México será juzgado ante la CoIDH por feminicidio
Por Nancy Betán Santana - El Estado mexicano será juzgado entre el 27 y 30 de abril próximos, por la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CoIDH), debido a importantes irregularidades en la investigación y negativas para dar información a los representantes de las mujeres asesinadas y halladas en el predio denominado Campo Algodonero, en Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.
Esta será la primera vez que México será sometido, a juicio ante una corte internacional, por algunos de los múltiples crímenes (más de 400) perpetrados contra mujeres en Ciudad Juárez desde 1993, gracias a que han luchado por dicho objetivo los representantes del caso: la Asociación Nacional de Abogados Democráticos AC (ANAD), el Comité de América Latina y el Caribe para la Defensa de los Derechos de la Mujer (CLADEM), la Red Ciudadana de No Violencia y por la Dignidad Humana y el Centro para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer AC (CEDIMAC).
La historia se remonta a 2001, en concreto a los días seis de noviembre, cuando se encontraron tres cadáveres, y 7 de noviembre, fecha en que fueron descubiertos cinco cuerpos femeninos más en dicho predio, los cuales presentaban señales claras de tortura.
Dichos homicidios fueron objeto de una misma investigación ante la Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), entre 2003 y 2005. Pero después de presentarse diversas fallas en la investigación, por parte de las autoridades municipales y federales, se separaron cada uno de los casos para continuar su investigación individualmente.
La consecuencia principal de la separación de los casos es que la CoIDH no pudo considerar a ocho presuntas víctimas, sólo a tres para llevar a cabo el proceso legal contra el Estado mexicano.
Sus nombres: Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, Claudia Ivette González y Laura Berenice Ramos Monarrez.
En la resolución de la CoIDH, con fecha de 19 de enero de 2009, se indica que, de acuerdo con el escrito de demanda que hizo ante la Corte de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), el Estado mexicano es internacionalmente responsable por la desaparición y la ulterior muerte de las jóvenes arriba mencionadas.
Esto, porque no proporcionó protección a las víctimas, dos de las cuales eran menores de edad, así como tampoco incurrió en la prevención de los crímenes, pese al pleno conocimiento de la existencia de un patrón de violencia de género en la región, el cual ha dejado centenares de mujeres y niñas asesinadas.
Además, se acota la inexistente respuesta de las autoridades locales frente a la desaparición de las víctimas.
Todo ello, dice la resolución, constituye violaciones a los derechos protegidos por los artículos 4 (derechos a la vida), 5 (derecho a la integridad personal), 8 (derecho a las garantías judiciales), 19 (derechos del niño) y 25 (derecho a la protección judicial de la Convención Americana).
DESDE SEMLAC:Servicio de Noticias de la Mujer de Latinoamérica y el Caribe-: SEMlac le brinda como cortesía el Resumen Semanal que recoge lo más esencial de los reportajes y despachos informativos de la agencia. Para recibirlo contáctenos en firstname.lastname@example.org
Perú Ejército usa soldados adolescentes en lucha antisubversiva Por Zoraida Portillo
La presencia de un menor de edad entre los soldados que murieron víctimas de un ataque de Sendero Luminoso, el pasado 9 de abril, ha puesto de manifiesto que el ejército peruano está reclutando adolescentes pobres para el servicio militar. Todos los sectores de la opinión pública -e incluso el Fondo de las Naciones Unidas para la Infancia (UNICEF) - han reaccionado con estupor y acerbas críticas frente a las evidencias de que esta es una práctica frecuente en los lugares más remotos del país. El escándalo estalló cuando Irene Macedo, madre de Robinson Macedo Sima, uno de los 14 soldados abatidos por remanentes del movimiento subversivo Sendero Luminoso (SL), denunció que su hijo fue reclutado a la fuerza por miembros del ejército, cuando tenía 16 años. Cuando murió, tenía 17 años. "En la Plaza de Armas de Pucallpa (una ciudad de la selva peruana) fue subido a la fuerza a un camión", declaró a los medios. Desde entonces, su familia le perdió el rastro hasta la Navidad pasada, cuando la llamó por teléfono para decirle que se encontraba en la base antiterrorista en Pichari (Cusco), distante casi 1.000 kilómetros de su hogar.
Fortalecen el parto intercultural para disminuir muertes
Por Helen Álvarez Virreira
La primera hija de María Rasguido Coca nació parada y ambas hubiesen muerto en el parto de no ser por un médico respetuoso. Después de dos días de sufrimiento en el hospital, una enfermera le aconsejó que se fuera y la llevó con el galeno que le salvó la vida. Tenía 16 años y juró no volver a un hospital. De eso hace 32 años. Sus otras tres hijas y sus seis varones, incluidos sus mellizos, nacieron en su casa con la ayuda de su abuela, que era la partera de la comunidad. Ahora ella tiene la misión de lograr la complementación entre la medicina tradicional y la científica, pues fue designada directora de Medicina Tradicional e Interculturalidad, dependiente del viceministerio del sector. María Rasguido es una mujer aymara que reconoce que sobrevivió a su primer parto gracias a la medicina científica, pero también afirma que el trato que recibió y los procedimientos de atención la ahuyentaron del hospital. Ahora, en cambio, la nueva Carta Magna ha fortalecido la incorporación de prácticas tradicionales en la medicina convencional. Médicos y líderes indígenas hablan entre ellos de salud. "Más que antes con la nueva Constitución Política del Estado (CPE) se está incentivando la interculturalidad", dice Ángel Maida, director del hospital materno infantil Germán Urquidi, de Cochabamba.
Iglesias contra los derechos de las mujeres
Por Mirta Rodríguez Calderón (761 palabras/3.942 caracteres)
El tremendo poder que tienen las iglesias, en particular la católica, en este país ha permeado de un matiz de virulencia inusitado la discusión sobre las modificaciones a la Carta Magna, especialmente en lo concerniente a un artículo que establece que la vida "es inviolable desde el momento de la concepción". La presión es tanta que hasta en su Sermón de las Siete Palabras, el último día de la Semana Santa, el cardenal José de Jesús López Rodríguez, dedicó palabras al asunto. Influido por estas presiones, el Congreso de la República consumió cuatro horas de su sesión del último jueves (16 de abril) en considerar argumentaciones diversas acerca de la vida humana, contenidas en el artículo 30 del proyecto de reforma constitucional que le ha sido sometido por el Poder Ejecutivo. El Congreso, con carácter de asamblea revisora, deberá realizar las modificaciones pertinentes a la Carta Magna. En concreto, el artículo que considera el parlamento dice: "El derecho a la vida es inviolable desde la concepción hasta la muerte. No podrá establecerse, pronunciarse ni aplicarse, en ningún caso, la pena de muerte".
VIH en avance indetenible
Por Dixie Edith (999 palabras/5.113 caracteres)
La infección por VIH (virus causante del sida) en Cuba aumenta de manera sostenida, aunque la isla sigue registrando la tasa de prevalencia de la epidemia más baja del Caribe. En los últimos cuatro años esa tasa ha crecido de 0,05 por ciento a fines de 2004, al actual 0,1 por ciento, dato del cierre de 2008. Hasta diciembre 2008 las estadísticas indicaban que una de cada mil personas estaba infectada con el virus en el país. La capital, Ciudad de La Habana, concentraba más de 50 por ciento de los casos. En total, 10.655 personas de la isla se han diagnosticado como seropositivas al VIH desde 1986. De los 8.746 que estaban vivos al cierre de 2008, cerca de 75 por ciento recibía atención ambulatoria. El resto se entrenaba en los cursos "Aprendiendo a Vivir con VIH" o en los Centros de Atención Integral (sanatorios). Actualmente, 80 por ciento de las personas seropositivas son hombres y, de ellos, cerca de 86 por ciento son hombres que tienen sexo con otros hombres (HSH), una realidad que tiene sólidos amarres en una fuerte tradición machista.
Productoras intercambian experiencias
Por Julia Vicuña Yacarine (634 palabras/3.526 caracteres)
Para avanzar en el mundo de los negocios y unidas activar mecanismos que les permitan mejores resultados, empresarias de un populoso distrito de Lima y agroganaderas de la región Junín, en los Andes centrales, se reunieron en la capital peruana, como parte del proyecto "Promoción de la economía solidaria y el comercio justo de mujeres peruanas". Paola Zabaleta Mota, joven empresaria cuyos productos trabajados en plata tienen acogida internacional, desarrolla el concepto de igualdad de oportunidades con sus colaboradoras, madres solteras jóvenes quienes han desarrollado la habilidad manual al no tener otras posibilidades. "Tuve la experiencia de exportación de mis joyas a Estados Unidos y a España, y ahora estoy buscando otros mercados; por eso sigo enviando muestras", afirmó Zabaleta, quien participa activamente en la Asociación de Artesanos Peruanos de San Juan de Lurigancho, el distrito más poblado del Perú, con casi dos millones de habitantes, ubicado en el extremo nororiental de la capital.
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>Report urges review of military strategy when targeting urban areas - By Kim Sengupta, correspondent for The Independent UK, 16 April 2009- Air strikes and artillery barrages have taken a heavy toll among the most vulnerable of the Iraqi people, with children and women forming a disproportionate number of the dead.
Analysis carried out for the research group Iraq Body Count (IBC) found that 39 per cent of those killed in air raids by the US-led coalition were children and 46 per cent were women. Fatalities caused by mortars, used by American and Iraqi government forces as well as insurgents, were 42 per cent children and 44 per cent women.
Three Cheers for Afghan Women - By Nicholas Kristof for The New York Times, April 15, 2009 - I’m awed by the courage of those 300 Afghan women who endured stones, jeers and threats to march through Kabul today demanding a measure of equal rights. As my colleague Dexter Filkins reports, the women were chased and insulted as “whores” by a mob of men and women three times as large. The women were protesting a new law, applying only to Shiites, that obliges women to sleep with their husbands on demand and bars them from leaving the home without their husbands’ permission.
It’s particularly impressive that many of the women apparently were Shiites — from the Hazara minority — because Hazaras are poorer and less likely to school their daughters. I find Kabul a pretty scary place sometimes, and I can’t imagine the guts it would take to be a Hazara woman walking with a banner demanding equal rights through an enraged mob of stone-throwing, spitting fundamentalists. Dexter describes this scene:
Women in Prison From Amnesty International
Sentencing and The War on Drugs - The Department of Justice found that women were over represented among low level drug offenders who were non-violent, had minimal or no prior criminal history, and were not principal figures in criminal organizations or activities, but nevertheless received sentences similar to “high level” drug offenders under the mandatory sentencing policies. From 1986 to 1996 the number of women sentenced to state prison for drug crimes increased ten-fold. Nationally one in three women in prison and one in four women in jail are incarcerated for violating a drug law. (Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics Prisoners in 1997).
According to The Boston Globe, "nearly 26% of the nearly 2000 men and women crowding Massachusetts prisons for drug crimes are first-time offenders…. Worse, nearly three out of four drug traffickers who do get charged in major cases, but agree to forfeit substantial drug money to prosecutors, bargain their way out of the long sentences…. The result: those with no money or information to trade face the hard mandatory sentences."
From 1986 to 1996, the number of women sentenced to state prison for drug crimes increased from 2,370 to 23,700. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington DC Prisoners in 1997)
In 1986, 12.0% of women in prison were drug offenders. In 1991, 32.8% of women in prison were incarcerated for drug offenses. (Women in Prison, Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991. US Department of Justice, March 1994, NCJ 145321)
- Sexual Assault and Misconduct Against Women in Prison
The imbalance of power between inmates and guards involves the use of direct physical force and indirect force based on the prisoners' total dependency on officers for basic necessities and the guards' ability to withhold privileges. Some women are coerced into sex for favors such as extra food or personal hygiene products, or to avoid punishment.
Powerlessness and Humiliation
There are 148,200 women in state and federal prisons. In federal women’s correctional facilities, 70% of guards are male. Records show correctional officials have subjected female inmates to rape, other sexual assault, sexual extortion, and groping during body searches. Male correctional officials watch women undressing, in the shower or the toilet. Male correctional officials retaliate, often brutally, against female inmates who complain about sexual assault and harassment
Retaliation and Fear
In many states guards have access to and are encouraged to review the inmates’ personal history files (this includes any record of complaints against themselves or other prison authorities). Guards threaten the prisoner’s children and visitation rights as a means of silencing the women. Guards issue rule infraction tickets, which extend the woman’s stay in prison if she speaks out. Prisoners who complain are frequently placed in administration segregation.
Ineffective formal procedures, legislation and reporting capacity within US jails and prisons account for much of the ongoing sexual abuse of women. In 1997, according to the US Justice Department only 10 prison employees in the entire federal system were disciplined, and only 7 were prosecuted. If a prison official is found guilty, he is often simply transferred ("walked off the yard") to another facility instead of being fired. The inmate may also be transferred.
- Discrimination Based on Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation - The growth in incarceration has had its greatest impact on minorities, particularly African Americans. Women are most vulnerable to different forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment or abuse. Women that do not fit the “norm”, such as lesbians, face increased risk of torture and abuse.
Discrimination Based on Race:
Over a five-year period, the incarceration rate of African American women increased by 828%. (NAACP LDF Equal Justice Spring 1998.) An African American woman is eight times more likely than a European American woman is to be imprisoned; African American women make up nearly half of the nation’s female prison population, with most serving sentences for nonviolent drug or property related offenses.
Latina women experience nearly four times the rates of incarceration as European American women.
State and federal laws mandate minimum sentences for all drug offenders. This eliminates from judges the option of referring first time non-violent offenders to scarce, financially strapped drug treatment, counseling and education programs. The racial disparity revealed by the crack v. powder cocaine sentences insures that more African American women will land in prison. Although 2/3 of crack users are white or Hispanic, defendants convicted of crack cocaine possession in 1994 were 84.5% African American. Crack is the only drug that carries a mandatory prison sentence for first time possession in the federal system.
Discrimination Based On Sexual Orientation:
Human Rights Watch has documented categories of women who are likely targets for sexual abuse. Perceived or actual sexual orientation is one of four categories that make a female prisoner a more likely target for sexual abuse, as well as a target for retaliation when she reports that abuse.
If a woman is a lesbian, her criminal defense becomes more challenging. Jurors in the US were polled as to what factors would make them most biased against a defendant, and perceived sexual orientation was chosen as the most likely personal characteristic to bias a juror against a defendant, three times greater than race. (National Law Journal November 2, 1998.)
The case of Robin Lucas depicts how sexual identity may subject a woman to further abuse or torture by a guard. She was placed in a men’s prison where male guards allowed male inmates to rape her. The male guards taunted her about her same sex relationship, saying to her “maybe we can change your mind”.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 94,336 female inmates in State and Federal institutions in July 2001. At http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/pjim02.pdf
80 Ethiopian women languish in Lebanon jail - From Ethiopian review, April 17th, 2009. Beirut, LEBANON (IRIN) - Eighty Ethiopian women have been in Tripoli Women's Prison in north Lebanon for over a year, accused of not having a passport which was either taken from them when they started as domestic workers, or which they never had in the first place. Most were arrested on the street after running away from their employers - usually because of abuses ranging from forced confinement and starvation to physical harm and rape. Some had fled after being accused of stealing.
Citing no evidence, Steele alledges government was spying on anti-abortion rally he attended – From The Progress Report, April 20, 2009 - Last Friday on Fox News, host Sean Hannity and his guest, RNC Chairman Michael Steele, ranted and raved about a Department of Homeland Security report requested by the Bush administration that warned of increasing incidents of "rightwing radicalization and recruitment." Hannity responded by implying that President Obama himself is a possible terrorist threat. "If you're pro-life, you're viewed as the potential extremist," he complained, but "you can start your career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist and hang out with a guy named Jeremiah Wright." "I don't want to beat an old horse here," said Hannity, who incessantly harps on Obama's past affiliations. "But I'm telling you if anyone hung out with radicals that needs to be investigated by Homeland Security," he said, cutting himself off before explicitly stating that the President of the United States might be a terrorist threat. Steele, who spoke at an anti-abortion rally in Indiana this past week,then said he was "sure" that the government spied on the event. "They've got their eye on the 3,000 Americans who assembled in Indiana last night, in Evansville, Indiana, to profess their continued effort to save the life of the unborn....I'm sure there was somebody in the room with a notepad and a camera taking snapshots and writing down names. But that's not the place our government needs to be," Steele said. Of course, Steele offered no evidence that the government was monitoring the event.
Ad agency hires prostitutes for talk-radio stunt > CFRB says ploy is way to get people to talk about issues - by Melissa Leong, for National Post, - As the snow fell Saturday night at the corner of Jarvis and Carlton streets, vehicles slowed to watch two sex workers on the corner. Some drivers honked. Others rolled down their windows to talk about the law.
The women held signs with a question: "Should prostitution be legal?"
The stunt is part of a controversial ad campaign created by the zig ad agency for CFRB 1010; it is its latest ploy to get people talking about issues in Toronto.
Last fall, the ad team paid homeless people to display signs: "Should panhandling be illegal?" This past weekend, they paid sex workers the "normal fee that they would get for a job" to carry the placards for an hour.
Cougars, hyenas and succubi, oh my! - By Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, Friday, April 17, 2009 - Just as "the cougar" has territorially marked the whole of pop culturedom, a new female predator is stalking into collective consciousness: "The hyena." She is a younger and more aggressive creature, but hungers for male meat -- wink, wink -- all the same. Dr. Jennifer Austin Leigh, the "number one teen girl expert in America," recently coined this descriptor in her book, "Laid or Loved? The Secrets Guys Wish You Knew About Being a Dream Girl Instead of a Just-in-his-Jeans Girl."
GAY AND LESBIAN ISSUES
The Bigots’ Last Hurrah - By Frank Richfor The New York Times, April 19, 2009 - What would happen if you crossed that creepy 1960s horror classic “The Village of the Damned” with the Broadway staple “A Chorus Line”? You don’t need to use your imagination. It’s there waiting for you on YouTube under the title “Gathering Storm”: a 60-second ad presenting homosexuality as a national threat second only to terrorism.
The actors are supposedly Not Gay. They stand in choral formation before a backdrop of menacing clouds and cheesy lightning effects. “The winds are strong,” says a white man to the accompaniment of ominous music. “And I am afraid,” a young black woman chimes in. “Those advocates want to change the way I live,” says a white woman. But just when all seems lost, the sun breaks through and a smiling black man announces that “a rainbow coalition” is “coming together in love” to save America from the apocalypse of same-sex marriage. It’s the swiftest rescue of Western civilization since the heyday of the ambiguously gay duo Batman and Robin.
GOP Urged to Rethink Gay Marriage
> Strategist Who Handled McCain Campaign Says Party Risks Becoming 'Sectarian' - By Perry Bacon Jr. For Washington Post , Saturday, April 18, 2009 - Adding a prominent Republican voice to the ranks of those supporting same-sex marriage, the man who managed Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign yesterday warned members of his party that continued opposition on the issue could turn the GOP into a "sectarian" party.
Steve Schmidt, a California political strategist, has long held more moderate views on social issues than do many top GOP officials. Yesterday, he used a speech in front of the gay rights group Log Cabin Republicans to urge the party to shift its views on same-sex marriage. Otherwise, he said, it will continue losing voters who are younger than 35 or who live outside the South.
"For the party to be seen as anti-gay, that is injurious to its candidates in places like California and Washington," Schmidt said.
From The Progress Report , April 20, 2009 - Days after Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) unveiled a same-sex marriage bill, Rudy Giuliani is "declaring war on gay marriage." Giuliani, who is pro-civil unions, is "vowing to use his strong opposition of it against the Democrats if he runs for governor next year."
Kite Runner Joins Gay Penguins on Top 10 Books Americans Want Banned - by Alison Flood. Published on Friday, April 17, 2009 by The Guardian/UK - The American Library Association's 'most challenged' books of 2008 include Khaled Hosseini's bestseller alongside perennial bêtes noires His Dark Materials and And Tango Makes Three
Khaled Hosseini has joined the illustrious ranks of Philip Pullman and the authors of a story about gay penguins, after his novel The Kite Runner became one of the books that inspired most complaints in America last year.
The bestselling and critically acclaimed title, the story of a 12-year-old Afghan and his betrayal of his best friend, includes the rape of a boy, and provoked challenges in the US over what objectors saw as sexual content and offensive language. Some objections led to the removal of the book from library shelves, while others saw it replaced with bowdlerised versions minus the offending scenes, according to the American Library Association, which compiles an annual list of the most challenged titles in the country.
You say "trans-panic," I say "hate" - By Tracy Clark-Flory for Salon.com, Saturday, April 18, 2009 - In what is believed to be a historic first, a hate-crime statute is being used to prosecute the murder of a transgender person. Last summer in Greeley, Colo., 18-year-old Angie Zapata was allegedly beaten to death with a fire extinguisher after Allen R. Andrade discovered that she was transgender. The two had met online and hung out at Zapata's apartment for two days, during which she gave her 32-year-old companiona blow job. At one point, she left him alone in the apartment and he discovered photographs that raised his suspicions about her sex. When she returned, Andrade allegedly confronted her, grabbed her crotch and, discovering she had a penis, brutally murdered her.
"No one will miss you" - By Kate Harding for Salon.com, Friday, April 17, 2009 - Today is the 13th National Day of Silence "to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment and effective responses." It also would have been the 12th birthday of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, who committed suicide on April 6, after months of being tormented with anti-gay slurs by other children. Sirdeaner Walker, Carl's mother, told the Advocate "her son had been the victim of bullying since the beginning of the school year, and that she had been calling the school since September, complaining that her son was mercilessly teased. He played football, baseball and was a boy scout, but a group of classmates called him gay and teased him about the way he dressed. They ridiculed him for going to church with his mother and for volunteering locally."
CIVIL RIGHTS AND IMMIGRATION
Resisting False Choices & Getting to a Truly Humane Immigration Policy - By David Sirota for Our Future Today, April 20th, 2009 - In the debate over immigration, interest groups like the Chamber of Commerce would have us believe that there are only two positions: Either you are a tolerant and good person who supports "reform" or you are an evil racist who wants to build a wall at our southern border. Likewise, genuine xenophobes and racists would have us believe you are either a patriot who supports "border security" and wants to preserve "our culture" (read: white culture) or you hate America and are a traitor.
These are (obviously) oversimplified frames, and for a reason: Racists want to polarize the debate on nationalistic terms, and Big Money interests want to use immigration "reform" - most prominently through a so-called "guest worker program" - to create a permanent underclass of immigrants to economically exploit.
High Court Poised To Closely Weigh Civil Rights Laws
> Cases Heard as Nation Debates Race - By Robert Barnes, Washington Post , April 19th, 2009 - The Supreme Court has an opportunity to reaffirm or reshape the nation's civil rights laws as it faces a rare confluence of cases over the next two weeks, including a high-profile challenge brought by white firefighters who claim they lost out on promotions because of the "color of their skin."
The cases also touch on the Voting Rights Act, the need to provide English classes for immigrant children and, more tangentially, discriminatory mortgage lending.
The most emotionally charged case is from the New Haven, Conn., firefighters, whose complaints define the real-life quandary that sometimes accompanies government efforts to ensure racial equality.
> Criminal justice experts cite Fourth Amendment privacy concerns and worry that the nation is becoming a genetic surveillance society. - By Solomon Moore for The New York Times, April 19, 2009 - Law enforcement officials are vastly expanding their collection of DNA to include millions more people who have been arrested or detained but not yet convicted. The move, intended to help solve more crimes, is raising concerns about the privacy of petty offenders and people who are presumed innocent.
Until now, the federal government genetically tracked only convicts. But starting this month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation will join 15 states that collect DNA samples from those awaiting trial and will collect DNA from detained immigrants — the vanguard of a growing class of genetic registrants.
The Pulitzer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV - by Glenn Greenwald, Published on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 by Salon.com - TheNew York Times'DavidBarstow won a richly deserved Pulitzer Prize yesterday for two articles that, despite being featured as major news stories on the front page of ThePaper of Record, were completely suppressed by virtually every network and cable news show, which to this day have never informed their viewers about what Bartow uncovered. Here is how thePulitzerCommittee described Barstow's exposés:
Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.
The Torturers’ Manifesto - The New York Times Editorial, April 19, 2009 - To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity.
Their language is the precise bureaucratese favored by dungeon masters throughout history. They detail how to fashion a collar for slamming a prisoner against a wall, exactly how many days he can be kept without sleep (11), and what, specifically, he should be told before being locked in a box with an insect — all to stop just short of having a jury decide that these acts violate the laws against torture and abusive treatment of prisoners.
In one of the more nauseating passages, Jay Bybee, then an assistant attorney general and now a federal judge, wrote admiringly about a contraption for waterboarding that would lurch a prisoner upright if he stopped breathing while water was poured over his face. He praised the Central Intelligence Agency for having doctors ready to perform an emergency tracheotomy if necessary.
Expedience and the Torture Amnesty - By David Bromwich, Professor of Literature at Yale, for The Huffington Post, Posted April 17, 2009 | President Obama's statement on releasing the Bush-era torture memos is a curious and depressing document, but it bears the marks of having been revised with care by the president himself. He takes the occasion to assure the country that a dark age has passed. At the same time he assures the agents of that darkness that they will be exempt from prosecution. The statement betrays an odd mixture of frankness and caution; the appearance of resolution, with a good deal of actual equivocation; a wish to channel the conspicuous truth to one's own cause without revealing a disadvantageous quantity of truth.
The best way to trace the path of the president's thinking is to examine in detail its three central paragraphs; the text, accordingly, is printed below a sentence at a time in boldface; my comment follows in brackets. Why, President Obama asks, was it necessary and useful that he release the torture memos?
Psychologists Helped Guide Interrogations
> Extent of Health Professionals' Role at CIA Prisons Draws Fresh Outrage From Ethicists
By Joby Warrick and Peter Finn for Washington Post , Saturday, April 18, 2009 - When the CIA began what it called an "increased pressure phase" with captured terrorism suspect Abu Zubaida in the summer of 2002, its first step was to limit the detainee's human contact to just two people. One was the CIA interrogator, the other a psychologist.
During the extraordinary weeks that followed, it was the psychologist who apparently played the more critical role. According to newly released Justice Department documents, the psychologist provided ideas, practical advice and even legal justification for interrogation methods that would break Abu Zubaida, physically and mentally. Extreme sleep deprivation, waterboarding, the use of insects to provoke fear -- all were deemed acceptable, in part because the psychologist said so.
Power, humiliation and torture - By Paul Woodward for War in Context, April 19, 2009 - In the wake of 9/11, no phrase more succinctly projected the upwelling of popular jingoism across the United States than the words “Power of Pride.”
America needed to reassert its potency after experiencing the insult and humiliation of witnessing its power simultaneously centralized and instantaneously crushed when two drab towers acquired their national and international iconic significance in the very same moment that they collapsed.
As American power symbolically turned to a cloud of dust, its leaders scurried around in a desperate effort to salvage their authority and credibly restate their dominance.
The Story of Mitchell Jessen & Associates: How a Team of Psychologists in Spokane, WA, Helped Develop the CIA's Torture Techniques . From Democracy Now, Aopril 21, 2009 - We broadcast from Spokane, Washington, less than three miles from the headquarters of a secretive CIA contractor that played a key role in developing the Bush administration's interrogation methods. The firm, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, is named after the two military psychologists who founded the company, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. Beginning in 2002, the CIA hired the psychologists to train interrogators in brutal techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pain. We speak with three journalists who have closely followed the story.
Major Scandal Erupts involving Rep. Jane Harman, Alberto Gonzales and AIPAC - by Glenn Greenwald, Published on Monday, April 20, 2009 by Salon.com - Other obligations prevent me from writing until later today -- andI intend to focus onRahm Emanuel's war-crimes-protecting proclamation that Obama's desire for immunity extends beyond CIAofficers perpetrating torture to the "policy makers" who ordered it(watch today as the hardest-core Obama loyalists start explaining how theUN doesn't matter, international treaties are irrelevant, and war criminals need not be held accountable)-- but, until then, I wanted to highlight this extremely important and well-reported story from CQ's Jeff Stein, which involves allegations of major corruption and serious criminal activity on the part of Democratic Rep. JaneHarman. Here's one crucial prong of the story:
Torture Retorts - By Eric Etheridge, for New York Times, April 22, 2009 - Torture continues to be topic A online. Late yesterday the Senate Armed Services Committee released its full report on military interrogations of terrorism suspects, 232 pages of new material, which bloggers quickly began to digest. Elsewhere online, the debate continued over the efficacy of torture.
At Firegodglake, Jame Hamsher offered these observations, among several others:
More about the Torture Issue:
ACLU Response to Former Vice-President Cheney's Call for Release of Bush Torture Documentation
Obama Leaves Door Open to Bush Officials' Prosecution
Robert Parry | Connecting CIA Torture to Abu Ghraib
Report: Military Aided CIA Interrogation Methods
Dozens of Prisoners Held by CIA Still Missing, Fates Unknown
Jeremy Scahill | A Closer Look at Obama's 'New' Position on Torture Prosecutions
Amnesty International - USA: Senate Report Strongest Refutation to Date of 'A Few Bad Apples' Theory, Says Amnesty International
Children in Peril. by By Bob Herbert for The New York Times, April 20, 2009—With so much attention focused on the banking system and arguments over bailouts, the plight of America’s children in this severe economic downturn is getting short shrift.
The Real Tax Outrage by Mike Papantonio for Huffingtonpost.com , April 20, 2009 — I have some great news for Rick Santelli and the teabaggers. But it's probably not what their Wall Street pals are going to want to hear. The Public Interest Research Group found billions of dollars hidden in offshore corporate tax havens. This would no doubt upset the teabaggers to know that there is more than 100 billion dollars worth of tax shelters offshore created by many of Santelli's Wall Street pals. We don't have money to pay for schools, teachers, new roads, and health care, but billions of dollars are sitting in no-ask no-pay corporate tax shelters offshore.