There is mounting and unequivocal evidence that the United States participated in torture. And by “participated in” I mean performed.
In February 2007, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) was granted access to 14 “high-value detainees” being held in the Guantanamo Bay prison. Among them were Abu Zubaydah and Khaled Shaik Mohammed, whom you’ve probably heard of.
The ICRC is the only international organization that is granted such privileges. It produces reports that are meant solely for the authorities for whom they are written. It is on the grounds that these reports will never be made public nor discussed publicly that access is granted.
Recently, the February 2007 report the ICRC prepared for the CIA was leaked. Entitled “ICRC Report On the Treatment of Fourteen ‘High Value Detainees’ in CIA Custody,” the report details—and I mean details—what it refers to as “torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Since the report has been made public by an unknown source, one can only speculate as to who may have leaked it. Perhaps a member of the U.S. government or a member of the ICRC who felt this information was vital for the public to know.
And it is vital.
There is no denying anymore that the U.S. tortured people. It has been confirmed by far too many legitimate sources, from judges to military insiders to the ICRC. It doesn’t matter why or in the name of what the U.S. perpetrated torture; what matters is that they knowingly, continually, and secretively broke international laws and treaties, including the Geneva Conventions.
We know that if this were done by another country, the United States would at least speak out against it, and at most participate in an international court proceeding to bring the offenders to justice. In fact, they have done so in the past.
Just last week Barack Obama said of North Korea’s most recent failed attempt to launch a missile: “North Korea broke the rules…. Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.”
Am I the only one who finds this hypocritical? I guess it only applies to other countries.
It is time, really, to make an extremely important statement to the world that violations of rules will not be tolerated—regardless of who the violators are. The United States can no longer get away with, “Do as I say, not as I do.” No one should be above the law.
The fact that no one in the U.S. is willing to touch this—yet—is disturbing. Clearly politics is more important than justice.
I urge you to read the International Committee of the Red Cross’s report here. It’s not that long, and it’s very readable.
Keep in mind as you read that it was not only these “high-value detainees” who were treated this way, but most of the hundreds of people they swept up and made prisoners indefinitely. Also keep in mind that, guilty or not, these people should have had charges laid against them, access to legal counsel, and trials to determine their guilt or innocence. They received none of these things. No charges were laid. No access to the outside world was granted. No trials were held. And the prisoners’ loved ones were not even made aware of what had happened to them.
Spread the word, especially if you happen to be American. Your country is working hard to clean up its reputation and standing in the world; Barack Obama is doing a great job of that. But as long as you continue to sheepishly ignore these most egregious abuses by your former administration, you will only be known as a hypocritical country, and you will never be able to claim the moral high ground again.