By Chris Floyd
December 10, 2004
When the devil comes knocking on your front door, looking for a way to spread his evil inside, he won't be sporting horns and a tail. He's going to come dressed as your sweetest dream, clean as a whistle, pious, sincere. He's going to speak your lingo, ape your ways -- and when he opens up his little box of poison, it's going to look like the heaven your mama sang about when she rocked you to sleep in your cradle.
Then one day, when the mind-fog lifts, you see him sitting at the head of the table, the walls of the room smeared with filth, dead bodies swelling on the blood-mucked floor, the still-living victims hog-tied and naked, screaming for mercy as the whipcords strike. He beckons you forward with a welcoming smile. You pause for a moment. It seems so strange: All this horror -- it would have once made you sick, but now it just feels like ... home. You shrug, you grin, you take your place beside him at the feast.
In just this way, while Americans were finishing their Thanksgiving dinners and preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, a series of stories exposed -- once again -- the torture chamber at the heart of their feast: a government gone insane, embracing terror, atrocity and tyranny. Yet there was no public outcry against these desecrations. Few even noticed; fewer still cared.
Last week, the minions of George W. Bush announced, in open court, that he has the power to seize anyone on earth -- even "little old ladies in Switzerland" -- and imprison them forever if he so chooses, The New York Times reports. The minions said that anyone Bush declared "an enemy combatant" -- even if they never took up arms against America, even if they didn't know their actions were related to terrorism in any way -- could be abducted from any nation, friend or foe, or in the Homeland itself, and held indefinitely, "at the president's discretion," stripped of all rights under the U.S. Constitution or the Geneva Conventions.
Assistant Attorney General Brian Boyle said Bush's captives were entitled only to a single hearing, alone before a military tribunal, without legal counsel or access to the evidence against them -- evidence which Boyle cheerfully admitted could be obtained by torture in foreign countries, The Associated Press reports. Overturning centuries of Anglo-American jurisprudence, Boyle said there were no restrictions whatsoever on using torture evidence, as long as the president or his military agents arbitrarily decide it is "credible."
Days earlier, The Sunday Times tracked down the "private" planes of CIA front companies that Bush uses to carry victims of his lawless abductions to torture chambers in Jordan, Egypt, Libya and Uzbekistan, where "credible" evidence can be obtained with fists, cattle prods, rape, drugs and starvation. For example, witnesses told of hooded American agents grabbing captives in Sweden, stripping them, jamming drugs up their rectums, putting them in diapers and chains, and bundling them off to Egypt's hellhole prisons -- whose tortures have already produced generations of violent extremists.
But outsourcing is only one aspect of Bush's Torture, Incorporated; he has plenty of domestic production as well. Last week, the Pentagon released a report -- completed long before the election -- confessing that the "aberrations" of Abu Ghraib were in fact part of a broad system of state terror spread throughout Iraq, the Washington Post reports. Elite squads of "Special Operations" officers and CIA agents beat and abused prisoners across the country, the Pentagon said, while regular troops committed "technically illegal acts" by rounding up thousands of innocent people at random and holding them for months in crowded prisons, where they were often turned over to those same "elite" squads for "special handling." Some of this blood-soaked "intelligence" was "sent directly to the White House," interrogators noted. The report also admitted that American forces had taken innocent people hostage -- especially "female family members" -- in an effort to pressure wanted men to surrender: a clear war crime, as if such things mattered anymore.
Meanwhile, the International Red Cross revealed that Bush has even perverted the healing professions at his concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, using doctors and nurses to help "set the conditions for interrogation" by withholding medical treatment and using their diagnostic skills to determine captives' "vulnerabilities" to various physical and psychological torments -- "a flagrant violation of medical ethics," said the Red Cross. Its investigators also found that the Guantanamo regime -- "an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment, and a form of torture" -- was growing worse over time, Salon.com reports.
In such a moral sink, it was hardly even news that more photos of prisoner abuse -- taken months before the Abu Ghraib atrocities -- were uncovered last weekend, Reuters reports. This time it was "elite" teams of Navy SEALs mugging for the cameras with bloodied captives -- some with guns to their heads. Nor did anyone blink when Bush military brass announced plans last week to create forced labor camps for all male citizens in "liberated" Fallujah, the Boston Globe reports.
This Satan's Rout of blood and abandon comes directly from the White House, where Bush's legal counsel, Al Gonzales, engineered memos "justifying" torture and exalting unrestricted presidential power, beyond the reach of any law, foreign or domestic. As a reward for this violent outrage of American honor, Gonzales -- sweet-talking, pious and sincere, just like his boss -- will soon become the chief law officer of the land.
And the American people, what do they do about all the horror being wrought in their name? They shrug. They grin. They sit down to the feast.
AnnotationsGonzales: A Record of Injustice
American Progress, November 2004
More Cold-Blooded Than Abu Ghraib
Salon.com, Dec. 1, 2004
Report to Pentagon Alleged Abuse By Prison Interrogation Teams
Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2004
Salon.com, Dec. 8, 2004
Memos Say 2 Officials Who Saw Prison Abuse Were Threatened
New York Times, Dec. 7, 2004
US Allows Evidence Obtained by Torture
ABC News (Australia), Dec 4, 2004
US OKs Evidence Obtained Through Torture
Associated Press, Dec. 3, 2004
Judge Questions Sweep of Bush's War on Terrorism
Washington Post, Dec. 2, 2004
Little Old Lady Case: Fate of Detainees Debated in Federal Court
New York Times, Dec. 12, 2004
Private Plane Takes Men for Torture
Sunday Times, Nov. 15, 2004
Torture Jet Has Massachusetts Ties
Boston Globe, Nov. 29, 2004
Firebombing Falluja/Medical Ethics in Guantanamo
ZMag, Dec. 1, 2004
Torture and the Magna Carta
CounterPunch, Nov. 27, 2004
Returning Fallujans Will Face Clampdown
Boston Globe, Dec. 5, 2004
Fallujah as a 'Model City'
Antiwar.com, Dec. 7, 2004
LA Weekly, Nov. 19, 2004
Navy Probes New Iraq Prisoner Photos
Associated Press, Dec. 4, 2004
U.S. Generals in Iraq Were Warned of Abuse Early, Inquiry Finds
Washington Post, Nov. 30, 2004
Interrogation Abuses Were 'Approved at the Highest Levels
The Daily Telegraph, June 13, 2004
Lone Star Justice: Gonzales' Strange View of International Law
Slate.com, June 15, 2004
The Guardian, June 12, 2004
The Secret World of US Jails
The Observer, June 13, 2004
The New Pentagon Paper/You Call This Liberation
The Guardian, Salon.com, Dec. 2, 2004
Counterpunch, June 14, 2004
Antiwar.com, June 14, 2004
Fear Up Harsh: Diaries of Abu Ghraib Interrogator
Indymedia.org, June 8, 2004
A Moral Chernobyl: Prepare for the Worst From Abu Ghraib
Slate.com, June 14, 2004
Gonzales Worked to Keep Bush Drunk Driving Info From Press
Editor & Publisher, Nov. 17, 2004
Gonzales' Views on Torture
Newsweek, Nov. 22, 2004
Bush Has Widened Authority of CIA to Kill Terrorists
New York Times, Dec. 15, 2002
Another Smoking Memo
Intel Dump, June 7, 2004
Apologia Pro Tormento
Discourse.net, June 9, 2004
The Texas Clemency Memos
Atlantic Monthly, July/August 2003
Gonzales' Texas Execution Memos
Findlaw.com, June 20, 2003
Bush's Blind Justice in Texas Executions
Boston Globe, July 2, 2003
Alberto Gonzales and Halliburton
Know the Candidates, December 2000
Justice Department Memos to White House on Geneva Convention
Antiwar.com, May 22, 2004
Justice Memos Explained How to Skip Prisoner Rights
New York Times, May 21, 2004
The Gray Zone
Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker, May 15, 2004
© 2004 The Moscow Times.