Friday, June 06, 2008

My God, it's full of torture!

Various people have testified in front of Congress that it's OK that we waterboard, because we've only done it to three people, and they were the worst of the worst. Well, it looks like those officials may have been "bending the truth" a bit.

A German-born Turkish citizen ... said that in 2002 in Afghanistan, U.S. interrogators subjected him to beatings, electrical shocks and, on one occasion, a technique he said was referred to as "water treatment." He said his head was held under water in a bucket while he was punched in the stomach, forcing him to inhale. On another occasion, he was hung by his arms for five days, he said.

Republicans have constantly been downplaying the extent of the torture we've been committing by referring to waterboarding as a "swimming lesson" and trivializing the pain that's caused by stress position techniques. Now we find they may have been lying all along as to the extent.

It gets even more Kafkaesque. The guy in the above passage was completely innocent of all terrorism charges. US officials even knew he was innocent, held him anyway, and it still took a personal appeal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to get them to let him go. Think about that. It took an appeal from a head of state of one of our allies to get the US to free a torture victim from detention.

And to make matters even worse, a UK human rights group has accused the US of using ships to detain and secretly interrogate prisoners.

A British human rights organization claimed Monday that the United States had used military ships to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects. U.S. officials denied using ship as prisons.

I imagine any US Navy vessel holding a prisoner would be subject to US military law. But what about a Halliburton-owned ship, in international waters, crewed by civilian contractors, registered in say, Liberia?

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