Monday, May 10, 2004

More on the American Gulag System From Newsweek:
…in recent months, NEWSWEEK has learned, some senior members of Congress have been given highly classified briefings, indicating, in the words of one official, that U.S. interrogators were not necessarily "going to stick with the Geneva Convention." More stressful techniques were going to be used, the briefers indicated, apparently including some measure of physical discomfort… Nigel Rodley, who was the U.N. special rapporteur on torture and has written an authoritative book, "The Treatment of Prisoners Under International Law," dismisses Rumsfeld's claims that the Geneva Conventions have been observed. Rodley says that even some interrogation practices the Pentagon acknowledges using are "clearly violations both of international human-rights law and international humanitarian law as codified in the Geneva Conventions." He adds that the problem "goes back to the whole process of essentially creating legal black holes where people are held in the dark and secret reaches of state power… One American intelligence officer admitted as much, telling NEWSWEEK: "The U.S. government and military capitalizes on the dubious status [as sovereign states] of Afghanistan, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and aircraft carriers, to avoid certain legal questions about rough interrogations. Sources say these mysterious prisons include some undeclared facilities set up by the CIA and other "black"-program operatives. The so-called ghost facilities, whose existence has never been publicly acknowledged by the Bush administration, are believed to be where top Qaeda leaders like Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaida are held and questioned… Even many stalwart Republicans are appalled by what's happened—and what may yet come out. "This is not a few bad apples. This is a system failure, a massive failure," said Senate Armed Services Committee member Lindsay Graham, a conservative Republican who once helped to prosecute the impeached Bill Clinton. Graham told NEWSWEEK he believes that more allegations of murder and rape of detainees are likely to surface. Sen. John McCain, whose arms were broken by North Vietnamese torturers, could barely suppress his rage during last week's hearings. Questioning Rumsfeld, the Arizona Republican reduced the normally self-assured Pentagon chief to a helpless sputter when McCain repeatedly demanded, "Who was in charge of the interrogations?" Rumsfeld did not give him a straight answer.
Eventually the incidents at Abu Ghraid are going to give rise to the debate not only of what happened there, but what is going on around the world. This is a system, where if it was done by another country, we'd condemn it. When your nation is engaged in a process that is so borad and so offensive to the bromides you base the love of your nation upon -- ideals -- in a so-called "war" without a defined end we have to ask ourselves whether obtaining so-called security is worth no longer being the nation we aspire and proclaim ourselves to be. How embarassing is it to be called out on human rights by the miserable bastards that run the Sudan? To paraphrase what I read from another, "If this is what we are to become, I want our old world back and I'll take my chances with the terrorists". If another attack is inevitable anyway, I'm going to live it as a free man, not one who has seccumbed to fear.
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