$2,500. The price of a human life apparently. Or that was the price of Gul Rahman’s. Rahman was a suspected Afghan ‘militant’. Bear in mind, as you read this next section, that the word ‘militant’ is one that the United States applies to almost every male of military age caught up in the War in Terror.
Were the drones buzzing low over Dun Laoghaire or Limerick city many of you reading this could be called ‘militants’ by the standards of United States foreign policy.
So lets see what happened to militants like Gul Rahman.
In 2002 Rahman was captured and slammed in the secret CIA prison in Afghanistan called ‘the Salt Pit’ or, as it was known to many Afghans, ‘the prison of darkness’. During that time Rahman was brutally beaten and eventually he died after being beaten, stripped to his waist and chained to a cold cement wall in a room where temperatures could drop close to freezing. Rahman died in a secret prison facility having never been formally charged with a crime. How did the CIA respond to what can only be regarded as vicious murder? By giving a $2,500 reward to the agent that had this carried out.
The Senate report on CIA torture after 9/11 was released yesterday. In the interests of time, why don’t I provide you with a bit of an insight?
Forced rectal feeding where foods such as pasta and humus were forced into prisoners’ anuses. The intrusions by CIA officials led to severe haemorrhoids, rectal tears and even prolapse.
Waterboarding, where a subject is virtually drowned to the point of near-death continuously, was much more widespread than we thought. Bearing in mind this a form of torture that Christopher Hitchens, who once thought it necessary to fight terror, completely disavowed after he voluntarily went through the process himself.
Subjects were restricted and hung by their arms for hours on end in diapers. Many of them existed in confinement boxes that would make the average concentration camp look like ballroom. Prisoners who the CIA freely admitted were not “involved in current plans against US activites, personnel or facilities” were deprived of sleep for nearly 2 and a half days until they suffered violent and terrifying hallucinations and began to lose their minds.
I could go on endlessly. This labyrinth of demonic violence and sadism has many twists and turns but seemingly no end because, after all this, it has been concluded by Senate minority leader Harry Reid that “not only is torture wrong but it doesn’t work”.
The CIA tortured over a hundred people and detained many more, including their own informants and an “intellectually challenged man”, all for nothing. What they got in all the blood and death and secrecy was a bunch of false confessions that led to more imprisonments of innocent men in little holes where they were beaten.
Now it might be comforting to think that all this horrific torture is just the USA’s problem, but what has all of this got to do with us?
The answer is everything.
We have been listed among 54 countries that knowingly complied with CIA rendition programmes which saw suspected ‘militants’ flown to secret prisons, torture chamber and facilities likened to “dungeons”.
Let’s not forget that our Shannon Airport continues to be used by United States military aircraft in conflicts we love to call ourselves neutral in and all those who question this permission are routinely criticised and hushed.
A report by the Open Society Justice Initiative claimed that our Government had allowed 147 stopovers by CIA controlled aircraft in Irish airports, mostly in Shannon. Many of these aircraft were linked to high profile cases of rendition and torture.. We actively facilitated the kind of torture and horror that even the men in the GPO would have thought beyond the British Empire.
The way in which we have acted as a lovely little lapdog towards the forces of Western Empire has surely set the founders of our country spinning in their graves.
The founders who spoke of the “moral well-being of the Nation” and a country run by the “the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Justice for all”.
We who think of ourselves as fighters, as rebels and as resistors bowed like servants before the dogs of war.
Bush and Obama, both of whom have supported and facilitated these vicious acts of inhumane barbarism, are bowed before when they enter our little nation, we regard them as kings and as masters, abandoning all of our moral and ethical principles in the hopes that they might throw us a scrap or two from their high table.
It would be a mistake to think that this torture and inhumanity is a faraway thing.