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The United States has been enabling torture for decades

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The United States has been enabling torture for decades
By: Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview
Marjorie Cohn – a law professor and past president of the National Lawyer’s Guild – has assembled a compelling interdisciplinary anthology on the “normalization” of torture as an extension of American foreign policy. This is not a new occurrence limited to the so-called “war on terror,” but extends back decades.

The United States Exports Torture

Mark Karlin: The infamous School of the Americas (SOA) (now euphemistically renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”) has long been accused of teaching human rights violations, including torture. The Defense Department vigorously denies this accusation.

In Chapter 2, Bill Quigley – who writes for Truthout, as well as yourself – outs the truth. Hasn’t the School of the Americas, and its predecessor, which was located in the Panama Canal Zone, been outsourcing torture and human rights violations for decades?

Marjorie Cohn: During the 1970s and 1980s, dictators and military leaders in Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Paraguay used skills they learned at the US Army’s School of the Americas to torture and execute dissidents. SOA graduates assassinated bishops, priests, labor leaders, women, children and community workers, and massacred entire communities. Although the school was cosmetically renamed in 2001 to the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation” (WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, the US government continues to resist accountability for those complicit in the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the school’s students. There is a growing protest movement against the SOA/WHINSEC. Since the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador in 1980, protesters have increasingly engaged in lobbying and civil disobedience, including regular teach-ins, demonstrations and prayer vigils. Up to 20,000 demonstrators descend on Ft. Benning each year. They want the US government to admit what it has done at the school, allow an independent investigation and accept responsibility for the consequences. They are demanding that the torture school be closed.

MK: The torture and murders that occurred during the “dirty wars” in South America and the military dictatorship/right-wing militias’ suppression of opposition in Central America was something out of the Spanish Inquisition. The US was on the side of the military governments, and yet, they were committing torture and massacres even against US citizens, including nuns. Terry Lynn Karl describes this in Chapter 2, with El Salvador as a case study. How come it took the war on terror to ignite a national discussion on torture and US foreign policy?

MC: During the dirty wars in Latin America, most of the torture was perpetuated by foreign governments (albeit with the backing of the United States). But when the grotesque photographs of torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib were published, Americans were confronted with torture being committed by their own government. As additional photographs and reports of torture emerged, and memoranda written by former President George W. Bush’s legal mercenaries were made public, it became impossible to ignore the cruelty being perpetrated by the US government.

MK: We tend to think of torture as physical, but you have a chapter on psychological torture. What forms does that take, in the United States and abroad?

MC: As historian Alfred McCoy explains in his chapter, the CIA has refined the “art”of torture by developing techniques to manipulate human consciousness. Since drug research had been unsuccessful, the CIA explored sensory deprivation and stress positions to be used offensively by CIA interrogators and defensively to train US troops to resist enemy interrogators. In 1963, the CIA created the KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation manual (KUBARK), which codified secret research on mind control. McCoy observes how they used heat and cold, light and dark, noise and silence, feast and famine, and sensory overload and deprivation to pursue their sordid ends..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2012/03/18/the-united-states-has-been-enabling-torture-for-decades/

Noynoying also cause of power crisis EDITORIAL 04/03/2012

Noynoying also cause of power crisis

Click to enlarge
The power crisis in Mindanao would have been averted with the simple virtue of foresight and priority setting from the current occupants of Malacaang.

That in gist was how Sen. Edgardo Angara described the current power quandary that Noynoy has found himself in the two years into his presidency.

While others were saying that the crisis is artificial and conjured up to benefit the business associates of Noynoy who are seeking part of the action in the setting up of coal-fired power plants in the region, still some say that inaction or what has become a patented word called Noynoying was to blame for the power shortage.

Whatever the reason for it, however, it would seem that one way of the other, the administration of Noynoys poor handling of the situation has resulted in the crisis situation..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120403com1.html

Seven killed in shooting at California college (PHOTOS)

Seven killed in shooting at California college (PHOTOS)

Seven people have been killed in a shooting rampage at a private Christian college in Oakland, California on Monday. Police detained and identified a 43-year-old former student as the suspect.

One L. Goh is in custody after surrendering at a shopping center about an hour after the incident at Oikos University, police chief Howard Jordan said.

Three more people were injured in the attack after the gunman walked into a classroom and opened fire at the college, which teaches medicine to students while emphasizing Christian ideals. It was not immediately clear what was the motive of the attack..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/california-shooting-killed-university-078/

No girls around: Female-tracking app taken down

No girls around: Female-tracking app taken down

Controversial iPhone application "Girls Around Me", which allowed users to track all females in the area by collecting their information from social networks, has been taken down by the developer in the wake of a public outcry over privacy.

"Girls Around Me" used information from location-based social network Foursquare to find women on a map and view their publicly-available pictures from Facebook. The women had no idea they were being tracked by strangers and had no chance to opt out..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/girls-around-me-privacy-083/

Dead-end economics AN OUTSIDERS VIEW Ken Fuller 04/03/2012

Dead-end economics

Ken Fuller
Dr. Bernardo Villegas, one of the high priests of dead-end economics, on March 24 pronounced himself “more bullish than the government in forecasting a GDP growth of 6 to 7 percent for 2012” (Manila Times, “Geared toward faster growth”).

This is not an entirely new phenomenon, he says, as the years 2007 and 2010 saw growth of 7.1 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively. By pointing out that the former year was when the subprime crisis broke and that the latter saw “the global economy still gripped by the financial crisis,” Villegas gives the impression that the Philippine economy is able to stride confidently ahead while greater powers stumble backwards. What he neglects to remind us is that 2007 and 2010 were election years, when politicians throw vast sums at their constituents, artificially inflating the growth statistics..

Villegas then goes further, expressing the view that, now matter what the problems suffered elsewhere, the Philippine economy “can grow at seven percent or more in the coming 5 to 10 years…” In the absence of convincing evidence, on what does the bold academic base this prediction? Faith? Not quite, but he comes close..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120403com5.html

Holy Week NO HOLDS BARRED Armida Siguion-Reyna 04/03/2012

Holy Week

Armida Siguion-Reyna
In the ’80s, years before I became a born-again Christian, I’d get invited to sing in San Pablo City for religious processions.

My good friend Ado Escudero’s family had three santos that took part in the annual procession, in strongly Catholic San Pablo. The singing would be done on the balconies of the various houses that lined the main street, during the parade of santos. This used to be a big affair that attracted the participation of out-of-towners and not just a few tourists.

The first time Ado invited me to sing there, I requested yet-to-be National Artist Lucrecia Kasilag to write an original composition to fit the occasion. Ms. Kasilag forthrightly came up “Pieta,” a moving song about the Virgin Mother and her son, and the good woman didn’t charge a centavo for the job.
Restie Umali also did several songs for my San Pablo outings, with lyrics by Levi Celerio, another future National Artist. Like King Kasilag, Restie did not charge a centavo for the religious songs that included “Balaraw sa Puso,” part of which goes:.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120403com4.html

Death penalty VIEWPOINTS Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz 04/03/2012

Death penalty

Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz
Sad to say and sadder still to admit, life must really be unwelcome and even despised in this country.

The fact is that life is becoming cheaper by the day — courtesy of regular murders day and night, daily killings here and there.

The truth is that even tiny, helpless and lifeless fetuses are found thrown in garbage dumps and other despicable places. And there is nothing less than the present administration that officially registers its blatant objection to life through its well funded population control presented under the poor guise of reproduction and health.

The despise of life on the part of Malacañang is consummate — notwithstanding the fact that the biggest export of the country is people. It is the OFWs who are feeding millions of families through their big and regular remittances to the Philippines. It is also these Filipino workers in foreign and even dangerous countries who are providing the government with economic viability. Yes, rice and fish are imported. But Filipinos are exported. Even clothes and toys, not to mention fuel, are imported. But Filipino professionals and workers are considered as export commodities..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120403com6.html

Comelec’s PCOS purchase ‘one big wrong step’ to 2013 polls — watchdog By Pat C. Santos 04/03/2012

Comelec’s PCOS purchase ‘one big wrong step’ to 2013 polls — watchdog

By Pat C. Santos 04/03/2012
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) took “one big wrong step” toward the 2013 polls when it purchased Smartmatic International Corp.’s counting machines for the country’s elections, according to a workers’ electoral watchdog

Workers’ Electoral Watch (WE Watch), a network of workers advocating democratic and trans-parent polls, said the Comelec failed to draw lessons from the country’s exercise of the first automated polls in 2010 when it decided to purchase and re-use the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines for next year’s elections with a P1.8-billion price tag.

“The road to the 2013 midterm elections should have been an opportunity to democratize the development of technology for the country’s elections. Unfortunately, the Comelec shut the doors for the Filipino IT community’s meaningful participation.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120403hea3.html

Stop-gap Noy solution to power woe means higher Mindanao rates By Angie M. Rosales 04/03/2012

Stop-gap Noy solution to power woe means higher Mindanao rates

By Angie M. Rosales 04/03/2012

Power consumers in Mindanao will have to bear electricity rates that are higher by as much as 50 centavos per kilowatthour with the government’s plan to use power barges which uses expensive fuel as a stop-gap solution to the brewing power crisis in the region, Sen. Sergio Osmeña III said yesterday.

“The people of Mindanao have to accept that they will have to face higher rates, a little bit higher, by about 50 centavos,” Osmeña said, noting the need to adjust the current P3.70 per kilowatt hour (kwh) to P4.20 per kwh to address the power supply problem immediately.

Besides the impending rate increase, the chairman of the Senate energy committee, also said that the possible solution for the meantime to plug the power supply shortage in Mindanao could be answered by the so-called combined cycle gar turbine (CCGP)..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20120403hea2.html

PAF plane bombs NPA lair, reaps 2 backpacks of papers By Mario J. Mallari 04/03/2012

PAF plane bombs NPA lair, reaps 2 backpacks of papers

By Mario J. Mallari 04/03/2012
An Air Force fighter plane pounded a New People’s Army (NPA) lair in Bukidnon province with high-explosive rocket missiles on Sunday, but only reaped two backpacks of documents left behind by the communists for their pains.

Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) spokesman Col. Leopoldo Galon said an SF-260 from the Air Force’s Tactical Operations Group-11 (TOG-11) conducted the air strike in support of the ground operations of the Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion (IB) in Kibawe town.

Galon said the air strike was launched after an initial clash between elements of the 8th IB and a band of NPA rebels at around 5:20 a.m. in the outskirts of Barangay Sampaguita..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120403nat1.html

Probe on tax exemption, subsidies for E-Trike project sought By Charlie V. Manalo 04/03/2012

Probe on tax exemption, subsidies for E-Trike project sought

By Charlie V. Manalo 04/03/2012

A lawmaker has called for a congressional inquiry into the grant of exemption from taxes and duties, and the provision of other government subsidies in the importation of parts, equipment and machinery needed by the private sector for the manufacture of electric tricycles, or what is more commonly referred to as the E-Trike, to local government units.

Kasangga Rep. Teodorico Haresco said the tax and duty exemptions and government subsidies are provided under the E-Trike Project of the Department of Energy (DoE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“There is a need to revisit and review the existing duties and taxes, including government subsidies in the importation of parts, machineries and equipment that will translate into a fair and reasonable cost of electric tricycles and result in the reduction of loan amount of the LGUs (local government units) from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP),” said Haresco..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120403nat5.html

Binay lauds Pinay OFWs for conviction of Singaporean human trafficker in Malysia 04/03/2012

Binay lauds Pinay OFWs for conviction of Singaporean human trafficker in Malysia

Vice-President and Presidential Adviser on Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Concerns Jejomar Binay has commended two OFWs for helping to convict Singaporean human trafficker Lim Beng Huat. The trafficker, also known as “Alfred Lim,” was ordered jailed for six years by a Malaysian court.

Binay thanked Marilou Bagsit and Marivic Capistrano for cooperating with the Philippine government in running after Lim in partnership with the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization that represents the OFW sector in the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

“We call on other OFWs to emulate these two women by reporting incidence of abuse and illegal recruitment to our embassies abroad and also to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration or to (non-government organizations) such as the Ople Center,” Binay said in a press conference at the Coconut Palace..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20120403nat3.html

AFP conducts ‘surprise’ drug test on soldiers 04/03/2012

AFP conducts ‘surprise’ drug test on soldiers

Some 300 personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were subjected to random drug testing yesterday in Camp Aguinaldo as part of a campaign against illegal drugs in the 125,000-strong military organization that already led to two soldiers’ discharge from the service.

At a press briefing, AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the surprise mandatory drug testing was announced minutes after the flag-raising ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo.

Burgos said they tested the officers, enlisted personnel and even civilian employees working in the AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo. The results were not immediately available..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20120403met1.html

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