As the world observed the Human Rights Day today, the report on human rights violation by the United States have made headlines with the US Senate Report stating some gruesome tactics employed by the spy agency on detainees, including waterboarding.
Though the fact that the US tortured suspected terrorists after 9/11, details of the Senate report has compelled the nation to sit up and take note of its own actions. “There’s controversy in terms of the details, but what’s not controversial is the fact that we did some things that violated who we are as a people,” US President Barack Obama said in an interview with Telemundo and Univision television stations, after the details of the report were made public this week.
The document details some torture emthods like simulated suffocation, baths in frozen water, sleep deprivation for over a week, rectal feeding and hydration, leaving aside regualr death threats and abuses.
Quick to react, both China and North Korea have jointly expressed their shock ridiculing the US agency torture tactics. State-run Xinhua news agency ran an editorial saying the high-profile cases of violations within American borders and outside by its agencies “are being scrutinised, especially as it pertains to be a defender of civil liberties globally.”
The Chinese reaction was backed by North Korea, which was on the forefront to condemn the “inhuman torture” methods of the US, which were highlighted in the report. It said the UN Security Council, which has accused North Korea several times in the past for human rights violations is “shutting its eyes” to rights violations by the US, its permanent member.
“If it (UN Security Council) wants to discuss the human rights issue, it should call into question the human rights abuses rampant in the US,” a report in North Korean official KCNA news agency said quoting officials.
The report released by the Senate brought into focus some extreme methods of interrogation conducted during the Bush administration including a case where one detainee was sexually assaulted with a broomstick and many others were deprived of sleep for over 180 hours at a stretch.
“American is neither a suitable role model nor a qualified judge on human rights issues in other countries, as it pertains to be,” Xinhua said referring to the CIA torture report. “This is not how Americans should behave. Ever,” wrote The Washington Post in its editorial titled “The horrors in America’s ‘dungeon’ should never have happened”.
“Torture is wrong, whether or not it has ever ‘worked’. As an Obama administration official said Tuesday, ‘The reason we prohibited these techniques is because they are contrary to our values’,” it added.
The Republicans and George W. Bush himself, criticised the report and defended the CIA’s methods. “We’re fortunate to have men and women who work hard at the CIA serving on our behalf. These are patriots and whatever the report says, if it diminishes their contributions to our country, it is way off base,” Bush said before the report was published.
On the other hand are those who argue there can be no justification for torture. “That some of these detainees were highly dangerous men does not excuse subjecting them to illegal treatment that brought shame on the United States and served as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups,” lamented The New York Times in its editorial.
The Republicans acted “as though it is the reporting of the torture and not the torture itself that is bad for the country”, it added.
It is feared that the report may trigger protests in Pakistan and other parts of the world against the controversial methods highlighted in the report as it has opened the risk of igniting more anger against the US. “No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better,” Obama said.