No, not again!

THE fresh allegations of prison abuse in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay by US military personnel are most unfortunate and very disturbing. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the US government basing on the memos exchanged between FBI officials detailing fresh cases of prison abuse. The memos are dated after the Abu Ghraib outrage. Which means there was no let-up in prison abuse despite the global outrage over Abu Ghraib! Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union claims there’s little doubt about the authenticity of communication records obtained by the ACLU under the US Freedom of Information Act. This raises grave questions as to who is to blame for the widespread abuse of detainees.

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Published: Thu 23 Dec 2004, 11:35 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:13 AM

The US government, of course, has reacted strongly to the fresh abuse allegations. The White House has already ordered investigation into the scandal. President Bush has taken the allegations seriously and the White House says those responsible ‘will be held to account and measures taken to avoid a repeat.’

But haven’t we been here before? Post Abu Ghraib, the world had been assured that this shall not happen again. But it did. Which means there’s a fundamental flaw in the system which allowed such practices to continue both at the Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq despite the outrage the scandal generated around the world and in America. An anguished Bush had exclaimed: “This is not the America I know.”

Of course, we do know those resorting to such shameful acts do not represent the mainstream America. The very fact that the prison abuse by the US personnel is being commented upon and is being viewed seriously by the rest of the world is because America is seen as the role model of the civilised world. The prison abuse in Iraq and the Guantanamo Bay has turned into the scandal of global proportions because it was perpetrated by those representing America, the so-called free world that cherishes freedom and human rights. The world wouldn’t discuss these abuses if they had taken place in a land ruled by military dictators and repressive tyrants where Man’s rights — as envisaged by the founding fathers of America Jefferson and Washington — are not recognised.

This is why it is important for the US to ensure this does not — never ever—happen again. America wouldn’t allow such things to happen on its soil because the Americans greatly value and cherish their civil liberties. For that matter, they can’t happen anywhere in the civilised world where rights are protected by constitutional guarantees. America, the leader of the civilised world, would do well to ensure the rights of all men and women are not violated again — least of all under its own rule.

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