China routinely tortures human rights lawyers


Amnesty International's No End in Sight: Torture and Forced Confessions in China interviews 37 Chinese lawyers and analyzes 590 court decisions in the process of documenting the routine torture of human rights lawyers in China. Read the rest

The DoJ won't let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report


The Senate's 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA's participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it. Read the rest

Appeals court holds the FBI is allowed to kidnap and torture Americans outside US borders


The DC Appeals Court has just ruled against Amir Meshal, a US citizen who was arrested in Kenya by a joint US-Kenyan-Ethiopian law enforcement operation, held for months, tortured with FBI agents present and threatened with his secret murder, then released without any charges. Read the rest

Federal court tells FBI: go ahead and torture Americans, but do it outside the U.S.


Amir Meshal, an American citizen, claims the FBI falsely imprisoned and tortured him for months, but on Friday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said he can't sue the FBI because it happened in Ethiopia, not the United States. Read the rest

CIA black-site torture survivors sue shrinks who made $85M overseeing CIA torture program


James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen are psychologists who took in almost $85 million in CIA contracts to design and oversee torture programs used on CIA prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and around the world. The contracts ran from from 2001 to 2010. The ACLU is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, three of the prisoners who were tortured at CIA black sites. Rahman was murdered by his torturers and the ACLU is representing his estate. Read the rest

CIA boss John Brennan drafted this never-sent apology letter to senators over the CIA hacking

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan.
“The CIA accidentally released a document to me under FOIA and then asked that I refrain from posting it,” says VICE reporter Jason Leopold. He declined their request.

Star Trekkin' was a brilliantly bad novelty song


This 1987 nightmare achieved immense commercial success in the UK and Australia. I've just listened to it for the first time in a couple of decades, and found it genuinely difficult to get through. What's interesting is that you can tell from the name, the GIF and my description that this is an amazingly unpleasant experience—and yet you will watch it anyway! [YT]

Read the rest

Police officer who tortured this handcuffed man had prior record of attacking people


In 2009, Colorado police officer Mark Magness broke an innocent man's arm during an illegal fireworks investigation. Magness pled guilty, but the police department didn't fire him.

Read the rest

John Oliver commissions Helen Mirren to narrate an audiobook of the CIA Torture Report

Despite a hard-fought battle to publish the CIA Torture Report, very few people have read it, including some of the report's starring villains. Read the rest

Senators demand CIA boss admit he lied about hacking torture committee

It's one thing for the CIA to hack the Senate committee investigating Bush-era torture, but then director John Brennan told a bald-faced lie, under oath, to the Senate Intelligence Committee (his bosses!) about it. Read the rest

DOJ tells judges they don't get a say in whether information is classified

DOJ lawyer Catherine Dorsey: "We don’t think there is a First Amendment right to classified documents" -- she was seeking to suppress evidence of force-feeding torture in Gitmo. Read the rest

First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"

In the wake of last week's revelations about Homan Square, the off-the-books "black site" where Chicago PD disappear prisoners for violent, aggressive interrogation, four of the site's victims have come forward to describe the highly racialized human rights abuses at the secret site. Read the rest

Chicago Police Department maintains "black site" for illegal detention and torture

Homan Square is the Chicago Police Department's "secure site" where people as young as 15 are detained without charge and without access to counsel, subject to beatings that result in head wounds, and, in one case, death. Read the rest

Use Facebook while in South Carolina jail, go to solitary for 37 years

Prisons have a legitimate interest in controlling contraband, but in South Carolina, using social media from behind bars is a Class I offense, carrying stiffer penalties than murder, escape and hostage-taking. Read the rest

Macedonia helped CIA kidnap and torture a German they mistook for a terrorist

Macedonia kidnapped a German citizen called Khalid al-Masri (previously, previously) and sent him to the CIA, mistaking him for a similarly named terror suspect; the CIA tortured him in Afghanistan and held him even after they realized they had the wrong name. Read the rest

Physicians: “Anal feeding” of prisoners is sexual assault, has no medical use

U.S. Army Military Police escort a detainee to his cell during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray in Naval Base Guantanamo Bay (Reuters)

What a sad world we live in, when a coalition of medical professionals has to issue a press release announcing this most obvious of obvious observations about so-called “anal feeding” of war-on-terror detainees. Read the rest

Humane interrogation works 4 times better than torture

Terrorism suspects were four times more likely to confess "when interrogators struck a neutral and respectful stance," according to a study published this year.

This isn't just theoretical, either. One former U.S. Army interrogator told PRI this week that he was able to break through to an Iraqi insurgent over a shared love of watching the TV show 24 on bootleg DVDs.

"He acknowledged that he was a big fan of Jack Bauer," he told PRI. "We made a connection there that ultimately resulted in him recanting a bunch of information that he had said in the past and actually giving us the accurate information because we had made that connection."

But as Olga Khazan points out in her Atlantic story, torture isn't about getting useful information. It's about punishment:

In another study highlighted by BPS, regular people were found to be more supportive of torture if they were told the suspect was a terrorist—but not because they thought the suspect had more information. Their support for torture, in other words, was rooted on a desire for payback, not intelligence.

Study finds that confessions are four times more likely when interrogators adopt a respectful stance toward detainees and build rapport, instead of torturing Read the rest

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