USA, Nation Of Torturers

 It’s comforting for those whose actions are not aligned with their stated values to believe that what one does in real life is not what ultimately defines who one really is. It’s nice to think who we are is determined not by the things we did the day before, but by the stated ideals we hope to aspire to fulfill, starting tomorrow. In a nation-state founded by settler-colonial Protestants, the argument is familiar – it’s what’s deep down inside that gets one up into heaven, not the good or genocidal nature of what one does down here on Earth – and as with any half-decent lie, it’s relatable: as fallible human beings, we’d all rather like to believe that we’re not as bad as we are but as good as we say we would like to be.

While founded on the ethnic cleansing of the continent’s original inhabitants and the enslavement of its African workforce, the news – or rather, confirmation – that the CIA employed a revolting range of “enhanced” torture techniques in the wake of 9/11 is being portrayed by some as a vile exception to the United States’ otherwise exceptional history; a “stain on our values and history,” in the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose committee released the report detailing the agency’s use of near-drownings and mock executions and sexual abuse to humiliate and demoralize a foreign “other” under the guise of gathering intelligence. These practices, the terrible things this country has again and again been shown to do, “are not who we are,” added Secretary of State John Kerry. Indeed, “the awful facts of this report” do not even “represent who they are,” he said of those awful people described in that report (“its important that this period not define the intelligence community in anyone’s mind,” he continued).

“Some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values,” President Barack Obama chimed in, crediting his government with, as always, correcting its own mistakes (“They aren’t picking up prisoners anymore,” Senator James Risch explained to CNN. “What they do is when they identify a high-value target, the target is droned.”).

As a rhetorical ploy, it’s understandable: Saying the United States has always been garbage is not going to be terribly popular in a nation that still fondly refers to a group of sadistic slave-owners as its “founding fathers” — so politicians savvy enough to know that openly embracing torture is not a good look for the world’s leading state-sponsor of holier-than-thou rhetoric, appeal to a history and set of values that never was and never were in practice, as a way to give political cover to their middling, public relations-minded critiques of the national-security state’s least defensible excesses. It’s entirely false, this narrative of extreme goodness marked by occasional self-correcting imperfection, but it satisfies our national ego to think the American phoenix rises from a store of ethically traded gold, not a pile of rotting trash.

“We will likely hear these false appeals to an imaginary history a great deal with the release of the Senate report on CIA torture,” writes Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan. But even historians can fall victim to America’s easier to digest mythology, with Cole proceeding to characterize the ugly truth about the United States – that it was founded on the “exaltation of ‘whiteness’ over universal humanity, and preference for property rights over human rights” – as but a right-wing lie. As he tells it, the likes of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were actually progressives who would almost certainly “have voted to release the report and . . . been completely appalled at its contents.”

Cole follows that assertion up with a list of things that some of these founding fathers said they believed: Jefferson, for instance, argued that the formal abolition of torture in the French legal system was in keeping with “the progress of philanthropy and civilization.” And the Bill of Rights of course prohibits “cruel and unusual punishment.” But, naggingly, the actual record of those who gave those nice speeches and drafted the Constitution suggests we shouldn’t just believe what they said and wrote down.

“Fascists will argue that the Constitution does not apply to captured foreign prisoners of war, or that the prisoners were not even P.O.W.s, having been captured out of uniform,” writes Cole. “But focusing on the category of the prisoner is contrary to the spirit of the founding fathers.”

Except, it isn’t at all – and if fascism is denying human rights on the basis of nationality or appearance, than the exalted founders were of course fascists themselves. The same document that ostensibly prohibits torture also defined an African slave as three-fifths of a person – and even then, only for purposes of bolstering the political power of those who enslaved them: in practice, they were treated as property whose master could torture or murder them with impunity. This is not pedantry: Hundreds of thousands of people were denied their ostensibly inalienable rights because of the color of their skin; nearly four million by the time of the Civil War, or almost half the population of the South.

Thomas Jefferson, for instance, may have agonized over the evil of slavery, usually in private, but then he also reputedly raped a 15-year-old he owned and, according to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, paid $70 just so he could have a runaway slave he had already sold off to someone else “severely flogged in the presence of his old companions.” At least once, Jefferson even “ordered the destruction of all dogs belonging to his slaves,” according to researcher Mary V. Thompson. “At least one of the condemned dogs was hung as a disciplinary warning.”

Jefferson was a savage white supremacist who in practice if not always in speech believed that people of color (“slaves” and “savages” as they were known then; “thugs” and “terrorists” as they’re often called today) did not deserve all the same rights as wealthy white Americans like him; he could own them, but they could not even own a pet. The sometimes beautiful talk of universal rights popular around the time of the American revolution was ignored in practice; then as now there were giant exceptions for those whom it would be inconvenient to consider fully human.

Torture has always been commonplace in the United States. As former slave Harriet Ann Jacobs recounted, a wealthy slaveholder who was “highly educated, and styled a perfect gentleman,” tied up a fellow slave to a cotton gin for four days and five nights as punishment for running away; he “was found partly eaten by rats and vermin,” which had likely “gnawed him before life was extinct.” His body was unceremoniously dumped in a grave. “Women are considered of no value,” Jacobs recalled – “This same master shot a woman through the head” for running away, without harm to his social status (“the feeling was that the master had a right to do what he pleased with his own property”) – and any man who resisted a whipping risked being set upon by dogs “to tear his flesh from his bones.”…

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/16/america_nation_of_torturers_stop_saying_this_isnt_who_we_are_heres_the_real_truth/

Maybe Obama just forgot; maybe he just lied.  Related:

Let’s get this straight, Jesus who was interrogated, tortured and then killed has modern followers who actually support government sanctioned torture. If they are Christians and are familiar with his history then they would know what happened and reject such savage methods. Today so-called terrorists are picked up on the street and hurt severely without even being put before a judge and jury. These people are the antithesis of Jesus and have nothing in common with him. Their pathetic excuse is that we are in a time of war. There is no war because Congress has not said so, but far beyond that every human being on earth has a natural moral compass inside themselves and unless you are a complete psychopath it tells you what is right and wrong. Torture is wrong, and so I wonder to myself how they claim to follow the teachings of Jesus easily ignore human suffering. So disgusting and so sad, you can’t blame television and propaganda for everything. We all have lost bits of our humanity over the years.

Religion Dispatches gives us the bizarre details:

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that Americans, by a 59-31% margin, believe that CIA “treatment of suspected terrorists” in detention was justified.

A plurality deemed that “treatment” to be “torture,” by a 49-38% margin.

Remarkably, the gap between torture supporters and opponents widens between voters who are Christian and those who are not religious. Just 39% of white evangelicals believe the CIA’s treatment of detainees amounted to torture, with 53% of white non-evangelical Protestants and 45% of white Catholics agreeing with that statement. Among the non-religious, though, 72% said the treatment amounted to torture. (The poll did not break down non-Christian religions in the results.)

Sixty nine percent of white evangelicals believe the CIA treatment was justified, compared to just 20% who said it was not. (Those numbers, incidentally, roughly mirror the breakdown of Republican versus Democratic voters among white evangelicals.) A full three-quarters (75%) of white non-evangelical Protestants outnumber the 22% of their brethren in saying CIA treatment was justified…

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Jesus_Was_Tortured_And_Killed%2C_Today_Most_Christians_Are_Highly_Supportive_Of_Torture/40165/0/38/38/Y/M.html

Also related:

In 1964, the Brazilian military, in a US-designed coup, overthrew a liberal (not more to the left than that) government and proceeded to rule with an iron fist for the next 21 years. In 1979 the military regime passed an amnesty law blocking the prosecution of its members for torture and other crimes. The amnesty still holds. 1

That’s how they handle such matters in what used to be called The Third World. In the First World, however, they have no need for such legal niceties. In the United States, military torturers and their political godfathers are granted amnesty automatically, simply for being American, solely for belonging to the “Good Guys Club”.

So now, with the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, we have further depressing revelations about US foreign policy. But do Americans and the world need yet another reminder that the United States is a leading practitioner of torture? Yes. The message can not be broadcast too often because the indoctrination of the American people and Americophiles all around the world is so deeply embedded that it takes repeated shocks to the system to dislodge it. No one does brainwashing like the good ol’ Yankee inventors of advertising and public relations. And there is always a new generation just coming of age with stars (and stripes) in their eyes.

The public also has to be reminded yet again that – contrary to what most of the media and Mr. Obama would have us all believe – the president has never actually banned torture per se, despite saying recently that he had “unequivocally banned torture” after taking office

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40524.htm

The underlined fact above is the reason that torturers will not be prosecuted under the Obama regime: Obama is also guilty of torture, not to mention his kill lists and drone crimes against humanity.

The Weekly Fear

One of the reasons I live in Anarchapulco is because Western media gets almost no play down here. Typically the day’s conversation ranges from how beautiful and wonderful of a day it is to when is the next fiesta (invariably it is at least every week).

However, in my role of Dollar Vigilante a big part of my job is paying attention to what is going on in the world … and watching and reading US media always leaves me flabbergasted.

Just in the last few months people were up in arms about Ebola.  We were all going to die, they said! Something must be done!

That dropped completely out of people’s minds in a matter of weeks when a new scourge appeared. ISIS!  They will behead us all, many said!

Certainly with the US government and CIA support of ISIS, even sending them pickup trucks from the US and “accidentally” airdropping them weapons they are dangerous … but I’m not sure someone in Omaha, Nebraska, in the heart of the “home of the brave”, should be hiding in their underground shelter just yet.

Then that seemed to disappear almost completely from people’s minds.

Then recently people cowered when they heard that a Muslim man with a shotgun had walked into a chocolate shop in Sydney, Australia, and taken some completely disarmed Australian slaves hostage.

And now, this week, perhaps the biggest terrorist attack in years occurred when some hackers got into some of Sony’s emails and threatened to release more emails about what a bitch Angelina Jolie is if the movie, The Interview, was played in theaters!

Forgetting for the moment that the most likely culprit is the NSA, which has virtually every unencrypted email sent in or out of the US on file … the US government looked into this threat and within hours stated that it must be North Korean hackers!

Immediately, demented warmonger media like Rush Limbaugh were calling this an act of war! Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack O’Bomber, and some of his staff, are now pushing for a direct confrontation with North Korea over this.

The problem is that Sony is a Japanese company.  So, shouldn’t the Japanese media and Japanese government be the ones doing this?  Of course not, only the drama queen USSA would consider it their duty to attack countries over some very vague and unproven computer hack.

Not to worry, though, within a week or two this will all be forgotten when a new, unexpected threat will emerge.  Perhaps the next one will be something crazy like a threat that Muslims are going to shit in your food in some sort of “fecal jihad”.  Wait, they already did that one.

FEAR FEAR FEAR

Considering that the US likes to label itself as the “home of the brave”, they sure do seem to be scared about absolutely everything.

By far the biggest cause of death in the US is “heart disease” and it’s no wonder.  Stress is a massive killer and fear is the opposite of love … meaning that people’s hearts in the US are under constant siege from the stress caused by never-ending fear.

Fasco-communist Franklin Roosevelt even got this totally right when he said, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

If you live in the US the easiest way to remove fear from your life is to turn off your television programming … it’s called programming for a reason.  And, if you can, just leave the US for a place where not only does no one worry about things like Ebola, ISIS or a movie being cancelled … but they don’t even know what you are talking about if you bring it up…

http://www.activistpost.com/2014/12/i-am-having-trouble-focusing-on-what-i.html

 I wonder if the programming will ever tell us to fear the greatest debt in history, frankenfood, chemtrails, etc

Related:

“As the FBI made clear, we are confident the North Korean government is responsible for this destructive attack. We stand by this conclusion.” NSC spokesman Mark Stroh

————

The FBI has released an official statement claiming they are now convinced the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) was behind the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and the terrorist threats that accompanied those intrusions which subsequently led to several theater chains here in the states refusing to show The Interview in their facilities. The official statement of the FBI contradicts a previous official position of theirs that said they could find no evidence to link the DPRK to this incident.

“There is no attribution to North Korea at this point,” Joe Demarest, assistant director with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s cyber division, Dec. 9th, 2014

It also uses flimsy circular logic to imply a connection that is, once again, not based on any evidence the FBI provides in the new official statement.

However, this statement and conclusions therein are being reported on in a most uncritical manner by MSM outlets as well as disinformation sites like Prison Planet. That should be your first clue.

And here’s another: Obama has claimed it was a “mistake” for Sony to pull the film, while knowing full well it was the 5 large U.S. based theater chains that pulled it, not Sony. He has also promised an attack of some sort against the DPRK in retaliation for this supposed state sponsored hacking of Sony.

If you ask me, this is starting to smell a lot like a chemical weapons attack in Syria…

http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/the-fbis-new-statement-on-the-sony-hack-is-bunk-here-is-the-real-story-of-the-sony-hack/

Recall:

“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

-Herman Goering

 

Israel’s Role In Syria Exposed

…In his geopolitical weekly analysis, entitled “The Islamic State Reshapes the Middle East,” on November 25 Stratfor’s George Friedman raised eyebrows when he reviewed the effects which the terrorist group had on all regional powers, but seemed unaware of the existence of the Israeli regional superpower.

It was an instructive omission that says a lot about the no more discreet role Israel is playing to maintain what the Israeli commentator Amos Harel described as the “stable instability” in Syria and the region, from the Israeli perspective of course.

Friedman in fact was reflecting a similar official omission by the US administration. When President Barak Obama appealed for a “broad international coalition” to fight the Islamic State (IS), Israel — the strongest military power in the region and the well – positioned logistically to fight it — was not asked to join. The Obama administration explained later that Israel’s contribution would reflect negatively on the Arab partners in the coalition.

“Highlighting Israel’s contributions could be problematic in terms of complicating efforts to enlist Muslim allies” in the coalition, said Michael Eisenstadt, a senior fellow at AIPAC’s arm, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Covertly however Israel is a key player in prolonging the depleting war on Syria and the major beneficiary of neutralizing the military of the only immediate Arab neighbor that has so far eluded yielding to the terms dictated by the U.S. – backed Israeli regional force majeure for making peace with the Hebrew state.

Several recent developments however have brought the Israeli role into the open…

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/18/israeli-role-in-syrian-conflict-brought-into-the-open/

The SONY Hack: U.S. Propaganda

Related:

Yesterday, when we reported the latest rumor of Russian gold selling, this time out of SocGen, we said that “it should be noted that SocGen and its “sources” have a conflict: in an indirect way, none other than SocGen is suddenly very interested in Russia stabilizing its economy because as we wrote before, “Russia Contagion Spreads To European Banks : French SocGen, Austrian Raiffeisen Plummet” which also sent SocGen’s default risk higher in recent days. So if all it will take to stabilize the RUB sell off, reduce fears of Russian contagion, and halt the selloff of SocGen stocks is a “source” reporting what may or may not be the case, so be it.”

Moments ago, as if to deter further speculation that Russia is indeed converting hard money earned from real resources for fiat paper, the Russian monetary authority made it quite clear, that at least in November, Russia not only did not sell any gold, but in fact bought another 600K ounces in the month of November.

  • RUSSIAN MONETARY GOLD HOLDINGS RISE VS 37.6M ON NOV. 1
  • RUSSIAN MONETARY GOLD HOLDINGS 38.2M TROY OZ AS OF DEC. 1

So we can now add another 600K to Russia’s most recent holdings:…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-12-19/russia-busts-gold-selling-rumors-reports-it-bought-another-600000-ounces-taking-gold

Also related:

A Japanese company with some offices in California was hacked. Several terrabytes of data were copied off its internal networks and some of it was put on file sharing sites. One of the items copied was a film produced in Canada that depicts as comedy the terror act of killing of a current head of state. The U.S. State Department applauded that movie scene. But there were tons of other data like social security numbers, payroll data, and internal emails stolen all of which that might have been the real target of the hackers.

The tools to hack the company are well known and in the public domain. The company, Sony, had lousy internal network security and had been hacked before. The hackers probably had some inside knowledge. They used servers in Bolivia, China and South Korea to infiltrate. There is zero public evidence in the known that the hack was state sponsored.

But the U.S. is claiming that the event is a “national security matter”. Who’s national security? Japan’s? Canada’s? Why? A private Japanese entertainment(!) company left the doors open and had some equipment vandalized and some of its private property stolen. Why, again, is that of U.S. “national interest”? Why would the U.S. even consider some “proportional response“?

The White House is anonymously accusing the state of North Korea of having done the hack. It provides no evidence to support that claim and the government of North Korea denied any involvement. The FBI and Sony say they have no evidence for such a claim…

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2014/12/sony-hack-nyt-editors-find-new-iraq-wmd-.html#comments

Modern Mengeles

One of the “revelations” of the Senate report on CIA torture has been the role played by two psychologists in devising the regimen of torture used by the Agency.

[A quick but necessary digression: please note that this torture regimen has been lauded as “effective” and “life-saving” by the Obama Administration — even after the release of the report; indeed, the Administration says that the fruits of these crimes still “inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.” Just bear that in mind as you read the reams of justified denunciations of the Bush Administration for the commission of these particular crimes by this particular agency. The Bush thugs should be excoriated — and prosecuted — for their crimes. But a multitude of crimes in many forms (including torture) are still being committed by the Terror War machine under Obama — the man who has stoutly shielded his predecessors from prosecution and now even praises some of their worst crimes.]

But of course there is nothing new in report’s uncovering of the psychologists’ role. (Except for one element: the fact that these two sinister quacks were paid a whopping $81 million for helping the United States government torture defenseless captives and produce garbage intelligence.) Anyone who wanted to know about their Mengele-style perversion of medical ethics could have read about it in reputable mainstream publications years ago. (Actually, this is also true of almost all the incidents and practices detailed in the report. Anyone who didn’t know of these things before now — especially in the political-media world — simply didn’t want to know of these things.) There were also other psychologists and medical personnel involved in the program after it got started, as Mark Benjamin detailed at Salon.com back in 2007.

In that same year, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer produced an extensive report on the wide-ranging Terror War torture regimen. The article should have produced a firestorm of outrage and aggressive, in-depth, high-profile investigations from, say, the U.S. Senate, which was then in the control of the Democrats.  But as we know, her revelations sank like a stone. And it is very, very likely that the same thing will happen with the newly released (and, it must always be noted, heavily truncated, censored and incomplete) Senate report. Indeed, McClatchy is already reporting that the incoming Republican-controlled Senate will gladly let the report “gather dust,” taking no follow-up action. This stance will doubtless please their Terror War partners in the White House, who fought against the release of the report — and who certainly aren’t going to do anything about it.

I wrote about the Mayer and Benjamin articles when they first came out in 2007. Below are a few excerpts, dealing with their reportage on the torture shrinks:..

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article40513.htm