President Bush‘s refusal to outlaw torture may lie in the fact that we have been torturing hapless victims that we hold without even a chance for criminal proceedings to take place. This is a story of a German citizen – on a religious pilgrimage – who was picked up off a bus on his way to the airport in Pakistan trying to return home to Germany. He was pulled off the bus by a Pakistani police officer who turned him over to U.S. intelligence who was paying $3,000 a head for suspicious foreigners from there he was loaded onto an airplane bound for a U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. There he was given the identity of “#53″. If they had listened to the FBI, U.S. and German intelligence then he would have been released from his outdoor pen in subfreezing weather and allowed to go home. Instead he was questioned everyday then when his answers did not satisfy them they turned to torture to try and extract the information they wanted from him. But he steadfastly stuck to the story of only traveling in Pakistan and not having any knowledge of al Qaeda or the Taliban. He claims to have had his head dunked into water and beat in the abdomen at the same time, shocked by electricity until numb then hung by his arms from chains for days on end with the only respite being when they would bring in a doctor to check to make sure he could take a little more. This is terrible how can our government allow something such as this to happen? I know they are going to deny that this man was ever tortured but they will have a hard time denying that he was held captive. He was first picked up in 2001 and did not gain release despite the fact that intelligence agencys said he was no threat to the U.S., sometime in 2002 at Guantanamo -where he endured more beatings and was chained to the floor – a memo was written saying “USA considers Murat Kurnaz?s innocence to be proven. He is to be released in approximately six to eight weeks.” Three and one half years later he was finally released after the Supreme Court had ordered in 2004 that inmates at Guantanamo were eligible for legal counsel despite what the Bush administration had claimed. That was when he was surprised by the visit of a lawyer who helped gain his release ,after debunking some of the ridiculous charges that had been laid onto him since his arrival.

If this is indeed true then we are harboring war criminals plain and simple. After WW II we charged and prosecuted war criminals who had used some of the same tactics on our soldiers. The question is how far up the chain of command does this go? Does anyone even think to realize how this makes us look to other nations? The world? How dangerous it becomes for our military now that it appears that we not only allow torture to go on but it is sanctioned by the highest leader in the military and President of the United States?

See 60 Minutes interview with Murat Kurnaz.

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