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A top adviser to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned the Bush administration that its use of “cruel, inhuman or degrading” interrogation techniques like waterboarding were “a felony war crime.”

What’s more, newly obtained documents reveal that State Department counselor Philip Zelikow told the Bush team in 2006 that using the controversial interrogation techniques were “prohibited” under U.S. law — “even if there is a compelling state interest asserted to justify them.”

Zelikow argued that the Geneva conventions applied to al-Qaida — a position neither the Justice Department nor the White House shared at the time. That made waterboarding and the like a violation of the War Crimes statute and a “felony,” Zelikow tells Danger Room. Asked explicitly if he believed the use of those interrogation techniques were a war crime, Zelikow replied, “Yes.”

CIA Committed ‘War Crimes,’ Bush Official Says | Wired (via pieceinthepuzzlehumanity)

Note: If you are interested in torture and human rights, check out The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program, by PEN’s own Larry Siems or participate in PEN’s Reckoning with Torture project, jointly run with the ACLU.

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Actress Samantha Osaki reads at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011.

The Reckoning with Torture project is based on a simple but powerful notion: that coming to terms with human rights abuses starts with reading the documentary record. Over 130,000 formerly secret documents detailing the torture and abuse of detainees in US custody since 9/11 are now publicly available. A collaborative project with Doug Liman, the ACLU, and PEN, the Reckoning with Torture Project asks the public to read the record and spread the word.

(via PEN.org » Blog Archive Reckoning with Torture: Samantha Osaki and Lili Taylor - PEN.org)

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Secrecy and Torture | The Dissident Blog
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Samantha Osaki, a student living in Pennsylvania, reads the sworn statement of an interpreter at the Kandahar detention facility in Afghanistan who witnesses the mistreatment of a detainee: 

Here’s actress Lili Taylor reading the same statement at the Sundance Film Festival 2011:

And here’s a fragment of the original handwritten statement: 

Join Samantha and Lili in honoring this interpreter: 

1) download the statement

2) film yourself reading 

3) send us the file

Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s moving piece in The Root on the travails of married journalists Serkalem Fasil and Eskinder Nega. Nega, who is in prison, won the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. His wife Serkalem Fasil accepted the award on his behalf. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a journalist and correspondent, was the master of ceremonies at the PEN Gala in New York.
(via Eskinder Nega and Serkalem Fasil: Fighting for Freedom of Speech in Ethiopia)

Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s moving piece in The Root on the travails of married journalists Serkalem Fasil and Eskinder Nega. Nega, who is in prison, won the 2012 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. His wife Serkalem Fasil accepted the award on his behalf. Charlayne Hunter-Gault, a journalist and correspondent, was the master of ceremonies at the PEN Gala in New York.

(via Eskinder Nega and Serkalem Fasil: Fighting for Freedom of Speech in Ethiopia)

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We believe that the decision to resume arms shipments to the government of Bahrain without tangible evidence of progress in restoring and protecting human rights sends the wrong message to the Bahraini people and the international community—namely that the U.S. will privilege national security over documented human rights violations. That is surely not the message the administration wishes to project in the region.
PEN American Center, in our letter to Secretary of State Clinton on the resumption of arms shipments to Bahrain
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In Doug Liman’s documentary film Reckoning With Torture, ordinary Americans stand side-by-side with actors, writers, and former military interrogators and intelligence officers in a reading of official documents that reveals the scope and cost of America’s post-9/11 torture program.

This Sunday on Moyers & Company, Liman joins Larry Siems, PEN American’s Director of Freedom to Write and International Programs, to discuss the film and the importance of hearing the voices of detainees.

To find out when the show airs in your area, click here.

(via PEN.org » Blog Archive Reckoning with Torture on Bill Moyers - PEN.org)

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On this weekend’s Moyers & Company (check local listings), PEN American Center’s Larry Siems, author of The Torture Report, and director Doug Liman, whose credits include The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Fair Game, join Bill Moyers to talk about U.S. torture tactics and Reckoning with Torture, their collaborative multimedia effort. You can watch a preview of the showhere. 
Bill Moyers and Michael Winship explain why it’s important to face the truth about U.S. torture tactics as we honor Americans in uniform in a new On Democracy essay. The essay was published by Moyers & Company and first appeared on BillMoyers.com.
(via PEN.org » Blog Archive On Memorial Day Weekend, America Reckons with Torture - PEN.org)

On this weekend’s Moyers & Company (check local listings), PEN American Center’s Larry Siems, author of The Torture Report, and director Doug Liman, whose credits include The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Fair Game, join Bill Moyers to talk about U.S. torture tactics and Reckoning with Torture, their collaborative multimedia effort. You can watch a preview of the showhere

Bill Moyers and Michael Winship explain why it’s important to face the truth about U.S. torture tactics as we honor Americans in uniform in a new On Democracy essay. The essay was published by Moyers & Company and first appeared on BillMoyers.com.

(via PEN.org » Blog Archive On Memorial Day Weekend, America Reckons with Torture - PEN.org)

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In Doug Liman’s documentary Reckoning With Torture, ordinary Americans stand side-by-side with actors, writers, and former military interrogators and intelligence officers in a reading of official documents that reveals the scope and cost of America’s post-9/11 torture program.

This Sunday on Moyers & Company, Liman joins Larry Siems, PEN American’s Director of Freedom to Write and International Programsto discuss the film and the importance of hearing the voices of detainees.