Sunday, April 13, 2008

This Is Not Torture

There are some pretty graphic descriptions in here. I put them in to show just what resulted from the discussions and decisions of top administration officials, and how it is a big fucking deal.


Besides the fact that the media here in the United States doesn’t seem to think it is important that Bush, Rice, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Tenet (not to mention Gonzales, Yoo, most likely Miers and others) spent way too much time discussing, debating, justifying and approving how much torture is too much torture, it is pretty damn important.

It also matters that it is not being confronted forcefully and with more than just mere “strongly worded letters” amongst this shockingly blanket burying this atrocity that the world now knows runs straight to mister Bush himself. No matter how many times the euphemistic “enhanced interrogation techniques” is used by the same people who applaud a fictional “badass” like Jack Bauer for doing “whatever it takes” to stop that ticking time bomb from going off.

As if there is any such thing as torturing someone in the most benevolent of ways, only because the information you would get right fucking now would stop that nuke from going off inside the United States at the last minute.

Even though that is impossible, because we are fighting them over there so we don’t fight them over here. Or something like that.

But just so we all know just what is legal - what is justified because John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, Dick Cheney, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush himself and a number of others say it is - even though not one piece of actionable intelligence has been reported, not one attack been thwarted and not one conviction been won at all - it is imperative that this not ever be forgotten until those who are responsible for these actions and deaths be held accountable and, in the words of Bush - be brought to justice.

Here are a couple of things that are most certainly not torture, because we all know that the United States does not torture:

“I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum"


“a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.”

I wonder how many terrorists were stopped from attacking us with those “enhanced techniques”.

According to the ACLU (who, by the way is spearheading an effort to appoint a special prosecutor), there were the following murders during interrogations:

A 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was ""undetermined"" although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death. Notes say he ""struggled/ interrogated/ died sleeping."" Some facts relating to this case have been previously reported. (In April 2003, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the use of ""environmental manipulation"" as an interrogation technique in Guantánamo Bay. In September 2003, Lt. Gen. Sanchez also authorized this technique for use in Iraq. Although Lt. Gen. Sanchez later rescinded the September 2003 techniques, he authorized ""changes in environmental quality"" in October 2003.)


An Iraqi detainee (also described as a white male) died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated by ""OGA."" He was standing, shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth at the time he died. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries. Notes summarizing the autopsies record the circumstances of death as ""Q by OGA, gagged in standing restraint."" (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Abdul Jaleel.)


A detainee was smothered to death during an interrogation by Military Intelligence on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq. A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of General Mowhoush, lists ""asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression"" as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object. New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as ""Q by MI, died during interrogation.""


An Afghan civilian died from ""multiple blunt force injuries to head, torso and extremities"" on November 6, 2003, at a Forward Operating Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Abdul Wahid.)


A 52-year-old male Iraqi was strangled to death at the Whitehorse detainment facility on June 6, 2003, in Nasiriyah, Iraq. His autopsy also revealed bone and rib fractures, and multiple bruises on his body. (Facts in the autopsy report appear to match the previously reported case of Nagm Sadoon Hatab.)

But if you don’t trust a traitorous hippie liberal organization like the ACLU, maybe the solider’s own accounts will show what was approved by Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld and others. Per testimony at Human Rights Watch, here are some of the productive and very legal fruits of these internal “National Security Council” meetings:
He was stripped naked, put in the mud and sprayed with the hose, with very cold hoses, in February. At night it was very cold. They sprayed the cold hose and he was completely naked in the mud, you know, and everything. Then he was taken out of the mud and put next to an air conditioner. It was extremely cold, freezing, and he was put back in the mud and sprayed.

This happened all night. Everybody knew about it. People walked in, the sergeant major and so forth, everybody knew what was going on, and I was just one of them, kind of walking back and forth seeing that this is how they do things.

Or this:

Standard procedure, when I was there, you (i.e., the detainees) had twenty-four hour inside the Conex (container) . . . you’re blind-folded, you’re zip-stripped, your hands are behind your back; your feet usually weren’t, unless there was a particularly volatile prisoner—somebody who’d caused a lot of trouble, they’d hitch the feet as well. You were there, twenty-four hours: no sleep, no food, no water.

The temperatures inside the container, Nick said, were extreme:

Early on, when I first got there, it only got up to about 115, but by July and August, we were regularly between 135 and 145 (Fahrenheit). (Inside the container) it was really extremely hot.

Or this:
Nick told Human Rights Watch what he saw when the detainee was brought into the interrogation building:

He wouldn’t say anything, and they kept screaming at him and screaming at him. And they picked him up and threw him against the wall—and it’s a concrete wall. They threw him up against the wall, they punched him in the neck, punched him in the stomach—you know, gut shot—they threw him down. (At one point,) they actually threw him outside—they had two guys (other detainees) outside watching—threw him outside the building, just threw him outside like that. And then they picked him up, dragged him back, pulling him by the hair and stuff. . . . They hold his arms like this (out behind his back) and then beat him down—enough so they could break it, to give you a little bit of the pain. Same with the kneecaps: kicked him in the kneecaps, you know, really hard, with those boots—combat boots.

That last case - an Iranian businessman (or small time electronics smuggler) who didn’t speak Arabic, therefore earning him a bigger beating.

All of those are apparently not only legal, but necessary so as to ensure that we are safer. And just for consistency, it isn’t just Iraq where these very legal things are being done to spread freedom and stop terrorists are taking place. Unless there are consequences - unless there is accountability, then what happened to this individual in Afghanistan will have been done in the name of The United States of America:

(In western Afghanistan:) The Americans blindfolded us and, worst of all, they made us completely naked and made us to sit in a cold room and we were shivering and trembling because of the cold air. . . . (Describing transport to Kandahar:) I was naked and I had no clothes at all when I was moved . . . . (Upon arrival at airbase in western Afghanistan:) I was pulled out of the car and moved towards an airplane. At the airport, someone who was pretty strong held my neck under his arm and pressed it hard and meanwhile kept punching me hard on my face and one punch hit me hard on my mouth and two front teeth of my upper jaw fell out, which you can see now(interviewee is missing both teeth).

(In Kandahar:) They behaved very rude with me after the plane landed in Kandahar. It was cold and they threw us on the desert for more than an hour. Then some army men came and took us inside. Getting us inside the room there were some guards ready, and they were beating us mercilessly, without any reason. They were kicking and punching us. Mostly they were beating us on our backs. Later (they) gave me clothes to put on. They shaved our hair and our beards and mustaches. After that they took me for an interrogation and before asking any questions they started beating me. One person picked me up high over his head and threw me onto a desk and made me lie there. And then two or three other persons hit me with their knees on my back and shoulders. . . . The next day I was taken for interrogation. . . .

(On the plane to Kandahar:) We were shackled and our eyes were covered so that we could not see anything. . . . (A)ll the handcuffed prisoners were forced to sit with their legs stretched and hands behind them and the whole body bent onto the legs all the way. (Demonstrates by kneeling and sitting on top of his calves and feet, with torso bent down over the knees.)

It was very difficult to remain in that position and if we fell to the side or moved, the armed men standing over our heads would beat us mercilessly with their army boots, kicking us in our back and kidneys. We were all beaten, without exception. . . . Our eyes were closed [blindfolded] while we were getting out of the helicopter at the Kandahar airbase. One man pulled me up by my arm and threw me down the stairs, and then made me to lie down on the ground with my face upward. We did not have the right to move, and if we did we were beaten. Other people were beaten. . . When we were in Kandahar, we were not allowed to talk with each other and if we did, we were beaten and we were not allowed to sleep. For instance, if we were sleeping we were waken up or if we were covering our head with our bed cover we were beaten strongly.

These are the “necessary interrogation techniques” that Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rumsfeld, Tenet, Gonzales, Yoo and many many others participated in. All of these people are guilty of war crimes. All of these people are guilty of much more heinous crimes against humanity.


Please join the ACLU in demanding a special prosecutor to investigate the role that was played by the highest officials in the Bush administration - including Bush himself in the acts described above.

And please spread the word - even if the corporate media doesn’t think that this is important enough - it is how we act now with respect to accountability that will determine who we are as a country.

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