The other day the Canadian government released a video of Canadian intelligence officers interrogating a 16-year old detainee. The entire video is painful to watch, since the kid pleads to have his life ended. Suffice it to say, the video received extensive media coverage all over the world. In Germany, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung was shocked by the images:
Zum ersten Mal ist im Fernsehen und im Internet ein Video von einem Verhör im US-Gefangenenlager Guantánamo Bay auf Kuba ausgestrahlt worden. Der Sender CNN zeigte einen Ausschnitt, in dem der als mutmaßlicher Terrorist festgehaltene junge Kanadier Omar Khadr sich voller Verzweiflung sein Hemd vom Körper reißt, um vernarbte Schusswunden zu zeigen. (For the first time an interrogation at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is broadcast on television and on the Internet. The news channel CNN showed a segment in which the young Canadian, a terrorist suspect, tears the shirt off his body in despair in order to show the scars of bullet wounds he had received.)
It turns out that prior to the interrogation the US military had subjected the boy to several weeks of a specific program of sleep deprivation called "the Frequent Flyer Program". Sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture under the Geneva Conventions, which the Bush administration has disavowed in its War on Terror.
The video received some attention in the US media for a single news cycle, but was quickly pushed off the the screen and off the newsprint with breathless reports of Angelina Joilie's twins.
This week also marks the publication of an important book on the subject of torture: Jane Mayer's The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals. I have blogged several times about Jane Mayer's strong investigative pieces in The New Yorker which formed the basis of her book. Fellow blogger Gary Farber just read the interview with Jane Mayer ub Harper's and is fed up with the complacency and passivity of his fellow Americans:
"It's your country. It's your choice. It's your former rights that have been disappearing, while you stood by, good Germans, wrapped up in your own lives, leaving it to others to prevent crimes, to pay attention, to work to prevent torture, spying, law-breaking, war crimes, and the criminally unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
What have you done to stop it?"
Far too little. But the sad thing is, most of us didn't care enough to even try and stop it.