14 March, 2007

The US psychological torture system is finally on trial - what about the Howard government?

Naomi Klein says that America has deliberately driven hundreds, perhaps thousands, of prisoners insane. Now it is being held to account in a Miami court, 23 February 2007 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2019580,00.html

This history of purposeful harm is clearly demonstrated by Alfred McCoy and now Michael Otterman http://www.americantorture.com/

Australia’s Howard government fully support torture and the Guantanamo Bay ‘facility’ – that is why they have not tried to get David Hicks home for the past five+ years.

I would also add that the Howard government in Australia has also been intentionally inflicting psychiatric harm on asylum seekers for the past ten years. Is this a case of ‘Little Brother’ trying to learn the dark arts? We should promptly remind the Howard government that we find the CIA’s psychological torture experiments in Guantánamo Bay and hundreds of other locations totally repugnant and unconscionable.

The Howard government’s new ‘strongman’ in Immigration, Kevin Andrews, is now using the 82-83 Sri Lankan asylum seekers as a wedge for the 2007 federal elections, just as ‘Tampa’ and ‘children overboard’ were used in 2001 and 2004
Now that these hapless people will be punished “as a warning to people smugglers” we can expect them to suffer psychologically in Nauru, far from legal and community assistance from Australia. http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200703/s1872527.htm

If you really wanted to discourage people smugglers you would arrest them in Indonesia – but that is not possible because they are providing economic benefits to ‘certain influential people’ as TNI officers are sometimes described.

Over two years ago Australia's most prominent psychiatrists, Dr Jon Jureideni and Dr Louise Newman warned that arbitrary and indefinite detention causes psychological and psychiatric damage.

In an ABC TV 7.30 Report, 'Asylum seekers' mental health under the microscope', Dr Louise Newman is interviewed and defends the scientific findings against the accusations and slurs of Phillip Ruddock


"The survey, published in the Medical Journal of Australia, points to significant psychological problems, claiming 85 per cent of detainees showed signs of severe depression".

I would like to see Phillip Ruddock, Amanda Vanstone and the senior departmental officers, like Bill Farmer, now Australia’s Ambassador in Jakarta, charged with this criminal offence. I am probably being idealistic again.

We are yet to hear anything of a protest from the charismatic Leader of the Opposition and 'conscience', Kevin Rudd.