Thursday, April 23, 2009

Torture Has Been A Part Of The U.S. Official Policy For Decades.

The United States has used torture, directed, trained, encouraged other dictatorships to use torture to get control of their own countries, for many decades. This is not something new. The reason that our government keeps doing this is because nobody in this country has ever been prosecuted and imprisoned for their war crimes. Let's change that now.

Back in the early 1970s, the United States, specifically at the direction of Henry Kissinger, decided to overthrow the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende and install a right-wing military dictatorship in its place to ensure that U.S. corporations could continue to steal the resources from that nation. The coup and subsequent years of dictatorship under Pinochet have been thoroughly documented in truth and reconciliation hearings held after Pinochet was finally out of power.

Unfortunately, the people in the United States who directed and participated in the torture and murder were never tried, never publicly exposed. Maybe if they had been, maybe if our leadership had been held accountable decades ago, these monsters in the Bush administration and the despicable attorneys that served them might have been hesitant to adopt an official policy authorizing torture by the U.S.

The U.S. went on to support, train, direct torture from governments, death squads, in Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and others, and today has a direct military intervention in the country of Columbia, another right-wing dictatorship, in addition to indirect military interventions in many other countries in the region. The School of the Americas has been run for years by the U.S. to train government thugs from countries in Central and South America in the fine art of torture and murder of political opponents. See School of the Americas Watch:

What do we mean when we talk about torture? What really goes on? It isn't "enhanced interrogation techniques." Thats just a lie designed to cover up what's really going on. People are beaten, electrocuted, bones broken, drowned, starved, drugged, raped and murdered. That's what is being discussed in all this sanitized public debate. This is what our country does, has for decades, and supports other governments that do the same thing. This is what we're really talking about.

We need to prosecute and imprison every single person who authorized, directed, participated in or approved of torture. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, everyone involved. The most despicable attorneys Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

Here are some excerpts from the website of the United States Institute of Peace, Report of the Chilean National Commission on Truth & Reconciliation, Part Three, Chapter 2, g 2.

"Torture and mistreatment were practiced systematically at the DINA’s [secret police’s] secret detention sites and those of other intelligence services, as we have already pointed out when mentioning some specific places. The main object of torture was to obtain information from the victims - either to bend their resistance or to assure that what they had already said was true. A second purpose was to break their resistance or their physical or moral integrity, so as to directly instill fear into others who could see or hear the torture and to intimidate other persons who might hear about it."

"Mistreatment, including beatings, humiliations, insults, degrading conditions of confinement, being held blindfolded and poorly fed for a long time, went along with torture and contributed toward the same aims. Such mistreatment, even if it did not fall directly into the category of torture, should be regarded as those other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment that are likewise categorically prohibited by international human rights law."

"Often mistreatment or torture were practiced not as part of a particular interrogation process, but were rather the expression of the cruelty or base passions of an agent or a guard. Sometimes they were deliberately used to kill or punish a prisoner. This section deals with the torture methods used by the intelligence services..... "

g.2.1) Usual methods

"Certain methods were routinely practiced on all prisoners held at secret facilities. These sites had permanent installations for applying such methods and personnel trained to use them. These people were not the same as the officers who took charge of the interrogation, although these officers might take part in applying torture and indeed did so directly. Such methods were:
The "grill," that is, applying electrical current to prisoners while they were tied to a metal bed spring. The current was applied to the most sensitive parts of the body. "

"Suspension, that is, hanging the victim either by the wrists or by the wrists and knees for long periods of time. Sometimes the guards made it worse by hanging onto the victim themselves thus adding their weight. While thus suspended the person was given electric shocks, and was beaten, cut, or humiliated. "

"Immersion, or the "submarine," which consisted of pushing a person's head into a vessel of liquid, generally filthy water, and holding it there to the point of asphyxiation, and doing so over and over. One variation of this method was the so-called "dry submarine," in which a plastic bag was used to cut off a person's air supply."

"Beatings of all kinds, inflicted with fists, feet, rifle butts, and chains on different parts of the body, causing serious wounds and even killing people. Hitting people over the ears with cupped hands, or the "telephone," left some people with permanently impaired hearing. "

"The SIFA commonly held back food and water, a method that the Joint Command took to greater extremes. The Joint Command tended to use the "grill" and suspension. It also beat prisoners with such intensity that in at least one proven case a prisoner was beaten to death. Other methods were also often used, but they were generally extraordinary measures taken when other methods were not producing results. The official in charge of the interrogation made the decision to use such methods. They included: "

"Torture of a psychological nature, that is, abducting a relative of the prisoner who was not politically involved and torturing or sexually abusing that person in the presence of the one being interrogated, or perhaps threatening such possibilities."

"Wounds caused by bullets, cuts, or even once breaking a person's legs by running over them in a vehicle, as well as other fractures. "

"Rape or other sexual assaults or the threat of them. It seems that at some places such practices were regarded as an excess and were the work of guards or lower ranking personnel without the permission of their superiors. At other sites, however, as is noted, it was common practice.
Apparently on some rare occasions officers used extreme methods, because they became carried away with anger or sadism. Among these were burning prisoner's bodies with boiling liquids and unnatural acts involving animals. "

g.2.2) Other methods

"The DINA is known to have used drugs (the exact kind is not known) during interrogation, apparently to get people to talk. Hypnosis was also attempted but did not produce significant results. Sometimes torture was relieved with periods of rest between sessions, when there was even the appearance of friendly treatment. The Joint Command also sometimes used drugs and often used strong sedatives when taking prisoners to be executed. "

"The head of air force intelligence and others in that agency fluctuated in their treatment of prisoners. They switched from mistreatment to periods of rest when they would converse about theoretical points, and even lavish favors on prisoners. Guards and lower ranking troops in secret prison sites also humiliated and mistreated the prisoners in both word and deed, on top of their interrogation. Some of the things they did at some sites seem to have been concealed from their superiors. "

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