They wrote the book
America has been exporting torture methods for a long time
May 26, 2004
In the famous movie from
the 1960's directed by Costa Gavras, State of Siege,
about the Tupamaros of South America, there is a scene that takes
place in a police academy in the U.S. where torture is taught
to extract information from political prisoners, especially Marxist
led guerillas fighting U.S. backed dictatorships in Latin
America. That is a scene from the past, but it shows
a man is sitting, bound and naked, his genitals connected to
wires -- where he would receive electric shock. Look familiar?
The US government and its agencies, especially the CIA, have
long been involved in teaching other countries how to use torture
in the interrogation of prisoners. The CIA and Mossad were involved
in creating the Shah's notorious secret police, SAVAK that was
instrumental in the crackdown and
torture of its opponents. Savak used the methods that are now widespread
in Evin prison. In fact, the infamous Evin prison was built during
the reign of the last Pahlavi King.
Tortures such as using hot
beds, electrical shocks, rape, flogging, putting prisoners in an
upside down position, and various forms of psychological abuse
were only a few of the techniques that have become widespread in
the prisons of the Islamic regime. According to many former political
prisoners, the prison guards and torturers were from the Shah's
In Latin America, where torture was widespread in the former
juntas supported by the US government, all the same or similar
were used to extract confessions from the prisoners. Families were
brought in and tortured in front of the prisoners in order to demoralize
them. The use of torture in Latin America by different secret police
agencies is still a scar on a foreign policy that
condoned its usage.
Therefore, when the story of Abu Ghraib prison and the use of
torture came out and it was reported first by "60 Minutes II" and
then by the
famous and brave New Yorker reporter, Seymour Hirsch,
it was not a surprise. For most people, the surprise lay in the
America invaded Iraq to save the Iraqis from the torture chambers
of Saddam Hussein's regime, and then some of those same invaders
used many of Saddam's methods.
The naked exhibition
of Iraqi civilians, who by various accounts were rounded up as "suspects" without
being formerly charged, was an inhuman form of torture totally
unacceptable by all international laws and especially humiliating
in the Islamic world.
The horrible photos spoke louder than words. They were scenes right
out of a horror movie, etched forever in our minds.
The US government maintains that only a few people were involved
in these atrocities and that they acted alone. It is hard to believe
that in the most advanced military apparatus in the world, the
higher ranks of the US military were not aware of what was going
on, and that just a few of its young men and women in the uniform
had acted solo.
But the fact remains that nothing is done without
the knowledge of a "few not so Good men" and all that
takes place is done according to the rules and regulations set
by the army. In any military unit or army in the world, no one
in the lower positions can act alone without having the blessing
of the higher ranks or on specific orders.
has been used throughout the world, mainly by repressive regimes.
But when the greatest democracy in the world uses torture
as a means to find Al Qaida members or other individuals linked
to this terrorist organization, and when it subsequently revealed
that most prisoners were innocent civilians with no link whatsoever
to any terrorist organization, torture becomes even more shocking.
To go to war under the pretext of nonexistent WMD's, to drag the
nation into an unwanted and bloody war, to spend billions of
dollars of tax dollars an undesired cause, is bad enough. The torture
rape of Iraqis at the hands of American and British soldiers
is unconscionable. Similarly, the brutal killing of Nick Berg and
Daniel Pearl at the hands of their captors, have only made this
war and its aftermath, more chilling and disgusting. Their lives
were cut so short when in fact they had no say or desire to be
part of this unholy war.
The world today is upside down; Saddam
is in a prison guarded by his captors, overseen by the Red Cross.
Yet Iraq is in flames,
the Iraqis who were supposed to be saved are being killed daily
in bomb blasts, even at their wedding ceremonies. Torture is not
attributed any longer to repressive regimes. It is used in Afghanistan,
Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.
Let's just pray that we have not given Osama bin Laden another
excuse to create many more 9/11s! Let's hope, for the
sake of humanity and the Iraqi people who have been victimized
for decades, that June 30th is a calendar date that will bring
about final peace and no more torture.
goodbye to spam!