Category Archives: Torture

Counting the days to Chelsea Manning’s freedom

Originally posted at the Massachusetts Pirate Party blog.

I learned recently from Susan McLucas, a long-time local activist for Chelsea Manning, that president Obama commuted Chelsea’s sentence. She will be released from prison on May 17th. I think I speak for most, if not all, Pirates that we are very happy and relieved that Chelsea will be free in four months.

Thanks to everyone who kept up their support for her and indeed increased it. I personally appreciate the effort of the Chelsea Manning Support Network, Evan Greer, Fight for the Future, Susan McLucas, Veterans for Peace, Pirate Parties and their supporters world-wide, the EFF, ACLU and the millions of people who advocated for her freedom.

Chelsea emerging from prison on May 17th will be a glorious day. However, our support for her must not end on that day. She will continue to need our help from those engaging in character assassination whether trolls or politicians. After so many years in prison and solitary confinement, being a free again will come with its own challenges.

So savor this day and the days ahead, for this one act relied on the support of so many and yet again proves that we are more powerful together.

Solidarity forever.

I just had to read one more thing …

Of course I had to check my RSS feeds one last time before I went to bed and came across this piece from Boing Boing on the CIA torture memos:

Salon's Mark Benjamin went spelunking in the recently released CIA
torture memos and comes back with a stomach-churning account of the
waterboarding practiced at Gitmo. This fine-tuned torture process
repeatedly took its victims to the brink of death (one victim was
waterboarded 180+ times) until many of them simply gave up on breathing
and tried to allow themselves to drown, only to be revived by unethical
medical personnel who collaborated with the war criminals conducting
the torture.

documents also lay out, in chilling detail, exactly what should occur
in each two-hour waterboarding "session." Interrogators were instructed
to start pouring water right after a detainee exhaled, to ensure he
inhaled water, not air, in his next breath. They could use their hands
to "dam the runoff" and prevent water from spilling out of a detainee's
mouth. They were allowed six separate 40-second "applications" of
liquid in each two-hour session – and could dump water over a
detainee's nose and mouth for a total of 12 minutes a day. Finally, to
keep detainees alive even if they inhaled their own vomit during a
session – a not-uncommon side effect of waterboarding – the prisoners
were kept on a liquid diet. The agency recommended Ensure Plus.

"This is revolting and it is deeply disturbing," said Dr. Scott
Allen, co-director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights
at Brown University who has reviewed all of the documents for
Physicians for Human Rights. "The so-called science here is a total
departure from any ethics or any legitimate purpose. They are saying,
'This is how risky and harmful the procedure is, but we are still going
to do it.' It just sounds like lunacy," he said. "This fine-tuning of
torture is unethical, incompetent and a disgrace to medicine."

As a friend noted, waterboarding isn't simulated drowning, it is drowning.  "Enhanced interrogation techniques" are just mealy mouthed words for hiding the war crimes that our government carried out.

Of course VP Cheney was a "big supporter of waterboarding" as reported to ABC News via Andrew Sullivan & The Atlantic:

KARL: Did you more often win or lose those battles, especially as
you got to the second term?

CHENEY: Well, I suppose it depends on which battle you're talking
about. I won some; I lost some. I can't…


KARL: … waterboarding, clearly, what was your…

CHENEY: I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big
supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques that…

KARL: And you opposed the administration's actions of doing away
with waterboarding?


It is too late to impeach him, but there is no statute of limitations on trying war criminals.