A round-up of this week's torture related news. This list is in no particular order. Each story is as important as the next, so be sure to check out each one.
---------------------Psychology Legend Blasts Detainee Torture
PALO ALTO -
The retiring psychology professor who ran the famed Stanford Prison Experiment savagely criticized the Bush administration's war on terrorism and said senior government officials should be tried for crimes against humanity.
In his final lecture at Stanford University on Wednesday, Philip Zimbardo said abuses committed by Army reservists at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were not isolated incidents by rogue soldiers. Rather, sadism was the inevitable result of U.S. government policies that condone brutality toward enemies, he said.
The professor blasted President Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other senior officials who said al-Qaida and Taliban captives would be considered "unlawful combatants" rather than "prisoners of war," a designation that would invoke the Geneva Convention.
Zimbardo said those officials "should be tried for the crimes against humanity."
---------------------Red Cross Says Detainees Reported Abuse
WASHINGTON (AP) - Terror detainees once held in the CIA's secret prisons were kept and questioned under highly abusive conditions, the International Committee of the Red Cross says in a confidential report based on interviews with high-value terror suspects.
The Red Cross said the techniques reported by the 14 prisoners, including sleep deprivation and the use of forced standing and other so-called "stress positions," were particularly harsh when used together. The prisoners were transferred from CIA custody to a military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in September.
The CIA's detention methods were designed to soften detainees and make them more likely to talk during interrogation. Human rights organizations say the CIA's extreme conditions of detention and the coercive questioning techniques constitute torture.
---------------------Ex-Captive in Guantánamo Makes Run for Office in Australia
AUBURN, Australia — Mamdouh Habib cannot drink cold water. He vomits when he tries to, he said. He knows he must drink water, so he engages in vigorous exercise in order to force some lukewarm water down.
Mr. Habib, an unemployed 51-year-old father of four, was an early case of rendition. He was seized in Pakistan in October 2001, where he has alleged that he was tortured, then bound up by tough English-speaking men in black and secretly flown to Egypt, where he was held and, by his accounts, tortured for several months, before being shipped to the American detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in April 2002.
He was released from Guantánamo and returned to Australia in February 2005 without any charges filed against him, because the Bush administration did not want the torture allegations aired in court, Australian and American officials have said.
Now, he is fighting back. He is running in elections on March 24 for a seat in the parliament of the state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney.
Mr. Habib does not expect to win, but he does plan to keep fighting, his own way.
“If we don’t win this election, we’ll go to the next one,” he said. “And if we don’t with that one, we’ll go to the next, and the next one after that. This is just practice.”
---------------------Inquiry Opens into 3 Canadians' Torture Cases
A public inquiry began Wednesday in Ottawa into the arrest and torture of three Canadians by Syria and the possible complicity of officials in this country.
Like Maher Arar, Abdullah Almalki, Ahmed Al Maati and Muayyed Nureddin all spent time in Syria's most feared prison where they say they were tortured and accused of links to al-Qaeda.
All were eventually freed and allowed to return to Canada.
Amnesty's Alex Neve says his organization wants to argue that, after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Canada may have operated its own version of the Bush administration's "extraordinary rendition" program.
---------------------Anger at US 'rendition' of refugees who fled Somalia
At least 150 people arrested in Kenya after fleeing violence in Somalia have been secretly flown to Somalia and Ethiopia, where they are being held incommunicado in underground prisons, human rights groups say.
It is alleged they were questioned by US and British officials.
Flight manifests seen by The Independent show that three charter planes left Nairobi for Somalia's capital Mogadishu, and Baidoa, the seat of parliament, in January and February, carrying around 80 people suspected of links with al-Qa'ida. The flights left at night, and the manifests appear to have been filled in hastily with many of the details, including the plane's destination, left blank.
Several of the suspects are understood to be held in underground prisons at Mogadishu airport where they are held shackled to the wall. Most have since been sent on to two detention facilities in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has been accused of routinely torturing political prisoners. A further 50 or 60 people accused of belonging to Ethiopian rebel groups fighting alongside Somalia's Union of Islamic Courts were sent directly to Ethiopia.
---------------------Padilla Case Opens Old Questions on CIA ‘Truth Serums’
Why won’t the government just deny that U.S. interrogators administered a “truth serum” to Jose Padilla?
What are they trying to hide?
Lawyers for the Chicago-born al Qaeda wannabe say their client told them he was given an LSD-like hallucinogen during his 44 months-and-counting stay in a Navy brig in South Carolina.
The government refuses to say what is almost certainly true: that interrogators did not, in fact, use any kind of so-called “truth serum” on Padilla.
Instead, it issues wobbly canned statements that dodge the question, like this one last week from a spokesman for Secretary of Defense (and former CIA director) Robert M. Gates:
“It has always been our policy to treat all detainees humanely.”
---------------------Senate Wins Fight To Lower Allowable Amperage Levels On Detainees' Testicles
WASHINGTON, DC—Led by a bipartisan group of senators critical of White House policy on suspected terrorists, the Senate passed a bill Thursday that prohibits interrogators from exceeding 100 amps per testicle when questioning detainees. "Even in times of war, it is counterproductive and wrong to employ certain inhumane interrogation techniques, and using three-digit amperage levels on the testicles of captives constitutes torture," said Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who has also supported reducing the size of attack dogs and the height of nude pyramids. "Using amperages of 99 and lower, with approved surge protectors on the jumper-cable clamps, are the hallmarks of a civilized society." The legislation did not address amperage restrictions on suspected terrorists' labia.