Thursday, December 14, 2006

American Travesty

Commenter T.G. pointed out this article by George Monbiot which ran in The Guardian on 12/12 concerning abuse being administered by Americans against Americans and others. Here is a little taste.

Last week, defence lawyers acting for Jose Padilla, a US citizen detained as an “enemy combatant”, released a video showing a mission fraught with deadly risk – taking him to the prison dentist. A group of masked guards in riot gear shackled his legs and hands, blindfolded him with black-out goggles and shut off his hearing with headphones, then marched him down the prison corridor(1).

Is Padilla really that dangerous? Far from it: his warders describe him as so docile and inactive that he could be mistaken for “a piece of furniture”. The purpose of these measures appeared to be to sustain the regime under which he had lived for over three years: total sensory deprivation. He had been kept in a blacked-out cell, unable to see or hear anything beyond it. Most importantly, he had no human contact, except for being bounced off the walls from time to time by his interrogators. As a result, he appears to have lost his mind. I don’t mean this metaphorically. I mean that his mind is no longer there.

This is being done to an American citizen who has been held for years without having his day in court. The government dropped the "dirty bomb" charges and are now holding him on some vague helping terrorist charge. This, of course, after the Supreme Court made them. This is not getting any play in the media and so therefore most Americans aren't even aware that this is happening. While Padilla is a high visibility situation this kind of torture is going on in prisons around the country and has been for years. Here is another excerpt from the Monbiot article"
But Padilla’s treatment also reflects another glorious American tradition: solitary confinement. Some 25,000 US prisoners are currently held in isolation – a punishment only rarely used in other democracies. In some places, like the federal prison in Florence, Colorado, they are kept in sound-proofed cells and might scarcely see another human being for years on end(9). They may touch or be touched by no one. Some people have been kept in solitary confinement in the United States for more than 20 years.

Only if you read The Guardian and other foreign papers and websites are you going to be made privy to this stuff. If you rely on the American press you are going to be a "Low Information" person. Go the site and read the whole thing if you are in the mood to be really pissed off.

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