Sunday, April 02, 2006

What are we going to do about it?

Anna Politkovskaya writes from Moscow:

Recently two young college students from the Chechen capital of Grozny -- Musa Lomayev and Mikhail Vladovskikh -- were accused by the police and the prosecutor's office of all small, previously unsolved acts of terrorism that had occurred about six months before in one of Grozny's residential areas. As a result, Vladovskikh is now severely disabled: Both his legs were broken under torture; his kneecaps were shattered; his kidneys badly damaged by beating; his genitalia mutilated; his eyesight lost; his eardrums torn; and all of his front teeth sawed off. That is how he appeared before the court. ...

Russia continues to be infected by Stalinism. But it seems to me that the rest of the world has been infected along with it, a world shrunken and frightened before the threat of terrorism.

One has to ask why anyone is giving any credence to the purported deposition in the Zacarias Moussaoui trial from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, an "Al Qaeda official and terrorist mastermind" as the Christian Science Monitor characterizes the man. It is not as if he had appeared in court, been cross-examined, his testimony subjected to corroboration. The judge simply allowed the CIA to produce this document that has the world abuzz. Maybe it is true. Maybe it is partially true and embellished (perhaps to make the CIA look better?) Is there really such a person? Was he tortured? Mainstream media has reported that he was "waterboarded."

Politkovskaya lays out where this practice leads. How soon will such methods "blowback" here? Have they already? And what are we going to do about it?

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