Sunday, January 08, 2006

Reporting from outside the US mainstream media

New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.
They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer.
'Experience teaches us' that such symptoms must be expected 'whenever nasogastric tubes are used,' says the affidavit of Captain John S Edmondson, commander of Guantánamo's hospital. The procedure - now standard practice at Guantánamo - 'requires that a foreign body be inserted into the body and, ideally, remain in it.' But staff always use a lubricant, and 'a nasogastric tube is never inserted and moved up and down. It is inserted down into the stomach slowly and directly, and it would be impossible to insert the wrong end of the tube.' Medical personnel do not insert nasogastric tubes in a manner 'intentionally designed to inflict pain.'
It is painful, Edmonson admits. Although 'non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient, sometimes stronger drugs,' including opiates such as morphine, have had to be administered.
Thick, 4.8mm diameter tubes tried previously to allow quicker feeding, so permitting guards to keep prisoners in their cells for more hours each day, have been abandoned, the affidavit says. The new 3mm tubes are 'soft and flexible'.
The London solicitors Allen and Overy, who represent some of the hunger strikers, have lodged a court action to be heard next week in California, where Edmondson is registered to practise. They are asking for an order that the state medical ethics board investigate him for 'unprofessional conduct' for agreeing to the force-feeding.

The above, noted by Gareth, is from David Rose's "Scandal of force-fed prisoners: Hunger strikers are tied down and fed through nasal tubes, admits Guantánamo Bay doctor" (The Observer). Sunday, time to focus on news from around the world, outside the US mainstream media (with one exception in this entry). Members are using the backup e-mail account and please continue doing that. News on Greenpeace, more torture, MLK, a greenhouse summit, the US military and a murder that a government's blaming on a corporation not living up to the arrangement agreed upon.

Rena notes the first of two stories on Greenpeace, "Greenpeace 'rammed' by Japanese whaler" (The New Zealand Herald):

Crew on a Greenpeace ship say they feared for their lives when struck by a larger vessel being used by a Japanese whaling operation in the Southern Ocean yesterday.
The crew of the Arctic Sunrise had been painting the words "Whale meat from sanctuary" on to the side of a supply vessel that was tied alongside the whaling fleet's mother ship, the Nisshin Maru, yesterday afternoon shortly before the collision happened.
Greenpeace and Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR) versions of the incident conflict, with the ICR claiming it was the Greenpeace vessel that deliberately rammed its ship while it was attempting to refuel from the supply vessel.
Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury told NZPA that crew in inflatable rafts had been using rollers on poles to daub the supply boat, which was loading up with whale meat from the Nisshin Maru, when the larger vessel separated itself and allegedly came for the Arctic Sunrise.

This was a topic that also interested in Olive who provided "Greenpeace accuses Japanese over collision" (Australia's ABC):

Greenpeace expedition leader Shane Rattenbury says his captain tried unsuccessfully to contact the captain of the whaling boat.
"We radioed them when we realised they were on a collision course with us," he said.
"My captain spoke to them over the bridge, we received no reply and we've had no further communication since.
"After the incident the Japanese ship turned and headed off directly north at high speed and sailed straight away from us."
Greenpeace says the Arctic Sunrise had been observing activists onboard inflatable rafts before the collision.
Those activists had been painting the words "whale meat from sanctuary" on the side of a Japanese supply vessel.

James in Brighton noted a decision by the US military, "US hands over sailor to Japanese" (BBC):

US authorities have handed a sailor suspected of involvement in a local women's death to Japanese officials.
William Reese, 21, was arrested by Japanese officials after being escorted to a police station in Yokosuka, south of the capital Tokyo.
The sailor, based on the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, has been under investigation following the death of Yoshie Sato.
The 56-year-old died on Tuesday after being found beaten and unconscious.

How responsible are corporations and, when granted a sweet heart deal, how seriously do they take the guidelines? That's the topic of a story that Polly found of interest, "IT giant faces India legal action" (BBC):

Computer giant Hewlett Packard is facing legal action in India after the rape and murder of a female employee.
Pratibha Srikanthmurthy, 24, who worked in a Hewlett Packard Globalsoft call centre in Bangalore, was killed on her way to a night shift last month.
Karnataka state government officials say an inquiry found security lapses on the part of the company.
The company denies negligence. A cab driver who gave a lift to the victim has been arrested for her murder.
[. . .]
Additional labour commissioner S Narasimhaiah told the BBC that a case had been filed against Hewlett Packard Globalsoft under the state's Shops and Commercial Establishments Act.
Under the law, it is mandatory for employers to provide for the safety and security of women employees.

Concerned about the environment? A summit stands in limbo. Skip notes Jason Frenkel's "World summit at risk" (The Herald Sun of Australia):

A MEETING in Australia this week, aimed at bringing together the world's biggest polluters, is on the brink of being derailed.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- the star attraction of the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate -- has already pulled out of the Sydney summit because of Israeli leader Ariel Sharon's health crisis.
And host Prime Minister John Howard, who is scheduled to give the keynote address, is also making alternative plans in case Mr Sharon's health deteriorates.
The six nations at the summit, known as AP6 -- Australia, the US, Japan, South Korea, China and India -- are responsible for about half the world's greenhouse emissions.
Pledging to create a new climate pact beyond Kyoto, their business and political leaders plan to examine technologies to curb greenhouse gases.
The summit comes after Australia had its hottest year on record and amid growing concern over unchecked global warming.

Breaking from the tradition of going outside the US for these entries, Eddie found something he wanted to share. Doug had asked that we note something pertaining to MLK each day until the 16th of this month. So if you see something you'd like to share, please note it. Eddie wanted to share Anita Miller's "Equality: MLK celebration is for everyone" (San Marcos Daily Record):

Ever noticed how some dreams stay with you, while others just seem to dissolve with the bright light of day?
San Marcos resident Harvey Miller and his Dunbar Heritage Association do, which only solidifies their commitment to making sure the dreams of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. are not forgotten.
The public has the opportunity to join in that quest by participating in the 2006 MLK celebration on Monday, Jan. 16. Events will begin at 11 a.m. at the Hays County Courthouse and will include remarks by Chris Jones, a Texas State student who was elected in November to the San Marcos City Council.
Following the program at the courthouse, participants will march down LBJ Drive to Martin Luther King Drive and then to the Dunbar Center for a birthday reception complete with cakes, other refreshments and historical displays.
Transportation will be provided via vans from the Mitchell Center and the First Baptist Church, so people can park at Dunbar Center, catch a van to the courthouse and then march back to their cars. Vans will run every 15 minutes beginning at 9:45 a.m.
To Miller, who was born the same year as King, the annual procession is crucial to keeping alive not only the dreams of the civil rights pioneer but also the memory of segregation itself - something he says many young people today are unaware of.

Back on the topic of torture (which is how we began this entry) but moving from the topic of Guantanamo to torture in other areas, Pru notes Kevin Ovenden's "Tortured as MI6 watched: The victims spoke about their ordeal" (the UK's Socialist Worker):

Victims were abducted and beaten by Greek agents
The British foreign office has been forced to admit that a senior MI6 officer was present at the interrogation of Pakistani immigrants who were illegally seized in Greece. The 28 men were abducted from their homes then beaten and psychologically tortured.
Foreign secretary Jack Straw had last week flatly denied reports in Proto Thema, a Greek weekly, that British officials were involved in the seizure of the Pakistanis by EYP, the Greek intelligence agency, in the wake of the July bombings in London.
But Proto Thema reports that Greek agents beat and psychologically tortured detainees to "show off" in front of the British officer.
Three of the men spoke out at a press conference organised by the Greek Stop the War Coalition on Tuesday of this week, adding to mounting pressure on the Tory government there, and what should be equal pressure on Straw.
Munir Mohamed, one of the three, said, "On 17 July we were in our garden when seven or eight persons claiming to be police appeared. They showed no identification and asked for our mobile phones. I was the only one not having a mobile.
"I was a newcomer in Greece from Pakistan and I hadn't yet bought one. They said, 'You are a liar. You have hidden your mobile.'
"So they took me to a separate room. They handcuffed me, pressed me against the wall and started beating. After a while they took me outside with the others. I had blood on my lips.
"They put our shirts on our heads and put us in a van and took us to an unknown place. There I was kept separated. They interrogated me for about two and a half hours. They were asking, 'What do you know about London? What happened in the tube?'
"They were threatening me. I stayed there two days. Then they put me in a car and took me to another unknown place, still blindfolded. I stayed in that second place for five days. The interrogation continued there, three times a day.
"When they finally let me go, they told me, 'Don't you dare tell a word about what ­happened in here. If we find out you said something, either we'll bring you here again or we'll cut your throat'."
The mainstream British press has largely ignored this story and has obeyed a gagging order on naming the MI6 agent present at some of the interrogations. He is Nicholas Langman, who is officially listed as a "counsellor" at the British embassy in Athens.
The Greek media, however, is homing in on attempts by their government at a cover-up.
A former minister of justice, Georgios Alexandros Mangakis, told journalists on Tuesday, "This case is a blatant violation of every human right and of political liberties. The interrogation of the 28 immigrants from Pakistan was totally illegal.
"These are the results of Tony Blair's and George Bush's illegal war and the occupation of Iraq. The only hope is the popular mobilisation against the war and in defence of civil rights." The same is true here.
The following should be read alongside this article: »
Documents reveal New Labour’s torture shame
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