Neo-Hippie Ramblings - I'm a Non-Conformist Just Like All My Friends: Abu Ghraib, USA

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Abu Ghraib, USA

The link at the bottom of this post will take you to an article written by Anne-Marie Cusac. The article ran in The Progressive. It discusses prison abuse within the United States and direct parallels to the abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib. In at least one case, the same individual, Charles Graner, has been implicated in both civilian and military atrocities.

I'm hoping that some of the information in it will matter to you, that you're not so numb to this sort of mayhem that you shrug your shoulders and say,"So what else is new?"

The bottom line here is this: Whether it be rape, torture or murder, the guilty parties at Abu Ghraib didn't break any new ground. They didn't commit any atrocities upon foreign prisoners that we hadn't already been inflicting on our own citizens.

The only difference, perhaps, is that the mainstream media in other countries has been less willing to ignore it and has therefore put pressure on the US media to pay attention as well.

Some key points:
California: Class action suit settled against the Sacramento Sheriffs Department for various acts of torture, including mock executions.

Abu Ghraib: The Guardian of London, UK reports of soldiers being trained to perform mock executions on prisoners.

Texas: Guard training videos include footage of beatings, stun gun use, and dogs being encouraged to attack inmates. At least one inmate tortured to death with a stun gun. Prisoners exposed to 120+ degree heat for extended periods.

Abu Ghraib: Reports of beatings, stun gun use and dogs attacking inmates. Hooded prisoners exposed to 120+ degree heat for extended periods.

Pennsylvania: Prisoners sodomized with nightsticks, beaten and subjected to public sexual humiliation at the same prison where Charles Graner was employed as a guard. Graner was not implicated in that particular scandal, but he was specifically named in a lawsuit involving the beating and mistreatment of another inmate, though the suit was later dismissed.

Abu Ghraib: At least one prisoner sodomized with a chemical light and possibly a broomhandle. Multiple prisoners beaten and subjected to public sexual humiliation. (Maybe Graner was just taking notes at his civilian job?)

So was the abuse at Abu Ghraib worse than what's been happening right here under our noses? I guess that depends on your perspective.

The prisoners subject to abuse at Abu Ghraib are POWs being held in flagrant disregard of the Geneva Convention -- one of the charges which should be leveled to help impeach George W. Bush. Innocent or guilty, many either haven't been charged or have been subject to sham trials.

And in the case of Charles Graner in particular, why was he placed in a position of authority at Abu Ghraib? Given the nature of the prisoners being held there, he must have been subject to extensive background checks prior to being assigned to that post. Perhaps his 'resumé' had some job skills that Rumsfeld et al considered desirable.

On the other hand, those being abused here in the US have been, by and large, convicted criminals. But as one Florida woman told NBC news, "That was not part of my sentence, to... perform oral sex with the officers."

I would argue that neither situation is acceptable and ask, "Why does it take despicable behavior overseas to get the national media's attention, when the same despicable behavior is taking place right here in the US?"

Anyway, here's the article: Abu Ghraib, USA.

Many thanks to Hippie, Sr. (aka Dad) for the link.

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