got back from a women's bicycle ride for peace through Lebanon, Syria and
Jordan. The news about the brutalities at Abu Ghraib prison hit the US news while
I was in Jordan. The slow reaction of the American
media illustrates the the disconnect between the Arabic and American
press: Al Jazeera had published accounts of abuses shortly after the ICRC
report came out last fall. It was common knowledge to those with whom I
spoke in those three countries that these atrocities had been on-going.
weeks ago I visited a former prison camp in southern Lebanon, Al Khaim,
from which the Israelis withdrew in 2000. While touring the camp, its
torture chambers and the 4'X5' cells with metal walls, a guide told me
that closing the camp did not stop the atrocities:
these continue in prisons in Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan. He
went on to say that US forces had been trained by Israeli intelligence in
ways to extract information.
is common knowledge on the street in the Middle East. The Arabic vehicles
for reporting such news has been denounced by the US, and some Arabic
news services, Al Jazeera in particular, have been US military targets in
both Iraq and Afghanistan. The responsibility for the tortures and the
subsequent cover-up lies in the highest reaches of US government. Why stop
Octavia V. Taylor
Community-Based Hazard Management
George Perkins Marsh Institute
950 Main St.
Worcester, MA 01610
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"The spirit of democracy cannot be established in the
midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular."