Socialist Worker

US-biggest rogue state

Issue No. 1784

'TORTURED' was the outcry on the front page of the Mail on Sunday. Pictures released by Bush's government boast of the barbaric treatment meted out to prisoners taken from Afghanistan to the US military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The prisoners are caged, masked, bound hand and foot, and forced to kneel before US soldiers.

The US military camp in Guantanamo Bay is built on injustice. It occupies land seized from the people of Cuba, which the US government refuses to return. Even pro-war newspapers which cheered on the US war in Afghanistan were outraged by the brutality being meted out to the prisoners. The US 'war on terrorism' claims to be about upholding civilised beliefs that could make the world a safer place. In reality the world's biggest military power bombarded one of the poorest countries in the world, killing thousands of innocent civilians. Prisoners held by the US will not get justice but face death at the hands of military tribunals.

The US wants to send a brutal warning to any 'rogue state' that dares to challenge its power. But, as a letter read out on Radio 4 this week said, 'The US is the world's biggest rogue state.' Now this rogue state wants to spread terror beyond Afghanistan. It has threatened Somalia and Iraq. The US is sending 650 troops to the Philippines to 'fight terrorism'.

Tony Blair dismissed the outcry over the US torture of prisoners. New Labour is following the US model over the detention and imprisonment of 'terrorist' suspects in Britain. Nine people, who police claimed were Al Qaida suspects, were arrested in Leicester, held for five days and their homes searched. Under Blunkett's Terrorism Act the police have a free hand to hound the black and Asian community.

All the suspects were either released on bail or handed over to immigration officials. At least seven people of Arab origin have been detained without charge since December in Belmarsh prison in south east London. They are locked up for 22 hours a day and do not see daylight.

Human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, who represents several detainees, said, 'These men have been buried alive in concrete coffins and have been told the law provides for their detention for life without trial.' Arrogantly, the US dismisses calls for it to recognise human rights. Bush and his defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld do not feel restrained by protests at their human rights abuses.

They jettison any notion that they have to account for their actions, whether it's on global warming, the Star Wars missile system or sucking the Third World dry.

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What We Think
Sat 26 Jan 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1784
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