Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Torture, What Do You Get - Ask David Hicks

David Hicks is heading back to Australia after more than five years in America's Shame, Guantanamo. The transcript of his truncated judicial proceedings is full of nothing but redactions when it comes to the type of abuse he suffered.

But we now have a little more insight into the the abuse to which he was subjected. The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) received a copy of an affidavit he filed with his unsuccessful application for British citizenship and some of its contents are discussed here.

In the affidavit, Hicks said he was slapped, kicked, punched and spat on after being arrested by coalition forces in the Central Asian country in 2001.

Hicks also said that he had heard other detainees screaming in pain, had seen evidence of beatings on fellow prisoners and had had a shotgun trained on him during questioning.

"I realised that if I did not cooperate with US interrogators, I might be shot," he said in the document handed to British authorities and obtained by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Anyone who follows the sordid history of torture knows that its goal is to obtain confessions, NOT information. Hick's experience is further illustration of that undeniable truth.

As reported by the ABC,

In the document, Hicks said that by early 2003 he "felt that I had to ensure that whatever I did pleased the interrogators to keep from being physically abused, placed in isolation and remaining at Guantanamo for the rest of my life", the ABC reported late Monday.

Sadly, this story is not new. We have heard them repeatedly and as reported by the ABC

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, said his claims were credible.

"I know this kind of abuse happened," he told ABC. "I've talked to people who participated in it -- CIA, military and contractor."

Wilkerson said military officers had told him the interrogations at Guantanamo Bay had revealed "virtually nothing" of useful intelligence.

"And that is just damning," he said.

When will this end? When will we ever return to our senses? The day must come soon. The day I am praying for is not just when we shut down Guantanamo, but when we have a full open accounting of what was done in our name. On that day, when we disclose to the world how we let our fears take control of our senses and our morals will be the day we begin to redeem ourselves before the World.

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