Torture: The Guantanamo Guidebook

A prisoner dressed in an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs on, crouching
Picture from Radio Times.com

Channel 4 in the UK are showing a season of programmes on the use of torture this week. Starting tonight with Is Torture a Good Idea? and Torture: The Guantánamo Guidebook. The latter programme is (unfairly?) being referred to in some quarters as a “reality tv” show. From the Guardian tv listing:

…a re-creation of conditions in Guantánamo Bay, as seven volunteers are submitted to the interrogation techniques commonly practised at the camp — all endorsed by the US government* — to determine whether these treatments constitute a denial of human rights. The subjects, some of whom began as a supporter of the process, are put through painful stress positions, sleep deprivation, religious and sexual humiliation, enforced nudity, extremes of temperature and “non-injurious physical contact”, with disturbing results.

* And by the British government.

A man who I respect enormously, John McCarthy, has written a review of the programme in the print issue of this week’s Radio Times. It doesn’t appear to be online so I’ll just quote from the final paragraphs:

I’ve been blindfolded, chained, beaten, not knowing when or why or what will happen next. The people holding me hostage in Lebanon felt that their cause and security was more important than my human rights.

Isn’t that the excuse we hear for the regime at Guantánamo – that it’s all justified as part of the “war on terror”? Do we really want to set our standards even lower than those of a group widely condemned as barborous and inhumane terrorists? I don’t think so.

In destroying the human rights of others, we risk losing our own.

Related articles:

Blogs from the sidebar that focus on politics rather than burying their heads in the sand:

What can you do?

  • Email your MP – the details here and here. If like me you have a dinosaur of an MP, holding his safe Tory seat since the year dot and who hasn’t yet bothered with this newfangled machin called e-mail, let alone a website, then you can write to him or her. Details to be found in the previous links.
  • Join or donate to Amnesty.
  • Set up your own blog.

8 Responses to “Torture: The Guantanamo Guidebook”

  1. mary
    February 28th, 2005 18:52

    I can’t decide if this is good or bad. Perhaps it will awaken some of the sleeping masses who may have been in a political comma. We won’t get it here, but I will watch out for the BBC report. Thanks for the alert.

  2. Em
    February 28th, 2005 19:31

    Just be thankful it’s the Beeb that’s doing this – I shudder to think how ‘five’ or one of the satellite channels would have approached the subject.

  3. Daisy
    February 28th, 2005 19:36

    It’s Channel 4 pet, do try and keep up ;-0))

  4. Em
    February 28th, 2005 19:43

    Itsh been a long day. Shorry. I shtand by my comment, though. If it hash to be one of the commercial’s C4’s the least bad. Wait – what am I saying? Oh, buggrit – I’ll get back into my hole.

  5. Richard
    February 28th, 2005 22:16

    If you want to contact your MP then http://www.faxyourmp.com is a good option.

    Incidentally, Daisy, in Opera the comment box at the foot of each post is not completely visible. The right hand side is underlaying the blogroll. So I can’t see the right hand edge of each line as I’m typing this comment.

  6. Richard
    February 28th, 2005 22:33

    Ah, it’s actually just on this post that the comment box is partially obscured. And it’s because the section from “posted by Daisy…” downward has been shifted to the right. It looks like you’ve not closed the final unordered list (titled “what can you do”) within the post.

  7. Daisy
    February 28th, 2005 22:45

    Thanks Richard, for both the link and the tip. You were absolutely right, I’d not closed the < ul > on that last list but it’s done now so the comments box should be okay. Cheers.

  8. Charles Letterman
    February 12th, 2008 09:42

    I am far from being a libertarian. I believe prisons should be hard places where punishment and reform are being dished out in equal measure. I believe life should mean life. However, I also believe in fair trials and that torture, in whatever form, has no place in civilised society.

    At the same time as US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff promises a fair trial for Guantanamo prisoners accused of organising the 9/11 attacks, the CIA admits torture in the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. No words of mine can express the horror of 9/11, but by committing acts of torture, the US authorities have sunk as low as the barbarians who plotted and carried out the attack on New York.

    And Michael Chertoff’s definition of a ‘fair trial’ is interesting. A conviction can be gained by a two-thirds vote, not unanimity as in a US jury trial. The jury is made up of military officers not members of the public. The ‘evidence’, including hearsay and some obtained by coercion, will be allowed, “if the military judge determines that the evidence would have probative value to a reasonable person”.

    And some evidence will be not released to the accused or his representatives if it is deemed to contain classified information. Neither is the accused protected by the Geneva conventions. Groups like Amnesty International, who would release the most fairly convicted paedophile back into the playground with a slap on the wrist and bag of sweets, are quite rightly having a field day with this blatant infringement of human rights.

    Someone will be found guilty for 9/11. The US demands it, and will be extremely selective in both its morals and laws as to how that guilt and punishment is apportioned.


Leave a Reply

For added zing, you can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

But you can also just type in the box and hit the Submit button. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Your email address is not displayed and will NEVER, EVER be shared with any other party. We hate spam mail as much as you do.

Spotlight on...

Delicious links

These links are updated frequently thoroughout the day. Should you miss any they're all stored on my Delicious pages.

What I'm listening to