There will be limited, if any, postings the next few days. I’m on my way to Omaha to give a series of talks.
January 31st, 2009
There will be limited, if any, postings the next few days. I’m on my way to Omaha to give a series of talks.
January 31st, 2009
It’s nice to see a bit of old fashioned populism. While the country bemoans the $18 billion stolen from us by the executives of banks that got federal money, only Senator Claire McCaskill seems determined to do anything about it. She has introduced a bill restricting executives in firms getting federal bailout money to $400,000, the salary of the US President:
By the way, I blame the Congressional Democrats, including candidate Obama, for the billions of stolen dollars they gave away with no strings in the TARP program. They knew from eight years experience that the Bush administration would never put conditions on a dole-out to the banks. They also knew, or should have known, what crooks and incompetents were running these banks. They still want to throw money at them. President Obama rightly called these bonuses “shameful.” But I didn’t hear what he was going to do to prevent future abuses. Reports today are that he will do exactly nothing to limit executive pay, out of fear that the incompetent crooks won’t want federal money if it cuts into their billions. And why would you want these grossly overpaid incompetents running the nation’s banks anyway? Isn’t that simply a recipe for continued disaster?
At least Sen. McCaskill is proposing to actually do something about the situation. But don’t wait for other congressional Democrats, who received tons of Wall Street money in 2008, to support her.
January 31st, 2009
Haaretz has an extended article on a new study by Israeli political psychologist Daniel Bar-Tal and graduate student Rafi Nets-Zehngut. It presents a sobering view of Israeli psyche, and of the effectiveness of official propaganda to get the Israeli public to believe a false version of the country’s history:
Is an Israeli Jewish sense of victimization perpetuating the conflict with Palestinians?
By Akiva Eldar
A new study of Jewish Israelis shows that most accept the ‘official version’ of the history of the conflict with the Palestinians. Is it any wonder, then, that the same public also buys the establishment explanation of the operation in Gaza?
A pioneering research study dealing with Israeli Jews’ memory of the conflict with the Arabs, from its inception to the present, came into the world together with the war in Gaza. The sweeping support for Operation Cast Lead confirmed the main diagnosis that arises from the study, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the world’s leading political psychologists, and Rafi Nets-Zehngut, a doctoral student: Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering. The fighting in Gaza dashed the little hope Bar-Tal had left – that this public would exchange the drums of war for the cooing of doves.
“Most of the nation retains a simplistic collective memory of the conflict, a black-and-white memory that portrays us in a very positive light and the Arabs in a very negative one,” says the professor from Tel Aviv University. This memory, along with the ethos of the conflict and collective emotions such as fear, hatred and anger, turns into a psycho-social infrastructure of the kind experienced by nations that have been involved in a long-term violent conflict. This infrastructure gives rise to the culture of conflict in which we and the Palestinians are deeply immersed, fanning the flames and preventing progress toward peace. Bar-Tal claims that in such a situation, it is hard even to imagine a possibility that the two nations will be capable of overcoming the psychological obstacles without outside help.
Scholars the world over distinguish between two types of collective memory: popular collective memory – that is, representations of the past that have been adopted by the general public; and official collective memory, or representations of the past that have been adopted by the country’s official institutions in the form of publications, books or textbooks.
The idea for researching the popular collective memory of Israeli Jews was raised by Nets-Zehngut, a Tel Aviv lawyer who decided to return to the academic world. At present he is completing his doctoral thesis in the International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution at Columbia University’s Teachers College. The study, by him and Bar-Tal, entitled “The Israeli-Jewish Collective Memory of the Israeli-Arab/Palestinian Conflict,” examines how official collective memory in the State of Israel regarding the creation of the 1948 refugee problem has changed over time.
Bar-Tal became enthusiastic about the idea and, with funding from the International Peace Research Association Foundation, he conducted a survey in the summer of 2008 among a representative sample of 500 Jewish Israeli adults. The study demonstrated that widespread support for the official memory testifies to a lower level of critical thinking, as well as belief in traditional values, high identification with Jewish identity, a tendency to delegitimize the Arabs, and support for taking aggressive steps against the Palestinians.
In a telephone interview from New York, Nets-Zehngut says it is very clear that those with a “Zionist memory” see Israel and the Jews as the victims in the conflict, and do not tend to support agreements or compromises with the enemy in order to achieve peace. This finding, he explains, demonstrates the importance of changing the collective memory of conflicts, making it less biased and more objective – on condition, of course, that there is a factual basis for such a change.
Bar-Tal, who has won international awards for his scientific work, immigrated to Israel from Poland as a child in the 1950s.
“I grew up in a society that for the most part did not accept the reality that the authorities tried to portray, and fought for a different future,” he says. “I have melancholy thoughts about nations where there is an almost total identity between the agents of a conflict, on the one hand, who nurture the siege mentality and the existential fear, and various parts of society, on the other. Nations that respond so easily to battle cries and hesitate to enlist in favor of peace do not leave room for building a better future.”
Bar-Tal emphasizes that the Israeli awareness of reality was also forged in the context of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens, but relies primarily on prolonged indoctrination that is based on ignorance and even nurtures it. In his opinion, an analysis of the present situation indicates that with the exception of a small minority, which is capable of looking at the past with an open mind, the general public is not interested in knowing what Israel did in Gaza for many years; how the disengagement was carried out and why, or what its outcome was for the Palestinians; why Hamas came to power in democratic elections; how many people were killed in Gaza from the disengagement until the start of the recent war; and whether it was possible to extend the recent cease-fire or even who violated it first.
“Although there are accessible sources, where it is possible to find the answers to those questions, the public practices self-censorship and accepts the establishment version, out of an unwillingness to open up to alternative information – they don’t want to be confused with the facts. We are a nation that lives in the past, suffused with anxiety and suffering from chronic closed-mindedness,” charges Bar-Tal.
That describes the state of mind in 2000, when most of the pubic accepted the simplistic version of then-prime minister Ehud Barak regarding the failure of the Camp David summit and the outbreak of the second intifada, and reached what seemed like the obvious conclusion that “there is no partner” with whom to negotiate.
Bar-Tal: “After the bitter experience of the Second Lebanon War, during which the memory of the war was taken out of their hands and allowed to be formed freely, the country’s leaders learned their lesson, and decided that they wouldn’t let that happen again. They were not satisfied with attempts to inculcate Palestinian awareness and tried to influence Jewish awareness in Israel as well. For that purpose, heavy censorship and monitoring of information were imposed” during the Gaza campaign.
The professor believes that politicians would not have been successful in formulating the collective memory of such a large public without the willing enlistment of the media. Almost all the media focused only on the sense of victimization of the residents of the so-called “Gaza envelope” and the south. They did not provide the broader context of the military operation and almost completely ignored – before and during the fighting – the situation of the residents of besieged Gaza. The human stories from Sderot and the dehumanization of Hamas and the Palestinians provided the motivation for striking at Gaza with full force.
Nets-Zehngut and Bar-Tal find a close connection between the collective memory and the memory of “past persecutions of Jews” (“the whole world is against us,” and the Holocaust). The more significant the memory of persecution, the stronger the tendency to adopt Zionist narratives. From this we can understand the finding that adults, the religious public and those with more right-wing political views tend to adopt the Zionist version of the conflict, while young people, the secular public and those with left-wing views tend more to adopt critical narratives.
The atmosphere in the street and in the media during the weeks of the Gaza war seems to have confirmed the central finding of the study: “The ethos of the conflict is deeply implanted in Jewish society in Israel. It is a strongly rooted ideology that justifies the goals of the Jews, adopts their version, presents them in a very positive light and rejects the legitimacy of the Arabs, and primarily of the Palestinians,” notes Bar-Tal.
For example, when asked the question, “What were the reasons for the failure of the negotiations between [Ehud] Barak and [Yasser] Arafat in summer 2000?” 55.6 percent of the respondents selected the following answer: “Barak offered Arafat a very generous peace agreement, but Arafat declined mainly because he did not want peace.” Another 25.4 percent believed that both parties were responsible for the failure, and about 3 percent replied that Arafat did want peace, but Barak was not forthcoming enough in meeting the needs of the Palestinians. (Sixteen percent replied that they didn’t know the answer.)
Over 45 percent of Israeli Jews have imprinted on their memories the version that the second intifada broke out only, or principally, because Arafat planned the conflict in advance. Only 15 percent of them believe the viewpoint presented by three heads of the Shin Bet security services: that the intifada was mainly the eruption of a popular protest. Over half those polled hold the Palestinians responsible for the failure of the Oslo process, 6 percent hold Israel responsible, and 28.4 percent said both sides were equally responsible.
Among the same Jewish public, 40 percent are unaware that at the end of the 19th century, the Arabs were an absolute majority among the inhabitants of the Land of Israel. Over half of respondents replied that in the United Nations partition plan, which was rejected by the Arabs, the Arabs received an equal or larger part of the territory of the Land of Israel, relative to their numbers; 26.6 percent did not know that the plan offered the 1.3 million Arabs a smaller part of the territory (44 percent) than was offered to 600,000 Jews (55 percent).
Bar-Tal claims that this distortion of memory is no coincidence. He says that the details of the plan do not appear in any textbook, and this is a deliberate omission. “Knowledge of how the land was divided could arouse questions regarding the reason why the Arabs rejected the plan and make it possible to question the simplistic version: We accepted the partition plan, they didn’t.”
However, his study shows that a larger percentage of the Jewish population in Israel believes that in 1948, the refugees were expelled (47.2 percent of respondents), than those who still retain the old Zionist version (40.8 percent), according to which the refugees left on their own initiative. On this point, not only do almost all the history books provide up-to-date information, but some local school textbooks do as well. Even on the television program “Tekuma” (“Rebirth,” a 1998 documentary series about Israel’s first 50 years), the expulsion of the Arabs was mentioned.
Nets-Zehngut also finds a degree of self-criticism in the answers relating to the question of overall responsibility for the conflict. Of those surveyed, 46 percent think that the responsibility is more or less evenly divided between Jews and Arabs, 4.3 percent think that the Jews are mainly to blame, and 43 percent think that the Arabs and the Palestinians are mainly to blame for the outbreak and continuation of the conflict. It turns out, therefore, that when the country’s education system and media are willing to deal with distorted narratives, even a collective memory that has been etched into people’s minds for years can be changed.
Bar-Tal says he takes no comfort in the knowledge that Palestinian collective memory suffers from similar ills, and that it is also in need of a profound change – a change that would help future generations on both sides to regard one another in a more balanced, and mainly a more humane manner. This process took many decades for the French and the Germans, and for the Protestants and the Catholics in Northern Ireland. When will it finally begin here, too?
January 30th, 2009
In addition to Physicians for Human Rights, who have long called for dropping Appendix M in the Army Field Manual, [that's the appendix that allows isolation, sleep deprivation, and sensory deprivation], the Center for Constitutional Rights has now taken up the issue. They sent an email around today called on people to sign a petition calling on Obama to remove Appendix M.
Close Torture Loopholes in the Army Field Manual
President Obama’s three executive orders of January 22, 2009 call for the closing of Guantanamo within one year, the closing of secret CIA ‘black sites,’ and the limiting of interrogation techniques to those allowed in the Army Field Manual (AFM), eliminating the numerous executive orders and opinions issued during the Bush administration that granted official approval for torture, cruel and inhuman treatment, and abuse. These executive orders certainly represent an extraordinary step forward, but we remain concerned about potentially exploitable loopholes. Please take a moment to ask him to close the loopholes.
While the current Army Field Manual does not allow waterboarding, it does include approved techniques that constitute torture. One glaring problem with the executive order on torture is the implicit approval of the current AFM as it stands. The Army Field Manual is a guidebook for U.S. interrogators, meant to set a standard in accordance with the law. However, it has serious shortcomings – particularly following a Bush-era 2006 revision that attempted to legitimize some of the abuses taking place at Guantanamo and elsewhere.
Please join us in urging President Obama to clarify that his executive order truly means an end to U.S. torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
Appendix M of the Army Field Manual – a new section introduced in 2006, applicable only to “unlawful combatants,” the category applied to detainees in Guantanamo, at secret CIA prisons, and elsewhere – allows the use of techniques such as prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and inducing fear and humiliation of prisoners. These techniques, especially when used in combination as permitted by the AFM, constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and in some cases, torture. These techniques have caused documented, long-lasting psychological and physical harm and were condemned by a bipartisan congressional report released last month, as well as by the Bush-appointed head of the military commissions at Guantanamo.
Much like John Yoo’s infamous “torture memos” at the Office of Legal Counsel attempted to provide a legal cover for the authorization of torture by high-ranking Bush administration officials, the addition of Appendix M attempts to provide the same cover, utilizing the Army Field Manual. President Obama’s executive order repudiates Yoo’s memos – but it is not sufficient to do so without also repudiating this appendix, drafted in light of those memos.
The rewritten 2006 AFM also included other problematic changes – allowing U.S. interrogators to pretend to be from another country, or to pretend the prisoner is located in another country (including countries known for torture and abuse), and allowing interrogators to use “Fear Up,” a procedure designed to psychologically exploit prisoners’ existing fears – and supplemented to allow interrogators to induce “new fears” in prisoners.
President Obama’s executive order created a task force that has six months to examine whether to create “additional or different guidance” for agencies such as the CIA, outside the U.S. military – a potential escape hatch for a return to CIA “enhanced interrogations” and torture.
Please join us today to ask President Obama to reaffirm that his executive order will not provide a loophole for the CIA to return to torture and illegality, and to ensure that Army Field Manual lives up to the standards it is expected to set by revoking Appendix M and other sections of the AFM that could allow torture, abuse, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to continue. It is important that this review be conducted transparently, and with the open consultation of human rights groups. For too long, secrecy has ruled the day and protected torture and abuse.
Join us also in encouraging the Obama administration to fully investigate and prosecute those officials responsible for war crimes, torture and other violations of U.S. law. No future administration should take us back to these dark times. There needs to be individual accountability for the torture program, and other crimes committed. Prosecution is the only way to deter future lawbreakers.
We believe that President Obama wants to end torture through this executive order. Please join us today to help ensure that those goals are fully met.
Please go sign the letter now.
January 30th, 2009
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows the extent to which the torture issue divides Republicans from the rest of the public:
Overall, 58 percent support the prohibition Obama declared before taking office, but there’s a wide gap across party lines: 71 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents in the poll said torture should never be used, but most Republicans, 55 percent, said there are cases in which the U.S. should consider using torture against terrorism suspects.
There are also clear partisan differ5ences in whether investigations should be launched into Bush administration torture. with a majority [or it a plurality at 50%?] of the public now in favor of investigation:
There’s also a large political divide about whether the new administration should look into any illegality on the part of the previous one in terms of its handling of those suspected of terrorist activities, as 69 percent of Democrats said they’d like to see such investigations while 69 percent of Republicans said no. Independents divide 53 to 45 percent against investigations.
Put together, all Americans break 50 percent in favor of investigations, 47 percent opposed.
A commentatator provides interesting context for interpreting these results:
Put together, all Americans break 50 percent in favor of investigations, 47 percent opposed.
That’s pretty impressive considering most of our beltway columnists have been arguing against prosecutions and our TV media personalities have mostly ignored the issue or have argued against them.
I’d say there is a large disconnect between our citizens and most of our media personalities.
There is also another interesting comment from someone with counterintelligence experience:
Does anyone know if this claim about “one guy” is true? It would be very enlightening to find out.
January 30th, 2009
Yesterday, the inamous torture defender John Yoo wrote and Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he reiterates his most ridiculous claims.He makes the patently false claim, for example, that
Eliminating the Bush system [of "coercive interrogations"] will mean that we will get no more information from captured al Qaeda terrorists.
Of course, virtually anyone with experience with interrogation could have told him otherwise. But Yoo has never been concerned with facts. Facts are inconvenient little things to be dismissed for the greater good of th imperial presidency.
Scott Horton has an interesting hypothesis why Yoo is persisting with his indefensible claims: avoiding a war crimes prosecution:
Yoo for the Defense
By Scott Horton
John Yoo is at it again. In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, the indefatigable advocate of crushing the testicles of small children to extract actionable intelligence launches a full frontal attack on President Obama. What’s Obama’s offense? He banned torture. Of course, every U.S. president has banned torture, with one solitary exception: George W. Bush, acting on the advice of John Yoo. Obama, Yoo says, has put the safety of Americans on the line: his torture ban will “seriously handicap our intelligence agencies from preventing future terrorist attacks.” Never mind, of course, that no evidence has been advanced of a single instance in which the use of torture produced intelligence that prevented a future terrorist technique, while detailed and specific evidence has now been put forward that torture produced bad intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. Those are irritating details that detract from a nice narrative.
So what’s all this about? Is Yoo suffering from withdrawal pangs coming off an addiction to torture? Or is he a “sadist” as MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann argues? I’ve followed John Yoo and his writings with some care for a while now, and I think I finally understand what this is about. Namely, a pending probe by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is looking at serious ethical issues surrounding the issuance of Yoo’s legal opinions.
But the OPR probe is far from Yoo’s only or even most pressing worry. The likelihood that he will face a criminal probe and then possibly prosecution is growing. Susan J. Crawford, the Cheney protege tapped as the senior Bush Administration official to oversee the Guantánamo military commissions, publicly admitted in an interview with Bob Woodward, that at least one of the detainees had been tortured through the application of an interrogation regime that had been approved by the White House. In their exit interviews, both President Bush and Vice President Cheney were emphatic that in authorizing torture, they relied on the advice of their lawyers, meaning John Yoo. But in the ultimate act of ingratitude, Bush left office without issuing the anticipated blanket pardons to his torture team. NATO allies and United Nations officials are reminding the new Obama Administration that it has a solemn obligation under article 4 of the Convention Against Torture to begin a criminal investigation into how the United States came to use torture as a matter of official policy. And public opinion has changed, with a clear majority of Americans now favoring a probe into the Bush Administration’s use of torture techniques.
Yoo cannot be oblivious to all of this. And indeed, his column in the Wall Street Journal and his presentations elsewhere tell us exactly what the defense will be. At its core is the argument that, no matter how mistaken, John Yoo acted in good faith when he issued the torture memoranda. He truly, sincerely believes the analysis of law that is presented in those memos. That’s why from April 2004 forward, Yoo has been unwavering in his adherence to the views put forth in those memos.
It’s very difficult to penetrate Yoo’s claims as to his subjective understandings—one fact that makes the good-faith belief defense so attractive. But we see in his current column and other recent statements tale-tell signs that suggest this defense is dishonest. The bottom line is this: how could someone who earned a law degree from Yale and became a tenured member of the law faculty at Berkeley, one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools, appear to be so incredibly ignorant?
Immediately after reading Yoo’s memos it struck me that they were the product of reverse-engineering. The way they drifted through issues, the bizarre choice of precedent, the curious misreading of the Constitution in which the clause granting to Congress the authority to address questions surrounding detainees simply disappears–and the equally tendentious and absurd readings of international conventions and precedents–could be explained if you imagined that Yoo had been approached and told to craft a memorandum that legalized practices already in place.
If that were the case, those asking for the memo were looking for a get-out-of-jail-free pass from the Department of Justice, and Yoo’s memos were supposed to provide it. Viewed in this light, what Yoo crafted makes perfect sense; otherwise they strike me as impossible to explain. Best to just stumble through the available legal authorities and simply miss most of them, and misunderstand most of what was left. Of course this means his memos were cover-your-ass specials, and as such they are probably not effective to provide the sort of legal shield that those who sought them expected. More menacingly for Yoo, a future prosecutor might very well take the view that if Yoo did craft the memos for the explicit purpose of covering the torture project with impunity and pushing it forward by overriding the judgment of serious lawyers at the Pentagon and CIA, then Yoo made himself a part of the torture conspiracy; that he was an accessory after the fact goes without saying.
But look closely at the latest Yoo column. We see that he tenaciously defends and repeats arguments presented in his memo that even the Bush Justice Department agreed were ludicrous. He alludes to techniques used by our allies the United Kingdom and Israel which he claims now Obama rejects. What on earth is this about? If we recall his memo, one of its more bizarre passages involves a European human rights court decision in which five specific techniques used by the U.K. on suspected Irish terrorists during the “troubles” are classified as “cruel, inhuman and degrading” rather than torture. Thus, Yoo argues, these techniques have passed international muster and are fine. That’s the sort of answer which would get a law student a failing grade. The European human rights court subsequently came to a totally different view, denouncing all these techniques and the United Kingdom discontinued their use, agreeing that they were unlawful. So much for the British techniques that Yoo would have the U.S. embrace—Britain agrees that they were counterproductive and in fact that their use produced bad intelligence and resulted in wrongful convictions of several Irish suspects that had to be overturned. Of course, Yoo doesn’t bother his reader with any of these trivial details. To the contrary, here’s how he characterized a jurisprudence that conclusively outlawed the “five techniques:”
International decisions can prove of some value in assessing what conduct might rise to the level of severe mental pain or suffering. Although decisions by foreign or international bodies are in no way binding authority upon the United States, they provide guidance about how other nations will likely react to our interpretation of the CAT and Section 2340. As this Part will discuss, other Western nations have generally used a high standard in determining whether interrogation techniques violate the international prohibition on torture. In fact, these decisions have found various aggressive interrogation methods to, at worst, constitute cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, but not torture. These decisions only reinforce our view that there is a clear distinction between the two standards and that only extreme conduct, resulting in pain that is of an intensity often accompanying serious physical injury, will violate the latter.
Got that? In other words, we’ll cherry-pick the international authorities and misrepresent what they say in order to justify our view that these abusive techniques are just fine. Yoo plays the same game of legal three-card monte with his description of Israeli techniques. He mischaracterizes the 1999 Israeli Supreme Court decision, for instance. The Israeli Court in fact banned many of the same techniques in just the same way, but from reading Yoo you’d think it was a green light for the torture and abuse of prisoners.
Considering that Yoo has been excoriated by his academic colleagues for the sloppiness of his reasoning and for his mischaracterization of the authorities he cites, why does he persist? The only explanation I can put forth is that he needs to preserve his good-faith defense–that he may be wrong, but his error is held in good faith.
As Major Matthew Alexander points out, more than three thousand Americans died and tens of thousands of others were maimed or wounded as a result of the Bush Administration’s decision to introduce torture. Like no other misstep, it fueled the insurgency in Iraq and recruited thousands to its cause. Does John Yoo recognize that he has blood on his hands? Certainly not. Maybe he sleeps as comfortably as George W. Bush. Or maybe his consuming interest right now is in protecting himself from prison time. And he’ll have to do a much more convincing job if he wants to succeed at that.
January 30th, 2009
IPS‘ William Fisher reports on the building opposition to the abuses permitted by the military’s Army Field Manual, which last week, by Executive Order, became the standard for interrogating all detainees in US custody. While the AFM represents progress, we simply cannot allow abuse to sneak in via the back door.
Close Torture Loopholes, Physicians’ Group Urges
By William Fisher
NEW YORK, Jan 29 (IPS) – While applauding President Barack Obama’s recent executive orders banning torture and other harsh interrogation practices, medical authorities are calling attention to a little-reported section of the Army’s Field Manual on Interrogation that they say still allows the use of tactics that can constitute torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under U.S. and international law.
The suspect section of the Manual is known as Annex M, which allows the use of sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and isolation, termed “separation” in the Manual. Obama’s executive orders directed all government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), to follow the manual for interrogations.
But Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a Nobel laureate not-for-profit organisation, is calling on the task force appointed by the president to review U.S. interrogation and transfer policies to revoke the Appendix and consult with human rights organisations as part of the review process.
John Bradshaw, director of PHR’s office in Washington, told IPS, “The technique of separation allowed by Appendix M sounds innocuous, but in reality it allows the use of sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and isolation.”
“Particularly when used in combination, these techniques amount to psychological torture. The Obama administration must close this loophole in the Army Field Manual by eliminating Appendix M, which leaves the door open to torture,” he said.
Legal experts agree. Marjorie Cohn, president of the National Lawyers Guild, told IPS, “President Obama’s announcement that the United States will not engage in torture is commendable. But cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment also violate U.S. law, as specified by three treaties we have ratified.”
“The new administration should not use the Army Field Manual as the gold standard for interrogations since Appendix M sanctions techniques, including isolation and prolonged sleep deprivation, that amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” she said.
PHR also called on President Obama and Congress to “immediately authorise a non-partisan commission to investigate the authorisation, legal justification, and implementation of the Bush administration’s regime of psychological and physical torture.”
It added that “any accountability mechanism must include a subgroup tasked with investigating the participation of health professionals in detainee abuse.”
PHR also urged Obama to end the use of Behavioral Science Consultants (BSCs) in interrogations. “The continued use of BSCs violates medical ethics and subverts the traditions of the healing professions. Any procedures currently in place involving health professionals in interrogations which violate medical ethics should be prohibited,” said PHR’S Chief Executive Officer Frank Donaghue.
“The past administration’s weaponisation of the health professions to inflict harm on detainees constitutes a war crime unto itself,” said Donaghue. He added, “Despite all that has been disclosed so far about abuses committed by health professionals, many questions remain, chief among which is whether there will be any accountability for gross violations of medical ethics and the law.”
“The desire to turn the page on the past seven years of detainee abuse and torture by U.S. forces is understandable,” Donaghue said. But he noted that “President Obama, Congress and the health professions will not have fulfilled their obligation to the Constitution and medical ethics if we settle only for reform without accountability.”
Other health professionals are taking similar positions. One of the most outspoken, psychologist Dr. Jeffrey Kaye, points out that the AFM’s Appendix M “continues to allow use of isolation (called ‘separation’) on so-called ‘unlawful enemy combatants’.”
He told IPS, “After the Abu Ghraib scandal exploded, the U.S. government wanted to hide or forbid all types of treatment that became notorious due to press exposure, including the revelations around waterboarding. They pared down their torture programme to the model laid down by the CIA’s Kubark manual of the early 1960s.”
“They twisted the meaning of the Geneva Conventions at their will, in order to implement this programme of coercive interrogation, using the Army Field Manual and Appendix M as their primary device,” Kaye said.
He added, “This programme relies on the production of psychological regression by using a combination of solitary confinement, fatigue, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and feelings of fear to produce dependency upon the interrogator. These techniques, allowed by the Army Field Manual, and implemented with the assistance of doctors and behavioral health specialists, like psychologists, are totally antithetical to existing law, and amount to torture and/or cruel, inhumane treatment of prisoners.”
Kaye contends that, “In many senses, isolation is the essence of U.S. detainee abuse. All else follows. Isolation can cause serious mental deterioration in many individuals.”
He adds that “This deterioration can occur within days, well under the 30-day initial period allowed by Appendix M. This 30 days can be followed by additional periods, if the proper approval is obtained.”
While ostensibly banning it, the AFM also allows sensory deprivation, he says. “As a last resort, when physical separation of detainees is not feasible, goggles or blindfolds and earmuffs may be utilised as a field expedient method to generate a perception of separation.”
In the Bush administration’s only admission that it inflicted torture on a prisoner, a senior Pentagon official recently disclosed to the Washington Post that a combination of permissible techniques used on a Guantanamo detainee, plus the intensity and duration of these techniques, seriously endangered the health of a prisoner and constituted torture. She declined to refer him to Guantanamo Military Commission authorities for trial.
During the Bush administration, a number of leading medical organisations called on the president to end the participation of health care professionals in detainee interrogations. The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted a resolution opposing “participation by physicians in the torture or inhuman treatment or punishment of individuals in relation to detention and imprisonment.”
Similar positions have been adopted by other organisations, including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Nurses Association.
However, there is ample evidence that some military medical personnel have participated in torture and abuse of detainees. Reports indicate, for example, that so-called Behavioral Science Consultation Teams – known as “biscuit” teams – included medical personnel who were aware of prisoner abuse but failed to report or properly document it; that interrogators were given access to detainees’ confidential medical records; that health professionals participated directly in the development and implementation of abusive interrogation plans; and that doctors, other medical personnel, and “biscuit” teams of psychiatrists and psychologists may have facilitated abuse by giving interrogators information about detainees’ mental health and vulnerabilities.
The International Committee of the Red Cross described what it observed at the U.S. military detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in June 2004 as a “flagrant violation of medical ethics”.
January 30th, 2009
Last Sunday 60 Minutes broadcast that rare story, one that pointed out the reality of Israeli colonization of the West bank, in order to destroy any possibility of a Palestinian state. 60 Minutes has been besieged by attacks from Israeli propagandists since the show aired:
In this report the modern world can get a glimpse of the viciousness that underlies colonialism and its close ties with racism and fascism.
Go here and thank 60 Minutes for airing this important story.
January 29th, 2009
The Moderate Voice has a very interesting interview with Almerindo Ojeda, who created and maintains the Guantanamo Testimonials Project at UC Davis. [Note the list of other interesting interviews at the end]:
Interview with Almerindo Ojeda
Posted By The Talking Dog
On this day in which my college classmate (and coincidentally, the President) Barack Obama signed  a number of significant executive orders altering his predecessor’s policies with respect to detentions and interrogations in the so-called “war on terror,” I am pleased to be able to bring you another in my series of interviews with those knowledgable in this area, today, with Professor Almerindo Ojeda of the University of California at Davis, director of The Guantanamo Testimonials Project, which has amassed hundreds of statements from those knowledgable about matters Guantanamo. The interview, which is  cross-posted at the talking dog blog, is below, and continues in its entirety after the jump.
Dr.  Almerindo Ojeda is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Davis, and the Director of that university’s Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas and in particular, the  Guantanamo Testimonials Project, which has compiled hundreds of statements of various kinds from those involved with or affected by Guantanamo Bay, including detainees, soldiers, attorneys and others; a number of those statements are interviews from this blog. On January 22, 2009, I had the privilege of interviewing Professor Ojeda by e-mail exchange.
The Talking Dog: The first question (to which my own answer is “across the street from the WTC”… and still the same answer on weekdays when I go to work in downtown Manhattan) is… Where were you on 11 September 2001?
Almerindo Ojeda: I was walking towards the Peet’s Coffee in my
hometown of Davis, California. I walk there almost every morning (two
miles each direction) to think things over, plan the day, do a little exercise and, of course, have my morning espresso. As soon as I arrived to Peet’s that day, I found my wife. She had driven to Peet’s and proceded to give me the shocking news. By then, both towers had been hit. We jumped into the car and drove back home. No morning espresso that day…
The Talking Dog: As a professional in linguistics, what was
your source of interest in the area of human rights in the Americas? What was your interest in focusing on Guantanamo in particular?
Almerindo Ojeda: None as a linguist. But I am a human being
before I am a linguist. To answer your question, I got interested in doing something about human rights as soon as the worthiness of torture began to be debated in polite company in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. I had some experience, to be sure, with human rights violations. Even if only indirect ones. I was born and raised in Peru, which had its own human rights nightmare in the 1980s and 1990s. At this time, a brutal insurgency movement (the Shining Path) provoked the Peruvian Armed Forces into a savage response. After the insurgency was quelched, an old Philosophy professor of mine got appointed to head the truth commission charged with investigating the human rights violations of those decades. That appointment was profoundly inspiring for me. I also lived through the Central American wars of the 1980s. During these wars, a good friend of mine was murdered in Salvador. His name was  Ignacio Martín Baró. He was one of the six Jesuits whose murder led to the end of the conflict. That too, left a mark. Having said that, I must admit that giving testimony is a verbal act–so testimonies are familiar territory for a linguist. I must also admit that I am enjoying the linguistic specimens of Guantanamo propaganda I am collecting. Take for example the noun ‘detainee,’ which suggests a minor inconvenience, like being detained in traffic. Or the verb ‘captured.’ It describes what happens to fugitives, possibly of justice, and hence to criminals. Or the locution ‘total voluntary fasting’. It’s Guantanamese for ‘hunger strike’. It places the discussion in a religious (if not fundamentalist) context. Or ‘reservation,’ which is Guantanamese for ‘interrogation.’ It makes it sound like you are about to go to a restaurant. The list is endless. DoD manuals instruct Guantanamo personnel to refer to suicides as ’self-harm’ incidents–an understatement that places suicides in the same category as biting your nails or slapping your forehead.
Interestingly, language is not entirely pliable, and sometimes fights back. Guantanamo personnel speak of ‘going to reservation,’ a phrase which we would never use for making good on a reservation made at a restaurant (and betrays the attempt to veil the reference to interrogations, which are something one would ‘go to’).
The Talking Dog: Part of my own thinking in doing my interviews (albeit as they evolved… the original thought was to try to increase traffic to and interest in my blog… and because I was very interested in Padilla’s case) is to provide a timely, if not “real-time,” historical record from the standpoint of first-person accounts of what I hope we will all consider a rather troubling part of our history that we will rightly be ashamed of, using the new media of
internet publication and somewhat older media (I often interview subjects by telephone and take notes long hand) to come up with an epistelary product. That said… as the Testimonials Project seems to be on that track (albeit doing a much more thorough job!) can you describe the philosphical underpinnings of the  Guantanamo Testimonials Project?
Almerindo Ojeda: The immediate goals of the Guantanamo
Testimonials Project are to gather testimonies of prisoner abuse at
Guantanamo, to organize them in meaningful ways, to make them widely
available online, and to preserve them there in perpetuity. At a more
fundamental level, its goal is to shed light on human nature by plumbing the depths of human cruelty and triangulating the heights of the human spirit. And to begin the process of reconciliation with the rest of the world by the simple act of paying attention to what a victim–even an alleged one–has to say. At an epistemological level, the Guantanamo Testimonial Project renders a credible picture of the Guantanamo interrogation camp. This credibility emerges from
the volume, detail, independence, and consistency of the testimonies it comprises, as it contains hundreds of testimonies from the prisoners and their lawyers; from a chaplain and a translator; from a marine and several guards; from physicians and psychologists; from prosecutors and other tribunal officials; from interrogators and their logs; from the FBI and the Red Cross; from foreign officials and intelligence services; from the Departments of Justice and Defense; from manuals of Standard Operating Procedures and even from a CIA mole.
The Talking Dog: How big an endeavor is the Guantanamo
Testimonials Project, in terms of staff, in terms of internet traffic, or whatever other criteria you find relevant? Do you find that (particularly the traffic part and general public interest) to be gratifying… or disappointing?
Almerindo Ojeda: Financially, the Guantanamo Testimonials Project runs on empty. Yet, it is richly endowed by the dedication of a small number of volunteers (our valued Research Affiliates) and by the awesome possibilities of computer technology. Immense thanks are also due to the widening circle of protagonists of the Guantanamo drama, be they prisoners, lawyers, guards, government officials, journalists, or fellow human rights workers, who have contributed to the project by providing testimony, sometimes embarrasing to themselves, and sometimes even in detriment to themselves. Currently, our website gets over 2000 visits a month from over 80 countries. The bulk of them come from the United States, Western Europe, Canada, and Australia. I think this is amazing. But I am sure we can get much better exposure. If there are
public relations specialists willing to add their expertise to our pool of volunteers, we would love to hear from them…
The Talking Dog: Following up on that– and noting that a disproportionate source of testimonials, especially in the defense lawyer category, come from me, a singleton blogger not purporting to have journalism credentials, doing this entirely as a hobby– can you tell me your view of overall media coverage of Guantanamo and war on terror issues, from the standpoints of local, national – USA and international… and would you describe it as “adequate”, “inadequate,” informative, misleading… something else?
Almerindo Ojeda: This is interesting. On the one hand there is the investigative reporting like that of  Jane Mayer, who has done more than most to make sense of the dark side we have embraced since 9/11. Then there has been the media that has been on the Guantanamo beat. The best of them made their best to be honest witnesses (by traveling to
Guantanamo to visit the facilities and cover the public portions of the trials) and to provide context to the story of the day. Where I think they missed out was in seeking out witnesses, be they prisoners or their captors, that would tell a more personal story. The kind that human rights organizations focus on. Although much can be gleaned from what the figures of authority, military or civilian, have to say, much is lost as well, particularly in how policy translates into fact.
Notable exceptions are  Andy Worthington’s  Guantanamo Files, Amy
Goodman’s  Democracy Now!, the British  Guardian and the  Independent, and
the massive but belated  McClatchy interviews. Bloggers like  The Talking Dog and Candace Gorman’s  Guantanamo Blog played a major role too in getting more of the “ordinary” voices out.
The Talking Dog: You and the Guantanamo Testimonials
Project recently brought to light  information concerning the specific role of health care providers vis a vis aiding interrogations (part of the violations of both the ethics of their professions and the laws of war, in part discussed in my  interview with Dr. Steven Miles). Can you describe your findings, how you came to that conclusion, and if the government has responded in any way?
Almerindo Ojeda: The piece you are referring to provided evidence that, contrary to statements by the Department of Defense, interrogations at Guantanamo did affect the medical treatment of the prisoners. The evidence I provided came from military medical records that indicated that interrogators intervened in the medication and the recreation regime of Mr. Salim Hamdan (ISN 149). I also found a passage in the  Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures which said that the officer in charge of the interrogation section of Guantanamo could prevent, in conjunction with the Secretary of Defense, the administration of medical attention to prisoners in isolation. There are of course, many testimonies from prisoners and their lawyers that this kind of interference of interrogators in medical attention. But I decided to focus on information from military sources proper. The Department of Defense did not respond to this in any way. Things were a bit different on a more recent occasion, though. In May of last year we organized  an event in which Amy Goodman interviewed, via videoconference, three former Guantanamo prisoners from Sudan. In that interview, Mr. Salim Mahmoud Adem (ISN 710) claimed that fellow prisoners were drugged for interrogation purposes:
SALIM MAHMOUD ADEM: But I saw my neighbor, who was from Uzbekistan, they would inject into him, and he would sleep for three or four days on the metal in the cell, and then after that he became addicted. His
name is Abu Bak [phonetic spelling]. And then Abdurahman from
Afghanistan and Sultan al-Joufi from Saudi Arabia, and Yaghoub
[phonetic] and Koleidad [phonetic] from Kazakhstan, Koleidad [phonetic]
from Afghanistan, and others from Pakistan, and Dr. Eymen [phonetic]
from Yemen who was a surgeon…
AMY GOODMAN: What about all of them?
SMA: All of them became addicted to the injections. Yaghoub, from
Kazakhstan, left Guantanamo, and he became insane.
AG: Where were they injected?
SMA: In their arms or thighs, most in their arms. Once he was injected, he would sleep for days. He would eat and then sleep. He would eat and sleep. This injection might be monthly or semi-monthly. What I saw, one who left before me – Guantanamo before me – was in the chamber who became completely insane, and despite that they would punish him harshly. And because of all of this, we all became afraid of dealing with psychologists. Recently, when I was transferred to the sixth prison [Camp 6?], isolation, it was very cold and [there] were bright lights. We were cut off from the world, a great wall like the Wall of China, and we could not see the sun. Even if they took us to walk out, this room that we are in right now is much bigger than it. Two could barely walk in it.
The office of the Inspector General of the Department of Defense got wind of that interview and contacted us to see if we had any further information on the matter. I believe we do: Abu Bak from Uzbekistan is probably Abu Bakir Jamaludinovich (ISN 452), and Yaghoub from Kazakistan is probably Yakub Abahanov (ISN 526).
The Talking Dog: You also uncovered  underreporting of the number of juveniles held at Guantanamo. Again, can you describe your findings, how you came to that conclusion and how the government has responded (my understanding is that you actually forced them to do a “re-count”?) Have you come across any other “scoops” in the course of the project that you’d like to discuss?
Almerindo Ojeda: Our findings there were that the State Department underreported to the United Nations the number of children seized and sent to Guantanamo. The number they reported was 8. Yet, according to their own data, the actual number is 12–an undercount of 50%. The way I arrived at this conclusion was simply to look at the in-processing dates and the birthdates of all the Guantanamo prisoners (as released by the Department of Defense) and do the math. I reported these findings to the Associated Press, who asked the Pentagon for a response. They said, for the first time publicly, that they had already sent their revised figures to the United Nations. The Associated Press
asked when they had done this. They responded “it was hard to say. . .”
The Talking Dog: Which category of the testimonials do you personally find the most compelling? Are there any particular testimonials that you find the most compelling, and why?
Almerindo Ojeda: This is a really hard question. Every testimony is compelling for the witness that gives it. From the outside, I guess that the most compelling ones are the ones given by those that have nothing to gain from giving it–the testimonies of the captors, who speak out at considerable risk to themselves and their careers. But then there are the heart-wrenching testimonies of the victims, whose first person, detailed and dignified narratives
The Talking Dog: Where do you see the Guantanamo situation
going now that we have inaugurated as President (my college classmate) Barack Obama? Do you see any possibility the framers of the prior policies might be brought to account for their actions?
Almerindo Ojeda: President Obama issued four amazing executive orders just today regarding our responses to the war on terror. Much to celebrate about that, especially (1) the recognition of Common Article Three of
the Geneva Conventions as a minimum baseline standard of treatment (2)
 subordination of all interrogation practices to those authorized by the
Army Field Manual, (3) the  elimination of extraordinary rendition (or
torture by proxy), (4) the  closure of all CIA-run black sites, (5) the
universal access to detainees by the International Committee of the Red
Cross, (6) the suspension of the discredited trials by military commission and, last but not least, (7) the closure of Guantanamo in a year or less.
My only concern with these orders are that they leave open what to do with the Guantanamo prisoners (of which there now are, if we believe official documents, exactly 242). Here I believe there are only two possibilities: charge or release. Those charged should be prosecuted in regular federal courts or regular military courts, and under exactly the same procedures as anyone else, including the inadmissilbility of tortured confessions. Those released should be returned to their native countries if there is no risk that they will be abused there. If so, we should ask (not demand) allied nations take some. The rest, we should grant asylum to until the conditions in their countries allow for their
safe return. September 11 changed many things, but not the Constitution. Love this country? Live up to it.
As to the Guantanamo Testimonials Project, its goals will not be met once Guantanamo is closed for good. The goals of the project will be met only when all the abuse that took place there has been entered. In a way, the closure of Guantanamo may initiate a period of growth for the project, as it should creat ean environment in which more people will come forth with critical testimony. I am looking forward, for example, to visual testimony of abuse. Every IRFing, for example, was taped. The ACLU is trying to get those tapes. Without much luck. I would also like to take a look at medical records. Or interview psychologists, interrogators, and guards. Not to mention all the newly released prisoners.
I think it is unlikely that the architects of the policies and practices of detention develped in the wake of the war on terror will be tried. At least in the immediate future. I find it much more likely that the Obama administration would launch a commission of inquiry that will gather evidence of abuse committed in the name of our security. Having history record the crimes these individuals may have committed is already a form of accountability. And may lead the way to others. The  Guantanamo Testimonials Project may both make a contribution to–and benefit from– any such commissions of inquiry.
The Talking Dog: How do you anticipate the contents of the Guantanamo Testimonials Project will be viewed by Americans of the future in, say, 10 years, 20 years, 50 years, 100 years… or any other framework you prefer? Answer in any context– a useful tool to see the moment, will people cringe at our willingness as a society to embrace “the dark side” (as many do over Japanese internment and slavery), or will we look back and decide “we weren’t tough enough”… or is there any other way you’d like to answer.
Almerindo Ojeda: If you look to history to predict the future, respect for human rights will only widen and deepen. Consequently, if only a fraction of the testimonies we have gathered in our project are truthful, the veredict on Guantanamo will only grow harsher with time. This means that our project may become a resource for anyone who wants to delve into the abuses that once took hold at Guantanamo and a cautionary tale for those that might want to revive it.
The Talking Dog: Is there anything else I should have asked
you but didn’t, or anything else that my readers and the public should
know about these critically important issues?
Almerindo Ojeda: I think your readers might be interested in a
book I edited called  The Trauma of Psychological Torture. [I have a chapter in this excellent book, SS] It gathers historians, psychologists, ethicists, physicians, and one linguist (myself) around the topic of psychological torture. In that book I wrote an article called “What is Psychological Torture?” In it I try to lay the conceptual foundations for a legally binding definition of psychological torture. As I see it, the key is to avoid intractable problems like defining mental pain and gauging how much of it is necessary to reach to the level of torture, focusing instead on strictly verifiable practices like isolation, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, nudity, severe humiliation, and so on. Ban them and you have banned psychological torture.
The Talking Dog: I join all my readers in thanking Professor Almerindo for that fascinating interview.
Readers interested in legal issues and related matters associated with the “war on terror” may also find talking dog blog interviews with attorneys  Buz Eisenberg,  Steven Wax,  Wells Dixon,  Rebecca Dick,  Wesley Powell,  Martha Rayner,  Angela Campbell,  Stephen Truitt and Charles Carpenter,  Gaillard Hunt,  Robert Rachlin,  Tina Foster,  Brent Mickum,  Marc Falkoff  H. Candace Gorman,  Eric Freedman,  Michael Ratner,  Thomas Wilner,  Jonathan Hafetz,  Joshua Denbeaux,  Rick Wilson,
 Neal Katyal,  Joshua Colangelo Bryan,  Baher Azmy, and  Joshua Dratel (representing Guantanamo detainees and others held in “the war on terror”), with attorneys  Donna Newman and  Andrew Patel (representing “unlawful combatant” Jose Padilila),  with Dr. David Nicholl, who spearheaded an effort among international physicians protesting force-feeding of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, with physician and bioethicist  Dr. Steven Miles on medical complicity in torture, with law professor and former Clinton Administration Ambassador-at-large for war crimes matters  David Scheffer, with former Guantanamo detainees  Moazzam Begg and  Shafiq Rasul , with former Guantanamo Bay Chaplain  James Yee, with former Guantanamo Army Arabic linguist  Erik Saar, with law professor and former Army J.A.G. officer  Jeffrey Addicott, with law professor and Coast Guard officer  Glenn Sulmasy, with author and geographer  Trevor Paglen and with author and journalist  Stephen Grey on the subject of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, with journalist and author  David Rose on Guantanamo, with journalist  Michael Otterman on the subject of American torture and related issues, with author and historian  Andy Worthington detailing the capture and provenance of all of the Guantanamo detainees, and with  Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch to be of interest.
URLs in this post:
 a number of significant executive orders altering his predecessor’s policies with respect to detentions and interrogations: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/525895.aspx
 cross-posted at the talking dog blog: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001243.html
 Almerindo Ojeda: http://linguistics.ucdavis.edu/People/fzojeda
 Guantanamo Testimonials Project: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/projects/the-guantanamo-testimonials-project/index
 Ignacio Martín Baró: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignacio_Mart%C3%ADn-Bar%C3%B3
 Guantanamo Testimonials Project: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/projects/the-guantanamo-testimonials-project/index
 Jane Mayer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Mayer
 Andy Worthington: http://andyworthington.co.uk/
 Guantanamo Files: http://www.amazon.com/Guantanamo-Files-Stories-Detainees-Americas/dp/0745326641
 Democracy Now!, : http://www.democracynow.org/
 Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/
 Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/
 McClatchy interviews: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/detainees/story/38773.html
 The Talking Dog: http://thetalkingdog.com/
 Guantanamo Blog : http://gtmoblog.blogspot.com/
 information concerning the specific role of health care providers vis a vis aiding interrogations: http://www.opednews.com/populum/diarypage.php?did=7176
 interview with Dr. Steven Miles: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000657.html
 Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures : http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Camp_Delta_Standard_Operating_Procedure
 an event in which Amy Goodman interviewed, via videoconference, three former Guantanamo prisoners from Sudan: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/events/witnessing-guantanamo-amy-goodman-speaks-with-former-detainees
 underreporting of the number of juveniles held at Guantanamo: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/in_the_news/guantanamo-testimonials-project-forces-revised-pentagon-c
 subordination of all interrogation practices : http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/EnsuringLawfulInterrogations/
 elimination of extraordinary rendition : http://news.scotsman.com/latestnews/Obama-outlaws-torture-rendition-.4906302.jp
 closure of all CIA-run black sites: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/22/obama-to-close-cia-black_n_159950.html
 Guantanamo Testimonials Project: http://humanrights.ucdavis.edu/projects/the-guantanamo-testimonials-project/index
 The Trauma of Psychological Torture: http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Psychological-Torture-Disaster-Psychology/dp/0313345147
 Buz Eisenberg: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001204.html
 Steven Wax: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001126.html
 Wells Dixon: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001111.html
 Rebecca Dick: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001104.html
 Wesley Powell: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001059.html
 Martha Rayner: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000955.html
 Angela Campbell: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000940.html
 Stephen Truitt and Charles Carpenter: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000935.html
 Gaillard Hunt: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000868.html
 Robert Rachlin: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000847.html
 Tina Foster: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000844.html
 Brent Mickum: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000836.html
 Marc Falkoff: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000808.html
 H. Candace Gorman: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000758.html
 Eric Freedman: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000694.html
 Michael Ratner: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000626.html
 Thomas Wilner: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000572.html
 Jonathan Hafetz: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000535.html
 Joshua Denbeaux: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000525.html
 Rick Wilson: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000495.html
 Neal Katyal: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000355.html
 Joshua Colangelo Bryan: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000446.html
 Baher Azmy: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000429.html
 Joshua Dratel: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000261.html
 Donna Newman: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000249.html
 Andrew Patel: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000424.html
 with Dr. David Nicholl: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000511.html
 Dr. Steven Miles: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000657.html
 David Scheffer: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000554.html
 Moazzam Begg: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000790.html
 Shafiq Rasul : http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000592.html
 James Yee: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000795.html
 Erik Saar: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000633.html
 Jeffrey Addicott: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000611.html
 Glenn Sulmasy: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000625.html
 Trevor Paglen: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000724.html
 Stephen Grey: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000764.html
 David Rose: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000788.html
 Michael Otterman: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000876.html
 Andy Worthington : http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/000920.html
 Joanne Mariner: http://thetalkingdog.com/archives2/001047.html
January 27th, 2009
The economy really is in bad shape. Starbucks announces it will stop brewing decaf after 12:00 noon, saving $400 million.
I suspect their new line of individually-brewed designer coffees at 50% higher cost aren’t doing so well either.
January 27th, 2009
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