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Rumsfeld's Canyon of Cruelty
Published on Wednesday, December 1, 2004 by The Progressive
Rumsfeld's Canyon of Cruelty
by Matthew Rothschild

The United States is engaging in acts that are tantamount to torture in Guantanamo, says the Red Cross.

And while the Pentagon denies the charge, the allegations from the Red Cross should disquiet all Americans with a moral conscience.

The system the Pentagon has set up in Guantanamo "cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual, and degrading treatment and a form of torture," the Red Cross concluded in a report to Washington, according to The New York Times.

Detainees are being kept indefinitely under solitary confinement, and they are being subjected to "loud and persistent noise and music and to prolonged cold," the report said, according to the Times. It also mentioned that there were "some beatings."

Perhaps even more sinister, the Red Cross found that doctors and other medical personnel were sharing information on the detainees' vulnerabilities with interrogators, which the report called "a flagrant violation of medical ethics."

The Pentagon even has an innocuous sounding group of psychologists that works hand in gloved fist with the interrogators. This group, called the Behavioral Science Consultation Team, goes by the cutesy nickname Biscuit, the Times reported.

Getting doctors in on the act of torture is one of the lowest of the low in Donald Rumsfeld's canyon of cruelty.

And it happened not just at Guantanamo but at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, as well.

According to an August article in the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet, doctors and other health professionals were "complicit" in the torture at Abu Ghraib and in Afghanistan.

"The medical system collaborated with designing and implementing psychologically and physically coercive interrogations," the article states.

In one instance, a prisoner collapsed after a beating and was apparently unconscious, "Medical staff revived the detainee and left, and the abuse continued," according to The Lancet.

Several times, physicians or other medical professionals were present when torture was under way or knew that it was going on and did not report it to higher ups, The Lancet says.

And doctors covered up lethal torture, both in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Physicians routinely attributed detainee deaths on death certificates to heart attacks, heat stroke, or natural causes without noting the unnatural (cause) of the death," the article states.

Congress must investigate the new Red Cross charges, along with other grave ones concerning Abu Ghraib and Afghanistan.

Republicans control Congress and can squelch the investigations if they want to. But this is a blot on the nation's honor.

© 2004 The Progressive


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