Thursday, December 4, 2008

President Elect Obama plans to end questionable policy

PE Obama plans to end the policy of torture that has been going on during the tenure of Pres. Bush. The CIA and some military have been accused of using means of torture to question enemy combatants. PE Obama has been meeting with retired military officiers who are advising him on this and on closing Guantanamo.

These are things he spoke of during the campaign and he plans on keeping his word on these things. Here is a You Tube of some of those officers talking about how they feel about the policies we as a nation have been following.

Excerpt taken from Human Rights First web site.

On July 20, 2005 President Bush issued an executive order governing CIA interrogation techniques that keeps the door open to torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment of detainees in American custody. The order does not clearly and specifically end illegal practices: so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques," which have included water boarding, stress positions, hypothermia, sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation and isolation, and holding prisoners in secret CIA "black sites" in order to keep them outside the reach of the law. The U.S. military is now following a transparent Army Field Manual that prohibits many of the abusive interrogation techniques previously authorized by the administration but, to put an end to abuse, a single standard of conduct for all U.S. interrogations – including interrogations by the CIA and private contractors – regardless of location or who is being interrogated is necessary.

Interrogation Practices and Policies
Relying on information provided by current and former CIA officials and supervisors, in November 2005 ABC News reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito provided descriptions of several techniques used in CIA interrogations:

Water Boarding: The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, cellophane is wrapped over his face and water is poured over him. causing the prisoner to experience a terrifying fear of drowning.
The Cold Cell: The prisoner is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and is repeatedly doused with cold water.
Long Time Standing: The prisoner is forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours, causing both extreme pain and sleep deprivation.
Attention Slap: An open-handed strike aimed at causing pain and triggering fear.
The Belly Slap: A hard open-handed strike to the stomach. The aim is to cause pain, but not internal injury. Doctors consulted advised against using a punch, which could cause lasting internal damage.
Secret Detentions: Over the last several years, the United States has operated a program in which it has held detainees in secret CIA facilities around the world, without acknowledging, even to the detainees’ families, that it has these individuals in custody. The United States has also held prisoners “off the books” in known detention facilities. These practices violate U.S. and international law.

The U.S. Secret Detention Program in Brief:

According to a number of reports, including an in-depth report by Human Rights First, the CIA has operated secret detention facilities in a number of places including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, Morocco, Diego Garcia, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Kosovo, and Macedonia.
On September 6, 2006, the President publicly acknowledged the existence of the CIA secret detention program, although he has not released the locations of particular facilities to the public or to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). It appears the program is currently operational, with at least one detainee having been held in the program before being transported to Guantanamo in April 2007.
There are dozens of individuals who are believed to have been detained in CIA secret facilities whose current whereabouts are unknown.
The United States has also held detainees in known detention facilities (such as Abu Ghraib) while keeping their names off the official prison rolls and failing to report their presence in those facilities to the ICRC. These prisoners have been called “ghost detainees.”
At least one “ghost detainee,” Manadel al Jamadi, was killed in November 2003 while in U.S. custody in Iraq.

Private Contractors

It is now widely recognized that an accountability crisis has arisen with respect to private military contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. While contractors are supposedly working under the laws of armed conflict, there are no consistent training requirements for contractors on the laws of war, there is no oversight checking their conduct against these standards, and essentially no realistic criminal justice accountability when criminal violations occur. A number of bills have been introduced in Congress aimed at addressing these problems. Some initial hearings have been held; more are anticipated. Here are some of the facts on private military contractors:

DOD currently acknowledges roughly 30,000 U.S. security contractors operating in Iraq, including substantial numbers of ex-patriots from the U.K., South Africa, the Philippines, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Chile, and Honduras.
In concept, these forces are deployed solely for personnel and facility protection, but in one of his final acts as Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld issued a determination including U.S. security contractors as an integral part of the "total combat force" deployed in Iraq.
Private contractors were involved in some of the most serious abuses at Abu Ghraib, as reported in the Fay-Jones Report. Similarly, they have been tied to a large number of cases involving assaults on detainees, and homicides and assaults on the ground in Iraq. Only one single case has been prosecuted – involving a CIA contractor in Afghanistan. Over a dozen cases coming out of Abu Ghraib were investigated by the US Army Crime Records Center (CID) and referred to the Department of Justice with a recommendation for prosecution. No action has been taken on these cases even though investigations were completed roughly two years ago.

These are things we can't let slide any longer. As has been pointed out, this makes our country look bad to others. It also makes us a target, even bigger than we were before. It will not be easy to retrain the ones responsible for this, and that is what will have to happen. They will all have to be retrained or released. Most of them are only following orders. Granted there are some that might have followed those orders a little too willingly, but still they were following orders.

So, not only does PE Obama have his plate full with the economy like it is, now he has to worry with cleaning up this mess and closing Guantanamo. Not an easy task, but I have faith he is up to the task.

Good luck PE Obama, I have a feeling you will need it.

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