Friday, April 6, 2007

A Question of Innocence

Talking about the U.K. sailors who were recently captured by Iran President Bush made a point of saying the sailors were "innocent". He was saying that the U.K. soliders were innocent so they should not be detained. (luckily they were released) This got me thinking.

There are people being detained by the U.S. government at that horrible prison in IRAQ (Abu Ghurayb)and at Guantanemo Bay. They have no right to an attorney, they have no spokesperson, they can be detained there forever without any due process and they can be tortured into confessing. Are ALL the people who are being detained there guilty? Aren't some of those people Innocent?

I have heard justification by right wing pundits that they would rather be "safe" than worry about the rights of these people. That somehow all that activity is making us "safer" from terrorism when it is exactly the opposite. Our enemies who claim that the U.S. and it's military are evil are gaining ground. They actually have pictures of abuse to prove their point now. It's easy for them to rally people against our injustices to these people.

Do I think the people plotting against the U.S. or responsible for the Sept 11th attacks should get treated lightly? No I don't. I think they deserve an interrogation and if there is proof of their involvement they should be punished. However I am starting to doubt the validity of the "confessions" they are getting from these places.

If you torture someone daily, have dogs attacking them, stripping them of their dignity and torturing them then they will confess to anything. They will do absolutely anything to end the abuse. So when I hear that a major Al Queda figure has confessed to about 30 different things I wonder if it's true or if its just something they got him to say. Is this torture for P.R. purposes?

Just look at our own Chicago Police Department to prove the point. They got countless suspects (mostly black) to confess to crimes they didn't commit by torturing them. There has been lots of history to prove that sometimes people confess to crimes after they have been held for hours and hours because they just want to go home. (then of course they never go home) People have even confessed to murders due to this syndrome.

Imagine if you were innocent and being held in a third world filthy prison with armed foreign guards abusing you. Having dogs bite at you, peeing on you, stripping you naked, sexually violating you and torturing you - it is possible you might confess to something or anything to get away from that situation.

America should be a shining light to other nations. We are not like third world abusive countries. We give people due process, we engage in interrogation techniques that are humane, we don't abuse prisoners in our custody etc. Unfortunately right now to the world we look as evil as the dictators we despise.

So tell me Mr. Bush - a sailor in the British Military in Iran's waters is Innocent but a person who gets picked up on the street in Baghdad is presumed to be a terrorist?

My vision of America does not include torture ... period.

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