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“Widespread Torture”

From Amnesty International:

Evidence continues to emerge of widespread torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Iraq and other locations. While the government continues to assert that abuses resulted for the most part from the actions of a few “aberrant” soldiers and lack of oversight, there is clear evidence that much of the ill-treatment has stemmed directly from officially santioned procedures and policies, including interrogation techniques approved by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld for use in Guantanamo and later exported to Iraq. While it seems that some practices, such as “waterboarding”, were reserved for high value detainees, others appear to have been routinely applied during detentions and interrogations in Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq. The latter include hooding, stripping and shackling of detainees in painful positions as well as using military dogs to intimidate blindfolded detainees; prolonged isolation, deprivation of food and sleep and exposure to extremes of temperature also appear to have been common practice to punish detainees for failing to cooperate or to “soften them up” for interrogation.

Many of the techniques listed above, even if applied in isolation or for limited periods, would in Amnesty International’s view violate the prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under Article 16. Such techniques have reportedly been used against “war on terror” detainees in combination and for prolonged periods, causing severe pain and suffering (physical, mental or both) and, being inflicted intentionally by officials for the purpose of obtaining information, thereby amount to torture.(4) Some of the approved techniques, such as forced shaving of facial and head hair, stripping and the use of dogs to inspire fear, appear to have had a specific discriminatory or racist application in the case of Muslim detainees.

It is now known that at least thirty-four detainees who died in US custody have had their deaths listed by the army as confirmed or suspected criminal homicides. The true number of such deaths may be higher as there is evidence that delays, cover-ups and deficiencies in investigations have hampered the collection of evidence.

Read the whole thing. I’m ashamed for my country.

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