Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Torture, Torture Everywhere
An expose in The Guardian today about torture of Afghan detainees (Afghan detainees routinely tortured and humiliated by US troops). According to The Guardian:
Five detainees have died in custody, three of them in suspicious circumstances, and survivors have told stories of beatings, strippings, hoodings and sleep deprivation.As fast as the Bush administration can deny any wrongdoing in regards to the torture and maltreatment of detainees (from Iraq to Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay), the charges keep coming.
The nature of the alleged abuse indicates that what happened at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was part of a pattern of interrogation that has been common practice since the US invasion of Afghanistan.
Senator Patrick Leahy, the Democratic member of the Senate subcommittee on foreign operations, told the Guardian that prisoners in Afghanistan "were subjected to cruel and degrading treatment, and some died from it".Other evidence suggests that documents are being forged to cover up and allow torture.
"These abuses were part of a wider pattern stemming from a White House attitude that 'anything goes' in the war against terrorism, even if it crosses the line of illegality."
Another prisoner, Wazir Muhammad, was held for nearly two years, firstly in Afghanistan and then at Guantánamo Bay.So some prisoners are being kept off the books, others are signing false statements and documents; how the hell can this be helping intelligence gathering (even if that were the only, or even the most important, thing at stake here)?
"At the end of my time in Guantánamo, I had to sign a paper saying I had been captured in battle, which was not true," he said. "I was stopped when I was in my taxi with four passengers. But they told me I would have to spend the rest of my life in Guantánamo if I did not sign it, so I did."
"In some ways the abuses in Afghanistan are more troubling than those in Iraq," said John Sifton of Human Rights Watch. "While it is true that abuses in Afghanistan often lacked the sexually abusive content of the abuses in Iraq, they were in many ways worse.Bad, bad news. And while we are on the issue of torture, I couldn't believe the handwritten comment that Donald Rumsfeld scrawled (next to his signature of approval) on a December 2, 2002, torture memo outlining what was approved and what wasn't: "However, I stand 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours? D.R." Are you kidding me? I am sure that Secretary of Defense must be an unbearably grueling job, but comparing it to methods of detainee interrogation is ridiculous. Has this man no sense of perspective?
"Detainees were severely beaten, exposed to cold and deprived of sleep and water. Five are known to have died [two of natural causes]."
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