Baha Mousa, a 26-year old Iraqi, was beaten and killed in the custody of British troops following a raid on his hotel in the southern Iraq city of Basra in September 2003. He died after suffering up to 100 injuries in the course of 36 hours of beating during which he screamed constantly, the inquiry heard.
Great to be British, isn't it? Time was, we were really uptight, but now we can talk about anything - sex, religion, politics. No matter how personal and complex the subject, we'll discuss it with Richard and Judy, or slap our private Polaroids of it on our websites. Which leaves me puzzled about our silence, even shyness, over this whole torture thing.
After all, torture has mass appeal - as wacky old Stanley Milgram put it: "A substantial proportion of people do what they are told to do, irrespective of the content of the act and without limitations of conscience, so long as they perceive that the command comes from a legitimate authority." Or, to put it another way, if a man with a white coat or shiny buttons tells you to electrocute someone for the good of your country, or his country, or an unnamed man in Sidcup, you have a 65% chance of flicking the switch and feeling just fine about it.
Torture is simple - amazing results can be achieved with the everyday household objects that any Blue Peter presenter might recommend. And it's really sexy - think of all that painstaking attention to genital areas. Better yet, it's about power - having the power to make somebody into something. The kind of exhilarating stuff you're not supposed to try at home.
Never mind that even Malleus Maleficarum (the original torture manual for the Spanish Inquisition) cautioned that its victims might say anything to make it stop - torture is definitely about truth and about justice springing in a really surprising and frankly rather ill-defined way from unjust and criminal acts, and don't forget, if we don't do it to them, they'll do it to us.
And torture is just so much fun. You'll never, for example, see a perky torturer trying to kick the habit in televised diary clips. "Yesterday was my first night out ... other people were torturing, but I just sucked my lozenge, and this morning I didn't have that terrible smell in my clothes and hair. And I haven't gained weight the way I thought I would .."
Torture doesn't quit - it just moves. Nazis torture the French resisters; the French adapt Nazi techniques in Algeria and Indochina; the Americans adapt French and CIA techniques in Vietnam; coalition forces adapt CIA techniques in Iraq and on and on we go. Having fun.
When quality torturers lose one playground in, say, Chile, or South Africa, they can transfer their specialist skills to, say, Afghanistan, or Iraq. Today's torturers deserve our respect, whether they're innovative freelancers like "Crazy Mike" and Jonathan Idema, or following more conventional chains of command like "Chip" Frederick - they unite dedication and ingenuity with millennia of vicious tradition. They give living meaning to puzzling technical terms like falaqa, bastinado or squassation and they cherish the gritty sense of humour immortalised in witty nicknames any torture enthusiast can appreciate - "the parrot's perch", "the telephone", "the electric grill".
But we have to remember that torture is also as British as the monkeys on Gibraltar. We love it. We tested it throughout our empire, and now we gladly supply the mercenaries, and restraints and devices, that make it really swing. We built delightful torture/rape/concentration camps in Kenya after the second world war; we excelled ourselves in Northern Ireland; we keep Diego Garcia cleared so the US can use it as a tropical paradise/black hole; and now we're pitching in handily in Iraq.
Even more admirably, the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 means that we can - and do - imprison whomever we like indefinitely. No clear charges, no release date, oppressive conditions: it's a splendidly elegant way of making detainees', [prisoners], own fears torment them with minimal further intervention.
Even more thrillingly, we'll now accept evidence obtained by torture in other regimes - just like our clever pals in the US administration who've also ensured their staff appointments, command structures and on-the-ground levels of alcohol abuse guarantee consistent levels of coalition cruelty.
Most lovely of all is the way we Brits conduct our tortures. Our dawn raids and detentions are so quiet, so nicely contained within the Muslim community. The civilians we are bombing and irradiating as you read this are so far away. Our complicity is so gentle.
Unless maybe a grown man weeps on grainy video, and begs for his life in a hell he didn't make and reminds us: "I am nothing to you." From Downing Street to Whitehall, from prime minister to home secretary, from foreign to domestic policy, this is what our torture says we all believe - that any human being can be nothing. Great to be British, isn't it?
Pentagon dumps Guantanamo tribunal officers
The Pentagon has dumped three members of a military tribunal that will hear the trials of Guantanamo prisoners, including Australian David Hicks, but kept the presiding officer despite challenges to his impartiality.
Lawyers complain about Guantanamo trials
US: Lawyers for 63 detainees at the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have complained before a US federal court at the slow pace their cases are being handled by authorities.
US accused of breaching international law
The United States is violating international law by holding prisoners in its war on terror, [The Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], incommunicado and in secret hiding places, Human Rights Watch said in a report to be published on Tuesday calling for an end to such practices.
Bush criminals 'knew of abuse' at Guantanamo
Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantanamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but, [war criminal], Donald Rumsfeld, the defence, [war], secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation.
BREAKTHROUGH AS DFAT TAKES STEPS FOR GUANTANAMO BAY POSTAL VOTE As the electoral rolls closed, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) confirmed that they have faxed, [tortured prisoners], David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], postal vote application forms, Australian Greens Member for Cunningham Michael Organ said.
Abu Ghraib inquiry slams Aust Government
A US inquiry into the Iraqi prison abuse scandal has been highly critical of Australian, Major George O'Kane, for glossing over early warnings about the treatment of detainees.
US Tortured Iraqi Resistance: Report
A US army general has acknowledged for the first time that US forces tortured Iraqis at the Abu Ghraib jail and his report said a colonel, who headed the military, [and alleged], intelligence unit at the prison, could face criminal charges. "It's a harsh word, and in some instances, unfortunately, I think it was appropriate here. There were a few instances where torture was being used". [? a few?]
Hicks defence team likely to gain more time
The head of the military trials planned for two Australians held at Guantanamo Bay says he believes their defence teams will be given whatever additional time they need to prepare for trial.
Mamdouh Habib: Taunted and Tortured!
Habib came to ASIO's notice when he fell out with the ADF obviously someone had it in for Mamdouh and the ADF tipped off ASIO and the AFP to taunt him. By the sounds of it he was declared a wog. That's Aussie slang for get the bastard he's not one of ours and we can discriminate against him he is an easy target. Aussie race hate!
A blow for freedom
The supreme court ruling that Guantanamo Bay prisoners can challenge their detention, [imprisonment], in the US is almost certain to lead to hundreds being released, says Conor Gearty,
Mr Habib to face US military trial
The, [despotic], United States Government has given the go-ahead for the Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate, [prisoner], Mr Mamdouh Habib, to go to trial for being innocent. Mr Habib could now be granted access to a military and civilian legal team.
US tortured Habib in Egypt: report
Australian terror suspect Mamdoub Habib was allegedly tortured in Egypt before being sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, according to the Pakistani Government.
Hicks movie to premiere in Adelaide
A movie about Guantanamo Bay detainee, [prisoner], David Hicks, President versus David Hicks, by award winning filmmaker Curtis Levy will be screened in Adelaide tomorrow.
There is no justification for torture
In the weeks since the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison were revealed, evidence continues to seep out of similar mistreatment of prisoners in other US military detention, [torture], centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay.
US lawyers demand access to Habib
Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees, including Mamdouh Habib, have written to United States Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld demanding access to the men.
Guantanamo prisoners may be moved to US soil
The US authorities may move hundreds of prisoners from their controversial Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba to the United States following new Supreme Court rulings, the Los Angeles Times has reported.
Blair's comments reflect badly on Australia says Hicks lawyer
The Adelaide-based lawyer representing accused Taliban fighter, [scapegoat for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], Mr David Hicks says the latest comments by the British Prime Minister Tony Blair on United States military tribunals reflect badly on Australia.
Pentagon names tribunal for Hicks trial
The Pentagon has named the militants who will decide the fate of Mr David Hicks and two other Guantanamo prisoners charged by the United States in the first US military tribunals since World War II.
US scapegoats can challenge detention
The US Supreme Court has ruled that US courts have jurisdiction to hear appeals from foreign detainees, [prisoners], held as enemy combatants, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], in the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Hicks lawyer praises Guantanamo decision
The lawyer for an Australian man detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base has welcomed a US Supreme Court ruling permitting judicial appeals from foreign detainees held as enemy combatants.
'No compromise' on Guantanamo trials
UK: The transatlantic rift over Guantanamo Bay deepened, as UK last Friday politicians and human rights activists seized on the attorney general's admission that, [war criminal], George Bush's plans for military tribunals were "unacceptable".
War criminal Rumsfeld had approved abuse
On December 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved the removal of clothing, 20-hour interrogations, the use of dogs to induce stress, 30-day isolations and deprivation of light and sensory stimuli (hooding).
Prisoner's identity concealed to prevent Red Cross access
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, acting at the request of the CIA, ordered that a suspected Iraqi insurgent leader be detained off the books to conceal his identity from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the Pentagon has confirmed.
US has secret prisons: rights group
The United States is holding terrorism suspects, [? scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], in more than two dozen detention centres worldwide, about half of which operate in total secrecy, according to a new human rights report.
How much is that doggy in the prison? Woof, woof!
Did the Iraqi prisoners' get their rations while they were treated like chums? The Australian Government was confident United States authorities in charge of Iraqi prisoners of war complied with the Geneva Convention, the Senate was told yesterday.
British militants face Iraq abuse charges
London: Four British, [militants], will be court-martialled on charges of abusing Iraqi, detainees. The four Royal Fusiliers members are accused of assault, indecent assault and prejudicing good order.
I'm a scapegoat: Abu Ghraib general
The United States general in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was told by a military intelligence commander that detainees, [prisoners], should be treated like dogs.
Hicks and Habib in the Melting Pot
Australia: The United States has brought three, [alleged], criminal charges against Australian David Hicks, accusing him of conspiracy to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aiding the enemy, the Pentagon has said.
Pentagon finds Bush not bound by torture laws: report?
A Pentagon report has concluded, [war criminal], President George W Bush was not bound by laws prohibiting torture and United States agents who might torture prisoners at his direction could not be prosecuted by the Justice Department, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Looming Hicks charges no surprise, father says
The father of Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee, [prisoner], David Hicks says it would be wrong for, [war criminal], Prime Minister John Howard to take any credit for speeding up the legal processing of his son.
Howard double standard on prisoners
The [war criminal], Prime Minister's claim in Los Angeles overnight that "if an American commits a crime in Australia, that person is tried in Australia' falls flat in light of his decision to let the US try two marines alleged to be involved in attempted murder in Townsville, Greens Senator Bob Brown said today.
I was misled on abuse: Howard?
[War criminal], Prime Minister John Howard says he did not mislead the public about when Australian officials became aware of allegations about the serious abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
Amnesty report criticises Aust, US
Amnesty International has accused Australia of using national security to justify the erosion of human rights and says the United States has proved "bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle" in its fight against terrorism and invasion of Iraq.
Australian officer visited Abu Ghraib
An Australian Army legal officer who served at the coalition's military headquarters in Baghdad visited the notorious Abu Ghraib prison on a number of occasions, a Senate committee has heard.
Family worried about son in Iraqi prison
The South Australian family of a man detained in Iraq says it is becoming increasingly concerned about his welfare. Ahmed Aziz Rafiq, 26, was born in Iraq, but has been living in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
Hicks interrogator features in CBS broadcast
An American television program has broadcast an interview with a man who interrogated Australian terror suspect, [scapegoat for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], David Hicks at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
HRMU: Harm-U for Hicks, Habib?
[War criminal], Prime Minister John Howard, NSW Premier Bob Carr, Justice Minister John Hatzistergos and other State and Territory prison ministers have set out a grim blueprint of life in an Australian jail.
Hicks's lawyer welcomes prison decision
Guantanamo Bay detainee, [prisoner and scapegoat for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], David Hicks's lawyer has welcomed federal Parliament's decision to allow any prison sentence he may receive to be served in Australia. Mr Hicks and fellow Australian Mamdouh Habib have been held in Cuba without charge for more than two years.
Hicks trial won't be fair: US lawyer
The military lawyer assigned to Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate, [prisoner and scapegoat for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], David Hicks has launched one of the most serious attacks yet on the legal process surrounding his client.
Guantanamo detentions slammed
A leading human rights group has denounced the United States Government for continuing to hold prisoners without charge two years after it set up the detention, [prison], camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
Vigil: Season's Greetings for David and Mamdouh
The objective is to continue to inform the public; and maintain the issue alive. There will be information on both David and Mamdouh to hand out to the general public. There will also be two Season's Greetings cards for the public to sign which will be presented to Alexander Downer - as Parliament will be on recess by then, I will ask the Fair Go for David Group in South Australia to present these to Downer.
US court delivers blow to Guantanamo policy
In a stinging rebuke of the Bush Government, a United States appeals court has ruled the US cannot imprison "enemy combatants," [scapegoats and patsy's for the Coaltion of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], captured in Afghanistan, [held], indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay and deny them access to lawyers.
Lawyers differ on Guantanamo deal
The lawyers for the two Australian men being held, [tortured in solitary confinement], at Guantanamo Bay have had different reactions to the, [war criminal], Federal Government's agreement with the, [war criminal], United States over procedures for any 'military trials'.
US 'political prisoners' demand rule of US law
FOREIGN prisoners, [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East], held in Cuba, including Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, will never have played their legal card until they're freed!
Government should fund 'free Hicks' doco
TAXPAYERS have forked out $185,000 for a documentary promoting the release of David Hicks - because the Coalition of the Killing used him as a scapegoat for their illegal and degrading resource war's in the Middle East.
A STRUGGLE ON TWO FRONTS: PRISONS & IMPERIALIST WAR
After a war waged by the U.S. military against Vietnam which took the lives of more than 3 million Vietnamese people and more than 58,000 GIs, the U.S. finally withdrew in 1975. It had suffered its first official major military defeat by a united people struggle led by the Vietnamese, along with a mass U.S. anti-war movement.
Supporters doubt PM's efforts to release Habib, Hicks
The supporters of two Australian detainees [prisoners] being held [tortured] by the United States at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba say they draw no comfort from [war criminal], Prime Minister John Howard raising the men's plight with [war criminal], US President George W Bush.
Greens For Freedom of Political Prisoners
The Greens politicians refused to be ejected and attempted to deliver a letter and photograph to the president. But Kerry was literally dragged away and that behaviour in Parliament was worrying.
Red Cross Criticizes Indefinite Detention in Guantanamo Bay
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Oct. 9 A senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Thursday that the holding of more than 600 detainees [prisoners] here was unacceptable because they were being held for open-ended terms without proper legal process.
Australia: Crean backs war criminals
The Federal Labor leader, Simon Crean, has tried to head off planned protests by some opposition MPs when the US President addresses Parliament next week.
Guantanamo Bay treatment: Limbo
Former federal judges, diplomats, military officials and human rights advocates in the United States have urged the Supreme Court to review the cases of detainees [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource wars in the Middle East], being held without charge at Guantanamo Bay in the name of terrorism.
Pilger said White House knew Saddam was no threat
Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.
Civil Liabilities: Howard's diversity? I had a dream?
The war criminal, Prime Minister, John Howard, who only yesterday was claiming he was showing diversity has stepped up pressure on the states to support plans to increase the war criminal, Federal Attorney-General's powers to ban terrorist organisations, [scapegoats and patsies for the Coalition of the Killing's illegal and degrading resource wars in the Middle East.]
Terry Hicks Odyssey for Justice for his Imprisoned Son
Terry Hicks, David Hicks father, one of two Australian [scapegoats] held imprisoned [and tortured] at Guantanamo Bay, arrives tomorrow Saturday 20 September in Sydney. He will hold a Press Conference at 2pm at Breakout, 65 Bellevue St. Glebe.
State terror units caused the terror!
The level of suspicion and surveillance created by the [US false flag operation and call to arms] Bali bombings, created by [ the Coalition of the Killing and Australian's complicity to go to war on Iraq] means that all Australian's suffer the loss of their human rights, civil rights and their democratic rights, as well as those Australian's who lost their life in Bali.
Bin Laden calls? CIA blind man's bluff!
A [US propaganda, fear-mongering] taped message purportedly from Osama bin Laden has warned Arab nations against supporting a war against Iraq but has branded Saddam Hussein an infidel.
NSW Community News Network Archive