Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Torture and Cover-Up Reported in the British Press

This story is breaking in England, not much in the American press about it yet. From The Daily Mail:
A British 'resident' held at Guantanamo Bay was identified as a terrorist after confessing he had visited a 'joke' website on how to build a nuclear weapon, it was revealed last night.

Binyam Mohamed, a former UK asylum seeker, admitted to having read the 'instructions' after allegedly being beaten, hung up by his wrists for a week and having a gun held to his head in a Pakistani jail.

It was this confession that apparently convinced the CIA that they were holding a top Al Qaeda terrorist.

But The Mail on Sunday can reveal that the offending article – called How To Build An H-Bomb – was first published in a US satirical magazine and later placed on a series of websites.

Written by Barbara Ehrenreich, the publication's food editor, Rolling Stone journalist Peter Biskind and scientist Michio Kaku, it claims that a nuclear weapon can be made 'using a bicycle pump' and with liquid uranium 'poured into a bucket and swung round'.

Despite its clear satirical bent, the story led the CIA to accuse 30-year-old Mohamed, a caretaker, of plotting a dirty bomb attack, before subjecting him to its 'extraordinary rendition programme'.

During his eight-year imprisonment, Mohamed has allegedly been flown to secret torture centres in Pakistan, Morocco, an American-run jail known as the Dark Prison near Kabul in Afghanistan and, finally, to Guantanamo Bay. Food writer's online guide to building an H-bomb...the 'evidence' that put this man in Guantanamo

You can find this article anywhere on the Internet. It says things like this:
Many families are attracted to the H-bomb simply as a "deterrent." A discrete sticker on the door or on the living room window saying "This Home Protected by H-bomb" will discourage IRS investigators, census takers, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

There's actually a lot more to this story. The British government has suppressed information about the case, and the Daily Telegraph found out why:
The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said. UK government suppressed evidence on Binyam Mohamed torture because MI6 helped his interrogators

Let's run through that again. His genitals were sliced with a scalpel?

The American people will not want to hear these stories, but we need to be aware if only to avoid repeating these mistakes. Our nation behaved atrociously and it is now time to account for it.

Oh, and don't think this is something the Brits are doing, the CIA is doing all they can to cover it up. The Kansas City Star:
Facing a furor in Parliament, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband all but confirmed on Thursday that the U.S. had threatened to break off intelligence sharing if details were revealed about the alleged torture of a British resident held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. U.S. withholds Guantanamo documents, angering British

It will be necessary for the new leadership to repair and not try to justify the horrible misdeeds of the preceding administration. The new guy has only been in office a couple of weeks, I'm sure the status quo is still running things in the bureaucracies -- he needs to step in and get responsible people in place to repair the kind of damage this sort of reprehensible barbarity causes. Apologies might be appropriate.


Blogger Priya Lynn said...

How sick and ironic that the party that harps how they're all about "values" is responsible for this sort of atrocity. This kind of thing shows the true nature of religious conservatives like Bush. Evil though and through

February 10, 2009 1:37 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

I'll never forget George standing up and pretending to explain why the U.S. was so hated around the world. Like the liar he is he blurts out "They hate our Freedom!". No George, they hate you for this sort of thing. And you know it.

February 10, 2009 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If something happened then the truth needs to come out and, in my opinion, transgressors brought to justice.

That's not to say everything you hear in the papers is true.

The best information so far is that a very limited number of prisoners were subjected to waterboarding.

No excuse for that but it's a far cry from the type of atrocities going on elsewhere in the world.

The biggest problem is that the Bush administration over-reacted to 9/11 and acted inappropriately.

Ironically, the Obama administration may be doing the same thing with the economy.

February 10, 2009 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Well, I can understand you being a little gunshy after eight years of Bush's 'over-reactions' and 'inappropriate actions.' We all are.

Give it time, barryo. Obama's steady hand, fairness and intellect will win you over.

February 10, 2009 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Give it time, barryo. Obama's steady hand, fairness and intellect will win you over."

That might have been good advice for Democrats. Obama with time might have made a good President but, as Secretary Hillary said during the campaign, the office doesn't lend itself to on-the-job training.

Face it, you elected a guy with less than a full term as Senator to be President. Most of his "term" was spent campaigning.

Now, he's the leader of the free world at a crucial turning point in history and he hasn't a clue what to do.

February 10, 2009 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Face it, you elected a guy

Correction barryo, a majority of America elected Barack Obama to be our first African American president because they want him to lead us away from the disastrous direction Bush/Cheney led us, which included things like using torture in violoation of "quaint" provisions of the Geneva Convention, White House lying and stonewalling, disrespecting our former allies, offering tax cuts in the face of economic collapse, etc. That's why Obama's coattails were so long and resulted in a Democratic landslide in the 2008 election.

February 11, 2009 7:51 AM  
Blogger David S. Fishback said...

This article may be illustrative of the problem we are now facing re this aspect of the Bush II era. Too many of the Bushies were simply idiots, in way over their heads.

The tough question for President Obama is, given the depth and breadth of our economic and foreign policy crises, how much time and energy (and political capital) ought to be expended going after these idiots. Since the media inevitably will cover such salacious stories more than the economic and foreign policy stories, there is the danger that the peripheral will end up crowding out public discussion of the matters more central to our lives and our futures.

February 14, 2009 6:43 AM  

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