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Torture akin to terror - Palm Beach Post, USA

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  • Zafar Khan
    Torture akin to terror By Palm Beach Post Editorial Thursday, December 30, 2004
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 2, 2005
      Torture akin to terror
      By Palm Beach Post Editorial
      Thursday, December 30, 2004


      Even some defense attorneys doubted the horror stories
      their clients told them about the interrogation
      tactics at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Then human
      rights groups sued for government documents, and
      reports from FBI agents confirmed the worst claims of

      The recently released FBI accounts describe
      often-sadistic treatment of detainees — chaining
      prisoners in the fetal position for hours, leaving
      them in their own feces and urine, threatening them
      with growling dogs. Sleep deprivation and exposure to
      extreme temperatures were commonplace. What the FBI
      agents witnessed parallels the complaints filed in
      federal courts by more than 60 of the 550 men still
      detained. The Pentagon had no trouble dismissing the
      prisoners' stories as fiction, but assailing the
      credibility of the FBI is another matter. The
      government's own papers substantiate the government's

      A Pentagon spokesman said the military is
      investigating the torture reports and taking
      allegations seriously. But other documents newly
      released detail similar abuses by military personnel
      in Iraq that occurred even after the Abu Ghraib prison
      scandal became public. The FBI reports are further
      evidence of systematic violations of the Geneva
      Conventions that were widespread and concerted. Dozens
      of detainees have died in Iraq, with little or no
      investigation of the reasons. Other reports describe
      how the Central Intelligence Agency used private jets
      to transport detainees to other countries for torture.
      The FBI papers expose the Pentagon's defense that the
      disgrace at Abu Ghraib was the isolated aberrance of a
      few low-ranking soldiers as the implausible cover
      story it always was. This is only the latest example
      of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's version of a
      reality that does not exist. According to the FBI
      accounts, the Guantanamo interrogators believed they
      acted with the secretary's blessing.

      The Pentagon's record in identifying Al-Qaeda and
      Taliban terrorists for detention at the base is
      suspect in itself. After insisting for two years that
      the prison's population was made up of dangerous
      jihadi militants, the government has released hundreds
      to their homelands with little more than a never-mind.
      We never will know how many became victims of torture
      after military commanders made them victims of

      The abuses seriously damage the U.S. struggle against
      terror, in Iraq and around the globe. A strategy of
      denial and coverup makes the impact worse. So does the
      failure to hold any policymakers accountable.

      Until now, Congress has reacted to the torture charges
      with indifference and deference to the Bush
      administration. Were it not for the intercession of
      the courts, Americans still would believe their
      government always is committed to upholding human
      rights and following international law. It's up to
      Congress to lay out the disturbing truth for the
      nation once and for all.

      See Also:

      Justice Dept. Toughens Rule on Torture

      Guantanamo Briton 'in handcuff torture'

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