Once again, the US is in the proverbial “dock” over revelations that it allows a practice known as “rendition to torture”, whereby terror suspects, upon arrest, are secretly flown to far off countries to be tortured for months on end.
Condoleeza Rice, the US Secretary of State and Klingon look-alike, is currently on a damage limitation exercise in Europe and telling anyone who will listen to her, and who can keep a straight face, that the US is not into that sort of thing, that it does not condone torture. She admits that the US has made mistakes in the war on terror and has said that where possible those wrongs will be righted, but pathetically covers these transgressions with the claim that at least CIA methods have saved European lives.
Granted, there are a lot of gloopy people in Europe – I’ve met a fair few myself - or else we would not have the leaders we have here, but for her to come here and say the US is not into torture suggests Rice thinks Europe is chocabloc with lobotomised cretins.
Let’s get a couple of things straight. Firstly, the US does not give a monkey’s f*** for human rights. This much was made abundantly clear when George (Dubya) Bush took office and, acting on advice from one Alberto Gonzales, withdrew the US from the Geneva Convention and cancelled Clinton’s signature from the International Criminal Court. Well, if you’re aiming to torture whoever you want, where ever you want, then it makes sense not to be a signatory to a document stating you believe people should not be tortured, that all people should be treated with respect and human kindness.
Secondly the CIA is actually above the law. Not a lot of people know this but on 27/12/2000 Congress passed a law to protect the CIA from any legal action whatsoever (the relevant law is: 114 STAT. 2840 PUBLIC LAW106-56 DEC. 27, 2000. SEC.1001. (a) and (b)). The latter makes sound sense – if you’re hell bent on world domination and are prepared to go to any lengths to secure it then you have to make damn sure your intelligence services are free from prosecution.
According to Human Rights Watch, The Bush administration is now the only government in the world to claim a legal rationalization for abusing prisoners during interrogations.
White House officials recently approached members of the U.S. Congress to seek a waiver that would permit the CIA to use cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment on prisoners in U.S. detention outside the United States.
In a 90-9 vote, the U.S. Senate accepted a measure backed by Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham that would proscribe the military and CIA from using “cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment” in the case of any captive, anywhere in the world. But in October, Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA director Porter Goss met with Sen. McCain to propose a presidential waiver for the planned legislation. The suggested waiver stated that the measure “shall not apply with respect to clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States, that are carried out by an element of the United States government other than the Department of Defence. . . if the president determines that such operations are vital to the protection of the United States or its citizens from terrorist attack.” The waiver which clearly applies to non-military counter-terrorism operations against non-citizens overseas, declares that such operations need to be “consistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States and treaties to which the United States is a party.” But the Constitution does not vigorously restrict the conduct of the CIA overseas, and pertinent domestic laws contain abundant loopholes. What is more, administration officials have previously told Congress that they do not deem CIA personnel operating outside the United States to be bound by legal prohibitions against “cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment” under treaties to which the United States is party. This exemption carries coded language that could give the CIA the go ahead to treat prisoners inhumanely. Human Rights Watch said the waiver would also open the door for outright torture, as interrogators would find it impossible to draw lines between illegal and “allowable” mistreatment. Bush administration officials, under questioning from members of Congress in the past, have failed to clearly define differences between torture and lesser forms of mistreatment. They have also made inaccurate statements about the definition of torture; for instance, administration officials have claimed that “waterboarding” (suffocating a person until he believes he is about to drown) is not a form of torture.
The widely publicised photos from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, show not isolated cases of brutality by unsupervised personnel – as has been claimed – but CIA torture techniques that have been used for 50 years all over the world.From 1950 to 1962, the CIA carried out research into psychological torture that cost an estimated $1 billion, producing a new method of torture that was psychological, “no touch torture”, not physical.
Your common or garden physical method meant interrogators had to inflict pain, by rough beatings, but this often produced heightened resistance, especially in obstinate prisoners, or undependable information. With the new psychological concept, on the other hand, interrogators used two new methods, disorientation and self-inflicted pain, to make prisoners feel responsible for their own suffering.
Though ostensibly less violent, "no touch" torture can produce lasting psychological scars on both victims and interrogators. The victims often need much psychological help to recuperate from a trauma every bit as debilitating as physical pain. The interrogators can undergo a perilous increase of ego, leading to increasing barbarity and lasting emotional scars.
After codification in the CIA's "Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation" manual in 1963 (this is now declassified and can now be downloaded from the National Securuity Archives website – they’ve lots of other juicy stuff there too) the new technique was circulated to police in Asia and Latin America through USAID's Office of Public Safety (OPS). In the wake of accusations of torture by USAID's police novices in Brazil, the US Senate closed down OPS in 1975.
With the demise of the OPS, the CIA propagated its torture techniques through the US Army's Mobile Training Teams, which in the 1980s were operating in Central America. In 1997, the Baltimore Sun published alarming extracts of the "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual" that these Army teams had distributed to allied militaries for two decades.
These manuals ceased to be used in the early 1990s, but torture continued apace right up to 9/11 and beyond with the hunt for Al Qaeda suspects, with US intelligence agents handing suspects over to foreign agencies for processing.
When Bush kick-started the current ‘war on terror’ the ‘no touch’ torture techniques recommenced, firstly in Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base, where prisoners actually died during interrogation and then in Iraq, where interrogators have likewise killed their victims. Similar prisoner abuses have been reported at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
The US is as guilty as hell of not only torturing its suspects just as Britain and other countries are accomplices in so far as they allow their airports to be used by CIA chartered planes carrying their victims to be tortured in whatever god-forsaken hell hole they have lined up for them. The photographic evidence for psychological torture cannot be denied and neither can the testimony of those lucky enough to have been freed by their interrogators.
What planet Condi Rice comes from is anyone’s guess – the Klingon planet Narendra III?