Tag Archives: torture

This and That

1-President Obama has thrown his first gay Arabic linguist out of the Army, Lt. Dan Choi.

2-Early reports said that the Pope and several other people walked out on a speech by Taysir Tamimi, the Qadi of Jerusalem. But this Guardian UK article says the Pope stayed put. I haven’t been able to find the text of the speech that they found objectionable. It may be just that the Pope wasn’t in the mood to hear facts during his public relations tours of the Middle East. Also, Tamimi wasn’t scheduled to speak at all.
Israelis are also unhappy with the Pope, who they feel didn’t make a big enough deal about the Holocaust.

3-Saudi Arabia promised in January of 2008 that women would be allowed to drive within the year. It hasn’t happened yet. In fact, a woman was arrested for driving this March.

4-The Emirati prince caught on tape torturing a man has been detained. That’s probably somewhat different from being arrested.

5-One of our own former detainees, who was tortured and consequently gave false information that the Bush administration used to rush the country into invading Iraq, has apparently killed himself while in Libyan prison. What’s interesting to me is that the WaPo doesn’t know that al-Libi is not a real last name, that it just means “the Libyan,” and that Ibn al-Sheikh is just one name. So they essentially reported on one Buster from Libya.

When President George W. Bush ordered the 2006 transfer to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, of high-value detainees previously held in CIA custody, Libi was pointedly missing. Human rights groups had long suspected that Libi was instead transferred to Libya, but the CIA had never confirmed where he was sent.

“I would speculate that he was missing because he was such an embarrassment to the Bush administration,” said Tom Malinowski, the head of the Washington office of Human Rights Watch. “He was Exhibit A in the narrative that tortured confessions contributed to the massive intelligence failure that preceded the Iraq war.”

6-There was some speculation (admittedly on the part of nutters) that the soldier who shot and killed five fellow soldiers in Iraq must be an Arab and/or a Muslim. He isn’t, but he is a Texan.

Leave a comment

Filed under arab, arabian, arabic, arabist, Saudi Arabia

Aw, Man

Somehow it’s worse when what you dread turns out to be true.

The Bush administration tortured prisoners so they’d cough up the Saddam-9/11 connection Bush and cronies wanted so desperately (which never existed).

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.

Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.

A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.

“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

“Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies.”

Senior administration officials, however, “blew that off and kept insisting that we’d overlooked something, that the interrogators weren’t pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information,” he said.

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

At least it makes sense. Since torture doesn’t elicit real information, but what the interrogators want to hear, naturally the Bush administration tortured these guys so that they’d say that Saddam was behing the 9/11 attacks. It’s good that we have the real rationale, rather than any “ticking time bomb” scenario dreamed up by an aficionado of 24.


Filed under arab, Our glorious war in Iraq, outrages

Americans Growing More Accepting of Torturing People


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The number of Americans who would condone torture, at least when used on terrorists in order to save lives, has risen over the past two years and now stands at over 40 percent, according to a new opinion poll.

The poll released by WorldPublicOpinion.org, a project managed by the University of Maryland, found that a narrow majority of Americans — 53 percent — think all torture should be banned.

WorldPublicOpinion said a 2006 poll found that 36 percent of Americans would accept torture in terrorism or other cases, compared with 44 percent now.

The latest poll was part of an international survey of public attitudes to torture, which found that 57 percent of respondents in 19 countries opposed it under all circumstances. But in India, Nigeria, Turkey and South Korea, a majority agreed with torture at least in some cases.

WorldPublicOpinion had little explanation for the apparent rise in U.S. public tolerance for torture except to say that “the U.S. public receives a steady stream of news reports about terrorist attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

But Steve Kull of WorldPublicOpinion told a U.N. news conference on Tuesday that “the Bush administration taking the position in defence of waterboarding … I think probably has contributed to some extent to a weakening of the norm globally.”

Yvonne Terlingen, U.N. representative of rights group Amnesty International, told the news conference, “The role played by the United States in undermining the universal prohibition on torture cannot be underestimated.”

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellaneous