Thursday, October 28, 2004

Human Dignity Denied: Torture and Accountability in the 'War on Terror'

(courtesy of Jürgen Heilig--can't say I'm happy to see this, but it was important I read it. I'll admit, in all honesty, I was overwhelmed and couldn't finish it)

A devasting report from Amnesty International about torture by US Forces in the War on Terror. What are we becoming in the drive for Empire?

Human dignity denied
Torture and accountability in the ‘war on terror’
A report based on Amnesty International’s 12-point Program for the Prevention of Torture by Agents of the State

An excerpt:

Then [the guard] brought a box of food and he made me stand on it, and he started punishing me. Then a tall black soldier came and put electrical wires on my fingers and toes and on my penis, and I had a bag over my head. Then he was saying ‘which switch is on for electricity?’ Iraqi detainee, Abu Ghraib prison, 16 January 2004(1)

The image of New York’s Twin Towers struck by hijacked airliners on 11 September 2001 has become an icon of a crime against humanity. It is tragic that the response to the atrocities of that day has resulted in its own iconography of torture, cruelty and degradation. A photograph of a naked young man captured in Afghanistan, blindfolded, handcuffed and shackled, and bound with duct tape to a stretcher. Pictures of hooded detainees strapped to the floor of military aircraft for transfer from Afghanistan to the other side of the world. Photographs of caged detainees in the United States (US) Naval Base in Cuba, kneeling before soldiers, shackled, handcuffed, masked and blindfolded. Television images of orange-clad shackled detainees shuffling to interrogations, or being wheeled there on mobile stretchers. A hooded Iraqi detainee sitting on the sand, surrounded by barbed wire, clutching his four-year-old son.(2) And the photos from Abu Ghraib – a detainee, hooded, balanced on a box, arms outstretched, wires dangling from his hands with electric torture threatened; a naked man cowering in terror against the bars of a cell as soldiers threaten him with snarling dogs; and soldiers smiling, apparently confident of their impunity, over detainees forced into sexually humiliating poses. The United States of America (USA), and the world, will be haunted by these and other images for years to come, icons of a government’s failure to put human rights at its heart.

Human Dignity Denied

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