KILLER BARRY O IS TAKING TIME AWAY FROM HIS DRONE WAR AND THE JOY HE GETS FROM KILLING CHILDREN TO HAVE ANOTHER DATE NIGHT.
ONLY THIS ONE'S WITH PAUL RYAN! HAVING SEEN SHE-HULK, WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE EXTRA-MARITAL DATING.
AS THE TWO-SOME GET READY TO COUPLE, ALL SORTS RUSH IN WITH ADVICE. JOHN DICKERSON OFFERS THE COUPLING MIGHT BE A SIGN OF MATURITY WHILE ETERNAL VIRGIN MICHAEL TOMASKY INSISTS KILLER BARRY KEEP BOTH FEET ON THE FLOOR AT ALL TIMES AND NOT ALLOW ANY UNDER THE SWEATER ACTION.
REACHED FOR COMMENT, A BREATHLESS KILLER BARRY O GUSHED, "I STILL HAVEN'T DECIDED WHAT TO WEAR! WHAT'S A BOY TO DO?"
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Of the Amnesty report, Patrick Cockburn (Independent) observes, "Forced confessions are at the heart of the present legal system with prisoners being given life and death sentences on the basis of false statements extracted by torture. In one case last year, cited by Amnesty, four men were arrested in Ramadi, held incommunicado and tortured by various means, including being hung up by the wrists and beatings, until they confessed." Carsten Jugernsen is with Amnesty International Germany and he tells DPA of the report, "Neither the Iraqi government nor the former occupying power act according to basic standards of human rights, and the people of Iraq are paying the price for that." Holly Yan (CNN) notes, "The report said government forces commit torture with impunity, targeting particularly those arrested on suspicion of carrying out terrorism acts."
Olivia Ward (Canada's Spec) notes:
Early last September, Mundhir al-Bilawi and his father were stopped at a checkpoint in the Iraqi town of Ramadi and seized by security forces. Then, said the 13-year-old, they were tortured with electric shocks.
He told a lawyer he was pressured to denounce his father, a local pharmacist, as a terrorist — in the presence of an investigating judge. Mundhir’s father, 38-year-old Samir Naji Awda al-Bilawi, died in custody, and an autopsy confirmed that he had been tortured to death. But the family’s pleas to name the torturers and bring them and their superiors to justice have been ignored.
Tim Moynihan (Scotsman) notes the report "highlights the case of Ramze Shihab Ahmed, a 70-year-old dual Iraqi-UK national who was given a 15-year jail sentence after a hearing that lasted only 15 minutes." A really important report. Maybe in a week or 17 more days, Media Matters can find it? Probably not. Despite having an hour to fill, Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! couldn't note the report -- not even in a headline. See, it's easy to note what Media Matters notes because they present it as the distant past. To address what is actually taking place in Iraq? That might lead to criticism of President Barack Obama and they just will not tolerate that. Writing about whistle blower and political prisoner Bradley Manning last week, Naomi Spencer (WSWS) points out that these alleged lefties can't summon the nerve to call out Barack, "Organizations that orbit the Obama administration-- including the International Socialist Organization, which has published a handful of articles about the case -- have likewise avoided uttering the name of Manning’s oppressor: the Democratic administration of Barack Obama. The most recent report in the Socialist Worker, the ISO’s publication, was a reprint of a February 22 Belfast Telegraph op-ed which made no mention of Obama." The Voice of Russia (link is audio) explores what so many in the US are ignoring. Excerpt.
Brendan Cole: It may be a decade since the fall of Saddam [Hussein, former President of Iraq] but violation of human rights in Iraq are still rife. That's according to Amnesty International whose report says that attacks on civilians, the torture of detainees and unfair trials are still prevalent. It found government forces commit torture with impunity especially against those accused of carrying out acts of terrorism. Methods of torture include electrical shocks, partial suffocation, beatings and the deprivation of food, water and sleep. Carsten Jugernsen is the author of that Amnesty International report and he said torture has always been widespread in Iraq but now forced confessions were at the heart of the country's present legal system.
Carsten Jugernsen: And we hear over and over again that this torture is done to coerce suspects to confess, to confess to all sorts of crimes, torture crimes, but also other crimes. Then again, we hear confessions which are made under these circumstances and which are later withdrawn are yet used in the trials as evidence against people and people have been sentenced to very harsh sentences including to death.
Brendan Cole: He said that thousands of Iraqis were detained without trial or serving prison sentences after unfair trials and now Iraq was one of the world's leading executioners. Last year, 129 Iraqi prisoners were hanged.
It's really amazing that since the middle of December, certain posers have pretended to give a damn about torture but Amnesty International issues a report on torture late Sunday night and they're all silent. That's because they didn't give a damn about torture. It was about attacking a woman -- Kathryn Bigelow. That's why the idiots at World Can't Wait announced their protest before anyone with the group had seen the film. It was about attacking a woman. Dexter Filkins and The New Yorker deliberately distorted the film ('reviewing' a scene not in the movie, not ever filmed, not ever written) and it launched a hundred and one attacks on Zero Dark Thirty. Dexy Filkins, of course, when not whoring around in Iraq and destroying his marriage, was covering the second assault on Falluja, lying about it, letting the military vet his copy -- which is why events of November 15, 2004 made the front page of the November 21, 2004 New York Times. Dexy's a known liar but when he attacks a woman, watch the crowd rush to embrace him. Zero Dark Thirty does not embrace torture (you can see Ava and my "Media: The never-ending sexism" for recent coverage on that, and for the opposite take, the only intelligent article written was this Z-Net piece by Tom Hayden).
It's strange how silent they are, these sudden obsessive types. But then it's so much easier to attack a woman and to join in on Bash The Bitch, right? A lot harder to call out torture. Bad teethed Peter Maass is one of the ones who attacked Kathryn and her film. Let's drop back to Maass' article for The New York Times Sunday Magazine (May 1, 2005):
The program we were watching was Adnan's brainchild, and in just a few months it had proved to be one of the most effective psychological operations of the war. It is reality TV of sorts, a show called ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice.'' It features detainees confessing to various crimes. The show was first broadcast earlier this year and has quickly become a nationwide hit. It is on every day in prime time on Al Iraqiya, the American-financed national TV station, and when it is on, people across the country can be found gathered around their television sets.
[One paragraph deleted by me because we have not treated the videos as reality and I'm not going to include his mocking descriptions of people who were tortrued to get 'confessions.']
Before the show began that evening, Adnan's office was a hive of conversation, phone calls and tea-drinking. Along with a dozen commandos, there were several American advisers in the room, including James Steele, one of the United States military's top experts on counterinsurgency. Steele honed his tactics leading a Special Forces mission in El Salvador during that country's brutal civil war in the 1980's. Steele's presence was a sign not only of the commandos' crucial role in the American counterinsurgency strategy but also of his close relationship with Adnan. Steele admired the general. ''He's obviously a natural type of commander,'' Steele told me. ''He commands respect.''
Things quieted in the office once the episode of ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice'' began. First, a detainee admitted [deleted by me for the same reason as before] and their confessions were taped, just hours before, in this very office. Adnan sat smoking Royals and watching the show like a proud producer.
''It has a good effect on civilians,'' he had told me, through an interpreter. ''Most civilians don't know who conducts the terrorist activities. Now they can see the quality of the insurgents.'' Earlier he said: ''Civilians must know that these people who call themselves resisters are thieves and looters. They are dirty. In every person there is good and bad, but in these people there is only bad.''
The episodes of the program I have seen depict an insurgency composed almost entirely of criminals and religious fanatics. The insurgency as understood by American intelligence officers, is a more complex web of interests and fighters. Most of the insurgency is composed of Sunnis, and it is generally believed that Baathists hold key positions. But the commandos, who are the stars of ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice,'' are also led by Sunnis and have many former Baathists in their ranks, so the Sunni and Baathist aspect of the insurgency is carefully obscured.
Of course, propaganda need not be wholly accurate to be effective. The real problem with the program, according to its most vocal critics -- representatives of human rights groups -- is that it violates the Geneva Conventions. The detainees shown on ''Terrorism in the Grip of Justice'' have not been charged before judicial authorities, and they appear to be confessing under duress.
That's the real problem? That no charges have been brought? Seems to me if Peter Maass wants to slam Kathryn Bigelow, he better have called out torture when he 'reported' on it. (It's a first person, feature article, it's not reporting -- not even what passes for magazine reporting. It reads like Are You There Saddam? It's Me Peter.)
We've called out torture from the start. Not just because it's 'ineffective' but also because it's unethical. It torments the victim and it dehumanizes the oppressor. It destroys who we are as a people and leads us down a pathway that is hard to return from. The breaking of laws is not the issue. Breaking laws just go to the fact that it's criminal behavior. The issue is why the laws were put in place, why these barriers were put in place.
Iraq didn't need to be introduced to torture by James Steele. Steele is the subject of the new BBC Arabic and Guardian Newspaper documentary James Steele: America's Mystery Man In Iraq which Ava and I reviewed Sunday at Third. But what Steele and the American government did was betray the proclamation of 'a new Iraq,' 'of a free Iraq.' There's no question that the US government broke the law with Steele and that War Crimes took place. But it's the results of those crimes, the aftermath, that is why we have laws in place against torture. In 'new Iraq,' the US sent James Steele in and allowed him to show the real face of counter-insurgency. And these crimes became the norm in Iraq making clear that there would be no 'new Iraq.' That's why the torture continues to this day. The American occupation made it the norm and gave it the stamp of approval. Amnesty's report notes:
The Ministry of Human Rights has gone some way towards acknowledging this reality, observing that detainees are "subjected in some instances to torture and ill-treatment in order to coerce them to confess or to obtain information." Once they have "confessed" in this way, detainees are generally taken under guard to appear before an investigating judge, often under threat of further torture or other ill-treatment if they refuse to confirm their confession or complain of mistreatment. In some cases, detainees are reported to have been threatened or assaulted by their guards in the presence of the investigating judge to force them to confess. Investigating judges are supposed to ensure that any incriminatory statements have been freely given, without coercion or duress, yet cases continue to be reported where they appear to have preferred to "look the other way" and accept self- incriminating statements from detainees without question despite their allegations or other evidence of abuse. This, when it occurs, may have profoundly damaging consequences for the detainee. For example, the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad [case number 1479 of 2012, Branch 2] ruled on 3 December 2012 that it would accept as evidence a confession made in pre-trial detention by a defendant although that defendant "denied any relation with the accusation brought against him and stated that his previous confession in front of the investigating judge was not true as it had been obtained by pressure and coercion that he was subjected to by the investigator". The court said it found the confession acceptable because it was "elaborate and detailed" [mufassal wa daqiq], then convicted the defendant under the Anti-Terrorism Law and sentenced him to life imprisonment. As experienced Iraqi criminal lawyers have attested to Amnesty International, courts place great weight on "confessions" recorded by investigating judges and tend to accept them even though defendants withdraw and repudiate them at trial.
Torture destroys the lives of the victims. It dehumanizes those who practice it. And it destroys an open society. If you torture to get a 'confession' and it's false but you convict, you not only put the innocent behind bars, you let the guilty walk. More importantly, the lesson is absorbed in the society that truth and reality don't matter. The people take the message, they understand what repression is and the open society dies as does every freedom. That's what so many Iraqis taking to the streets to protest for the last months are fighting against, the death of an open society. They are fighting for that "new Iraq" that they were promised but still haven't seen.
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