[News] Torture Resisters Arrested at Fort Huachuca

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 16 12:17:59 EST 2009


http://www.counterpunch.org/norrell11162009.html
November 16, 2009


Protest at the Army Intelligence Center


Torture Resisters Arrested at Fort Huachuca

By BRENDA NORRELL

Human rights activists protesting torture being carried out by the 
United States marched to the main gate at Fort Huachuca Army 
Intelligence Center, where five crossed into the base and were taken 
into custody on Nov. 15.

"Rogue assassinations and torture have damaged the soul of our nation 
and tarnished our image around the world," torture resisters said in 
a letter to the Army base.

Arrested were: Joshua Harris, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Mariah Klusmire, 
Albuquerque; John Heid, Tucson; Fr. Jerry Zawada, Tucson and Fr. Bob 
Carney, Tucson.

All were released with a letter ordering them not to re-enter the 
base within the next year. Joshua Harris initially refused to 
identify himself and was charged under Arizona law with trespass and 
failure to provide a truthful name when lawfully detained. He was 
released a couple of hours after the others.

In a letter to the Army base, the human rights activists stated their 
reasons for the action.

Because the Obama administration has failed to close Guantanamo and 
the U.S. continues to imprison and interrogate thousands of captives 
at military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and places unknown, we renew 
our call for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of all 
interrogation training and practice.

Ft. Huachuca is also implicated in the rapidly expanding, legally 
questionable and morally reprehensible use of remotely-piloted 
aircraft, or drones, as a weapon of war. We're told that currently 
the Army only trains for the operation and maintenance of 
reconnaissance and surveillance drones at Ft. Huachuca. But we also 
know that the Army plans to weaponize some of these same drones.

Drone attacks have killed many more innocent civilians in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, than alleged terrorists. The 
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has asked whether 
the use of drones in targeting terrorists to be killed constitutes 
'arbitrary extrajudicial execution,' or rogue assassinations in 
violation of international law.

Torture protesters revealed that the torture training manual used by 
the School of Americas, resulting in the torture and deaths of masses 
in the Americas in the 70s and 80s, was produced here at Fort 
Huachuca. The majority of those tortured and murdered were Indigenous 
Peoples, farmers and villagers. Further, they revealed that one 
military leader responsible for torture in Abu-Ghraib was also a 
military leader at Fort Huachuca. Major Gen. Barbara Fast, previously 
at Fort Huachuca, was in charge of interrogations at Abu-Ghraib. 
During the vigil and march, torture resisters passed by the offices 
of CACI International, Inc., one of the intelligence contract 
profiteers now benefiting from torture and the war in Iraq and 
Afghanistan. CACI hired private interrogators to work at Abu-Ghraib 
prison, where detainees were routinely tortured by the U.S. While the 
peaceful resisters spoke of unconditional love and peace, counter 
demonstrators yelled and insulted them. During the Southwest Weekend 
of Witness to End Torture, torture resisters read the names of those 
who have suffered US torture and said "Presente!" to each name as they walked.

Fort Huachuca in Sierra Vista, home of the Predator drone for border 
suveillance, is located less than one hour north of the US/Mexico 
border. A Predator drone crashed nearby in the Nogales area in 2006.

The United States has been a major instrument in the proliferation of 
terror in the world by training assassins at the School of Americas 
and as special ops. The Zetas of Mexico and Kaibiles of Guatemala 
were trained originally as US Special Forces before becoming rogue 
instruments of terror.

The torture resisters carried the following open letter to base 
personnel and employees:

"We return to Fort Huachuca to call for an end to torture.

We are here because we desire dialogue with soldiers and commanders 
engaged in interrogation training.

We are here because we still question whether soldiers are provided 
with adequate training about international human rights law so they 
would know to refuse illegal orders and other pressure to torture 
captives (including a guarantee that speaking out would not lead to 
retaliation or punishment).

We are here in the hope that healing can take place - healing for the 
victims of torture, as well as the men and women who have been 
involved in carrying out torture.

Because the Obama administration has failed to close Guantanamo and 
the U.S. continues to imprison and interrogate thousands of captives 
at military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and places unknown, we renew 
our call for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of all 
interrogation training and practice.

Ft. Huachuca is also implicated in the rapidly expanding, legally 
questionable and morally reprehensible use of remotely-piloted 
aircraft, or drones, as a weapon of war. We're told that currently 
the Army only trains for the operation and maintenance of 
reconnaissance and surveillance drones at Ft. Huachuca. But we also 
know that the Army plans to weaponize some of these same drones.

Drone attacks have killed many more innocent civilians in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, than alleged terrorists. The 
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has asked whether 
the use of drones in targeting terrorists to be killed constitutes 
"arbitrary extrajudicial executions", or rogue assassinations in 
violation of international law.

We are here today to call for an end to the use of armed drones in 
warfare. We believe this terrorizing and killing generates deep 
resentment in the region that incites hatred for the U.S., boosts 
recruitment for Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and may 
spawn decades of retaliation.

We act in solidarity with the campaign to close the School of the 
Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation at 
Ft. Benning, Georgia, where the testimony of torture survivors has 
informed our outrage and moved us to action. We also act in 
solidarity with people in New York protesting the presence of Reaper 
drones at a NY Air National Guard base outside of Syracuse today.

Rogue assassinations and torture have damaged the soul of our nation 
and tarnished our image around the world. We know that a world 
without torture, without violence and without war is possible. We 
invite you to help us create that world."

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter covering Indian country and 
Mexico for 27 years, serving as a staff reporter for Navajo Times, 
Lakota Journal and Indian Country Today. She served as a stringer for 
AP for five years and USA Today for seven years, covering the Navajo 
Nation and federal courts. She was censored and terminated by Indian 
Country Today in 2006 and created Censored News. She is a contributor 
to CounterPunch.




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