Socialist Worker

News in Brief

Issue No. 1924

Prison guards reveal torture

US GUARDS subjected detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to torture, ex-workers at the camp have admitted. In interviews for the New York Times military guards, intelligence agents and others revealed the horrific treatment dished out to detainees.

One regular procedure was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear and sit in a chair with their hands and feet shackled to a bolt in the floor.

They were then forced to endure strobe lighting and incredibly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air conditioning was turned up to produce chilling cold.

These sessions could last up to 14 hours. “It fried them,” said an official who witnessed the torture.

Another person said, “They were very wobbly. They came back to their cells and were just completely out of it.”

While a number of former prisoners at Guantanamo have made allegations of torture, this is the first time former workers who witnessed and participated in the procedures have spoken out.

One intelligence official said most of the intense interrogation was focused on a group of prisoners called the “Dirty 30” who were believed to be the best potential sources for information.

David Sheffer, a US State Department human rights official in the Clinton administration, said, “I don’t think there’s any question that treatment of that character satisfies the severe pain and suffering requirement, be it physical or mental, that is provided for in the Convention Against Torture.’’

Hundreds of people have been held without charge for over two years at Guantanamo Bay. The latest revelations show that the torture of prisoners is commonplace.

Palestinian bank account closed

The Alliance and Leicester Bank has closed the bank account of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign in London. The account of 12 years standing was closed without a satisfactory explanation.

PSC have asked the bank to give a reason for this treatment. The Alliance and Leicester says it has reviewed the business of “certain clubs and societies”.

Carole Regan, the chair of PSC, told Socialist Worker, “The bank told us it was closing our account with very little notice. When we asked for a reason, it just said, ‘commercial reasons’.

“Our members are very unhappy about this. We are protesting and asking trade union affiliates not to have any business with the Alliance and Leicester.”

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Sat 23 Oct 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1924
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