Human Rights

The great Christian, Mr Donald Trump,(I speak jokingly) has rebuffed the admonitions of the Pope Francis. “It is wrong to question a man’s Faith”, says Mr. Trump.
No, Trump, you are wrong. It is the leader of a church’s duty to define what is and what is not Christian. That, a grade-school child could tell you. Actually, even a layman such as I can say for certain that Trump does not speak as a Christian, not only from his statements about a wall along the border, but from his threat to “bring back waterboarding, and a lot more.”
But he draws a crowd, and gets cheered on by the kind of people who attend his rallies. This is how low we have sunk, as a nation. The world outside of the USA understands this as well as we do. The following is an excerpt from a British publication, The Guardian. Nick Moss’ words are quite insightful.

The country that gave us the secret detention centres at Bagram air base, Abu Ghraib and Camp Cropper to carry out its detention and interrogation programme without interruption or challenge; the country that gave us Guantánamo Bay and drone assassinations, is now called on to be a force for “democracy and human rights”. I suspect the “young, educated population” of the region has long since ditched any faith in such empty promises. Anyone who retains such belief need only look at how the US stood by while the military took power in Egypt and massacred about 1,000 protesters at Rabaa al-Adawiya square on 14 August 2013. After the Rabaa massacre the US continued to provide the Egyptian state with $1.5bn of aid per annum. So much for fostering rationality, legality and compassion.
Nick Moss
London
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/20/us-in-no-position-to-lecture-on-compassion

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So, you see, our reputation as a nation has been destroyed.
I would like to present another excerpt from a writer for the Miami Herald. This episode illustrates how utterly stupid Mr. Trump and his followers are, if they think torture is helpful, in interrogating and prosecuting terror suspects. This one article tells us that the very fact that a prisoner has been tortured, renders all of his information, and confessions, NULL AND VOID. Is it only lawyers that know this? Not only do you get false information (they will say anything to stop the torture), but prosecution becomes impossible, because they were illegally detained, and treated in an illegal manner.
To know the depravity of the torturers of our military, and not be shocked and appalled, this is foolish beyond belief. It reeks of evil. Those who can’t see that, ARE evil. The excerpt:

By Carol Rosenberg

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba

Defense lawyers in the Sept. 11 case screened grisly scenes of torture from the Hollywood movie “Zero Dark Thirty” at the war court Thursday in their bid to argue that the CIA gave filmmakers more access to evidence than lawyers in the death-penalty case.

The clips shown by attorneys for alleged 9/11 conspirator Ammar al Baluchi included a bruised and battered character named “Ammar” being put in a coffin-sized box, being doused with ice water in a mock waterboarding scene and being strung up by his arms, during rounds of CIA interrogation.
U.S. Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, shown in this July 7, 2005 file photo at Fort Hood, Texas, is the chief of the Guantánamo military commissions judiciary.
U.S. Army military judge Col. James L. Pohl, shown in this July 7, 2005 file photo at Fort Hood, Texas, is the chief of the Guantánamo military commissions judiciary. LM OTERO ASSOCIATED PRESS

“This is a movie, not a documentary,” protested prosecutor Jeffrey Groharing. Army Col. James L. Pohl, the Sept. 11 trial judge, overruled the objection.

In the courtroom at the time was Baluchi, whose attorney Jay Connell said was subjected to some of the techniques, including being told to stand on a mat and threatened with a beating if he stepped off. Connell told the judge that actually happened to his client, but it was not publicly known when the filmmakers included it.

The stark images of torture punctuated a day of largely technical presentations by prosecutors on how they wanted to proceed with providing the captives’ lawyers with evidence about the years the alleged Sept. 11 plotters were kept in CIA black sites.

Lawyers for all the accused terrorists call the details of their clients’ torture critical to challenging the legitimacy of statements their clients gave law enforcement authorities at Guantánamo, after the black sites. They also want it to argue that the United States has lost its moral authority to execute them if they are convicted.

Prosecutors argue that some information needs protection as national security secrets and some is not relevant. They say that, under the rules that govern the war court, they and the judge get to decide what the defense lawyers get.

In their Zero Dark Thirty motion, filed in 2013, Baluchi’s attorneys argue that the U.S. government gave screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow more information for the movie than the lawyers have themselves seen of Baluchi’s years in CIA custody.

They are seeking information about the CIA’s briefings of Bigelow and Boal beyond a series of partially redacted emails released to Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act. But Groharing told Pohl that he had examined the redacted emails and, while they contained classified information, none of the information withheld under FOIA was responsive to the defenders’ requests.

Pohl looked baffled by the suggestion that the information furnished to the filmmakers was unavailable to the defense attorneys. “Did Bigelow and Boal have a clearance?” he asked.

“No,” Groharing replied.

The screening itself was a departure from the dry legal arguments in years of pretrial hearings of the five men who allegedly conspired to direct, train and fund the hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001.

It was a graphic, if fictional, illustration of some of the things the so-called Senate Torture Report shows went on in the CIA black sites

“When you lie to me I hurt you,” says a Hollywood version of a spy agency interrogator. “You want the water again?… Give me a name.”

The day ended with defense attorneys photographing KSM’s scars

To which the character Ammar replies, “I don’t know,” and is strung back up.

After court, Connell said that the film contained uncanny representations of Baluchi’s real-life CIA experiences, including the mat scene in which he would be beaten if he stepped off.

The courtroom was silent but for the video clips, according to those who were inside, not watching on a 40-second delay. Defense attorney Cheryl Bormann said she looked away at one point, and was sick to her stomach.

Connell said Baluchi had seen the clips before but “was visibly upset” during the screening. “Mr. al Baluchi sat in court today and watched film clips about his own torture.”

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article61163027.html#storylink=cpy

[End of article.]
As fate would have it, in the news today, we hear of President Obama’s upcoming visit to Cuba, during which, we are promised, Barak will bring up Cuba’s troublesome human-rights record. Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba. The Castros only need to take a short drive to see, if they could get inside, the USA’s shining example of human rights. The emperor stands naked, and doesn’t know it.
The President will NOT visit Guantanamo.
He could fulfill his promise to close GITMO, if he wanted to. Congress is resistant, yes, but this is an excuse, not a reason. G.W. Bush opened the thing without any input from Congress. Obama can close it without Congress’ approval. Indeed, Tom Cotton, and Mitch McConnell, and other Republicans, have voiced the will to keep Guantanamo prison operating on a permanent basis. It’s like saying that you want to prevent a cure for cancer. We are being guided by fools and idiots. The fruit of such things is sure to hit us soon.
Thomas Ashez

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