21 November 2005

Torture roundup

I hate being a broken record on this, but news and commentary keep on coming. I hate saying periodically that there's new developments in the story of the United States torturing people.

Let's start with yet another damning article about the US sponsoring torture from Talking Points Memo. In it, I find this from the Report of the United States to the UN Committee against Torture on 15 October 1999. (UN Doc. CAT/C/28/Add.5, February 9, 2000, para. 6.)

Torture is prohibited by law throughout the United States. It is categorically denounced as a matter of policy and as a tool of state authority. Every act constituting torture under the Convention constitutes a criminal offense under the law of the United States. No official of the government, federal, state or local, civilian or military, is authorized to commit or to instruct anyone else to commit torture. Nor may any official condone or tolerate torture in any form. No exceptional circumstances may be invoked as a justification of torture. US law contains no provision permitting otherwise prohibited acts of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to be employed on grounds of exigent circumstances (for example, during a "state of public emergency") or on orders from a superior officer or public authority, and the protective mechanisms of an independent judiciary are not subject to suspension.
Not much wiggle room there. Now hold that thought, and consider this an article from the Washington Post. There's a lot to it, but let me focus on this little piece.
Two Iraqi men who were arrested in Iraq in 2003 but never charged with crimes say that U.S. troops put them in a cage with lions

Now the language in the Post article is very cautious; they evidently see the story as solid enough to run, but not confirmed. To my mind the real story is that this is even a plausible accusation of the United States of America. In our current situation, having sponsored our Freedom Archipelago, there will be bogus stories that surface, and it will be very hard to tell fact from fiction. And you can be sure at this point that there will be plenty of people in the Arab and Muslim world who will believe every story they hear now. If you doubt that they have good reason to, then you need to take another look at the pictures from Abu Ghraib.

Jeanne at Body and Soul reports that CNN has a skeptical piece on the lion story. I can't get the video to play, so I'll have to take Jeanne's summary of their reading of the story:

If a man was sodomized and refuses to talk about it on camera, in front of millions of people, he must be lying.
Yeah. That liberal media.

Meanwhile, the London Times reports that there is a secret prison right in Baghdad. And yes, there are allegations of torture and abuse. It's another cavalcade of bad news.

some had their skin peeled off various parts of their body
What the hell is wrong with us?

Digby has a terrific post about where this comes from that chills the blood.

the DOD had decided to use the SERE techniques to "interrogate" prisoners. This NY Times article reveals something about this I didn't know before --- the SERE techniques were developed for special forces to learn to resist the harsh torture techniques of the totalitarian communist regimes
The most amazingly thing about this (Commie) torture regime is that it's specifically designed to extract false confessions for propaganda purposes. Dear gawd, can they really be so incompetent that they didn't understand the difference between creating propaganda and gaining intelligence?
I truly fear that the answer to this question is no. Atrios notes that for an administration busily cooking the books on intelligence to justify the war, this is not a bug, it's a feature.
Bush administration needs evidence to support their war. They use torture techniqes designed to extract false confessions to obtain that "evidence," which they then use to sell the war despite knowing full well of the lack of reliability of the information.
(If you go check out what Digby has to say --- and you should, he covers a lot of ground --- then you may also want to check out my observations about how the argument that "if we leave Iraq, then the terrorists win" which he criticizes is a pernicious misreading of the lessons of the Vietnam War.)

And if you follow none of my other links, go check out Larry Beinhart's gendankenexperiment. He starts here.

Imagine if it had been a naked marine on a leash held by an Iraqi woman.
Then he walks up the chain of accountability ... even further than you would guess.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my adopted "red state" of Virginia I have found some blue tinges -- a Democrat was elected governor, albeit a conservative democrat (it's a start). And...on the way home this afternoon I saw a bumper sticker that resonated with me. "Join the MOB -- Mothers Opposed to Bush" -- am not a bumper sticker maven but sure like that one.