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Commentary :: Police State

Prisons in the USA.

For Release 4 p.m. ET -- Thursday, May 13, 2004

* Rumsfeld in Iraq * Prisons in the USA

Suaad Al-Mahdawy works with the Iraqi Human Rights Society. Reached in
Iraq, she said today: "This is not liberation, we cannot do what we please
in our own country. But Rumsfeld can come whenever he wants and pretend to
care while occupying us."

RANIA MASRI, rania (at),,,
Masri is a fellow at the Institute for Southern Studies and a producer of
the newly released documentary "About Baghdad." Her latest article is
entitled "Freeing Iraq's Economy ... For Its Occupiers." She said this
afternoon: "The Washington Post reports today that four out of five Iraqis
hold a negative view of the U.S. occupation authority and of coalition
forces. This is according to a new poll conducted for the occupation
authority itself. This poll was taken before the Abu Ghraib pictures became
public.... Also today, the Wall Street Journal has a story entitled
"Lingering Presence: Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future
-- Hand-Picked Proxies, Advisers Will Be Given Key Roles In Interim
Government." Clearly the administration's talk of 'democracy for Iraq' is a
farce. No wonder Riverbend, a self-described 'girl blog from Baghdad,' said
the solution is: 'don't rape, don't torture, don't kill and get out while
you can -- while it still looks like you have a choice... Chaos? Civil war?
Bloodshed? We'll take our chances -- just take your Puppets, your tanks,
your smart weapons, your dumb politicians, your lies, your empty promises,
your rapists, your sadistic torturers and go.'" [See:

RAHUL MAHAJAN, rahul (at),
Recently back from Iraq (including Fallujah), Mahajan is the author of the
book "Full Spectrum Dominance: U.S. Power in Iraq and Beyond." He said
today: "Berg's murderers said they beheaded him in response to the
'satanic' abuses at Abu Ghraib, as if his independent efforts at aiding
Iraqi reconstruction were connected in any way to those abuses. Meanwhile,
Republican senators have tried to imply that Berg's killings somehow
retroactively legitimated those same abuses.... Torture methods that
involve sexual abuse, sleep deprivation, and in some cases beating, rape,
and killing have been shown to be systemic in Guantanamo, Bagram airbase in
Kabul, Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca, and elsewhere. At the same time, U.S.
conduct in the siege of Fallujah, which lasted several weeks and may have
killed over 1,000 Iraqis, is getting very little attention. The United
States bombed the power plant, occupied and shut down the main hospitals,
bombed residential areas, shot at ambulances, and combed the city with
Marine snipers."

ED MEAD, mead (at),,
Mead is a former co-editor of Prison Legal News and currently co-editor of
Prison Focus, the newsletter of California Prison Focus. He is also
director of Prison Art, an online resource serving artists behind bars.
Mead said today: "President George W. Bush said the prison torture in Iraq
is not the American way. He's wrong.... At Pelican Bay prison in Northern
California a prisoner was dumped in scalding water so his skin peeled off.
In California's Corcoran prison, guards held their own gladiator games,
with prisoners pitted against each other in fights to the death, while
guards bet with each other on the winner.... If the Bush administration
wanted to do anything about torture it would not have sent its 'high value'
prisoners to countries like Jordan for 'interrogation.'" [See:

TERRY A. KUPERS, M.D., kupers (at)
Kupers is a psychiatrist, a professor at the Wright Institute, an expert
witness in class action lawsuits about human rights abuses in American
prisons, and author of the book "Prison Madness." He said today: "I do not
view the sexual abuse, torture and humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by
American soldiers as an isolated event. The plight of prisoners in the USA
is strikingly similar to the plight of the Iraqis who were abused by
American GIs. Prisoners are maced, raped, beaten, starved, left naked in
freezing cold cells and otherwise abused in too many American prisons, as
substantiated by findings in many courts that prisoners' constitutional
rights to remain free of cruel and unusual punishment are being violated.
In order for the abuses to continue, one group has total control over
another; the victims feel they have no recourse and the perpetrators are
confident they can get away with it; and the entire ordeal has to remain

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