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When torturers talk

This Magazine Staff

Some stunning radio this morning on THE CURRENT (CBC Radio One), when host Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed a former interrogator for the US military. Sorry, didn’t catch his name (driving and listening), but he worked at Abu Ghraib immediately after the scandal broke, and later left the military, disturbed and seemingly defeated by what he had seen and what he had been ordered to do.
With Tremonti’s calm voice prompting him, this fellow talked about a written set of interrogation “rules of engagement” given to him by his superiors. While he insisted he never crossed a line in those rules, he readily admitted to breaking Geneva Convention rules, and his own moral code. The use of dogs to terrorize blindfolded prisoners, hypothermia, sleep deprivation, stress positions — all were employed, and on whom? Non-insurgents for the most part — “Taxi-drivers and farmers” who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He talked about being ordered to “ramp up” his questioning of a prisoner, while that prisoner was being prepared for surgery to remove four bullets from his torso.
To quote my Member of Parliament:
“That is what defeat in a war on terror looks like. We would survive, but we would no longer recognize ourselves.” — Michael Ignatieff, Lesser Evils
“Why should we suppose that pain produces truth? And how can we forget what everyone who has ever been tortured always tells us: those who are tortured stay tortured forever. If you want to create terrorists, torture is a pretty sure way to do so.” — same
“This is democracy’s dark secret — the men and women who defend us with a bodyguard of lies and an armory of deadly weapons — and because it is our dark secret, it can also be democracy’s nemesis.” — same
I’ll be writing a letter to my MP, now that he’s my representative in democracy, asking for a statement in the House. I encourage others to do so as well.
Here is a link to the Parliamentary list:
39th Parliament

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