Tag Archives: torture

The national prison strike is over. Now is the time prisoners are most in danger

Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan

Photo: Pixabay

Over the last few weeks men and women across the United States – and even as far away as Nova Scotia, Canada – have protested to demand humane treatment for the incarcerated.

In 2016, when prisoners engaged in similar hunger strikes, sit-ins, and work stoppages, their actions barely registered with the national media. As someone who regularly writes about the history of prisoner protests and prison conditions today, this lack of interest was striking. Continue reading

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Demanding End to ‘Unprecedented’ Secrecy, Senators Say Kavanaugh May Have Perjured Himself About Role in Post-9/11 Torture Program

“Release documents from Judge Kavanaugh’s time in the White House in the same manner as was done for all previous Supreme Court nominees. The truth should not be hidden from the Senate or the American people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-17-2018

Then-President George W. Bush looks on as Justice Anthony Kennedy swears in Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on June 1, 2006. (Photo: Eric Draper/White House)

Three Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee claimed Thursday that documents suggest “wildly unpopular” U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh lied to lawmakers about his role in the George W. Bush administration’s torture program during his 2006 confirmation hearing to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Ben Wikler, Washington director of MoveOn.org—one of the groups leading the #StopKavanaugh effort that has grown out of concerns about Kavanaugh’s record on reproductive rights, the environmenthuman rightslabor, healthcare, and net neutrality—tweeted: Continue reading

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CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA

“Torture was illegal and immoral after 9/11, and it still is now,” warn critics. And Gina Haspel “should never be allowed to work for the American people again.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-21-2018

Gina Haspel, who was in charge of a black site in Thailand where torture occurred and ordered the destruction of CIA tapes of the human rights violations, has been nominated to become director of the spy agency. (Photo: CIA / with overlay)

In what critics are calling a bald attempt to help Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA get through a very difficult confirmation process, the CIA on Friday released a previously classifed memo in which Gina Haspel was “cleared” of any wrongdoing when she destroyed more than 90 videotapes of agency operatives torturing human beings.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the CIA on Friday “gave lawmakers a declassified memo Friday showing [Haspel] was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11.” Continue reading

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Trump Picks ‘Actual Torturer’ Gina Haspel as Next CIA Director

“If Obama had allowed prosecutions over CIA torture, ‘people like Haspel, quite plausibly, could have gone to prison.’ Instead, she’s going to run the CIA.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 3-13-2018

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump nominated Gina Haspel, deputy director the of Central Intelligence Agency, to take over for Mike Pompeo, who will now serve as Secretary of State. (Photo: Speak Freely/ACLU)

Human rights advocates are expressing outrage on Tuesday after President Donald Trump nominated deputy director Gina Haspel—”an actual torturer“—to be the next CIA director despite her leading role in running an agency black site where detainees were systematically and gruesomely abused.

Haspel is slated to replace current CIA director Mike Pompeo, who Trump has tapped to be the next Secretary of State now that Rex Tillerson has been fired. Continue reading

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Happy Birthday CIA: 7 Truly Terrible Things the Agency Has Done in 70 Years

By Carey Wedler. Published 9-18-2017 by The Anti-Media

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On Monday, President Trump tweeted birthday wishes to the Air Force and the CIA. Both became official organizations 70 years ago on September 18, 1947, with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947.

After spending years as a wartime intelligence agency called the Office of Strategic Services, the agency was solidified as a key player in the federal government’s operations with then-President Harry Truman’s authorization. Continue reading

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DOJ Docs Raise Questions About Gorsuch’s Views on Torture and Executive Power

Americans should be “deeply concerned that this nominee won’t be a meaningful check on Donald Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional agenda”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-16-2017

Photo: Screenshot

With just days until Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a new trove of documents is raising additional questions about the federal judge’s time at the Department of Justice (DOJ), where he “played a key role in defending the torture and detention policies that have been rejected by the courts and by our country,” according to one group.

From June 2005 to August 2006, Gorsuch served as the principal deputy to the associate attorney general under former President George W. Bush. Continue reading

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Donald Trump May Choose Bush-Era Torture Architect for CIA Chief

Jose Rodriguez is also infamous for destroying 92 tapes of CIA personnel torturing detainees—for which he was never prosecuted

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-11-2016

Bush-era torture architect Jose Rodriguez defended his role in the clandestine program in a 60 Minutes interview in 2012. (Screenshot: CBS News)

Bush-era torture architect Jose Rodriguez defended his role in the clandestine program in a 60 Minutes interview in 2012. (Screenshot: CBS News)

President-elect Donald Trump may choose an architect of the George W. Bush administration’s torture program, Jose Rodriguez, to head the CIA, The Intercept reported Friday.

The Intercept cites a post-election prediction from Dentons, a law firm where Trump confidante Newt Gingrich (himself a potential secretary of state) serves as an advisor. “Dentons was also retained by Make America Number 1, one of the primary Super PACs supporting Trump’s candidacy,” the outlet writes. Continue reading

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Held 14 Years Without Charge, CIA Torture ‘Guinea Pig’ Abu Zubaydah Asks for Freedom

Zubaydah was the CIA’s first captive after 9/11 and was accused of being one of the highest ranking leaders of al Qaeda, though that claim has been officially recanted

By Lauren McCauley, staff-writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-23-16

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After 14 years of being held without charge, Guantánamo prisoner Abu Zubaydah, who was subject to brutal torture and is known as the “guinea pig” for the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) “enhanced interrogation program,” made his first appearance on Tuesday before the Periodic Review Board and requested to be set free.

In a statement (pdf) read by his personal representative, he explained how he “initially believe that he did not have any chance or hope to be released” but has “come to believe that he might have a chance to leave Guantánamo.” Continue reading

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Amid ‘Chilling’ Evidence of Torture, Post-Coup Purge Continues in Turkey

Amnesty International alleges widespread torture of detainees suspected of orchestrating coup

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-25-2016

Photo: Humeyra Pamuk/Twitter

Photo via Twitter

Human rights advocates are sounding the alarm about Turkey’s crackdown on supposed dissidents, alleging widespread torture of detainees, while the government continues with its post-coup purges of private and public institutions.

On Sunday, rights group Amnesty International announced that it “has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them. In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.” Continue reading

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‘Stunning’: CIA Admits ‘Mistakenly’ Deleting Copy of Senate Torture Report

The CIA inspector general—the agency’s internal watchdog—admits to deleting its copy of the U.S. Senate’s torture report, as well as a backup

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-16-2016

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The seal of the Central Intelligence Agency inlaid in the floor of the main lobby of the Original Headquarters Building. Photo by user:Duffman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The CIA’s inspector general office admitted to reporters that the department inadvertently deleted its copy of the U.S. Senate’s report detailing the nation’s post-9/11 detention and torture of detainees, Yahoo News reported Monday.

The department also deleted a hard disk backup of the report.

“Clearly the CIA would rather we all forgot about torture,” Cori Creider, a director at human rights watchdog Reprieve, responded to the news in a statement. Continue reading

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