Friday, May 27, 2005

The New Gulag Archipelago!

Amnesty International, the consciences of the world has labelled the notorious US military prison at Guantanamo Bay as the gulag of our times. The reference to the word Gulag is a damning comparison to the old Soviet prison system for special prisoners, where political opponents or even ordinary people were incarcerated in a manner to deny them due process or contacts with anyone. The system was completely non-transparent, unaccountable and of course non-existent to the West. Torture was the expected, deprivation and extreme hardship were normal.

Today at Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air Base and until the recent scandal, Abu Ghraib, prisoners have been held by the USA indefinitely without charge, without lawful access by families and without legal representation, against all international law.

The USA bypasses its own laws banning torture by shipping such unlawfully detained prisoners to these military-controlled prisons outside its own territory - in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq respectively. Once outside the jurisdiction of its own courts, it perpetrates torture not unlike what the Nazi, Kempeitai and Talibans did. When its troops murdered prisoners in the course of torture as had happened in all the three US military prisons, it hushed up the criminal offences; when it couldn’t keep the lid on, it either attempted to brush off the complaints as old events that had already been looked into, or passed token sentences on the minor officials who had been nominated to be scapegoats.

It also has a parallel system of torture-interrogation called the rendition programme, where prisoners are shipped to one of its allies, usually brutal dictatorships like the regimes in Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, etc, for softening up. The foreigners conduct the gruesome torture on its behalf.

Because of the USA unparalleled military and economic might (aid and military support to its dictator allies) it behaves with total impunity and reckless disregard to these international crimes. Its actions have been an affront to rules of law that the hypocritical USA likes to frequently preach to others.

Alexandr Solzhenitsyn introduced the term Gulag Archipelago to the world in 1973.

He used the word archipelago as a metaphor for the camps, which were scattered throughout the sea of Russian society like a chain of islands, not unlike today’s US military torture camps scattered throughout the global society, particularly among the dark side of the American Empire.

He wrote on the Soviet regime's comprehensive but deeply irrational use of terror against the Russians, of man’s inhumanity to man. He could have well written about the Bush regime’s comprehensive but deeply irrational use of terror against anyone suspected, yes, suspected only of being an insurgent - of the Bush regime's inhumanity against non-Americans.

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