FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The United States of Torture

 

How did we stoop so low?

As if Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo weren’t bad enough, the Bush administration has added another layer of shame to our national disgrace.

Dana Priest’s article “The CIA Holds Terror Suspects in Secret Prisons” paints a sobering picture of an administration that has abandoned any trace of integrity and completely run amok. The United States has become the number 1 exporter of torture in the world today with Bush serving as its foremost champion.

The article provides a window into the constellation of CIA prison camps that dot the globe like the myriad islands in the Pacific. Thousands of Muslim’s have been swept up in a global dragnet and dumped in secret gulags where they are subjected to the grueling regimen of beatings and torture. The camps were authorized by President Bush in an executive “finding” 6 days after Sept 11, that’s when, as one high-ranking official said, “The gloves came off”. It “gave the CIA broad authorization to disrupt terrorist activity, including permission to kill, capture and detain members of al Qaeda anywhere in the world.”

The result of Bush’s action was the development of “black sites” where the “disappeared” victims of American foreign policy could be held and treated with impunity. These prisoners have been abducted from sovereign nations, in clear violation of international law, tortured and, perhaps, killed, without any legal process in place to shield them from the arbitrary authority of US agents. How can any US citizen or American ally defend this capricious and lethal conduct?

“The top 30 al Qaeda prisoners exist in complete isolation from the outside world. Kept in dark, sometimes underground cells, they have no recognized legal rights, and no one outside the CIA is allowed to talk with or even see them, or to otherwise verify their well-being, said current and former and U.S. and foreign government and intelligence officials,” Priest states.

“Complete isolation”? “No legal rights”? “Underground cells”?

Again, we see the familiar pattern of an administration which refuses to be bound by either international law or common decency.

Ironically, Bush and co. have resurrected a number of the Soviet-era prisons in the Eastern block for their vile activities. How strange that the spawn of Ronald Reagan, arch-rival of the “evil empire”, would breathe new life into these relics of communist rule; throwing open the iron gates and putting them back to work.

“Welcome to Riga Gulag: Under New Management.”

Certainly, Dick Cheney would match up quite nicely with his antecedent, Joe Stalin. Cheney has become the administration’s foremost “advocate of torture” (Washington Post). He has made a straightforward appeal to members of Congress to continue to allow the “cruel, degrading and inhuman” treatment of prisoners even though it is in clear violation of US treaties banning torture and the Geneva Conventions. Many people now believe that Cheney’s impassioned plea to Congress has less to do with his heartfelt convictions and more to do with the fact that the bloody footprints for the abusive behavior leads straight to the VP’s front door. As Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, stated on NPR, “The Secretary of Defense, under cover of the Vice President’s office, began to authorize procedures within the armed forces that led to what we’ve seen. There was a visible audit trail from the Vice President’s office through the Secretary of Defense, down to commanders in the field.”

Clearly, Cheney’s present machinations in the Senate are just a way of concealing his role in creating the policy. There’s little doubt now of his culpability.

The political fallout from the abuse-scandal will linger for decades to come, tarnishing the image of the United States and undermining its claim of being a staunch defender of human rights. What began in metal containers in Afghanistan where Taliban suspects were asphyxiated in the broiling summer sun, led to the open-air cages in Guantanamo Bay where prisoners were callously exposed to the elements for nearly 4 months. The devolution of policy has produced a daisy-chain of rat-infested dungeons manned by CIA goons and bearing the imprimatur of the President of the United States. The war on terror has metastasized into a war OF terror producing its own toxic ethos that has infected every area of the body politic.

The Red Cross, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International have all provided documented evidence that the Bush administration is engaged in widespread prisoner abuse. The allegations are further corroborated by the eyewitness accounts of military personnel, former inmates, and even Abu Ghraib’s former-Commanding Officer, Gen. Janice Karpinski. There’s no doubt that cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners is administration policy or that the chain of command follows a straight path to the Oval Office.

The long catalogue of abominations and abuses begins and ends with George W. Bush. He’s the man in charge and that’s where the buck stops.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: fergiewhitney@msn.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
September 13, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
The Age of Constitutional Coups
Rob Urie
Bernie Sanders and the Realignment of the American Left
Anthony DiMaggio
Teaching the “War on Terror”: Lessons for Contemporary Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: They Are the Walrus
T.J. Coles
Jeremy Corbyn: Electoral “Chicken” or Political Mastermind?
Joseph Natoli
The Vox Populi
Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Pirates of Gibraltar
John Feffer
Hong Kong and the Future of China
David Rosen
The Likely End to Roe v. Wade?
Ishmael Reed
When You Mess With Creation Myths, the Knives Come Out
Michael Hudson
Break Up the Democratic Party?
Paul Tritschler
What If This is as Good as It Gets?
Jonah Raskin
Uncensored Tony Serra: Consummate Criminal Defense Lawyer
Ryan Gunderson
Here’s to the Last Philosophes, the Frankfurt School
Michael T. Klare
The Pompeo Doctrine: How to Seize the Arctic’s Resources, Now Accessible Due to Climate Change (Just Don’t Mention Those Words!)
Luke O'Neil
I Would Want To Drink Their Blood: God Will Punish Them
Louis Proyect
The Intellectual Development of Karl Marx
Tom Clifford
How China Sees the World
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson – Negin Owliaei
Who’s Burning the Amazon?
Yasin Khan
Rideshare Drivers are Employees, Not Contractors
Ralph Nader
Big Business Lies Taught a Watchful Donald Trump
Binoy Kampmark
The Sacking of John Bolton
Andrea Maki
Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward
Jeremy Kuzmarov
The War in Eastern Ukraine May be Coming to an End But Do Any Americans Care?
Tim Davis – Stan Grier
Protect the Sacred Grizzly Bear, Follow Those Who Know Grandmother Earth
Clark T. Scott
Super-Delegated and Relegated
Jim Britell
Lessons From America’s Greatest Grassroots Campaigns 
Howie Hawkins
Workers Need More Rights and Economic Democracy
Ramzy Baroud
‘Justice is Indivisible’: Screams of Israa Ghrayeb Should Be Our Wake-up Call
Jill Richardson
It’s Not About Your Straws and Your Light Bulbs
George Wuerthner
Montana’s Wilderness Deficit
Colin Todhunter
Officials Ignore Pesticides and Blame Alcohol and Biscuits for Rising Rates of Disease
Volker Franke
Me First and the Loss of Compassion
Adolf Alzuphar
Why is the Left Without a Single Elected Official in LA?
Kim C. Domenico
All We Are Saying, Is Give Peace A Chance (Bring It Home!)
Jennifer Matsui
The End of Aquarius and The Dawn of a Death Star: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Missy Comley Beattie
Never Forget
James Haught
Prodding ‘Nones’ to Vote
David Swanson
For the First Time in My Life I’m Against Impeaching the President
Nicky Reid
Yemen as Arabian Vietnam
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Bearing Witness at Aeon’s End: the Wound Becomes the Womb
Fred Gardner
Homage to the Tabloids
Yves Engler
RCMP Attempt to Silence Critics of Trudeau Foreign Policy
Stephen Cooper
Hempress Sativa: “Rastafari Should be Protected”
David Yearsley
Joie-de-Job: Staying High, at Work
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail