Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

February 11, 2009

Obama Administration maintains Bush secrecy policy on US torture

Why Should the U.S. Government's Right to Secrecy Trump the Right of People Not to be Tortured?

US torturers made incisions in his body and poured in hot stinging liquids, broke his bones

By The World Can't Wait

Binyam Mohamed is no longer a non-person, even though he's still in Guantanamo. After being flown around the world by the CIA, and tortured in both Pakistan and Morocco, he's fighting the torture. Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union have direct testimony of torture from the five who were transported in CIA sponsored flights by Jeppesen Datalan, a subsidiary of Boeing, and testimony to show that employees of Jeppesen knew they were planning flights in what has become known infamously as the "Torture Taxi."

Yesterday, the ACLU represented Mohamed and 4 other men who were tortured and "rendered" by the CIA in the US Court of Appeals, 9th District in San Francisco. The Bush administration had gotten a judge to throw out the men's lawsuit against "extraordinary rendition." The ACLU and others hoped that the Obama administration would not stand on "national security" and let the suit go forward.

But no. The New York Times reports today, "the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration." The ACLU provided testimony from Mohamed that, "he was routinely beaten, suffering broken bones and, on occasion, loss of consciousness. His clothes were cut off with a scalpel and the same scalpel was then used to make incisions on his body, including his penis. A hot stinging liquid was then poured into open wounds on his penis where he had been cut. He was frequently threatened with rape, electrocution and death."

The World Can't Wait continues to demand an end to torture carried on directly by the United States or its allies; the overturning of the Military Commissions Act and "enhanced" interrogation whether carried out by U.S. military, CIA, private contractors, or allied governments' the closure of Guantanamo, Bagram and other indefinite detention facilities controlled by the United States. It believes that the rights of the people to be free of government spying supersede the secrecy rights of the government. Read more

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