Ahead of the ongoing Syria peace talks in
Switzerland the U.S. and the United Nations expressed
their horror at the findings of a report put together by former
war crimes prosecutors, which shows that the Assad regime
killed about 11,000 detainees from March 2011 to August 2013.
The report is based on roughly 55,000 photographs of the thousands
of dead tortured detainees leaked by a Syrian military police
photographer, who has defected.
Read the report below (contains graphic images):
The report is shocking. But, as Foreign
Policy‘s David Kenner has pointed out, the U.S. has used
the brutality of the Assad regime to its advantage. Kenner’s
article highlights the case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-Canadian
national who, according to the
Open Society Foundations, was arrested by American authorities
in September 2002 and then sent (after almost two weeks of
interrogation) to Jordan, where he was beaten by Jordanian guards
at a CIA detention center in Amman before being sent to a detention
center in Syria run by the Syrian Military Intelligence.
From Foreign Policy:
The only mystery for Arar is why Americans are shocked at
reports of torture in Syrian prisons. “What surprises me is the
reaction of some people in the West, as if it’s news to them,” he
told Foreign Policy. “As far back as the early 1990s … the State
Department reports on Syria have been very blunt — the fact is,
Syria tortures people.”
It’s a history that the U.S. government knows all too well —
because, at times, it has exploited the Assad regime’s brutality
for its own ends. Arar was sent to Assad’s prisons by the United
States: In September 2002, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS) detained him during a layover at New York’s John F.
Kennedy International Airport. U.S. officials believed, partially
on the basis of inaccurate information provided by Canada, that
Arar was a member of al Qaeda. After his detention in New York,
Arar was flown to Amman, Jordan, where he was driven across the
border into Syria.
“Successive U.S. administrations may not agree with the politics
of Bashar al-Assad, but when you have a common enemy called al
Qaeda — that changes everything,” Arar said. “[S]ince 9/11,
Assad’s regime has been used for what the media now calls ‘torture
More from Foreign Policy:
The U.S. government has also never apologized to Arar for
rendering him to Syria, or admitted that he was tortured in Assad’s
jails. So it’s no surprise, perhaps, that Arar believes U.S.
officials’ surprise at the latest revelation is more than a little
“Of course, the U.S. government will always ask for assurances
for people not to be tortured,” he said. “But they know that those
assurances are not worth the ink they’re written with. They know
that once a person gets there — they know what’s going to
During his first presidential campaign then-Senator Barack Obama
spoke out against the Bush administration’s policies relating to
the War on Terror. However, although Obama did order the closing of
the CIA’s “black” detention sites in January 2009, the Obama
administration’s record on the treatment of terror suspects is
far from ideal.
from Hit & Run http://ift.tt/1mLivnc