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Sunday, November 27, 2005

Torture: Anyone Can Play

“We do not torture.” –Bush, Nov. 7

“Isn’t that stupid to think the U.S. would ever allow torture? Some people just want to always believe the worst. America haters!”
–John and Jenny Smith, USA

“Yeah, well, the bastards they torture deserve it. They’re terrorists.”
--Jimmy Johnson, USA

I somehow know how this works. I’ve seen it all somewhere before. The only thing I don’t know is the ending.

Did you know that the Red Cross estimated that 80% of prisoners in Abu Ghraib had not done anything wrong, were just randomly swept off the streets?

Did you know that our government has already quietly let some Guantanamo prisoners return to their home countries because they hadn’t really done anything wrong?

Do you recall the Bush administration, in 2002, scaring us with the supposed thwarting of a dirty bomb being set off in an American city? The supposed instigator, Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was stripped of all his Constitutional rights and thrown into Guantanamo for over three years. The government has now dropped those charges. For one thing, the two informers had been severely tortured by Intelligence personnel and their testimony wasn’t considered reliable.

Did you hear that the Bush administration is infuriated that someone leaked the existence of secret C.I.A prisons that are scattered throughout Eastern Europe, with one inside of Guantanamo itself also? Why do you suppose they’re supposed to be secret?

Did you know that in 1965 U.S. intelligence started a secret torture, blackmail and execution training program called Project X (no, not the X files). Many of the techniques came from the Phoenix Project, where we hired mainly Hmong men to assassinate tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians like teachers, doctors, students, mayors, leaders of all sorts. (Yes, I meant South. And this was because we wanted to destroy the country’s “infrastructure”; secret CIA polls—not leaked until the Seventies—showed that the vast majority of South Vietnamese actually supported Ho Chi Mingh. That’s what we call democracy.)

Did you know that just as we exported American music, for the next 40 years we have also exported our secrets of terrorism to many other countries considered “friendly,” mainly through the School of the Americas (SOA), located at Fort Benning in GA?

Did you know that in 1973 we helped to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Chile and put in Pinochet, a ruthless dictator to whom the CIA supplied torture tools as well as training in political repression?

Or that the US has backed brutish leaders in Peru who torture extensively? Or the Duvaliers in Haiti, aided by the CIA, who tortured and “disappeared” thousands of Haitians?

Or that the CIA backed a coup in Indonesia in the Sixties that brought a dictator to power? And when the East Timor people wanted independence, did you know the US trained and supported Indonesian troops in their torture, rape, and "disappearances” of the East Timorese? Over 250,000 people were killed. A quarter of a million people. How many people live in your city or town? Try to imagine that many people.

Oh, here’s one I bet you recall hearing about in some way or another. Probably all that was left out was the torture part. Did you hear about Iran taking US citizens hostage in the early Eighties? Why did they do that again? Oh, they’re all just crazy people over there, I forgot. Yeah, but consider this. For two decades we supported the Shah of Iran, who came with his own Secret Police, the Savak. The Savak were put together and trained by the CIA and Mossad, Israeli intelligence. The Savak were paid to not like people who didn’t like the Shah. Read an excerpt from a book about the kinds of things they did:

"Brute force was supplemented with the bastinado; sleep deprivation; extensive solitary confinement; glaring searchlights; standing in one place for hours on end; nail extractions; snakes (favored for use with women); electrical shocks with cattle prods, often into the rectum; cigarette burns; sitting on hot grills; acid dripped into nostrils; near-drownings; mock executions; and an electric chair with a large metal mask to muffle screams while amplifying them for the victim. This latter contraption was dubbed the Apollo--an allusion to the American space capsules. Prisoners were also humiliated by being raped, urinated on, and forced to stand naked."

Oh, and by the way, do you remember the main thing those Iranians wanted before they would let the US hostages go? It was something incredible, absolutely impossible. An apology.

Then there are the “renditions,” where we simply send people out of the US, to places where they really know how to torture, like Egypt. Now here’s something truly funny: While our State Department says in public, “No, no, bad Egypt! No torture of prisoners anymore!” they’re really winking at each other because they know it’s all a show.

It’s all a show. We do not torture. The people behind the scenes seem to know how it all works.

A show? For whom?


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