US justice on trial

originally by: Khaleej Times
11th January 2011

America’s international standing as a fair and just country does not match its superpower status as the world’s greatest democracy. When it comes to basic human rights it is there in the gutter alongside some of the world’s most toxic, tinpot dictatorships and 
authoritarian regimes.

So there’s little surprise that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange fears being extradited to the US where some politicians and Pentagon officials have already called for his execution and Attorney General Eric Holder admits his government may invoke the US Espionage Act.

But it’s not just the persecution and the prosecution Assange should fear, either — the wheels of justice can be agonisingly slow in a process, which could take years. And in the case of the Guantanamo detainees there is no end in sight — the majority of them have not been charged but 
simply forgotten. Having stepped inside US prisons — both military and civilian — I can tell you there is nothing civilised about the penal institutions in the United States.

Four days of filming inside Guantanamo and half a day at one of California’s largest young offenders prisons provided me with enough material to reach this conclusion, bearing in mind as a journalist I was just shown “the good bits”!

Having also viewed CCTV footage of detainees in US institutions being strip and cavity searched was equally traumatic and for those who showed the slightest resistance a procedure would follow which in my view is tantamount to gang rape. Frankly, I was appalled by what I saw inside American jails and the interviews and research, which followed did not make easy reading.

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