Feb 27, 2009

PAKISTAN--A policy of torture

Asad Muhammad Khan
Since, 1970s Guantanamo had been used to house Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted in high sea shores. In 1990s, Fred Haiti blamed the US government that they are running an unconstitutional camp. All the Haitians were migrated from Guantanamo Bay till late 1995. Guantanamo bay consists of three camps: Delta Camp, Camp Iguana and X-Ray Camp. The Delta camp is a 612 unit’s detention centre. Iguana is basically a low security zone which was used to detain three persons aged between 15-18 years. The third X-ray camp was a temporary camp which was closed in 2002. The Afghan war started on 7th October, 2001 and the naval base was assigned a new responsibility after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 – that of incarcerating non-U.S. citizens accused of terrorist acts and making them stand trial before military tribunals. On January 11, 2002, the first military plane carrying 20 prisoners from Afghanistan landed at Guantánamo Bay, and a steady stream of detainees continued to arrive after that. Most of those seized were not captured by Americans, but were arrested by militias in Pakistan and Afghanistan and turned over to the United States military under allegations of being members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda. The methods of identifying those who would be incarcerated at the detention camp and the interrogation techniques used on them have been highly controversial. The camp Delta standard operating procedure (SOP) is a document of 283 pages. The document describes that in the delta camp the Chinese Communist torture techniques are adopted. These techniques include sleep deprivation, prolonged constraints, exposure, semi starvation, forced tube feeding, exploitation of wounds, filthy, infested surroundings, beating and confined in cold cells, torture with broken glass, barbed wires, burning secrets as well as sexual assault. Supporters of Geneva Convention claims that it does not apply on Taliban fighters and al Qaeda but the according to the CIA and opponents of Geneva Convention the coercive military rules of interrogation can be implied on Taliban fighters and al Qaeda. The reports show that four of the Guantanamo bay prisoners have committed suicide and there have been 41 unsuccessful attempts. Al this is due to the excessive torture faced by the prisoners. And no one knows how many detainees were killed with out any reason secretly. Human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human right commission are continuously protesting against the legal status and physical conditions of detainees. Human right commission tried to take permission to visit the delta camp but they were not allowed to take direct interview of the detainees. Twenty Pakistanis were also brought to delta camp in 2001 during the Musharraf Government. The Guantanamo bay is basically a result of most disputed controversial policy of Bush Government. World is continuously pointing out the figures on the physical conditions of detainees and the use of coercive interrogation techniques. US is a country that believes in the non coercive interrogation methods but the bush government left all these ethical policies far behind. On 21st January 2009, Obama passed an executive order to reverse the vexing legacies of Bush administration. He said in his televised speech that we did not want to torture but can effectively obtain the intelligence we need. He said his administration is committed to lead. We can no longer afford drift and we can no longer afford delays, none can we cede ground to those who seek detraction. He signed this executive order in the presence of 11 retired army generals. He banned harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA. He ordered to not only close the delta camp but also all the remaining secret CIA prisons with in one year. This act was welcomed by the world with open hands and praised by the human right activists and statesman. But the executive order left some questions unresolved like what will be the separate protocols for CIA interrogation in future?, where to transfer currently held detainees in delta camp?, Who will review the cases of 245 prisoners currently held in delta camp. He said the remaining detainees will be tried in the civil and military courts but what will happen to those who come under the category of dangerous but not prosecutable and who will guarantee that these detainees will not be harmful for US citizen upon their release. He has made a new task force who will resolve all these issues but according to my own journalistic analysis, the immediate impact of this executive order is nothing except winning the trust of US citizens by the new government. It could be happen in the future that America has to transport some of these prisoners to the other secret CIA Interrogation sites because releasing all the 245 prisoners will not be feasible for Obama administration.

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