Thursday, October 20, 2005

Torture-One Victim's Story (from the Sunday Herald) - Excerpts below

ON each stage of his journey, as he descended further and further into the gulags and torture chambers of the war on terror, Benyam Mohammed al-Habashi was shadowed by British intelligence. The British were there in Karachi when Americans interrogated him and Pakistanis tortured him; they were feeding questions to the Moroccan torturers who took a scalpel to his penis; they stood back and watched as he was dragged to an American torture chamber in Afghanistan and then to the gulag of Guantanamo, where he languishes to this day.

Al-Habashi was seeking refugee status in the UK and thought of himself as British, so he was surprised when the American FBI arrived at the Pakistani jail to interrogate him. They told him he was a top al-Qaeda operative. Al-Habashi pointed out that he couldn’t even speak Arabic.
He laughed at them, and the Americans told him that if he didn’t start talking, he’d be taken to an Arabic country and tortured.

One guard told him how the torture would happen, saying: “They’ll come in wearing masks and beat you up. They’ll beat you with sticks. They’ll rape you first, then they’ll take a glass bottle, they break the top off and they make you sit on it.”

“One of them,” al-Habashi’s statement says, “took my penis in his hand and began to make cuts. He did it once, and they stood still for maybe a minute, watching my reaction. I was in agony, crying, trying desperately to suppress myself, but I was screaming ... They must have done this 20 or 30 times in maybe two hours. There was blood all over ... They cut all over my private parts. One of them said it would be better to just cut it off as I would only breed terrorists … there were even worse things. Too horrible to remember, let alone talk about.”

The Americans then helped him compose his confession. “The story was like this,” al-Habashi says. “First, Jose Padilla and I were meant to have good connections because we both spoke English. We were meant to have been hanging out together. Second, I was meant to have come to Afghanistan with him ... third, I was meant to say that he and I were going to go to the US to explode a dirty bomb … By then, I just did what they told me.”

Read the whole story. The actions described go far beyond making a suspect wear underwear on his head , or standing in "stress positions" or even water-boarding. These are not the activities of a few rogue military personell working the late shift. This is TORTURE and it is part of a pattern of torture, a policy of torture, formulated at the highest levels of our government. A policy of torture that is in clear violation of national and international law, and of all standards of civilized conduct and human decency. President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney should be impeached.


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