Thursday, 11 December 2014
US TORTURE SHAME
The US Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence report into the interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] was published this week and makes grim reading for anyone who believes the US [and Britain] are the ‘good guys’ upholding the law and bringing felons to justice. It is so bad that the normally bi-partisan Barack Obama and US Democrats have condemned the CIA and former Republican President George Bush for sanctioning the use of inhumane and illegal practices to extract confessions from prisoners in their custody across the world. ‘Water boarding’, where suspects are repeatedly held under water until they are all but drowned and pass out is just one of many macabre portfolio of tortures widely used. Sexual humiliation, rape, ‘rectal hydration’, stress positioning, applying electric shocks to the genitals, extracting fingernails and toenails, sleep deprivation, all these punishments and more too blood curdling to describe here are outlined in the Senate report and all are completely illegal under international law. When you might ask then is George Bush to be brought to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to stand trial? And where do the tortured find justice after such criminal violations? UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson has demanded US officials responsible for using such torture should be handed over for prosecution. That of course will never happen. Even Obama is not calling for that because he too believes the US is above international law. Laws they nonetheless expect everyone else in the world to live under. The Senate report chronicles the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Egypt and dozens of other locations. Notwithstanding such double standards this Senate report will be widely circulated around the world. The CIA will of course get off scot-free and continue to use such methods of torture claiming they secure information vital to the ‘War on Terror’. The truth is they are the best recruiting sergeants the so called ‘terrorists’ could wish for. And the United States’ enemies will use this report to radicalise another generation of suicide bombers and ‘jihadists’. Such terror techniques do not end the ‘war on terror’ they perpetuate it.