Saturday, January 15, 2005

TODAY, CHARLES GRANER WAS CONVICTED of all the charges against him, except that the charge of aggravated assault was reduced to battery, which makes the maximum possible sentence 15 years instead of 17 1/2. But anyone who thinks this is a victory for human rights needs to listen closely to the prosecutor's description of Graner's crime.

The prosecutor said Specialist Graner abused the prisoners only to hurt or degrade them, and not for interrogation purposes or because they posed any threat. ..."There is no justification; it's for sport, it's for laughs," he said.
If you read between the lines, this exquistely parsed language is saying that it was not the abuse, humiliation, degradation, beatings, and torture that were problematic: It was the fact that all of these acts were committed for sport. The obvious implication is that torture can be considered acceptable if it is framed and presented as a way to gain information. Which is good news for the Bush administration, which has created a gulag of secret interrogation centers that stretches far beyond Guantanamo or Iraq or even Afghanistan, to countries scattered all over the globe, where Muslim and Arab detainees can be handed over to local authorities, via the U.S. policy of "renditions," for torture with no fear of discovery, accountability, or punishment

As Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, told the jury: "Sometimes, when you make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. ... You had to use approaches that we would not want to do with our own children."

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