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US Torture

US Supreme Court Rules Secret Guantanamo Bay Trials Illegal

The US Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Guantanamo detainee who is fighting to have an open trial. Under the Bush administration, secret military tribunals, which violate the Geneva Contentions, have been used to avoid open court.

BBC News has a good analysis of the differences between military tribunals and open court:
* Convictions in civilian courts must be unanimous, while the military tribunals proposed by Mr Bush would be able to convict by a two-thirds majority

* Different rules of evidence apply, with lower standards for admission in military tribunals

* Defendants are not guaranteed the right to appeal against convictions in military tribunals

* Civilian trials must be open to the public, while military tribunals can be held in secret.

The Rendition Game Has Its Perks

Italy has issued a European Union-wide warrant for the arrest of 22 CIA agents wanted for the kidnapping of Italian citizen Abu Omar, a Muslim cleric (it had, in June, issued an warrant valid only in Italy).

US Plays Coy About Gulags, Shows Contempt for International Law

Europe is currently investigating allegations that the US has a network of secret prisons in Eastern Europe.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not confirm or deny the existance of the prisons, but defended the US practice of locking people up indefinitely in secret prisons that may or may not exist for things they could possibly do in the future.

Republicans Divided Over Secret CIA Prisons, Systematic Torture

US Senate House Leader Bill Frist, currently being investigated for insider trading, has drafted a letter to Republicans on the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence calling for an investigation into how information about the

Cheney, in Opposition to the Senate, Continues to Advocate Torture

At the end of a recent luncheon of Senate Republicans, US vice president Cheney asked that staffers leave the room so he could address the senators in private. Once this was done Cheney gave an impassioned speech opposing an anti-torture amendment that was added to a defence spending bill. The bill, complete with the amendment, was approved by the senate 90-9.

Three Years Late, UN Is Allowed a Limited Inspection of US Gulag

Three years after asking permission to inspect the Guantanamo Bay prison, the UN is finally being allowed, although it will not have access to the prisoners themselves.

The US is likely trying to quell renewed interest in the prison caused by a hunger strike that started in August and is being carried out by 26 prisoners that the US is force-feeding using tubes.

Transcontinental Torture: A First Person Account of Rendition

"Extraordinary rendition" is the primarily US practice of sanitizing torture by flying victims to countries where torture is legal. It has been used by the US to conceal their torture from the world, with cooperation by a number of countries.

CIA, Backed by Whitehouse, Wants to Be Able to Continue Torturing

Torture, it seems, is essential to the CIA. Republican Senator John
McCain wrote an amendment to a $440 billion military spending bill that would
ban "'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment' of any detainee held by the
United States government". The senate approved it, despite the threat of a
presidential veto.