As part of “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week (the largest gathering of anti-torture experts and activists since the Bush administration began its “War on Terror” over nine years ago), I was delighted to join Justine Sharrock, journalist and author of Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things, at Revolution Books on Sunday evening for the opening event. I discussed the event in an article a few days ago, when I wrote:
Justine and I ran through various aspects of the “War on Terror” — in particular, its effects on those subjected to arbitrary detention and torture in the cages of Guantánamo and elsewhere, and, through Justine’s account, its effect on the US soldiers required to implement this torture and cruelty by their political masters, who, as the Abu Ghraib scandal showed, then tried to pretend that it was the work of “a few bad apples.”
It was not, of course. The dehumanization and torture of the men and boys detained in the “War on Terror” — in Afghanistan and Iraq, at Guantánamo and in secret prisons — was directed from the highest levels of the Bush administration — by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others — and in refusing to thoroughly address and repudiate these actions, and to hold accountable those who authorized America’s slide into barbarity, President Obama continues to send out a message that it is OK for the nation’s most senior officials to break the law so long as they leave the White House after two terms. He has also, sad to say, perpetuated many of the Bush administration’s crimes, and added some of his own, and, as part of the bigger picture, has presided over what appears to be nothing less than a battle for the soul of America, between those who embrace endless war, barbarity and torture, and those who do not.
Note: See here for a report on Days Two and Three of “Berkeley Says No to Torture” Week.
Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.
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thanks for the information, and for what your doing
Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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