Government Sanctioned Torture & Murder

The American political class is morally bankrupt. Many are guilty of crimes of greater magnitude and scope than almost any criminal you may find in the penitentiary. Among their crimes are theft, eavesdropping, deceit, murder, and torture. But such is the culture of immunity among the American political and financial elite that no one is punished for these crimes. 

Torture

Why is it so easy for individuals from all sides of the political spectrum to discuss abortion,  same-sex marriage, or other distractionary topics but ignore other blatant crimes against humanity directly committed by the political elite? Perhaps more puzzling is why the media spends countless hours discussing these type of issues while simultaneously ignoring reports of torture and murder committed by the individuals we elected to uphold the law.

In fact, leaked reports and declassified memos have revealed the horrifying extent that torture has been used, illegally, by the United States military and the CIA in the past two decades. However; most people have never heard about any of it.

For example, in his book “With Liberty and Justice for Some” Glenn Greenwald notes  a few of cases of documented and confirmed torture:

“…a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices…

…One forty-six-page memo from OLC chief Steven Bradbury dated May 10, 2005, authorized the following acts to be performed on ‘high-value detainees’: forced nudity, dietary manipulation involving minimum caloric intake, corrective techniques such as facial and abdominal slapping, water dousing, stress positions designed to induce muscle fatigue and the attendant discomfort, and sleep deprivation…

…[One detainee] Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002…

…[Other torture] techniques included walling, cramped confinement, and insects placed in a confinement box…”

What is worse, as Greenwald notes, many of these detainees were held for years without trial. Even more frightening some of the individuals held and tortured were completely innocent!

“Of the fifty-nine detainees who so far have had their habeas cases heard in federal court, thirty-eight of them have won. In other words, in almost two-thirds of the cases reviewed, the courts ruled that there was no credible evidence to justify the detention.”

Perhaps some people find it morally acceptable to overlook the crimes committed by the state since it was against “terrorist”, but even if you believe that how can you justify what happened to innocent men. And shouldn’t the Government be obliged to at least prove guilt beforehand?

Murder

Perhaps more frightening than the numerous documented cases of illegal torture are the instances of fatality due to those same techniques. “The Human Rights Watch researcher John Sifton has documented that approximately 100 detainees, including CIA-held detainees, have died during U.S. interrogations and some are known to have been tortured to death.” [1]

Drone Strikes

Beyond the cases of detainees being tortured to death are the numerous cases of civilians that have been inadvertently or purposely killed during U.S. drone strikes.

drone war

One Pakistani Government report noted that at least 67 civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strike since 2008. [2] In another report Washington Post report noted that, “in Yemen, Human Rights Watch investigated six selected airstrikes since 2009 and concluded that at least 57 of the 82 people killed were civilians, including a pregnant woman and three children who perished in a September 2012 attack.” [3][4]  That is 150 innocent lives in just two countries – two countries we are not at war with!

One may argue that these are casualties of war, but no war has been declared by congress. In fact, many of the drone strikes are not controlled by the military at all, but by the CIA. So are these simply casualties of war or a dangerous signal of a U.S. drone program gone rogue?

Sadly, these crimes are just a sliver of what we can prove and do not even begin to address the vast amount of information not available to the public.  It is frightening to even imagine the true scope of Government murder and torture. It is perhaps more frightening to imagine how history will judge our country, but what can we do?

What can we do?

We can start by paying attention. We can stop being detracted. Forget about Duck Dynasty, Candy Crush, Facebook, and the next holiday shopping session for a while. Stop allowing yourself to be distracted while the elites steal from you and your children. Demand justice, oversight, and investigation. Demand representatives that actually represent your interests. We deserve more.

Resources:

  1. With Liberty and Justice for Some By: Glenn Greenwald
  2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/31/civilian-drone-deaths-pakistan-report_n_4180293.html
  3. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/drone-strikes-killing-more-civilians-than-us-admits-human-rights-groups-say/2013/10/21/a99cbe78-3a81-11e3-b7ba-503fb5822c3e_story.html
  4. http://apps.washingtonpost.com/foreign/drones/  (Graphic)
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3 thoughts on “Government Sanctioned Torture & Murder

  1. Jon

    You’re right. It’s pretty disgusting. We wonder how people could have stood by in the past and let horrible things happen (U.S. slavery, the holocaust, Spanish inquisition, and on and on and on), and yet we do stand by and figure someone else ought to do something about atrocities carried out in our names. Jeez.

    Reply
    1. Atticus C. Post author

      I am always reminded of Nazi Germany. People wonder how the soldiers could have done the things they did. I am not saying we are Nazi Germany, of course, but it is interesting to see people today do similarly bad things (torture) and feel okay about it. Even more, seeing our leaders defend it.

      Reply
  2. Mark Trotter

    Government remains one of the strangest bodies in Civil Society – elected and trusted to reflect the will of the people and yet ignores the basics of our moral system.

    To justify the actions of the few in behalf of the many society allows government to build walls of secrecy – people don’t want to know.

    How do you create a single terrorist? First step do something that touches that person physically that you have no right to do, give them no means of restitution and acknowledge no guilt because ‘our actions are reasonable’ from our standpoint. To respond they try to get noticed, the majority will use the courts or diplomacy but the terrorist is fuelled by a need for justification and revenge. They act with more vigour.

    Society reacts to that action and takes further action similar to the initial incident, so we create escalation and perpetuate the problem.

    The remedy is simple hold those who conduct business this way accountable – not politically but on the same personal level, if I order torture I should be accountable for the rest of my life and ready to defend my position before national and international courts.

    People bury their heads in the sand and yet they have the power to hold these leaders accountable and choose not to know. A sad state of affairs the world over

    Reply

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