May 7, 2009

Essay: The many renditions of Mamdouh Habib

Let’s take a swift trip into the heart of darkness, writes Richard Neville.

The revelations of a once secret 2006 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on the use of torture and “cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment” on prisoners at Guantánamo and secret CIA jails came as a shock to many. This is odd, because anyone with a keyboard, modem and half a brain, quickly discovered that in the panicky aftermath of 9/11, the West had forged a pact with the Devil. It was not only Dick Cheney who felt the call of the dark side – it was virtually the entire governing class of America, Britain and Australia. Yes, even Australia, a former penal colony that started life as Britain’s Guantanamo.

You might think this grim past would sharpen the desire of our institutions to root out injustice and comfort the afflicted. Well, we go through the motions. Australia signed the Convention against Torture (CAT) and, unlike the US, ratified it. But now we have trashed it. How come? Let’s take a swift trip into the heart of darkness.

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6 thoughts on “Essay: The many renditions of Mamdouh Habib

  1. Leslie Bursill

    Oh come on a!! Mussy terrorist or John Howard, who do you believe. I know who I believe, I have a set of core beliefs that Include Tooth Fairies, Santa and protecting Angels on my shoulder and pie in the sky and Heaven an an an everything.

    And Big Macs and Woppers are good for you and diet coke makes you skinny an an..

  2. pwnerous

    I had to take a few minutes after reading that…

    Fingers broken, electric shocks, hung from metal hooks, forced to witness a murder, thrown menstural blood … WTF!?!

    I think everyone here knew something was going on with the Australian detainees; but to actually read it documented like that, with allegations of Australian involvement at such high levels, is simply breath-taking.

    Interesting to see where it goes from here. You would think if there are substance to the allegations, that a Royal Commission is inevitable. You would think …

  3. nicolino

    Nothing surprises me about the Howard/Ruddock/Downer triumvirate.
    After all the AWB scandal is still remaining in limbo and no one in the top echelon brought to account.

  4. AR

    One small point, a bit like correcting grammar at Auschwitz,
    “Habib was illegally rendered to Bagram jail in Kandahar – an infamous hellhole ”
    BAGRAM is north of Kabul, once the Russian’s logistics airbase, since turned into a, not so small, city by the US, complete with Maccas. Dunkin’ Doughnuts and imported water.

  5. Mark Presland

    John Howard and Co are a nasty stain on our countries reputation. I hope that all of them are held to account.
    Thanks for the article Richard, we need to be constantly reminded.

  6. Daemon Singer

    Well, Leslie pet, can I suggest that since your dear John W Howard was the architect of the massive hoovering which was Australia sucking up to George (WMD) Bush, you will of course accept that a thorough investigation by a non-interested party, let’s say a retired Judge of the High court will prove the case for you.

    Perhaps, as part of your belief in Tooth Fairies et al, you will share with those of us with less than a complimentary overview of such issues, why you are so convinced that Habib is definitely lying. Is it because John Howard said he was/is?

    I always worry about your type. Never believing anything bad of your Government. It’s a sign of desperate stupidity to believe everything a government, including the current one, tells us. It is even more stupid to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Let’s ask Mr Justice Kirby whether he would feel up to fronting a Royal Commission with Coercive Powers.

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