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    Invasion of Iraq: Captain Courageous
    Posted on Friday, September 30 @ 20:35:57 UTC
    Topic: Torture
    TortureBy Chris Floyd, Moscow Times

    Quietly, firmly, relentlessly, the good captain laid out the list of atrocities committed at the order of the enemies of freedom: "Death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment."

    A catalogue of depravity, all of it designed -- with diabolical sophistry -- by self-exalted men cloaking their violent perversions with sham piety and righteous sputum. This was terrorism on a grand scale, chewing up the innocent and guilty alike.

    The good man is of course Captain Ian Fishback, the born-again U.S. Army officer who has blown the whistle on the systematic abuse of captives rounded up in President George W. Bush's War on Terror, The New York Times reports. Fishback, frustrated after 17 months of trying to get the atrocities investigated through official channels, finally turned to Human Rights Watch -- and top Republican senators -- seeking redress for the bloody dishonor that Bush has brought upon America.

    In one sense, Fishback's revelations -- corroborated by other soldiers, now lying low to ward off the inevitable reprisals by Bush minions -- are not news. For example, this column has been detailing the use of torture in Bush's global gulag since January 2002. It was no secret; at first, the Bushists even bragged about it. "The gloves are coming off" was a favorite phrase of the deskbound tough guys cracking foxy to an enthralled media.

    They also boasted of "unleashing" the CIA, which set up its own "shadow army" of non-uniformed combatants operating outside the law -- i.e., "terrorists," according to Bush's own definition -- while creating secret prisons all over the world. As one CIA op enthused to The Boston Globe: "'We are doing things I never believed we would do -- and I mean killing people!" A senior Bush official proudly pointed to the ultimate authority for this deadly system: "If the commander in chief didn't think it was appropriate, we wouldn't be doing it."

    We now know that in the very first weeks of the War on Terror, White House legal lackeys began concocting weasel-worded "findings" to justify a range of Torquemadan techniques while shielding Bush honchos from prosecution for the clear breaches of U.S. and international law they were already planning. Bush and his top officials signed off on very specific torture parameters, including physical assault and psychological torment; even beating a captive to death was countenanced, as long the killer proclaimed that he had no murder in his heart when he commenced to whupping, The New York Review of Books reports. Indeed, the lackeys went so far as to establish a new principle of Executive Transcendence: The president, they claimed, could not be constrained by any law whatsoever in his conduct of the War on Terror.

    Fishback saw the fruits of this vile labor in the vast Bushist holding pens in Iraq, where thousands upon thousands of Iraqis were herded, beaten and tortured -- even though 70 to 90 percent of them were innocent of any crime, the International Red Cross reported in 2004. The incidents he and the other soldiers detailed took place before, during -- and after -- the photographic revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib. The mayhem "happened every day," said the soldiers, and it was committed "under orders from military intelligence personnel to soften up detainees."

    "They wanted intel," said a sergeant, one of the ordinary, untrained grunts pressed into duty as interrogation muscle. "As long as no [captives] came up dead, it happened. We kept it to broken arms and legs" -- sometimes with baseball bats, and occasionally augmented by scalding naked prisoners with burning chemicals. The soldiers learned their "stress techniques" from CIA interrogators, dropping into Iraq from their "unleashed" torture centers in Afghanistan, Diego Garcia and points unknown.

    But of course they didn't always "keep it" to broken arms and legs. Fishback, who had been trying desperately to get his superiors to act on the atrocities he'd witnessed himself, discovered that a captive had been "interrogated" to death. From that point on, while still urging official action, he also began gathering evidence and testimony from fellow officers about the nightmarish regimen, the Los Angeles Times reports. When at long last he began to realize "that the Army is deliberately misleading the American people about detainee treatment within our custody," he stepped out of the system -- and into the storm.

    What will come of the good captain's moral courage? Nothing much. A Pentagon investigation has been belatedly launched; no doubt a few more bad eggs will be fried, just as the hapless Lynndie England, poster girl for Abu Ghraib, was convicted this week for "aberrations" that, as Fishback confirms, were countenanced and encouraged throughout Iraq. Fishback himself will be certainly slimed in one of Karl Rove's patented smear campaigns. By next week, the upright, Bible-believing West Point grad -- a veteran of both the Afghan and Iraqi wars -- will be transformed by Fox News and the war-porn bloggers into a cowardly, anti-American terrorist sympathizer under the hypnotic control of Michael Moore.

    Meanwhile, one of the Republican senators Fishback approached, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, has already put the kibosh on legislation setting clear legal guidelines for prisoner treatment. Frist, a goonish errand boy now under investigation for insider trading, killed the bill after hearing Fishback's evidence. His White House masters don't want any legal clarity for their dark deeds; they can only thrive in the murk of moral chaos.

    One thing is certain: The true architects of these atrocities will never face justice. They'll go on to peaceful, prosperous retirements, heedless of the broken bodies and broken nations -- including their own -- left behind in their foul wake.

    Annotations

    3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine
    New York Times, Sept. 23, 2005

    Officer's Road Led Him Outside Army
    Los Angeles Times, Sept. 25, 2005

    New Accounts of Torture by U.S. Troops
    Human Rights Watch, Sept. 24, 2005

    Patterns of Abuse
    Time Magazine, Sept. 23, 2005

    Abuse of Iraqi prisoners 'was sport'
    Chicago Sun-Times, Sept. 25, 2005

    Officer Criticizes Detainee Abuse Inquiry
    New York Times, Sept. 28, 2005

    CIA Takes on Major Military Role
    Boston Globe, Jan. 20, 2002

    Dark as a Dungeon
    Empire Burlesque, Sept. 28, 2005

    Abu Ghraib: The Hidden Story
    New York Review of Books, Oct. 7, 2004

    Private Gets 3 Years for Iraqi Prison Abuse
    New York Times, Sept. 28, 2005

    We are All Torturers Now
    New York Times, Jan. 6, 2005

    The Torture Memos: A Legal Narrative
    CounterPunch, Feb. 2, 2005

    Alberto Gonzales' Tortured Arguments for Reigning Above the Law
    LA Weekly, Jan. 14-20, 2005

    Torture and Truth
    New York Review of Books, June 10, 2004

    Torture Treaty Doesn't Bar `Cruel, Inhuman' Tactics, Gonzales Says
    Knight-Ridder, Jan. 26, 2005

    The Stain of Torture
    Washington Post, July 1, 2005

    Break Them Down: The Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US Forces
    Physicians for Human Rights, 2005

    Medical Care and Detainees: A Discussion with Dr. Burton Lee III
    Washington Post, July 1, 2005

    Gonzales Excludes CIA from Rules on Prisoners
    New York Times, Jan. 20, 2005

    The Secret World of US Jails
    The Observer, June 13, 2004

    War Pornography
    East Bay Express, Sept. 21, 2005

    [Bush Order] Lets CIA Freely Send Suspects to Foreign Jails
    New York Times, March 6, 2005

    Secret Way to War
    TomDispatch/The New York Review of Books, May 15, 2005

    Copyright © 2005 The Moscow Times

    Reprinted from:
    http://context.themoscowtimes.com/story/156464/

     
    Related Links
    · More about Torture
    · News by ZeberuS


    Most read story about Torture:
    Torture Under the Philosophical Guidance of Cheney


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