Debra Sweet, Director

Drawing Our Own Conclusions

Experiments in Torture
Jay Bybee
By Debra Sweet

I saw the film Restrepo over the weekend, having read of the film makers' intention to "capture the experience of combat, boredom and fear through the eyes of the soldiers" without making a "political statement." "This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you."

It's a wrenching, real look at what the Army did in the Korengal Valley before they pulled out last year, seen only through the eyes of the platoon sent to open a road to Pakistan.  You don't hear a woman's voice in the 90 minutes.  Women are glimpsed clutching children ony when a US air strike kills civilians, which the Captain explains is a real problem for him not because he cares, but it makes it difficult to win hearts and minds.  In the scene depicted here, the elders complain that a man has "disappeared" to a prison, for no good reason.  The Captain says, "can't you see that I don't f---ing care?"  And so it goes.  50 US troops are killed along with untold numbers of civilians.

 

You could not care anything about humanity and come out of the film thinking this is a good war.  I'm glad I went to see it.  What are your conclusions? This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Psychologists for Social Responsibility Waging the Fight Against Torture

I attended the annual meeting of "Psy S R" this weekend, and learned much about their five year fight to stop the Bush torture regime and psychologists' role in providing legal cover for it. Nathaniel Raymond of Physcians for Human Rights told how in 2006 he connected with dissident members of the American Psychological Association who were uncovering the role of psychologists in Guantanamo, while learning that the leadership of the APA was neck deep with the US military in devising the torture methods.  By 2007 the Psychologists for an Ethical APA caused a rift in the APA itself, learning that the association had changed its code of ethics in 2002 at the behest of the Bush administration in order to participate in CIA interrogations.

Salon.com journalist Mark Benjamin has a series of articles on psychologists' involvement in torture:
"Torture teachers" June 29, 2006
"Psychological warfare" July 26, 2006
"Psychologists group still rocked by torture debate" August 4, 2006

Stephen Soldz, the new president of PsySR, is an author of the new study from PHR, Experiments in Torture, "the first report to reveal evidence indicating that CIA medical personnel allegedly engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation after 9/11, in addition to the previously disclosed crime of torture. In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime-illegal experimentation on prisoners."

Judge Jay Bybee's Troubles Aren't Ours

On Thursday July 15, World Can't Wait, Progressive Democrats of America, and Code Pink activists rallied outside the Ninth Circuit Courthouse in San Francisco to "FIRE, DISBAR AND IMPEACH JUDGE BYBEE." The same day, the House Judiciary Committee released a transcript of its May 26 interview with Judge Bybee over the memos he wrote and signed off on while working in Bush's Office of Legal Counsel.

He testified to Congress that he is "proud of our opinions" at the OLC, and admitted that torture had been conducted without authorization, possibly opening the way for prosecutions if the Obama Department of Justice goes there.

Bybee complained that "I have regrets because of the notoriety that this has brought me...It has imposed enormous pressures on me both professionally and personally. It has had an impact on my family. And I regret that, as a result of my government service, that that kind of attention has been visited on me and on my family."

Glenn Greenwald wrote in Jay Bybee's sociopathic self-absorption,

"Just think about that.  The so-called "government service" Jay Bybee did caused countless detainees to be subjected to systematized, medieval torture techniques designed to permanently break their mind and spirit. 

Innocent men spent years wasting away in a cage, with no due process of any kind, subjected to horrific and life-destroying abuse because of what Bybee authorized.  So frivolous were Bybee's opinions that they were scorned even by subsequent right-wing, Bush appointees such as Jack Goldsmith, and the DOJ's own Office of Professional Responsibility formally renounced and harshly criticized those memos.  For that work, he was rewarded with a life tenured, permanently-well-paying job as a federal appellate judge."

See WarCriminalsWatch.org for a summary.

  • Bybee made clear that OLC never approved a number of interrogation techniques that were reportedly used on CIA detainees, and that the OLC memos did not permit "substantial repetition" of even those techniques that were approved, such as waterboarding. According to other OLC documents, one detainee was waterboarded 183 times by the CIA and another was waterboarded 83 times.
  • Bybee reported that his Deputy John Yoo never informed him of secret White House "war planning" meetings and that, based on what he knows now, he is "worried" that Yoo was too close to the White House.
From WarisACrime.org: It's time to ImpeachBybee.org

More from WarCriminalsWatch.org

The top-secret world the US government created after Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. Read the first part of The Washington Post series.

Secret prisons inside the US, begun under Bush continue under Obama.  New rules are even more restrictive. Read America's Secret Prisons.

World Can't Wait supports and is involved with the Emergency Committee to Stop the Gulf Oil Disaster

We're building a broad, determined, and powerful peoples' response. Its mission: to get out the truth and mobilize mass independent action to stop the oil blowout, clean up the oil and prevent it from hitting shore, protect and treat threatened wildlife, repair all devastation and protect peoples' health and livelihood.

Find out more at stopgulfoildisaster.org
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