11, A Call to Close Guantánamo and to Hold Accountable Those Who Authorized Torture

Andy Worthington, Common Dreams

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Bob Heberle

On the 9th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on September 11, 2001 that prompted the launch of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” the closure of Guantánamo and calls for accountability for those who instigated torture and established secret prisons and imprisonment without charge or trial remain as important as ever.

This is especially true because, on this particular anniversary, the crimes and injustices initiated by the Bush administration are, arguably, less in the public eye than at any time in the last six years. In 2004, after the Abu Ghraib scandal first alerted US citizens to a culture of torture and abuse that was sanctioned at the highest levels of government (however much the administration tried to brush it off as the work of “a few bad apples”), the US Supreme Court intervened, in Rasul v. Bush, to raise awareness of the lawless plight of the prisoners at Guantánamo by granting them habeas corpus rights, allowing lawyers to visit the men and to begin to puncture the veil of secrecy in which Guantánamo had been shrouded for the first two and a half years of its existence.

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