Police state : M Whitney : “The United States of Torture”


Richard Moore

We now have a government of men, not laws.



The United States of Torture 

Mike Whitney 

November 4, 2005 

How did we stoop so low? 

As if Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo were not horrifying
enough, the Washington Post has unmasked an even greater
scandal that will heap disgrace on the nation.

Dana Priest's article "The CIA Holds Terror Suspects in
Secret Prisons" paints a sobering picture of an
administration that has completely derailed and abandoned
any shred of moral authority. The United States has become
the number 1 exporter of torture in the world today and
George Bush has become the uncontested sovereign of
savagery; quite a distinction.

The article provides a window into the constellation of
CIA concentration camps that dot the globe like the myriad
stars in the Milky Way.  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 prison 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

The result of Bush's action was the development of "black
sites" where the "disappeared" victims of American foreign
policy could be taken and treated with impunity. These
prisoners have been abducted from sovereign nations, in
clear violation of international law, tortured and,
perhaps, killed, without any type 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

Again, the pattern is all too familiar with 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.

Have we really come full-circle?

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 involvement in creating the
policy. There's little doubt now of his culpability.

The political and moral fallout from the abuse-scandal
will linger for decades to come, savaging the image of the
United States as 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 6
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 transformed into a war OF
terror and the Bush regime has become the greatest threat
to human rights in the world today.

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

The long catalogue of abominations and abuses begins and
ends with George W. Bush. He is personally responsible and
will have to be held accountable.

Courtesy and Copyright  Mike Whitney

:: Article nr. 17463 sent on 05-nov-2005 01:04 ECT

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