Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Torture - again

The New Yorker has a long article on "extraordinary rendition", the secret transfer of CIA detainees to countries where torture is common. It's worth reading, especially for the degree of nonchalance displayed by some persons, and also for this horror-nugget:
"According to Margulies, Habib was held and interrogated for six months. “Never, to my knowledge, did he make an appearance in any court,” Margulies told me. Margulies was also unaware of any evidence suggesting that the U.S. sought a promise from Egypt that Habib would not be tortured. For his part, Habib claimed to have been subjected to horrific conditions. He said that he was beaten frequently with blunt instruments, including an object that he likened to an electric “cattle prod.” And he was told that if he didn’t confess to belonging to Al Qaeda he would be anally raped by specially trained dogs. (Hossam el-Hamalawy said that Egyptian security forces train German shepherds for police work, and that other prisoners have also been threatened with rape by trained dogs, although he knows of no one who has been assaulted in this way.) Habib said that he was shackled and forced to stand in three torture chambers: one room was filled with water up to his chin, requiring him to stand on tiptoe for hours; another chamber, filled with water up to his knees, had a ceiling so low that he was forced into a prolonged, painful stoop; in the third, he stood in water up to his ankles, and within sight of an electric switch and a generator, which his jailers said would be used to electrocute him if he didn’t confess. Habib’s lawyer said that he submitted to his interrogators’ demands and made multiple confessions, all of them false. (Egyptian authorities have described such allegations of torture as “mythology.”)

After his imprisonment in Egypt, Habib said that he was returned to U.S. custody and was flown to Bagram Air Force Base, in Afghanistan, and then on to Guant├ínamo Bay, where he was detained until last month. On January 11th, a few days after the Washington Post published an article on Habib’s case, the Pentagon, offering virtually no explanation, agreed to release him into the custody of the Australian government."
Does the detail about dogs remind anyone else of Pinochet?

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