Senate Candidate Levitt Challenges Torture Secrecy and Drone Policies
US Senate candidate David Levitt of California called on his party’s leaders to reverse the policy of secrecy regarding the abuse, kidnapping, torture and death of suspects in US custody, and to suspend the policy whereby the president, without judicial review and without knowing the identities of the victims, assassinates terror suspects in their countries using drone weapons.
Sebastopol, California (PRWEB) June 01, 2012
Democratic candidate for US Senate David Levitt of California called on his party’s leaders today to reverse the policy of secrecy regarding the abuse, kidnapping, torture and death of suspects in US custody, and to suspend the policy recently revealed in the New York Times whereby the president, without judicial review and without knowing the identities of the victims, assassinates terror suspects in their countries using drone weapons.
Dr. Levitt, a computer scientist running for US Senate, seeks to offer alternatives to current costly national security policies that make extensive use of secrecy and violence while inspiring groups like Al Qaeda and making Americans less safe.
Levitt asks the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, incumbent California Senator Dianne Feinstein, to begin by releasing information about abused Guantanamo Bay prisoners witnessed by at least 26 FBI employees, as reported on CNN, Israel news and elsewhere as early as 2005.
The many FBI witnesses cooperated after realizing Guantanamo interrogators were impersonating FBI agents in their work. Their reports were confirmed by the Department of Defense.
The reports say: “On several occasions witnesses saw detainees in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to floor with no chair/food/water; most urinated or defecated on selves and were left there 18, 24 hours or more,” according to one FBI account that was published by CNN. One FBI witness saw a detainee “shaking with cold,” while another noted a detainee in a sweltering unventilated room was “almost unconscious on a floor with a pile of hair next to him (he had apparently been pulling it out through the night). CNN quoted from an FBI statement that said an interrogator squatted over the Quran and that a German shepherd dog was ordered to “growl, bark and show his teeth to the prisoner.” Another detainee was draped in an Israeli flag, the statement published by CNN said.
Most Guantanamo prisoners who had their cases reviewed were not found guilty of terror activity. Levitt says when ordinary Americans learn about such treatment they want to know: “Did he have a family? Did he survive? Did he recover physically? Mentally? Is he one of the ones who died, or killed himself, or was thought to have become a terrorist on release? Does anyone know their names?”
Says Levitt, “The answers are among thousands of pages and millions of documents Senator Feinstein has been reviewing, expecting much of the information about detainee treatment to remain secret. Withholding answers about abused prisoners would be a grave error, since it prevents any accountability for the severe abuses even our own FBI and DOD have reported. Only when these basic human questions are answered can we truly put this behind us. Senator Feinstein is in a position to take the lead.”
“We’ll be safest when we convince a billion Muslims around the world that we consider them human beings,” says Levitt. “If any Christian or Jew was treated that way while draped by his captors in a Palestinian flag, I don’t think anyone in the Senate would rest until we had full answers and knew their names.” As reported in the Washington Post, Senator Durbin began asking about Guantanamo prisoner abuse on the Senate floor in 2005, but was quickly shut down.
Levitt also called for suspension of a policy whereby the US president targets unnamed foreigners and US citizens for death by drone, disclosed in the New York Times earlier this week.
“Three years ago the president asked us to ‘Look forward not back’ in regard to Bush era abuses,” says Levitt. “But this week the New York Times revealed that today’s president — and if we allow it, tomorrow’s — will look through drone cameras to consider whether a group of Muslims doing jumping jacks should be considered a terror training camp, and with no judicial review, kill everyone present without learning their names. The Times confirms that if they are military age males they will be described as dead militants, even if they are never identified. We may trust Barack Obama’s judgement, he’s not the permanent president. We ARE looking forward, and this policy mustn’t be our future.”
It is already being reported in the Washington Post that in Yemen, “an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States” because of civilian casualties in the attacks. ““These attacks are making people say, ℠We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,´ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers – one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman – were killed in a U.S. strike in March.”
“This is a grave failure of national security,” says Levitt. “Such policies help Al Qaeda, have already inspired US terror plots, and make us less safe.”
As recounted in the Huffington Post, when the Canadian government inadvertently helped to kidnap and torture innocent engineer Maher Arar, it investigated and made a public apology with considerable financial compensation, demonstrating it was an accident, not a policy toward innocent Muslims. The United States — which had a far greater role in that kidnapping and ten months of torture — asserted U.S. secrecy rights and refused any compensation or apology.
“Such unaccountable, inhumane policies are needless gifts to Al Qaeda,” says Levitt. ”It’s not rocket science — you apologize to the innocent guy you tortured, even though he’s a Muslim you were once scared of. With smarter, accountable, humane policies, groups like Al Qaeda can’t recruit, and the United States may one day be as safe and morally respected as Canada.”
David Alex Levitt is a Computer Scientist/Engineer running for U.S. Senate on California’s June 5th primary ballot. Under a new ‘top two’ rule Levitt, a Democrat, can appear on November ballots along with Democratic incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein if he is the runner up.
Levitt’s campaign platform includes Bring our Troops Home, End Prohibition, and Medicare for All. He subscribes to the Contract for the American Dream.
David Levitt for US Senate Campaign Committee
For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/6/prweb9565741.htm