Summary: one measure of the magnitude of our governments’ deeds is the size of the lies necessary for their apologists to justify them. Just as our assassination programs are described as “killing on the battlefield”, they describe our torture programs as no big deal. How would the Nuremberg Courts have weighed that defense?
Since Obama has blessed our national torture team, we probably will never learn the full story of the deeds done in our name. Only a full investigation in public would reveal the details. What we know is horrifying. More horrifying to me is the casual reaction to these dark matters. They defining torture down, so that we can look at ourselves in the mirror. Hitler must smile with reading his morning newspaper in Hell.
- “Binyam Mohamed Case: Is Sleep Deprivation Really Torture“, Iain Martin, blog of the Wall Street Journal, 11 February 2010 — “Plenty of international lawyers will say the law clearly defines it as such, but I’ve worked for newsdesks on newspapers that think sleep deprivation is just standard procedure for young reporters.“
- “Is Sleep Deprivation Really Torture?“, Alex Massie, Spectator, 12 February 2010 — A review of torture cases around the world, putting US actions in perspective. “Fundamentally, even if you feel like discounting all of the above, ask yourself this simple question: If a captured British or American soldier were subjected to this sort of treatment would you consider it torture?”
We have the necessary documents to assess Martin’s cavalier description of this as like the ” standard procedure for young reporters.”
From Steven G. Bradbury,Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States (Wikipedia)
To John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, CIA
May 10, 2005
Excerpt from page 11:
The primary method of sleep deprivation involves the use of shackling to keep the detainee awake. In this method, the detainee is standing and is handcuffed, and the handcuffs are attached by a length of chain to the ceiling. The detainee’s hands are shackled in front of his body, so that the detainee has approximately a two-to-three-foot diameter of movement. The detainee’s feet are shackled to a bolt in the floor. Due care is taken to ensure that the shackles are neither too loose nor too tight for physical safety. We understand from discussions with OMS that the shackling does not result in any significant physical pain for the subject.
The detainee’s hands are generally between the level of his heart and his chin. In some cases, the detainee’s hands may be raised above the level of his head, but only for a period of up to two hours.
All of the detainee’s weight is borne by his legs and feet during sleep deprivation. You have informed us that the detainee is not allowed to hang from or support his body weight with the shackles. Rather, we understand that the shackles are only used as a passive means to keep the detainee standing and thus to prevent him from falling asleep; should the detainee begin to fall asleep, he will lose his balance and awaken, either because of the sensation of losing his balance or because of the restraining tension of the shackles.
My opinion of these things
IMO opinion these people should be tried as we tried NAZI’s for similar war crimes. If there is a God, I wonder if these people will rot in Hell for their deeds — and staining the name and honor of the United States.
Other sources of information
- The bureaucratic steps that took us to this dark place: “A Torture Mystery – How Did the CIA Come to Use Stress Positions for Sleep Deprivation?“, Spencer Ackerman, Washington Independent, 29 April 2009.
- “What Torture Never Told Us“, Ali H. Soufan (FBI special agent 1997 – 2005), op-ed in the New York Times, 6 September 2009
- Comments about Soufan’s article and torture in general, Patrick Lang (Colonel, Special Forces, retired), posted at his Sic Semper Tyrannis, 6 September 2009
- Book deals for the men: “A Man Who Knows The Secrets: Veteran CIA Lawyer Seeks Book Deal“, blog of Newsweek, 10 January 2010 — Unlike private criminals, government criminals can profit from their deeds.
- “Getting Away with Torture“, David Cole, NY Review of Books, 14 January 2010
- “Meet the Real Jack Bauers“, Marc A. Thiessen, National Review Online, 18 January 2010 — “In Courting Disaster, the real CIA interrogators explain why their methods bear no resemblance to what you see on Fox’s 24.”
- Now that it has done its work and convinced many Americans that torture is OK (for us, evil when done by others), the lies slowly get exposed: “CIA Man Retracts Claim on Waterboarding“, Foreign Policy, 26 January 2010 — Will we see retractions from conservatives who trumpeted his testimony?
- “If Marc Thiessen Doesn’t Want to be Compared to the He Should Stop Advocating Torture Techniques Used in the Spanish Inquisition“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 8 February 2010
- A bit of background for the above article: “No One Expects The Spanish Inquisition“, Matthew Yglesias, ThinkProgress, 8 February 2010 — Good news! We’re not as bad as the the S.I.
For links to studies and reports about torture see So many Americans approve of torture; what does this tell us about America? That’s a deeper analysis of the subject.
For more information on the FM website
To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page. Of esp relevance to this topic:
- America – how can we reform it?
- America’s national defense strategy and machinery
- Military and strategic theory
Other posts about torture:
- Something every American should read, 25 March 2009
- We close our eyes to torture by our government. The Brits are stronger., 9 April 2009
- So many Americans approve of torture; what does this tell us about America?, 30 April 2009
- The Reverse Nuremberg Defense – “We were just giving orders“, 20 May 2009
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