When we think of torture, what immediately comes to mind are those insidious, evil regimes, yeah, those oppressive despots and tyrants who go out of the way to extract information from dissidents, unyielding folks and others who refuse to submit to their wills and whims. Stalin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il and those evil commies, etc. The whole lot.
Who can imagine, then, that the United States of America, well known for touting itself as the land of the brave, home of the free, being the supposed bastion of human rights and freedom, being a nation which has surreptitiously plotted, schemed and smuggled prisoners to secret locations only to torture their sorry asses for, by and large, next-to-useless information in a dubious "war against terror" bullshit campaign?
As it turns out, an US official has, for the first time, admitted that torture has indeed been meted out to prisoners of Guantanamo Bay. There's no doubt that the Red Cross had already highlighted this heinous act years back, but hey, what better than for the real deal to come straight from the horse's mouth.
The following extract from Telegraph (In Blue):
Guantanamo Prisoner Was Tortured, Admitted US Official
Susan Crawford, who oversees the tribunals for terror suspects at the US base in Cuba, said she believed the interrogation of Saudi national Mohammed al-Qahtani amounted to torture.
She said the frequency and the adverse effect of the torture on Qahtani's mental and physical state persuaded her that military questioners had crossed the line form harsh interrogation to illegality.
Mrs Crawford told the Washington Post she did not refer the case for prosecution as "his treatment met the legal definition of torture,"
During nearly three months of questioning, Qahtani was twice admitted to hospital with a near-fatal slowing of his heartbeat.
"You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act," said Mrs Crawford."This was not any one particular act. This was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his health. It was abusive and uncalled for," she said.After his capture in Afghanistan, Qahtani was subjected to 48 days of torture from November 2002 to January 2003, usually lasting 18 to 20 hours. He was stripped naked in front of female interrogators, subjected to extreme cold and kept in isolation for five months. He was threatened by a military dog named Zeus and was led around a room naked on a leash and told to perform dog tricks, according to an official summary of his interrogation seen by the Post.
Torture & The US Administration
As the Bush Administration faces its final doldrums, the legacy of torture and human rights abuse has become a hot topic in the media, as if 8 years of inept policies, trip-ups and disastrous military operations had suddenly become a sudden, precipitous problem.
After the 911 Incident, the US military had embarked on two military campaigns, one in Afghanistan, and subsequently another to get rid of Saddam's regime in Iraq. In the process, the US military had arrested and interrogated hundreds of prisoners, deeming them to be "enemy combatants" and proclaiming that these prisoners are not your ordinary prisoners and hence are not considered to be under the protection of the US legal system, the Geneva Convention for treatment of war prisoners (They are classified as "non-uniformed combatants" by the Bush Administration, and cannot be classified as prisoners of war!), or any other legal systems for the matter. It is kind of like being stuck in a legal limbo. This kind of erroneous interpretation poses a big loophole for the US government to smuggle a Boeing-747 load of torture and all kinds of human rights abuses.
To their credit, the Bush Administration isn't all that stupid, even if George Bush is about as intelligent as a single cell amoeba: They can't torture all that many prisoners on US soil; fuck, those human rights bastards will be poking tridents into his ass if they catch Bush in his act! No worries though, America has a land lease from no other than Fidel Castro's Guantanamo Bay to count on! No need to worry about Federal jurisdiction and all that legalistic crap, here we can torture and maim our prisoners and slap our cats and dogs without so much a whimper from these stupid human and animal rights groups!
It is all too easy to brush aside such transgressions against humanity: Sure, these are Islamic fascists, terrorists of the worst order, ready to burn down cities, subways and even humanity at the beck and call of Osama bin laden or some other religious prick.....really?
Justification for Torture???
So it is, years of torture and abuse, and really, is there any justification for this blatant violent of human rights?
Some startling statistics from BBC News:
1. Only a paltry few have ever been charged with any crime. This lot includes Australian David Hicks, Osama bin Laden's former driver Salim Hamdan and USS Cole conspirator Ali al-Bahlul.
That is an appallingly disgraceful result considering that hundreds of detainees have walked through the gates of Guantanamo Bay in the past 7 yrs.
2. As of May 2008, 270 detainees are still stuck in Guantanamo, with a good fifty to seventy of them stuck in the hellish limbo because no nation would accept them (bumper).
3. Some high-profile "terrorists", such as Mohammed al-Qahtani, known otherwise as "the 20th hijacker" of the 911 attacks, had his charges dropped because of the dubious investigative methods used against him at Guantanamo Bay: Yup, torture. The courts wouldn't allow torture-induced statements to indict anyone. Jesus fucking Christ!
Now here comes the startling moment of truth: A huge majority of these detainees are going to walk out of prison with no charges against them! The idea of detaining people for a potentially indefinite period of time and then releasing them somehow runs smack against the purpose of civil law, and that is why the Bush Administration tries damn hard to distinguish them from mere "common prisoners" or even enemy combatants. Clearly something horrendously wrong is going on here; after all the abuse, the bad PR and the money spent in housing these detainees, all they have got is a measly bunch of less than ten persecuted criminals.
Torture Is Not An Effective Means Of Indicting Criminals
While there are some well-meaning folks who think that in some cases, torture is well-justified, it really isn't, unless, of course, you need to satisfy your sado-masochistic tendencies in which case, this post would be irrelevant to you.
From an ethical point of view, torture belongs to the basest and most inhumane of social behavior: It implies the application of abuse and pain to deduce information from the victim in the most heinous way.
Besides, information derived from torture are mostly useless, as in the classic case of Guy Fawkes, the British rebel who tried to kill King James I in England in the infamous Gunpowder plot of 1605 (he may have been the world's first known terrorist. I stand to be corrected on this one). A weak criminal who is under the duress of torture will divulge any kind of answer the authorities want to hear, and such information can be very difficult to authenticate and are largely useless to the torturer cum interrogator.
On the other hand, the strong criminal will be so stoic that his continued silence will, in the end, infuriate the torturer, who administers and induces more pain until, finally, the criminal dies, and the information is lost forever.
These are the primary reasons why most police departments do not advocate torture, and information obtained from torture usually results in the dismissal of written statements obtained by such inhumane methods. The Bush Administration folks are not morons, and this is precisely why they try so hard to avoid such legalities. But alas, they aren't smart enough to predict the mess they have made, and for the Bush Administration to administer torture (pun intended) in such a insidious manner speaks of the evils and stupidity of George Bush to allow his staff to hoodwink him into this quagmire.
"The strong will resist and the weak will say anything to end the pain."-Ulpian