United Nations: Bush, close down Guantanamo Bay and other torture centers. US censorship of film poster

Guantanamo Bay torture, cartoon

The United Nations Committee against Torture has called on the United States Bush administration to close down Guantanamo Bay camp and other torture centers.

From Cinematical (USA):

MPAA Censors Guantanamo Poster

Posted May 18th 2006 12:31PM by Martha Fischer

Just a day after we reported on censorship in other parts of the world (assuming, perhaps, that films in the US escape such restrictions) comes the news that American authorities are getting into the act, as well. Fan-freaking-tastic.

According to press reports, the MPAA has objected to the poster that Roadside Attractions was planning to use to promote their American release of [movie] The Road to Guantanamo.

The original poster depicts a prisoner hanging from chained wrists, with a burlap bag over his head — nothing more, said Roadside president Howard Cohen, than a reflection of “what it is we are doing to people in Guantanamo.”

The censored original The Road to Guantanamo poster

More posters of that film: here.

See also here.

Not only The Road to Guantanamo, but also the film Baghdad ER faces censorship; from the Pentagon of Donald Rumsfeld.


8 thoughts on “United Nations: Bush, close down Guantanamo Bay and other torture centers. US censorship of film poster

  1. author: Paul Harris
    25 May 2006
    The Guardian

    Chain gang
    – Locking up increasing numbers of Americans is not just about fighting crime, but about boosting business, argues Paul Harris

    The people in Ellsworth, Kansas are lucky: it has a prison. That statement may seem a little odd, but for the good people of Ellsworth the jail is a lifesaver. In a region of dying small towns increasingly populated by the aged, the prison is a reliable source of valuable jobs.

    Ellsworth was recently part of a scheme offering free plots of land to city dwellers willing to give up the hassles of urban life for small town Kansas, and as I watched a Little League baseball game on a sunny day at the local high school, it struck me as a pretty good deal.

    And it was the prison that made it possible. The jobs it provided meant Ellsworth was still viable. Ellsworth’s Main Street did not have the boarded up windows that plagued other towns nearby. Its diner was busy with a lunch time crowd (and yes, everyone inside did know everyone else).

    No one had a bad word to say about the prison.

    That’s great for Ellsworth. But there are issues here for American society as a whole that need exploring. This week new figures came out that showe more than 2.2 million Americans now live behind bars, the highest rate of incarceration in the world. It is also a figure that is growing. There are 50,000 more Americans in jail now than this time last year. Amazingly 62 percent of them have not even been convicted of a crime. They are just waiting trial in a system that is clogged. This should be seen as a national crisis. But it is not. In America this is increasingly seen as a business opportunity. And business is booming.

    Over the past few decades the free market has entered America’s prison system in an ever expanding way. This is an issue that gets little mainstream attention. Yet academics and criminologists are worried. They should be. The main operator of private prisons is a company called Corrections Corporation of America. It now runs the sixth largest prison system in the US, behind only the Federal Government and four states.

    Yet, as any private company would be, it is highly concerned with costs and managing them efficiently in order to maximize profit. One obvious cost is staff and their wages. A recent study found the turnover rate of CCA staff was three times that of public prisons, surely an indicator of a less than happy workforce. Perhaps that explained the findings of another report, by criminologist James Austin, that found CCA prisons have a 65 percent higher rate of prisoner assaults on other prisoners.

    Another facet of the privatisation of the prisons system has been that prison companies have reacted just like any other industry in America. They have hired lobbyists to aggressively pursue their business interests. As they can offer jobs and hope to parts of the country where there is little else, prisons can have enormous influence over politicians keen to keep their voters at home happy. That’s great, some might think: jobs for the jobless.

    But it really goes beyond that. This creeping privatisation raises fundamental moral and ethical questions. The main one being: does a private company really have any interest in there being less prisoners? When a prisoner equals profit, what incentive is there to have less of them around? Does this help explain why so many politicians think the answer to crime is locking up more people?

    But at the moment there is little sign of it stopping. In Kansas, in fact, highly successful lobbying by the prisons industry is aiming to open the market with a privatisation law. In Oklahoma private firms are now set to be allowed to handle maximum security inmates for the first time. That marks another huge leap in their power and influence in the system. To Big Oil,
    Big Tobacco and Big Pharma do we really want to add Big Prison?

    There is another way too that market forces have entered America’s jail system: in the form of virtual slave labour. There is much outcry in America about outsourcing vital jobs to China and India, but what about outsourcing them to jails? I once visited the famous Angola jail in Lousiana and was stunned to see groups of convicts in the fields slaving under a hot sun for – literally – a few cents an hour. Prisoners in Utah fare a lot better. They earn 40 cents an hour. In Colorado it is tougher: their income is capped at 60 cents a day.

    Now I am not complaining about prisoners’ rights here. Getting inmates to work is a good thing and they should not get rich while doing it. I am complaining about what the companies are paying. Whatever the prisoner gets for his or her labour is irrelevant. What the company pays should be a market rate. Otherwise the impact on local wages outside the prison is disastrous.

    It is simple market forces: the same ones that see firms flee to China. If a company can pay a worker virtually nothing it will. That is its nature. Whether the worker is a Cantonese peasant or an American convict. Either way the person who suffers is the ordinary American who would have liked to do that job for a decent wage to feed his (or her) family.

    Americans should be aggrieved at this. But instead, fueled by politicians and media scare stories, the obsession is fighting crime with tougher sentences and more and more prisoners. It is a system that is groaning under its own weight as state and federal governments don’t have the funds to keep it going. That gives yet more incentive to see private jails as a viable alternative. No one seems willing to stop the rot. In Alabama the prison system is grinding to a halt because it is so flooded with prisoners. From 5,500 people in jail in the state in 1980, there are now a shocking 28,000 inmates.

    Recently Alabama state judge William Shashy was so appalled at the chaos and backlog that he threatened to prosecute state prison chief Richard Allen. Unless Allen cleared the backlog of inmates, Shashy warned, then Allen would … yes, you guessed it. He would be sent to jail.


  2. Pingback: Ex-Guantanamo guard about torture | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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