CIA Torture

January 6, 2015

Torture.

One of the excuses to go to war in Iraq was that Saddam tortured his own people. Remember?

Then, in response to 9/11, America began to detain human beings and torturing them to get “information.”

The Bush-Cheney administration approved methods of “interrogating,” including: waterboarding, rectal re-hydration, shock treatment, sleep deprivation, confined movement, beatings, threats, forced nudity, and the list goes on. This is torture, no matter how you spin it.

The Bushies referred to these methods of torture as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mr. Cheney recently said he would do them again “in a minute.”

What has happened to our country?

I understand that September 11th 2001 will never be forgotten and that it will never be right – but to engage in torture in response does nothing to honor the lives lost on that terrible day, or protect us.

In fact, many detainees were only being held in Guantanamo because people in the Bush administration “thought” that they had intelligence. It turned out, they didn’t. And now, we don’t know what to do with these people.

And let’s not forget the fact that this truly was George Bush’s and Dick Cheney’s doing. The only thing that stopped the torture was Obama signing an executive order upon taking office, banning it.

Although the recent senate report says that the Bush Administration was “misled” about the extent of the torture, Darth Cheney actually admits that he and George knew about the torture and approved it.

One person who did have something to do with Al-Qaeda was captured in Pakistan in 2002, and before ever being tortured, he confessed through legal interrogation techniques. After he confessed, he was tortured: waterboarded 83 times.

Waterboarding, for those that don’t know, is when someone is placed on a board nearly upside down. A cloth is put over there face and water gets poured down there throat, simulating drowning. It makes people think they are dying and induces panic. “Torturers” would continue pouring water for up to 45 seconds, give the detainee a break, and then, start again.

When U.S. soldiers were waterboarded by the Japanese during World War II, the Japanese were tried and executed as war criminals – by the U.S.

Like I said, what this country endured, what the people in the twin towers went through –is unforgivable, it’s sickening and wrong. But this country is supposed to be a paragon of enlightenment when it comes to human rights. When we torture people, what moral ground can we possibly stand on now?

In my America, this would have never happened. But in Bush and Cheney’s America (and in the Republican Party’s America) this is what America should be.

God help us.

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Riots are the Language of the Unheard

December 8, 2014

No indictment.

No formal charges brought against a white cop for killing a black teenager. I guess if you’re a cop, some rules don’t apply. Usually, when you murder someone, you get charged, arrested and tried … in St. Louis County, Miss., you don’t even get charged.

The prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, used a secret grand jury to “decide” whether or not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown. The grand jury consisted of nine whites and three blacks and it would’ve required nine votes to get an indictment.

Typically, prosecutors tell the grand jury a variety of charges that could be brought forth against the defendant. McCulloch didn’t recommend any charges.

Usually grand juries don’t hear from the defense, but in McCulloch’s grand jury, Wilson testified for hours.

Usually they announce the decision of the grand jury at a later date; in this case, however, the announcement was made around 8 at night, as if to incite certain violence and instability, and ensure there was no way to get any questions answered.

Seems fair doesn’t it?

Grand juries tend to side with the prosecutor which would usually be bad for the defense.

Not the case of Ferguson, because the prosecutor didn’t want to indict Wilson. He didn’t want to bring charges against him. McCulloch’s father was a police officer who was killed by a black man, so of course he didn’t want to charge a man with manslaughter (or worse) who was a cop just “doing his job.”

After the murder of Michael Brown, the police department started using tear gas to control riots. Tear gas, by the way, has been banned in warfare since 1993, but apparently Ferguson police have an arsenal of it. Then they brought out the big guns and began roaming the streets with tanks to show the citizens of Ferguson how much cops like to “protect” their city.

Dr. Martin Luther King once said that “riots are the language of the unheard.” Maybe it’s time someone starts listening to the people of Ferguson.


1929?

October 7, 2008

It’s hard for me to drive court in Detroit. I ride down Woodward Ave. through Detroit and see mile after mile of blight – deserted and burned out homes and businesses, homeless people pushing all their possessions in shopping carts. Even people who have jobs appear to be in shell shock. Who did this to our country, the richest country in the world? I drive across the bridge to Canada; surely, they have poverty too. But nothing like ours.

Detroit is in a depression – not just a recession. There are so many who need so much help. The people don’t want handouts, they just want the opportunity to get a job and support their family. They want an opportunity to have their day in Court when they suffer injustice. Their suffering is something that I can do very little about and that is frustrating. I became a lawyer to help people who are suffering… suffering from injustice. Yet I live in a society that has devolved in the last 8 years into one that is so fundamentally unjust and cruel, economically and socially, that the sheer scale of victims being created is frightening. The people are tired, hungry and feeling hopeless.

You would not believe the line for food at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and other emergency shelters in Detroit. This is 1929, right? Not 2008?

I feel like I need to do more but I also feel overwhelmed and angry. The Detroit riots happened when I was a teenager growing up in Oak Park, which bordered Detroit. National Guardsmen patrolled the streets and you could see smoke billowing into the sky. You could hear gunfire through the night.

The economic and social injustice that the people of Detroit (and in other cities across the nation) are suffering now is as pronounced as it was then. There are whispers now in the media of an economic collapse. That collapse has already occurred among the poor and even a substantial majority of middle class families in Detroit. I can’t imagine by what grace these people are remaining civil and peaceful.
God help us if this election is stolen like the others.