Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Lawrence Wilkerson - Confronting America the Torturer

Despite Gina Haspel's promises, we are in real danger of further excursions into the dark side.

You sometimes wonder if there is any good in the world. After reading the all the stuff that I have read over the last few years I have been extremely shocked, that the ruling elite can cold bloodily start wars to make money shows they have no morality whatsoever. It is simply murder. But this article from The American Conservative is encouraging as it seems that there are many people on the left and right who are against torture. I believe most people are, even if they say flippantly to pollsters that they support it. KV

Later this month on June 26, the United Nation’s will observe a Day for Victims of Torture.
Before 2002, America would have heralded this day, joining in the remembrance and using the resultant global solidarity to advance even further the goal of stopping torture wherever it might occur. No longer. America is now one of the world’s chief, unrepentant, unapologetic, still-polling-positive-on…torturers.
Since President George W. Bush—under relentless pressure from Dick Cheney, his Machiavellian vice president—withdrew America from the Geneva Conventions in 2002, ostensibly so he could deal with al-Qaeda and Afghanistan’s Taliban, the United States has operated “on the dark side.” Recently reaffirming that position, President Donald Trump nominated and the Senate approved torture’s disciple and supervisory practitioner Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

How did we get here?
After the tragic deaths on September 11, 2001, America went slightly berserk. Though both international and U.S. domestic law held that no condition, no matter how extreme, could justify the heinous crime of torture, America turned to it anyway. Initially—and perhaps understandably if not legally or ethically—we turned to torture under the misguided belief that it might save lives. After all, we had just suffered an attack worse than that on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
But as early as February 2002, we began to torture for another reason: to “verify” Iraqi complicity in the 9/11 attacks so we could go to war with Iraq (I went into greater detail on this for TAC in May). This rationale was more in line with practices in countries such as Egypt and Syria, where torture was—and still is—aimed at extracting confessions, not the truth.  
The al-Qaeda-Iraq complicity did not exist. But we tortured to produce evidence for war anyway via our lackeys in Egypt. Among those we tortured was Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who said afterwards he would have confessed to anything to stop the pain. Acting swiftly on Libi’s “evidence,” Colin Powell made a historic statement at the United Nations that linked al-Qaeda to Iraq.
We all know the rest of the story.
Could there be a more poignant and disturbing example of torture not working? Or, perhaps better said, of torture’s dangerous consequences even beyond its moral and ethical repugnancy and illegality?  
Let’s mark this day with a tribute to all those in the world who are opposed to torture, from Johannesburg to Auckland, from Vladivostok to Portland. Large majorities in almost all other nations are anti-torture, knowing it to be a tyrant’s tool to suppress dissent and manufacture false confessions.
Let’s tip our hats to those who man the centers for victims of torture the world over and to those who offer succor to such victims wherever they are found and who oppose torture wherever it might be practiced.  


Matt Franko said...

Tom Hickey said...

Evidence of the normalization of evil.


The Banality of Evil: Hannah Arendt on the Normalization of Human Wickedness and Our Only Effective Antidote to It

What did Hannah Arendt really mean by the banality of evil?

The slippery slope down into the abyss of fascism and totalitarianism.

Now everyone wonders how Germany slipped down that slope in the 1930s, even as the US now follows suit.

Dangerous game to be playing as the superpower.

lastgreek said...

B @barbara_guraj

After almost 3 years of battling with immigration, my mom was finally allowed to come back to America. She arrived today and surprised my brother, who was 7 when she left, and this was his reaction.

Why did I post this? Because I want you guys to feel as emotional as I did when I first watched it :) Also, families should never be separated. Hear that, Sessions?

Andrew Anderson said...

Now everyone wonders how Germany slipped down that slope in the 1930s Tom Hickey

It's no wonder; before the Great Depression started the Nazis had only a small following; shortly afterward they came to power.

And no less than Ben Bernanke admitted the severity of Great Depression was the result of Federal Reserve’s monetary policies. However, more broadly, the banking system model itself has to be questioned as a threat to world peace.

Matt Franko said...

“After all, we had just suffered an attack worse than that on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.”

Should have killed 100m in response to be “normal”...

Instead we pour a pitcher of water on some bad hombre’s face and you guys lose your shit....

Matt Franko said...

From wiki: “World War II fatality statistics vary, with estimates of total deaths ranging from 50 million to more than 80 million. The higher figure of over 80 million includes deaths from war-related disease and famine. Civilians killed totalled 50 to 55 million, including 19 to 28 million from war-related disease and famine.”

And as the author says 9/11 was WORSE so to be normal should have been over this 80m number dead...

Konrad said...

@ lastgreek: For most people it’s hard to sympathize with immigrants unless one has lived with poor people in foreign nations (as I have several times).

Konrad said...

”Now everyone wonders how Germany slipped down that slope in the 1930s, even as the US now follows suit.

Ah yes. National Socialist Germany. The great scapegoat. The great “evil.” The great reason why, no matter how evil we become, we are still “better” than 1933-45 Germany.

Will we ever mature past our self-righteous delusions?

Noah Way said...

Hitler's Germany is the model for the US and Israel. In the end a global alliance will take them down or die trying. At which point there will be nothing left.

Tom Hickey said...

Actually, during WWII, German prisoners were treated as human beings. Japanese, however, where considered "gooks." Same with North Koreans and Chinese during the Korean war. Needless to say, the same has also been true of other ethnicities in subsequent conflicts, and not just combatants but also civilians.

Not that the Americans were unusual in this (and it was technically against the rules). This is typical in human affairs where the level of collective consciousness is low and universality is lost to view.