Thursday, June 19

Manmohan Singh’s Daughter Nails Bush Lies on Torture [Pic: courtesy ACLU]

Oh boy, oh boy.

As Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cozies up to the Bush Administration, his youngest daughter Amrit Singh blasts the same administration for borrowing methods from tyrannical regimes (and she is right).

In her new book Administration of Torture, Manmohan Singh’s U.S-based daughter Amrit Singh plunges the dagger deep into the rotting carcass of the Bush administration, twists the knife around and exposes the maggot of lies and evasions surrounding the brutal torture of prisoners by American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

Written in a take-no-prisoner style, Amrit Singh and her co-author Jameel Jaffer tell a compelling and shameful story of pervasive torture, abuse and mistreatment of prisoners by the U.S. military in America’s war on terror.

Through meticulous documentation, Amrit Singh and Jameel Jaffer leave no doubt that American servicemen tortured prisoners through beating, sleep deprivation, electrocution, burning, kicking, intimidation with dogs, waterboarding and occasionally by murder.

Some American soldiers, in fact, have gone beyond torture of detainees by engaging in rape and murder of civilians as well. But American soldiers’ atrocities on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan is a story for another day.

Administration of Torture tears into the Bush administration for merely talking the talk on commitment to democracy and human rights but not walking the walk when it comes to action.

A graduate of Yale Law School, Cambridge and Oxford Universities and a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, Amrit Singh (and Jameel Jaffer) argues that the well publicized abuse at Abhu Ghraib was not an aberration but widespread:

While the government continues to withhold many key records, the documents that have been released show that the abuse and torture of prisoners was not limited to Abu Ghraib but was pervasive in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay, and that the maltreatment of prisoners resulted in large part from decisions made by senior civilian and military officials. [P.2]

On a subsequent page, the authors write:

[T]he abuse captured in the Abu Ghraib photographs was far from isolated. The same kind of abuse, and indeed much worse, was inflicted on prisoners at detention facilities throughout Afghanistan and Iraq. [p.29]
[Pic: Courtesy]

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh do not break new ground but yet go beyond daily newspaper reporting by putting the information they’ve collected from thousands of pages (via the Freedom of Information Act) into context with supporting documents and a brief easy-to-read format for those without daily access to the New York Times.

The core of the book is a short 44 pages but includes an additional 374 pages of key primary documents culled from the U.S. Army, Defense Department, FBI and other sources that strongly support the authors’ thesis of widespread torture of detainees flowing from decisions of senior military and civilian officials. [...more]

Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh have done a fine job in producing a must-read book for those who still believe in the notion of basic human rights. They deserve our thanks.

Now that Amrit Singh (and Jameel Jaffer) has decisively exposed the use of torture by American forces in Iraq, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan, if only she would prevail upon her father Manmohan Singh to improve the human rights situation in Bihar, Gujarat and other dark corners of India.

Currently a Staff Attorney at the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Amrit Singh is married to Barton Beebe, Associate Professor of Law at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University on Fifth Avenue in New York City. A specialist in intellectual property law, Amrit Singh’s husband Barton Beebe works closely with the NALSAR Law University in the South Indian city of Hyderabad.

The book is available at Barnes & Noble stores in the U.S. and

Administration of Torture
by Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh
(2007: Columbia University Press, New York)
Price - $29.95

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