Thursday, January 17
Canadian Bushwhack: Ottawa Adds USA to Torture Watchlist, Vowing No Action
Last Wednesday (16 January), CTV, Canada's largest private television broadcaster, broke a story that many Canadians apparently found shocking.
Foreign Ministry officials in Ottawa obtained--then mistakenly released in court-- unredacted documents confirming that a Canadian youth has been tortured at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since his capture five years ago in 2002.
The new evidence counters Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper's claim that Omar Khadr, a 15-year-0ld at the time of his capture, was "receiving fair treatment" from the U.S. Khadr, now 21, is still awaiting trial for allegedly killing a U.S. soldier during fighting in Afghanistan.
William Kuebler, Khadr's American military lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, confirmed the documented evidence for CTV.
"Omar has certainly been abused, his rights have been violated under international law, and apparently the Canadian government has reason to believe that's true, and yet, they've acted not at all to assist him," Kuebler noted.
On Thursday The Globe and Mail, Canada's most widely circulated newspaper, followed up on CTV's breaking story with this additional revelation: "Foreign Affairs has put Guantanamo Bay on a watch list for torture, despite Ottawa's assertions that it will not intervene with claims that Omar Khadr has been abused while in detention."
According to the 17 January "breaking news" section of Citizens for Legitimate Government, a blog commencing publication with allegations that Bush and Cheney were illegally appointed to the White House by the William Rehnquist-headed U.S. Supreme Court in December 2000, the new evidence of Khadr's torture promoted Canada to put the U.S. on a short list of Thirdworld guiding light democracies that officially practice torture: "Syria, Iran, China, Afghanistan,...Guantanamo Bay." Israel also made the list.
But on 11 January, a U.S. federal court applied some additional slippery legal reasoning to make a startling ruling on a lawsuit by four Brits who claim they were tortured while incarcerated at the U.S. military prison in Cuba. In a little-reported story, Presscue Wire Services confirmed that the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that since "terrorists" aren't fully "humans," they have no valid standing before U.S. law.
On the sixth anniversary of the imprisonment of detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, a United States judge threw out lawsuit brought by four former British detainees against Donald Rumsfeld and senior military officers for ordering torture and religious abuse, ruling that the detainees are not "Persons" under U.S. Law, which according to another judge, means that they are less than "human beings".The court ruling effectively reversed Pope Paul III's 1537 Papal Bull that decreed "indigenous people of America"--Native Americans then living near present day Cuba-- "to be rational beings with souls." Intended to reverse two earlier papal rulings justifying New World slavery and colonialization, the Pope's ruling condemned the Spanish practice of enslaving the Indians, making "it null and void for as well as for any people known or that could be discovered in the future, entitles their right to liberty and property, and concludes with a call for their evangelization."
In a 43-page opinion, Circuit Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson found that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a statute that applies by its terms to all “persons” did not apply to detainees at Guantánamo, effectively ruling that the detainees are not persons at all for purposes of U.S. law.
The Court also dismissed the detainees’ claims under the Alien Tort Statute and the Geneva Conventions, finding defendants immune on the basis that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants,” and ruled that even if torture and religious abuse were illegal, defendants were immune under the Constitution because they could not have reasonably known that detainees at Guantánamo had any constitutional rights.
So, if you suspected something villainously medieval reeked from the Bush-Cheney White House's commitment to fundamentalist religion, you now have confirming evidence.
U.S. Torture (& Hypocrisy) Is Nothing New, Canada
Contrary to public opinion, the US torture scandals at Guatanamo Bay and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison--and around the world, for that matter--aren't part of the inspiration of evil emanating from the Bush-Cheney White House. According to one American historian, the practice's been quietly honed and evolving under the CIA's nurturing sponsorship since World War II.
In February 2006, Alfred McCoy, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor emeritus of Southeast Asian history, told Democracy Now! radio's Amy Goodman that the CIA began refining the craft of torture shortly after the Agency's creation in 1947.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, Amnesty International and other human rights groups say the recently released images of abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib show a clear violation of international humanitarian law. The U.S. made a pledge against torture when Congress ratified the UN Convention Against Torture in 1994–but it was ratified with reservations that exempted the CIA’s psychological torture method. So what were the results?In 1972, the CIA attempted to squash publication of McCoy's provocative first book The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade; the study chronicles the Agency's growing cooperation with organized crime, terrorist groups and drug smugglers in cornering the global heroin market first centered in France and, after President Richard Nixon initiated the "war on drugs" in 1971, in Indochina's Golden Triangle.
A new expose gives an account of the CIA’s secret efforts to develop new forms of torture spanning fifty years. It reveals how the CIA perfected its methods, distributing them across the world from Vietnam to Iran to Central America, uncovering the roots of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo torture scandals. The book is titled “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror.”.... (Read, listen to or watch more here.)
But torture and drug-running is but part of the complete accoutrement of US-backed covert ops prompting internationally renowned social critic Noam Chomsky (photo, 2004) to designate Amerika as the world's foremost backer of state-sponsored terrorism ("the way to get 'them' to stop attacking 'us' is stop attacking 'them'").
On 21 September 1996, Washington Post staff writer Dana Priest found evidence oozing from red George clay at the infamous Ft. Benning's terrorist training facility that bolster Chomsky's seemingly irresponsibile assessment. The Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist obtained classified documents--including U.S. Army torture training manuals-- from a 1992 congressional hearing into terrorist training, paid for by U.S. tax dollars, taught to mostly Latin American "law enforcement" officers at Army facility's "School of the Americas."
With McCoy's scholarly book on CIA torture still a decade away, Priest blithely printed the spin palmed off by Pentagon officials claiming the program originated in 1982 rather than 1947-1948 as reported by the historian.
SOA subsequently became "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation" (WHISC) to assist resident terrorists employed, billeted and taught there to feel a little better about themselves when they returned home to practice their after-hours community service work.
But since Americans now teaching at SOA/WHISC only incite others to terrorism rather than actually engage in it, they--in the twisted legal logic extant in DC--must still have protection as official "humans" under U.S. law, right?
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