Saturday, 15 December 2007

The Inconvenient Truth – America’s Gulags (Update)

Analyst asks “what is torture but an application of terror?”

The United States Senate has blocked a bill earlier passed by the House of Representatives that would have banned the use of cruel and unusual punishment – well, torture – during the interrogations of terror suspects.

New York-based author and political analyst David Hungerford told PressTV he isn’t convinced this reflects the wishes of the general public, “But I think we can come to the conclusion that George Bush himself endorses the torture of detainees.”

Original article published by Ohmynews International

Reproduced on

Hungerford picked up quickly on my use of the phrase “cruel and unusual punishment” and noted it was a quotation from the 8th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States which bans cruel and unusual punishments.

“We got along with that provision for about 200 years until George Bush came along.” Hungerford said, “Now Bush thinks he can ignore it.”

Waterboarding and mock executions certainly fall into the category of cruel and unusual.

Hungerford said he doesn’t find this a sign of strength on Bush’s part, but rather it demonstrates the president’s weak position over the destruction of the interrogation tapes.

“I think at this point only one thing is clear, that George Bush does not want the people of the United States to see how he is defending them against – quote unquote – terror.”

Remarking on former President Jimmy Carter’s comments on the deterioration of human rights in the United States and comparisons to Pinochet’s Chile, Hungerford said, “Right now, we are not in a good place.” He said it was a good thing that the United States once upheld these proscriptions that banned torture in practice, in law and in words, “But now it’s clearly going in the wrong direction.”

Bush, Hungerford said, always presumes to defend the United States against terror, “but what is torture except an application of terror?”

He asked, what is the practical use of the admitted use of torture, “except to sow fear into people’s minds. He wants people to be terrorized of the thought of running afoul of the Bush administration.”

And of course for those who do, either foreign or domestic, there is the threat of the secret prison system, the American Gulag Archipelago.

“Numerically,” Hungerford said, “it’s impossible to say how far the system extends. They are not telling us. “

But, Hungerford said the actual number of prisons and inmates isn’t the whole story, “The important part is the effect of the reign of terror Bush is attempting to propagate in the name of fighting terror. That is something of very great impact.”

Earlier in the day, Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused to give Congress details of the government’s investigation into the videotaped interrogation of terror suspects, and said he sees no need to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the investigation.

No special prosecutor? Does this mean the Senate and the Bush administration consider the implications that the United States become labeled as a state sponsor of torture somewhat less important than the Clinton/Lewinsky affair and a blue stained dress?

“Well once again,” Hungerford chuckled, “it would seem so.”

The investigation is currently being handled by the Justice Department and the CIA itself, something that observers say has all the hallmarks of a potential cover-up.

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