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ZGram - 12/5/2004 - "Margolis: Uncle Sam has his own Gulag"

zgrams at zgrams.zundelsite.org
Mon Dec 6 06:49:31 EST 2004

ZGram - Where Truth is Destiny:  Now more than ever!

December 5, 2004

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

Brilliant and courageous Toronto Sun reporter, Eric Margolis, has 
written yet another article that needs to be widely read.  Pass it on!


Sun, December 5, 2004

Uncle Sam has his own gulag

Behaving like the Soviet secret police won't make America safer, Eric 
Margolis says.


The Lubyanka Prison's heavy oak main door swung open. I went in, the 
first western journalist to enter the KGB's notorious Moscow 
headquarters -- a place so dreaded Russians dared not utter its name. 
When they referred to it at all, they called it "Detsky Mir," after a 
nearby toy store.

After interviewing two senior KGB generals, I explored the 
fascinating museum of Soviet intelligence and was briefed on special 
poisons and assassination weapons that left no traces. I sat 
transfixed at the desk used by all the directors of Stalin's secret 
police, on which the orders were signed to murder 30 million people.

Descending dimly lit stairs, I saw some of the KGB's execution and 
torture cellars, and special "cold rooms" where naked prisoners were 
beaten, then doused with ice water and slowly frozen.

Other favoured Lubyanka tortures: Psychological terror, psychotropic 
drugs, prolonged sleep deprivation, dazzling lights, intense noise, 
days in pitch blackness, isolation, humiliation, constant threats, 
savage beatings, attacks by guard dogs, near drowning.

Nightmares from the past -- but the past has returned.

According to a report leaked to the New York Times, the Swiss-based 
International Red Cross has accused the Bush administration for a 
second time of employing systematic, medically supervised torture 
against suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, and at U.S.-run 
prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second Red Cross report was delivered to the White House last 
summer while it was trying to dismiss the Abu Ghraib prison torture 
horrors as the crimes of a few rogue jailers.

According to the report's allegations, many tortures perfected by the 
Cheka (Soviet secret police) -- notably beating, freezing, sensory 
disorientation, and sleep deprivation -- are now routinely being used 
by U.S. interrogators.

The Chekisti, however, did not usually inflict sexual humiliation. 
That technique, and hooding, were developed by Israeli psychologists 
to break resistance of Palestinian prisoners. Photos of sexual 
humiliation were used by Israeli security, and then by U.S. 
interrogators at Abu Ghraib, to blackmail Muslim prisoners into 
becoming informers.

All of these practices flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions, 
international, and American law. The Pentagon and CIA gulags in Cuba, 
Iraq and Afghanistan have become a sort of Enron-style, off-the-books 
operation, immune from American law or Congressional oversight.

Suspects reportedly disappear into a black hole, recalling Latin 
America's torture camps and "disappearings" of the 1970s and '80s, or 
the Arab world's sinister secret police prisons.

The U.S. has been sending high-level anti-American suspects to Egypt, 
Jordan, Morocco, and, reportedly, Pakistan, where it's alleged they 
are brutally tortured with violent electric shocks, savage beatings, 
drowning, acid baths, and blowtorching -- the same tortures, 
ironically, ascribed to Saddam Hussein.

Protests over this by members of Congress, respected human rights 
groups, and the public have been ignored. President George W. Bush 
just named Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general, his nation's 
highest law officer. As White House counsel, Gonzales wrote briefs 
justifying torture and advised the White House on ways to evade or 
ignore the Geneva Conventions.

Grossly violating the Geneva Conventions undermines international law 
and endangers U.S. troops abroad. Anyone who has served in the U.S. 
armed forces, as I have, should be outraged that this painfully won 
tenet of international law and civilized behaviour is being trashed 
by members of the Bush administration.

Un-American behaviour

If, as Bush asserts, terrorism suspects, Taliban, and Muslim 
mujahedeen fighters not in uniform deserve no protection under the 
laws of war and may be jailed and tortured at presidential whim, then 
what law protects from abuse or torture all the un-uniformed U.S. 
Special Forces, CIA field teams, and those 40,000 or more U.S. and 
British mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan euphemistically called 
"civilian contractors"?

Behaving like the 1930s Soviet secret police will not make America 
safer. Such illegal, immoral and totally un-American behaviour 
corrupts democracy and makes them no better than the criminals they 

The 20th century has shown repeatedly that when security forces use 
torture abroad, they soon begin using it at home, first on suspected 
"terrorists," then dissidents, then on ordinary suspects.

It's time for Congress and the courts to wake up and end this 
shameful and dangerous episode in America's history.


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