Democracy Hypocrisy: Our Man in Uzbekistan

Over the weekend the New York Times reported on evidence that the United States has regularly sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan, an “authoritarian state” known for beating and asphyxiating prisoners, boiling body parts, using electroshock on genitals and “plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers.” The State Department’s 2005 report on Uzbekistan states bluntly: “The police force and the intelligence service use torture as a routine investigation technique.” But Uzbekistan’s role as a “surrogate jailer” for the United States has been “confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States.” The Uzbekistan renditions are the latest in a spate of troublesome allegations about U.S. treatment of detainees, just days after the one-year anniversary of Abu Ghraib.

Worse, the abuse isn’t limited to foreign regimes. Sgt. Erik Saar, a soldier who spent three months in the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo Bay, told CBS’ 60 Minutes this week that the approach of U.S. military interrogators is “ineffective” and “inconsistent with American values.” According to Saar and a series of FBI e-mails obtained by CBS, abusive methods and sexual humiliation are used routinely in Gitmo. Saar describes a female interrogator smearing fake menstrual blood on the face of a Saudi detainee, then depriving him of water so he could not ritually clean himself and pray that night. The FBI e-mails confirm Saar’s accounts.