I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Torture and Extraordinary Renditions. The FBI Twitters too.

If anyone looks at this press release from August 24 and understands what the FBI is saying - and why it took a task force of cabinet and agency heads to figure anything out about interrogations and torture (not tht I agree with their conclusions and recommendations) - let me know. Hit this page to register for their press releases; if they just speak jibberish, though, I'm dropping off of their list (if it's ever possible to get off of one of their lists...). 

Note at the bottom of their press release that the FBI now Twitters too.

U.S. Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
August 24, 2009

(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Special Task Force on Interrogations and Transfer Policies Issues Its Recommendations to the President
WASHINGTON—Attorney General Eric Holder today announced that the Special Task Force on Interrogations and Transfer Policies, which was created pursuant to Executive Order 13491 on Jan. 22, 2009, has proposed that the Obama Administration establish a specialized interrogation group to bring together officials from law enforcement, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations in a manner that will strengthen national security consistent with the rule of law.
The Task Force also made policy recommendations with respect to scenarios in which the United States moves or facilitates the movement of a person from one country to another or from U.S. custody to the custody of another country to ensure that U.S. practices in such transfers comply with U.S. law, policy and international obligations and do not result in the transfer of individuals to face torture.
“The new policies proposed by the Task Force will allow us to draw the best personnel from across the government to conduct interrogations that will yield valuable intelligence and strengthen our national security,” said Attorney General Holder. “There is no tension between strengthening our national security and meeting our commitment to the rule of law, and these new policies will accomplish both.”
After extensively consulting with representatives of the Armed Forces, the relevant agencies in the Intelligence Community, and some of the nation’s most experienced and skilled interrogators, the Task Force concluded that the Army Field Manual provides appropriate guidance on interrogation for military interrogators and that no additional or different guidance was necessary for other agencies. These conclusions rested on the Task Force’s unanimous assessment, including that of the Intelligence Community, that the practices and techniques identified by the Army Field Manual or currently used by law enforcement provide adequate and effective means of conducting interrogations.
The Task Force concluded, however, that the United States could improve its ability to interrogate the most dangerous terrorists by forming a specialized interrogation group, or High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), that would bring together the most effective and experienced interrogators and support personnel from across the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense and law enforcement. The creation of the HIG would build upon a proposal developed by the Intelligence Science Board.
To accomplish that goal, the Task Force recommended that the HIG should coordinate the deployment of mobile teams of experienced interrogators, analysts, subject matter experts and linguists to conduct interrogations of high-value terrorists if the United States obtains the ability to interrogate them. The primary goal of this elite interrogation group would be gathering intelligence to prevent terrorist attacks and otherwise to protect national security. Advance planning and interagency coordination prior to interrogations would also allow the United States, where appropriate, to preserve the option of gathering information to be used in potential criminal investigations and prosecutions...

Background Information
The Task Force on Interrogations and Transfer Policies is chaired by the Attorney General, with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Defense serving as Co-Vice-Chairs. Other members of the Task Force are the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Each of these officials appointed senior-level representatives to serve on a working-level task force to complete the work of the Executive Order.
The Executive Order directed the Task Force to study and evaluate “whether the interrogation practices and techniques in Army Field Manual 2-22.3, when employed by departments and agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidance for other departments or agencies.”
The Task Force was also directed to study and evaluate “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations in order to ensure that such practices comply with the domestic laws, international obligations, and policies of the United States and do not result in the transfer of individuals to other nations to face torture or otherwise for the purpose, or with the effect, of undermining or circumventing the commitments or obligations of the United States to ensure the humane treatment of individuals in its custody and control.”
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