Shocking, but not surprising
Still stunned by the news that a lightweight administrator like Bernie Kerik was picked to hand out billions of dollars to defense contractors in his new role as the nation’s chief security guard, now we learn that his company’s Tasers were used to abuse Iraqi detainees. (See this BBC story.)
Couple that with George W. Bush‘s latest doctrine that anyone who doesn’t want his or her country to be occupied by another country’s soldiers is a “terrorist,” and I feel as if I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up. (See photo.)
Today’s BBC story says four members of a U.S. Special Operations unit used the electric stun guns on prisoners and were disciplined for “excessive use of force.”
An AP story from late November notes that “orders are pouring in for the stun guns, which are made by Taser International,” the Arizona company on whose board Kerik sits. Reporter Anabelle Garay adds:
Yet while Taser’s stock has soared with the booming business, concerns are growing about whether the shock-inducing guns are truly as non-lethal as advertised.
The story elaborates:
Well, maybe not exactly safe, as the story points out:
“Not only do we not know the impact of these weapons on human beings under various conditions, we are also concerned about the gratuitous use of these weapons,” said Gerald Le Melle, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA.
The latest from Amnesty on Tasers is this report, which includes such details as this explanation of the weapon’s name:
Speaking of juice, our little Napoleon just raked in the simoleons: Kerik has made millions off the stun guns by recently cashing in his stock options.
No one should be shocked by that.
Amnesty International is typically trying to interfere with the bidness affairs of one of America’s corporate citizens by proclaiming:
It’s probably safe to do that, now that the newly powerful Kerik has already sold his stock in the company.
Go ahead and suspend the use of Tasers. Ve haff other vays of stunning Iraqis. Thousands of Fallujah refugees are still living in makeshift shelters across Baghdad, according to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, whose story, by reporters Zaineb Naji and Hussein Ali, notes that “with only limited amounts of aid reaching them, they are increasingly angry with Coalition forces and the Iraqi government,” and adds:
“We’ve done our best, but we only have ten small tents, which aren’t enough for 100 refugees. Some people have even had to sleep in the open,” explains HAS director Saleem Abd al-Ghani.
The charity, which has also been distributing foodstuffs to the refugees, says the majority of donations have come from ordinary Iraqis.
“We deliver basic food like rice, bread, tea and sugar,” explained Ghani. “Additionally, we’ve received donations of clothes, and monetary contributions of around four million dinars, from rich Iraqis. On top of that, many ordinary people have just turned up at the camp with food they’ve cooked for the refugees.”
You mean there’s no electricity for these Iraqis? Send in a Special Operations unit to hook them up.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 9, 2004