Moral Low Ground

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WIKILEAKS RELEASE: U.S. Complicity in India’s Systematic Kashmir Torture, Murder

Wikileaks has revealed that the United States has long been aware that India is  brutally and systematically torturing opponents of New Delhi’s rule over Jammu and Kashmir but has chosen not to speak out against these sickening human rights violations.

US officials have been briefed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) about the widespread use of electrocution, beatings and sexual humiliation against hundreds of detainees. The ICRC also reported that many civilians, not just insurgents, were tortured and that many people were routinely killed.

The Indians, no doubt, learned a thing or two from American torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and secret prisons around the globe. David Mulford, former US ambassador to India, sent a classified diplomatic cable in 2005 that told of “widespread severe torture in Indian prisons in Kashmir between 2002 and 2004.”

“The continued ill-treatment of detainees,” wrote Mulford, “despite longstanding ICRC-GOI (Government of India] dialogue, have led the ICRC to conclude” that the Indian government “condones torture.”

So, apparently, did Washington, which never uttered a peep of protest regarding this. True, the Bush administration was up to its eyeballs in its own orgy of torture. True, too, that Washington was willing to overlook all sorts of nastiness in the name of fighting terrorism. And the US had been trying to improve relations with India, a burgeoning giant of a marketplace, trading partner and potential bulwark against a rising China, for years.

But American complicity in Indian torture is unacceptable under any circumstances. Moral Low Ground finds it very telling indeed that the world’s two largest democracies have enthusiastically embraced the very undemocratic practice of  torturing people who don’t agree with their rule.

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