Cultural Revolutions

Endorsing Torture

Alberto Gonzales’s nomination as attorney general by President George W. Bush makes official what has long been hidden and/or denied: The United States, contrary to her public professions and signed treaties, endorses and uses torture.

At one point during Gonzales’s January 6 hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy asked about recently released reports from FBI agents (obtained through a Freedom of Information suit by the American Civil Liberties Union) who claimed that naked detainees were bound hand-to-foot, in a fetal position, and forced to lie in their own urine and feces for periods as long as 24 hours.

“I found those e-mails to be shocking and deeply troubling,” Gonzales responded.  “I do not think it would be appropriate for me to address reports of interrogation practices discussed in the press and attempt to analyze whether such reported practices are lawful.”

Among the torture techniques applied to unknown numbers of individuals rounded up and imprisoned by U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq were such practices as hooding for prolonged periods; forced nudity; sexual humiliation; sexual torture; sodomy with flashlights, police sticks, light bulbs, and other items; electric shocking; sleep deprivation; exposure to loud, blaring rap music; use of guard dogs to terrorize; prostitutes menstruating on naked, chained prisoners;...

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