Tuesday, June 21, 2005

New Iraqi Torture Scandal

Just when things were finally calming down about Abu Graib (although the heat continues about prisoner abuse in Guantanimo Bay), we get this latest revelation about prisoner abuse and torture in Iraq. Prisoners recently released from a prison in Karabila, Iraq have spoken with US journalists. These stories have all been verified. There is no way the USA can hide from this one.

Here's a synopsis of a longer article from the New York Times yesterday:

"The men said that they had been tortured with shocks and flogged with a strip of rubber for more than two weeks, unseen behind the windows of black glass. One of them, Ahmed Isa Fathil, 19, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed."

"In an interview with a reporter just hours after he was freed, he said he had never seen the faces of his captors, who occasionally whispered at him, "We will kill you." Nor did he ever expect to be released."

" "They kill somebody every day," said Mr. Fathil, whose hands were so swollen he could not open a can of Coke. "They've killed a lot of people." "

[The guards] "tended to talk in whispers, he said, offering him sand, instead of water, to wash himself. Just once, he asked if he could see his mother, and one of them said to him, "You won't leave until you are dead." "

Journalists are now reporting that several more recently released prisoners are telling nearly identical stories. The prisoner abuse, torture and murder described in the Times article have all be verified.

One can only expect another wave of much deserved world wide condemnation of these acts. And I would expect outrage from throughout the Muslim world for this type of horrific abuse and total denial of human and civil rights.

These prisoners were never accused of any crime. No charges were ever filed.

If these men are connected to the terrorists, it is unknown at this time.

Now, since this story was reported in the Times yesterday (6/21/2005) you might be wondering how this story got past you. Why it wasn't on the evening news? Why aren't you seeing world wide outrage and protests?

It's because this abuse was by the Iraqi "Insurgents" in their prison, and not at the hands of US Troops in a US or Iraqi controlled prison.

Here's a link to the full New York Times article:
Iraqis Found in Torture House Tell of Brutality of Insurgents

The sad facts are that virtually anyone in the entire world can commit the most vile and horrific acts of murder, torture, sadism, and terror and no one gives it much thought.

CBS, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, Canadian Broadcasting, even the many Mid East News outlets play down or fail to cover at all these stories, which actually occur daily.

Do you think these prisoners had access to a Quaran? Do you think the Red crescent was allow visitations? Do you think they had trials? Lawyers? Bright Orange Jumpsuits?

Believe me, I'm not defending the United States here. But I am condemning a world that ignores, minimizes, forgives or actually justifies all abuse of human rights, unless it's committed by the United States.

Frankly, I'm still waiting for someone in the United Nations for be prosecuted for the continuing sexual slavery of children, still going on to this minute at the hands of UN troops and officers in the Congo, but that's for another story.........

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Power of Positive Rhetoric: Bono & Geldof

"By the way, Bono has come to see me. I admire him. He is a man of depth and a great heart, who cares deeply about the impoverished folks on the continent of Africa. And I admire his leadership on the issue."
President George W. Bush
Joint Press Conference with Tony Blair
G8 Summit, June 7, 2005

While most celebrities and a good many politicians squander their credibility through the bizarre use of hyperbole and hate speech, some very principled individuals work both in out in front and behind the scenes to effect real change and improvements for the peoples of the world.

This week a huge step forward to assist the world's poor, especially in Africa, was achieved in no small part through the efforts of Bob Geldof and U2 lead singer, Bono. Both these rock stars have proven themselves to be extraordinary statesmen.

Carefully avoiding the kind of divisive hate speech so inartfully spewed by Howard Dean, Bono has managed to become a respected advisor and advocate by both the Clinton and Bush administrations. As you can read above, President Bush publicly credited Bono for his forceful and articulate lobbying for African debt relief. Bono is a favorite of Condi Rice, who introduced him to Bush and other Bush advisors. He has become a regular in the Bush White House.

Bono was also a favorite and a regular at the Clinton White House. As a friend and supporter of President Clinton it would have been easy for Bono to follow in the footsteps of many of his fellow musicians and Hollywood celebrities and simply condemn and trash Bush.

Instead, Bono took the high road and made friends and gained credibility. In other words, Bono put his principles well above politics. His goal was genuinely to help the poor people in the world. It would be very wrong to underestimate the role he and fellow British musician Bob Geldof played in the announcement of the landmark $40 Billion Dollar debt relief package promised by the member nations of the G8 Summit.

If only other celebrities could follow in Bono's footsteps.