Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chained Immigrants Paraded By Arizona Sheriff -- Guantanamo Torture Worse Than at First Thought

Posted in Anti-Immigrant by Casey Sanchez on February 4, 2009

This afternoon in Maricopa County, Ariz., more than 200 Latino immigrants were chained, dressed in prison stripes and forced to march down a public street from a county jail to a detainment camp in a desert industrial zone outside Phoenix.

Along the way they were filmed by television news crews and guarded by at least 50 Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) deputies, wearing body armor and combat fatigues, armed with shotguns and automatic rifles. At least two canine units were present; a Sheriff's Department helicopter hovered overhead.

The massive show of force was pure stagecraft for a blatant and dehumanizing publicity stunt orchestrated by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The MCSO gave no indication that any of the immigrant prisoners were particularly violent or presented a grave danger to the public.

The article continues here.
Casey Sanchez, the writer of the featured article, apparently failed to observe that the migrant workers, most of whom are being held for minor infractions and drug and alcohol related offenses which should be addressed through treatment protocols rather than incarceration, are being paraded in the customary Maricopa County pink underwear issued by this notorious sheriff. This is an added level of public humiliation directed against males acculturated to machismo Latino values.

At RCDC III in West Texas, I personally witnessed inmates being detained in a large room 50 at a time in cold temperatures with nothing on but their boxer shorts. This is a typically inhumane treatment which, among others, is reser
ved for Guantanamo detainees. It is considered a form of torture and it's now being used in U.S. prisons and detention centers.

Obama has done nothing yet about prison overcrowding and the abuses that come with privatization. Perhaps he will as he implements his promised agenda. Or perhaps not. He may not even be aware of it. Given the following article, Obama seems to have promised much but is quickly being redirected. There is decreasing hope that he will actually deliver on his promise of prison reform unless he is pressured by a grass roots movement. His national security team seems to be guiding him in the direction of maintaining the policies of the Bush/Cheney regime, including its pathological bent for secrecy.
Last week, two British High Court judges ruled against releasing documents describing the treatment of Binyam Mohamed, a British resident who is currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. The judges said the Bush administration "had threatened to withhold intelligence cooperation with Britain if the information were made public."

But The Daily Telegraph reported over the weekend that the documents actually "contained details of how British intelligence officers supplied information to [Mohamed's] captors and contributed questions while he was brutally tortured." In fact, it was British officials, not the Americans, who pressured Foreign Secretary David Miliband "to do nothing that would leave serving MI6 officers open to prosecution." According to the Telegraph's sources, the documents describe particularly gruesome interrogation tactics:

"The 25 lines edited out of the court papers contained details of how Mr Mohamed's genitals were sliced with a scalpel and other torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, "is very far down the list of things they did," the official said."

Another source familiar with the case said: "British intelligence officers knew about the torture and didn't do anything about it."

An update quoting an article by Andrew Sullivan cautions:
Today in San Francisco, "a little-publicised court case into the treatment of Mohamed will open" in federal court. Andrew Sullivan notes that "we'll find out if the Obama administration intends to keep the evidence as secret as the Bush administration did."

See the entire article with associated reader comments here.

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