These two videos from the USA say about themselves:
7 October 2009
Speech given at National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance rally
As the U.S. led war in Afghanistan begins its ninth year this week, 61 were arrested bringing a strong message to the White House that war, torture and drone bombing are outrageous, unacceptable and must end immediately. National anti-war groups and people from around the country joined together to say No to War in Afghanistan. No to Torture and Vengeance.
Bush administration’s torture policies.
Hundreds of people gathered in McPherson Square for song, poetry and rousing speeches to kick off a day of action. This is the reflection that Liz McAlister gave to those gathered, who would soon be processing to the White House led by the Mourn the dead, heal the wounded, end the wars banner. Those gathered then marched to the White House in a solemn procession, carrying large photographs of war victims, signs and banners. …
Members of Witness Against Torture, a group committed to the shuttering of Guantanamo and the quickly enlarging Bagram air base in Afghanistan … chained themselves to the fence.
From the Globe and Mail in Canada:
WASHINGTON — From Friday’s Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Mar. 12, 2010 3:51AM EST Last updated on Friday, Mar. 12, 2010 3:52AM EST
The damning report paints a grim picture of scant respect for human rights by the embattled regime headed by President Hamid Karzai. While Taliban treatment of civilians is even worse, the report’s assessment of vile prison conditions and routine abuse and torture by Afghan police and security raises new questions about whether Canada and other nations are still transferring prisoners to known torturers. Doing so is a war crime under international law.
“Torture was commonplace among the majority of law enforcement institutions, especially the police,” the U.S. report found, citing the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, the group used by Ottawa to help monitor whether detainees transferred by Canadian troops are abused or tortured.
There are serious questions about how really “independent” that Commission is, as it stands accused of not insisting too much on facts if those are too painful for the Karzai government and/or Western armed forces. However, sometimes there are so many facts that even a rather uncritical commission has to record at least some of them.
Canadian diplomats compile a similar annual report on selected countries – including Afghanistan – but it isn’t made public. Government censors blacked out all references to torture, abuse and extrajudicial killings by Afghan police and prison guards in the last available report obtained under Access to Information.
Yesterday’s U.S. report makes no similar attempt to shield allies from human rights scrutiny, even in places where U.S. troops are deployed.
Michael Posner, the U.S. undersecretary of state for human rights and democracy whose group prepared the mammoth report – generally considered the most authoritative annual assessment of conditions in more than 190 countries –
Well, some people see it as too uncritical of the United States itself and its allies, contrary to its views on governments which have conflicts with the United States government.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has turned the tables on Washington and threatened to release a report on human rights abuses in the US in response to State Department criticism of Latin American governments.
said the issue of foreign troops being ordered by their governments to hand detainees to Afghan security forces was vexed.
“How can United States and NATO countries ensure or guarantee safe treatment or fair process when those transfers occur. … Those are issues very much on our minds,” Mr. Posner said.
The U.S. runs a prison facility at Bagram where more than 600 battlefield detainees are held. Some of them have been there for six years. But Canada, Britain, the Netherlands and other NATO countries with troops fighting in southern Afghanistan turn prisoners over to Afghan police and the Afghan internal security service (National Directorate of Security), usually within 96 hours. For years, no follow-up inspections were made to ensure transferred prisoners weren’t tortured or killed, but after publication of harrowing accounts of abuse, Ottawa added sporadic inspections.
Most Canadian detainees are turned over to the feared NDS. The U.S. report said it was impossible to determine how many prisons the NDS operates, or how many prisoners they contain. …
Other countries where human rights abuses are identified include Iran and China.
Canada generally got good marks but the Harper government‘s long-running effort to keep a Canadian citizen from returning home was cited. “In July the government complied with an order of the Federal Court of Canada and facilitated the return to Canada of Abousfian Abdelrazik, a Canadian-Sudanese dual national, after the Court determined that Canadian officials had been complicit in his detention in Sudan in 2003,” the report said.
TORTURE, RAPE, CHILD ABUSE COMMON
Excerpts from the Afghanistan sections of the U.S. government’s latest human rights report:
* Afghan police and security “tortured and abused detainees. Torture and abuse methods included, but were not limited to, beating by stick, scorching bar, or iron bar; flogging by cable; battering by rod; electric shock; deprivation of sleep, water, and food; abusive language; sexual humiliation; and rape.”
* Afghan “police frequently raped female detainees and prisoners.”
* “Harems of young boys were cloistered for ‘bacha baazi‘ (boy-play) for sexual and social entertainment …”
* “Child abuse was endemic throughout the country, based on cultural beliefs about child-rearing, and included general neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, and confined forced labor to pay off family debts.”
* “Human rights problems included extrajudicial killings, torture, poor prison conditions, official impunity, prolonged pretrial detention, restrictions on freedom of the press, restrictions on freedom of religion, violence and societal discrimination against women, restrictions on religious conversions, abuses against minorities, sexual abuse of children, trafficking in persons, abuse of worker rights, the use of child soldiers in armed conflict, and child labor.”
Britain: Eight years of war and occupation in the name of liberation have done nothing to protect women in Afghanistan from violence and poverty, delegates to the TUC women’s conference have said: here.
The Labour government is fighting in the courts to stop its complicity in torture coming to light. Simon Basketter looks at the shattering evidence of Britain’s involvement in torture around the world: here.