Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
ANATOMY OF TORTURE — Historian Christopher Dietrich on the 100-year-long history of American torture; Jeffrey St. Clair on the implications of giving impunity to the CIA’s torturers; Chris Floyd on how the US has exported torture to its client states around the world. David Macaray on the Paradoxes of Police Unions; Louis Proyect on Slave Rebellions in the Open Seas; Paul Krassner on the Perils of Political Cartooning; Martha Rosenberg on the dangers of Livestock Shot-up with Antibiotics; and Lee Ballinger on Elvis, Race and the Poor South. Plus: Mike Whitney on Greece and the Eurozone and JoAnn Wypijewski on Media Lies that Killed.
Archives by Tag 'torture'
The CIA Came at Night
JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
They came for Jabour at night. He was ordered by the men to turn around and face the wall, while his hands were cuffed and his legs shackled. A blindfold was fastened to his head. He was led from his cell in an Islamabad jail to a waiting van. Jabour was then drive...
Panama Nails a CIA Torture Capo
STEVE HENDRICKS
You gotta love our erstwhile banana republics. While Uncle Sam has been busy the last dozen years trampling on the rights of everyone—and we now know, thanks to that paragon Edward Snowden, that everyone means everyone—and while nearly all the governments in th...
The Government is Us?
KEVIN CARSON
In a speech last month about proposed gun control legislation, President Obama decried opponents’ attempts to encourage “suspicion about government.” “The government’s us,” he responded. “These officials are elected by you. They are constrained as I am const...
The State of Torture in America
SHELDON RICHMAN
“A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that ‘it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture’ and that the nation’s high...
The Non-Closure of Guantánamo
BINOY KAMPMARK
Guantánamo’s resplendent carceral facilities remain a classic example of double realities, the co-existence of totemic impulses and the reflex of taboo.  On the one hand, it has become an institutional reminder of the extensive, vague and indefinite “war” on terro...
Doctors Who Torture
Dr. CESAR CHELALA
Buenos Aires Last July at the Libertad (Freedom) prison in Uruguay was unusual. Miguel Angel Estrella, an Argentine pianist (and now Argentina’s Ambassador to UNESCO), was giving a concert in the same prison where he had been imprisoned and tortur...
The US / Russia Torture War
CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI
“The pot calls the kettle black.” –Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha The magic number is 18.  That is the number each country has selected to express its disapproval of the actions of the other.   Vladim...
Guantánamo’s Lingering Stain
CÉSAR CHELALA
“We must be clear about this: the United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold,” declared recently Friday Navi Pillay, the U.N. Commissioner for Human Rights. She said that i...
Guantánamo and the APA
TRUDY BOND, ROY EIDELSON AND STEPHEN SOLDZ
After more than a decade of detention at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, dozens of “war on terror” prisoners – the vast majority of them long recognized as innocent of any terrorist involvement – have taken to starving themselves to death. Their desperate ...
The Mass Psychology of Torture
WILLIAM MANSON
Torture has its gradations: from the most extreme forms (such as waterboarding) to the most subtle expressions (such as passive-aggressive obstructionism in relationships). In its most heinous forms, torture consists of confining a helpless victim, who is subjected...
Neuroscience, Special Forces and Yale
ROY EIDELSON
Last month, a proposal to establish a U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Center for Excellence in Operational Neuroscience at Yale University died a not-so-quiet death. The broad goal of “operational neuroscience” is to use research on the human brain and...
How Colin Powell Showed That Torture Works
SAM HUSSEINI
Ten years ago, Colin Powell made the case for invading Iraq before the United Nations Security Council. Many aspects of his case were clearly dubious ...
Richard Cohen, Conflicted About Torture
STEVE BREYMAN
It’s 2013 and Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen is still conflicted about torture. Why? The proximate cause is that he went to the movies, and saw “Zero Dark Thirty,” which impressed upon some viewers the efficacy of torture in unearthing the whereabout...
Michael Moore, Inc.
MARK EPSTEIN
I thought Michael Moore was supposed to be a director…    I thought he was supposed to have made some documentaries… I guess Michael Moore, having become “Inc.”, now has other priorities, such as propagandizing for those institutions that have “honored...
Michael Moore’s Repellent Defense of “Zero Dark Thirty”
DAVE CLENNON
Wow! Michael Moore sure can make up a lot of dialogue for scenes he thinks happened off screen, in “Zero Dark Thirty.” He freely invents quotes for President Obama, writing words no one else has ever quoted Obama as saying. ...
Trickle-Down Sadism
LINH DINH
Tales of madness are subjective. I mean, what is insanity exactly? If all of your ghastly indiscretions, mental and actual, were strung together, they could wrap this earth many times over, ditto mine, so all of us can easily be deemed deranged, including you, solemn past...
The Movie “Zero Dark Thirty” Wishes It Was But Isn’t
PETER LEE
As the moving finger of chaos hovered over Mali and Algeria last week, I took another look at Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers. I am somewhat puzzled that this movie is not at the heart of the Zero Dark Thirty debate. B...
Why I Won’t be Voting for ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ in Any Category
DAVE CLENNON
I’m a member of Hollywood’s Motion Picture Academy.  At the risk of being expelled, for disclosing my intentions, I will not be voting for Zero Dark Thirty—in any Academy Awards category. Everyone who contributes skill and energy to a motion p...
The Great White Camel
RANDY SHIELDS
Probably many people have read the informed and thoughtful commentary on the movie “Zero Dark Thirty” by ...
Tortured at the Movies
MICHAEL BRENNER
Zero Dark Thirty is writing our collective history for us – engraving it on the American psyche. The graphic images of who we are and the deeds we have done are intended to inspire confidence and to soothe qualms – now and in the future. We are a Resourceful pe...
Torture: A Practice Which Is Always Wrong
RON JACOBS
In 1960, when I was a first grader at a Catholic school near Washington DC, my teacher regaled us with horror stories about torture administered to Christians by the Maoist government in China.  Reading from a conservative Catholic newspaper, she told my classmates and m...
Torture is Trivial
ROBERT JENSEN
The great American torture debate has been rekindled by the nationwide release of “Zero Dark Thirty,” the hot new movie about the CIA’s hunt for Osama bin Laden. But all the fussing over whether or not the movie condones, glorifies, and/or m...
Zero Dark Thirty: Torture, Take Two
PETER LEE
I saw Zero Dark Thirty last night. Most of it, anyway.  In a bizarre incident, the theater fire alarm went off just as the Seal Team Six helicopter was about to touch down in Abbottabad.  The Arclight made the interesting decision to keep the movie running (or ...
Arrest All Torturers
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 ...
How Torture Works
PETER LEE
Everybody breaks under torture. From Winston Smith to Jason Bourne. Torture would work on me, for example. If somebody starts crushing my fingertips with a pair of pliers, I’m going to tell them my ATM PIN, Batman’s secret identity, whatever. But ...
An Interview With Noam Chomsky on Obama’s Human Rights Record
ERIC BAILEY
Professor Noam Chomsky is an Institute Professor and Professor (Emeritus) in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and at Harvard University as a Harvard Junior ...
Breaking Private Manning
MICHAEL RATNER
By the time the 23-year-old soldier’s court martial starts on February 4, 2013, Bradley Manning will have spent 983 days in prison, including nine months in solitary confinement, without having been convicted of a single crime. This week, in pre-trail hearings, a milita...
Petraeus Fell for the Wrong Reason
SHELDON RICHMAN
David Petraeus has fallen — but not as he should have. Before being disgraced by an extramarital affair, the retired four-star general and ex-CIA director should have been shamed out of public life for his horrendous military record in Iraq and Afghanistan. Are w...
What’s the Point of Having Laws Against Torture if They Don’t Apply to the Powerful?
KATHERINE GALLAGHER
One thing brings these four men together. Hassan bin Attash, Sami el-Hajj, Muhammed Khan Tumani and Murat Kurnaz—they are all survivors of the systematic torture program the Bush administration authorized and carried out in locations including Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantá...
The Joke of Democratic Accountability
KEVIN CARSON
Back in 2008, now-president Barack Obama ran against the Bush administration’s runaway national security state, created partly via legislation like USA PATRIOT and partly via executive practices like warrantless wiretapping, waterboarding and the like. One of Obama&...
Neither Candidate
BILL QUIGLEY
Neither candidate is interested in stopping the use of the death penalty for federal or state crimes. Neither candidate is interested in eliminating or reducing the 5,113 US nuclear warheads. Neither candidate is campaigning to close Guantanamo prison. ...
Medical Professionals Who Torture
STEVE REISNER and KATHY ROBERTS
In the history of state-sponsored torture, a rarely acknowledged truth is that accountability only takes place in countries where the torturing government has fallen from power.  Victors tend neither to acknowledge nor to hold themselves accountable for torture. ...
An Interview With Paul Craig Roberts on Torture
NILANTHA ILANGAMUWA
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was educated at Georgia Tech, the University of Virginia, the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College. He has been the Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan administration, a...
The Man Who Was Chemically Tortured
BINOY KAMPMARK
One sensed they were out to get him from the start.  David Hicks, a misguided, foolish man, who found himself at a paramilitary camp in Afghanistan, had to be punished.  Since the Australian authorities struggled to find a basis to get the former Guantánamo inmate for ...
Humiliation and Rage in Libya
VIJAY PRASHAD
Al-Nass (The People), and other television channels of “Satellite Salafism,” broadcast news of a year old mediocre film trailer about the life of the Prophet Mohammad, made by an Israeli-Californian and championed by a Florida-based Christian pastor. Across t...
Disposable America
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
If political conventions are ranked on a one to ten scale for intelligence, I give the Republican Convention zero and the Democrats one. How can the United States be a superpower when both political parties are unaware of everything that is happening at home and ab...
Incarcerated Inside Israel
GRAHAM PEEBLES
Detention without trial, the presumption of guilt, denial of family visits, solitary confinement, torture, violent interrogation, and denial of access to appropriate health care, such is the Israeli judicial system and prison confinement experienced by Palestinian men, wo...
Inside the CIA Dossier on Iraq
VIJAY PRASHAD
Last week, Bishop Desmond Tutu was to sit beside former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at the cringingly named Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. Tutu, one of the main moral voices in the anti-Apartheid struggle, decided to withdraw. He could ...
No Accountability for Torturers
MARJORIE COHN
The Obama administration has closed the books on prosecutions of those who violated our laws by authorizing and conducting the torture and abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. Last year, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that his office would investigate only two inci...
The Soul Suckers of Endless Compromise
TOM WRIGHT
Every four years this happens to me again.  My phone stops ringing, my emails aren’t returned, my liberal friends avert their gaze if we chance upon the same aisle at Safeway. Was it something I said?  Did I hog the mushroom dip and the Cote du Rhone at their l...
When Obama Whitewashed Rape
RILEY WAGGAMAN
Hello friends! Have you heard the terrific news? President Obama stands up for women, and speaks out against rape! “Rape is rape!” Except when the U.S. Military is doing the raping, of course, in which case political expediency requires Barack Obama to whitewash and c...
Dr. Frankenstein and the APA’s Decade of Monstrosities
ROY EIDELSON
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written nearl...
The NYT and the School of Assassins
JOAN ROELOFS
Saturday, August 11, The New York Times printed a front page article about the nun, Sister Megan Rice, age 82, who committed civil disobedience at the Oak Ridge Tennessee nuclear reservation in a protest against nuclear weapons.  The article also informs us that...
Normalizing Torture
ALFRED W. McCOY
After a decade of fiery public debate and bare-knuckle partisan brawling, the United States has stumbled toward an ad hoc bipartisan compromise over the issue of torture that rests on two unsustainable policies: impunity at home and rendition abroad. Pre...
Gore Vidal and the Upside of American Military Prisons
CHIP GIBBONS
So, here we are bringing democracy to the poor Afghans, but only the real democracy, of course, in the prisons, which we specialize in everywhere and which—one interesting thing that came out of all that mess was now the world knows how we treat Americans in...
Lost Liberty in the Age of CounterTerrorism
JOANNE MARINER
The counterterrorism measures that have been adopted in the decade since the September 11 terrorist attacks are supposed to keep us safe. To protect the public from violent extremists who are willing to commit grievous harm in order to promote their political or religious...
Truth in Vietnam, Torture in Brazil
MICHAEL UHL
The message of John Grant’s article, “The Vietnam War and the Struggle for Truth”, should be heard as an alarm bell by all who were blind-sided and unsettled upon learn...
The Torture Hypocrites
ED MOLONEY
March 2011 was a busy month at the Department of Justice’s International Affairs Office (IAO) in Washington D.C. The British Home Office had just started the process of serving subpoenas on Boston College’s Belfast Project archive and its officials had begun liaising ...
Victims’ Rights and 9/11 State Violence
KATHRYN FENSTER
A baseball-esk ID card, one man and an army of drones now determine the fate of a 17 year old girl in Yemen.  As the moral scale on determinations to label terrorists and to legitimate counter-terrorism tilts away from the Allegiance’s pledge to “liberty and justice ...
Those CIA Prisons
KENNETH V. SMITH
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. Intelligence agencies throughout the world could save a lot of money by simply interviewing taxi drivers. They know the secrets of their cities and countries. Somehow, they know the truth whether or not it has been officially deni...