Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Truth, Torture and the American Way

An interesting interview with Jennifer Harbury, who makes the point that many of the 'techniques' exposed at Abu Ghraib had been used in Latin America before, usually by local torturers in the presence of a CIA trainer-observer. (I'm acquainted with one of these CIA guys in Antigua. He used to be attached to the local security service nasties known as G-2. After retiring from the Agency he started selling handcrafts− amongst other things − and then came into serious money when a relative died.)

I was listening on the World Service today to a UN official who was describing his expectations of the commission that has just been set up to help Guatemala dismantle illegal armed groups. It will have an initial mandate of two years. He noted that the "lawlessness" in the country can be blamed on the very weak state and the continued presence in Guatemalan society of armed groups that never really disbanded at the end of the Civil War. Just this week six policemen have been killed, two of them were Internal Affairs officers, an indication of the urgent need for an independent force within the criminal justice system over there.

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