It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about the subject of torture, having grown tired of it feeling like so much shouting into the wind. And to be honest, I don’t have much to say about it now. The reality that it’s still going on is enough to convince me that a significant number of Americans are quite pleased with what we’ve clearly become.
The two latest news items on the issue aren’t likely to make much difference in that, but I suppose they’re worth mentioning anyway, if only in passing. Probably nobody is much going to care that a recent U.N. report accuses the U.S. of torture.
The report, compiled by five U.N. envoys who interviewed former prisoners, detainees’ lawyers and families, and U.S. officials, is the product of an 18-month investigation ordered by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. The team did not have access to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Nonetheless, its findings — notably a conclusion that the violent force-feeding of hunger strikers, incidents of excessive violence used in transporting prisoners and combinations of interrogation techniques “must be assessed as amounting to torture” — are likely to stoke U.S. and international criticism of the prison.
And then there’s the new pictures from Abu Ghraib.
MORE photographs have been leaked of Iraqi citizens tortured by US soldiers at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad.
… Some of the photos are similar to those published in 2004, others are different. They include photographs of six corpses, although the circumstances of their deaths are not clear. There are also pictures of what appear to be burns and wounds from shotgun pellets.
The executive producer of Dateline, Mike Carey, said he was showing the pictures leaked to his program because it was important people understood what had happened at Abu Ghraib.
… Mr Carey said he could not explain why the photographs had not yet been published, as he thought it was likely that some journalists had them.
“It think it’s strange, maybe they think its more of the same.”
That pretty much sums it up. “More of the same.” And America just yawns, and then changes the channel.