Tuesday, February 2, 2010

  • "America’s Secret Afghan Prisons": Investigation Unearths New US Torture Site, Abuse Allegations in Afghanistan


    A new investigation by journalist Anand Gopal reveals harrowing details about US secret prisons in Afghanistan, under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Gopal interviewed Afghans who were detained and abused at several disclosed and undisclosed sites at US and Afghan military bases across the country. He also reveals the existence of another secret prison on Bagram Air Base that even the Red Cross does not have access to. It is dubbed the Black Jail and is reportedly run by US Special Forces. [includes rush transcript]

  • Backtracking on Earlier Findings, Justice Dept. Said to Clear Bush Admin Attorneys of Authorizing Torture


    A Spanish court has opened formal criminal investigations into the suspected torture of Guantánamo prisoner Hamed Abderrahman Ahmad. The court described six Bush administration lawyers, including John Yoo, Jay Bybee and Alberto Gonzales, as the "intellectual authors" of the torture to which Ahmad and four other prisoners were subjected. The probe comes as the Justice Department will reportedly clear Yoo and Bybee of professional misconduct for crafting memos that justified waterboarding and other forms of torture. Senior Justice Department official David Margolis reportedly softened an earlier finding that Bybee and Yoo had violated their professional obligations when they wrote a crucial 2002 memo approving so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. [includes rush transcript]

  • Bill Quigley: "Disgraceful" Suspension of Medical Evacuations Captures US Indifference to Magnitude of Haitian Suffering


    The US military has resumed medical evacuation flights of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims to Florida after suspending the flights for five days. The flights were halted in a cost dispute between Florida and the federal government. Just back from Haiti, Bill Quigley of the Center for Constitutional Rights says, "It’s unbelievable that [the US] couldn’t figure out a way to take these most critically ill, but still savable, people in." [includes rush transcript]

  • Torture, Rendition Victim Maher Arar Asks Supreme Court to Allow Suit Against US Gov’t


    Lawyers for the Canadian torture and rendition victim Maher Arar are asking the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling blocking him from suing the US government. In 2002, Arar was seized by US officials at Kennedy Airport in New York and rendered to Syria, where he was tortured, interrogated and detained in a tiny underground cell for nearly a year. Last year a federal appeals court ruled allowing the lawsuit to proceed would "offend the separation of powers and inhibit (US) foreign policy." [includes rush transcript]

  • Despite Non-Proliferation Pledge, Obama Budget Request Seeks Additional $7B for Nuclear Arsenal


    As part of a record $3.8 trillion budget proposal, the Obama administration is asking Congress to increase spending on the US nuclear arsenal by more than $7 billion over the next five years. Obama is seeking the extra money despite a pledge to cut the US arsenal and seek a nuclear weapons-free world. The proposal includes large funding increases for a new plutonium production facility in Los Alamos, New Mexico. We speak with Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch of New Mexico. [includes rush transcript]