Annual Fundraising Appeal

The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…

Palin2

The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day10

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Torture is US Policy, Not Aberration

The Legal Responsibility Goes to the Top

by JENNIFER K. HARBURY

As the United Nations intensifies its scrutiny of torture practices in Iraq, many Americans feel outrage and confusion.

How could this have happened?

The truth lies in the realities that led to the Katrina disaster. The horrors are not new, but long-term and deep-rooted.

The photographs of Abu Ghraib torture practices left many of us with a chilling sense of deja vu. Anyone who survived torture in Latin America or lost a loved one to death squads there, remembers these techniques.

We also remember the U.S. participants. Although our government leaders insist that the recent abuses were acts of a few "bad apples"–young MPs out of control–we can only shake our heads. We have heard it all before. While our young soldiers face prison time for following orders, those who authorized and ordered the torture continue to violate our laws with full impunity. Why?

Given the extraordinary flow of disclosures, confirming the use of identical U.S. torture practices throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, the "bad apple" defense is coy at best. It is impossible for so many soldiers to dream up identical techniques by coincidence. We are dealing with official policy, not individual excess. Legal responsibility goes all the way to the top.

We must also remember that these horrific practices were not invented during the war against terror. Throughout Latin America, secretly held prisoners were subjected to raging dogs, excruciating positions, simulated drownings, long-term sleep and food deprivation, blasting noises and terrifying threats.

U.S. responsibility was hardly limited to funding and training military death squads. In many cases, U.S. intelligence agents visited cells, observed battered prisoners and gave advice or asked questions. Instead of insisting on humane treatment, these agents simply left the detainees to their fates.

Worse yet, many notorious torturers were on the CIA payroll as informants. I ought to know. My husband, a Mayan resistance leader, was brutally tortured for two years by Guatemalan officials serving as such "assets." The "water-pit" technique referred to in Afghanistan appears in his files, too. Eventually, he was either thrown from a helicopter or dismembered. Within six days of his capture, the CIA knew he was in the hands of its hirelings, yet continued payments and kept the matter secret even from our Congress. My husband’s life could have been saved.
These practices have been developed through the decades. The iconic photograph of the Abu Ghraib detainee, hooded and wired and standing on a small box, depicts a position known to intelligence officials as "The Vietnam."

Since these torture techniques constitute obvious policy, and many were specifically authorized, why are our top-level officials not under indictment? The Fourth Geneva Convention protects non-POWs, including saboteurs and insurgents. Such people may be tried and imprisoned, but not tortured. Our criminal laws make it a felony to conspire to torture a detainee abroad.

We are repeatedly told that we must permit torture to maintain our national security. True? Experts agree that torture does not yield reliable intelligence because the victims will say anything to stop the pain. Tried-and-true police methods yield far better results. Worse yet, as military people like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Secretary of State Colin Powell have said, we greatly endanger our own servicemen and women by discarding anti-torture protections.

By creating rage and hatred against Americans, our troops face bombs instead of tossed bouquets. As that rage increases, the risk of another attack here at home escalates dramatically. This is our country and our responsibility. The time has come to roll up our sleeves and clean house.

JENNIFER K. HARBURY, author of "Truth, Torture and the American Way," and "Searching for Everardo", heads the Stop Torture Permanently campaign of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.

























CLARIFICATION

ALEXANDER COCKBURN, JEFFREY ST CLAIR, BECKY GRANT AND THE INSTITUTE FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF JOURNALISTIC CLARITY, COUNTERPUNCH

We published an article entitled "A Saudiless Arabia" by Wayne Madsen dated October 22, 2002 (the "Article"), on the website of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity, CounterPunch, www.counterpunch.org (the "Website").

Although it was not our intention, counsel for Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi has advised us the Article suggests, or could be read as suggesting, that Mr Al Amoudi has funded, supported, or is in some way associated with, the terrorist activities of Osama bin Laden and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.

We do not have any evidence connecting Mr Al Amoudi with terrorism.

As a result of an exchange of communications with Mr Al Amoudi’s lawyers, we have removed the Article from the Website.

We are pleased to clarify the position.

August 17, 2005