The way western governments internationally — the US and the UK in particular — flout the rule of law was well demonstrated in Channel 4’s series of programmes about the torture of terror suspects.
Torture and human rights abuses do not just extend to terror suspects. The fourth programme in the series, screened after Solidarity goes to press, shows that abuses like those documented in Abu Ghraib are commonplace in the USA’s overcrowded and understaffed prisons.
Prisoners are shackled and hooded “for their own protection”; pepper spray is used as an alternative to physical force, but in sufficient quantities to cause second-degree burns; beatings are frequent and sometimes fatal. The programme suggests that the cause is not just a few “bad apples” among prison staff, but a pervasive culture of dehumanisation and brutality.
The USA is conducting a “war of terror” against men and women demoralised and criminalised by the relentless pressure of free-market, tax-cutting, service-cutting economics and bundled away into the USA’s and UK’s fast-growing prison populations.
In the USA today, more than 25 percent of black males between the ages of 15 and 35 are, at any given time, in prison, on probation or on parole.