While I was away for almost two weeks, the ACLU and many of my blogger pals took to their keyboards and wrote about the many brutal deaths that occurred at the hands of people engaging in torture for the US. The torture issue is horrifying and the longer we get away from the Bush years, the more information the ACLU is able to gather. These documents are, in a word, vile.
The ACLU writes:
Today, several prominent bloggers are writing about detainees who died in U.S. custody, using documents released through the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. We’re not talking suicide, or death by "natural causes." No, this is death as a result of torture and abuse while in custody. This effort comes on the eve of the release — we hope — of the CIA Inspector General’s report on waterboarding. (You might’ve heard last Friday that the release was delayed.)
The interrogation and detention regime implemented by the U.S. resulted in the deaths of over 100 detainees in U.S. custody — at least. While some of those deaths were the result of "rogue" interrogators and agents, many were caused by the methods authorized at the highest levels of the Bush White House, including extreme stress positions, hypothermia, sleep deprivation and others. Aside from the fact that they cause immense pain, that’s one reason we’ve always considered those tactics to be "torture" when used by others — because they inflict serious harm, and can even kill people. Those arguing against investigations and prosecutions — that we Look to the Future, not the Past — are thus literally advocating that numerous people get away with murder.
Now I’m no doctor–and I definitely can’t make sense of the cardiac findings. But it sounds like "stress positions," "sleep deprivation," "walling," and "water dousing" are all leading candidates to have caused the death of 04-309.
Drational at Daily Kos zeroes in on one detainee, known as Habibullah, and the circumstances of his death.
Habibullah was being interrogated by the military. Upon autopsy he was clothed only in an adult diaper. Because he was taken from his cell to the Bagram medical facility "dead on arrival" it is likely he was wearing a diaper when he was found "unresponsive, restrained in his cell" (hanging shackled from the ceiling). This is consistent with the nudity and use of diapering during "sleep deprivation" approved by Rumsfeld and described as part of the protocols for CIA interrogation during one technique: sleep deprivation- in which the detainee is shackled standing or sitting for up to 7 1/2 days straight.
mcjoan writes: Accountability for Torture, Accountability for the Dead
Back on May 9, I wrote about the part of the torture debate that has been lost in the politics of Cheney and his effectiveness campaign, and the narrowing of the debate to waterboarding and whether it's really torture: approximately 100 detainnes have died during U.S. interrogations. Some we know were tortured to death.
And as Greg Sargent reports:
The report is called the “Holy Grail” by some Dem staffers because it contains a whole chapter describing the “effectiveness” of torture, which reportedly concludes that there’s no proof that info gained from torture ever foiled any terror plots. It’s also expected to cast new and serious doubts on the legality of the torture program — which means its release could fuel calls for a real probe.
But you’re gonna have to wait to see it. Sorry.
Here's hoping I'm wrong about that and they let the people see what has been done in their names. We deserve to know and the tortured dead deserve some justice. And if we want to just deal in pragmatic concerns, if anyone thinks that refusing to hold people accountable for what happened and showing the world that we can be trusted to civilized at least after the fact doesn't make us less safe, they are out of their minds. This is how countries become pariah states.
The United States went crazy after 9/11 and tortured many, many people, at least a hundred of them to death. It happened. How do we live with that?