Saturday, November 26, 2005

In Case There's Still Any Doubt

Exhibit A:

Brushing aside international criticism of the CIA-run prisons set up in eight countries, Bush said that the nation is at war with an enemy "that lurks and plots and plans and wants to hurt America again. And so, you bet, we'll aggressively pursue them, but we'll do so under the law." Bush, who spoke to reporters during a brief visit to the capital of Panama, also asserted, "We do not torture."

His comments followed efforts by Vice President Cheney to lobby lawmakers to exempt the CIA from an amendment that would ban torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners. The exemption would cover the secret prisons.

Exhibit B:

Al-Jamadi was captured by Navy SEALs on November 4th, 2003, and after a "roughing up" (in which six of his ribs were broken), taken to Abu Ghraib and handed over to the CIA. Guards under the direction of Mark Swanner handcuffed his arms behind his back to a window five feet above the ground - a technique known as "Palestinian hanging" (a variant of strapado which causes intense pain possible dislocation of the shoulders, and eventual death by asphyxiation, in much the same way as crucifixion). 45 minutes later, he was dead. The guards called to assist when he stopped responding found him hanging with all his weight on his hands and wrists; one noted that he "had never seen anyone's arms positioned like that, and he was surprised they didn't just pop out of their sockets."

When the body was lowered to the floor, "blood came gushing out of his nose and mouth, as if a faucet had been turned on". Attempts were made to surreptitiously dispose of the corpse, and some evidence (including the bloodied hood that had covered al-Jamadi's face) was destroyed - but the body was eventually autopsied, and the death labelled a homicide. The pathologist performing the autopsy was not told of the circumstances of al-Jamadi's death, and judged that he had died of "compromised respiration" and "blunt force injuries". But experts approached by the New Yorker are clear; while al-Jamadi's beating was a contributing factor, the cause of death was asphyxiation caused by the way in which he had been hung. The man had been tortured to death.

Exhibit C:

Are we clear now?


Polly Jones said...

I really appreciate people who are trying to get the truth out as to what's going on in Iraq. So many of us (myself included) just turn a blind eye.

I'm going to keep checking here to inform myself!

TravelCrazed Karin said...

David Luban writes on the subject of torture and the Bush administration's twisting of the law in the Washington Post's 11/27 Sunday Outlook section. We should be ashamed - weren't we trying to end torture when we rid ourselves of Saddam?

Cantankerous Bitch said...

Here's hoping we'll continue to be able to point you in the right direction. As always, I recommend virtually any site on the blogroll for more. I don't tend to cover topics that are widely discussed at some of the larger venues, believing that a.) to do so would likely be little more than redundant and b.) there are people better equipped for such subjects than I.
This particular story was an exception, only because I don't recall seeing much disussion about this specific incident (or rather, the apparent lack of punishment for the torturers). Maybe it's "torture fatigue" -- there's SO much and it's hard to keep taking it in day after day after day....

Cantankerous Bitch said...

You'd certainly think so, wouldn't you? I'm continually aghast at comments I see from people ready to get on the "torture is ok if they're REALLY bad" bandwagon -- particularly when such statements fall from the mouths of people that fancy themselves "Christians". Simply shocking.