Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looking at the horror

One year ago, President Obama said he'd close the Guantanamo prison camp within a year. He hasn't.

Nor has his Justice Department been willing to even investigate, much less prosecute or punish, people who committed the crimes of torture and murder of prisoners. In fact, the new administration is now party to the cover-up, eager to hush up what was done by agents of the U.S. government. In general, U.S. media just want to forget about it.

So do most of us -- who wants to think about horrible things, even if true? We'd rather forget things like this implausible official story of the deaths in 2006 of three inmates in separate cells.

According to the NCIS documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

...The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS ...

Great work, NCIS -- you'll never make it on the TV series.

Scott Horton of Harpers has just published credible accounts from U.S. military personnel then serving at Guantanamo that make it seem far more likely that these guys were pulled out of the cellblocks, taken to a mysterious out building staffed by mysterious "other" personnel -- and came back as corpses. The bodies of the men -- who had been cleared of terrorist connections -- were eventually returned to their relatives (minus their necks) and the relatives say they showed signs of torture.

The Obama Justice Department considers past investigations quite adequate. I write about this here to urge anyone reading this to go read Horton's meticulously researched story -- you aren't going to hear about it from U.S. media.

You aren't going to hear this one either.

It is not hot stabbing pain that Omar Deghayes remembers from the day a Guantanamo guard blinded him, but the cool sen­sation of fingers being stabbed deep into his eyeballs. He had joined other prisoners in protesting against a new humiliation – inmates ­being forced to take off their trousers and walk round in their pants – and a group of guards had entered his cell to punish him. He was held down and bound with chains.

"I didn't realise what was going on until the guy had pushed his fingers ­inside my eyes and I could feel the coldness of his fingers. Then I realised he was trying to gouge out my eyes," Deghayes says. He wanted to scream in agony, but was determined not to give his torturers the satisfaction. Then the officer standing over him instructed the eye-stabber to push harder. "When he pulled his hands out, I remember I couldn't see anything – I'd lost sight completely in both eyes." Deghayes was dumped in a cell, fluid streaming from his eyes.

The sight in his left eye returned over the following days, but he is still blind in his right eye.

The Guardian, U.K. 1/21/2010

The Guardian is a mainstream newspaper in Britain. The world is hearing about Mr. Deghayes, but not people in this disgraced country. Actually Deghayes' story is quite inspiring -- go read that one to0.

And over the next few days, at least join Amnesty International in a campaign for a U.S. Torture Commission to bring these things to light. That's not enough -- but it's one thing we can and must do to repudiate our country's offenses against human life and dignity.

1 comment:

Darlene said...

It's shocking, but I guess it shouldn't be. We have had enough information on such atrocities done by our own men that we should not be surprised. What is really shocking is that the Obama administration is abetting the cover up by the Bush administration.

In order to keep the eye on the ball for health care coverage and the economic recovery, they have buried the torture and the perpetrators of torture so the news will stay on their goals. It is disappointing to say the least.