A Question Of Definition?

There is not one iota of doubt that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a ruthless and extremely dangerous individual. Sufficient evidence exists of his involvement in various terrorist acts around the world over two decades, to put him away for the rest of his life. Of course, dependent on where he is brought to justice, the rest of his life may not be very long.

The catalogue of crimes and potential crimes he purports to have been involved with is so long as to be almost incredulous. He was held for at least three years in secret CIA prisons and subjected to interrogation techniques that the President of the United States described as definitely “not torture” (this ABC News account from November 2005 will allow you to judge the truth of that). It will likely never be known just how deeply involved Khalid Sheikh Mohammed really was in the plots he confessed to, and how much was due to “interrogation techniques”, or merely the result of an over-imaginative ego.

The brutal and underhand manner in which the “allies” have conducted their so-called “war on terror” has left those of us still grimly clinging to the few ethics we have left, unable to believe anything we are told by the leaders entrusted with our welfare. Both in America and Britain, the nations’ top politicians have betrayed the people with their lies and “spin”.

George Bush told Americans the interrogation techniques used by the CIA were “necessary”. He said, “America does not torture.”

He was wrong. Waterboarding cannot be classified as anything other than torture, and was so described by America in the Tokyo War Crimes Trials immediately following the end of WW2.

Writer Robin Rowland, researching his latest book, “A River Kwai Story: F Force and the Sonkrai Tribunal” certainly agrees with that conclusion. As someone who has thoroughly researched Japanese forms of torture for his book, he presents a view difficult to counter.

There seems to be an effort within this American administration to justify their actions as a means to an end, as though they can accurately define the fine line between coercion and torture. Websters defines “torture” as “anguish of body or mind”. Not necessarily physical pain, then, but “anguish of mind”.

According to the ABC News report (link above) tough CIA operatives who were voluntarily subjected to waterboarding lasted an average of 14 seconds. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was “admired” for lasting upto two and a half minutes “before begging to confess”. Little wonder then he has admitted to over thirty terrorist plots and involvements.

As John Sifton of Human Rights Watch states in the ABC report, “The person believes they are being killed, and as such, it really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law.”

We will probably never learn the true facts about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Either his confessions were accurate, or he is lying to protect others who may consequently remain at large to commit further terrorist acts. US and British politicians may well pat themselves on the back, once Sheikh Mohammed has gone through the secret military tribunals, been found guilty and suitably punished, but likely it will be a short-lived celebration. The methods they have used, despised by all decent human beings, leave no basis for trusting the accuracy of their results. In factual terms, we know no more about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed than we did before his capture.

Torture elicits only the confessions the torturers wish to hear. Use of such barbarous techniques by those sworn to uphold justice and human rights for all is not only a living perjury of the oath, but will almost certainly have created an even more dangerous world for us to live in.

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4 Replies to “A Question Of Definition?”

  1. I have serious doubts that our victim of torture did much of any of these crimes. Once again, the Bush techniques have insured that the truth will not be known under his watch. What does this administration have against truth? Is there such a thing as a truth allergy?

  2. I wonder why it took this man a whole three years in Guatanamo Bay Prison to remember that he was actually the mastermind of 911. And in the last five years, not a peep, not a whisper, of his name re. 911 or any other terrorist activity from any gov’t intelligence agency, anywhere.

    How convenient that the US should pull this trump card just when public confidence in their military actions globally should be at an all time low. Very vindicating.

    As for Br. Khalid, if he is strong enough to withstand torture, maybe he feels he is strong enough to scapegoat himself and draw the heat off of Muslims everywhere by closing the file on 911. I know that US intelligence is desperate to do so, and yet has been remarkably lacking in its ability to find culprits. So this is sort of a win/win situation, eh wot?

    Except that it reeks of a bloody lie.

    So unlike those who would urge that we move beyond 911, heal and forget, i would like to be stubborn enough to say; remember. Remember everything, and never stop trying to find out who really perpetrated this nightmare.

    Through intelligent analysis, not through thuggish torture.
    Because only through truth will there be closure.

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