On Torture

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Revelations have recently surfaced regarding declassified CIA torture report. Needless to say, these reports were appalling and inhumane. But what’s even more appalling is the reactions of some Americans to the report. Andrea Tantaros of Fox News recently dismissed the torture report on the grounds that “America is awesome”. Many other Americans have even gone so far as to use the events of 9/11 as an excuse to justify the torture.

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I have seen this image and numerous variations of it floating around the internet.

I’d first like to say that considering the 1 million dead Iraqis(plus 4.5 million displaced, 1-2 million widowed, and 5 million orphaned), 50,000 Pakistanis21,000 Afghans, 322 Yemenis(including two American citizens, Anwar Al-awlaki and his 16 year old son, Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki) and countless other casualties and “collateral damage” resulting from western imperialism all across the middle east, I wouldn’t exactly say the U.S. has the moral high ground. More than that, at least 26 out of the 119 known detainees were confirmed to be wrongfully held. And finally, if you are reading this, and if you actively read other articles by this blog or content similar to it, chances are you have your own questions about the official 9/11 commission report.

This torture report includes many horrific, stomach-turning and even just plain bizarre details, which range from losing eyeballs,  to being forced to stand on broken feet, to … inserting hummus into a detainees rectum? One of the interrogators even threatened to sexually assault a detainees mother. Honestly people, even casualties of war aside, if we engage in practices such as these are we really any better than the terrorists? Also, what ever happened to due process? None of these detainees were given a trial. If we hold suspects without a trial, if we suspend due process of the law, how can we even be certain they are guilty? The same goes for the masses of corpses piled high from our notorious “War on Terror.” Without process is it not just mayhem? What’s ironic is, many die-hard conservative “patriots” claiming to be avid supporters of the constitution are also avid supporters of this sort of torture, not to mention our imperialist war crimes overseas. How can one claim to support a document which demands due process and the right to a trial, and then turn around and support actions which are the very antithesis of such values? The truth is, they can’t. Not consistently, at least.

Something else I’ve seen floating around the internet is what Ronald Reagan had to say about torture. According to Rare.us here’s what he allegedly said during the “U.S. ratification of the international Convention Against Torture” – “Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately prevalent in the world today.” Sounds nice, right? Sounds good. Moral. Humane. Something you can you can flash in a neocon Republican’s face to drive them crazy, right? Well, here’s the kicker – CIA torture was still happening during the Reagan eraThat’s right, folks. In case you haven’t heard, the CIA has pretty much been the devil since its inception. I mean, what did you expect? They haven’t exactly had the best reputation throughout the past few decades. CIA torture was happening long before 9/11. You see, in 1963 there was a manual written for tortu- *ahem* I mean, “enhanced interrogation”, the code name for which was “KUBARK”. This manual included content such as “principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis and induced regression.” Many of these methods were adopted by the Soviet KGB. And many, of course, by the good ol’ CIA. In 1978, CIA director Stansfield Turner requested that John Limond Hart, a former CIA officer, investigate Yuri Nosenko, a KGB officer who was using methods from the KUBARK manual. In 1983(Reagan was in office by this time), a CIA officer allegedly “incorporated significant portions of the KUBARK manual into the Human Resource Exploitation (HRE) Training Manual, which the same officer used to provide interrogation training in Latin America in the early 1980s,” according to an Intelligence Committee report.

So, there you have it folks. Quite frankly, this really is old news, just like government spying. Sure, new information has surfaced and it is just as outrageous, but the fact of the matter is the U.S. government and its branches and agencies have been malicious, tyrannical and inhumane for decades past, and will continue to be for decades to come, so long as we continue to simply cringe upon hearing such awful news and do nothing to stop it. We must be actively detesting such barbarism, we must spread the truth anyway we can, we must take action! NOW is the time. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but NOW. Nothing is going to change unless we stand up and put a stop to these atrocities. It’s not enough to just keep shuddering at the thought of these things. A line has to be drawn. We must speak up, and once we reach a critical mass, words must become actions. We cannot continue to allow fear to control us.

Brian Hazel

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On Torture

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