Torture and Abuse in America’s Global Gulag

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Torture and Abuse in America’s Global Gulag

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Societies are best judged by how they treat children, the elderly, the infirm, their most disadvantaged and prisoners. 

America fails on all counts under Republicans and undemocratic Dems – a ruthless nation, a serial violator of core international and constitutional, and US statute law principles.

Torture and abuse are flagrantly illegal at all times, under all conditions, with no allowed exceptions.

The UN Convention against torture defines the practice as:

“any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain and suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity…”

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or de- grading treatment or punishment.”

Article 10 states: “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the dignity of the human person.”

America and Israel are the only developed nations officially permitting the practice. 

The Bush/Cheney regime “Torture Memo” discarded all legal restraints. 

It authorized extreme interrogation methods amounting to torture, including infliction of “intense pain or suffering” short of what would cause “serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure, (loss of significant body functions), or permanent damage.” 

It swept away habeas rights, due process, and equal protection under law – core legal protections for everyone charged, detained or imprisoned.

The Obama regime continued  illegal torture and abusive practices. So do hardliners in charge of Trump regime’s geopolitical policies.

America’s gulag prison system operates at home and abroad, including unknown numbers of global black sites in numerous countries.

Torture is standard practice by various means, including silently in solitary confinement – substituting punishment for justice.

Longterm isolation and other forms of torture are constitutionally banned cruel and unusual punishment.

Isolation is emotionally destruction. Prisoners become zombies, others sociopaths. PTSD symptoms are commonplace – including paranoia, hallucinations, depression, anxiety, anger and suicide.

Short and longer-term cruel and unusual punishment encourages a death wish to end pain and suffering.

Other abusive practices in US prisons include detainees and inmates savaged by dogs, brutally shocked with cattle prods, burned by toxic chemicals, harmed with stun guns, raped, beaten, repeatedly stripped naked, denied adequate medical care, subjected to extreme cold or heat, and abused in various other ways. 

A 2008-released “Omar Broadway Film” documented abuse of inmates in one US prison, typical of most others, saying the following:

“As the prisoners stand motionless next to each other and cover themselves with plastic bags to protect themselves from chemical weapons, the riot squad bursts in, spraying torrents

of mace and freely swinging their batons.” 

“The inmates offer no resistance. They later sport black eyes and broken jaws. One disappears for months after being dragged by his shackles down the stairs and across the floor, bleeding and screaming.” 

“Disturbingly, these scenes are also often filmed by ‘Internal Affairs’ agents – employees of the prison in charge of procedural enforcement – who can be seen pointing their cameras toward the ceiling as the blows start raining down.” 

“The other prisoners who are locked in their cells also choke on the gas. No preparations are made for their safety.” 

“When this happens on Thanksgiving, the styrofoam- encased dinners sit undistributed all night in full view of the inmates. They are stacked behind two canisters of Mace.”

These practices are commonplace in America nationwide at federal, state and local facilities – state-sponsored brutality, torture by any standard, unreported by major media.

Communication Management Units (CMUs) in some US prisons segregate Muslims from the general prison population for exceptionally harsh treatment,  violating US Bureau of Prisons regulations – prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political beliefs.

Countless numbers of political prisoners in America and abroad endure unlawful cruel and unusual punishment.

Maria Butina is one of a number of Russian nationals unlawfully incarcerated in America as political prisoners.

RT said her mistreatment amounts to “borderline torture.” Falsely charged with operating as unregistered Russian agent, she’s been unlawfully detained since mid-July under harsh conditions.

She was moved from a Washington facility to an Alexandria, VA prison without warning or explanation.

Before transfer, she “was subjected to a ‘degrading full strip search,’ and all her (possessions) were taken away, including books, shoes, towels and other hygiene items,” RT explained.

She’s isolated in “administrative segregation.” After visiting her, Russia’s embassy sent an official protest to the State Department.

A separate one accused the Trump regime of “cruel and inhumane treatment,” including frequent humiliating strip searches.

While awaiting unwarranted trial, Butina has been subjected to “psychological pressure and humiliation,” including isolation and sleep deprivation, aiming “to break her will,” brutalizing her to confess to the false charge against her.

Her lawyer said brutality in confinement harmed her health, proper medical care denied her.

Russia’s embassy equated her mistreatment to earlier Salem witch trials in America. She remains “determin(ed) to prove her innocence,” the embassy said.

She’s one of countless numbers of political prisoners in America’s global gulag – operating at home and abroad.

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.