U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently complained that the Iraqis were violating the Geneva Convention when they showed captured U.S. servicemen on Iraqi TV. The worldwide western media immediately took up the complaint, airing his statement repeatedly and globally. They never saw the irony that as soon as that sound-bite was over, next on their news tapes were often segments showing Iraqi POWs surrendering to Coalition forces, regardless of how the POWs' families in Baghdad would suffer at the hands of the Republican Guard if Iraqi-POW faces were recognized on CNN.
The western media refuse to expose US hypocrisy. Apparently they are so overwhelmed with gratitude for their privilege of traveling with Coalition units on the battlefield that they have become nothing more than lap-dogs.
Somehow, Iraqis are not covered by the Geneva Convention if the US decides that they are not. And the media doesn't dare go against them not if it wants to keep filming in Iraq.
Thankfully, the US hasn't yet succeeded in stopping u2018unpatriotic' articles on the Internet, so you can read the truth here.
Since Rumsfeld, Bush and Blair are so adamant about the Geneva Convention not being violated by the Iraqis, they had better hope that they are not held to the same standard. Those that sent President Slobodan Milosevic to the World Court for war crimes could soon find themselves there as defendants.
The US government has sent over 600 men from Afghanistan to its military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in total defiance of the Geneva Convention. The conduct of the US is so outrageous that at least ten articles are being violated.
Here are some of the Articles of the (Fourth) Geneva Convention that the US government is ignoring:
Protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. They shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults and public curiosity.
The US government broke this resoundingly by parading the Guantanamo Bay prisoners before Western television cameras, just as the Iraqis have done on their television.
No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties.
This prohibition applies not only to murder, torture, corporal punishments, mutilation and medical or scientific experiments not necessitated by the medical treatment of a protected person, but also to any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents.
Afghani POWs were repeatedly shown to be forced to kneel for long times in chains on the ground, handcuffed behind their backs, suffering sensory deprivation by being forced to wear earphones and black goggles so they could neither see nor hear. The U.S. explained that this was a valuable interrogation method. We treat our food-animals better than that. A chicken has more rights than a POW held by the USA.
Protected persons shall not be transferred to a Power which is not a party to the Convention.
Protected persons may be transferred by the Detaining Power only to a Power which is a party to the present Convention.
Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.
The U.S. has forcefully transferred its Afghan POWs to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which is not a party to the Convention, yet paradoxically claims that they have no rights under the Convention because they are not on Convention members' soil. Such hypocrisy is beyond even the Nazis and Stalinists of WWII.
Canteens shall be installed in every place of internment, except where other suitable facilities are available. Their purpose shall be to enable internees to make purchases, at prices not higher than local market prices, of foodstuffs and articles of everyday use, including soap and tobacco, such as would increase their personal well-being and comfort.
The US government has decided such a facility cannot fit inside the chain-link dog pens prisoners are forced to occupy.
Internees shall be permitted to retain articles of personal use. Monies, cheques, bonds, etc., and valuables in their possession may not be taken from them except in accordance with established procedure. Detailed receipts shall be given therefor.
Yet the "Taliban" POWs have been stripped of all their clothes, papers and possession, even photos of their parents.
Internees shall not in any case be transferred to penitentiary establishments (prisons, penitentiaries, convict prisons, etc.) to undergo disciplinary punishment therein.
All POWs there have been punished by extreme sensory deprivation and long hours of interrogation and separation from their families and each other. The worst punishment of all is the US government denying that they are even covered under the Geneva Convention and thus have no rights whatsoever.
Someday, the US government will invent a new term to call its citizens who are dissenters so as to deny them their Constitutional rights and likewise lock them up without due process to torture them for months to extract information u2018necessary' for state security. It is then that only the government will decide which of its citizens are u2018worthy' of any rights at all.
They shall have permission to read and write, likewise to send and receive letters. Parcels and remittances of money, however, may be withheld from them until the completion of their punishment; such consignments shall meanwhile be entrusted to the Internee Committee, who will hand over to the infirmary the perishable goods contained in the parcels.
The POWs' families have no idea if they are even alive.
The transfer of internees shall always be effected humanely. As a general rule, it shall be carried out by rail or other means of transport, and under conditions at least equal to those obtaining for the forces of the Detaining Power in their changes of station. If, as an exceptional measure, such removals have to be effected on foot, they may not take place unless the internees are in a fit state of health, and may not in any case expose them to excessive fatigue.
On their flights to Cuba, POWs were forced wear chains and hoods so they had no idea what was happening to them. That was intentional so they would suffer mental collapse and be more pliable to US interrogators. This goes much farther than exposing them to "excessive fatigue." It is downright torture reminiscent of the Hanoi Hilton.
How does the USA get away with the above outrage? It does so by redefining reality:
The US says that the POWs are not POWs at all; they are now to be called, "unlawful combatants."
Unlawful combatants don't deserve any human rights whatsoever because the biggest gun on the planet says so. It doesn't matter that every other nation calls a POW a POW, the USA is above other nations, it is above the law, it is above its own citizens and it is above even reality.
US President Bush loves pointing out that, "America is liberating Iraqis from human rights abuses by Saddam Hussein." However America abuses the rights of anyone it so chooses by just by giving them a different label.
March 29, 2003
Jack Duggan [send him mail] lives in Fort Apache (Hamilton, New Jersey, site of the anthrax mailings) with his family. He thinks everyone who loves their country and not the government should honor only the original U.S. Colonial flag with its thirteen stars and stripes.