August 6, 2004


"There is something else going on. Particularly in the last couple of decades, with the rise of ever-harsher criminal justice laws, Americans have become hardened to the people we put in detention or behind bars. We have acquired a set of unexamined beliefs: 1) people who land in jail deserve to be there; 2) criminals are bad people – almost subhuman – who can't be rehabilitated; 3) therefore, punishment can be as harsh as possible; and 4) we don't need or want to know the details.

"...These beliefs are constantly reaffirmed ... They may help to explain why revelations of prison and jail abuse in the United States, which have been numerous in the past two decades, can fall on deaf ears in this country even as they prompt protest abroad. The revelations at Abu Ghraib shock us because our soldiers abroad seem to have acted out behaviors that we condone, yet don't face up to, at home."


Guatanamo Bay--

"Refusal to participate does not count against a prisoner, and the panel is obliged to consider exculpatory information gathered by U.S. intelligence forces, U.S. officers said.

"But they acknowledged that the U.S. government starts with the presumption that the prisoners are enemy combatants because they have already been the subject of repeated reviews of their activities and the circumstances of their capture."

from Reuters

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