Tag Archives | Torture

The Mass Psychology of Torture

William Mason writes at Counterpunch:

Torture has its gradations: from the most extreme forms (such as waterboarding) to the most subtle expressions (such as passive-aggressive obstructionism in relationships).

In its most heinous forms, torture consists of confining a helpless victim, who is subjected to physical pain and torment, emotional abuse, and various other degrading humiliations.  Prohibited by both international and domestic laws, the torture of suspected “terrorists” is nonetheless now widely condoned by most American citizens (or so it seems).

A kind of  “torture-of-the-week” riveted the audience of the popular TV series 24.  The disturbing film Dark Zero Thirty rationalized and depicted graphic torture—and was praised by critics and the public alike.  Why, so many observers have asked, do Americans today tolerate (or even approve) of the illegal torture so routinely administered by their own government?

Of course, Americans have long been desensitized to violence.  Everyday life is in itself brutalizing to any humane sensibility.  The average U.S.

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Dick Cheney Admits He Lied In 9/11 Testimony

Dissecting the forthcoming Showtime documentary by RJ Cutler, The World According To Dick Cheney, Maureen Dowd points out the unrepentant admission by ex-VP Dick Cheney that he lied when giving testimony before the 9/11 Commission. From her column for the New York Times (read the whole thing for even more lies):
...Did he change, after the shock to his body of so many heart procedures and the shock to his mind of 9/11? Or was he the same person, patiently playing the courtier, once code-named “Backseat” by the Secret Service, until he found the perfect oblivious frontman who would allow him to unleash his harebrained, dictatorial impulses? Talking to Cutler in his deep headmaster’s monotone, Cheney dispenses with the fig leaf of “we.” He no longer feigns deference to W., whom he now disdains for favoring Condi over him in the second term, and for not pardoning “Cheney’s Cheney,” Scooter Libby. “I had a job to do,” he said...
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More Than 50 Countries Collaborated With CIA On Extraordinary Rendition Torture Program

Torturing: it brought the United States together with Iran, Syria, Libya, and Zimbabwe. Wired reports:

A new report from the Open Society Foundation details the CIA’s effort to outsource torture since 9/11. Known as “extraordinary rendition,” the practice concerns taking detainees to and from U.S. custody without a legal process and handing detainees over to countries that practiced torture.

The report found that 136 people went through the post-9/11 extraordinary rendition, and 54 countries were complicit in it. Some were official U.S. adversaries, like Iran and Syria, brought together with the CIA by the shared interest of combating terrorism.

The most famous case involves Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen snatched in 2002 by the U.S. at JFK Airport before the CIA sent him to Syria under the mistaken impression he was a terrorist. In Syrian custody, Arar was “imprisoned for more than ten months in a tiny grave-like cell, beaten with cables, and threatened with electric shocks by the Syrian government.”

The full 54 countries that aided in post-9/11 renditions: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

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Iraq Torture Payoff, Indigenous Fight Back, Truth Seekers Prosecuted, Free Cuban 5

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks about the threat against indigenous sovereignty and the growth of the Idle No More movement beyond Canada; calls out the corporate media for their obsession with supermodels and instead highlights a successful lawsuit against defense contractor L-3 Services for torture at Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib Prison; talks to whistleblower and lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, about recent developments in the cases of ex CIA official John Kiriakou, and PFC Bradley Manning; BTS wraps up the show with a look at the Cuban Five, a group of Cuban intelligence agents who have been incarcerated in the US since 1998 as the forgotten political prisoners of the Cold War.
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Obama’s CIA Pick Stinks of Torture, Targeted Killings

Peter Z. Scheer writes at Truthdig:
John Brennan has spent the last four years as President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser and the “architect” of the administration’s expansive drone assassination program. Some time before that, he was a deputy executive director of the CIA when that agency pioneered the use of extradition and torture under President George W. Bush. Rather than use his electoral victory to shove a dove down the throat of the national security establishment, President Obama seems to be sticking it to the left, by nominating the intelligence veteran to head the CIA. Brennan was prevented from becoming CIA director in Obama’s last term because the former chief of staff to Bush’s CIA director George Tenet had the stink of torture about him. Now, he is the man most credited with an assassination program that features, among other things, a secret presidential kill list. In his nomination announcement of Brennan, the president spoke of the intelligence officer’s many years of service, his travels in the Arabian Peninsula, and his acknowledgement that we are a nation of laws. Interesting.
Barack Obama via the White House: There’s another reason I value John so much, and that is his integrity and his commitment to the values that define us as Americans. He has worked to embed our efforts in a strong legal framework. He understands we are a nation of laws. In moments of debate and decision, he asks the tough question and he insists on high and rigorous standards. Time and again, he’s spoken to the American people about our counterterrorism policies because he recognizes we have a responsibility to be [as] open and transparent as possible. Read more
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Judge Rules That Any Mention Of Torture In 9/11 Trial Will Be Classified

For its own good, the world can’t know what the CIA has or hasn’t done. Via the Christian Science Monitor:

In a significant victory for government prosecutors, the military judge presiding over the trial of accused 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has granted a government request to treat as classified any testimony or discussion about the alleged torture of Mr. Mohammed and others during CIA interrogations.

Off limits at the military commission trial at the US Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay are any details surrounding the defendants’ capture, detention, and alleged torture by the CIA. It includes “the enhanced interrogation techniques that were applied to an accused … including descriptions of the techniques as applied, the duration, frequency, sequencing, and limitations of those techniques.”

Defense lawyers had challenged the government’s expansive assertion of authority to designate certain subjects as protected secrets in the case, saying it was improper for prosecutors to attempt to censor Mohammed and his four co-defendants from discussing their own personal observations of things they involuntarily endured during years of CIA detention and interrogations.

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Cheers for Torture Scenes? ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

WIRED.COM‘s Spencer Ackerman offers a justification for the inclusion of torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, a Katherine Bigelow-helmed film about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden:

“It’s a movie, not a documentary,” screenwriter Mark Boal told The New Yorker. “We’re trying to make the point that waterboarding and other harsh tactics were part of the C.I.A. program.” That quote has electrified the internet as a statement of intent to gussy up the importance of torture. But the fact is torture was part of the CIA’s post-9/11 agenda: dispassionate journalists like Mark Bowden presents it as such in his excellent recent book.

Zero Dark Thirty does not present torture as a silver bullet that led to bin Laden; it presents torture as the ignorant alternative to that silver bullet. Were a documentarian making the film, there would surely be less torture in the movie: CNN’s Peter Bergen considered an early cut of those scenes overwrought in their gruesomeness and reminds that senators who have investigated the CIA torture program reject the idea that torture led to bin Laden.

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Police State 101, Torture Impunity, Obama’s Second Chance?

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks to Ian Freeman, Host of "Free Talk Live", about the police state and the erosion of American civil liberties. Abby then talks to RT Arabic Correspondent, Reema Abu Hamdieh, about the polarized views of Arabs in the Middle East toward a second Obama Administration. BTS wraps up the show with a look at torture, murder and rape by US military contractors going unpunished.
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Rebranding Propaganda, Normalizing Torture, Third Party Censorship

On this episode of Breaking the Set, Abby Martin talks about the Third Party Debates that aired live on RT, and talks to Georgetown Professor, Chris Chambers about the total media blackout that keeps alternative voices and third party candidates in the dark. Abby then looks at the NYPD's continued surveillance of Muslim communities and foiled FBI sting operations, and Obama's rebranding of the Bush administration's counter-terrorism policies with an interview with Media Roots Journalist, Robbie Martin.
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Media Roots Radio – Obama Immunizes Torturers, Murderers and War Criminals

Media Roots Radio - Obama Immunizes Torturers, Murderers, War Criminals by Media Roots MEDIA ROOTSAbby and Robbie Martin talk about how the Obama administration promised to prosecute and investigate all illegal acts that happened during the Bush administration then reversed that promise after they cut a deal. The irony of how Nixon's pardon was less offensive than Obama's under the radar ceasing of any ongoing investigation into war crimes is discussed. They also discuss Abby's new live TV show 'Breaking the Set' which has been going for almost a month after its premiere on RT America.
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