FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Torture Survivors Speak for Themselves

by MIKE FOX

CIA director Porter J. Goss declared this week in an interview with USA Today that the CIA “does not do torture. We use lawful capabilities to collect vital information, and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture.” The thousands that gathered last weekend for the yearly protest against the School of the Americas (SOA) would beg to differ.

Nearly 19,000 people massed at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia for the annual rally calling for an end to the SOA, renamed in 2001 the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation. In 1996, SOA gained national attention when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Since its inception in 1946, hundreds of horrible crimes have been linked to graduates of the school, including the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the rape and murder of four U.S. nuns in 1980, and the massacre of hundreds in the village of El Mozote.

School officials say that those days are history, represented by the 2001 name change. However, the thousands who traveled to this year’s rally have another opinion. Among them, were the voices most personally and inexorably linked to the issue of torture:

Francisco was arrested by the Salvadoran National Guard in June, 1980. At the time he was working with the Catholic church, with two of the four U.S. nuns that were kidnapped later that year, raped and murdered. He was accused of aiding the guerrilla:

“Our wounds have never healed. They are still open. You don’t realize how we suffer when we see a photos of Abu Graib when we see photos of youths assassinated by Chilean or Honduran mercenaries, paid for by the United States in the Iraq war. We go to a doctor, but it doesn’t matter, because when we see this we re-live everything. The methods are still the same electric shocks, beatings, rapes day and night. They are the same methods those who order the torture are the same ones, because they are being trained at the same school.”

Emi Breton, From the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition International:

“I remember the night I was dragged in to a van. I remember how they beat me. I remember how they raped me. I remember how they rped my brother too, how they electrocuted him and how he was forced to see himself being tortured

I don’t sleep much, and very often, when I go to sleep, I sleep with a hammer in my hand, because I’m scared that they are going to return. The torture didn’t stop that night, neither that year. I’m a tiny example of what is going on in my country, and my continent and all over around the world. When I saw the photos (of Abu Graib) and the US said, “well this is not torture.” Well it is torture and the US has signed the UN Convention Against Torture, and it is a legal paper they keep saying that this is not torture and it is torture, and the people keep silent.”

Jorge Montes was arrested in 1981 in El Salvador, on suspicion of being a guerrilla member:

“There were a lot of interrogations- a lot of manipulations torture and psychological torture. This happened to me and it reminds me of what is happening to prisoners in Guantanamo. That they are submitted to psychological torture and mock executions and many other things, and it is really shocking to me we need to abolish torture everywhere including in the USA.”

Patricia Isasa was 16 when she was picked up by the Argentine military, suspected of being a “terrorist.” She was “disappeared” for 3 months, and then held in a concentration camp for another two years. She says one of her torturers was a graduate of the School of the Americas:

“When I got the newspaper and saw the pictures of Abu Graib, they looked familiar. It’s incredible, but how is it possible that throughout all of Latin America it’s the same torture and it’s the same in Iraq? It’s because the School of America is still here and they haven’t changed the manual. They haven’t changed their policy.”

“Imagine this They strip you and cover you with a hood and they bring you to a metal framed bed, and you don’t know where you are you don’t know what might happen to you but you do know that something terrible is going to happen. A group of people come in and they give you electric shocks, they beat you, they rape you, and the interrogator tells you that they have information that you are responsible for 9-11. You say “no”, he insists They beat you, they rape you, they give you electric shocks you say “no”, he says “yes”, you say “no” until you will finally say “Yes I’m Osama Bin Ladin’s wife.”

“But here’s the point. The person enduring the torture is not telling the truth. The person says what the other one wants to hear to get him to stop. It’s a lie that it’s a valid form of seeking information. We all know it those of us who have experienced it. We experienced in our flesh.”

As Isasa puts it, “Torture is not something to debate. It’s not an opinion. Torture is a crime Which should be forbidden.”

MIKE FOX is a writer and broadcaster living in New York City. He can be mfox.us@gmail.com

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

December 07, 2016
Michael Schwalbe
What We Talk About When We Talk About Class
Karl Grossman
The Next Frontier: Trump and Space Weapons
Kenneth Surin
On Being Caught Speeding in Rural America
Chris Floyd
In Like Flynn: Blowback for Filth-Peddling Fascists
Serge Halimi
Trump, the Know-Nothing Victor
Paul DeRienzo
Flynn Flam: Neocon Ex-General to Be Trump’s National Security Advisor
Binoy Kampmark
Troubled Waters: Trump, Taiwan and Beijing
Tom Clifford
Trump and China: a Note From Beijing
Arnold August
Fidel’s Legacy to the World on Theory and Practice
Dave Lindorff
Is Trump’s Idea To Fix a ‘Rigged System’ by Appointing Crooks Who’ve Played It?
John Kirk
Cuba After Fidel
Jess Guh
Repeal of Affordable Care Act is Politics Playing with the Wellbeing of Americans
Eric Sommer
Team Trump: a Government of Generals and Billionaires
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Reactions to the Death of Fidel Castro
John Garvey - Noel Ignatiev
Abolitionism: a Study Guide
Clancy Sigal
Caution: Conspiracy Theory Ahead!
December 06, 2016
Anthony DiMaggio
Post-Fact Politics: Reviewing the History of Fake News and Propaganda
Richard Moser
Standing Rock: Challenge to the Establishment, School for the Social Movements
Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi
Warmongering 99 – Common Sense 0: the Senate’s Unanimous Renewal of Iran Sanctions Act
Norman Solomon
Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites
Michael J. Sainato
Elizabeth Warren’s Shameful Exploitation of Standing Rock Victory
David Rosen
State Power and Terror: From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock
Kim Ives
Deconstructing Another Right-Wing Victory in Haiti
Nile Bowie
South Korea’s Presidency On A Knife-Edge
Mateo Pimentel
Some Notes and a Song for Standing Rock
CJ Hopkins
Manufacturing Normality
Bill Fletcher Jr – Bob Wing
Fighting Back Against the White Revolt of 2016
Peter Lee
Is America Ready for a War on White Privilege?
Pepe Escobar
The Rules of the (Trump) Game
W. T. Whitney
No Peace Yet in Colombia Despite War’s End
Mark Weisbrot
Castro Was Right About US Policy in Latin America
David Swanson
New Rogue Anti-Russia Committee Created in “Intelligence” Act
George Ochenski
Forests of the Future: Local or National Control?
December 05, 2016
Bill Martin
Stalingrad at Standing Rock?
Mark A. Lause
Recounting a Presidential Election: the Backstory
Mel Goodman
Mad Dog Mattis and Trump’s “Seven Days in May”
Matthew Hannah
Standing Rock and the Ideology of Oppressors: Conversations with a Morton County Commissioner
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
#NoDAPL Scores Major Victory: No Final Permit For Pipeline
Fran Shor
The End of the Indispensable Nation
Michael Yates
Vietnam: the War That Won’t Go Away
Michael Uhl
Notes on a Trip to Cuba
Robert Hunziker
Huge Antarctica Glacier in Serious Trouble
John Steppling
Screen Life
David Macaray
Trump vs. America’s Labor Unions
Yoav Litvin
Break Free and Lead, or Resign: a Letter to Bernie Sanders
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail