The Facts Machine

"And I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide"

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Reader Alex emails with this troubling story from Amnesty International. Apparently, not only do we export items used explicitly for torture, but we send them to the very countries we condemn for using methods of torture!
A new Amnesty International report charges that in 2002, the Bush Administration violated the spirit of its own export policy and approved the sale of equipment implicated in torture to Yemen, Jordan, Morocco and Thailand, despite the countries' documented use of such weapons to punish, mistreat and inflict torture on prisoners. The US is also alleged to have handed suspects in the 'war on terror' to the same countries.

The total value of US exports of electro-shock weapons was $14.7 million in 2002 and exports of restraints totaled $4.4 million in the same period. The Commerce and State Departments approved these sales, permitting 45 countries to purchase electro-shock technology, including 19 that had been cited for the use of such weapons to inflict torture since 1990.

The report – The Pain Merchants – also reveals that the US approved the 2002 export to Saudi Arabia of nine tons of Smith & Wesson leg-irons. Former prisoners in Saudi Arabia have stated that their restraints were stamped with the name of Smith & Wesson. In a 2000 Amnesty International report, Phil Lomax, a UK national who was held for 17 days in 1999, recounted how shackles used in Malaz prison in Riyadh, were made in the US: "When[ever] we were taken out of the cell we were shackled and handcuffed. The shackles were very painful. They were made of steel... like a handcuff ring. The handcuffs were made in the USA."
Wow, well I'm glad we still have all that moral high ground to fall back on.

This seems to be consistent with stuff like Bush's pop arming Osama and Saddam in the 80's, and Bush's pop's boss approving the sale of arms to Iran, Cheney/Halliburton doing business with Iraq in previous years, and so on.

And now they can add "we wanted to see what the torture scene in Three Kings would look like in real life" to the list...


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