I know a lot of people here in the US think our new ideas about torture are good because it saves lives in the end. But evidence has always shown that torture only makes your subject make any admission he thinks you want from him in order to stop the pain. As I’m sure any of us would do under those same conditions eventually and sign anything admitting to it, even if we were innocent as I said in order to stop the pain. If torture was ok and legal why would you threaten someone for revealing what you did? Pleading “national security” does not work….how does it threaten “national security” when everyone knows now we are torturing people anyway?
Take the case of the Peruvian student Magdalena Monteza, abducted as an alleged subversive. After being tortured and repeatedly raped by her captors, she admitted to being part of a revolutionary cell. In the film State of Fear, she describes her story: “I’d never had sex before. I was a virgin, 19 years old… I couldn’t take the torture so I decided to sign. I confessed to things I never did… If they had sentenced me to death I wouldn’t have cared.” The Canadian-Briton Bill Sampson was repeatedly tortured in a Saudi jail. Under torture, he admitted to being part of a network responsible for bombings and murder, thus enabling the authorities to pretend that there is no homegrown terrorism in Saudi Arabia.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity sponsored a study (PDF), concluding that torture has never been proven an effective interrogative device.
Obama Administration Threatens Britain to Suppress Torture Evidence
Guantanamo detainee tortured into bombing confession
UK judges accuse Obama Administration of suppressing torture claim
The Obama administration has been caught in a fresh torture controversy after it emerged that America threatened to cease all intelligence ties with Britain if it revealed that a British suspect held at Guantanamo Bay had been tortured into confessing to being part of a dirty bomb plot.
“Two senior British judges have expressed their anger and surprise that President Barack Obama’s Government has put pressure on Britain to suppress evidence of torture in US custody,” reports the London Times.
“Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said they had been told that America had threatened to stop co-operating with Britain on intelligence matters if evidence were published suggesting that Binyam Mohammed, a British resident held at the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, had been tortured into confessing crimes.”
In their ruling, the judges, acting on behalf of the Foreign Office & Commonwealth Office, scorned the hypocrisy behind the Obama administration’s actions.
“We did not consider that a democracy (United States) governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence contained in reports by its own officials . . . relevant to allegations of torture and cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment, politically embarrassing though it might be,” they stated.
“We had no reason . . . to anticipate there would be made a threat of the gravity of the kind made by the United States Government that it would reconsider its intelligence-sharing relationship, when all the considerations in relation to open justice pointed to us providing a limited but important summary of the reports.”
Binyam Mohammed has been held at Guantanamo Bay since September 2004 after being kidnapped at the behest of U.S. authorities in Pakistan in 2002. He claims he was tortured and mistreated into confessing to being part of a dirty bomb plot. Reports written by U.S. intelligence officials apparently confirm Mohammed’s claims.
However, the charges against him have been withdrawn and no new charges brought gainst him before Mr Obama’s order on January 22 freezing all proceedings against Guantánamo detainees, pending a review.
Mr Mohammed wants reports written by US intelligence officials, which it is understood may back his claims of torture, to be published.
In an initial ruling on his claims in August, the two judges tantalisingly revealed that MI5 had taken part in unlawfully interrogating Mr Mohammed. They ruled that the British Government was under a duty to disclose evidence that it held about Mr Mohammed’s treatment after his detention in Pakistan.
The US Government objected, and they edited out of their ruling any details from reports written by American intelligence officials and supplied to the British courts.
Various media organisations then mounted their own legal challenge to have the US reports made public.
The British judges declined to publish the reports after America’s threat, but lambasted America for bullying Britain to conceal information that posed no threat to America’s national security.
“Championing the rule of law, not suppressing it, is the cornerstone of a democracy,” said the ruling.
“The suppression of reports of wrongdoing by officials (in circumstances which cannot in any way affect national security) would be inimical to the rule of law and the proper functioning of a democracy.”
The controversy follows the revelation that Obama, despite his superficial moves against torture which have been given much attention by the establishment media, has in fact signed an executive order that will ensure a continuance of the practice of “rendition,” the secret capture, transportation, and imprisonment of so called “enemy combatants” in countries renowned for carrying out torture.
Secret rendition “black sites” hit the headlines in late 2005 when U.S. and foreign intelligence officials blew the whistle on the CIA’s practice of hiding and interrogating “al Qaeda” captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe.
The secret facility was revealed to be part of a covert CIA prison system, set up after 9/11, that at various times included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. The Washington Post refused to name the European countries involved after pressure from senior U.S. officials.
Horror stories of brutality and psychological torture of detainees at the secret prisons emerged soon after.
Many on the political left were fast and loose with their praise for Obama after he made moves to shut down Guantanamo Bay, but the real torture black sites and the process by which suspects are kidnapped and taken to them will remain in place thanks to Obama’s executive order.
Read at Times Online.co.uk