Posted in Columns and Letters

Wikileaks recently released around 779 secret documents showing how America has trampled upon habeas corpus and the rule of law.

Included are details of an 89-year-old Afghan villager suffering from senile dementia and a 14-year-old boy who was an innocent kidnap victim, both of whom were sent to Guantanamo Bay. The old man was questioned about “suspicious phone numbers” found in his compound, while the boy was jailed because of “his possible knowledge of Taliban… local leaders”.
One British national, Jamal al Harith, who was jailed by the Taliban, was subsequently shipped off to Cuba; he was thought to have knowledge of their interrogation techniques. An Al Jazeera journalist was also held at Guantanamo Bay for six years, merely in order to be interrogated about the Arabic news network.
Systemic torture is the norm in Gitmo. See the award-winning documentary The Road to Guantanamo Bay for plenty of evidence of that. It’s all out in the open now, yet strangely the media is showing no signs of a feeding frenzy.
Had it been a bunch of Muslims doing these things, the whole world of journalism would have been up in arms! We would have seen video clips of torture equipment for at least a week on Sky News, with scrolling headlines like ‘Islamic group torturing innocent inmates in jail’.
Yet even after the Wikileaks exposition, the media seems to be more interested in the outdated and boring topic of radicalisation of Muslims. This is the general impression one gets of newspapers and media outlets.
The recent killing of Osama bin Laden has actually reopened the debate about the value of torture, as the New York Times reported on 3 May last. Some very evil people have alleged that torture helped the US locate ‘OBL’. This is a total lie. Bin Laden was killed with intel shared by Pakistan with America. This was clearly stated by President Obama in his speech after the killing, where he mentioned “co-operation and partnership between the US and Pakistan led up to the elimination of [Bin Laden]”. Moreover, Matthew Alexander, who is a former military interrogator, gave an interview to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now where he said that torture in fact slowed down efforts to find Bin Laden (you can watch this interview on YouTube).
When President Obama came to Ireland last month, we missed our opportunity to ask him what happened to his promise that he would close down Guantanamo Bay. Furthermore, the media needs to raise the issue of torture and oppose all those who want this inhuman and downright satanic practice to be acceptable on the basis of fake security and intelligence benefits.

Glór Moslamach would like to thank Hamza Andreas Tzortzi, a well-known international Muslim speaker, and Michael Martin of Atheist Ireland for engaging in interesting debates that took place in Galway and Dublin some weeks ago. Such culture of debate is vital for the healthy engagement of Muslim and non-Muslim communities. We appreciate those who organized these debates and encourage them to continue their activities. They shall always have our full support.
We also recommend to our readers to seek out Andy Worthington’s excellent article on this issue, titled ‘Osama Bin Laden’s death and the unjustifiable defense of torture and Guantanamo’.

One Comment

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    Since the publishing of this column, they have done their best to justify their torture and made movies such as Zero Dark Thirty. The following letter is from the current director of the CIA Michael Morell which refutes the notion that torture helped locate Osama Bin Laden. So from the Horse’s mouth.

    Message from the Acting Director: “Zero Dark Thirty”< Statement to Employees from Acting Director Michael Morell: "Zero Dark Thirty" December 21, 2012 It would not be practical for me to walk through all the fiction in the film, but let me highlight a few aspects that particularly underscore the extent to which the film departs from reality. ... Second, the film creates the strong impression that the enhanced interrogation techniques that were part of our former detention and interrogation program were the key to finding Bin Ladin. That impression is false. As we have said before, the truth is that multiple streams of intelligence led CIA analysts to conclude that Bin Ladin was hiding in Abbottabad. Some came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well. ... Journalists Terry McDermott and Josh Meyer write in their timely and groundbreaking new book, "The Hunt for KSM." (Khalid Sheikh Muhammad) "The CIA was looking for something that didn't exist," McDermott said during our interview, explaining why KSM was brutalized. "The CIA's sole focus was on the next attack. Here's the problem: there was no next attack, there were hundreds of them. There were a multitude of plots. The CIA was looking for the next 'spectacular' and there was none. I've always wondered why torture was used too. Aside from the immorality of it, we know torture doesn't work. The person being tortured will say anything to make the torture stop. But [the CIA] used it anyway. The outcome was almost fated." The information the CIA obtained by torturing KSM was "bad, made up," he would later say, "so the torture would stop." His false confessions, the cornerstone of the program, however, sent intelligence and law enforcement officials on "wild goose chases"--literally--in an attempt to stop nonexistent terrorist attacks. "He had us chasing the goddamn geese in Central Park because he said some of them had explosives stuffed up their ass," former FBI counterterrorism agent, Ali Soufan, told the authors. McDermott and Meyer write that in addition to being waterboarded, a form of controlled drowning, 183 times, KSM was deprived of sleep for a week, "hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, beaten, kicked, suffocated, exposed to extreme cold and noise, denied food and sleep, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers and hung by his wrists until they bled." What I want you to know is that Zero Dark Thirty is a dramatization, not a realistic portrayal of the facts. CIA interacted with the filmmakers through our Office of Public Affairs but, as is true with any entertainment project with which we interact, we do not control the final product.