Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Following release of U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report, attorneys now asking for justice for uncharged detainees. (Photo: Justin Norman/cc/flickr)

Advocates of CIA Torture Victims Demand: 'Charge Them, Or Let Them Go'

'It is the use of torture against these men, rather than any danger that they might pose, which is going to condemn them to a life in prison,' says Vijay Prashad

Lauren McCauley

In the wake of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's bombshell report last week, advocates for those who were victims of the CIA's brutal torture program have taken up a renewed call: "Charge them or let them go."

In a piece published on Monday, Helen Duffy, attorney for Abu Zubaydah, who was held and tortured at a CIA black site in Poland and is now imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, argues that since the rendition and torture of detainees has now been brought to light, it's time for "truth, justice, and accountability."

"It is time for victims of rendition such as Abu Zubaydah to be brought within the legal framework, to be either tried or released, to have the wrongs again them redressed, and for those responsible to be held to account," Duffy writes.

According to Duffy, there are over 1,000 references to Zubaydah in the so-called torture report and, as the "first victim of the CIA's detention program," he is "the only prisoner known to have been subject to all" of the CIA's torture techniques.

And despite having allegations of being "the third or fourth man in al-Qaeda" now publicly dismissed, Zubaydah continues to be held with no criminal charges, no trial, and no plan for trial. Instead, the CIA, as noted in the report, asked that he "remain incommunicado for the remainder of his life."

The Senate report acknowledges that the CIA knew of "at least 26" CIA prisoners who were "wrongfully held," including an "intellectually challenged man whose CIA detention was used solely as leverage." And "due to poor CIA record keeping,” the report notes, "all full accounting of how many specific CIA detainees were held and how they were specifically treated while in custody may never be known."

Advocates for Guantanamo detainee and torture victim Shaker Aamer on Monday published an open letter in the Daily Mail calling for the British resident, who was one of the 55 prisoners cleared for release by an earlier Obama task force, to be freed.

Aamer, who was first imprisoned at Bagram Air Base and now Guantanamo, has been in U.S. custody since 2001. He has been a "regular victim of brutal force-feedings, and he has been beaten by the 'forcible cell extraction' team more than 300 times," as noted by Clive Stafford Smith, founder of the UK-based rights group Reprieve.

However, as Indian historian and journalist Vijay Prashad argued in a piece published last week, the torture that these men experienced will likely only further hinder their chances of being freed.

The U.S., Prashad writes, "is stuck with a serious problem." What to do with people, such as Zubaydah and Aamer, who had been tortured at CIA "black sites" for years?

"There was no way to move Abu Zubaydah into the 'normal' U.S. judicial system, since most of the evidence against him had been gleaned by torture," said Prashad. "It is the use of torture against these men, rather than any danger that they might pose, which is going to condemn them to a life in prison— either Guantánamo or else in a US maximum security prison."

On Friday, Army Colonel James L. Pohl, who is overseeing the September 11th mass murder trial, ordered prosecutors to reexamine evidence sealed up in the court record to assess what the public can now see in light of revelations in the Senate torture report.

The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reports: "Defense lawyers want details of what was done to the men — and for the public to see it along with the military jury—in order to challenge case evidence. Also, if the accused terrorists are convicted, they want to use the details to argue against their military execution."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo