Peace and War:

  • Sojourners: With Weapons of the Will — How to topple Saddam Hussein—nonviolently
  • Sojourners: An Alternative to War for Defeating Saddam Hussein — A 6-point plan that details a more effective way to remove Saddam Hussein from power without killing innocent people.
  • NY TImes: Growing number in U.S. back war, survey finds
  • NY Times: Judge says ‘dirty bomb’ suspect can meet with his lawyers
  • NY Times: U.S. reported to suspend U-2 flights over Iraq
  • NY Times: Questioning Terror Suspects in a Dark and Surreal World

    I’ve pulled the excerpts from the story that detail the torture techniques used by the American military. Besides the inhuman barbarity of these actions, I also question the wisdom of it from a purely pragmatic point of view. If the US uses these techniques, then the US has no credibility to criticize other nations who might capture an American soldier. The American people would be outraged (and rightfully so) if an enemy state captured American GI’s and subjected them to sleep and sensory deprivation, not permitting them to wear clothes for days at a time, having their hands shackled to the ceiling while their ankles are shackled to the floor, denying access to medical care, etc. This is torture clear and simple. Read 1984 if you don’t believe me. America’s treatment of its POW’s sounds just like the psychological torture techniques outlined in 1984.

    If this continues, I think the World Court should indict Bush for war crimes. There is absolutely NO EXCUSE for torture. America is supposed to be better than this!

      . . .

      Senior American officials said physical torture would not be used against Mr. Mohammed, regarded as the operations chief of Al Qaeda and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. They said his interrogation would rely on what they consider acceptable techniques like sleep and light deprivation and the temporary withholding of food, water, access to sunlight and medical attention.

      American officials acknowledged that such techniques were recently applied as part of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the highest-ranking Qaeda operative in custody until the capture of Mr. Mohammed. Painkillers were withheld from Mr. Zubaydah, who was shot several times during his capture in Pakistan. . .

      Routine techniques include covering suspects’ heads with black hoods for hours at a time and forcing them to stand or kneel in uncomfortable positions in extreme cold or heat, American and other officials familiar with interrogations said. . .

      Qaeda operatives, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a suspect in the planning of the Sept. 11 attacks, were initially taken to a secret C.I.A. installation in Thailand but have since been moved, American officials said.

      Intelligence officials also acknowledged that some suspects had been turned over to security services in countries known to employ torture. There have also been isolated, if persistent, reports of beatings in some American-operated centers. American military officials in Afghanistan are

      investigating the deaths of two prisoners at Bagram in December. . .

      In this case, officials said, Mr. Faruq was in the C.I.A. interrogation center at the Bagram air base. American officials were convinced that he knew a lot about pending attacks and the Qaeda network in Southeast Asia, which Mr. bin Laden sent him to set up in 1998.

      The details of the interrogation are unknown, though one intelligence official briefed on the sessions said Mr. Faruq initially provided useless scraps of information.

      What is known is that the questioning was prolonged, extending day and night for weeks. It is likely, experts say, that the proceedings followed a pattern, with Mr. Faruq left naked most of the time, his hands and feet bound. While international law requires prisoners to be allowed eight hours’ sleep a day, interrogators do not necessarily let them sleep for eight consecutive hours. . .

      The Western intelligence official described Mr. Faruq’s interrogation as “not quite torture, but about as close as you can get.” The official said that over a three-month period, the suspect was fed very little, while being subjected to sleep and light deprivation, prolonged isolation and room temperatures that varied from 100 degrees to 10 degrees. In the end he began to cooperate. . .

      In a typical prison, where punishment is the aim, routine governs life. At Bagram, where eliciting information is the goal, the opposite is true. Disorientation is a tool of interrogation and therefore a way of life.

      To that end, the building – an unremarkable hangar – is lighted 24 hours a day, making sleep almost impossible, said Muhammad Shah, an Afghan farmer who was held there for 18 days.

      Colonel King said it was legitimate to use lights, noise and vision restriction, and to alter, without warning, the time between meals, to blur a detainee’s sense of time. He said sleep deprivation was “probably within the lexicon.”

      Prisoners are watched, moved and, according to some, manhandled by military police officials. Most detainees live on the hangar’s bottom floor, a large area divided with wire mesh into group cells holding 8 to 10 prisoners each. Some are kept on the top floor in isolation cells.

      Former detainees have given disparate accounts of their treatment, with the harshest tales, predictably, emerging from the isolation cells. Those who have probably been subjected to the most thorough interrogations, and the greatest duress, have probably not been released.

      Colonel King said that an American military pathologist had determined that the deaths of two prisoners in December were homicides and that the circumstances were still under investigation.

      Two former prisoners said they had been forced to stand with their hands chained to the ceiling and their feet shackled in the isolation cells.

      One said he was kept naked except when he was taken to interrogation room or the bathroom. . .

  • National Security Archive: Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1984
  • Dallas activists establish Peace House in Crawford, Texas
  • The Daily Mirror BUSH: Clap me or no EU speech — Bush pulls out of a speech to the European Parliament when MEPs wouldn’t guarantee a standing ovation.