Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Truth About Torture: Part Three

Today, I must announce that this series will be shortened to six parts. The fact that Part Six may be posted on the morning of September 11th is just a coincidence.

I’ve copied from the source recording the above video clip, which was originally going to be two separate video clips. Please play the video and then read how President Bush lied to the American public during Wednesday’s speech.

"...those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys, who will help them prepare their defense and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care and opportunities for worship as other detainees."

This quote from Wednesday's speech should have you deeply concerned. Those of you who read the Bloggers Against Torture blog during Blogathon 2006 probably remember the post I made at the 9:30am PST mark on a Bahraini detainee named Juma Al Dossary and the following post that detailed his claims of torture and accusations levied against him. I'll use him as a case study to discuss the remarks President Bush made in the above video clip.

Three months ago, Al Dossary made an appeal through a letter to Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, his American attorney, for the Bahrain government to send a medical delegation to give him a physical in order to confirm that U.S. military doctors did not transfer dangerous diseases through blood transfusions.

Since that time, there have been rumors that Al Dossary's blood infection may be HIV. However, there is no independent report to confirm this. An independent medical delegation has not been sent to Guantanamo Bay to check on the health of Al Dossary or Salah Abdulrasool Al Bloushi and Isa Al Murbati, the other Bahraini detainees who have been held at Guantanamo Bay for nearly five years without trial or being charged with a crime. As I've said before, it's impossible to be considered innocent when you're detained without charges.

Al Dossary is being held in a concrete cell at the mental health unit with the air conditioning running all the time. The lights inside are turned off at night, while the ones outside the cell are always turned off so Al Dossary cannot read the clock on the wall and know the proper time to pray, The combination of the running air conditioner and the absence of lighting lower the temperatures inside the cell to the point where the concrete walls and floor nearly mimic freezing conditions. In a similar case, another detainee held at Guantanamo nearly died when his heart rate dropped due to the colder temperatures.

This "cold" treatment is reportedly one of the sanctioned coercion techniques practiced by the guards at Guantanamo Bay.

"..and they will be continued to be treated with the humanity they denied others."

55-page report by Human Rights Watch called No Blood, No Foul details many cases of detainee abuse by U.S. personnel against detainees. That doesn't sound very humanitarian, does it?

"...but one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated, or they will not return to the battlefield as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have."

This was not a reason given by President Bush in May when quoted by German television. In fact, he stated his desire to close Guantanamo Bay and was awaiting a Supreme Court ruling on whether detainees should go before a civil or military court. The Supreme Court ruled against the military courts and instead of complying with the decision, the Bush administration is trying to find a way to circumvent the ruling and the War Crimes Act of 1996.

Despite Saudi Arabia's spotty record on human rights abuses, the United States transferred several former Guantanamo Bay detainees on May 18th.

"..and we will move towards the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay."

It has nearly been five years since the opening of the Guantanamo Bay prison and not only are we no closer to closing the facility now than we were back in 2002, but the detainees held there have yet to be charged with a crime.

To be continued...

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