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Is this a Nation of Laws, or of Unaccountable Men – and Women?

Arrest All Torturers

by JOE GIAMBRONE

“We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right.”

–George W. Bush, June 26, 2003 

I’ve actually looked up the torture statutes while people like Joe Scarborough pontificate about whether the blatant lies of Zero Dark Thirty count as evidence that torture works.  It matters not a whit if torture “works” in some cases or not.  Torture is a felony crime Mr. Scarborough.  Those who commit it can receive 20 years in federal prison and the death penalty if their victim dies.  You see we have laws in this nation that aren’t subject to alteration by morons writing secret memos.

Some interesting tidbits from the US Criminal Code 18 USC Chapter 113C:

Sec. 2340A. Torture

-STATUTE-

(a) Offense. – Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to    any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

(b) Jurisdiction. – There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if -

        (1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or

        (2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.

(c) Conspiracy. – A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.

A faction within the Central Intelligence Agency has convinced Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal that torture is actually a good thing, whether it is a blatant felony crime and international war crime in violation of the Geneva Conventions and Convention Against Torture, or not.  These dutiful filmmakers have splattered it up on the screen, and the bedazzled critics salivate over the idea that torture (by glorious Americans) leads to results, despite centuries of evidence to the contrary.  And despite the facts of the bin Laden case, as disclosed by a Senate investigation.

Senators Feinstein and Levin debunk the central lie of Zero Dark Thirty, that the CIA allegedly tortured the information about bin Laden’s courier out of detainees:

“Feinstein and Levin wrote that the CIA didn’t first learn about the courier who led the U.S. to bin Laden’s hideout from detainees who were ‘subjected to coercive techniques.’ The techniques didn’t help identify the courier by name or the location of bin Laden’s compound, the senators said.

Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program,’ wrote Feinstein and Levin in the statement.”

I’m still waiting for one of these pro-torture people to actually read the 8th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

No conventions required, this nation’s founding document outlawed the kidnapping of victims to “black sites” to be tortured.  This barbarism is obviously cruel AND unusual.  It is unconstitutional and has always been, since day one.

FBI Agents recommended that CIA interrogators be arrested.  However, the protection of these individuals by higher-ups in the Bush regime, making their torture atrocities unaccountable, has now won the day.  This grey area status quo, where felony crimes are simply not prosecuted, persists under Obama.  It will likely remain a most shameful, despicable, unlawful state of the nation until someone finally ARRESTS THE TORTURERS.

One such individual possibly destined for a torture trial under the US Code sec. 2340A is the star character of Zero Dark Thirty, named as “Maya,” but in real life apparently a CIA analyst by the name of Alfreda Frances Bikowsky.  While Kathryn Bigelow champions a “strong woman” character, as if strength in ordering kidnapping, torture and murder is something positive, this real life person has a rap sheet, which invites some scrutiny.

Some readers will have put the pieces together by now and heard about Bikowsky’s flight over to a “black site” in Poland to witness the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.  This was detailed in Jane Mayer’s investigation, The Dark Side.  Similarly, Bikowsky was responsible and at the heart of a “rendition” fiasco, where a German tourist named Khaled El-Masri was kidnapped, sodomized, beaten and confined to inhuman conditions for 5 months in another “black site” in Afghanistan.  When Ms. Bikowsky was informed by the German government that Mr. Masri was a legitimate tourist and that his passport was just fine and in order, she refused to allow his release.  She fought to keep an innocent man in a torture cell until other CIA personnel made an issue of it and brought it up to the CIA Director’s office.

That Mr. Obama takes a person like this and promotes her to the top of the chain is shocking on its face.  Bikowsky is reportedly now the head of the “Global Jihad Unit” within the CIA.  Barack Obama has indicated his explicit protection of torturer criminals by refusing to prosecute known felonies, and instead promotes the perpetrators to positions of even greater authority and power.  Is this a Fourth Reich?

Much of the progressive sphere is livid at Bigelow’s Osama bin Laden murder thriller, with its obvious jingoistic propaganda core.  The film expectedly ignores who this bin Laden person was and what he did, and whether he actually had any connection to the 9/11 attacks, which never actually appeared on his FBI Most Wanted page.  Isn’t anyone concerned about that?

Some doubt that bin Laden was even there that night, due to the extreme clampdown on evidence.  As in there is none proving Osama bin Laden was even alive at the time of the raid.  With no photographic evidence or forensic identification of the body, who knows?  Certainly not the public, who must take the government’s proclamations on faith.  A public reliant on the good faith of secretive, supreme, armed, dangerous and unaccountable rulers can’t seriously qualify as informed citizens of a democracy.

I’ve asked some far deeper questions about this bin Laden affair than the nuts and bolts of how bullets left chambers to enter his body.  The bin Laden network was used by America and its proxies, its puppet regimes in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, for many years.  Since Osama is said to have been living in Pakistan for nearly a decade, just half a mile from the Pakistani military academy in Abbotabad, we must explore the possibility that Pakistani intelligence wanted him there.  Knew he was there.  Protected him.  Worked with him.

Well, that’s odd seeing how United States taxpayers sent over at least $20.7 Billion since the 9/11 attacks, a substantial portion going directly to Pakistan’s military and intelligence arms (ISI).  Are we allowed to even ask obvious, glaring, questions like:  What is wrong with this picture?

CBS News and Dan Rather reported that Osama bin Laden was being treated at the Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10th of 2001.  Are we to assume that the Central Intelligence Agency missed that report?

Are we to assume that the CIA/ISI cozy relationship dating back to the war on the Soviet Union in the 1980s somehow disappeared one day?  The largest CIA operation in its history, funneling arms, terrorists – excuse me, “freedom fighters” – and planeloads of money to the Afghan Mujahadeen, served to expand the Pakistani intelligence arm ISI to gargantuan proportions, such that it controls the nation of Pakistan.  This CIA/Pakistan relationship suddenly had no meaning after 9/11/01?

The US “war on terrorism” would be far more credible if the US didn’t partner with terrorists every chance it had.  From Cubans in the 1960s, to Contras in the 1980s as well as the Mujahadeen Jihadis, to present-day relationships with MEK on the Iranian border, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, whom the US/NATO just installed in power there, to the Free Syrian Army which is terrorizing and rampaging that nation daily and engaging in ethnic cleansing and mass murder, the US foreign policy record is one of supporting terrorist networks.  It plays dirty, ugly games “in the shadows” and most of the world outside its borders knows this full well.

That’s a story worth telling.  Not this self-serving CIA jingoistic propaganda about the white man’s burden to torture all comers for the alleged good of the world.  What would Osama bin Laden have revealed at a trial?  What relationships and contacts would have come to light?  Who protected him all those years?  We will never know, but can dance around like chimpanzees that he was murdered in cold blood, and his secrets neatly wrapped up and disposed of.

Torture is a felony.  It also produces bogus information.  Sometimes that’s the intent.  Oftentimes that’s the intent.  When people say what you tell them to say, it’s quite useful.  Saddam Hussein ordered the 9/11 attacks, don’t you know?

The practice of torture also implicates the torturers in crimes, creating a conspiracy of silence – yes real conspiracy, conspiracy fact, not “theory.” Check the statute.  The conspiracy reaches all the way to the top, and today that means right to the desk of one Barack Hussein Obama.  By protecting torturers, Obama becomes part of the conspiracy to torture.  That is how the law works – for the little people anyway.  A two-tiered system of laws is what this exposes, one law for the political masters, and one law for everyone else.  That is conspiracy.  It violates theConstitution’s Eighth Amendment, as well as the Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions and the US Code section 2340A above.

It’s long past time to restore the rule of law in this country, and to impeach those who commit ongoing crimes, including cover-up, hiding crimes from the congress, and conspiracy to torture prisoners of war.  A lot of honorable individuals in the FBI, the military and even inside the CIA itself have protested this criminal activity in the strongest possible terms.  Not everyone is on board this highway to hell, this descent to medieval barbarism championed by some criminal elements who should be prosecuted a.s.a.p.

I’m not a religious person, but I am a member of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (nrcat.org).  They organize lobbying campaigns to remind the people in charge that we are watching.  It’s easy to join.  It’s harder to get through the thick skulls of the pro-torture faction in this country, the propagandists and apologists who intend to deceive and degrade us all.  I am sickened by this torture fad that civilized people must stand up and reject vociferously.

Reject along with it the Hollywood propaganda that promotes it, including Zero Dark Thirty, and Fox’s 24.  Torture is presented by Hollywood as a good thing nine times out of ten, and producers and screenwriters are morally and ethically responsible for these heinous lies that they tell their viewers.  Hold them accountable too.  Call out their sadism and criminality.

Arrest all torturers, lest we become a nation of depraved psychopaths.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

-Edmund Burke

Joe Giambrone is a filmmaker and author of Hell of a Deal: A Supernatural Satire. He edits The Political Film Blog, which welcomes submissions. polfilmblog at gmail.