A report from the International Committee for the Red Cross on CIA detentions and torture, recently released to the public, has shed the white light of truth on the previous administration’s darkest secrets.
It reads like something from the Nuremberg Trials or the Vietnam era. It describes the ordeals of fourteen “high value detainees” who were subjected to some of the worst treatment the CIA “interrogators” gave to their prisoners. In one example, detainee Abu Zubaydah described a fairly standard transfer flight:
“The detainee would be made to wear a diaper and dressed in a tracksuit. Earphones would be placed over his ears, through which music would sometimes be played. He would be blindfolded with at least a cloth tied around the head and black goggles. … He does not know how long the transfer took but, prior to the transfer, he reported being told by his detaining authorities that he would be going on a journey that would last twenty-four to thirty hours.
“The detainee … would usually be transported in a reclined sitting position with his hands shackled in front. …The detainee was not allowed to go to the toilet and if necessary was obliged to urinate and defecate into the diaper.” (ICRC Report, page 7)
Lovely. I’ve always said that the acid test for whether a given action is torture or not is if we’d put someone on trial for doing it to our people. This stuff sounds like the worst of the stories from forced-labor camps in Soviet Russia. And as usual, it’s not the worst. No, what’s worse is the way the CIA, under the direction of the Bush administration, corrupted the function of doctors in support of its heinous crimes.
“During the course of their detention, detainees described three principal roles for health personnel whom they encountered. Firstly, there was a direct role in monitoring the ongoing ill-treatment which, in some circumstances, involved the health personnel directly participating while certain methods were used. Secondly, there was a role in performing a medical check just prior to, and just after, each transfer. Finally, there was the provision of healthcare, to treat both the direct consequences of ill-treatment detailed in previous sections, and to treat any natural ailments that arose during the prolonged periods of detention.
“… In some cases it was alleged that, based on their assessments, health personnel gave instructions to interrogators to continue, to adjust or to stop particular methods.” (ICRC report, pp. 21-22)
In one case a detainee was told by a doctor, “I look after your body only because we need you for information.”
And you thought Cheney and Bush couldn’t sink any lower. This almost precisely mirrors the way medical personnel were used by the North Vietnamese on our soldiers.
Don’t give me any shit about “they were trying to kill us” or “those people are the worst of the worst”. Nothing justifies this – NOTHING. It offends me as a veteran, and it should offend the honor and morality of every American citizen. Bush and Cheney led us down the path of immorality, and they need to pay for it.
We should bring them up on charges of war crimes and torture, before someone else does, just to show the world that WE DON’T TOLERATE THIS.