BY: DEBORAH DUPRE
The U.S. is holding 27,000 kidnapped people in secret prisons including thirty-two ‘ghost ships’ according to Reprieve Founding Director, Attorney Clive Stafford Smith in an interview Wednesday by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (Clive Stafford Smith, Democracy Now! Amy Goodman Interview, September 2, 2009)
Reprieve is a London based non-profit organization using law to enforce human rights ‘from Guantanamo Bay to Death Row.’
The organization has been dedicated to helping people kidnapped, tortured and used for experimentation in America’s planet battlefield ‘war on terror’ system.
The U.S. is transporting people to Iraqi jails among other places, to avoid media and legal scrutiny according to Smith in the Democracy Now! interview. (below)
Bush administration’s program of kidnapping “suspects,” a covert operation also known as “rendition,” continues under the Obama administration.
Most people kidnapped and tortured are people of color, innocent of terrorism. They are used for non-consensual human experimentation according to recent reports. (See AFP, Doctors had central role in CIA abuse: rights group, Spet. 1, 2009 and CIA doctors face human experimentation claims, Sept. 3, 2009)
Human experimentation without consent has been prohibited in any setting since 1947, when the Nuremberg Code resultant of Nazi doctor prosecution.
“Every day, the U.S. picks up 40 – 60 people considered ‘suspects’ from around the world and imprisons them,” stated Smith.
Non-consensual human experimentation conducted on Middle Eastern detainees has consisted of applying torture including “physical threats, mock executions, choking to the point where detainees lost consciousness and even using a stiff brush to scrub a detainees skin raw” while health officials and psychologists monitored reactions. (AFP)
The U.S.-based group, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) medical advisor Scott Allen states on the PHR website that “medical doctors and psychologists colluded with the CIA to keep observational records about waterboarding, which approaches unethical and unlawful human experimentation.” (Press release: PHR Analysis: CIA Health Professionals’ Role in Torture Worse Than Previously Known, August 31, 2009)
Earlier this year, Smith estimated that 60,000 people had been through the American “system.” This system is now internationally known to be a U.S. sponsored kidnap-torture-experiment program.
Stated on the Reprieve website is: “We investigate, we litigate and we educate, working on the frontline, providing legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. We promote the rule of law around the world, and secure each person’s right to a fair trial. And in doing so, we save lives.”
Clive Stafford Smith dedicated humanitarian
Smith, spent 25 years working on behalf of defendants facing U.S. death penalty. As Reprieve Director, Smith oversees Reprieve’s Casework Programme plus the direct representation of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and on death row as a Louisiana licensed attorney-at-law.
After graduating from Columbia Law School in New York, Smith spent nine years as a lawyer with the Southern Center for Human Rights working on death penalty cases and other civil rights issues. In 1993, Smith moved to New Orleans and launched the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, a non-profit law office specializing in representation of poor people in death penalty cases.
In 1999 Smith founded Reprieve. The following year, he was awarded an OBE for ‘humanitarian services. Since 2004, Smith has focused on achieving due process for prisoners being held by the US in Guantánamo Bay and countless secret prisons around the world established in the wake of the World Trade Center crime. He also continues his work on death penalty cases.
Smith was made a Rowntree Visionary and Echoing Green Fellow in 2005 and previously, was a Soros Senior Fellow.