February 6, 2012 § Leave a Comment
February 4, 2012 § 1 Comment
Courageous reporting from inside Syria by Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson.
The Syrian government has been blamed by opposition groups for imprisoning tens of thousands of protesters calling for reform since the uprising began in March 2011.
Rights groups beleive many of the prisoners have been tortured, some until death. Outside the prisons, the government has continued its military crackdowns protests, killing thousands of people across the country.
In the third part of a series of exclusive reports, Jane Ferguson goes inside Homs, one of the main targets of President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces.
January 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
It is a shame that Libya’s new rulers have failed so miserably to distinguish themselves from their predecessor.
The UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay has raised concerns about Libya’s armed brigades and the treatment of more than 8,500 detainees, majority of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa.
Addressing the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya, Pillay warned that, “lack of oversight by the central authorities creates an environment conducive to torture and ill treatment.” She urged the Libyan ministry of justice and the prosecutor’s office to take over the detention centres.
June 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The killing of Osama bin Laden should have provoked some healthy debate about the United States’ ongoing reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Was this manhunt worth the $3 trillion estimated by National Journal? Does our alliance structure guarantee the creation of more bin Laden-type threats? Has our military response to 9/11 hurt us and others more than it has helped?
Instead, the execution of bin Laden has launched a nostalgia craze for torture, whose great virtues, we are told, have been cruelly underappreciated. Torture, it is asserted, is what got us the intel that led to bin Laden, so killing him vindicates and redeems “enhanced interrogation.” And not only that: by limiting torture, Obama and his administration have made America much less safe, even if—and this part of the argument is mumbled quickly—they happen to be the ones who killed bin Laden. “Two Cheers for Enhanced Interrogation Techniques!” crows the neocon-Murdoch Weekly Standard, urging the president to thank CIA interrogators who helped “rid the world of evil.” Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a principled foe of non-Irish terrorists, was blunter still, laying it down that waterboarding prisoners in 2003 “directly led” to finding (and shooting) bin Laden in 2011.
“Funny. You would think that if the CIA’s interrogation of high-value detainees was all it took, the US government would have succeeded in locating bin Laden before 2006, which is when the CIA’s custody of so-called ‘high-value detainees’ ended,” says Jane Mayer of the New Yorker. But first, the facts.
May 27, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Daniel Ellsberg, former U.S. military analyst who famously leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 weighs in on if he thinks this has been a good or bad year for journalism.
May 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
Bahrain’s totalitarian regime continues to kill, torture and harass and yet coverage in the international media remains rare.
Also see Physicians for Human Rights report on Bahraini persecution of doctors.
May 2, 2011 § 3 Comments
People have drawn various conclusions from the assassination of Usama bin Laden in Abbotabad, a city where I spent part of my childhood. Robert Fisk and Rahimullah Yusufzai believe the death little more than give belated relevance to a figure made largely redundant by the recent Arab revolts. His significance to the transnational phenomenon known as Al Qaeda was largely symbolic. But in death, symbols always yield to myth and assume higher potency. To the extent that a threat exists to the US, it is unlikely that it will be effected by this death one way or the other. For the moment however, the main price will be paid by the Pakistani public which inevitably stands in the way of all blowback.
But neoconservatives and other elements of the Israel lobby have drawn different, if predictable, conclusions. First we have the dependable Alan Dershowtiz praising the killing because according to him it vindicates Israeli policy of extrajudicial murder. According to him ‘Israel developed the concept of targeted killings’ which is not only an ‘effective’ and ‘lawful’ tool, but also a ‘moral’ one! in the war against terrorism. Next we have Bill Kristol, who has issued a statement co-signed with Elizabeth Cheney through Keep America Safe, another one of his myriad letter head organizations (LHO), praising the assassination as a vindication of the torture regime. Interestingly, the theory was immediatley debunked by a somewhat unlikely source. Thus Donald Rumsfeld: ‘It is true that some information that came from normal interrogation approaches at Guantanamo did lead to information that was beneficial in this instance. But it was not harsh treatment and it was not waterboarding.’
March 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
Billy Crudup and Margaret Colin enact a scene from Tom Stoppard’s new play ‘The Laws of War‘, which focuses on the abuses of the so-called ‘war on terror.’
March 2, 2011 § Leave a Comment
This is why the West suddenly fell in love with Gaddafi a few years back. He was the CIA’s preferred torturer.
As opposition groups in Libya take over areas outside of the capital, state prisons and military buildings are being searched.
In Benghazi, the opposition says they have unearthed equipment used by the government to torture dissidents, while more and more allegations of cruelty towards political prisoners are emerging.
Al Jazeera’s Tony Birtley reports from Benghazi, Libya.