CAIR Good News Alert: Senate Adopts McCain-Feinstein Torture Ban

Senate Adopts McCain-Feinstein Torture Ban
Torture Vote
If signed into law, the National Defense Authorization Act will end the CIA’s use of the simulated drowning technique called “water-boarding,” stress positions, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, and violent enemas and forced rectal feeding (proven to have no medical benefits). It would also require that the International Committee of the Red Cross have access to anyone detained by the U.S. thus ending the government’s secret prison program.
“Torture is not an American value and the Senate has listened to the American people and reaffirmed that fact,” said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw. “As a nation, we momentarily lost our way in relying on torture in the face of terror and uncertainty, but are now more aware of how wrong torture is after having witnessed what terrible actions were committed in our name.”

CAIR Seeks Probe of Whether FBI Sought Torture of U.S. Muslim

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to investigate whether an American Muslim citizen detained last year in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was tortured at the behest of the FBI.

In its letter to the DOJ, CAIR cites an exclusive report by Mother Jones magazine about the case of Yonas Fikre, an Oregon Muslim who was detained and tortured while visiting the UAE last June. The letter was also signed by Fikre’s attorney Thomas Nelson.

Fikre reports that he was “beaten on the soles of his feet, kicked and punched, and held in stress positions while interrogators demanded he ‘cooperate’ and barked questions that were eerily similar to those posed to him not long before by FBI agents and other American officials who had requested a meeting with him.”

According to Fikre’s lawyer: “When Yonas [first] asked whether the FBI was behind his detention, he was beaten for asking the question. Toward the end, the interrogator indicated that indeed the FBI had been involved.”

Fikre said he had previously rejected an FBI demand that he act as an informant. He is currently seeking asylum in Sweden because he fears what U.S. officials may do to him if he returns.

Using music as a weapon at Guantánamo

For years, US interrogators at Guantánamo used painfully loud music on prisoners at Camp Delta. Ruhal Ahmed, now 28, is back at home in Tipton, a small city near Birmingham. He was released in March 2004, after spending more than two years in the American military prison, where he was often tortured with extremely loud music. Prisoners were strung up by their wrists for days while being blasted with music. Director Michael Winterbottom’s award-winning film “Road to Guantánamo” is based on the experiences of the Tipton Three — and a journey that went terribly wrong.

Some musicians have now sharply criticized the practice, including the British trip-hoppers Massive Attack, American industrial rock musician Trent Reznor and country star Rosanne Cash. They are demanding that pop not be used as a weapon, and they want to know how their music is being used in American prison.

Guantánamo prisoner Slahi wants to return to Germany

A Guantánamo Bay prisoner who admitted – under torture – to having organised trips to Afghan training camps for aspiring Jihadists including three of those involved in the 9/11 attacks, says he wants to return to Germany if he is released. Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 39, who comes from Mauretania but lived and studied in Duisburg and Essen between 1988 and 1999, told his brother he wanted to come back to Germany.

Der Spiegel reported that the brother, Yahdih Ould Slahi, who lives in Düsseldorf, received an hour-long phone call from Guantánamo Bay, in which Slahi said he would be asking to return to Germany if he was released. Slahi is seen as one of the most high-profile prisoners held in the notorious prison due to his admission to a string of allegations after being subjected to sleep deprivation, constant noise, sexual humiliation and threats against his mother.

These allegations included recruited Islamists and arranging for 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta to visit a training camp in Afghanistan. He later retracted all his admissions, writing in a letter that he simply said yes to everything that was put to him, to stop the torture.

Accused ringleader says “Allah Will Be Victorious” as Halimi trial begins in France

Ilan Halimi was kidnapped Jan. 20, 2006, tied up in a cellar and tortured for 24 days in the suburb of Bagneux. His kidnappers tried unsuccessfully to extort a $600,000 ransom from his family. Halimi was found naked, handcuffed and covered with burn marks near railroad tracks south of Paris Feb. 13, 2006. He died en route to a hospital.

His murder case went to trial in Paris last week, with 27 people charged with participating in the abduction, torture and killing of Halimi, a 23-year-old mobile-phone salesperson. The lead defendant, Youssouf Fofana, is said to have admitted that he set out to kidnap a Jew and hold him for ransom. There are 27 accused in the case. On April 30 Halimi’s family walked out after Fofana made intimidating comments, saying he had friends in the courtroom who would “take pictures to identify people.” The case has been called a symptom of growing anti-Semitism in the suburban ghettos where the defendants, most of them the children of black and Muslim immigrants, live. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

Italian lawyers seek Condoleezza Rice testimony

The lawyers for a former Italian chief of intelligence want to call US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a witness in the trial of 26 Americans charged in the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric. Defense lawyer Nicola Madia, who said that Rice’s testimony is significant, considering that she was in charge of the CIA’s rendition program, filed the request. Italian judge Oscar Magi is expected to make a decision on the request in October.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

Associated Press

United Press International

Probe into Maher Arar Torture Case Closed

Canadian federal police (the RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police), has closed its investigation into the source of the damaging leaks to the media about Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen deported to Syria by U.S. officials because of false allegations of terrorism. This statement marks the end of a five-year criminal investigation to examine how inaccurate information claiming Arar was an Islamic extremist was leaked by government sources to the media. The source of the leak could not be determined. In 2007, Arar received $10.5 million CAD in compensation from the Canadian government. The U.S. government has not apologized and keeps his name on a security watch list.

In an interview with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli stated that in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, the Bush administration “threw out the rule book” when it came to cooperating with its allies.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

The Globe and Mail

The National Post

US Appeals Court to Rehear Maher Arar´s Torture Case

A US federal appeals court will reconsider its decision with regards to a Canadian engineer’s lawsuit over torture he endured following being falsely mistaken for an Islamic extremist. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan was, according to the International Herald Tribune, unusual because the circuit assembles for a case but once or twice a year and because Maher Arar’s attorneys had yet to request a full hearing. The Syrian-born, Ottawa, Canada-resident was detained in 2002 after switching planes at JFK International Airport as he returned to Canada. Arar, 37, spent nearly a year in prison being tortured prior to being returned to Canada without charges. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million and acknowledged it passed incorrect information regarding Arar’s participation with al-Qaeda to U.S. authorities. Arguments are scheduled for December 9th.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

The National Post

The National Post

US Appeals Court to Rehear Maher Arar’s Torture Case

A US federal appeals court will reconsider its decision with regards to a Canadian engineer’s lawsuit over torture he endured following being falsely mistaken for an Islamic extremist. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan was, according to the International Herald Tribune, unusual because the circuit assembles for a case but once or twice a year and because Maher Arar’s attorneys had yet to request a full hearing. The Syrian-born, Ottawa, Canada-resident was detained in 2002 after switching planes at JFK International Airport as he returned to Canada. Arar, 37, spent nearly a year in prison being tortured prior to being returned to Canada without charges. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million and acknowledged it passed incorrect information regarding Arar’s participation with al-Qaeda to U.S. authorities. Arguments are scheduled for December 9th.

Italian Trial of C.I.A. Operatives Begins With Torture Testimony

After a long delay of CIA operatives and former Italian intelligence officials, a judge ruled that Prime Minster Silvio Berlusconi could be called to testify about the abduction of a radical Muslim cleric, in Italy, in 2003. Testimony began Wednesday with the cleric’s wife, Ghali Nabila, who said that her husband was taken from Italy and transferred to a prison in Egypt, where he was repeatedly tortured. I found him wasted, skinny – so skinny – his hair had turned white, he had a hearing aid, Ms. Nabila said. While the Bush administration has admitted to programs of extraordinary rendition and abducting terrorism suspects outside of the United States, the administration has denied that persons are sent to nations that torture. Last year, and Italian prosecutor brought charges against 26 Americans, including 25 CIA agent operatives, citing a train of incriminating evidence prior to the cleric’s kidnapping.