Thursday, June 16, 2005

The truth that pisses people off...

Richard Durbin told the truth on the Senate floor the other day, and it was almost impossible to find anyone reporting on it. I didn't want to take it off a Blog, since that was bound to be taken as "just another liberal Blog", so here's the text from The State Journal-Register out of Springfield, Illinois:

He said it was wrong for the administration to say Geneva Convention protections do not apply to suspected terrorists.

"They claim a person detained in the war on terrorism has no legal rights - no right to a lawyer, no right to see the evidence against them, no right to challenge their detention," Durbin said. "In fact, the government has claimed detainees have no right to challenge their detention, even if they claim they were being tortured or executed."

Durbin said in the speech that the national debate should not be about whether to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, but about how the United States should treat prisoners no matter where they are being held.

"To close down Guantanamo and ship these prisoners off to undisclosed locations in other countries, beyond the reach of publicity, beyond the reach of any surveillance, is to give up on the most basic and fundamental commitment to justice and fairness ... " Durbin said.

As part of his statement, Durbin quoted from what he said one FBI agent saw.

"I almost hesitate to put them in the record," Durbin said of the observations.

"On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water," Durbin quoted the FBI agent. "Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more."

The agent's description of conditions said the temperature in cells ranged from so cold as to make the detainee shiver to well over 100 degrees.

"The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor," the agent reported.

"If I had read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings," Durbin said in the floor speech. "Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners."

Durbin said such actions imperil Americans who will be taken prisoner in present and future conflicts.

"I hope we will learn from history," Durbin said. "I hope we will change course. ... To criticize the rest of the world for using torture and to turn a blind eye to what we are doing in this war is wrong, and it is not American."

I applaud those who seek out the truth and seek to help others, however unpopular. Good work, Senator.

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