[saymaListserv] fwd: Why the McCain Torture Ban Won't Work

free polazzo freepolazzo at comcast.net
Wed Feb 8 10:39:30 JEST 2006


Dear Friends,

This is not a pleasant topic.    I don't like 
having to raise it with you.   My choice would be 
for this not to be an issue that is so close to 
home.     Yet there is very little discussion in 
the media about this topic and if Friends don't take this up, then who?

We have heard about the conference, organized by 
Friend John Calvi of Vermont, "Quaker Initiative 
to End Torture (QUIT) scheduled to meet in 
Greensboro, NC June  2-4 at Guilford 
College 
http://www.quit-torture-now.org/Pages/QuitWebAbout.html 
.  It appears that it is needed even more than I had previously thought.

There was a much heralded law recently passed by 
the US Congress and signed with much publicity 
which purported to outlaw torture by the American 
government and military.    Senator John McCain's 
leadership was instrumental in getting it 
passed.    Under closer scrutiny, the law as 
passed may have been a hollow victory.

I learned by reading the following article 
by  Tom Englehard (aka Tom Dispatch) how the new 
law may be just be smoke and mirrors which will 
not end the practice of torture by our 
government.   There are too many loopholes and 
not enough accountability for those who order the 
horrific acts "to preserve our freedom".

While our SAYMA Yearly Meeting won't meet in time 
to support QUIT, Memphis Monthly Meeting has a 
minute on the QUIT website that other monthly 
meetings in SAYMA could use to draw up their 
own.    The QUIT website has more minutes, 
too.  See 
http://www.quit-torture-now.org/Pages/QuitWebEndorse.html 
.   Of course, SAYMA representative meeting does 
meet in Birmingham this spring and perhaps 
someone will see way open to present a minute at that meeting.

Blessings,

Free

"No one is free until all are free."

NOTE:  Some of you may be on more than one list 
and I apologize for the multiple mailings one 
day, a tool will be developed to do away with 
"duplicates" that one receives from well meaning e mail senders).


>Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 00:53:53 -0500
>From: "TomDispatch" <tomdispatch at nationinstitute.org>
>To: "free polazzo" <freepolazzo at comcast.net>
>
>
>
>a project of the <http://www.nationinstitute.org/>Nation Institute
>
>To send this to a friend, or to read more 
>dispatches, go to <http://www.tomdispatch.com/>tomdispatch.com
>
>
>Tomdispatch: Alfred McCoy on How Not to Ban Torture in Congress
>
>
>
>Alfred McCoy, an expert on the CIA and its 
>history of torture, has some actual news -- the 
>sort that's been sitting unnoticed right in 
>front of our collective, reportorial eyes. Last 
>year's clash between John McCain and the Bush 
>administration over the senator's successful 
>attempt to attach a ban on torture and other 
>abusive interrogation techniques to the Defense 
>Appropriations Bill was heavily reported. After 
>all, it was a heroic tale of a man -- himself 
>tortured pitilessly earlier in his life -- who 
>held off the powers-that-be, rejected their 
>attempts to amend his ban, and finally triumphed 
>by a handy margin in Congress. The ban, now in 
>place, is the law. End of story. Only one 
>problem, reality turns out to lurk in the fine 
>print -– and the McCain amendment has some 
>striking fine print that mainstream reporters 
>failed to attend to; in fact, McCoy tells us, it 
>has a loophole big enough to absolve torturers 
>of their acts and, in combination with an 
>amendment by Senator ! Lindsey Graham, drive 
>testimony obtained by torture directly into our 
>courts. I would call that news.
>
>While the torture debate is somewhat in abeyance 
>in the United States right now, it continues in 
>Europe. There, a major scandal brews over the 
>ways in which Eastern European countries were 
>used as CIA secret prison sites, European 
>citizens and others were kidnapped from European 
>soil, and CIA "extraordinary rendition" flights 
>used European air space and airports. All this, 
>by the way, seems to have happened with the 
>support of various European intelligence 
>services which, by the evidence, may work as 
>much for the Bush administration as for their own governments.
>
>The Council of Europe has deputized Swiss 
>prosecutor Dick Marty to conduct an extensive 
>investigation of both alleged CIA "black" sites 
>and Agency rendition flights. His preliminary 
>report to the Council on January 22 concluded, 
>albeit tentatively, that six Agency aircraft 
>had, since 2001, made 800 rendition flights -- a 
>level of covert activity far beyond anything 
>reported in the U.S. press. Marty is 
><http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4645730.stm>under 
>significant pressure to get to the bottom of 
>this scandal, which may end up producing more 
>torture headlines on both sides of the Atlantic. 
>Moreover, various American media outlets 
>continue to investigate the torture story, 
>insuring occasional bombshells like ABC TV's 
>sensational November 18 story 
><http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1322866>detailing 
>CIA "waterboarding" techniques and its December 
>5 exposé 
><http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Investigation/story?id=1375123>of 
>the locations of secret CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.
>
>Finally, it's well known that only those in the 
>lowest ranks of the military are being held in 
>any way accountable for torture practices 
>mandated from the top and overseen by top 
>civilian, military, and intelligence officials. 
>Even at the lowest levels, accountability has 
>proved, at best, a moving target, as is clear 
>from the most recent torture case tried in this 
>country. After Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed 
>Mowhoush voluntarily surrendered in November 
>2003, he was tortured with rubber hoses by 
><http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-interrogate24jan24,0,3366865.story?coll=la-home-nation>"Iraqi 
>nationals, reportedly in the employ of the CIA," 
>while Chief Warrant Officer Lewis E. Welshofer 
>Jr., 43, of the U.S. Army looked on. Mowhoush 
>then suffered other mistreatment before he fell 
>into Welshofer's waiting hands. Welshofer has 
>since used the Nuremberg defense -- that he was 
>just following orders in coming up with 
>"creative interrogation techniques"! to make 
>Mowhoush talk –- to explain his subsequent 
>actions. He forced Mowhoush, face-first, into a 
>sleeping bag, wrapped him in electrical wire, 
>and sat on the 57-year old prisoner's chest. 
>After twenty minutes, Mowhoush was dead.
>
>Recently, Welshofer faced American military 
>justice for his crimes. While tried on murder 
>charges, he was convicted only of the lesser 
>counts of negligent homicide and dereliction of 
>duty. These still carried a maximum three-year 
>prison sentence and dismissal from the service 
>(which would have denied him his pension). In 
>the end, however, a military jury sentenced 
>Welshofer to no prison time and only a formal 
>reprimand. He was given 60 days restriction to 
>his home, office, and church; and a forfeiture 
>of $6,000 -- apparently the going rate for an 
>Iraqi life. No one in our self-professed 
>"no-torture" administration thought this worth a comment.
>
>The 
><http://www.americanempireproject.com>American 
>Empire Project series I co-edit has just 
>published McCoy's newest book, 
><http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0805080414/nationbooks08>A 
>Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the 
>Cold War to the War on Terror. I can testify 
>that, while the book's focus is grim indeed -- a 
>half-century-plus history of CIA torture 
>research and how it was applied globally -- it 
>is also, simply put, riveting to read. It offers 
>a window into an almost unknown world that we 
>ignore at our peril. I could not recommend it to 
>all of you more strongly. To get a taste of its 
>early sections, check out McCoy's 
><http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=1795>previous 
>Tomdispatch piece (from which the book 
>developed) or read a 
><http://www.buzzflash.com/reviews/06/01/rev06017.html>Buzzflash 
>review of the book. Tom
>
>
>
>Why the McCain Torture Ban Won't Work
>
>
>
>The Bush Legacy of Legalized Torture
>By Alfred W. McCoy
>
><http://www.nationinstitute.org/tomdispatch/index.mhtml?emx=x&pid=57336>Click 
>here to read more of this dispatch.
>
>
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