Naomi Wolf: “Friending” Binyam Mohamed

Posted on Friday, October 30th, 2009 at 11:22 am by dpacheco

Naomi Wolf‘s ongoing investigation into torture abuses perpetrated by US military personnel against detainees continues. She had the opportunity to speak directly to one of these former detainees, Binyam Mohamed, whose alleged treatment was shocking and shameful.

From The Huffington Post:

For four years now, I have been following the fates of the hundreds of men who have been — and the 200 plus men who still are — being held at Guantánamo Bay, and, the record is now clear, most of whom have been tortured. But until this week I had never actually heard such a single man’s actual voice.

When I went to the prison in June of this year, we journalists were brought to view the prisoners from afar — exactly as if they were dangerous animals in a cage. They called to us, anguishedly, in a voice that still haunts me. “Can I talk to them?” I asked. Many of them speak English. No; no, no, was the answer. No one is permitted to talk to them. Prisoners in the US have many rights to speak, even from prison; but silencing the Guantánamo detainees has been a key to maintaining a working injustice, as well as a key to manipulating US popular opinion. Bill Kristol and Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney have started a new organization to spin the torture at Guantánamo and elsewhere: ‘Keep America Safe.’ (Or: ‘Keep Daddy Out of Prison.’) But if the perpetrators are to continue to spin America, the prisoners’ voices have to continue to be silenced.

Even those who empathize with the detainees tend to speak ‘for’ them — casting them as faceless, voiceless victims, just as the opposite ‘side’ casts them as faceless, voiceless monsters.

Recently I have been in touch with Binyam Mohamed, who is the UK resident who was released from Guantánamo in February — after seven years’ captivity without charges — and who last Friday won a major victory when a British court ruled that the US and the UK could not continue to conceal from the public seven paragraphs in documents that describe the horrific torture of Mr Mohamed in ‘black sites’ and at Guantánamo. He is also suing Boeing for its part in rendering him to ‘black sites.’

The UK government is appealing the ruling, so we still can’t know what happened to him; but officials have told reporters that one action that the paragraphs describe is the cutting of genitals with a razor; waterboarding, this official said dryly, is well down on the list of atrocities Mr. Mohamed suffered.

President Obama has sought to keep these seven paragraphs under seal. Hillary Clinton has also. Joe Lieberman drafted an amendment to a bill to conceal photographs relating to this abuse.

Read the whole article here.

 

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