America’s Shame

JBeee
#1

by Eric Margolis
by Eric Margolis




Nations that use torture disgrace themselves. Armed forces and police that torture inevitably become brutalized and corrupted. "Limited" use of torture quickly becomes generalized. "Information" obtained by torture is mostly unreliable.

I learned these truths over fifty years covering dirty "pacification" wars, from Algeria to Indochina, Central and South America, southern Africa, the Mideast, Afghanistan, and Kashmir in which torture was commonly used.

In spite of all the historical evidence that torture is counterproductive, the Bush administration encouraged torture of anti-American militants (aka "terrorists") after the 9/11 attacks. The full story has not yet been revealed, but what we know so far is revolting and shameful. Britain and Canada were also complicit as they used information derived from torture and handed suspects over to be tortured.

Many Americans and human rights groups are now demanding that the Bush administration officials who employed and sanctioned torture face justice. President Barack Obama hinted his new attorney general, Eric Holder, might investigate this whole ugly business. But the Obama White House clearly wants to dodge this issue.

Republicans, who have become America’s champion of war and torture, are fiercely resisting any investigation, and lauding torture’s benefits. Just when it seemed impossible for the dumbed-down Republican redneck party to sink any lower, it has by endorsing torture as the American way.

So, too, some senior intelligence and Pentagon officials including, dismayingly, Obama’s new CIA chief, Leon Panetta. He should know better. Many senior Congressional Democrats who sanctioned torture, or did nothing to stop it, are equally reluctant that the torture scandal be further investigated.

Torture is a crime under US law. It is a crime under the Third Geneva Convention, and the UN’s Anti-Torture Convention, both of which the US signed. Kidnapping and moving suspects to be tortured in third countries is a crime. Torture violates core American values.

In 1945, the US hanged Japanese officers for inflicting "water-boarding" (near-drowning) on US prisoners, which were deemed war crimes. Yet this is exactly what the CIA inflicted on its Muslim captives. FBI agents rightly refused to participate in the torture of al-Qaeda suspects, warning that it violated US law and could make them subject to future prosecution.

Republicans and even Obama’s intelligence chief, Adm. Dennis Blair, claim some useful information was obtained by torture. That depends on what you call useful. Al-Qaeda is still in business. Osama bin Laden remains at large. Iraq and Afghanistan became monstrous fiascoes costing $1 trillion. US military and intelligence personnel who fall into hostile hands may now face similar tortures.

In 2004, CIA’s inspector general reported there was no proof that use of torture had thwarted "specific imminent attacks." This comes from a recently declassified Justice Department memo.

The director of the FBI, Robert Muller, one of Washington’s most upright, respected officials, also declared that torture had not prevented any attacks against the United States. Both findings directly contradict claims by America’s own Torquemada, Dick Cheney, that torture prevented major attacks.

Torture did not protect America from a second major attack, as Republicans claim. In fact, it appears 9/11 was a one-off event, and al-Qaeda numbered only a handful of extremists to begin with, not the worldwide conspiracy claimed by the White House after it was caught sleeping on guard duty. Bush administration claims about imminent threats from dirty bombs and germ weapons such as anthrax were untrue.

CIA "useful" torture information came from two suspects: Khalid Sheik Mohammed was tortured by near drowning 183 times – six times daily for a month; and Abu Zubaydah, 83 times in August, 2003.

Use a power drill (a favorite "investigative" tool of America’s Iraqi Shia allies) on Dick Cheney, and it would take only minutes to get him to admit he’s Osama bin Laden.

A shocking US Senate report just revealed that after the Bush administration could not find the links it claimed existed between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, it tried, in best Soviet style, to torture its captives to admit that such links did, in fact, exist. That, of course, would have been a much better excuse for invading Iraq than the lies about weapons of mass destruction pointed at America.

The Senate also reported CIA and Pentagon torture techniques were adopted from torture methods North Korea used in the 1950’s to compel American prisoners to confess to lies about germ warfare.

In fact, North Korea learned its torture techniques from Soviet KGB instructors. KGB’s favorite tortures in the 1930’s and 40’s were merciless beatings, confinement in refrigerated cells, week-long sleep deprivation, and endless interrogations. I have seen the torture cells at KGB’s Lubiyanka HQ in Moscow.

The CIA and US military copied these North Korean/Soviet torture methods, but also added contorted positions, and nakedness and humiliation, techniques learned from Israeli interrogators who used them to blackmail Palestinian prisoners into becoming informers. Hence all the naked photos from Abu Ghraib prison.

American doctors and medical personnel supervised torture and devised and supervised techniques to mentally incapacitate prisoners through isolation, terrifying sensory deprivation, and injections of potent psychotropic drugs.

Torture was authorized by President George W. Bush, VP Dick Cheney, Secretaries Don Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice, and carried out by CIA chief George Tenet and the Pentagon’s secretive Special Operations Command.

Four lickspittle lawyers and two bootlicking attorney generals provided sophistic legal briefs sanctioning torture. All should be disbarred and face an independent judicial commission. Not a whitewash, like the 9/11 Commission, but a real, independent legal body. Better, send the case to the UN International Court in The Hague.

President Obama actually told CIA personnel that he does not want to prosecute the torturers because they were only following proper legal advice and orders. So did Nazi officials who killed millions.

Nazi lawyers legally dismembered Germany’s Weimar democracy and imposed Nazi dictatorship in only two months after the "terrorist attack" on the Reichstag in Feb. 1933. Imposition of Hitler’s dictatorship followed proper legal channels.

When I served in the US Army, I was taught that any illegal order, even from the president, must be refused and that mistreating prisoners was a crime.

President Obama must show the world that America upholds the law, rejects torture of all kinds, and that no officials are above the law. Otherwise, there is no other way to prevent the recurrence of torture in the future.


April 28, 2009
 
YukonJack
Conservative
#2
America's shame:

ERIC MARGOLIS
 
Johnnny
No Party Affiliation
#3
Mabye it would be more humane to saw off there heads with serated blades?
 
YukonJack
Conservative
#4
According to the Geneva Convention all those WEAR A NATION'S UNIFORM, who give their name, rank and serial number are protected.

Those who are not, are not.

If all the prisoners at Gitmo had been shot on sight, it would not have been a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Margolis's article is a violation of human decency.
 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
#5
Jack,

Why am I not surprised that you approve of torture? Human decency! You are a joke.
 
Cannuck
No Party Affiliation
#6
Torture is a natural part of life. I have a wife and three teenage daughters. Amnesty International cares not one iota for me.
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Torture is a natural part of life. I have a wife and three teenage daughters. Amnesty International cares not one iota for me.


Horror of horrors, and it will never end. No one will speak for us.

 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#8
Here is a little bit of forgotten history.
"In January 1991, hostilities erupted between a coalition of nations, including the United States and Iraq over the invasion and occupation of oil-rich Kuwait. In the one-month Gulf War, Iraq took twenty-three American POWs. In captivity, POWs suffered physical abuse that ranged from sexual abuse, electric shocks, and broken bones to routine slaps."
Now that was Iraq regular Army who started doing this to us, terrorist belong to no army, no goverment nothing but their cause, maybe we should just give them a pat on the back and a hotdog (don't tell them it's pork) and send them on their way.
 
Johnnny
No Party Affiliation
#9
Who cares if you feel so threatened by your own government torturing terrorists, then join the army get captured and enjoy your 5 star retreat in some cellar in Khandahar
 
Francis2004
#10
One might just remember that acting like the enemy makes you better then them.
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#11
It's a bit of a conundrum: sometimes it is necessary that in order to deal with an opponent, you must act like them, yet doing so lowers yourself to their level. The solution is not to have opponents..... cream them or get along with them.
 
Francis2004
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by YukonJack View Post

According to the Geneva Convention all those WEAR A NATION'S UNIFORM, who give their name, rank and serial number are protected.

Those who are not, are not.

If all the prisoners at Gitmo had been shot on sight, it would not have been a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Margolis's article is a violation of human decency.


The 1949 Geneva Convention

The changed methods of warfare in World War II, the maltreatment of prisoners of war that constituted an important part of the war crimes indictments, and the retention of a great number of German prisoners of war by the USSR for several years after the war showed that the 1929 Convention required revision on many points. A new convention, reaffirming and supplementing the 1929 Convention, was signed at Geneva in 1949 and subsequently ratified by almost all nations. It broadened the categories of persons entitled to prisoner-of-war status, clearly redefined the conditions of captivity, and reaffirmed the principle of immediate release and repatriation at the end of hostilities.

Although the North Koreans promised to respect the Geneva Convention in the Korean War, they refused to recognize the impartial status of the Red Cross and denied it access to the territory they controlled. The unprecedented refusal of prisoners to be repatriated, moreover, established a new principle of political asylum for prisoners of war. The governments of North and South Vietnam, parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention, were charged with violating it in the Vietnam War—the North by not permitting full reporting, correspondence, and neutral inspection, and the South by allegedly torturing captives and placing them in inhumane prisons. The national anguish over the Vietnam War was extended for decades after the war's end in part because of the lack of resolution over the POW and MIA (missing in action) issue. While the Pentagon's MIA list still contains names of missing servicemen, the last official prisoner of war was declared dead in 1994.

Combatants captured and held by the United States as a result of its operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban government and Al Qaeda forces were not recognized as as prisoners of war by the Bush administration and were termed “unlawful combatants” instead. This decision was criticized by human rights groups as a failure to abide by international law, and drew criticism from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) as well. In June, 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that these prisoners, which the Bush administration had claimed it could hold indefinitely (most them at the Guantánamo, Cuba, naval base), were not beyond the bounds of U.S. federal law and had the right to challenge their detention.

A month before the ruling, U.S. prestige had suffered a significant blow when it was revealed that U.S. forces had abused Iraqi prisoners in 2003–4. Later revelations suggested that the abuse may have been an outgrowth of U.S. prisoner policy in place since the 2001 terror attacks on the United States, and the ICRC expressed concern that the United States might be continuing to hide prisoners from it, as had been attempted in Iraq. The ICRC subsequently privately charged that U.S. treatment of some prisoners at Guantánamo was “tantamount to torture.” Also in 2004 the Bush administration determined that some non-Iraqi prisoners captured in Iraq were not subject to the Geneva Conventions, and that such prisoners could be transferred out of Iraq, as the CIA secretly had done with a small number of prisoners since 2003.

prisoner of war: Definition from Answers.com
 
Said1
Free Thinker
#13
From now until Wednesday, I'm giving out free water boarding, treatments. No rain checks. Sorry.
 
Francis2004
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides View Post

Here is a little bit of forgotten history.
"In January 1991, hostilities erupted between a coalition of nations, including the United States and Iraq over the invasion and occupation of oil-rich Kuwait. In the one-month Gulf War, Iraq took twenty-three American POWs. In captivity, POWs suffered physical abuse that ranged from sexual abuse, electric shocks, and broken bones to routine slaps."
Now that was Iraq regular Army who started doing this to us, terrorist belong to no army, no goverment nothing but their cause, maybe we should just give them a pat on the back and a hotdog (don't tell them it's pork) and send them on their way.

Quite right Ironside.. History however seems to repeat itself from lessons learned sometimes from others..
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Said1 View Post

From now until Wednesday, I'm giving out free water boarding, treatments. No rain checks. Sorry.

I don't believe you. There's a catch somewhere. Nothing is free.
 
Said1
Free Thinker
#16
Of course, there are the usual membership fees, minor detail.
 
L Gilbert
No Party Affiliation
#17
I knew it. How much?
 
YukonJack
Conservative
#18
Cliffy, where and when did I say that I approve of torture?

YOU are a joke.
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by SirFrancis2004 View Post

One might just remember that acting like the enemy makes you better then them.


Sometimes, you just have to do them one better.
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#20
Quote: Originally Posted by SirFrancis2004 View Post

Quite right Ironside.. History however seems to repeat itself from lessons learned sometimes from others..


Unfortunately history has a habit of repeating itself, no matter how noble your original intentions are.

"Combatants captured and held by the United States as a result of its operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban government and Al Qaeda forces were not recognized as prisoners of war by the Bush administration and were termed “unlawful combatants” instead."

I can sort of understand how the Taliban could be considered prisoners of war (they were the Afghan goverment at the time, but we did treat them the same) but the Al Qaeda were and are not part of any goverment, just terrorists. Now how should ordinary mass serial killers be treated?
 
Francis2004
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides View Post

Sometimes, you just have to do them one better.

Then you have become worse then you enemy..
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#22
War does not give one a choice, I'm talking about the individual, not the country.
 
Francis2004
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides View Post

Unfortunately history has a habit of repeating itself, no matter how noble your original intentions are.

"Combatants captured and held by the United States as a result of its operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban government and Al Qaeda forces were not recognized as prisoners of war by the Bush administration and were termed “unlawful combatants” instead."

I can sort of understand how the Taliban could be considered prisoners of war (they were the Afghan goverment at the time, but we did treat them the same) but the Al Qaeda were and are not part of any goverment, just terrorists. Now how should ordinary mass serial killers be treated?


Is it not War on terrorism ? Let me emphasize WAR ?

A human is a human whether he is fighting for one cause or another.. You do not stop hatred by making it worse.. Russia showed it could not be done and the US, via the CIA, trained the Taliban ( Al Qaeda ) on all these great ways they now use against us.. Thanks


Quote:

Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, the most notable being the September 11 attacks in 2001. These actions were followed by the US government launching a military and intelligence campaign against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations called the War on Terror . As of 2009, the group is believed to have between 200 and 300 members.

Quote:

The Afghan Mujahedeen of the 1980s have been alleged to be the inspiration for terrorist groups in nations such as Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Chechnya, and the former Yugoslavia. According to Russian sources, the perpetrators of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 allegedly used a manual allegedly written by the CIA for the Mujihadeen fighters in Afghanistan on how to make explosives.

Al-Qaeda - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Francis2004
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by ironsides View Post

War does not give one a choice, I'm talking about the individual, not the country.

War is but only one option.. Escalation of War and is showing disregard for human life and humanity. If you cannot be respected how do you expect to end a conflict ?
 
Liberalman
Free Thinker
#25
"I was only following orders."

As far as war criminals the whole population of United States of America should be put on trial because they elected the Republicans for a second term.

Just like in nazi Germany the population knew that the SS was killing Jews but did nothing because they were afraid, but the world blamed the German citizens for many years.

Will the world blame America maybe not, because they make the best darn apple pie anywhere.

Americans are famous for their sugarcoated propaganda so the world will forgive them besides they like to spread the money around so they will be hailed as heroes

Like in nazi Germany their citizens were afraid of the SS and in America their citizens were afraid of the Patriot Act and the Republican thugs of the NRA.

Unfortunately history always repeats itself and always will.

Will Obama be different? One can hope, but power will always creep in and corrupt the fabric of the soul


 
Colpy
Conservative
#26
There is never an excuse for torture.

Full stop.
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by SirFrancis2004 View Post

War is but only one option.. Escalation of War and is showing disregard for human life and humanity. If you cannot be respected how do you expect to end a conflict ?


Of course, the other option is not to go to war. But when in combat, I expect to end it by annihilating the enemy. A country can make all the rules they want, but once they commit a individual to go fight for them, that individual makes the rules (it is their life at stake), and most of the time everyone looks the other way. War itself is a complete disregard for human life, nothing humane about it.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#28
Quote: Originally Posted by Cannuck View Post

Torture is a natural part of life. I have a wife and three teenage daughters. Amnesty International cares not one iota for me.

Just for fun you should check out the life expectancy of men in similar positions as you.
 
Cannuck
No Party Affiliation
#29
I'm sure I'm on borrowed time now. They are pure evil.
http://fozzy42.com/SoundClips/Movies...ignificant.wav
 
Cliffy
Free Thinker
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver View Post

Just for fun you should check out the life expectancy of men in similar positions as you.

My uncle gave up having a son after seven daughters. He died of a heart attack at fifty.
Come to think of it, I had a heart attack at fifty, but I had no daughters.
Like my pappy used to say, you have a son, you only have one dick to worry about. You have a daughter and you worry about every dick in town. Just imagine - times seven! Scary stuff.
 

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