Thursday, August 18, 2005
Not In My Name. No More Torture.
How upside-down / inside-out can the news possibly be spun?
The story stuck in my craw today revolves around the refusal to disclose 87 additional photos & videos of "detainee abuse" under US occupation at Abu Ghraib. The following is an excerpt from an item posted on Common Dreams from the Inter Press Service:
"In response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and a number of medical and veterans groups demanding release of 87 new videos and photographs depicting detainee abuse at the now infamous prison, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, said the release would result in 'riots, violence and attacks by insurgents.' "
Well, good thing that Myers is looking to de-escalate tensions, no? More from the story:
"He [Myers] believes the release of the photos would 'incite public opinion in the Muslim world and put the lives of American soldiers and officials at risk.' "
OK, correct me if I am wrong here, but the thing that is putting lives of American soldiers and officials at risk is the occupation that the US government has been engaged in since we (with manufactured provocation) trumped up a so-called "coalition of the willing" to invade and attack a sovereign nation because the US government declares it is in our national interest to lay claim to their resources as if they were our own.
” 'The situation on the ground in Iraq is dynamic and dangerous,' Myers added, with 70 insurgent attacks daily.
Dynamic and dangerous, eh? It is a war for chrissake's--of course it is dangerous!
” 'It is probable that Al Qaeda and other groups will seize upon these images and videos as grist for their propaganda mill, which will result in, besides violent attacks, increased terrorist recruitment, continued financial support and exacerbation of tensions between Iraqi and Afghani populaces and U.S. and coalition forces,'[Myer's] said."
Hey, news flash-- you know what can also cause increased violent attacks, terrorist recruitment and an exacerbation of tensions between Iraqi & Afghani populaces and the US & coalition forces? How about the freekin' torture that seems to be pretty much a way of doing business at detention centers?!? Torture that Alberto Gonzalez can justify with the stroke of a pen-- safe, clean and very removed from the brutal and inhuman acts his work supports. He doesn't have to hear the screams. He doesn't have to see the eyes filled with torment, fear and pain.
How dare Myers frame the issue as the ACLU and concerned human rights groups are encouraging terrorism for wanting to expose what some US military and civilian contractors are doing in violation of international conventions-- or that the release of the photos (and not the actions that they depict) will bring violence and ill-will toward US and "coalition" forces.
This is, to me, the crux of the biscuit-- How disingenuous can a guy be? Seems to me that resistance fighters were, well, fighting the US occupying forces well before the first photos of torture were publicly released last year. I mean, if I was worried that seeing pictures of torture might put our troops at risk, shouldn't I be at least as concerned that the act itself might just piss an occupied people off?
Seems to me that if you were truly wanting to end violence against our troops, you would make damn sure that
1) all international conventions were followed carefully in regards to POW treatment, not targeting civilians and the like;
2) all efforts were put into finding a workable and quick exit strategy to take the troops out of harms way;
3) and, oh yeah, you wouldn't constantly expose those same troops to depleted uranium.
Of course, Myers is not in the least bit concerned over the welfare of the troops. He is concerned that the public just might catch on to the fact that the torture of prisoners is not being done by a few bad apples; that 87 additional visual images of torture done by US forces may reveal a distinct and widespread pattern of institutionalized practice.
As Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights points out:
"'The administration's response to the release of the photos is to kill the messenger, rather then to investigate and prosecute the real culprits: Secretary of Defence Rumsfeld, Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales, Generals Miller and Sanchez, and others.'
He agreed that 'the photos will be upsetting to anyone who cares about humane treatment and particularly to those in the Muslim world, but the photos reflect the reality of the type of treatment detainees were subjected to.'
'Rather than suppress the best evidence of widespread torture of Muslim detainees, the Administration ought to launch a fully independent investigation and ought to see that an independent prosecutor is appointed,' Ratner told IPS.
He added, 'Ensuring accountability for the torture conspiracy is the best way of demonstrating to the Muslim world that this outrage has come to an end and will not be repeated.' "
I couldn't agree more.
Let the truth be known so that we can call for accountability.